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Switzerland’s majestic mountains are among its most popular attractions. As such, doing hikes in Swiss Alps is an experience all nature enthusiasts should try at least once in their lives.
If you’re an experienced hiker, you may have come across the term hut-to-hut hiking, which is the system that makes these hikes we’re about to show you so remarkable. Depending on the language area you visit, you can find these mountain huts called as Rifugio, Refuge, Capanna, Cabane or Hütte (Switzerland has four national languages).
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These mountain huts were initially made for expert hikers as a turning point or for overnight accommodation. They are usually located at the highest peaks of the mountains and are rustic in design. Some are staffed only in certain months, however, they are open all-year-round for a night’s sleep. Some of them are privately owned, but the majority are operated by the Swiss Alpine Club (SAC).
The great thing about these huts is that they give you the opportunity to pack light (without camping equipment) and still get the full hiking experience, while you spend a night at the top of the world. These are some of the most beautiful huts we think are worthy of a hike:
1. Gleckstein Hut (Glecksteinhütte SAC)
This mountain hut is located in Grindelwald. It takes approximately 2.5 hours from the bus stop “Gleckstein” to arrive. The route to this hut is one of the most breathtaking in the region. The trail is not for the faint-hearted since it is high up and it can be exposed sometimes. If you are lucky, you might have the chance to encounter Alpine ibexes along the way or see them in the evening when they come by the hut to lick salt.
2. The Lauteraar Hut (Lauteraarhütte SAC)
The hike to this rifugio starts from Grimsel Hospiz, which is considered quite challenging but rewarding. The hut is situated on a rock above the Unteraar glacier. The Lauteraarhütte is usually a transitional stop or a turning point for alpine hikers. The trail to the hut is filled with beautiful plant life, plus the view from the terrace is well worth it.
3. Capanna Motterascio CAS
This hut is quite modern compared to the regular ones. Capanna Motterascio lies on the Alpe di Motterascio (where it takes its name from) at the southern edge of the Greina high plateau. In the summer, the routes are family-friendly and accessible on foot. Needless to say, the spectacular panorama of the Alps from its lunchroom is very relaxing and calming.
4. The Terri Hut (Terrihütte SAC)
This hut is the starting point for memorable hikes to one of the most admired hiking territories in Switzerland, The Greina plateau. It is located in the beautiful canton of Graubünden, on the opposite side of Val Sumvitg, which takes up to 3 hours and a half from Runcahez.
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5. Capanna Cava
The Capanna Cava hut is located in the Val Pontirone valley, in the Italian-speaking Swiss canton of Ticino, and is one of the places that make is captivating. The area is really out-of-the-way and steep, surrounded by a wall of the Torrone Alta peaks where the hut has its own serene lake. The cabin can be reached from two different paths, and the hike takes from 5 and a half to 6 hours.
6. Cabane des Violettes CAS
Situated on a rocky ridge overseeing Montana, this cabin offers an incredible view that expands from Haut Valais where Weisshorn and Matterhorn to Grand Combin and Mont Blanc. You can reach the hut on foot from various paths but depending on the weather conditions it can be hard to access. The shortest pathway takes 1 to 2 hours from the Violettes gondola lift.
7. The Gafadura Hut (Gafadurahuette)
The Gafadura hut is situated high above the Rhine Valley, overlooking the Planken village from the hut’s veranda. The pre-alpine territory is surrounded by beautiful forests and flourishing flora. The trail to the hut, especially between Gafadura and Gaflei, is quite challenging and it requires sure-footedness to negotiate the terrain safely.
8. Rugghubel Hut (Rugghubelhütte SAC)
The Rugghubelhütte lies in the middle of a mountain landscape above Engelberg. During the hike, which is considered a great experience for families and hikers, you get to witness wild animals in their natural habitat walking along an exciting mountain scenery. If you have a thing for watching the sunset draping on the mountain peaks, the Rugghubel hut is the perfect place to visit.
9. The Topali Hut (Topalihütte SAC)
The Topali hut is the ideal starting point if you want to climb to the Barrhorn (one of the highest alpine peaks in Switzerland). It is situated at the foot of the Thistle ridge, in the Mattertal above Zaniglas. The view from the hut spreads into an outstanding panorama, where you can overlook the Monte Rosa on your right. If you start in St. Niklaus the hike will take up to 4 and a half hours, where you will go through Schwiedernen to a hiking trail in the forest, to Blattbach then you will reach the hut.
10. The Krönten Hut (Kröntenhütte SAC)
This mountain house is perfect for people who enjoy mountain lakes and climbing to the gardens nearby. It lies in the Erstfeld valley, at the foot of Krönten and Spannort. There are two different ascends from the Erstfeld. The Chüeplangg is longer but more introspective while the Geissfad route is shorter but more extreme. In the summertime The Chüeplangg is preferred more since it goes upwards along the stream. There are multiple activities that you can entertain yourself with if you visit The Kröntenhütte like swimming, hiking, animal-watching and see glaciers, all while being surrounded by a unique evergreen setting.
About the Writer
Vesa Merxha has a passion for traveling, meeting people and animals. She is currently studying English and wants to pursue a career in writing in order to familiarize, inform, and educate readers, especially the youth, about diverse topics. She is a content writer for the blog Studying in Switzerland.