Hiking the Via Alpina
The Via Alpina is one of the most scenic hiking trails in Switzerland, offering stunning views of the Alps and a unique opportunity to experience the natural beauty of this region. This trail stretches for over 1,200 kilometers, passing through the Swiss Alps and connecting five different Alpine countries, including Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Italy, and Slovenia. In this article, we’ll focus specifically on the Swiss section of the Via Alpina, highlighting its unique features and why it’s worth exploring.
The Swiss part of the Via Alpina
The Swiss section of the Via Alpina is divided into five stages, each offering a unique hiking experience. The first stage starts in Sargans, a town located in the east of Switzerland, and ends in Vaduz, the capital of Liechtenstein. This section is relatively easy, covering a distance of about 15 kilometers and taking approximately six hours to complete. Along the way, hikers can enjoy stunning views of the Rhine Valley and the surrounding mountains, including the Falknis and the Alvier range.
The second stage of the Via Alpina begins in Vaduz and ends in the Swiss town of Lenk, covering a distance of approximately 24 kilometers and taking about 10 hours to complete. This section is more challenging, with steep ascents and descents along the way. Hikers are rewarded with breathtaking views of the Rhine Valley, the Walensee Lake, and the Glarus Alps.
The third stage of the Via Alpina starts in Lenk and ends in Adelboden, covering a distance of approximately 21 kilometers and taking about eight hours to complete. This section is considered one of the most beautiful parts of the trail, with stunning views of the Wildstrubel, Altels, and Wildhorn peaks. Hikers can also explore the famous Engstligen waterfall and the alpine gardens in Leukerbad.
The fourth stage of the Via Alpina begins in Adelboden and ends in Kandersteg, covering a distance of approximately 23 kilometers and taking about nine hours to complete. This section is also challenging, with steep ascents and descents and exposed ridges along the way. Hikers are rewarded with stunning views of the Frutigen Alps, the Blüemlisalp, and the Doldenhorn.
The final stage of the Via Alpina starts in Kandersteg and ends in Montreux, covering a distance of approximately 45 kilometers and taking about 18 hours to complete. This section is the most challenging and requires a high level of fitness and experience. Hikers will cross the famous Gemmi Pass and the Col de Jaman, offering stunning views of the Valais Alps and Lake Geneva. Along the way, hikers can also explore the charming Swiss towns of Gstaad and Château-d’Oex.
The Swiss section of the Via Alpina offers a unique opportunity to experience the natural beauty of the Swiss Alps, with its diverse landscapes and stunning views. Hikers can also explore charming Swiss towns and villages along the way, sampling local cuisine and immersing themselves in the local culture.
To make the most of your hiking experience on the Via Alpina, it’s important to be well-prepared. This includes having the right equipment, including sturdy hiking boots, warm and waterproof clothing, and a reliable map or GPS. Hikers should also be in good physical condition and have a high level of hiking experience, especial
ly for the more challenging sections of the trail.
In addition to being a popular hiking trail, the Via Alpina is also an important cultural and historical landmark. It offers a unique opportunity to explore the rich cultural heritage of the Alpine region, with its unique customs, traditions, and architecture.
Via Alpina the Luxe
Mountful Hikes offers a Via Alpina the Luxe. For this Via Alpina de Luxe tour, Famke van der Elst selected three of the most attractive stages interspersed with accommodation in superb boutique hotels in the Berner Oberland.
Although each day covers long distances, the degree of difficulty is reduced by the fact that the luggage will be transported from hotel to hotel.
Walking holiday in the Alps with Mountful Hikes
I am a Mountain Leader trained in the Swiss Alps and happy to show you my favourite hikes in the Alps. We could go out for a half or full day in the stunning Val de Bagnes, but if you really want to get away from civilisation for a while, you can also book me for a multiple day tour! Wildcamping for the most adventurous amongst you, a tour from hut tot hut for the ones who appreciate a bit of comfort and from boutique hotel to boutique hotel for them who like hiking, fine dining and wellness! See our Summer Program
Of course there are a lot of other possibilities. Contact me if you would like to have your own tailor-made private group hike!