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Following the Way of St James across Switzerland – Via Jacobi

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Following the Way of St James across Switzerland – Via Jacobi

Hiking Collection by komoot

19-42

days

3-6 h

/ day

283 mi

29,325 ft

29,375 ft

A diverse hiking experience following historical paths through a colourful cultural landscape: that is the Via Jacobi. This part of the famous Way of St James takes you from Lake Constance across Switzerland to Geneva. The pilgrim path is surrounded by alpine peaks, shimmering lakes and impressive buildings.

Small chapels, imposing churches and tranquil villages line up one after another like a string of pearls. In between, you will find interesting cities, such as Lausanne, dotted with sights. Nature lovers won't be disappointed in the quiet forests and countless lakes. The 19 stages are of varying lengths, starting and ending in towns or cities with a good range of accommodation.

The Via Jacob starts in Rorschach on the shores' of Lake Constance. You will hike through the fantastic lake district south of Zurich to reach Einsiedeln where you will find a monastery famous as a place of pilgrimage. Next, you will meet the idyllic valleys and stunning peaks of the Swiss Alps. You will cross the Brünigpass; at over 1000 meters (3830 feet) the panoramas here are spectacular. From Freiburg, the Via Jacobi leads through French-speaking Switzerland. The section to Lausanne takes you through hilly Mediterranean landscape flanked with vineyards. The last three stages of the Via Jacobi follow the edges of Lake Geneva, before ending in the lively city of Geneva.

Hardly any other part of the European Way of St James combines nature and culture in such a unique way as the Via Jacobi. On this long-distance trail, you will get to know the different sides of Switzerland. From Lake Constance, near the Austrian border, to Geneva, on the French border, you can immerse yourself in the varied landscape and history of this beautiful country. Whatever your reasons for embarking on this pilgrimage, it will inspire you.

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Following the Way of St James across Switzerland — The Via Jacobi

275 mi

28,650 ft

28,625 ft

Last updated: December 14, 2021

Plan your own version of this adventure in the multi-day planner based on the stages suggested in this Collection.

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Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

    Etappe 1: Von Rorschach nach Herisau – Via Jacobi

    Difficult
    08:07
    17.7 mi
    2.2 mph
    2,525 ft
    1,275 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Your first leg on the Via Jacobi starts in Rorschach. On Lake Constance, near the border with Austria, you can visit the beautiful lakeside promenade. From here you walk south and soon you have left the city behind. The Via Jacobi winds its way to St. Gallen through wide fields and small villages.

    

    Before

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  • Difficult
    07:23
    14.9 mi
    2.0 mph
    2,675 ft
    3,200 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    On the second day hiking from Herisau to Wattwil. The route is characterized by the complex hilly landscape of the Appenzell. Through small villages it goes on quiet roads steadily uphill. At the small town of Risi you are cracking the 1,000-meter mark for the first time. You can expect a great panorama

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  • Difficult
    07:46
    17.0 mi
    2.2 mph
    1,725 ft
    2,400 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The third stage you can start with a visit to the medieval Iburg in Wattwil. The view from the 13th century castle over the Thur valley is terrific.

    

    Between Wattwil and Rapperswil there is a farmland populated by rolling hills and forests. Various sunken paths make this stage of the Via Jacobi a special

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  • Difficult
    04:59
    10.2 mi
    2.0 mph
    2,125 ft
    525 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    The fourth stage on the Via Jacobi begins with an extraordinary highlight: You walk along the 800-meter-long wooden walkway that connects Rapperswil with Hurden. In the shallow water you can admire various fish and bird species. To the right of you is the beautiful Lake Zurich, on the left the not less

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  • Difficult
    05:57
    11.8 mi
    2.0 mph
    1,750 ft
    3,000 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    You can start this 18-kilometer stage with a visit to Einsiedeln Abbey. The generous complex is considered the most important baroque building in Switzerland and is known beyond the country's borders because of the figure of the Black Madonna. The pompous and detailed interior of St. Mary's Church is

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  • Difficult
    08:51
    18.7 mi
    2.1 mph
    2,350 ft
    2,525 ft
    Ferry
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required. The Tour includes a crossing by ferry.

    This stage is one of the longest on the Via Jacobi, but it rewards you with incredible views of Lake Lucerne. On the short boat trip from Brunnen to Treib you can relax and sit back. At the beginning you walk through a hilly landscape from Schwyz to the shore of Lake Lucerne. With the ship you transfer

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  • Intermediate
    04:51
    10.2 mi
    2.1 mph
    1,850 ft
    1,050 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The seventh stage takes you on a good 16 kilometers from Stans to Flüeli-Ranft. On the flank of the Stanserhorn, it goes up to fantastic vantage points, from which you look down on Lake Lucerne and the Stanser Boden. Above the river Sarneraa and the Wichelsee you wander through the Kernwald.

    

    After a good

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  • Difficult
    06:42
    14.1 mi
    2.1 mph
    2,325 ft
    1,400 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    Between Flüeli-Ranft and Brünigpass you will find two wonderful lakes and a waterfall. You follow the varied route down to Sachseln on Lake Sarnen. During the descent you can enjoy a wonderful lake and mountain panorama. In Sachseln worth a visit to the pilgrimage church, whose interior is splendidly

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  • Difficult
    08:20
    17.5 mi
    2.1 mph
    1,725 ft
    3,150 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    This stage starts with a magnificent view of the eternal snow covered high peaks of the Bernese Oberland. From Brünigpass you descend to Lake Brienz and experience the beauty of the local landscape along the way. If you need a cool down, you can hop in the Brienz beach in the water.

    

    The Via Jacobi leads

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  • Difficult
    06:45
    15.9 mi
    2.3 mph
    850 ft
    675 ft
    Ferry
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels. The Tour includes a crossing by ferry.

    From Interlaken, this stage takes you along Lake Aare to Lake Thun. At Weissenau it is worth taking a detour to the castle ruins. Over many decades, the plant decayed and was only listed as a historical monument in 1980. From the tower you have a beautiful view of the bay of the old Aare.

    

    About wooden

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  • Difficult
    05:55
    13.5 mi
    2.3 mph
    1,000 ft
    1,050 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The first section of this stage will take you along the beautiful Lake Thun. From Spiez it goes over wide meadows, on which sheep graze, direction Wattenwil. You wander through the contemplative landscape, with the Stockhorn chain in the background.

    

    After six kilometers you cross the river Kander and

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  • Difficult
    06:12
    13.7 mi
    2.2 mph
    1,700 ft
    1,050 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    The twelfth stage takes you from Wattenwil to Schwarzenburg and offers not only a lot of nature but also cultural highlights. Via winding paths you ascend to the Burgistein Castle. From afar you can see the turrets and high roofs of the complex. A shady avenue brings you to the 15th century castle, from

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  • Difficult
    05:40
    12.8 mi
    2.3 mph
    900 ft
    1,500 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    At the beginning of this stage you leave Schwarzenburg and descend into the Sensegraben, which is a popular recreational and nature reserve.

    

    At the Sodbach Bridge you cross the border to the catholic canton of Friborg and are accompanied from here by sacral buildings. Small chapels invite you to linger

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  • Difficult
    08:03
    18.1 mi
    2.2 mph
    1,800 ft
    1,375 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    From Freiburg you continue hiking through the French speaking part of Switzerland. You leave the historic city of Freiburg and arrive in the varied river delta between the Glâne and the Saarine. In the meandering watercourses gravel islands have formed and in the clear water you can see fish.

     

    The pilgrim

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  • Intermediate
    04:53
    11.2 mi
    2.3 mph
    575 ft
    1,375 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This stage, which connects Romont with Moudon, is peppered with beautiful vantage points. It is also one of the shortest on the Via Jacobi, 18 kilometers long. The day starts with a great view of the wide plain that you will walk through during the day.

      

    Shortly after the exit of Romont you cross the

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  • Difficult
    07:41
    17.3 mi
    2.3 mph
    1,550 ft
    1,575 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    You are getting closer and closer to your goal: the sixteenth stage will take you to dreamlike Lausanne. You leave Moudon on the scenic path along the Broye. After some time, you will reach Bressonnaz, where you will reach a bridge and dive deep into the pre-Alpine landscape on the other bank.

    

    It is always

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  • Difficult
    07:58
    19.0 mi
    2.4 mph
    500 ft
    925 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    In Lausanne, the Via Jacobi leads you out of the pulsating center to the west. Through the artfully designed Esplanade de Montbenon you walk through the lanes to the green valley of the Vallée de la Jeunesse. In Vidy, you will pass Roman ruins worth a closer look.

    

    Then you will reach the fabulous shore

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  • Difficult
    07:33
    17.8 mi
    2.4 mph
    850 ft
    825 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    The penultimate stage follows the scenic shores of Lake Geneva to Coppet. In Rolle you start at the lakeside promenade and the castle there. You can visit the massive complex from the 13th century. The shimmering water always in view, you wander through the charming landscape. Small villages, traditional

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  • Intermediate
    04:49
    11.3 mi
    2.3 mph
    625 ft
    550 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    From Coppet the Via Jacobi meanders to the southern end of Lake Geneva. You can tackle the final stage of your pilgrimage comfortably: It is a good 18 kilometers to Geneva. You do not have to worry about your meals, because in the romantic villages along the way there is a large selection of restaurants

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    19
  • Distance
    283 mi
  • Duration
    128:24 h
  • Elevation
    29,325 ft29,375 ft

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