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Following historic trails – Via Gottardo

Daniel Friedlos

Following historic trails – Via Gottardo

Hiking Collection by Tamara

17-37

days

3-6 h

/ day

236 mi

29,450 ft

29,675 ft

Follow legendary tracks over the Gotthard Pass as you hike from the north to the south of Switzerland in 20 days, meaning you will be immersed in the history, culture and nature of this wonderful country for 20 days.

This hike leads through alpine mountain worlds from Basel to the Mediterranean influenced Chiasso. There are magnificent lakes and rocky peaks as well as picturesque villages along the long-distance hiking trail. You will walk from the German to the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland, experiencing the difference between the cultures in the cities and landscapes in between.

On the Via Gottardo you follow the historic trade route that has connected Germany with Italy since the 13th century. With the Gotthard Pass at its center, this route was considered the most important Alpine crossing for a long time. Travelers would once have carried goods over the 6,889 feet (2,100 meter) pass before the railway and road tunnels opened through the mastiff.

Your hike starts in beautiful Basel. From there you hike over the gentle hills of the Jura and through the Swiss Mittelland to Lake Lucerne. In the Reuss Valley, the Via Gottardo takes you over historic bridges up to the famous pass. South of the massif, the landscape and climate change: you can see the Italian influence in the idyllic villages and Mediterranean vegetation. From Lugano you will hike to impressive vantage points over the glistening Lake Lugano. Finally you reach your destination Chiasso, a pretty town which lies directly on the Italian border.

Each of the twenty stages in this Collection ends in a town or city with a good choice of accommodation. A special highlight is definitely the overnight stay in the unique St. Gotthard Hospice on the Gotthard Pass. On some sections there is the possibility of shortening the stage with cable cars or ferries. The starting point of the Via Gottardo is at the railway station in Basel and the destination Chiasso also has a railway station. Therefore you can travel to and from the Via Gottardo by public transport without any problems.

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Via Gottardo

221 mi

27,325 ft

27,450 ft

Last updated: May 20, 2022

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 Basel nach Liestal – Via Gottardo

    Difficult
    05:48
    12.6 mi
    2.2 mph
    1,425 ft
    1,275 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    The starting point of your hiking adventure on Via Gottardo is at the train station in Basel. The St. Alban Tor leads to the banks of the Rhine. Directly on the water you walk along former fishing paths along the Rhine and then you cross the Hardwald recreation area. After you have left the town of Muttenz

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  • Difficult
    05:47
    12.5 mi
    2.2 mph
    1,800 ft
    1,025 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The second stage is characterized by the historic Hauenstein line, one of the oldest railway lines in Switzerland. Relaxed you follow the Via Gottardo from Liestal towards Lausen. In Ergolz- and Homburgertal you will find a multitude of imposing palaces and fortified castles. So you can visit the late

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  • Intermediate
    03:41
    6.86 mi
    1.9 mph
    1,375 ft
    1,925 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    At 11 kilometers, this stage is one of the shorter of the Via Gottardo, so you can start the day in a relaxed manner. Through the gentle hills of the Jura Mountains you follow the path through quiet forests and across wide meadows. Before you get to Trimbach, you have the opportunity to hike up the promising

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  • Intermediate
    04:08
    9.01 mi
    2.2 mph
    1,175 ft
    1,000 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    From Olten you follow the course of the Aare to the south and you will soon reach the shady Bornwald. From the slopes of the Born mountain you can enjoy a great view of Aarburg. The sight of the church enthroned high above the city is particularly beautiful. Behind it lies the mighty fortress, which

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  • Difficult
    07:28
    16.6 mi
    2.2 mph
    1,700 ft
    1,525 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    On the fifth day you leave Zofingen heading south and hike through areas that are very typical of the Central Plateau. You move at the interface between forest, cultural landscape and small villages. The route leads uphill and downhill and takes you to beautiful viewpoints again and again. Halfway there

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  • Difficult
    07:26
    17.6 mi
    2.4 mph
    675 ft
    900 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The first section of the sixth stage is shaped by Lake Sempach. You pass the lido and then walk a little higher along the east bank of the lake. In the small town of Kirchbühl stands the Sankt Martin church, one of the oldest churches in the canton of Lucerne. The numerous restaurants and cafés in the

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  • Difficult
    11:38
    28.7 mi
    2.5 mph
    225 ft
    150 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The seventh is the most relaxed of the 20 stages of the Via Gottardo: From Lucerne, the boat takes you across the beautiful Lake Lucerne to Flüelen. Just lean back and enjoy the impressive view of the water and the surrounding mountains. The steamboat takes you to Flüelen at the southern end of the lake

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  • Difficult
    07:43
    16.8 mi
    2.2 mph
    2,425 ft
    950 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    On the eighth day you leave Altdorf and hike through the Reuss Valley, which is bordered by mighty mountains. The alternation of medieval towers, ornate churches and the railway line make this stage an exciting journey through time. A detour to the castle ruins in Attinghausen is worthwhile. Accompanied

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  • Intermediate
    03:13
    6.27 mi
    1.9 mph
    1,925 ft
    200 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    At a good ten kilometers, this stage is one of the shorter of the Via Gottardo. So you have enough time to enjoy the wonderful landscape. Even today you will be accompanied by the clear mountain water of the Reuss, which is perfect for a foot bath. After you have left the town of Göschenen behind you

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  • Difficult
    05:03
    10.3 mi
    2.1 mph
    2,525 ft
    375 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    From Andermatt the route leads to Hospental, a typical village on the pass with holiday homes, restaurants and a castle complex that is well worth seeing. Like the Gotthardstrasse itself, the hiking trail winds up the mountain. You walk a part of the old Postkutschenstrasse and the historic mule track

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  • Intermediate
    02:32
    4.42 mi
    1.7 mph
    25 ft
    3,075 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    After a relaxing night at over 2,000 meters above sea level, the eleventh stage from the Sankt Gotthard Hospice past the Chapel of the Dead and down the mountain. You can enjoy a truly unique view a few hundred meters below the pass: the world-famous Tremola road meanders along the slope in 24 bends

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  • Intermediate
    04:02
    8.78 mi
    2.2 mph
    725 ft
    1,450 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    From Airolo you hike to a wooded hilltop on which the Torre dei Pagani is located. The view back over the place and the green valley is wonderful. From the tower, which was once part of a medieval castle, you descend to the banks of the Ticino. You follow the course of the river through the beautiful

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  • Intermediate
    03:50
    8.55 mi
    2.2 mph
    425 ft
    1,500 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This stage is characterized by the element of water, because the fascinating Piottino Gorge is located directly on the outskirts of Rodi. Over bridges and stairs you hike between the steep rock walls above the crystal-clear Ticino River. The gorge is one of the most important passages of the Via Gottardo

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  • Difficult
    07:12
    13.3 mi
    1.8 mph
    2,200 ft
    3,275 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    Stage 14 starts with a short ascent south of Lavorgo. You walk through the deep green forest to the quaint village of Chironico, where the beautiful Chiesa di San Maurizio is located. High above the river bed of the Ticinos, the route continues south with great views. Again and again you come to idyllic

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  • Difficult
    06:30
    15.9 mi
    2.4 mph
    150 ft
    325 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    Well rested, you cross the center of Biasca and return to the banks of the Ticino. The path leads you through the impressive Rivieratal, once on this side, once across the river. Along the route there are small towns and villages where you can take a break or strengthen yourself. Without major differences

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  • Difficult
    08:28
    14.1 mi
    1.7 mph
    4,100 ft
    3,175 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    In beautiful Bellinzona you can start the day with a visit to the mighty Castello di Montebello. The first part of this stage is relaxed, because you walk on the banks of the Ticino to Giubiasco. The path leads past the church and the sculpture park there to the eastern edge of the district. Here you

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  • Intermediate
    03:31
    7.57 mi
    2.2 mph
    700 ft
    1,525 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    From Tesserete it goes south. Outside the village you hike on the flank of the Sasso Scuro through an idyllic forest and you will soon reach the medieval Torre die Redde. There is also a picnic area by the stone tower and a few steps away you can visit the small church of San Clemente.

    

    After the Torre

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  • Difficult
    05:02
    8.07 mi
    1.6 mph
    2,500 ft
    2,525 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    Changing views of the magnificent Lake Lugano characterize this stage. From the municipality of Paradiso, which borders Lugano in the south, you hike to Monte San Salvatore. The ascent of the path is sometimes demanding, but the panorama from the most famous viewpoint on Lake Lugano makes up for it

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  • Intermediate
    04:41
    8.96 mi
    1.9 mph
    1,775 ft
    1,550 ft
    Ferry
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required. The Tour includes a crossing by ferry.

    The penultimate stage starts with a leisurely crossing from Morcote to Brusino. From the ferry you can enjoy a new perspective of the picturesque places on the shore. This is followed by a crisp ascent to Serpiano, which you can shorten with the cable car if necessary. From Serpiano you hike further

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  • Intermediate
    04:26
    8.66 mi
    2.0 mph
    1,625 ft
    1,975 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    On the last stage of the Via Gottardo you can look forward to Italian flair and varied landscapes. Over the green vineyards outside of Mendrisio you hike through beautiful nature and small villages. The Geopark Parco delle Gole della Breggia is a special highlight: fossils from the Jura and Tertiary

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    20
  • Distance
    236 mi
  • Duration
    112:10 h
  • Elevation
    29,450 ft29,675 ft

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Following historic trails – Via Gottardo

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