Anyone can enjoy the Alps. It’s not all about climbing up high mountain peaks, but rather simply just being there among the giants. Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in the Alps and all of Europe, is summited by an estimated 200 people a day in the summer season, making it very crowded. Why not take an easier trip with views of the great mountains instead? There are a multitude of short and/or easy hikes all throughout the region. Here are four hikes in the Alps that everyone can do:
The Planet Path
In Marly, Switzerland, there’s a place where you can walk the virtual length of our solar system all the way to an observatory. It’s a six-kilometer path that tells you about the planets in our solar system – scaling one actual meter to a million kilometers for walking distances, and one actual centimeter to 1,000 kilometers for the diameters of the planets. Even the dwarf planet Pluto has a model! Unlike many places in the Alps, it’s accessible year-round via St. Luc or Chandolin. It’s also moderately level, ranging in altitude between 2,200 meters and 2,500 meters.
Mannlichen to Kleine Scheidegg in the Jungfrau
There’s an easy 3.5-mile (one way) path that leads from Mannlichen to Kleine Scheidegg in the Jungfrau region of the Swiss Alps. The trail has nearly constant views of the Eiger Monch and Jungfrau mountains. The start and end of the trail can be accessed by trains and cableways (or even by gondola from Grindelwald). It’s a wide easy trail that’s actually a utility road, which makes it very popular among those seeking a simple Swiss Alps hike.
Five Lakes Walk
Known locally as the 5-Seenweg, the Five Lakes Walk near Zermatt is very easy, “a great option for worn-out hikers who want to continue exploring Switzerland, as well as families with young children.” Obviously, you’ll pass five lakes along the way. The 5.8-mile (9.3 kilometer) trail is mostly downhill, so it should be no problem for hikers with little or no experience. Plus, they say there are great swimming opportunities in the Leisee and Grunsee lakes – all the more reason to make the trip and take the hike.
Faulhorn Trail to First
Called one of the most scenic hiking trails in the Bernese Alps, this path takes people past the picture-perfect mountains near Grindelwald – Faulhorn and First, about an hour's drive southeast of Bern, Switzerland. The Bachalpsee glacial lake that reflects the mountains is certainly the centerpiece of the trail, located about a 50-minute walk away from First on an easy trail. The hike is lengthy, but not all that difficult. You can even hop on a cable car from Grindelwald to First if you’d like. Just pop on over to Google Maps or search for images to see the stunning vistas (that is, before you hop on a plane or train to take the hike for yourself).