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Aktualisiert: 20. Juni 2022

If you are Swiss, you probably took your first steps on a hiking trail or are very familiar with walking through nature. As per the Schweizer Wanderwege Association, more than 50 percent of Swiss people hike regularly. Hiking is an athletic and physical activity most popular in the Alpine country. More than 65.000 kms of marked trails on flat, mountain and alpine paths constitute a real paradise.

Text: Connie Radavero

When expats come to live to Switzerland, they sometimes find the hiking experience intimidating because it is an unknown chapter. When Melinda and Robert Schoutens came from Pennsylvania to live in the Basel region fifteen years ago, they decided to remove the barriers and started hiking. Through wandering on the Swiss trails, they discovered the sensations that hiking aroused in them. Hiking is both challenging because one probes his/her own mental and physical strength as well as building self-confidence. As soon as they became parents, they realized they did not want to give up hiking and looked for hikes that were more appropriate for young kids. Suddenly they received all kinds of questions and inquiries from their expat friends. They gathered all the information forbeautiful, family-friendly hiking routes and decided to share them in their first book: Fresh Air Kids Switzerland: 52 Inspiring Hikes That Will Make Kids and Parents Happy. Their books are published by Helvetiq, a Swiss publishing company. Fresh Air Kids Switzerland is published in English, French and German.

Throughout the pages, they prepared a complete guide for beginner hikers. Starting with an introductory chapter where they included the basic information on how to read trail markers, basic gear as well as behavior and safety. Then they described each of the 52 hikes including useful information such as a map, the elevation gain or descent, the length and duration of each hike as well as special features or tips. They closed their book with a fun chapter that talks about baking, activities, treasure hunts and even topics for conversation while hiking in the Alpine country. In 2022, Melinda and Robert set out on another writing adventure and launched a new book: Fresh Air Kids Switzerland: Hikes to Huts. This book is aimed at seasoned hikers who want to challenge themselves and therefore, combine hiking with an overnight in a mountain hut or hostel. Mountain huts are unique lodgings in gorgeous settings. Sometimes a physical challenge to get to them is required, but hikers are compensated with breathtaking views. Some of them are so remote that they must be catered by helicopters.

This summer is the perfect time to go beyond your limits and start hiking. Cross your comfort zone and step into Switzerland’s Alpine landscapes! Let Switzerland’s geography enchant you and your family! Hiking is a MUST-DO pastime when living in this awesome Alpine country set among stunning mountains and crystalline lakes, all the while listening to cowbells!


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