When you think of Switzerland, apart from James Bond hiding his cash or chasing Gold Finger, you probably think of mountains.
And there is a good reason for that. It is in the heart of the alps and has some amazing mountain scenery for you to check out while you are here.
Luckily, two of the most visited places in Switzerland (Lucerne, Interlaken, Grindelwald and Zermatt) have some of the most famous mountains around.
So, as a local to Switzerland, let me share my home with you and show you how you can have an amazing trip and discover the Swiss Alps!
The Matterhorn From Zermatt
The Matterhorn is the most famous mountain in Switzerland, and also happens to be in one of the most stunning places – Zermatt. It is a bit of a legend in Switzerland that the famous Toblerone chocolate’s shape is supposed to represent the Matterhorn, but the maker’s family says otherwise!
There is no chance of climbing the Matterhorn unless you are a mountaineer, but you can get to the base of it quite easily. You can also hike up to a hut (the Hörnli hut) that the climbers overnight in before going up. It’s a bit of a hike, but if you like hiking, it’s worth it. Especially when you see the views, and the nutters about to scale the Matterhorn preparing!
Another option is just to take a look at the Matterhorn from a distance at either the lake (the Schwarzsee or Stellisee have some of the best views) or just take the gondola or train up somewhere like the Gornergrat or just from Zermatt ski resort.
A lot of people also love to head to the highest cable car station in Europe – the Klein Matterhorn. In my experience, it is quite breathtaking. Not only the views but quite literally as well. It is so high, at 3,883 m, that you will struggle to climb the stairs when you arrive at the top. The views are worth it though, and it is also one of the year-round ski destinations in Switzerland
Zermatt is also one of the best ski resorts in the Swiss Alps, offering year-round skiing and crossing the border into Italy as well.
New Monte Rosa Hut
The highest mountain in Switzerland is not the Matterhorn or the Eiger, it is Monta Rosa. You can head up the mountain if you are a skilled mountaineer from either Saas Fee or Zermatt.
Another option for mere mortals like us is to go to the Monta Rosa hut and stay overnight. It is an amazing experience in itself because not only is the location stunning (at the foot of the mountain) but the hut is a space-age kinda structure that stands out like a sore thumb (good thing or bad thing, you decide!). But beware, the hike to the hut does involve crossing a small glacier, so experience and the right equipment (crampons, etc) is required. Or if you want to do it the safe way (don’t be one of those stupid tourists who have to call a helicopter to save you – for $4000) and hire a guide to take you there from Zermatt.
Many people who are visiting Lucern might want to think about heading up Pilatus. It is a true, spiky Alpine mountain with amazing views of Lucerne and the surrounding area.
There are three ways Pilatus:
Although there is not a huge amount of walking at the top, there are a few trails to get to the various views around the mountain which are definitely worth checking out.
View Of Rigi At Sunset
Rigi is one of the other better mountains to head up if you are in the Lucerne area. You can combine it with a boat trip as well (just type in Lucerne & Vitznau or Weggis), to somewhere like Weggis or Vitznau, which can make for a fun day out. Especially since the boats are old-fashioned steamers!
Rigi also has a number of ways up
There is loads to see and do on Rigi including some local places to eat or just have a drink and enjoy the sun!
Related: Instagram quotes and captions for mountains
View Of The Eiger From Near First
If you head to the Bernese Oberland in Central Switzerland, say to Interlaken or Grindelwald, you will definitely want to get a look at the Eiger. This iconic mountain is home to the North Face, an epic climb that can be seen from the town below. It is a sheer rock wall that has claimed countless lives over the years and still does today.
You can get up close and personal with the Eiger by taking the new Eiger Express lift from Grindelwald Terminal. Or head to Kleine Scheidegg and do a hike from there. One of my favorite options is to walk below the Eiger via the Eiger Trail and truly see how mad these climbers are (it’s vertical for almost a mile). The hiking trail makes its way down to Grindewald, so you not only get a view of the mountain itself but the surrounding mountains as you descend.
Right next to the Eiger are the other two famous mountains in the Bernese Oberland – the Jungfrau and Monch. Both are stunning mountain peaks over 4000m. And they all sit next to one another above the Grindelwald valley below.
If you go up to First and hike for 15-30 minutes, you can get stunning views of them all from the often mirror-still Bachalpsee. Another option everyone loves is the train up to the Jungfraujoch. One of its claims to fame is that it is the highest railway station in Europe. Not only do you get up close to these mountains, stand on snow, or see an ice cave, you all get an amazing view of the Aletsch Glacier – the longest in Europe.
If you are on a budget and can’t afford the expensive trip to the top, stop off at Kleine Scheidegg where you still get a taste of the Alps and can have a Swiss tradition of a Schümli Pflümli if it’s cold!
And if you are looking for a quiet, out-of-the-way place to stay while admiring the Bernese alps and all that it contains, I wholeheartedly recommend Murren. It is one of the hidden gems of the Swiss Alps.
Piz Bernina is the tallest mountain in the eastern alps at 4,049m. It is not surprisingly known as the Mt Everest of the area and is quite a feat to climb. This is also the Engadine area of Switzerland, home to the Swiss National Park and St Moritz, two things you should also visit while you are in the area.
One great way to see Piz Bernina is via the Bernina Express railway, which also happens to be an epic rail trip and the road next to it is one of the great drives in Switzerland. It is also close to the Swiss National Park, which is the one and only such park in the country and the perfect place to spot some wildlife like ibex, chamois, and some rare bird species like the bearded vulture.
If you are in the south of Switzerland in Tessin, it is worth heading up Mount San Salvatore for the views. I only did this hike recently and it offers some of the best views of Lugano and lake Lugano you can find. It is not a particularly spectacular hike in and of itself, but do it for the views.
And just to give you the complete list, in case you need to tick them off in your bucket list, here are the highest mountains in Switzerland:
Switzerland has 48 mountain peaks that are over 4000m, with the Dufour Spitze on Monta Rosa being the highest.
The most iconic and famous mountain in Switzerland is the Matterhorn. This is a result of being on the Toblerone chocolate bar and countless calenders, coffee table books and screen savers around the world.
There are countless mountains in Switzerland with over 10850 named peaks on record. Of those, 48 peaks are over 4000m, which is quite mind-blowing in itself.
The main mountain chain in Switzerland is the Alps, and there is also a mountain chain on the border called the Jura.
France and Italy have the highest mountain in the Alps – Mont Blanc at 4,809 m (15,778 ft). Switzerland has the second-highest mountain in the Alps – the Dufour Spitze at 4,634 m (15,203 feet).
Roger is a little obsessed with travel. He has been to over 40 countries, broken 3 suitcases and owned over 10 backpacks in 12 months. What he doesn't know about travel, ain't worth knowing!