Best Winter Hikes In Switzerland: For Beginners & Experts

best winter hikes switzerland

When you first gaze upon the snow-covered Swiss Alps, it kind of feels like you have found heaven on earth. The fantastic views are simply breathtaking!

Now, one would usually associate the winter season in Switzerland with skiing but you shouldn’t miss out on the beautiful winter hikes that are also available to you.

Winter hiking in Switzerland is a great way to get some fresh mountain air when you’re not on the slopes and a great way to see hidden places off the beaten path.

But, finding accessible winter hiking trails isn’t so easy, as some can be dangerous for a winter walk. Luckily, we have made it easy for you! Below you will find the best winter hikes Switzerland has to offer so you can enjoy a winter walk without any worries!

Rotenboden – Riffelberg

Rotenboden - Riffelberg
Rotenboden – Riffelberg – Image courtesy of Wikimedia

The Rotenboden – Riffelberg winter hike is situated in the Zermatt region of the Swiss Alps. It is one of the easiest and family-friendly winter hikes in Switzerland and comes with some of the best panoramic views you can get.

Starting at Rotenboden, the trail takes you through cold shadows and warm sunshine until you reach views of the Riffelhorn. As you continue the Matterhorn, one of the most iconic peaks in Switzerland comes into view and after that, the Gornergrat.

At this point, you have the choice to go up to the Gornergrat viewing platform using the old railway. The views from up there are incredible, to say the least as you can spot more than 39 peaks and a few glaciers too.

  • Type: Point To Point
  • Distance: 2.4 km
  • Duration: 1 hour
  • Rating: Easy
  • Starts At: Rotenboden
  • Ends At: Riffelberg

Philosophers’ Trail – Muottas Muragl

Muottas Muragl
Muottas Muragl

The Philosophers’ Trail is one of the most iconic winter hiking trails in Switzerland. This winter hike begins at 8000 feet above sea level at the Romantik Hotel in Muottas Muragl which you’ll ride a cable car to get to.

From here, you have a choice of three different trails to follow, blue, red, and black (the hardest). The trail is very well marked with obvious signs, it is impossible to get lost and the path is so well manicured that even doing the black trail is easy.

You will get panoramic views of Celerina, St Moritz, and Lake Silvaplauna, and overlook the Bernina Massif and the Engadine Lakes. The peaks are never ending and the winter trails are designed to give you different views as you complete the loop!

  • Type: Loop
  • Distance: 7.2 km
  • Duration: 3 hours
  • Rating: Medium
  • Starts At: Romantik Hotel, Muottas Muragl
  • Ends At: Romantik Hotel, Muottas Muragl

Lauenensee-Winterwanderweg

Lauenensee-Winterwanderweg
Lauenensee-Winterwanderweg – Image courtesy of mariejirousek

Winter hiking in Switzerland is all about quiet beauty and this is one of the best winter hikes you can find that provides just that.

This winter hike begins in the mountain village of Lauenen and takes you up to the stunning Lake Lauenen. The trail is snow-covered and takes you through forests and meadows of the nature reserve and up to an Alpine lake surrounded by majestic peaks. You will even catch a glimpse of the Spitzhorn and stunning waterfalls!

The loopback down showcases the other side of the valley and provides seemingly never-ending views that take you down to the small village of Fängli and then to Lauenen.

  • Type: Loop
  • Distance: 8 km
  • Duration: 3 hours
  • Rating: Medium
  • Starts At: Hotel Alpenland, Lauenen
  • Ends At: Lauenen

Niederhorn – Waldegg

Niederhorn in winter
Niederhorn in winter

If you are looking for some challenging winter hiking in Switzerland, this is one of the winter trails to take a closer look at.

This winter hike begins at Mount Niederhorn and is a downhill trail all the way to the village of Waldeeg. The winter trails begin at 1950 meters of altitude and are in excellent condition for all hiking abilities.

You will experience incredible views of the Bernese Alps, the Justistal valley, and Lake Thun as you slowly descend. There are small snow-covered pine forests along that which makes for some fairytale winter hiking and as you continue, different perspectives of both Mt Niesen and Lake Thun come into view.

  • Type: Point To Point
  • Distance: 10 km
  • Duration: 4 hours
  • Rating: Medium
  • Starts At: Niederhorn
  • Ends At: Waldegg

Wengen – Kleine Scheidegg

Wengen - Kleine Scheidegg
Wengen – Kleine Scheidegg – Image courtesy of edwin.11

If you find yourself in the Jungfrau region of the Bernese Oberland and are looking for some winter hiking that might just push your limits, the Wengen – Kleine Scheidegg trail will be right up your street.

This trail requires a steep ascent of 2,600 feet but with all this effort comes some incredibly rewarding views.

Starting in the quiet village of Wengen, you will ascend through the forests and climb above the treeline where you are met with an awesome view of Jungfrau. After this, continue on to see even better views that include the peaks of Monch, Eiger, and Jungfrau too!

The winter walking paths are well looked after but you might experience so deep snow and some snowshoe hiking might be needed, or at least some gaiters to get you through it.

  • Type: Point To Point
  • Distance: 7 km
  • Duration: 3 – 4 hours
  • Rating: Hard
  • Starts At: Wengen
  • Ends At: Kleine Scheidegg

Laternliweg Schwägalp

Hiking the Laternliweg, or the Lantern Trail, is one of the most romantic winter activities you can do in Switzerland.

Sitting in the Schwägalp nature park, this winter hiking route takes you on a walk around a trail lit up with 50 oil lanterns. It is one of the most beautiful experiences as you hike across the snow and through the forest while seeing the lanterns reflecting off the snow.

This evening walk is suitable for all ages and abilities. The path is well looked after, well marked and is mostly flat until the end when the trail descends. It truly is a bit of a fairytale experience and one of the winter trails in Switzerland that can not be missed!

  • Type: Loop
  • Distance: 3 km
  • Duration: 1 hour
  • Rating: Easy
  • Starts At: Schwägalp
  • Ends At: Schwägalp

Sunnegga-Tufteren

Zermatt

The Sunnegga-Tufteren hike is based in the mountains close to Zermatt and is a very relaxed hike for all ages that does not require snowshoes.

The trail is short making for some easy winter hiking that the whole family can enjoy. It is mostly flat too so kids don’t have to walk and can be pulled in a sled if you have the energy.

You will walk over snow, through a forest, and have amazing views of the mountains surrounding you. The hike is short too and should only take an hour at most so take it slow and enjoy the hike, pausing to take in the mountains as you go.

  • Type: Point To Point
  • Distance: 2 km
  • Duration: 0.5 – 1 hour
  • Rating: Easy
  • Starts At: Sunnegga
  • Ends At: Tufteren

Fiescheralp – Bettmeralp – Riederalp

Fiescheralp - Bettmeralp - Riederalp
Fiescheralp – Bettmeralp – Riederalp – Image courtesy of Wikimedia

This point-to-point winter hike sits up high in the Valais region of the alps. It is a very popular route as it provides hikers with incredible views of the 4000-meter hikes of Valais while walking the trails.

You will need to be in good physical shape to conquer these trails as there are some steep ascents to manage, but it is very doable for most people.

Starting at the Fiescheralp cable car, you head west amongst the mountains and along the Herrenweg trail until you reach the Bättmer-Hitta restaurant. From here it is up toward Wurzenbord which gives you awesome views of the surrounding peaks, and then it is downhill to the Bettmeralp cable car and on to Riederalp.

There are lots of places to recharge along the way from benches to restaurants, so take your time and enjoy the amazing mountain scenery.

  • Type: Point To Point
  • Distance: 9 km
  • Duration: 3 – 4 hours
  • Rating: Medium
  • Starts At: Fiescheralp
  • Ends At: Riederalp

Chemin Les Diablerets–Vers l’Eglise

diablerets
Diablerets in winter – image via wikimedia

This is a stunning loop trail that will have you hiking through the snow, along cross-country skiing trails, and you get to explore the lovely village of Vers l’Eglise along the way too.

Start hiking from the Les Diablerets station along the cross-country ski trail which takes you to Vers-l’Eglise. You can spend some time in this charming town and visit a few museums or stop for some refreshments at one of the local inns.

The trail continues up the main road towards Hôtel du Pillon and then via the Chemin des Bouvets and back down to Les Diablerets. The route provides you with amazing views of the Les Diablerets mountains as you go.

  • Type: Loop
  • Distance: 4 km
  • Duration: 2 hours
  • Rating: Easy
  • Starts At: Les Diablerets station
  • Ends At: Les Diablerets

Rigi-Panoramaweg

Rigi in winter
Rigi in winter

This trail is great in both summer and winter. Starting at Kaltbad, this hiking route has you walking along the old Rigi Scheidegg Railway. The trail is mostly flat but with a gentle incline at the end making it great for all hiking levels.

This isn’t dubbed the panorama trail for nothing and it provides magical views of the Schwyz valley and Lake Lucerne below. You will also see a water station for the steam locomotives, and an old carriage of the Rigi Scheidegg Railway on the route.

Once you arrive at Rigi Scheidegg, there is a cable car that will take you back down the mountains.

  • Type: Point To Point
  • Distance: 7 km
  • Duration: 260 meters
  • Rating: Medium
  • Starts At: Kaltbad
  • Ends At: Rigi Scheidegg

Written by Ashley Faulkes
As a twenty-year resident of Switzerland, I am passionate about exploring every nook and cranny of this beautiful country, I spend my days deep in the great Swiss outdoors, and love to share these experiences and insights with fellow travel enthusiasts.

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