Hanging Bridges and Cliff Walks – a dose of Adrenaline for your vacation
by Pepe Strub, July 10, 2020
Suspension bridges and Cliff Walks are definitely ‘en vogue’ in many of Switzerland’s tourist destinations these days. Imagine the fresh air, snowcapped mountains and your heart beating with every step you take. Walking over a suspension bridge or being on a cliff walk should be part of every Swiss vacation!
Besides serving as tourist attractions, some of these Suspension Bridges also make life easier for locals as they shorten walking times from a remote valley to a more populated area. A few of them can be reached by public transportation while others include strenuous hikes of several hours. Sophisticated in design and daring in heights, these impressive structures offer a unique experience. Cliff Walks are walkways or suspended trails close to the edge of a cliff or on a rock wall descending into the abyss below. These are easier to reach and you will find them close to the mountain tops and over some glaciers.
Both suspension bridges and cliff walks are perfect activities that combine the unsurpassed Swiss nature with an adrenaline feeling that will cater to your inner adventurous self. But I must warn you, both Cliff Walks and Suspension Bridges are not for people who are afraid of heights. They tend to create sensations in your tummies that feel similar to being on a roller coaster. The adventure itself is awesome and worth every minute!
Here are some of the most popular suspension bridges and cliff walks you can find in Switzerland:
Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge on the Europaweg (above Randa, near Zermatt)
Looking down to the Matter Valley the world’s longest pedestrian hanging bridge above Randa is a thrilling experience. The bridge is 494 meters long and connecting the Europaweg hiking trail from Grächen to Zermatt at a high altitude. From Zermatt take the train to Randa and follow the signs starting at the Randa train station. The hike up to the suspension bridge takes about 2 hours.
Peak Walk Suspension Bridge on Glacier 3000 (near Gstaad)
The first suspension bridge to connect two mountain peaks can be found on top of Glacier 3000. The “Peak Walk by Tissot” is free of charge for Glacier 3000 visitors and is open year round (depending on weather conditions). From Gstaad take the bus to Col-du-Pillon and from there the cable car to Glacier 3000.
Titlis Cliff Walk on Mt. Titlis (near Lucerne)
The Titlis Cliff Walk holds the record for being the highest suspension bridge in Europe. 3,041 meters above sea level and 500 meters off the ground it can be reached by train from Lucerne to Engelberg and then with the Titlis Rotair cable car up to Mt. Titlis. The suspension bridge stretches from Mt. Titlis to the Ice Flyer glacier chair lift station.
Sigriswil Panorama Bridge over Gummi Gorge (near Thun)
The suspension bridge between Sigriswil and Aeschlen gives visitors a magnificent view of the famous Bernese Oberland peaks, the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau, as well as Lake Thun. Extending 340m over the Gummi Gorge at 180m above ground, it links the villages of Aeschlen and Sigriswil and was one of the shooting locations for the South Korean TV series “Crash Landing on You”. From Thun to Sigriswil take bus #25 until Sigriswil. Or from Thun to Aeschlen take bus #21 to Oberhofen, and there change to bus #24 to Aeschlen.
Furi Suspension Bridge (above Zermatt)
The Furi suspension footbridge hangs 90 meters above the Gorner Gorge. Seeing the foaming waters below reveals tremendous natural forces at work. The 100 meters long suspension bridge leads from one side of the valley to the other and is easily accessible from Furi above Zermatt.
Belalp – Riederalp Suspension Bridge (Belalp, Riederalp, near Brig)
Hiking between Belalp and Riederalp you can experience the peaceful atmosphere surrounding the Aletsch. Enjoy the views of the ancient and protected Aletsch forest and the largest glacier in Europe, the Aletsch Glacier. This was one of the first suspension bridges, it’s 124 meters long and spans over the 80 meters deep Massa Gorge. From the Brig train station take bus #624 until Blatten b. Naters where you will find signs pointing you into the right walking direction.
Tissot Cliff Walk on First Mountain (above Grindelwald)
The First is a lesser known mountain on the other side of Mt. Jungfrau. Very much a hiking and adventure mountain, it is a great destination for families. Not only does the First include the Tissot Cliff Walk, but visitors can also enjoy the First Flyer and Glider (some kind of ziplines), the Mountain Cart and the Trottibike Scooter. Best of all, the Cliff Walk is free if you hike your way up there! From Interlaken take the train to Grindelwald and then either walk or take the cable car to Mt. First.
Schilthorn Thrill Walk on Mt Schilthorn (above Murren, near Interlaken)
Mt. Schilthorn is my preferred mountain peak in the Jungfrau region as it provides best views of the three famous peaks: Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau including a 360 degree panoramic view of the entire surrounding area. One stop down from Schilthorn at Birg, you’ll find the “Thrill Walk,” a suspended walkway built onto the side of a cliff. I recommend stopping at Birg on your way down to Murren. From Interlaken take the train to Lauterbrunnen/Stechelberg and from there the cable car to Murren and on to Mt. Schilthorn.
The Swiss prowess for engineering and precision is playing a big part of the bridge’s popularity and they can be found all over the country. Don’t be afraid to say yes to a new adventure and live this wonderful experience… believe me, you won’t be disappointed!