The Trans Swiss trail (National Route 2) is a 488 kilometer, 32 Stage trail that completely crosses Switzerland. It starts near the French border, crosses through the German speaking areas, and ends near the Italian border. When we first started our hike through of this trail in March of 2021, I had a lot of doubts that we would actually hike all 32 stages. But, each stage was so much fun that we had to keep going to the end, and now 2.5 years later, I am happy to say we completed every step. We did all stages as day hikes, except one (Stage 29) where we did it over two days. Read on to find out more about which stages were my favorites, which ones I would skip, and what were some of the more interesting sights we saw along the way.
|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
Stage 29 – Bellinzona to Tesserete
Stage 30 – Tesserete to Lugano (Comano)
Stage 31 – Lugano (Paradiso) to Morcote
Stage 32 – Morcote to Mendriso
Ten Best Stages
Narrowing down the 32 stages to my top ten favorites wasn’t easy, so many of them were really wonderful and I do recommend doing the complete hike through. But, if that isn’t your thing, and you’d rather just do the best parts, listed in the order in which we did them, these are my top ten:
(1) Although the first stage made a great start, it was Stage 2 St-Ursanne to Soubey that left a lasting impression. The town of St.Ursanne is absolutely adorable and hiking along the Doubs river was so peaceful and relaxing. Also, we stopped at a farm and purchased two really wonderful cheeses.
(2) My next favorite was Stage 7 Neuchâtel to Murten. This stage started with a relaxing ferry ride across Lake Neuchatel and ended in the medieval walled town of Murten, with lots of interesting agriculture, nature, history, and geology in between. It also marks where you move from French to German speaking areas (Murten is both.)
(3) Stage 10 Bern to Worb also makes the list, in large part because it starts in Bern. Bern is a fun city to explore, and more than worth adding some time before the hike to check it out. After leaving Bern, the hike follows alongside the Aare river, one of the prettiest rivers in Switzerland.
(4) Stage 14 Eggiwil to Schangnau isn’t the easiest hike, but it most certainly had views to rave about. Although many of the earlier hikes were pretty, this one is where the trail started to feel like a Swiss post card.
(5) Stage 16 Sörenberg to Giswil took us over the Glaubenbielen pass. Not only did this section have spectacular views, but also hidden in the forest, was a giant waterfall (Steibi waterfalls).
(6) Stage 19 Stans to Seelisberg was filled with stunning views of the Vierwaldstättersee both from shore and from above. And, we hiked past another stunning waterfall in the Risleten Gorge.
(7) Stage 23 Andermatt to Passo del San Gottardo felt like an achievement as it was the highpoint of getting us over the Alps. We didn’t have the best weather for this hike, but when we went back to do the next section (which also made my list), we got to see just how pretty it was.
(8) Stage 24 Passo del San Gottardo to Airolo was short but steep, and followed along the windy twisty road. The combination of nature and engineering was a very cool sight.
(9) Stage 26 Osco to Anzonico is part of the Alta Strada or Old High Road. The views were fantastic and it wasn’t particularly difficult.
(10) The last hike to make my list is the second to last section, Stage 31 Lugano (Paradiso) to Morcote. Not the easiest hike, as the beginning is very steep (can be skipped with a funicular), but fabulous views, gardens, and restaurants.
Five Best Stops
Although I think we could have done more exploring along the way, we did make a few stops here and there. These were some of the best:
(1) The Tête de Moine show dairy we visited at the start of Stage 5 (2)The walled medieval city of Murten where we spent some time at the end of stage 7 and the start of stage 8 (3) The Baby-Eater statue in Bern that we stopped to see at the start of Stage 10 (4) The home and hermitage of Bruder Klaus (Nicholas von Flüe), the patron saint of Switzerland that we learned about as we hiked Stage 17 and Stage 18 (5) The Fossil Museum of Santa Giorgio that we stopped at along the way of Stage 32.
Three to Skip
If I weren’t intent on doing every section, I would skip these. They didn’t offer the best scenery, were difficult or time consuming to get to, and just seemed to be a way to get from point A to point B, and not much else. Although I have recently been told that when it comes to great hikes with great scenery, I’m spoiled. You can always check my photo stories to see if you agree with my assessment.
Two for the Timing
I also want to single out these next two trails because I loved them. But, they didn’t make the top ten because I think I loved them only because of when I hiked them. I imagine they don’t make as grand an impression other times of the year. So, if you are doing a hike through, I really recommend trying to hike these two sections in May. They made for two perfect spring hikes.
(1) With the windmills and solar power stations, hiking over “Energy Mountain Stage 4 Saignelégier to St-Imier was interesting, but it was the surprising fields of blooming daffodils that made this hike so incredibly special to hike in early May.
(2) In late May, the rapeseed fields were in full bloom making Stage 6 Chézard-St-Martin to Neuchâtel absolutely stunning. Walking through all that yellow felt magical.
And One Hiking Tip – Always Bring Cash/Coins
If there is one tip I always give for hiking in Switzerland, it is to bring cash, including coins, with you. You never know when you will pass a cheese dairy, self-service farm store, or restaurant- many of which only take cash/exact change.
We tried a lot of different cheeses as we hiked across Switzerland. Some, like Tête de Moine (an absolute favorite of ours) we’ve been able to find in supermarkets later. Others were just labeled “Cheese from Our Cows” and while fantastic, I don’t know of any way other than hiking back to the self-service farm store to get more. And a few, were literal stinkers. But, even when they weren’t great it was lots of fun getting to try so many different and unique cheeses.
Hiking this trail was an incredible way to see the country. The landscapes were awe inspiring and it was truly fascinating to see the cultural changes as we hiked across. Also, I just have to say, Swiss public transportation is amazing. It made it super easy to do all of these point to point hikes and I truly appreciate it.
What next? Why hiking across Switzerland in the opposite direction from Rorschach to Geneva on the Alpine Panorama Trail (National Route 3), of course!