Hiking the Trans Swiss Trail – Stage 7 Neuchâtel to Murten
Stage 7 of the Trans Swiss trail is a 19 km long hike with a 360 m ascent and a decent of 340 m. The trail technically goes from Neuchâtel to Murten, but as you cross Lake Neuchâtel with the ferry, you don’t actually start hiking until you reach Cudrefin (the 19k distance does not include the ferry ride). We enjoyed this hike a lot as it had so much variety. After the ferry ride, we hiked through a swamp, along a canal, past crop fields (wheat, potato, onion, among others), up to a look point, down through vineyards, and then along a lake shore. We ended the hike by strolling through the cobblestone streets of a walled mediaeval town. This was definitely an interesting hike!
|Where:||Neuchâtel to Murten|
Canton Neuchâtel, Canton Vaud, and Canton Fribourg, Switzerland
|Train/Bus:||Zürich HB -> Neuchâtel, (bateau) – 1 hr 40 min|
Zürich HB -> Cudrefin, place de la Tour – 2 hrs
Murten -> Zürich HB – 1 hr 41 min
|What:||Trans Swiss Trail – Stage 7 Neuchâtel to Murten|
Yellow trail markers – Trans Swiss Trail Route 2
|Skill:||Medium – About 4 hrs 50 mins|
Length 19 km, Ascent 360 m, Descent 340 m
Note: If you are starting at Neuchâtel, (bateau) add an additional 30 minutes for the ferry ride to Cudrefin to the total time.
|Stage 1 – Porrentruy to St-Ursanne|
Stage 2 – St-Ursanne to Soubey
Stage 3 – Soubey to Saignelégier
Stage 4 – Saignelégier to St-Imier
Stage 5 – St-Imier to Chézard-St-Martin
Stage 6 – Chézard-St-Martin to Neuchâtel
Stage 7 – Neuchâtel to Murten
Stage 8 – Murten to Laupen
Stage 9 – Laupen to Bern
Stage 10 – Bern to Worb
Stage 11 – Worb to Lützelflüh
Stage 12 – Lützelflüh to Langnau i.E.
Stage 13 – Langnau i.E. to Eggiwil
Stage 14 – Eggiwil to Schangnau
Stage 15 – Schangnau to Sörenberg
Stage 16 – Sörenberg to Giswil
Stage 17 – Giswil to Flüeli-Ranft
Stage18 – Flüeli-Ranft to Stans
Stage 19 – Stans to Seelisberg
Stage 20 – Seelisberg to Erstfeld
Stage 21 – Erstfeld to Wassen
Stage 22 – Wassen to Andermatt
Stage 23 – Andermatt to Passo del San Gottardo
Stage 24 – Passo del San Gottardo to Airolo
Stage 25 – Airolo to Osco
Stage 26 – Osco to Anzonico
Stage 27 – Anzonico to Biasca
Stage 28 – Biasca to Bellinzona
The Trans Swiss Trail is best done with public transportation as each stage starts and ends at different points. Stage 6 ends at the ferry port in Neuchâtel. If you are doing stage 7 as a through-hike, you need to take the ferry from Neuchâtel to Cudrefin to continue with stage 7. We were doing it as a day hike, so we considered taking the train/bus directly to Cudrefin to start the hike, but a boat ride on Lake Neuchâtel sounded like a lovely way to start our day, so that’s what we did. So pretty and relaxing!
After coming into port, we took some time to admire the view from shore and then headed on our way down the trail.
There are a couple of restaurants at the ferry port and it might have been a good idea to linger a bit longer as many of the people on the ferry were also hiking the same trail we were, making the start of the hike a bit mored crowded than I like.
The Trail – Cudrefin to Mount Vully
Just a few hundred meters from shore, the trail takes a left, past a parking lot. If you were walking directly from from the closest bus stop in Cudrefin (place de la Tour) towards the ferry port, this would be where you would join the trail.
From here, the trail, goes along the shore and through a pretty big camping area. After passing the camping area, the trail enters the Grande Cariçaie nature reserve. The trail description said that it is the “home to the largest number of bird species in the country.” We didn’t see a lot of birds, but we could definitely hear them! What the trail description didn’t mention was this also seemed to be home to the largest number of insects in the country. I should have guessed it though, considering we were basically hiking through a swamp. I regretted not wearing insect repellent.
After leaving the nature reserve, the trail continued alongside the La Broye canal. In June, the tall grasses sometimes overwhelmed the path. I was careful to check myself for ticks when we came to open areas in the path, and fortunately never found any. Again, I regretted not wearing insect repellent. Learn from my mistake.
With the swamp and tall grass behind us, the hike improved considerably as we were now hiking though some absolutely gorgeous farmland. There is just something so calming and joyful about seeing fields and fields of growing food.
As the trail continued towards Mount Vully, we got some beautiful views of the valley before heading into the forest for a steep climb. In the forest, we passed a row of concrete pipes. I’m not sure what they are for, but based on the faded text that I couldn’t quite read on the concrete and a bit of googling they appear to be part of a military installation built in 1917. When we exited the forest, we got a lovely view of the valley over a field of rapeseed, now in the seed-pod phase. After seeing all the blooming rapeseed fields during stage 6, it was interesting to see the plants in this new phase.
After were were done admiring the view, we continued on our way back into the forest. Here, we came across a sign pointing us towards a “Bloc Erratique.” I misread the sign and totally imagined seeing something completely different than the large boulder in the second picture. Anyway, erratic boulders, are simply boulders which have traveled from their original locations and whose placement indicates the movement of glaciers. The Louis Agassiz boulder on Mount Vully is believed to have originated somewhere in the Furka pass and is named for the 19th century Swiss geologist who mapped it.
As we continued up to Mount Vully, we passed through more forest, and a few more crop fields, including a few fields of onions. Near the top of Mount Vully, we passed the structure in the third picture below. This structure is a reconstruction of part of an ancient fortress wall. Mount Vully is a interesting archeological site (French, English) and traces of human activity have been found here dating back to the Mesolithic era (approx. 6000-5000 BC). However, the most represented period is the Second Iron Age (approx. 120 – 80 BC), and it is when the original fortress was most likely built.
At the top of Mount Vully is a picnic area and benches with expansive views. If we had remembered to pack sandwiches this would have been the perfect spot to take our lunch break. Alas, we did not.
The Trail – Mount Vully to Lake Murten.
The Mount Vully picnic area is the high-point of the hike and from here on out it was downhill til we reached the lake. On the hike down, we got a good view of the Chasseral summit that we first spotted on stage 4, now looking quite far away.
As we continued our hike, we entered the Vully vineyards, the smallest of the large wine regions in Switzerland. We didn’t do any wine tasting this hike, but the Murten tourism website lists a number of wine cellars that offer it.
After leaving the vineyards, the trail headed down to the town of Sugiez. Our hike through town included picking up some sandwiches at a local bakery for our lunch, crossing the canal, and passing a landscaping area with what looked like one of every kind of tree. It was quite striking. We also paused to check out a metal dragon sculpture in front of a local motorcycle repair shop. The dragon was very well done and I loved its curious, mischievous expression.
From Sugiez to Murten, we first hiked along the canal before turning into the forest on a very straight path. This path paralleled the lake shore, however, most of the time the lake was not visible from the trail. Luckily, there were a few look-out points along the way.
When we reached this long line of tank barrier stones, the trail hooked around them and past a campground and continued through the forest. When I first saw the sculptures in the second picture below I could not figure out what they were. It wasn’t until we got right up to them that we noticed they were easter eggs. They were obviously a trap laid by the three vicious looking bunnies hiding among the leaves on the other side of the trail.
As we approached Murten, the trail went along the lake shore. When we reached the ferry port, we turned away from the lake and headed up into the town of Murten.
The Trail – Murten
Murten is a charming little walled mediaeval town with cobblestone streets and plenty of cafes with sidewalk dining.
We had read that you can climb on the old city walls and we considered doing it, but we were pretty much feeling done for the day.
To end the hike, we headed away from the old town and to the train station to catch the next train home.
This was a really interesting hike and Murten is a cute town to end the day in. We’ll be back to do stage 8 and hopefully we can try one of the cafes and take some time to do a bit of exploring before we start the next stage.
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