24 Picture Perfect Nature Parks in Switzerland
Switzerland looks like a postcard with its location in the Alps. To the north, you can find the smaller Jura Mountains and the Rhine River. To the east, Lake Constance provides a border with Austria while Italy borders along Lake Geneva. And throughout the country, the Swiss preserve their natural beauty through nature parks. Create your own postcards at one of these 24 nature parks in Switzerland.
The rolling hills of the Aargau Jura sit between the Aare and Rhine rivers. This makes up the largest vacation playground between Basel and Zürich. The countryside features valleys and villages that extend as far as the valley basin of Frick.
+41 (0)62 877 15 04
At 2,998 meters, Piz Beverin in the middle of Beverin Nature Park sets the tone for this park. Covering 370 square kilometers, the valleys of the Beverin Nature Park are home to historically, culturally and linguistically diverse communities, home to 2,500 people in 12 communities.
Center da Capricorns
+41 (0)81 630 70 83
Binntal Nature Park is known for its culture, such as the music village of Ernen, its tulips in Grengiols and its cuisine at several mountain restaurants and in two Gault-Millau restaurants in Ernen. The natural beauty of the park is set off by rare plants and animals.
Chasseral is one of the highest points in the Swiss Jura. Look for cheese dairies, chocolate and on the shores of Lake Biel wine. For a demanding hike, try the Combe Grède, a 6-km crevice that divides the ridge over St-Imier into two parts. Here you can find chamois, marmots, pellegrine falcons and wood grouse.
Parc régional Chasseral
Place de la Gare 2
Case Postale 219
+41 (0)32 942 39 49
Railway enthusiasts call the 130-km Rhaetian Railway between Thusis and Poschiavo one of the most picturesque routes in the world. The Bernina Express passes by Morteratsch glacier, climbs without the help of cogwheels across Europe’s highest railway Alpine pass, the 2,253-metre-high Bernina, and winds down to Poschiavo along daring loops.
The 16-km Diemtigtal Nature Park offers an oasis of wild beauty along the Chirel and Fildrich rivers. Take a trek along the home trail to view the village scape that won the park the Wakker Prize for its beauty and see the architectural delights between Oey and Grimmialp. Within the park you can find the Wiriehorn bike park for an adrenalin rush along with Switzerland’s largest Alpine cheese dairys.
The 40-km Doubs River along the French border gives this nature park its name. South you can find the Freiberg Mountains with their mix of forest and meadow landscapes. Within, you can discover Neuenburg’s Les Brenets with Saut du Doubs Lake (Waterfall) and the medieval town of St-Ursanne.
Association pour le Parc naturel régional du Doubs
6, Place du 23 Juin
Case postale 316
+41 (0)32 420 46 70
Within the 300 square-km Tectonic Arena Sardona you can discover older rock layered over younger, forming mountains and plate tectonics. The Glarus Overthrust rises 3,000 meters from the Vorderrhein Valley. Witness 250-million-year-old greenish to reddish Verrucano rocks topping the 35 to 50 million years brownish-grey, mostly slate-like flysh rock.
UNESCO-Weltnaturerbe Tektonikarena Sardona
+41 (0)81 723 59 20
Central Switzerland’s only biosphere reserve offers moors, craggy karst formations and wild mountain streams. Lucerne’s Wild West shows off moorlands and Alpine pastures over 400 square kilometers.
UNESCO Biosphäre Entlebuch
+41 (0)41 485 88 50
Surrounding Gantrisch Lake is a hiking, biking and sunbathing area known as Gantrisch. The nature park’s educational trail takes you through the Lothar Forest, while the Gantrisch high-rope park takes you up 35 meters to see nature from a squirrel’s perspective. From the Vreneli on the Guggershörnli, admire the view of the Alps from the Tavel monument.
This park is located in the cantons of Fribourg (Freiburg) and Vaud, between the shores of Lake Geneva, La Gruyère (Greyerzerland) and Pays D’Enhaut (Saanenland) and features the bulk of Switzerland’s Alpine cheesemaking industry. Look for wide valley basins, Alpine pastures, forests, rock faces and fields of scree. For natural wonders, turn to the nature reserves such as the Pierreuse or the valley of L’Etivaz.
Parc naturel régional Gruyère Pays-d’Enhaut
Place du Village
+41 (0)26 924 76 93
The Lake Thun - Hohgant Nature Reserve gives you an eyeful with its mysterious moors, adventure-packed caves and a sea of Alpine herbs. The nature reserve extends from the shores of Lake Thun across 350 square kilometers. Here you can find one of the most extensive cave systems in Europe.
Geschäftsstelle Naturpark Thunersee-Hohgant
+41 (0)33 511 27 11
Lac de Joux, the Jura Mountains’ largest lake, sets the scene for the Nature Park in Jura. Forests, marshland, jagged limestone rocks and glades as well as pastureland surrounded by stonewalls make the nature park attract hikers, mountain bikers and snowshoe hikers. Discover its beauty through the 523 kilometers of trails.
Parc naturel régional Jura vaudois
Case postale 33
+41 (0)22 366 51 70
The terraced vineyards of the Lavaux form Switzerland’s largest contiguous vineyard area high above Lake Geneva. Visit one of the charming pintes, mini-restaurants where you can samples wines and food.
To discover the dinosaurs, head to the Monte San Giorgio, known as the Swiss dinosaur mountain. Thousands of fossilized fish and marine animals of up to six meters in length have been discovered. More than 200 million years ago, this was the site of a 100-meter-deep ocean basin. Today, at the southern end of Lake Lugano, the Monte San Giorgio rises like a pyramid filled with all manner of fossils.
The Jungfrau-Aletsch Region contains the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau rock massif and the glacial landscape surrounding the Great Aletsch Glacier, the biggest glacier in the Alps at 23 km. Crossing the glacier you find ice and rocks, Alpine flowers and forests. For less touristy destinations, try the Lötschen, Joli, Bietsch, Baltschieder and Gredetsch valleys.
Managementzentrum Unesco Welterbe
+41 (0)27 924 52 76
Switzerland’s largest regional nature park sits in the heart of Graubünden. About one-third of the 600 square kilometers is untouched nature with scenic stops such as Piz Lunghin, a peak that funnels water to three oceans, or Alp Flix with more than 2,000 species of plant and animal. You can find historic transportation routes, mighty fortresses and 21 authentic villages within Ela Nature Park.
Info- und Buchungsstelle Parc Ela
+41 (0)81 659 16 18
The terrain of Pfyn-Finges Nature Park changes from glacier to vineyard, wetlands to rocky terrain, Alpine huts to castles and German to French. Within nature park reside 12 towns and villages within 238 square kilometers sitting between 530 meters and 4,153 meters above sea level. The park contains the Turtmann Valley with the Barrhorn, Switzerland’s highest hiking mountain, the rocky steppes of Leuk and the Castle of Leuk, renovated by Mario Botta.
+41 (0)27 452 60 60
Switzerland’s first nature experience park has a wildlife park, a tower for viewing Zurich and the largest continuous forest in Switzerland. The Hochwacht viewing tower takes you 30 meters above ground level for views of Zurich and the faraway Alps. Zoo Langenberg Langnau a. Albis is the oldest zoological park in Switzerland. You can see 16 native and formerly native animals like deer, bear, lynx, wolf, wildcat, marmot, hares, elk, wild boar and the Przewalski horse.
+41 (0)44 720 38 85
Engadine’s Swiss National Park takes up more than 170 square kilometers and features 80 kilometers of hiking paths, nature trails and excursion destinations. Head to the visitors’ center in Zernez first to see permanent and changing exhibitions about natural history. This park, established in 1914, contains several castles as well.
+41 (0)81 851 41 41
Situated in the Jura Mountains in the township of Klus in the Balsthal, this central nature reserve spreads through the wide valley of the river Dünnern behind the Weissenstein, the local mountain to Solothurn. Fortress ruins can be discovered on cycling and hiking trails. For an historical look at the area, visit the Haar und Kamm (hair and comb) museum.
+41 (0)62 386 12 30
From the Rhone Valley to the Alps, Nature Park Val d’Hérens sits on the Grand Dixence Reservoir Lake. Peaks reach 4,000 meters around Dent Blanche and the tiny Vallon de Réchy. Visit the Pyramids of Euseigne, the moraines near Ferpècle and the dry meadows of St-Martin.
Parc naturel régional Val d’Hérens
Route de la Vallée
+41 (0)27 281 28 15
Sitting in the Müstair valley is one of Switzerland’s most beautiful mountain valleys and the biosphere reserve in the Romansh language region. The river Rom flows through area, and the themed trail along its banks passes across escarpments and old meadows inhabited by elves and Alpine flowers.
Adula Park contains the Adula Mountain, one of the largest untouched nature areas in Switzerland. The park contains large valleys on the edge of mountains along with geological formations and a varied vegetation. The forest, which covers half of the area, grows at various altitudes leading to pastureland to hill tracts to sub-alpine, frequently steep, mountain slopes.
Centro regionale dei Servizi
+41 (0)91 827 45 47