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Trekking the Swiss Via Alpina

East to West across Switzerland – the Alpine Pass Route

By Kev Reynolds, Jonathan Williams

Guidebook to the Swiss Via Alpina, a 400km trek east-west across Switzerland, with options of detouring along the Alpine Pass Route. This demanding 3-week trek crosses 16 passes, including the 2778m Hohtürli, in a total of 19 stages from Sargans to Montreux, as well as a prologue stage from Liechtenstein. Requires good fitness and experience.


From the start of July through to September. August can be wet, and an early season trek may find snow on the higher passes, so suitable additional equipment would be essential.


Sargans, Elm, Linthal, Altdorf, Engelberg, Meiringen, Grindlewald, Lauterbrunnen, Kandersteg, Adelboden, Lenk, Gstaad, Rossiniere, Gsteig, Col des Mosses, Montreux


It's pretty tough: the route amasses nearly 23,000m of ascent over 20 stages and nearly every day involves a pass crossing. Some higher passes and ridges present occasional exposure and technical difficulty.

Must See

The Todi and Titlis; Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau near Grindlewald; valley-pass landscapes every day; the Lauterbrunnen valley; the Oeschinensee above Kandersteg; Blumlisalp and Les Diablerets.
13 Jul 2023
17.20 x 11.60 x 1.30cm

A guidebook to the Swiss Via Alpina, a 400km (250 mile) trek east-to-west across Switzerland, from Sargans to Montreux on Lac Léman (Lake Geneva). Previously the Alpine Pass Route, the Via Alpina (VA) is a fully waymarked Swiss national trail that involves nearly 23,000m of ascent and descent over roughly 3 weeks of trekking – a serious challenge suitable for experienced trekkers. The main route is described in 19 stages of 12-29km (8-18 miles), as well as a 27km (17 mile) prologue stage from Liechtenstein and detour stages via Lenk and Gsteig. Comprehensive route description is accompanied by 1:100,000 mapping, route profiles, facilities listings and advice on safety, transport, accommodation and language. Crossing 16 Alpine passes, the VA showcases some of the Switzerland’s most breathtaking mountain landscapes, from flower-strewn meadows to snow-capped peaks including the majestic Todi, Titlis, Wetterhorn, Eiger, Jungfrau and Wildstrubel. Accommodation options range from mountain huts to hotels and inns, with camping available at licensed sites along the route.

Table of Contents
Kev Reynolds Cicerone author REYNOL

Kev Reynolds

Kev Reynolds was a freelance writer, photojournalist and lecturer. A prolific compiler of guidebooks, his first title for Cicerone Press (Walks & Climbs in the Pyrenees) appeared in 1978; he later produced many more titles for the same publisher. A member of the Outdoor Writers' Guild, the Alpine Club and Austrian Alpine Club, his passion for mountains and the countryside inspired a lifetime's activity, and he regularly travelled throughout Britain to share that enthusiasm through his lectures. Sadly, Kev passed away in 2021. He will be remembered fondly by all who knew him and by many more he inspired through his writing and talks.

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Jonathan Williams

Jonathan Williams was Cicerone's publisher and managing director for over 20 years, working with authors and leading the development of the range. Lesley was Cicerone's marketing director for over 20 years, but now provides support for the new marketing team. Although they met at sea, they quickly gravitated to the mountains and trekking, before taking on Cicerone to communicate their passion for mountains, wild places and other journeys on foot or by bike. Based on the edge of the Lake District, they enjoy spending days in the hills and months in the mountains, and have written or updated several Cicerone guidebooks for Switzerland. They would like to thank the whole Cicerone team for supporting their efforts as authors.

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