Guidebook

Via Alpina: Ancient Paths Leading to a Greener Future

The sustainability-minded, high-altitude trail connecting the 8 countries of the Alps. The Via Alpina consists of 5 ways, this guidebook is for the Green Trail.

Description

The Via Alpina is a hiking network of epic proportions. Five interwoven trails totaling more than 5000km in length criss-cross all eight countries of the Alps: Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Slovenia, and Switzerland. The routes take you through everything from the ancient Walser villages of Piedmont, to the glistening Altaussee salt mines in Austria, connecting lush meadows on valley floors to craggy peaks in the sky. The trail has been designed to take hikers through all the major massifs, regions, geologies, and historical sights, and also to lesser-known attractions that deserve a place on the map.

Since 2014, the Via Alpina has been under the responsibility of the International Commission of the Protection of the Alps. An NGO committed to preserving Europe’s most magnificent mountain range, the Alps are under immense ecological pressure, in part from the 120 million visitors they see each year. The director of the project, Claire Simon, would like to “diversify the unlimited ski-tourism industry with respectful, low-impact alternatives.” And so the Via Alpina was created in 2002.

Its sustainability-minded design criteria meant that no new paths were built for its inception. Existing ones could be refurbished, and the use of tarmac was avoided where possible. As many of the paths have existed for centuries, you will find yourself walking through the passages of time, from ancient trade routes to pilgrim ways, and also the grazing paths of shepherds and their sheep in the Bronze Age.

The route scarcely passes through cities, taking hikers on a journey away from modern civilization, transporting them to the high-altitude world of meandering alpine trails and mountain huts. Hiking the entire Alpina would take years, so luckily, the route has been divided into 342 day-long chunks, each ending with a mountain hut where you can eat, sleep, and meet fellow wanderers!

The Green Trail is the shortest route in the Via Alpina, crossing the Valley of the Rhine from Liechtenstein to Switzerland. It passes through no less than five cantons and three massifs: Rätikon, Central Switzerland, and the Bernese Alps. Get to know the Green Trail’s 14 stages in this guidebook.

Sources
http://www.via-alpina.org/en/
https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/04/11/hiking-the-via-alpina

Via Alpina Green Route C1: Sücka to Vaduz
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Via Alpina Green Route C1: Sücka to Vaduz

3 - 4 hrs
13.3 km
364 m
1,205 m
A 12.5km hike through Lichtenstein's mountain woodlands and to historical landmarks.
Moderate
Private
Via Alpina Green Route C2: Vaduz to Sargans
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Via Alpina Green Route C2: Vaduz to Sargans

3 - 4 hrs
17.8 km
486 m
461 m
A 17.7km hike through woodlands, valleys and marshland crossing over from Lichtenstein to Switzerland.
Moderate
Private
Via Alpina Green Route 3a: Sargans to Weisstannen
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Via Alpina Green Route 3a: Sargans to Weisstannen

3 - 4 hrs
12.9 km
821 m
305 m
A 12.4km hike through a valley, meadows, woods and past a castle.
Moderate
Private
Via Alpina Green Route 3b: Weisstannen to Elm
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Via Alpina Green Route 3b: Weisstannen to Elm

6 - 7 hrs
22.0 km
1,322 m
1,333 m
An epic hike full of waterfalls, rolling green pastures, woodlands and steep climbs.
Moderate
Private
Via Alpina Green Route C4: Elm to Linthal
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Via Alpina Green Route C4: Elm to Linthal

7 - 8 hrs
22.3 km
1,578 m
1,919 m
A 22km hiking challenge with steep ascents and technically tricky descents through beautiful alpine landscapes.
Difficult
Private
Via Alpina Green Route C5: Linthal to Urnerboden
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Via Alpina Green Route C5: Linthal to Urnerboden

4 - 5 hrs
15.0 km
996 m
271 m
A short burst of steepness followed by an easygoing, relatively flat trail.
Moderate
Private
Via Alpina Green Route C6: Urnerboden to Altdorf
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Via Alpina Green Route C6: Urnerboden to Altdorf

6 - 7 hrs
28.0 km
865 m
1,790 m
Featuring some of the best views on the whole Via Alpina Green Route.
Moderate
Private
Via Alpina Green Route C7: Altdorf to Engelberg
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Via Alpina Green Route C7: Altdorf to Engelberg

1 day +
28.2 km
2,128 m
1,577 m
26km full of stunning views and varied terrain.
Difficult
Private
Via Alpina Green Route C8: Engelberg to Meiringen
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Via Alpina Green Route C8: Engelberg to Meiringen

Engelberg
7 - 8 hrs
29.7 km
1,391 m
1,794 m
Starting off as a tough climb up to a fantastic lookout point and ending with a gentle descent.
Difficult
Private
Via Alpina Green Route C9: Meiringen to Grindelwald
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Via Alpina Green Route C9: Meiringen to Grindelwald

6 - 7 hrs
23.2 km
1,531 m
1,098 m
Featuring a waterfall made famous by Sherlock Holmes.
Moderate
Private
Via Alpina Green Route C10: Grindelwald to Lauterbrunnen
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Via Alpina Green Route C10: Grindelwald to Lauterbrunnen

Bernese Oberland
5 - 6 hrs
20.9 km
1,345 m
1,580 m
The highlight of this 21km section is the climb up the Kleine Scheidegg where you get glorious views over the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau.
Difficult
Private
Via Alpina Green Route C11: Lauterbrunnen to Griesalp
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Via Alpina Green Route C11: Lauterbrunnen to Griesalp

Grindelwald, Wengen and Mürren
7 - 8 hrs
21.5 km
1,920 m
1,322 m
Pass through the exclusive ski and spa town of Mürren on this 20km stretch of the Via Alpina.
Difficult
Private
Via Alpina Green Route C12: Griesalp to Kandersteg
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Via Alpina Green Route C12: Griesalp to Kandersteg

6 - 7 hrs
16.6 km
1,405 m
1,620 m
This stage features a climb up to the Hohtürli Pass, the highest point on the Via Alpina trail through Switzerland.
Difficult
Private
Via Alpina Green Route C13: Kandersteg to Adelboden
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Via Alpina Green Route C13: Kandersteg to Adelboden

5 - 6 hrs
16.6 km
1,352 m
1,180 m
Tough uphill climbs, zigzagging descents, and of course, magical views!
Difficult
Private
Via Alpina Green Route C14: Adelboden to Lenk
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Via Alpina Green Route C14: Adelboden to Lenk

3 - 4 hrs
13.4 km
651 m
923 m
The final stage of the Via Alpina Green Route!
Moderate
Private