by Judy Bereza, Guest Blogger
Forget all your assumptions about hiking in Switzerland. You don’t need to be a fitness freak; in fact, if you can walk, you can be comfortably transported to the top of jaw dropping peaks, with perfect emerald valleys laid out below. And, if you happen to get hungry, you don’t have to root around in your backpack for trail mix. You can just stroll over to a nearby mountain restaurant, with bathrooms, where every table has a view, and a full menu offers fresh local salads or traditional Swiss specialties like Raclette. Think cheese.
Three walking friends and I made our way to Grindelwald to experience seven days of this blissful alpine hiking. An authentic and charming Swiss town, Grindelwald is forty minutes by train from Interlacken, and serves as a gateway to some of the most beautiful and varied hikes in all of Switzerland.
We stayed at the Hotel Gletschergarten, a small twenty six room hotel, owned and managed by the same family for one hundred years. Like most of Grindelwald’s hotels, there is on site dining for guests. But the superb food, and it was exceptional, was not the best part.
Every day we received insights and advice, including weather radar and transportation tickets, to help plan our hikes. Then, dressed for the weatherthat day, we walked out the door and within minutes were being whisked by bus, train,cog railway, cable car or gondola to our chosen destination.
Every hiking option is well mapped, and signage is everywhere. The trails are extensive and varied. Some are challenging; others are easier. A few are even designated as “Romantikweg”.
Looking for snow or glaciers? From the Jungfrau Joch, reached by cog railway after a thirty minute ride inside the Eiger, (yes, you are tunneling through the mountain,) you can view the highest point accessible by rail in Europe. From there, a walk through a white world for an hour rewards you with a warm and welcoming Swiss restaurant.
Interested in waterfalls? They’re everywhere, including the famous Trummelbach Falls, which cascades with thunderous force inside the mountain. There are viewing overlooks reached by stairs or elevator. Remember what I said about accessibility?
Love seeing wildflowers, dense and prolific? There are walks that will fill up all the digital space in your camera. In fact, every walk will prove that those idyllic postcard scenes of pastoral valleys back dropped by breathtaking mountains are just a hint of the reality.
Go to Switzerland and see for yourself.
Judy Bereza is a retired interior designer/kitchen expert, constant walker and “Nana” to three adorable grand children. She and her friends have walked across England and Wales.