Epic Travel Destinations in Switzerland

Switzerland BLEW my mind. It’s crazy that such a small country can have so many insane views. I planned to spend 2 weeks exploring the Swiss Alps but ended up doing a week and a half. Here are the coolest places I visited.

1. Augstmatthorn via Lombachalp

Augstmatthorn is part of a much more strenuous and incredibly longer hike called the Hardergrat Trail. The Hardergrat Trail is a 14.5 mile hike with over 8,000 feet of elevation gain. No thank you.

Augstmatthorn is only 3.9 miles round trip with 1,850 feet of elevation gain. I actually ran into 2 guys on the hike that were finishing up the Hardergrat. They said that the best view of the whole hike was actually Augstmatthorn and that they had been scrambling along ridgelines and actually straddling knife edge ridges a good portion of the hike.

In order to get to the start of this hike you’ll need a rental car. The closest major city is Interlaken. The hike starts at a picturesque restaurant perched in the foothills of the Alps. You’ll need to park in the parking lot right next to the restaurant and can pay at the machine either with coins or through the Parkingpay App you can find on the side of parking meters in almost all of the Swiss villages. Just make sure to download the app before you leave the city.

The hike wanders through meadows and farmlands at a slight incline before it starts getting steeper and steeper and turns into the ridge you see above. On one side of the ridge is the beautiful, gatorade colored Lake Breinz and on the other side are gorgeous alpine meadows as you can see in the video below.

Lombachalp to Augstmatthorn Details and Location: https://www.alltrails.com/trail/switzerland/bern/alp-lombach-augsmatthorn?u=i

2. Schafler Ridge Hike

To get to Schafler Ridge you’ll need to drive through the charming city of Appenzell and then you’ll stop at the town of Wasserauen to park and take the Cable Car up to start this ridge hike. The Talstation Luftseilbahn cable car will take you to the start of your hike at Ebenalp.

From Ebenalp, you’ll have a 2.3 kilometer hike with about 300 meters of elevation gain. It took us about 40 minutes to reach the hut fro Ebenalp but we were hiking at a faster pace. Once you reach Berggasthaus Schafler, the ridge view (top right) is less than a 5 min hike from the mountain hut.

Schafler Ridge AllTrails Map: https://www.alltrails.com/trail/switzerland/appenzell-inner-rhodes/ebenalp-schafler

3. Oeschinensee

To get to the lake you’ll need to get to the village of Kandertsteg. You can get there by train, car, or bus. To get to the lake you can hike around 2 miles an elevation gain of around 1,200 feet, or you can take the Kandersteg-Oeschinen gondola. I highly recommend the gondola as you’ll need to conserve your energy if you want to reach the epic views of the Oeschinenbahn to Heuberg trail which takes you far above the lake and gives you breath-taking views. The gondola is around 30 CHF for a round-trip ticket.Once you get to the top of the gondola, there are three options to choose from as you approach the lake. You can pay 10 CHF to take an electric shuttle car to the lake, hike for 25 minutes which will bring you to the base of the lake, or take a left and hike the Oeschinenbahn to Heuberg trail.

Oeschinenbahn-Heuberg trail is what you NEED to do. The views are out of this world. From the top of the gondola it’s a 3 mile hike out and back with 1,000 feet of elevation gain.

Oeschinenbahn to Heuberg AllTrails Map: https://www.alltrails.com/trail/switzerland/bern/oeschinenbahn-heuberg

4. Limmernsee to Mutsee Hut Hike

The hike to Mutsee Hut was quite an adventure. The easiest way to access the cable car to start the hike is hiring a rental car. If you rent a car you can pay a small fee and park at the bottom of the Tierfehd cable car. This will cut out an extra 6.7km hike from the Linthal train station to the Tierfehd cable car. There is no bus or transport service but there is a taxi service in town if you can somehow arrange that to get you fro the train station.

Once you pay for your ticket, the Tierfehd cable car will take you up the mountain and you’ll be dropped off at the entrance of a massive tunnel. You’ll need to walk the entirety of the 3km tunnel in order to get to the start of the trailhead to Mutsee Hut. At the start of the tunnel there’s a box with orange construction worker vests inside. You’re required to take one and wear one during the entirety of your hike through the tunnel. the distance of the tunnel is only 3km but it seems like it goes on forever. The tunnel has dripping water coming down from the ceiling and puddles cover the floor. We weaved around the deeper puddles trying to stick to the shallow parts to jeep our shoes from getting too wet. Heavy machinery was scattered throughout the tunnel as if abandoned. It seemed like a scene straight out of a horror movie but I promise no zombies will come running out to get you.

There is another box at the end of the tunnel. You’ll drop off your vest here. The tunnel was constructed to support the hydro-electric dam that sits below Limerensee and the vests are for your safety; so that the workers driving work vehicles through the tunnels are able to see you better.

Once you make it to the other side, you’ll start at the level of the incredibly turquoise Limernsee and make your way up to Mutsee Hut. The elevation gain from Limerensee to Mutsee Hut us 600m. The trail is to your left when you come out of the tunnel and is well marked with red and white trail markers. The ascent is an unforgiving series of switchbacks with no break in incline. Take a few breaks every now and then and look back at the lake. You’re almost guaranteed to see some chamois and ibex on your hike up. Below is what the art of the trailhead looks like.

After a grueling hike up we finally made it to the top of the ridge. Once you make it here, you have the choice of going left for several minutes to get to the Limernsee viewpoint or taking a right and climbing a small hill to get to Mutsee Hut. We were exhausted and we still had plenty of daylight left so we opted to go straight to the hut and chill for a little while. Below is a video of the hut in a hail storm with an insane rainbow and a couple of ibex to boot. At the very end of the video you can see the Limerensee viewpoint in the distance.

You should book rooms or a sleeping space at Mutsee Hut ahead of time so you aren’t forced to hike back the same day if they happen to be out of space. We paid $80 each for a space for 2 people in a shared room with 8 other people. The $80 included “half-board” which just means you get dinner and breakfast the next morning. Half-board was definitely worth it. We decided to get a couple beers and played pick-up sticks until dinner was served at 1830. The dinner was surprisingly delicious. Its tarted with an incredible broccoli cream soup, followed by a tasty lasagna, and coffee with brownie cake slices. As soon as dinner was over, we scrambled to get our gear together and very quickly did the 10 minute hike to the Limerensee viewpoint. I put my drone up as the sun went down and got some epic videos (below).

We hiked back to the hut after sunset and went to sleep at 2200 which was the lights out time for the hut. We woke up at 0645, and breakfast was already set out on the table. We had bread, homemade jam, oatmeal, and cheese. We retuned the same way we came. It only took us about 1.5 hours to get back to our car at the bottom of the cable car. The views of the lake on the way down were gorgeous.

We somehow got incredibly lucky and unknowingly booked our trip during the biggest festival in Switzerland which happens only once very 3 years. The festival is called Zuri Fascht and takes place in the capital city of Zurich. We heard about it from a Swiss local at the end of our Augstmatthorn hike and decided to book a hotel room for the music festival.