The Alpine Panorama Trail traverses some of the most beautiful landscapes in Switzerland over a distance of 510 kilometres (317 miles). Alpine mountain peaks, rustic huts, Mediterranean vineyards and magnificent lakes await as you hike from Lake Constance to Geneva in 29 stages. As the trail’s name suggests, the snow-covered Alps, the hills of the Mittelland and the Jura mountains are visible the whole way.
On this wonderful long-distance hiking trail, you hike through Appenzell, Toggenburg, Central Switzerland, the Emmental valley, Schwarzenburg and Gruyère to the Lac Léman Riviera, before reaching your final destination in the vibrant city of Geneva.
A large chunk of the route runs through the colourful Swiss alpine foothills where traditional Alpine farming is still practised today. Grazing cows, flower-filled Alpine meadows and spiced cheese are therefore your omnipresent companions on the Alpine Panorama Trail. When you reach Lake Geneva, the landscapes, climate and language change: the region is defined by sun-drenched vineyards, sandy beaches and stately chateaux.
You can walk all stages of the Alpine Panorama Trail without prior alpine experience. However, the stages differ in length and altitude gain. You have the option to take the bus or train to shorten the longer stages (e.g. stages 6, 10, and 27). The Alpine Panorama Trail is well-connected to public transport so you can easily split the trail and just walk some stages. At the end of each hike, you spend the night in an idyllic town or place with ample accommodation such as cosy mountain huts and hotels.
So if you fancy a panoramic long-distance hiking adventure with a varied mix of nature and lively towns, then the Alpine Panorama Trail is just the thing for you.
The starting point of the Alpenpanorama-Weg is in Rorschach on the beautiful Lake Constance: From the harbor, you first walk along the lake promenade before you walk through the eastern foothills of the city into the hinterland. The path leads steadily uphill and leads you along the railroad tracks to Heiden. The ascent to the climatic health resort is rewarded with wonderful views of Lake Constance and the Alpstein. Shortly after Heiden you will reach the first summit of your long-distance hiking adventure, the 1,120 meter high Kaienspitz.You can take a break at the Naturfreunde refuge and enjoy the panorama. Afterwards it goes down via Rehetobel to Chastenloch, where there is a rustic restaurant. On the banks of the Goldach you can fortify yourself with a snack that gives you strength for the last ascent of the day. You hike through the forest to the former village of Trogen, where you spend the night.
At the beginning of the second stage you hike from Trogen to the summit of the Hohe Buche. Here you can make yourself comfortable on one of the rest bench and enjoy the great view of the Säntis, Lake Constance and the Appenzellerland. Or treat yourself to a second breakfast in the Gasthaus Hohe Buche.You then go down to Bühler through a colorful mix of meadows, fields and forests. Here, too, you will find refreshment stops that will provide you with energy for the upcoming ascent. With phenomenal views of the Swiss Alps, you follow the winding path through the beautiful landscape. The last section of this stage takes you into the wide basin of Appenzell with its richly decorated town houses and the parish church of St. Mauritius, which is well worth seeing.
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On the third day it will be alpine: From Appenzell you climb up to Alp Wasserschaffen. Colorful meadow flowers and wide views accompany you on your way to Scheidegg, where a rustic inn invites you to stop. Put your feet up and let the sun shine on your face on the large terrace. Strengthened it goes along the Kronberg ridge - parallel to the Alpstein with a correspondingly fantastic panorama.Past the snow-white Jakobskapelle you follow the zigzag path to the summit of the 1,663 meter high Kronberg. A cable car connects the summit with Jakobsbad in the valley. From the highest point of this stage, it then goes through a beautiful alpine landscape down to the Schwägalp - the valley station of the Säntis aerial cableway and today's destination. If you want, you can take the cable car to the panoramic summit of the 2,502 meter high Säntis, from which you can see all of Switzerland's neighboring countries.
A lot of peace, nature and silence await you on the fourth stage: After a night on the Schwägalp, you first hike towards the southwest. Over the stilt floor and the dark floor it goes down to Lutertannen into the valley. You cross an alpine landscape like from a picture book with flower meadows, grazing cows and rushing streams.After you have crossed Lutertannen, it goes uphill again and you reach the Risipass viewpoint at 1,459 meters. If you are hungry, you can make a detour to the cultivated Alp Reader from here. Otherwise, you follow the hiking path, which winds down in countless curves. With a view of the Neuenalpspitz, you hike to Stein am Thur, your destination for today.
At breakfast on the fifth day, it is better to pack an extra sandwich for provisions, because the long ascent to the Vorderen Höhe begins right in Stein. The path winds parallel to the babbling Dürrenbach along the slope. After a good three kilometers you will reach a picturesque rest area in the forest, which invites you to take a breather.Rested, you tackle the last few meters to the summit Vorder Höhi and you will be rewarded with a wonderful view of the Glarus mountains. In the small pub on the summit, which is open in summer and winter, you can fortify yourself with mountain cheese. Following the varied high path around the Gulmen, you will reach the lush meadows of the Hinterhöhi high moor. Over the Strichboden Alp and past the Mattstock it goes down to Amden, your stage destination. Alternatively, you can take the chairlift to Amden from Mattstock.
The sixth stage is tough and not just because it is 26 kilometers long: You walk through three cantons and past two lakes. You will switch from eastern to central Switzerland. If you want to shorten the long stage a bit, you can take the bus from Amden down to Weesen. The incredible views of Lake Walen on the descent down to the lakeshore make this section particularly beautiful.Past the port of Weesen, the route takes you along the Linth river to Ziegelbrücke. There you cross the water and get to Niederurnen. The path runs along the valley floor without major differences in altitude to Bilten and then to Reichenburg. After almost 19 kilometers you can refresh yourself in the Hirschlensee and then march on to Siebnen, where you spend the night. A second way to shorten the stage is to use the train connection between Ziegelbrücke and Siebnen with several stops.
With 22 kilometers and more than 900 meters of altitude, the seventh stage is one of the most challenging of the entire Alpine Panorama Trail. At the beginning it goes from Siebnen on flat paths through settlements and residential areas towards Lachen am Obersee. This is where the hearty climb up to the Stöcklichrüz begins. With every meter of altitude conquered, the views get better and you leave the busy valley behind you. If you need an extra boost of energy for the last few meters up to the summit, you can fortify yourself with cake in the Diebishüttli.From the Stöcklichrüz you have a wonderful view of the Sihlsee. From the highest point of the stage it goes down to the Etzelpass and the St. Meinradskapelle there. Then you follow the pass road to the birthplace of Paracelsus. After a brief visit, you will hike on flat paths to the shores of the shimmering Sihlsee, where you will reach the impressive Einsiedeln Monastery after 22 kilometers. The extensive facility is worth a visit, either at the end of the seventh or at the beginning of the eighth stage.
After a night in Einsiedeln, you start on the morning of the eighth day on the hill of the Chatzenstrick. From there you continue to Altmatt, where you hike through the interesting flora of the Rothenthurm high moor. After you have crossed the Biber stream, you follow the pilgrimage route to the picturesque St. Jost chapel.You can enjoy the sun on the rest benches and a short time later you will reach the Raten pass, where there is a restaurant. Strengthened it goes into the forest. Soft, shady paths lead you to the White Cross, a wonderful vantage point with a view of the blue Ägerisee. With the Zugerland in mind, you descend to Unterägeri, your destination for today.
On this stage it is called Lake Hopping Deluxe: From Unterägeri on the beautiful Ägerisee you hike to the wonderful Lake Zug. At first you leave Unterägeri to the south and march through a green landscape that is crossed by several streams. After halfway through, the Brunegg alpine restaurant awaits you with a large sun terrace and delicious dishes on the eastern flank of the Zugerberg. By the way, this area is known for the delicious Zug cherry cake.With changing views it goes downhill. Before you reach today's destination in Zug, you can take a break at the pretty St. Verena chapel. Finally, the picturesque old town of Zug awaits you with the Church of St. Michael, Zug Castle and the old city wall. If you still need to cool down, you can jump into the crystal-clear Lake Zug at the Seeliken bathing area.
The tenth stage begins with fantastic views over Lake Zug, at 28.6 kilometers the longest on the Alpine Panorama Trail. If you want to shorten the route, you can, for example, take the train from Zug with - yes, you guessed it - the train to Hünenberg. Otherwise you follow the long-distance hiking trail along the shores of Lake Zug. It goes past small harbors, seaside resorts and St. Andreas Castle in the Villette Park near Cham. Artful flower beds and huge trees invite you to take a breather.Between the lakeshore and the tracks, the path continues south. At Buonas you leave the Zugersee and turn off to Meierskappel. This is followed by the ascent up to the panoramic Michaelskreuz with the inn and wedding chapel. After a stop at the inn, there is a constant up and down through the landscape near Udligenswil and Adligenswil. Past the Lucerne golf course, it goes down to the shores of the famous Lake Lucerne. On the lively promenade you stroll past ships and boats to the center of Lucerne, your stage destination.
The eleventh stage is a comparatively relaxed 13 kilometers. From the shores of Lake Lucerne, you initially pass the many ornate bridges that span the Reuss in the direction of the small town of Lucerne. Soon you will leave the lively city behind you and hike up to the Sonnenberg, from which you will overlook Lucerne, its suburbs and Lake Lucerne.A beautiful avenue leads you into the Sonnenbergwald. In tight serpentines it goes down into the impressive Renggloch Gorge, which offers you an insight into the geology of the region. Rushing waterfalls and vertical rock walls make the gorge so special. Afterwards, it continues downhill and you will soon reach Blatten. There you can visit the church of St. Jost or stop off at the Gasthaus Krone. On the last section to your stage destination Malters, you follow the course of the Kleine Emme.
The twelfth stage runs along one of the main strands of the Camino de Santiago along its entire length. After a night in Malters, you start on the banks of the Kleine Emme, which leads you to the southwest. On almost flat paths, you hike relaxed to the Schwellisee, where a nice rest area invites you to take a break in the countryside.After you've eaten your provisions, you continue along the course of the Kleine Emme to Werthenstein, a well-known place of pilgrimage. The monastery complex with the ornate church can be visited and in the neighboring Gasthaus Kloster you can strengthen yourself for the last section. Afterwards you cross the Kleine Emme and hike on the northern bank to Wolhusen, your destination today.
Today 1,000 meters of altitude are waiting for you, so pack an extra portion on your plate at breakfast. From Wolhusen you follow the river on the north bank out of the community before you climb the Steinhuserberg. The first wonderful views of the day await you there. Passing meadows, fields and scattered farms on the Chruzhübel. Along the way you will always find beautiful resting places with great panoramic views over the Emmental hills.Then you dive into the near-natural forests of the UNESCO Biosphere Park Entlebuch. At the rustic Chrotthütte you can take a well-deserved break before you start the last ascent of this stage: the path through the Chrachegrabe to Hapfigchnubel is tough, mighty trees provide shade and fresh air. Via the Alpwirtschaft Stächelegg you continue to hike to the Napf, where you will reach your destination at 1,408 meters. The view from the summit of the Alps, the Central Plateau and the Jura is fantastic. You spend the night in the cozy Berghotel Napf.
The 14th stage starts with a wonderful mountain panorama on the Napf - here you can take in the landscape of the Emmental in peace. After a hearty breakfast at Hotel Napf, you hike down through the forest to the Eiflue. You leave the summit behind you and will soon pass the Niederänzi mountain restaurant. Then it goes a little downhill to the Änzisattel before the steep climb up to Hochänzi begins.On clear days you can enjoy a magnificent view of the Alps, the Swiss Plateau and the Jura from the Höhenweg. After almost half of this stage you will reach the famous Obere Lushütte, which invites you to refresh yourself. With new strength, you continue over the Geissgratflue, the Rotchnubel and Bluttenriedschwand to the Lüderenalp. The popular excursion destination with a beautiful all-round view is your destination today. Incidentally, at 38 meters, this is the longest bench in the world made from one piece.
After a relaxing night on the Lüderenalp, you hike on scenic hiking trails down into the Emme valley. The descent is easy and leads through a mosaic of forests and alpine meadows that are peppered with traditional farms. After a good six kilometers you will reach the Dürsrütiwald, which is characterized by mighty silver firs that are up to 350 years old. With the stage destination in mind, Moosegg, you continue to descend and after a good 300 meters you cross the rushing Emme at Neumühle.The lowest point of this stage has been reached on the river bank and then the path begins to climb again. Via Lauperswil it goes up to the Wartenstein ruins - you can still discover some remains of the hilltop castle in the forest. You march past hamlets and pastures towards your goal. The view from above of Langnau, the Emmental and the Bernese Alps is magnificent. You spend the night in the Hotel Moosegg, which is known for its open-air plays and events.
The 16th stage starts at the Hotel Moosegg and initially leads you into the shady bubble forest. On soft forest paths you climb up to the Blasenfluh, at 1,118 meters a summit with great views. You see Langnau and the soft hills of the communities of Oberthal, Signau and Lauperswil. It goes comfortably down to Grosshöchstetten, where you will find several refreshment stops.The Alpine Panorama Trail runs through small and large villages through the colorful landscape and takes you into the wide Aare Valley. In Münsingen you will reach today's stage destination - at the end of this day you can visit the castle with its beautiful castle park or you can stop off at the cozy Schlossgut restaurant.
Day 17 of the Alpine Panorama Trail challenges your calves: More than 20 kilometers and 860 meters of altitude are waiting for you. From the center in Münsingen it goes to the banks of the Aare, which you cross immediately. From the valley you climb up the Belpberg. Once at the top, a wide view and the traditional Chutzen restaurant await you. Past estates and farms, it then goes to the Gürbetal vegetable country and the town of Toffen.From the level you immediately start the demanding ascent up to the Längenberg. The path runs through smaller forest areas such as the Rattenholz and the Tannwald, in between there are always impressive views of the Bernese Alps. When you arrive at your destination Rüeggisberg, you can visit the impressive ruins of the Rüeggisberg monastery. In the early Middle Ages, the complex was one of the most important monastery buildings in today's Confederation.
The 18th stage starts in Rüeggisberg. Over a knoll with a view of the Bernese Alps, it goes down into the Schwarzwassergraben, where you cross the Schwarzwasser river on the oldest concrete arch bridge in the world. Depending on the season and the weather, the gravel banks and green banks of the river change. Afterwards you hike through smaller settlements and past farms to Schwarzenburg. There you will find a good selection of shops and places to stop for a break.On the Schwarzenburg Plateau you follow the Alpine Panorama Path through meadows and forests along the Dorfbach. Then the last ascent for today begins: You hike to the promising Guggershörnli with its famous Vreneli. When you arrive at the viewing platform, you can look forward to a wonderful panorama that extends as far as Bern. Just a few minutes' walk later you will reach today's destination, Guggisberg. There you can spend the night in the Gasthaus Sternen.
On this stage, you switch from the Bernese Mittelland to the Freiburg Pre-Alps - first a gentle hill and then an impressive mountain landscape awaits you. You start in Guggisberg and first walk downhill into the valley of the deciduous brook. Then the path winds up a wooded ridge crossed by streams and at the hamlet of Martisgraben you reach the highest point of this day.Then you hike down to Zollhaus, the entrance gate to the canton of Friborg. There the cold scythe and the warm scythe unite and become the river scythe. The route leads you through meadows and forests along the course of the Warm Sense. Over the paved stone bridge of Geissalp it goes to the other bank and after you have left a few hamlets behind you, the valley widens and offers a view of the beautiful Schwarzsee. Your destination is the enchanting holiday resort of Schwarzsee, which is surrounded by idyllic nature.
The stage begins with a wonderful section along the shore of the Schwarzsee: Surrounded by the idyllic nature of the Freiburg Pre-Alps, you walk past the Dankes grotto, which is worth a detour. From the lakeshore you then climb up to the small Hubel Rippa alpine hut, where you can enjoy refreshment and an impressive view of the Schwarzsee. Further uphill you will pass the Unteri Rippa alpine hut and hike into the Breccaschlund formed by glaciers.With a view of steep rocky slopes, it goes up to the Euschelspass, which is framed by the Chällihorn and Chörblispitz. From the Stierenberg you can enjoy one last fantastic view of the Schwarzsee before you have to make a decision: In the next few meters, three alpine huts with tempting delicacies await you. Strengthened you then follow the path that meanders through alpine meadows into the valley. After 12 kilometers you will reach your stage destination Jaun, the only German-speaking village in the Gruyère district.
The varied stage begins in Jaun, where you can visit the rushing waterfall on the outskirts. Then it goes along the Jaunbach and at the same time the language border towards Charmey. Accompanied by the water, you hike through smaller forest sections and villages through the valley. The picturesque village of Charmey, which was the most important production center for Gruyère cheese from the High Middle Ages, awaits you at the end of the valley.Then it goes to the Lac de Montsalvens. On a suspension bridge you change to the other bank and follow the path to the dam from 1920. Then you march over bridges and galleries carved into the rock through the wild Jaunbach Gorge. At the end of the gorge you reach Broc, from where you continue to hike to the medieval town of Gruyères, which is known for its impressive castle. The church and the HR Giger Museum are also worth a visit. You will spend the night in Gruyères surrounded by impressive nature and architecture.
At the beginning of stage 22 you leave the hill with the in the XII. Behind you, the town of Gruyères, founded in the 19th century, follows the path of the cheese factories. High above La Provêta, you can discover chalets and mountain huts that are typical of this region and invite you to taste local products. The Alpine Panorama Trail leads steadily uphill and on Plan Francey you reach the highest point of the day at over 1,500 meters.At the summit you can stop off at the restaurant or take the cable car up to the scenic Le Moléson. At the same altitude, you continue to the Gros-Plané alpine hut, which also invites you to take a break. You then descend through the forest to the resort of Les Paccots, which is a popular starting point for numerous hikes. In the village you will find a good selection of overnight accommodations.
You start in Les Paccots and at the beginning of this stage you pass the ski lifts outside the village. Through a shady forest you reach the Veveyse de Fégire stream, which forms the border between the cantons of Friborg and Vaud. Then you hike on to the cultivated Alp Les Mossettes, where you can try regional specialties.With new strength, you will follow the Alpine Panorama Trail through the unique landscape of the Marais des Tenasses protected area. You walk through the impressive swamps on wooden plank paths. Afterwards, it goes into the valley to Blonay with wide views of Lake Geneva and the surrounding Alps. Alternatively, you can take the cogwheel train down from the Lally stop. The route to Vevey on the beautiful Lake Geneva takes you past Blonay Castle, your destination today.
Stage 24 is a real pleasure hike along the northern shore of Lake Geneva. You leave the hustle and bustle in Vevey behind and immerse yourself in the sun-drenched vineyards. With constantly changing views of the blue water and the green vines, you hike west. The small town of Saint-Saphorin with its narrow streets and stone houses is a special gem.After you have crossed Rivaz, you walk through the steep vineyards of Lavaux, which are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. At the wine-growing village of Epesses, keep to the left and you will come directly to the shore of Lake Geneva. At small ports and on beautiful promenades, you follow the Alpine Panorama Trail to Lausanne. You spend the night in the beautiful metropolis and can end the day with a boat trip across Lake Geneva, or Lac Léman in French.