Switzerland is a heaven for hikers. Every region in Switzerland has a beautiful hiking trail to offer to all types of hikers – from easy to hard, from family-friendly to solo hiking. My favorite hiking trail in the world is in Zermatt – the 5 lakes trail. I try almost every year to do this hike for a little rest and recuperation after a chaotic period at work.
How to get there?
Zermatt is in the canton of Valais in Switzerland. It is 3 hr 40 min to 4 hr train ride from Geneva or 3 hr drive. Note though that Zermatt is a car-free town so, if driving, one will have to park their car in Tasch, the closest town to Zermatt, then take the train for another 12-15 minutes to Zermatt. I’ve done both on many occasions and taking the train from Geneva is more convenient that driving – the views from the train ride is also beautiful so, you won’t really feel the 4-hr journey. From Geneva, if you book your train in advance or you book for the non-flexible tickets (supersaver tickets via SBB website or app), round trip be approximately CHF 100. If you have the half-fare card/demi tarif, you can have the flexible rates at CHF 75.
When to go?
I’ve often gone to Zermatt on a spring and autumn and our last trip my first time to go during the summer. I’ve never been to Zermatt on winter and I’m not really keen to because Zermatt is a popular ski destination first and foremost. Prices shoots rocket high in Zermatt once the ski season kicks in. Spring, after the ski season in particular, is probably the cheapest time to go Zermatt because half the town is close and most higher trails are close too. Autumn is beautiful and could have fewer visitors but it could get really cold and wet. Summer is the best period for me but Zermatt is packed with visitors, including in the hiking trails.
Where to stay?
Stayed in so many hotels in Zermatt such as the Alpenblick Superior, Hotel Alpenroyal, Hotel Perren Superior, Hotel Albana Real… just to name a few. In this trip, we stayed at Hotel Bristol. All of my hotel experiences in Zermatt are excellent, whethere they are 3-star or 4-star hotels.
When choosing a hotel in Zermatt, I choose for something with the view of the Matterhorn and not in the town center. The Matterhorn is magical in morning and it’s worth paying extra to wake up staring at a beautiful glowing Matterhorn. I’d also usually avoid the town center because it could get really busy and I’ve never been to a hotel in Zermatt with sound proof.
How to do the Five Lakes hike
Depending on your fitness and stopovers, Swiss info would tell you that the 5 Lakes hiking trail is 2 hr 30 mins or 2 hr 50 minutes in reverse. On an average, it usually takes me 3h to 3h30m to complete the hike – i like to take my time, enjoy the views and take lots of photos.
To get to the starting point, take the funicular to Sunnegga then from Sunnegga, take the gondola to Blauherd. You can also do a reverse hike from Sunnegga to Blauherd but that can be harder and longer.
The 5 Lakes trail is marked as “5 Seenweg”. The trails are well marked.
One of my favorite parts of long hikes is finding a nice picnic spot for a stopover. When in Zermatt, we would often get picnic stuff in the town before going up (but don’t get too much stuff as it will be uncomfortable carrying heavy things during the hike).
To know more about the 5 Lakes Hike, see here.