Promising peaks, high alpine passes and gentle pastures characterize the Green Trail of the Via Alpina. From Liechtenstein it goes over the most beautiful mountain ranges of Switzerland up to Lenk. On the multi-faceted route you will encounter a unique culture, topography and flora. Wide forest roads alternate with narrow, sometimes challenging ridges and take you to picturesque pastures.
Since 2002, a network of hiking trails has been pervading the Alpine countries between Trieste and Monaco. Five colors mark five different routes of the Via Alpina. The Green Trail leads in 15 stages from Vaduz to Lenk. From the wide Rhine Valley you walk at the beginning through the beautiful Pre-Alps with their clear streams and roaring waterfalls. Soon you will crack the 2,000-meter mark and can enjoy colorful alpine pastures like the Urnerboden. Quaint places like Altdorf line the path and in the Bernese Oberland you'll find the world-famous backdrop of the Eiger North Face. For the pass crossings in Central Switzerland, such as the Bernese Oberland, you should bring sure-footedness and alpine experience. This trail of the Via Alpina allows you to experience the Swiss Alpine culture in all its beauty like no other long-distance hiking trail.
The respective stages end either in larger villages with a good choice of accommodation or at lodges, that offer rooms. It is also possible to shorten some sections with cable cars and train rides. Along the entire route are small Beizlis and modern mountain restaurants, which spoil you with regional delicacies. You can reach the starting point at the observation tower Gaflei by car or bus from Vaduz. The destination Lenk has a train station - so you do not have to worry about arrival and departure.
The Via Alpina Green Trail starts at Alp Gaflei, 400 meters above Vaduz. Gaflei can be reached by bus from Vaduz or by car. Surrounded by the idyllic mountains of Liechtenstein, you can walk across flowering alpine meadows and through deep forests.From Gaflei and its look-out tower, the Via Alpina winds its way down the hillside. In the middle of the forest you come across the castle ruin Schalun. There is also a drinking fountain and a picnic area.You follow the paths down to the valley and come to the stately Vaduz Castle, which towers over the capital of Liechtenstein. The massive castle was built in the 12th century and is still the residence of the princely family. Therefore, it can only be viewed from the outside. At Vaduz you cross the Rhine and then hike to the two castle ruins Brochne and Wartau.Before you reach your stage destination in Sargans, another highlight awaits you: The castle Sargans offers a magnificent view over the city and the valley. In the restaurant you can fortify yourself and then move into your overnight accommodation.
On today's stage, you can look forward to the Swiss mountain idyll in its purest form: the remote Weisstannental is characterized by plenty of peace and a unique panorama. You leave Sargans heading west and cross the Seez. On the ascent to Vermol you can make a detour to the shimmering Lake Chapfensee.Along the trail, which runs parallel to the Seez, you penetrate ever deeper into the enchanting valley. You wander through spruce forests and along colorful alpine meadows.After a good nine kilometers, you come to Schwendi, where the Gasthaus Mühle invites you to take a rest. Your goal is the small silver fir, which could preserve its originality. You can stay overnight at the Hotel Gemse or at the Hotel Alpenhof.
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Even today, the lapping of the Seez accompanies you on your hike. Passing the ultramodern Alp Siez, which has a show dairy, the Via Alpina leads to Foopass. The perfect place for a stop is the quaint Alp Walabütz: On the terrace you can indulge yourself with homemade food and enjoy the view of the surrounding waterfalls.Afterwards it zigzags up to the Foopass. From the first pass crossing of the green route, an impressive view of the surrounding peaks opens up. From here you walk through the Tectonic Arena Sardona, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the Glarnerland the emergence of the local mountains becomes unique. On Piz Sardona, Piz Segnas and the Tschingelhörner you can see the Glarner Hauptüberschiebung, in which older layers of rock have shifted to younger ones.On the route to Elm, you can marvel at the unique phenomenon of thrust multiple times. Over the Raminermat and the Mittelstafel you descend into the Sernftal and reach the idyllic Elm. In the small mountain village you will find a good choice of accommodation.
At the beginning of the fourth stage, the path climbs steeply up to the stallion floor. Alternatively, you can bridge the first piece to Ämpächli by cable car. On the way to the Erbsalp, you can again marvel at the impressive rock overburden at the Tschingelhörner. In addition, there is always the view of the Martinsloch. Several times a year, this breakthrough causes sunlight to fall directly on the church in Elm.At 2,261 meters, the Richetlipass is the highest point of the day and offers breathtaking views. A series of gently rolling alpine pastures leads you down the lonely Durnachtal. The partly narrow and exposed path should only be used in dry conditions. The beautiful village of Linthal has some hotels, restaurants and a train station.
The fifth stage begins with the ascent to Braunwald, which can also be covered with the Braunwaldbahn. The view into the deep valley is impressive. From Braunwald you walk at the same height remaining to Nußbüel. The local economy is widely known for its homemade Guglhupf that you should not miss.On the flank of the Rietstöcklis you follow the path through the fantastic mountains to the hermitage on Fätschbach. Here lies the canton border between Glarus and Uri. You walk past swampy meadows and branched brooks and enjoy the clear mountain air.Via Argseeli you reach today's destination, the village of Urner Boden. In the local inn Urner Boden you can spend the night and end the day. Alternatively, you can take the cable car to the Fisetengrat and let the view wander over the beautiful landscape.
You leave the idyllic Urner Boden uphill in the direction of Klausenpass, which is soon in sight. Following the old pass, you make some height difference and cross the pass road several times. The dreamlike, constantly changing views make this part of the Via Alpina something very special.At the Klausenpass you have reached the highest point of the day and can take a breather in one of the restaurants. Incidentally, the winding pass road is known for the annual vintage car race. From the top of the pass the path runs for a few kilometers almost through the beautiful landscape. After ten kilometers, you will reach Alpbeizli Heidmanegg, which invites you to stop for a drink.Strengthened you start then with the sometimes steep descent to Spiringen. In the valley you walk along the river Schächen and the Klausenstraße to Bürglen. In the small mountain village you can visit the Church of St. Peter and Paul or the Wilhelm Tell Museum. From Bürglen it is only a short distance to your destination in Altdorf. If you want to shorten the stage, then there is the possibility of going from Spiringen to Altdorf by bus.
On the seventh day you leave Altdorf heading south and cross the Reuss, which flows into Lake Lucerne. At Attinghausen begins the long ascent to the Surenenpass, which you can shorten by a ride on the gondola to Brüsti. From Brüsti a promising ridge path leads through the high alpine landscape to the Surenenpass. A spectacular 360-degree panorama awaits you on the 2,291 meter high pass.Then you hike down the valley, crossing crystal clear mountain streams and coming to the Blackenalp after a short time. In the rustic Beizli, which is surrounded by wide alpine meadows, you can fortify yourself with home-made delicacies.Afterwards you will pass the rushing Stäuberfall. Following the water masses, you walk along the Engelberger Aa up to your stage goal, the place Engelberg. In the center awaits you the famous monastery, which is worth a visit.
This stage takes you through a popular recreation area that attracts nature lovers in winter and summer alike. An advantage are the many cable cars, with which you can also simplify this route. In the south of Engelberg the path winds behind the Hotel Bänklialp in tight curves up the slope.
The first highlight awaits you after more than five kilometers: in the waters of the magnificent Trübsee, the surrounding mountains are reflected. At the Berghotel you can take a rest or rent a rowing boat to get to know the lake from a different angle.
From Trübsee it zigzags up to the 2,207 meter high Jochpass, where there is a small pond and an inn. On the Jochpass you cross the border to the canton of Bern. From the pass you descend to the dreamlike Engstlenalp.On the way down you have a great view of the deep blue Engstlensee, which is one of the largest Bernese mountain lakes. On its shore stands the stately hotel Engstlenalp, where you can spend the night. During the summer holidays we recommend you a reservation.
Rested you go on the ninth day on the way from the Engstlenalp to Meiringen. On a well secured path you first walk up to the Tannalp. There you will find an alp cheese dairy, an inn and a small chapel. Behind is the beautiful Tannensee, which is bounded on one side by a dam wall.A particularly attractive section is the ridge path over the Balmeregg to Planplatten: in lofty heights, you always have the Wetterhorn and Rosenhorn in view. With a little luck, you may spot chamois and marmots.On the flat slabs is the panorama restaurant Alpen Tower, which invites to a break with breathtaking views. If you want to spare yourself, then you can take the cable cars down to Meiringen from here.Otherwise, you will hike on curvy trails through Reuti to your destination today. At first still through open landscapes, then through beautiful forest and over quiet meadows. In Meiringen you can make a detour to the roaring Alpbach Falls.
Glittering waterfalls and breathtaking peaks mark the tenth stage of the Via Alpina: from Meiringen you climb up to Zwirgi and the Reichenbach Falls. Over seven steps, the water plunges into the depths. As an alternative to the ascent you can take the cog railway.The Gschwantenmad plateau impresses with its unique view of the Wellhorn and Wetterhorn. No wonder, then, that numerous artists and poets such as Goethe were already here in the 18th century. You wander through lush green meadows and pass the magnificent Hotel Rosenlaui. It stands at the entrance to the impressive glacier gorge, whose cliffs are 80 meters high.The perfect place for a stop is the idyllic Schwarzwaldalp. After a refreshment with traditional home cooking, the path leads you up to the Grosse Scheidegg. Rugged cliffs and babbling mountain streams accompany you.With a view of the Eiger North Face and the peaks of the Bernese Oberland up to 4,000 meters high, you descend to Grindelwald. In the famous place you will find a wide selection of accommodation.
Through the foothills of Grindelwald you head south and take course on the world-famous mountains Eiger, Wetterhorn and Jungfrau. You will not be alone at this stage. The path leads steadily uphill and the mighty rock and ice landscapes of the Eiger North Face seem close enough to touch. Following the Romantic path, you are constantly hiking uphill. On the gentle alpine pastures cows graze and again you cross small mountain streams.Parallel to the cog railway, which carries a large number of people every day in summer, you climb up to Kleine Scheidegg. So you too can simplify this stage and cover a part by train. The turquoise lake and the nostalgic alpine hotels on the Kleine Scheidegg offer a picturesque backdrop.The Mendelssohnweg takes you to Allmend, where you can take a break in the mountain restaurant. The car-free mountain village Wengen impresses with its traditional hotels and chalets. It follows a short but steep descent to the stage destination Lauterbrunnen, which is located in a beautiful valley.
After a restful night in Lauterbrunnen, you head south. Already at the beginning, the Via Alpina leads you back up again: the path meanders up the cogwheel train to Mürren. Magnificent alpine meadows and wide views accompany you. If you want to save your feet, you can cover the section to Mürren by train and lift.The quaint town of Mürren is located on a mountain terrace and rewards you with a magnificent view of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau. From the car-free village you continue to the Rotstockhütte, whose red shutters you can see from afar. The hut is a popular hiking destination because of the delicious dishes and also offers overnight accommodation.
The challenging ascent to the mountain pass Sefinenfurgge rewards you with an incomparable view. The path is secured by ropes and the descent is made by a wooden staircase. The last few kilometers you hike across Alp Bürgli down to the beautiful Griesalp, your stage destination. You can find information about the hotels there under: griesalp-hotels.ch/en/home/?oid=1683&lang=en
In a southerly direction you leave the idyllic Griesalp with its waterfalls and climb up to the Upper Bundalp. At first you walk through shady forest, but most of the 13th stage is on exposed slopes. Therefore, we recommend you bring enough water. In the Alpbeizli on the Upper Bundalp, you can strengthen yourself for the rest of the ascent.The Hohtürli marks with 2,278 meters the highest point of the Via Alpina. The panoramic view of the surrounding peaks and the Blüemlisalp glacier is really great. In the nearby Blüemlisalphütte you can take a well-earned break before you start the descent into the valley.Then you walk down to the deep blue Oeschinensee, one of the most beautiful mountain lakes in Switzerland. Surrounded by steep cliffs, the refreshing water invites you to take a bath. You leave this magical place and follow the Oeschibach to the stage destination Kandersteg, a traditional mountain village with lots of charm.
From the traditional wooden houses Kandersteg it goes at the beginning along the course of the Kander. Then the path leads steeply through the forest up to the cliffs of the Lohner. Sure-footedness is needed on the trails. With a bit of luck, you can see or hear daring ibexes and chamois in the mountain slopes, because they are mass-releasing stones.
Then you arrive at Bunderchrinde, the highlight of today's stage. The fascinating rock formation reminds of a cauldron. Hence the name: Chrinde is the Bernese word for notch or gutter. The transition from the mountain ridge to the Engstligental requires no fear of heights, rewarded with a magnificent view back to the Oeschinensee and the Blüemlisalp.A great rest stop halfway to Adelboden is the Berghaus Bonderalp. From the small garden you can let the view wander into the valley. Strengthened you will reach the stage destination, Adelboden, via gently rolling pastures.
The last stage of the green path of the Via Alpina starts with a leisurely section along the Allebach and then along the Gilsbach stream. Where many skiers waggle over the slopes in winter, the summer is quiet and relaxed. In addition to the path, you can enjoy the diverse flora small moorland and wet meadows.
In favorable wind conditions, you can watch gliders during the ascent to Geilsbüel. The area is considered a gliding mecca because of the good thermals. At the Geilsbüel three lifts meet and you can stop for a rest in the local restaurant. Then the ascent via the winding pass road to the Hahnenmoospass is approaching, which is also very popular with cyclists.
The last part of this stage, you walk on well-walked trails and narrow streets down to Lenk. Your destination lies beautifully in the cauldron of the rear Simmental and is surrounded by spectacular peaks such as the Wistätthorn. The rustic Lenk, which has a connection to the railway network, is a worthy completion of your tour along the varied Via Alpina.