Our five favourite winter walks
It does you good to get out in the fresh air over the holidays. And you’re spoilt for choice of winter walks in Switzerland. We’ve put together a list of our five favourite winter walks for all ages and abilities.
Graubünden: All-round panoramic trail near Arosa
Suitable for: Winter walkers who want it all: forest, lake, views, food – and all in just two hours
Thanks to its reputation as a popular skiing and hiking resort, Arosa is busy in winter and summer alike. If you want to get away from the crowds, try the circular trail above the village, where you’ll have sweeping views across the Schanfigg valley. The panoramic trail offers a bit of everything, with forest, lake and even a bit of history with the Guisan square. During the Second World War, General Henri Guisan (1874–1960) took part in 1st August celebrations and watched his troops take part in a sport competition. On the way to Prätschalp, you’ll have a view of the Alpine village Medergen, the Weissfluhjoch summit and across the Sapün and Fondei high valleys. And from the Rot Tritt viewpoint, you can see all the way to Chur. The Prätschalp Beizli restaurant offers hearty Swiss dishes, perfect after a walk in the chilly air. In winter you can look forward to specialities such as cheese fondue, strudel or dumpling soup – either outside on the terrace or inside in front of the cozy woodburner.
Distance: 7 km
Ascent | descent: 220 m | 220 m
Walking time: 2 hrs 15 mins
Vaud: treasure hunt and chocolate fondue
Suitable for: Families with children who need to be motivated to walk by riddles and chocolate
The treasure hunt guides adventurers and little detectives through the fields in snowshoes or hiking boots. Once you’ve solved all the clues and found the missing word, your reward awaits in the form of a chocolate fondue in the Chalet du Mollendruz restaurant – and you’ll also get a little gift. If you don’t want to walk back, you can sit the kids on the sledges and slide down. By the way: several different treasure hunts are available. However, the routes all have one thing in common: they all take you through some of the most scenic winter countryside in the Jura and Three Lakes region.
Location: Parking at the Mollendruz Pass, Col du Mollendruz, 1344 L'Abbaye
Trail starts behind the NordicSport shop
Reservations: mandatory on +41 21 864 30 27
Cost: CHF 12 per person – pay at the restaurant, fondue and gift included.
The restaurant is closed on Monday and Tuesday (except during the school holidays).
Walking time: approx. 1 hr
Valais: Adventure in glacier grottos
Suitable for: Adventurers age 10+ looking for something to talk about after the holidays
A guided snowshoe walk in a world of ice and snow: After a two-hour walk from Zinal the group reaches the Zinal glacier, where glacial streams have forced their way through the ice to leave natural caves. The caves are inaccessible in summer, because they fill with water. However, in winter, hikers get a chance to see the glittering, icy world of the grottos in all their glory.
Location: Meeting point at the Les Plats de la Lée parking area
Reservation: Tours available in French, German and English, reservations: +41 79 689 78 52
Walking time: approx. 5 hrs
Price: CHF 80 (adults) / CHF 50 (children)
Difference in altitude: 500 m
Distance: 11 km
Jura: unique Alpine vista
Suitable for: People who love the outdoors and want to recharge their batteries
It’s maybe no longer an insider tip, but the Parcours du Chasseron trail is a beautiful snowshoe walk with a view across 250 km of the French and Swiss Alp. The Chasseron is one of the highest summits in Jura and you get an amazing view and a powerful feeling of freedom when you reach the top. You can even see the “Pierre de la paix” granite stone, known as the stone of peace. It is located on the Chasseron plateau above Sainte-Croix at 1,600 metres and it symbolises the connection between heaven and earth. For many people, the stone marks a place of power, and it is said to help recharge your batteries and draw new strength. It’s worth a try!
Location: Les Rasses – Le Chasseron – Les Rasses
Distance: 11 km
Walking time: 5 hrs
Ascent: 520 m
Appenzell: Fairytale lantern trail
Suitable for: families, couples, romantics and anyone looking to unwind
If you don’t fancy a lengthy tour, but just want to get a bit of fresh air before eating – maybe while enjoying a mulled wine or a cup of tea – you’ll like the Schwägalp lantern trail. The well-prepared path leads you through woods and fields and is illuminated at dusk to create a romantic mood. On Fridays and Saturdays, you can finish the walk through the Schwägalp Säntis nature discovery park in the pretty lantern bar. If you want more outdoors activity, you can also go sledging afterwards. And, anyone looking to propose, can do so here in style on the lantern trail for CHF 300, with fire, a heart in the snow, prosecco and flowers.
Open: Illuminated on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings, daily over Christmas and New Year (from 25 December to the start of January) – until 19 March 2022
Distance: 2.2 km
Ascent | descent: 43 m | 110 m
Walking time: approx. 1 hr