Posted by on 01 Nov 2019 , in Europe
Though it’s smaller in size compared to most of its neighbours, Switzerland is rich in diversity with cosmopolitan cities, winter wonderlands, peaceful lakes and fairytale-like villages. It’s a country filled with remarkable experiences whether you’re an adventure junkie or in need of a peaceful holiday.
But perhaps one of the things it’s most renowned for is the jaw-dropping backdrop of mountains that make Switzerland an even more stunning place to visit. Among the 200 peaks traversing its hillsides and lakes, below is our top 5 “peaks”– each offering a stunning view and sublime encounter with nature that you won’t forget. So get ready to drive up, climb or at least marvel from the distance…
Looming over the picturesque city of Zermatt, Mount Matterhorn is possibly the most recognized mountain in Europe. Its rugged pyramid shape dominates the sky at 4,478 metres as it sits on the border between Switzerland and Italy.
While it is a challenging climb, it’s not an impossible one. Many travellers from across the globe come in pursuit of the intimidating summit, some of which are beginners. Depending on your pace, you can reach the top in 4-5 hours with an expert guide. After the demanding climb, the rewarding view will make it all worth it.
For a more relaxed experience, board the world’s highest cable car and make your way to Matterhorn Glacier Paradise for a fantastic view of the Alps. There’s a restaurant that allows for a scenic dining experience and facilities for sport enthusiasts featuring activities like skiing, hiking, and snowshoe trekking.
Standing 2,128 metres above sea level and guarding Lucerne City, a series of myths and lore surround the majestic Mount Pilatus. Aside from the mythical origin of its name, ancient chronicles tell of dragons with healing powers residing in its caves. One look at this mountain massif and it’s not hard to imagine how its pointed slopes inspired such legends.
There are many ways to go about reaching the summit, depending on your preferred pace and sense of adventure. The world’s steepest cogwheel railway is an available mode of transportation for a 30-minute ride to the top of Mount Pilatus. For a more complete view of Central Switzerland, board an aerial gondola.
If you’re one for a challenge, start your ascent from the village of Alpnachstad. Though there are several trails to guide you, the height you’ll have to conquer makes it an arduous hike. But once you reach the top, advanced facilities, like world-class restaurants and hotels, present you with places to rest and relax while admiring the spectacular view.
At 4,158 metres above sea level, Mount Jungfrau is the third highest mountain of the Bernese Alps and the highest between its two closest, notable neighbours - Eiger and Monch. It commands attention for its size and crooked shape and overlooks much of the Bernese Oberland.
However, the most popular destination for this mountain isn’t the summit, but the saddle that connects Jungfrau to Monch. Elevated at 3,466 metres, Jungfraujoch is hailed as the Top of Europe. Ride a train that will take you through the mountain and onto the highest railway in Europe for an amazing experience before you’re welcomed by a magical display of the Alpine landscape.
For the most part, the climb to Mount Jungfrau is ‘fairly’ easy – The last section of the summit can however be very challenging, as it is one of the longest and sharpest arêtes in the Alps. It requires intense concentration and steadiness as the 220-metre of narrow path can take up to 3 hours to cross. The sweet view at the top makes up for all the hard work, though. You’ll see the Aletsch Glacier, the largest and longest in the Alps, along with a gorgeous scenery of the surrounding Swiss Alps.
Giving you a 360-degree view of the breathtaking Swiss Skyline, Mount Schilthorn is one of the most popular summits in Switzerland. With an altitude of 2,970 metres, it belongs to the Bernese Alps, overlooking the villages of Lauterbrunnen and Mürren.
If you think the name sounds familiar, that’s because Mount Schilthorn has earned its celebrity status when it became a setting for the 1969 James Bond movie, On Her Majesty's Secret Service. After a series of cable car rides to the summit, you will find the famous Piz Gloria, the world’s first revolving restaurant, and retrace the steps of 007.
The hike, on the other hand, is not for the faint of heart. It will take about 5 hours of interchanging paths between green fields and steep slopes. Reaching the summit, you’ll be rewarded with a unique perspective of snow-capped mountain ranges for miles ahead.
Regarded as “Queen of the Mountains” by Swiss locals, Mount Rigi is a sought-after destination for many travellers. The peak is elevated at 1,798 metres above sea level, providing you with a great viewpoint of Lake Lucerne and the Swiss Alps.
Whether you’re boarding a train or gondola, the route to the top of the mountain gives you a serene overview of the city of Lucerne. After arriving at the summit, there are many activities to indulge in – you can enjoy the local cuisine, get some r&r at the spa, or paraglide away.
Compared to the other mountains of Switzerland, Mount Rigi is a more peaceful climb. On the way up, you’ll trek through grasslands and open fields where you’ll meet the famous Swiss cows scattered about. If you’re looking for a quiet time to experience the beauty of Switzerland at your own pace, then this hike is perfect for you.