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Via Alpina – The 15 stages of the Green Route

Hanspeter Grüter

Via Alpina – The 15 stages of the Green Route

Hiking Collection by Tamara (wandert)

17-38

days

3-6 h

/ day

188 mi

54,925 ft

56,350 ft

Incredible peaks, high alpine passes and gentle pastures characterise the Via Alpina Green Trail. From Liechtenstein, it goes over some of Switzerland’s most beautiful mountain ranges and finishes at Lenk. On this varied and spectacular route you will encounter unique culture, staggering topography and superb wildlife. Wide forest roads alternate with narrow, sometimes challenging ridges and take you to picturesque alpine meadows.

Since 2002, a network of hiking trails has criss-crossed the alpine nations, taking the hiker between Trieste and Monaco. Five colours mark the five different routes of the Via Alpina. The Green Trail takes in 15 stages from Vaduz to Lenk. From the wide Rhine valley, you hike through the picturesque foothills of the Alps with their clear streams and thundering waterfalls.

Soon you'll break above the 2,000-metre (6,500-ft) mark and can enjoy wonderful alpine scenery in places like Urnerboden. Rustic villages like Altdorf line the way and in the Bernese Oberland you will encounter the world-famous backdrop of the Eiger’s North Face. For the pass crossings in Central Switzerland, such as in the Bernese Oberland, surefootedness and alpine experience are required. In a way that no other long-distance hiking trail can quite match, this Via Alpina route allows you to get to know the Swiss mountains and the culture found in its villages in all their beauty.

The respective stages end either in larger towns with a good selection of accommodation or at alpine huts that offer rooms. It is also possible to shorten some sections with cable cars and train rides. The small pubs and modern mountain restaurants along the route will spoil you with regional delicacies. You can reach the starting point in Gaflei by car or bus from Vaduz. The end point of Lenk has a railway station, so you don't have to worry about getting there and back.

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Via Alpina – Die 15 Etappen des Grünen Weges

188 mi

55,875 ft

57,250 ft

Last updated: December 2, 2022

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Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

    Stage 1: Vaduz to Sargans – Via Alpina (Green Trail)

    Difficult
    07:36
    16.1 mi
    2.1 mph
    1,125 ft
    4,400 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    The Green Trail of Via Alpina starts on Alp Gaflei, 400 meters above Vaduz. You can reach Gaflei by bus from Vaduz or by car. Surrounded by the idyllic mountains of Liechtenstein, you walk over blooming alpine meadows and through deep forests.

    

    From Gaflei and the observation tower there, the Via Alpina

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  • Intermediate
    04:07
    8.02 mi
    2.0 mph
    2,225 ft
    500 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    On today's stage you can look forward to the Swiss mountain idyll in its purest form: the remote Weisstannental is characterized by a lot 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 Chapfensee.

    

    Along

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  • Difficult
    08:32
    13.8 mi
    1.6 mph
    4,150 ft
    4,250 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    Even today, the rippling of the Seez accompanies you on your hike. Past the modern Alp Siez, which has a show dairy, the Via Alpina leads in the direction of the Foopass. The perfect place for a stop is the rustic Alp Walabütz: on the terrace you can treat yourself to homemade food and enjoy the view

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  • Difficult
    09:54
    14.8 mi
    1.5 mph
    4,675 ft
    5,725 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    At the beginning of the fourth stage, the path climbs steeply uphill to Hengstboden. Alternatively, you can bridge the first stretch to Ämpächli with the cable car. On the way to Erbsalp you can once again marvel at the impressive rock overthrust on the Tschingelhörner. In addition, there is always a

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  • Difficult
    05:45
    10.2 mi
    1.8 mph
    3,450 ft
    975 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    The fifth stage begins with the ascent to Braunwald, which can also be covered with the Braunwaldbahn. The view of the deeply cut valley is impressive. From Braunwald you hike to the Nussbüel, staying at the same level. The inn there is well known for their homemade Gugelhupf, which you shouldn't miss

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  • Difficult
    09:14
    16.7 mi
    1.8 mph
    2,475 ft
    5,500 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    You leave the idyllic Urner Boden uphill in the direction of the Klausen Pass, which is soon in sight. Following the old pass path, you will make up a few meters in altitude and cross the pass road several times. The fantastic, constantly changing views make this part of the Via Alpina something very

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  • Difficult
    11:32
    17.8 mi
    1.5 mph
    6,075 ft
    4,250 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    On the seventh day on the Via Alpina you leave Altdorf heading south and cross the Reuss, which flows into Lake Lucerne. The long ascent to the Surenenpass begins near Attinghausen, which you can shorten by taking the gondola lift to Brüsti. From the Brüsti, a scenic ridge path leads through the high

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  • Difficult
    05:44
    7.76 mi
    1.4 mph
    4,025 ft
    1,275 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    This stage takes you through a popular recreation area that attracts nature lovers in both winter and summer. An advantage are the many cable cars, with which you can also simplify this route. In the south of Engelberg, the path behind the Hotel Bänklialp winds its way up the slope in tight curves.

    The

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  • Difficult
    07:53
    13.5 mi
    1.7 mph
    1,750 ft
    5,775 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    On the ninth day, rested, you set off from Engstlenalp to Meiringen. You first hike up to Tannalp on a well-secured path. There you will find an alpine cheese dairy, an inn and a small chapel. Behind it lies the magnificent Tannensee, which is bordered on one side by a dam wall.

    

    The ridge path over the

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  • Difficult
    08:39
    14.2 mi
    1.6 mph
    4,600 ft
    3,225 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    Rushing waterfalls and breathtaking peaks characterize the tenth stage of the Via Alpina: From Meiringen you climb up to Zwirgi and the Reichenbachfall. The water falls down over seven steps. As an alternative to going up, you can take the cog railway.

    

    On the Gschwantenmad plateau, the unique view of

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  • Difficult
    06:56
    12.0 mi
    1.7 mph
    3,700 ft
    4,400 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Head south through the foothills of Grindelwald and set course for the world-famous mountains Eiger, Wetterhorn and Jungfrau. You will not be alone on 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

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  • Difficult
    09:36
    13.5 mi
    1.4 mph
    5,850 ft
    3,975 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    After a night in Lauterbrunnen you start heading south. Right from the start, Via Alpina takes you up high again: the path meanders along the cog railway up to Mürren. Magnificent alpine meadows and wide views accompany you. If you want to protect your feet, you can cover the section to Mürren by train

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  • Difficult
    08:18
    10.3 mi
    1.2 mph
    4,550 ft
    5,375 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    In a southerly direction you leave the idyllic Griesalp with its waterfalls and climb up to the Obere Bundalp. Initially you hike through shady forest, but most of the 13th stage runs on exposed slopes. We therefore recommend that you bring enough water with you. In the Alpbeizli on the Obere Bundalp

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  • Difficult
    07:18
    10.4 mi
    1.4 mph
    4,200 ft
    3,675 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    From the traditional wooden houses of Kandersteg, the route begins along the course of the Kander. Then the path leads steeply through the forest up to the cliffs of the Lohner. Sure-footedness is required on the paths. With a bit of luck you can see or hear daring ibexes and chamois on the mountain

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  • Intermediate
    04:45
    8.71 mi
    1.8 mph
    2,125 ft
    3,025 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    The last stage of the green path of Via Alpina starts with a leisurely section along the Allebach and then along the Gilsbach. Where numerous skiers wed down the slopes in winter, things are quiet and relaxed in summer. Along the way you can enjoy the diverse flora of small moor areas and wet meadows

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    15
  • Distance
    188 mi
  • Duration
    115:48 h
  • Elevation
    54,925 ft56,350 ft

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