30 minutes is all it took me to scale to 3,103 m above sea level in Switzerland last summer. Well I am no super hiker or wonder woman, all ascent was done on a cable car !
That’s the beauty of hiking when in Switzerland. You can dictate how “tough” you like your hike to be. It can be an easy hike (like mine) or an intermediate hike (starts from lower altitude or from the village). Many of the mountains in Switzerland allows different access and ways for you to experience it.
Last summer, I am fortunate to visit Zermatt, the famous car free alpine village in Switzerland. It was a very short visit and I only managed to squeeze in a half day hike. It is one of my best hikes I had to date. Read on and you will know why.
Zermatt, home to the iconic Matterhorn with it classic Toblerone (chocolate) peak towering visibly from the village. With 30 peaks of 4,000 m in the area and spanning 400 km of hiking trails, Zermatt is the most famous mountain climbing village in the region.
Our guide insisted we must make our ascent to Rothorn (where the hike will start) to see the (I stressed) spectacular “burning sky” as the sun rises. We don’t really have much clue what he meant but obediently assembled at 6 am that morning. Dawn was breaking and the temperature was freezing. Yup, it was summer and the temperature was 0 degree Celsius that morning.
We took a funicular and changed to cable car mid way. When the door of the cable car opened up, we could see light beaming through the clouds in the sky. Within minutes, the sky in front of us turned fiery red and orange. It seems like someone had just set the sky blazed ! The panoramic sight in front of us was so magnificent that we had all forgotten about the cold.
A light breakfast was served in the only restaurant at the top of Rothorn before we hit the hiking trail. Our guide will be bringing us on a circuit hike around a few lakes. The 5-Seenweg (Five Lakes Walk) is in a class of its own and considered one of the most popular among hikes in the Zermatt mountains. The views of the mountain lakes are superb (with the Matterhorn reflected in three of them) and it is suitable for beginner hikers too. We didn’t get the reflection of Matterhorn on the lake as the wind is too strong and created ripples in the water.
The trail will bring us to 5 lakes, the Stellisee, Grindjisee, Grünsee, Moosjisee and Leisee. Each of these mountain lakes is very different in terms of shape, colour, character and size, and has its own special attraction. Along the way, our guide will share stories of the surrounding, pointing out the wild flowers and we often seen animals roaming around. At one point, our guide was upset when he saw left behind rubbish by other hikers. Although he was unhappy, he picked up the rubbish put them into his bag to dispose them later. I was very humbled by his action and touched by his passion and love the Swiss has for their mountains.
I was mesmerised by the mountains as we walked along the paths (that looks dangerous at some point but I swear they are not). I totally enjoyed the towering views and the tranquility surrounding it. We are simply so tiny in the face of nature and I can’t help but felt a sense of calmness. All my troubles and worries seem to be sorted out at that moment.
The hike ended as we reached Sunnegga where lake Leisee is located. It was almost lunch by the time we reached the village. We parted ways with our guide and I knew I will be back again to explore more.
Hiking in Switzerland need not have a guide with you. The Swiss trails are clearly and well marked with distances on the sign posts. So you can just hike at your own pace without having to worry you will slow someone down or hiking too fast. For more inspirations on hiking in Swizerland, check it out here.