I have a passion for sharing the beauty of the Swiss Alps with others. I’ve learned a lot over my several decades of hiking and touring the Alps around the keys to a successful and enjoyable experience. This blog highlights what I consider to be the key requirements for guaranteeing a “Wow Swiss Alps Hike Experience.”
1. Pick Your Spot!
The Swiss Alp Mountain scenery is like no other in the world (so say even the Austrians!)
So your first decision is where to go so you get to see the best scenery. How to find that perfect Swiss spot?
For locals many go to the www.swissmobility.ch site where all the signposted public trails are listed. Here you can surf through a Swiss map and zero in on an area and then zoom in on a particular trail.
But if you don’t know where to start, I recommend selecting Lucerne, the geographical beginning of the Swiss Alps. Here you can choose a hike in one of the Lake Lucerne mountains like Mt. Rigi, Klewenalp, Bürgenstock, Mt. Pilatus, and you will experience & get your Swiss Alp Mountain fix no-problem.
You can even checkout all our ECHO Rails & Trails – Lucerne Tours to help you decide where to go.
2. Say Hello! (in the local language)
The Swiss German word “Grüezi” meaning “Hi” in Swiss is magical.
When you see another person on the trail, just say your best pronunciation of “Grüezi” and you will receive a smile, a nod and a “Grüezi” back.
Voila, you’ve made contact with a local and overcome the first barrier of the “hard to get to know the Swiss” perception. Then follow up with small talk and soon you will find topics of common interest.
Most all of the Swiss I’ve met, really like the USA, it’s people and if they have visited, you will get an earful of the positive things they experienced.
Of course if you say “Allegra” to a Romasch person around St. Moritz, or Salut to a Swiss-French person in Lake Geneva area or Buongiorno, to a Swiss-Italian person in the Italian speaking canton of Ticino you get the same “friendly” responses too.
3. Enjoy the Food and Drink!
An outdoor lunch that’s either a picnic, public grilling spot or restaurant while viewing the Swiss Alps is wonderful.
Try one of the local Swiss sausages and mustard and enjoy one of local drinks like Rivella made of whey, the by product of cheese making, just adds tons to your Swiss experience.
4. Make Use of the Public Transportation
You experience the efficiency the Swiss are known for with the trains leaving on time, you interface with locals and learn about Swiss engineering as some trains have been running since 1871 like Mt. Rigi & 1898 like Mt. Pilatus.
5. Take a Tour with an English-Speaking Guide
For English-speaking people looking to experience the Swiss Alps, a Swiss English speaking guide can make a hue positive difference. They are happy to provide background and information on all you are experiencing, and answer any and all questions regarding Swiss scenery and Swiss life.
For example, they can tell you that this green pasture you are looking on Lake Lucerne was where three individuals came together to establish Switzerland in 1291. The place is called the Rütli but in typical Swiss understatement, they have no memorial or plaque on-site, so if someone didn’t tell you, you would never know.
Many people ask how does Swiss democracy really work, what’s the educational system like, what contributes to Switzerland’s ranking as one of the most competitive countries in the world are examples of the types of questions I often get as I’m leading one of my tours. And once they hear the responses, the person’s experience is enhanced.
When I read many of the Trip Reviews, I’m often amazed at the many times I read: “The 1 day our hike with you was the best day in our whole Europe trip”.