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Hiking Routes In & Around Switzerland

I've been incredibly lucky to have spent most of the last two years in Geneva, Switzerland and I've carved out a lot of my weekends to explore the city and surrounding areas. Many friends traveling to the area have asked for hiking advice and so here is a compilation; I'll continue to add to with new favorites:

Junction – A couple of options for moderate hikes around the Point du Junction where you can see the Rhone and Arve rivers meeting and mixing for a very cool color combination (Link to Route). I recommend to cross the river from the Viaduc du Junction as there is much better view than on the ground at the point. Consider to take a break at Cafe de la Tour or Sadara at the end or midway.

Salève – This is one of the closest hikes to Geneva and accessible via bus very easily (Link to Route). The first time I attempted the hike, I had the good fortune to arrive at the same time as a group that organizes a hikes up weekly, Sundays at 9:45am– it's a cool opportunity to connect with locals and tourists. There are great views of Geneva from the top as well as a restaurant. Many people pack a lunch and break when they get to the top to eat. After being closed for a few years, a cable car has recently opened, which you can also take up or down . A reminder to pack your passport as you do cross the border into France!

Moulin de Vert Loop - A nice, largely flat hike along the river (Link to Route). Start by taking the bus to Aire-la-Ville. Due to some construction along the path, we made a detour on the loop back and took the train home from Russin – another great option! Like many Swiss hikes, as you travel though the small villages you can refill water bottles along the way.

Gex – Accessible by bus from the Geneva train station (Gare Cornavin), Gex has a several well-marked hiking trails about an hour from Geneva (Link to Routes)  We hiked Colomby de Gex. Gex itself is a super cute town– we found places for a coffee in the morning before starting out and then dinner and drinks after in the village.

La Dôle - About one hour by from Geneva, La Dôle is a fun peak to climb in the Jura Mountains with a panoramic view of Lake Geneva (Link to Route). We started our hike in Saint Cergue, via Nyon. Hiking back, we ended in La Givrine where you can catch a train back to Nyon that runs on the hour. Incredible, super cool views! We stopped midway for a tea at the Chalet-Restaurant Cuvaloup de Crans.

Lavaux / Lutry to Cully via Grandvaux - About an hour outside Geneva, with breathtaking views of UNESCO World Heritage Site-- the Lavaux region is an incredibly beautiful place for a day hike through Swiss wine country. If you're so inclined, you can easily add in stops at the vineyards for wine tastings (Link to Route). If you're in Switzerland in April or May, you might be will timed to also stop at the Cully Jazz Festival or annual Vaud canton's Caves Ouvertes. The Swiss train system makes it easy to choose a number of point to point hikes starting in one city and taking the train back from another.

Rochers de Naye, About 2 hours from Geneva, this is a great hike you can ascend the 1,600 meters starting directly from the Montreux train station. After we reached the top, we took the cogtrain from Rochers de Naye down (Link to Route). Since the top is so easily accessible by train, many people plan their day hiking down, though we thought the hike up was a fun challenge!

Gorges de l’Areuse - About 2 hours from Geneva, through Neuchâtel is a gorgeous ~12k hike with a stunning stone pedestrian bridge, the Saut de Brot (Link to Route). I've done this one solo and with friends starting in Noirague and ending in Boudry. One of my absolute favorites where you can hear rushing waterfalls and see beautiful gorges throughout.

Lauterbrunnen Valley and Grindelwald Valley – About 4 hours from Geneva, this is a hiker's paradise that truly feels magical. There is so much possibility with all kinds of distances and difficulties. Rick Steves said if he had to pick a favorite place in Europe it would be here-- and it's not hard to see why. In past visits to the area I've stayed before in Hotel Interlaken, Mountain Hostel and Eiger Lodge -- all were terrific. Some of the hikes I've done in the area include:

  • Lauterbrunnen to Stechelberg - From the train station at Lauterbrunnen, you can walk a flat path for a little more than an hour to Stechelberg. Stechelberg has a cable car that takes you up to Gimmelwald and further up to Mürren, Birg and Schilthorn/Piz Gloria (Piz Gloria is the Schilthorn's alter ego - name from the James Bond film "On Her Majesty's Secret Service"). At the top there's an amazing panorama deck and the mountains Eiger, Mönch & Jungfrau. Prepare for it to be quite cold even in the warmer months and if you like have a stop at the James Bond-themed revolving restaurant at the top. Accessible via funicular, Allmendhubbel is anotehr great stop with incredibly picturesque views of the Alps. We loved the Mountain View Trail (Link to Route)

  • Trummelbach Waterfalls – Not really a hike itself, but along the way to Stechelberg from Lauterbrunnen this cool spot takes you to see behind a waterfall. Amazing experience! (Trummelbach Waterfalls)

  • Grindelwald - The Grindelwald Valley also offers a number of hikes (Link to Routes). Over a two-day visit, we did hikes from Grindelwald to Bort to Waldspitz. I can also recommend a hike down from Kleine Scheidegg to Lauterbrunnen.

Chamonix, France – A two-hour bus ride that you can book through Trainline to see prices for multiple companies such as Flixbus from Geneva, Chamonix is an incredible spot to visit where you can see Mount Blanc and many other BIG mountains! We got a great deal on a room at Balcons du Savoy which has a beautiful patio and full kitchen, separate bedroom and pull out sofa. There are many hikes you can do in the area, especially in the summer. Our group took the cable car to Aiguille du Midi, spent some time at the top and then cabled down to the intermediary station Plan du Aiguille where we hiked to Montenvers (Link to Route) Take the route that goes past the Signal viewing point, the views are spectacular! Montenvers is the train stop where you can see the Mer de Glace and walk inside a glacier. You can see many more options for hiking here. If you have time, a great place to unwind for the evening is the QC Terme spa-- a real highlight of our experience.

Additional Advice & Tips

  • Swiss Mobility - This website and app is a great resource for routes and advice

  • AllTrails - A great resource for searching for hikes in your area. You need a full subscription to get all of details and support

  • Google Maps & Apple Maps - While Switzerland has excellent signage along its hiking routes, on most every hike I consult these along the way. Sometimes they will provide different guidance so it can be helpful to look at both.

  • Visit the Tourism Desk & Ask Advice from the Sports Stores - At the big mountains the info desks can give you detailed advice on routes that are open/closed and what they recommend based on the time you have available and your skill. My more experienced friends always also like to check in with the sporting goods stores as the folks working there often also have great advice and insights.

  • Hiking Mindset - Hiking has had such a positive impact on my mindset, here are some of the ways it has influenced me!


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