Guidebook to the Alpine Pass Route following the Swiss Via Alpina 1, a 360km trek east-west across Switzerland, from Sargans, on the border of Liechtenstein, to Montreux, including prologue from Liechtenstein. A demanding 3-week trek described in 18 stages, crossing 16 passes including the 2778m Hohtürli. Requires good fitness and experience.
This guidebook presents the stunning Alpine Pass Route, now fully waymarked as Via Alpina 1. The 360km trail traverses Switzerland from east to west, from Sargans near the Liechtenstein border to Montreux on Lac Léman (Lake Geneva). Crossing sixteen Alpine passes, it showcases some of the country's most breathtaking mountain landscapes, boasting views of iconic peaks such as the Wetterhorn, Eiger, Jungfrau and Les Diablerets. The route is suitable for those with some experience of Alpine trekking: it amasses over 20,000m of ascent and involves some steep sections. It can be completed in 2–3 weeks, although it is also possible to walk shorter sections, or postbus, cable-car and rail connections could be used to allow for a tighter schedule.
With a wealth of practical advice and information on local points of interest, the guide has all you need to plan a successful trip. The Via Alpina 1 is presented in 18 stages, each featuring step-by-step route description accompanied by 1:100,000 mapping, route profiles and notes on transport, accommodation and facilities. In addition, a 26km prologue in Liechtenstein and an alternative finish following the old course of the Alpine Pass Route via Gsteig are also described. Accommodation options range from mountain huts to hotels and inns, with camping available at a number of licensed sites along the route.
Much of the scenery of the Alpine Pass Route is quintessentially Swiss: rocky peaks towering above flower-strewn meadows, traditional wooden chalets nestled in sweeping green valleys. Each pass has its own character – from the spectacular Hohtürli to bustling Kleine Scheidegg – opening onto new vistas and horizons. This is a journey to savour and one which will linger long in the heart and memory
For nearly 50 years Cicerone have been producing guidebooks on recognised treks, regions, areas and general tips for hikers.
We have used them countless times and they've always provided excellent insight and knowledge that you only get through experience, giving you the edge to make your trip a success and more enjoyable too.
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- Reviewed by Ultralight Outdoor Gear
SeasonsFrom the start of July through to September. August can be wet, and an early trek may find snow on the higher passes, so suitable additional equipment would be essential
CentresSargans, Elm, Linthal, Altdorf, Engelberg, Meiringen, Grindlewald, Lauterbrunnen, Kandersteg, Adelboden, Lenk, Gstaad, Col des Mosses, Montreux
DifficultyIt's pretty tough: the route amasses over 20,000m of ascent and nearly every day involves a pass crossing. Some higher passes and ridges present occasional exposure and technical difficulty
Must SeeThe Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau near Grindlewald, valley-pass landscapes every day, the Lauterbrunnen valley, the Oeschinensee above Kandersteg
The Swiss Alpine Pass Route
When to go
Getting there – and back again
Notes for walkers
Paths and waymarks
Safety in the mountains
Information at a glance
Using this guide
The Swiss Alpine Pass Route – Via Alpina Route 1
Prologue – The Liechtenstein start
Prologue A European Via Alpina Steg – Gaflei
Prologue B Via Alpina Gaflei – Sargans
The main route
Stage 1 Sargans – Mels – Weisstannen
Stage 2 Weisstannen – Foopass – Elm
Stage 3 Elm – Richetlipass – Linthal
Stage 4 Linthal – Braunwald – Urnerboden
Stage 5 Urnerboden – Klausenpass – Altdorf
Stage 6 Altdorf – Surenenpass – Engelberg
Stage 7 Engelberg – Jochpass – Engstlenalp
Stage 8 Engstlenalp – Planplatten – Meiringen
Stage 9 Meiringen – Grosse Scheidegg – Grindelwald
Stage 10 Grindelwald – Kleine Scheidegg – Lauterbrunnen
Stage 11 Lauterbrunnen – Mürren – Sefinenfurke – Griesalp
Stage 12 Griesalp – Hohtürli – Kandersteg
Stage 13 Kandersteg – Bunderchrinde – Adelboden
Stage 14 Adelboden – Hahnenmoospass – Lenk
Stage 15 Lenk – Trüttlisbergpass – Gstaad
Stage 16 Gstaad – Col de Jable – L’Etivaz
Stage 17 L’Etivaz – Col de Chaude – Rochers de Naye
Stage 18 Rochers de Naye – Sonchaux – Montreux
Stage 15A Lenk – Lauenen – Gsteig
Stage 16A Gsteig – Blattipass – Col des Andérets – Col des Mosses
Stage 17A Col des Mosses – Col de Chaude – Montreux
Appendix A Useful addresses
Appendix B Bibliography
Appendix C German–French–English glossary