Swiss hiking - Land of storybook bridges Suspension bridges of Switzerland

Issue: 2/2015
Whether you are a hiking aficionado or simply a leisurely walker who revels in the scenic outdoors, Swiss suspension bridges offer an unforgettable experience. Here is an overview of seven spellbinding and occasionally vertigo-inducing itineraries.

Peak Walk, Gstaad

Peak Walk, the Swiss Alps' newest hanging bridge and the world's first suspension bridge to connect two mountain peaks, was inaugurated in 2014. The 100-meter long platform connects Glacier 3000 with Scex Rouge in canton Vaud.

At almost 3,000 meters elevation, the brave souls crossing the walkway are rewarded with celestial views of the Alps, taking in the iconic Matterhorn, Mont Blanc and Jungfrau, among 24 other peaks.

You can access the bridge from the View Point station at the top of the Glacier 3000 cable car, situated above the mountain resorts of Les Diablerets and Gstaad.

The Peak Walk is open rain or shine as it was especially designed to survive extreme weather conditions such as heavy snow and 200km/hr alpine winds. Even if you don't brave the impressive structure, the views from the entrance are still spectacular. In spite of the multimillion-franc construction costs, traversing the Peak Walk, as with all suspension bridges in Switzerland, is free.

 

Trift Bridge, Bernese Oberland

Another magical destination is the enticing Trift Bridge, completed in 2004 in Canton Bern.

The mind-blowing balancing stroll along one of Switzerland's longest suspension bridges, overlooking the majestic Trift glacier and the Trift lake, should be on everyone's bucket list!

It takes a nerve-wracking ride on an aerial cable car and then a mesmerizing 2 hours uphill hike to reach this 170m long wonder of human engineering, but it's worth it.

The Trift cable car is a 30 minute car or bus trip from Meiringen in the Bernese Oberland.

 

Handeck Bridge, Bernese Oberland

A smaller suspension bridge also in the Bern region is Handeck. The bridge leads to the steepest funicular in Europe, the Gelmer funicular, which was originally built to transport building materials but is now open to all nature lovers. It whisks you off 1,860 meters above sea level to enjoy a scenic hike around the turquoise mountain lake of Gelmer.

While rollercoasting on Gelmer funicular is not for the faint-hearted, the Handeck Bridge is one of the easiest and lowest suspension bridges in Switzerland, so even an acrophobic can traverse it with ease! It is reachable in 35 minutes by car or bus from Meiringen.

 

Titlis Cliff Walk, Engleberg, Central Switzerland

 

At an altitude of 3,041 meters above sea level and 500 meters off the ground, the Titlis Cliff Walk above Engelberg in Canton Obwalden is Europe's highest suspension bridge.

The Titlis Cliff Walk was built in 2013 along a section of Mount Titlis to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the opening of a cableway which joined the towns of Engelberg and Gerschnialp. The journey to that narrow rope construction from the Titlis mountain station, through a long underground tunnel and an ice palace, is an exciting adventure in its own right - but nothing can beat the otherworldly views and bragging selfies from the Titlis Cliff Walk itself.

 

Skywalk - Europe's longest suspension bridge

 

While Engleberg claims the highest suspension bridge on the continent, the Sattel-Hochstuckli area in Canton Schwyz boasts the longest. The Raiffeisen Skywalk, measuring 374 meters, is Europe's longest hanging treat.

The entrance to the bridge is located near Stuckli Rondo gondola station in Mostelberg and the walk offers fantastic views over the pre-Alpine landscape of the Schwyz valleys and nearby Ägerital lake.

 

The Farinet Bridge, Valais - and the smallest vineyard in the world

Let's move south-east to the small village of Saillon in Canton Valais.

The Passerelle à Farinet is a local pedestrian suspension bridge that spans the Salentze gorge above the river. The nearby Vigne à Farinet is the smallest registered vineyard on Earth (1,67 m2) and currently belongs to the Dalai Lama. The vineyard is made of only three vines and each year famous personalities work the vineyard. The harvest is later mixed with the best wine from the region to produce one thousand bottles which are sold for a charitable cause.

 

Belalp-Riederalp Bridge, Valais


Another thrills-filled crossing in canton Valais is the Belalp-Riederalp Bridge. Accessible only in the summer, the 124-meter long suspension walkway crosses the Massa gorge in the middle of a five-hour postcard-perfect hike between Belalp and Riederalp.

Belalp is accessible by cable car from Brig. The hiking path offers tantalizing views of the 23km-long awe-inspiring Aletsch Glacier, the largest glacier in the Alps.

 

Are you ready to walk through the air and experience Heidi-like lightness of being? Then pick your suspension bridge or two to conquer!

 

 

 

Photo: Trift Bridge © Marina Moeller
Photo: Titlis Bridge © swiss-image.ch / Beat Mueller
Photo: Raiffeisen Sky Walk © Marina Moeller
Photo: Belalp -Riedereralp Bridge © swiss-image.ch / Christian Perrret

Author: Marina Moeller

Marina Moeller is a journalist, who grew up around the world, earned four university degrees in economics, French poetry, accounting and journalism, worked in America, England, Italy and Germany before finally settling down in Zurich. She takes on all kinds of writing assignments and is also always on the lookout for interesting people to interview. Get in touch with Marina if you need any related projects! In addition, Marina is very passionate about Italian art, culture and Venetian glass. She represents one of the top Italian glass companies in Switzerland- Arte di Murano and would be delighted to advise you on their beautiful products!


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