The ultimate summit to conquer may be in Asia, but some of the most famous (and notorious) peaks in the world are in Europe. This continent also holds some of the most scenic trails. If lush, rolling meadows and snow-capped mountains are right up your alley, then the Swiss Alps is the place to be. But you probably already know that or it won't be on everyone's, including your own, bucket list.
That being said, the following are the cream of the snow-covered crop in the Swiss Alps.
This town is the home of the “mountain of mountains,” the Matterhorn. The fact that it is one of the most photographed mountains in the world is a testament to its iconic and emblematic status in Switzerland, being the foremost peak of the Swiss Alps. Its challenging ridges have never failed to attract climbers seeking to conquer its heights year after year, unfazed by its technical difficulty.
The Matterhorn's appeal is enhanced by the beauty of the town that sits at its foot, Zermatt. A famous ski and tourist spot for decades now, the picturesque municipality preserves its air quality and serenity by being free of combustion engines running through its streets. Instead, electric and battery-powered vehicles ply the streets in near silent efficiency. There also are horse-drawn carriages that you can hire out for a good old trip around town in between hikes.
The Matterhorn is not the only destination to achieve in Zermatt. A hike through the 5 lakes around the jagged edged peak is a marvel as no two lakes are the same. Plus you'll have the sight of the Toblerone Mountain's peak always in view the whole time. You can begin from Zermatt and walk to Zen Steckenstrasse 86 and then to the hamlet of Zmutt on the “Trail of the Edelweiss.” Just make sure you don't pick any of those flowers as they're protected by local provisions.
The region sitting at the foot of the Bernese Alps is where many of those breathtaking sceneries on Swiss postcards are made. The famed peaks of Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau loom over this popular tourist hub, beckoning climbers and hikers to an adventure to remember.
This alluvial plain, which is ensconced in between Lake Brienz and Lake Thun, is the perfect kilometer 0 for hiking excursions, ranging from easy to technically challenging, into various trails leading out or round the region. You also don't have to tread the slopes on your own two feet every time when exploring the area. There are lifts, railways, and cable cars that can take you from one awe-inspiring spot to another.
For starters, heading to Hohgant from Interlaken is a good choice as the route is suitable for those new to hiking. It involves an ascent that will wow you with the sight of 4,000-meter peaks.
At about 23 kilometers, the Aletsch is the longest frozen body of ice in Europe and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The 900-meter thick glacier, which starts from Jungfrau and ends at the Massa Gorge, has been threatened by the effects of climate change and has been projected to melt about 90% of its volume by the year 2100, according to researchers from University of Zurich.
All those facts, coupled by the glacier's majestic and monstrous expanse, make it a definitely must-visit destination. You can start from the Fiesch Sport and Feriencenter train stop and trek to the Aletsch plateau and onwards until you reach Märjelensee, which is a 2,348-meter lake. Or you can head from Bettmeralp and into the Aletsch Forest, where you can see some of the oldest trees in Switzerland still standing at more than 900 years old. You can also trek to the end of the glacier at the Massa Gorge, which is about 80-meter deep and a real technical challenge.
This “maiden” is one of the main peaks of the Bernese Alps with its 4,100-meter altitude. It is one third of the famous trie of mountains on the said range of mountains. On top of Jungfrau, you get a spectacular view of the Interlaken and other regions under the gaze of the Bernese Alps, all stretched out in one magnificent panorama. Although its peak was a tremendous challenge for the first ones to climb its summit more than 200 years ago, the Jungfraubahn railway now makes it easy for visitors to appreciate the panoramic view from the top.
To explore its breadth, you can begin from the Mönchsjoch Hut. The more dangerous route is the upper section of the Rottalsattel. With a good guide and the right season, you can reach the summit without incidence. You can also go with a hiking group trekking through the area to explore the Jungrau's surroundings.
About The Author
I’m Ion, I am the co-founder of www.wehike.earth a website that is trying to break traditional barriers to hiking through innovative technology.
I am Spanish originally, but I moved to the Swiss Alps 5 years ago and I decided to stay after falling in love with the wildness and beauty of it.
I love travelling and my current goal is to keep the amount of countries I visited to be equal to my age, quite a difficult task at the moment.
I am an avid hiker and you will probably find me skiing in any of the surrounding ski stations on the weekends!