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9 Best Panoramic Hikes in Switzerland (for Photographers and Instagrammers)

Updated: Oct 21, 2023

Welcome to Switzerland, a photographer's paradise where stunning landscapes, majestic mountains, and pristine lakes await your lens. In this article, we'll take you on a visual journey through some of the most captivating hiking trails in Switzerland, offering photographers incredible opportunities to capture this alpine wonderland's natural beauty.


We have selected the best hikes for you - ones that we walk multiple times alone, with family, or with friends. And always with a camera. From the precipitous Gratwanderweg Stoos to the mirror-like reflections of Riffelsee and from the panoramic vistas of Eggishorn to the tranquil beauty of Sils to Maloja, each trail presents a unique and awe-inspiring backdrop for your photographic endeavours. So grab your camera gear, lace up your hiking boots, and explore the breathtaking landscapes and hidden gems Switzerland offers photographers. Get ready to capture memories that will last a lifetime.


Table of contents - Best panoramic hikes in Switzerland


 
Hiking trail in Switzerland - Fronalpstock

1. Ridge walk from Klingenstock to Fronalpstock: A photographer's paradise above Lake Lucerne


You can read more about this place in blog post All year at the Fronalpstock.


Discover the breathtaking Gratwanderweg Stoos (ridge walk also known as Klingenstock - Fronalpstock trail), a trail that spans 4 kilometres along a precipice, offering photographers a visual feast. With its location 1,500 meters above Lake Lucerne, this hike provides stunning panoramic vistas that will leave you in awe. While the trail involves a 400-meter climb and descent, the rewards are worth it. You can admire the Alps of Central Switzerland from here.


As a photographer, you'll be mesmerized by the countless opportunities along the ridge to capture stunning shots of the surrounding landscape. From the majestic Lake Lucerne below to the distant peaks and valleys, every frame exudes natural beauty. Aim to photograph during golden hour or when the light casts a magical glow over the mountains. Explore the narrow sections with dramatic cliffs and the open spots offering expansive panoramas. Don't miss the chance to document your journey and create lasting memories of the Ridge Walk Stoos.



To begin your adventure, take the convenient chairlift from Stoos to Klingenstock. Then follow the ridge hike to the Fronalpstock. It is impossible to get lost. The first part is narrow, then, after a steep descent and even steeper ascent, you will end up right above Lake Lucerne walking to the restaurant with a cold beer. From Fronalpstock you can either walk down or take a chairlift. I recommend the second.


Also, it is worth knowing that you can sleep on the Fronalpstock - the Berghotel is one of the best mountain hotels to spend a night in (check our list of hotels here).


Difficulty: Normal, T2 Length: approx 5km Ascents: 381m Descents: 401m


 
Ridge Hike in Switzerland - Schafler

2. Ebenalp - Schafler - Seealpsee hike: A Thrilling Adventure for Photographers


Immerse yourself in the picturesque Alpstein (eastern part of Switzerland) region with the Schafler - Seealpsee hike, offering a straightforward trail with captivating opportunities for adventurous photographers. While several crossroads may be deceiving, a map will prove invaluable. Traverse the rocky shelves, varying in width and elevation, and prepare for a thrilling experience.


The hike starts at the upper station of a cable car, at the Ebenalp. From there you walk down through a cave and a narrow path above steep cliff. The Ascher cliff-restaurant will surprise you. No one expects it to be right behind the turn, even if they know about it. Even if it is tempting, it's not yet a time for a break. There is a challenging part ahead.


The ascent to Schäfler is a highlight of this hike, boasting a wide path that could even be cycled. Reaching the top rewards you with a magnificent view, allowing glimpses of distant peaks in Austria and Liechtenstein. Photographers will be inspired by the breathtaking vista before them.


Capture the thrilling narrow sections secured with ropes, steadying your hands to snap incredible shots of the awe-inspiring surroundings. The descent towards Seealpsee, featuring steep slopes and ropes, offers exhilaration for adventure seekers and unique perspectives for photographers.



Take a moment to relax at Seealpsee, one of the most beautiful lakes in the Swiss Alps. Photographers will relish the opportunity to capture the lake's serene beauty during the enchanting light of late afternoon or early morning. Seize the photo opportunities and conclude your hike on a high note.


Difficulty: Difficult, T3 Length: approx 10km Ascents: 450m Descents: 1160m


 
Hiking trail from the Grindelwald First to Faulhorn

3. From Grindelwald First to Faulhorn: Capturing Alpine Splendor from a Hiking Trail


Embark on a photographer's dream journey from Grindelwald First to Faulhorn, a trail that unfolds with breathtaking views and diverse landscapes fo the Bernese Oberland (the heart of Switzerland). Suitable for hikers of various skill levels, this trail treats you to panoramic vistas of Grindelwald and the surrounding peaks, providing endless opportunities to capture the beauty of the Swiss Alps.


One of the most iconic spots along the route is Bachalpsee, a stunning alpine lake known for its mirror-like surface reflecting the surrounding mountains. Photographers flock to this picturesque location, capturing the breathtaking reflections and vibrant colors of the landscape. To avoid crowds, plan your visit during weekdays or arrive early in the morning.

Continuing from Bachalpsee, the trail leads to the Faulhorn summit, where more captivating scenery awaits.



At an altitude of 2,681 meters, Faulhorn offers panoramic views of the Bernese Alps, including the iconic Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau peaks. The magical sunrises and sunsets cast a warm glow over the peaks, creating an ethereal atmosphere. Bring your tripod and experiment with long exposures to capture the play of light and shadows.


Check our free guide for this hiking trail and photo location.


Difficulty: Normal, T2 Length: approx 11km Ascents: 650m Descents: 650m



 
High alpine hike in Switzerland - Gornergrat

4. Gornergrat to Riffelberg hiking trail: Majestic Peaks and Mirror-Like Reflections of the Matterhorn - the best hike in Switzerland


Embark on a magnificent journey beginning with a visit to the Gornergrat ridge, accessible by the Gornergrat Bahn from Zermatt. This trail offers one of the best photo spots and locations in Zermatt... and in fact also in Switzerland. Often crowded during the day, in the afternoon you may be alone. Even during high season.


The Gornergrat ridge treats photographers to unparalleled panoramic views of the surrounding peaks, including the mighty Monte Rosa, Liskamm, and the world-famous Matterhorn. Capturing the grandeur of these mountains from various angles is an awe-inspiring experience. The changing light throughout the day adds depth and drama to the landscape, providing unique photo opportunities.



Continue the hike and descend towards Riffelsee, a small mountain lake at the foot of the Riffelhorn. Riffelsee is renowned for its picturesque setting, with the iconic Matterhorn perfectly reflected in its tranquil waters on calm days. Photographers strive to capture this mirror-like reflection, which creates a stunning visual effect. Arrive early in the morning or late in the evening for calmer lake conditions and a higher chance of capturing the clear reflection. Set up your tripod, adjust camera settings, and create mesmerizing images of this extraordinary natural spectacle. Then continue to Riffelberg.


I also encourage you to walk a little bit further behind the Gornergrat and do the ridge walk there.


By the way - staying in the Gornergrat Kulm Hotel or Riffelhouse 1853 are fantastic idea photography-wise (and relax-wise as well). See more Swiss hotels with a view here.


Difficulty: Normal, T2 (difficult T3 if extended with the ridge walk)

Length: approx 5km

Ascents: 100m

Descents: 600m



 
The Eggishorn and Aletsch Galcier - best hiking trails in Switzerland

5. High-alpine Hike to Eggishorn: Capturing the Magnificence of the Aletsch Glacier


Located at approximately 2,900 meters, Eggishorn offers photographers panoramic views of the Aletsch Glacier, the largest glacier in the Alps. Take the cable car from Fiesch to effortlessly reach this magnificent vantage point, where you'll be awestruck by the majestic sight before you.



The Aletsch Glacier stretches like a vast white highway framed by rocky peaks that seem to touch the sky. The serene atmosphere and unobstructed views make Eggishorn an ideal location for photographers to capture the grandeur of this natural wonder. Experiment with wide-angle landscapes and zoom in to highlight intricate details. The glacier's sheer size and the surrounding mountain range offer endless possibilities for striking compositions.

Moreover, the panoramic platform at Eggishorn provides a 360-degree view, allowing you to capture the beauty of the Swiss Alps from all directions. From the deep blue hues of nearby lakes to the jagged peaks that pierce the sky, every angle offers a unique perspective for photographers to explore. Don't forget to experiment with different focal lengths, compositions, and exposure settings to showcase the magnificence of Eggishorn and its surroundings truly.



Difficulty: Difficult, T3

Length: approx 5km

Ascents: 450m

Descents: 1160m


 
Hiking trail in Engadine, Switzerland

6. Hiking from Sils to Maloja: Tranquil Beauty for Photographers


Embark on a captivating journey between Sils and Maloja, two charming Engadine villages, and enjoy an easy and visually appealing route. As you leave Sils Maria, the initial traffic noise fades away, leaving you with a serene experience of this unique area of Switzerland.



Explore the picturesque route from Sils Maria to Maloja, passing through Grevasalvas and Blaunca. Start at Sils Maria Post Office, cross the bridge, and head towards Sils Baseglia. Optionally, loop around the peninsula before rejoining the main road. Follow the signposted footpath to Grevasalvas, then bear left onto the Via Engadina. Ascend gradually, savouring the stunning scenery. At 2011 meters, turn left and descend to Grevasalva. From there, follow the sign to Blaunca. Traverse alpine meadows, cross streams, and relish the enchanting views. Finally, reach the centre of Maloja, where buses depart from the Post.


Difficulty: Normal, T2

Length: approx 7.5km

Ascents: 360m

Descents: 350m


Also, check our blog post about the best photo locations and spots in the Engadine because the Maloja Pass is not far from the end of the described trail.



 

7. Brienzer Rothorn - one of the best ridges hikes in Switzerland (and in the world)


Brienzer Rothorn, renowned as one of the world's finest ridge walks, offers breathtaking views accessible from two sides. Take a cable car from Sörenberg, near Lucerne, for the northern approach. Alternatively, embark on a longer, more vibrant journey by steam cogwheel train from Brienz on the southern slope (long ride and very loud).


This famous ridge boasts a narrow path and steep slopes, making it a captivating travel and landscape photography location. While it demands a head for heights, the section between Schongütsch and Brienzer Rothorn is safe and relatively easy. However, beyond this point, trails become steeper and more challenging. The Brienzergrat to Harder Kulm trail is known as one of Switzerland's most demanding hikes (both for head heights and condition). Even the regular trails with numbers 57 and 65 can be vertigo-inducing. Prioritize safety by checking weather and wind conditions to avoid unnecessary risks.


For photography enthusiasts, it's advantageous to have a companion willing to pose fearlessly near the edges. Look for leading lines along the ridge and Brienzersee in the vicinity of Brienzer Rothorn. Remember to frequently glance both ways, as the scenes behind you are equally spectacular.


Difficulty: Normal, T2-T3

Length: approx 2.5km

Ascents: 170m

Descents: 170m




Les cols du Grand-St-Bernard - hiking trail, Switzerland

8. Les cols du Grand-St-Bernard - a hike with a view of Mont Blanc


Enjoy a breathtaking Alpine expedition along the Switzerland-Italy border, revealing the awe-inspiring Mont Blanc massif and neighbouring peaks. This remarkable hike encompasses three enchanting Alpine passes, serene mountain lakes, and the illustrious Great St. Bernard, renowned for its hospice and iconic St. Bernard dogs.





Commencing at the summit of the pass, with the majestic Grand Combin gracing the eastern horizon, the trail ventures over the first pass, the Pas des Chevaux. Crossing the Torrent de Drône river gracefully winds through sweeping landscapes, leading to a path that guides you to the next pass, the Col du Bastillon. At this lofty vantage point, an awe-inspiring panorama unfolds, showcasing the grandeur of Grand Golliat, Mont Dolent, Mont Blanc, and other peaks, while the pristine valley Val Ferret lies below.


And if you were thinking of taking photos of mountains reflected in a lake - this is a place to visit!


Difficulty: Normal, T2-T3

Length: approx 12km

Ascents: 1040m

Descents: 1040m



 



9. Lüderenalp in Emmental - hike through alpine farms with views of the Bernese Oberland


Immerse yourself in the enchanting beauty of the Emmental as you walk on a panoramic journey through its very heart. This picturesque route winds along an expansive mountain crest adorned with charming farmsteads scattered throughout the steep landscape.


The starting point is Lüderenalp, from where you make a short loop. You'll traverse the mountain ridge and a couple of hilltops around. Prepare to be mesmerized by the panoramic views that unfold before you, showcasing the majestic splendour of the Jura Mountains and the Bernese Alps with idyllic farmland in the foreground.


Difficulty: Normal, T2

Length: approx 12km

Ascents: 600m

Descents: 600m




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Are you looking for more detailed information on landscape and travel photography? Check our guides and maps, where we cover all you desire to know.



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