Five Lake Hike at Pizol

Did you ever feel like there are just too many cool places on Earth and struggle to fit as many as possible into a single vacation? Good news! With this 4-hour hike you will not only visit Switzerland, but also (kind of) Norway and (almost) Iceland 🙂

This post is about one of the best hikes in Switzerland – Pizol “5-Seen Wanderung”, or Five Lake Hike. Great accessibility, a challenging ascent, and mind-blowing landscapes – everything you ever wanted from a hiking day trip!

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For the visitor to Zurich

Going to Zurich and searching for some advice? Mine is very simple: do not come to Zurich 🙂

Seriously, visit Switzerland for its mountains, meadows with grazing cows, for mighty waterfalls and lakes still like a mirror. Cities like Geneva or Zurich are well-suited for a business trip or a layover before / in between the flights but not for a full-fledged vacation experience. Read on to learn how to spend a few hours in Zurich in between more interesting destinations.

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Lugano: to the other side from the mountains

Lugano is the biggest city in the “Italian” part of Switzerland, canton of Ticino. Located on the eponymous lake and surrounded by picturesque forested mountains, it offers the most typical impressions of nature and culture of this region of the country.

I have to say, travelling across Italian Switzerland is quite a strange experience. It is almost impossible to tell Lugano from cities of Northern Italy. Everything is the same: food, vegetation, building styles… Pretty much everything, except for prices. Looking at them, you are reminded that it is still Switzerland… So why pay more if Milan is only one and a half hours away by train? Let’s try to find out.

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Zermatt: 5 lakes trail

The most famous and the most photographed mountain in Switzerland is, of course, Matterhorn. Although it is not the tallest peak in Alps, its unique shape and detachment from other tall mountains nearby make up a really pretty landscape =)

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Rigi Kulm: a simple panoramic hike close to Zurich

To be honest, I was not a great fan of this trail: the place is not wild enough for me (in fact, not wild at all). On the other hand, this hike might be a nice option for people that stay in Zurich and want to get a glimpse on the main Swiss stereotypes (mountains, lakes, cows, you know). The trail is super easy – no need to climb, and only very little altitude change. Most of the path is even accessible for wheelchairs!

TL;DR

What: a hike next to Lucerne: Rigi Kulm to Rigi Scheidegg cable car station.
Why: great view on three lakes and on the Alps, clean Swiss air (with a scent of cows :D).
How long: 2-3 hours (the hike itself) + 3.5 hours (commute from Zurich and back).
How to get here: train, cable car.
Difficulty: minimal.
Ascent: 243 m.
Descent: 369 m.
How much it costs: ~65 CHF by public transport from Zurich.

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“Blue” hiking trail in Alps: Randa to Domhütte

There are three categories of hiking routes in Switzerland:

  • yellow – the shortest and easiest, with little to no altitude difference; suitable for even small children; often asphalted or go along a forest road;
  • red – “mountain trails”, usually imply noticeable elevation, but generally not dangerous; you can just walk them and do not need to climb;
  • blue – “alpine trails”; to do those, you will need decent physical shape and a certain degree of craziness: steep cliffs, absence of an actual trail, glacier crossings are usual on such routes.

This post is about my first “blue” hike with an overnight in a mountain cabin.

It all started when I learned about Europaweg – a 2-day hiking trail along the Mattertal valley. On the way you have a chance to cross the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in Europe (you did not seriously think that Switzerland does not have everything of the most?) as well as gorgeous views on Matterhorn and other 4K summits.

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Interlaken and a bit around

Swiss are proud people, they have a lot of “the most”, for example, the steepest cable car or the highest railroad station in Europe.

This pride, amplified by the desire to attract tourists, is very present in one of the most popular regions of Switzerland – in the area of the Interlaken town.


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Alpine meadows of Appenzell

One thing I really love about Switzerland is how easy it is to organize a nature getaway here. Here is my algorithm:

  1. Open a map.
  2. Pick a village next to the mountains and a forest that has a train station or at least a bus stop. A lake nearby would be a bonus.
  3. Open the website of the village or the nearest cable car. It will almost for sure contain a description of hike trails including elevation/descent numbers and the map of all trails.
  4. Pick a trail, buy a ticket and go!

A serious advantage of the approach is that like this one can find wonderful and not very famous places which means no tourists and healthier nature. One of such Alpine gems is Wasserauen in the canton of Appenzell.

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Matterhorn – the Kingdom of Ice and Snow

Last time I wrote that we have no snow in Zurich, and now we finally found out where is all that snow that is meant for us =)

To learn that, we had to travel 4 hours by train from Zurich to the very border of Italy, to an area containing a large number of 4000-meter high Alpine peaks. Our goal was Matterhorn – this perfect Swiss mountain. If you have ever had Toblerone – this is exactly the peak printed on the pack! It has also inspired Toblerone’s triangle shape. Check out the similarity:


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