Via Alpina Red Route/Switzerland circumnavigation

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44 posts
active member
Oct 24, 2017 - 10:43 PM

Hello, all. I'm looking to do a counter-clockwise walking circumnavigation of Switz next summer, in honor of my entering into Ruhestand. The route would be from Leichtenstein, heading south and then West on the Via Alpina red route, across southern Switz and Northern Italy to near Chamonix, then somehow connecting with the Green Route near Montreaux and taking that back East to Sargans, across the Bernese Oberland, etc. I'm finding lots of intel and books on the Green Route, but virtually nothing on the Swiss and Italian portions of the Red Route, other than the general Via Alpina web page, which I don't find terribly informative. In fact, I'm beginning to wonder if anyone actually walks this portion of the Red Route as a long-distance hike.I've noted that Brandon Wilson and other Red Route end-to-enders (generally walking E-W) tend to leave the Red Route at Sargans and pick up the Green Route to cross Switz., and then rejoin the Red Route at the western end of the country. Are they just shaving off some miles, or do they know something that I don't about the Swiss Red Route?

So, what is this Swiss/Italian part of the Red Route like to hike? Are there any guidebooks (in English or German) covering it? How much of it is in Italy, vs Switz? (I don't speak any Italian, not even Monty Python Italian.) And, has anyone on the Forum done roughly this circumnavigation of Switzerland, combining the Red and Green Routes?


44 posts
active member
Oct 24, 2017 - 10:50 PM

Make that a CLOCKWISE circumnavigation, rather than counter-clockwise. I guess having a digital watch for the last 20 years is having an effect...

12286 posts
expert &
Oct 27, 2017 - 6:51 AM

Hi Nevertoolate,

I know some of the areas along these routes, but not the entire routes. The red one by-passes the popular Bernese Oberland and is longer. It does cross wonderful regions of the canton of Graubünden. Only about 5 km or so of the Swiss leg is in Italy, south-west of the Marchhorn. Without a doubt it is a wonderful route, so if you have the time and the hiking skills you can for sure go for it.

The below links might be helpful if you haven't found them already:

By the way, you can edit your posts until an hour after posting.

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