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 town.
Zermatt is also one of the best ski resorts in the 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!
View Of The Eiger From Near First
If you head to the Bernese overland, say to Interlaken or Grindelwald, you will definitely want to get a look at these guys. They all sit next to one another so if you go up to First and hike for 15-30 minutes, you can get stunning views of them all (such as the one above).
Another option is head up the other side of the valley and walk below the Eiger (The Eiger Trail) and truely see how mad these climbers are (it’s vertical for almost a mile). Or catch the train up to the Jungfraujoch where you will be blown away by the views. 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 Oberland and all that it contains, I whole-heartedly recommend Murren. It is one of the hidden gems of the alps.
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 – from the highest down…
Switzerland has 48 mountain peaks that are over 4000m, with the Dufour Spitze on Monta Rosa being the highest.
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!