Want to try out wild camping in Switzerland? It is a popular and adventurous activity that has become popular among adventurers. Switzerland is known as one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Which draws campers from all over.
So to help you start planning, we broke down the best wild camping spots in Switzerland. Including what to do and what to not do. How to prepare and, most importantly, where to find these hidden gems. Keep reading to find out about the best wild camping spots in Switzerland.
Wild Camping Situation in Switzerland
Wild camping in Switzerland is, in general, not allowed. However, I still have good news 🙂
Where is Wild Camping in Switzerland Allowed?
In Switzerland, wild camping is allowed above the tree line in the mountains, on alpine pastures, and in rocky terrain,
This is why overnight backpacking when hiking (means you have your backpack ready with your camping gear, just in case) is a common way to find camping spots. Be sure to research the area you are planning on going to ensure the safety of both you and the land.
Where is Wild Camping in Switzerland Forbidden?
You are not allowed to camp in hunting areas, nature reserves, or wild rest zones in most cases. Camping in the famous Swiss National Parks is also banned. However, sometimes there can be exceptions in some of these areas. I recommend reaching out to the reserves or areas directly if interested in camping there. You can find their phone numbers on Google Maps and they are pretty responsive.
What do people usually do?
If you are caught wild camping in places that are on the banned list, prepare to pay a hefty fine. Fines start at 1,000 euros and can be even more if you are caught on the spot. In addition, rangers and workers in protected lands could easily spot you.
It is better to stay on land that you know you are allowed to be. Not only to avoid a fine but also to avoid unnecessary stress and problems.
Most of the campers opt for an above-the-tree-line place. There, they are safe and have great views of the mountains.
What to Know if You Get Caught
Depending on the agent’s mood, things can go from forgiveness to a verbal warning to paying the fine.
Usually, there are not as many agents as peaks in the alps. Therefore, campers get usually caught when locals see them. Locals then report this to the police. In some cases, the police get to the reported spot on a helicopter as it is most convenient for them as hiking all the way up. In this case, things become really expensive.
You usually won’t be arrested as long as you follow directions and leave the area.
How to Find Legal Place to Wild Camp in Switzerland
Want to begin your Wild Camping Adventure but don’t know where to go?
First thing first, I usually rent a car via this trustworthy website (have been using it for a while) and set up my itinerary.
Second, luckily this app can show you where not to go. It provides a detailed view of nature, wildlife, and Swiss Parks. It also indicates hiking trails in the areas for those looking to do a day trip rather than an overnight trip. This app will help you avoid camping on banned sites.
What are the Best Wild Camping Spots in Switzerland?
Camping in Nufenenpass
Nufenenpass is located in the Swiss Alps. It is one of the tallest mountain passes in the country of Switzerland. You will take a bus to the top of a mountain pass of Nufenen Pass Passhole. The area is breathtaking, surrounded by panoramic views of mountains. There are also two alpine lakes nearby for those wanting to be near water.
Camping is allowed here, and the area is known to be relatively flat.
Tip: Being above the treeline can cause high winds, especially when storms hit. This area is ideal for Wild Camping as it provides endless mountain views.
Try this hike, which is an exciting way to reach the village of Nunfen. The 10-mile hike of San Bernardino – Val Curciusa – Nufenen is ideal for those looking for a fun day hike during their WIld Camping adventure.
Camping in Lauterbrunnen
South of Interlaken is Lauterbrunnen. A gorgeous wild camping spot with views of the rocky cliffs. To get here, you can take the train from Interlaken Ost. From there you will go to the southern part of the area, south of the town.
Begin your hike to the canyon through forested areas. Eventually, you will reach a vibrant green field where you can set up a camp. Want to see a waterfall while getting a 3.9-mile hike in? Then head over to the Lauterbrunnen – Mürren trail. A stunning path filled with mountains and greenery.
Honestly, Lauterbrunnen deserves an extra night with some given comfort. Hotel Staubbach will do the best job 🙂
Camping in Arolla
Take on the highest camping spot in all of Europe! Camping Arolla, which sits at 1,950 meters above sea level. The camping area is located in Val d’Herens-Valais, at the base of the mountains.
Be Careful: Due to the elevation, the weather can become deadly here if you are not prepared.
Well-seasoned campers should be the only ones taking on this unique wild camping destination. The views and experience make the uphill trek worth it! A popular hiking spot in the area is Alpine Passes Trail – Stage 26: Arolla – Cabane de Prafleuri. Try out this 12-mile point-to-point trail!
Camping in Croy
A secluded wild camping spot in Switzerland is Croy. It is located north of Lausanne and can be accessed by train, getting off at Eclepens. From Eclepens you can take a bus to Pompaples. This brings you directly to this lush forest area.
There are hiking trails that lead you to the camping area. Enjoy the remoteness and quiet nature sounds of this area. Nozon: St Loup – Croy is an 8.4-mile trail that is rated as moderate, a must-try before finding your camping spot.
Camping in Vallorbe Caves
Try Wild Camping at the Vallorbe Caves. This area is located very close to the border of France, in northwest Switzerland. It provides a vast forest with running rivers and frequent wildlife.
To get here, you can take the bus from Vallorbe to get closer to the area by heading down Rue des Grottes. From there you can enter the forest wherever you would like. Be sure to take on one of their day hikers. Saut du Day via Rue de Pêcheurs is a 7.1-mile trail. It is rated as a moderate and fun trail to do before heading to your wild camping spot.
How to Get around in Switzerland?
When you don’t have a car, you could rent one on this trustworthy website.
Although public transportations are comfy and usually available, they are a little expensive in Switzerland. Sharing a rental car (especially if you are going camping in a group) is more convenient.
What to Pack for your Wild Camping in Switzerland?
Choose the Right Backpack
Did you find your dream wild camping spot, and now you’re ready to hit the road? Before you go, make sure you have your packing list completed. First, find yourself a good backpack with lots of room and compartments. Backpacking backpacks can be found at REI on their website here.
Pick a Suitable Tent
Next, grab a tent that can easily fit in your backpack. Since you will be hiking to your destination, the less weight you have to carry, the better. You can review and purchase the top backpacking tents here.
Don’t Forget your Sleeping Pad
Small sleeping pads make all the difference when sleeping on rocky ground. The extra comfort will allow you to fall into a deep sleep without the back pains. The Klymit Static V Sleeping Pad is highly recommended for backpacking.
Companies such as Mountain House have yummy dinner packets that can be cooked quickly. Ranging from a hearty breakfast skillet to savory chicken parmesan.
Always Bring an Extra Layer
Don’t forget your layers! Even if your camping begins with sunny and warm skies, that will quickly change. Once the temperature drops in the mountains, so will your body temperature. Bring extra layers for nighttime and sleeping. It is better to be over-prepared than under-prepared when wild camping.
Make Sure to have the Main Camping Dishes
Don’t forget your pots and pans! Cookware is essential when wild camping. You can explore numerous lightweight sets on Amazon here. Don’t forget lots of water and food pouches.
Ethics of Wild Camping
Following the ethics of wild camping is so important when visiting Switzerland. You need to make sure you follow the 7 principles of leaving no trace. Ever heard of them? We will break them down for you.
Plan Ahead and Prepare
Planning properly makes or breaks a safe trip when heading into the backcountry. This involves checking the weather, route and making sure the people you are with can handle the journey you planned. In addition, this helps keep each other safe.
Travel & Camp on Durable Surfaces
Respecting the land we hike and camp on is fundamental. Staying on marked trails will help preserve the natural area. Try to camp on rocky, sand, or gravel since they are more durable. Your goal should be to respect the surrounding area where you are planning to sleep.
Dispose of Waste Properly
Disposing of human waste is necessary when camping. Pack-out systems are offered in some camping stores. Some camping areas allow you to dig your own Cathole. It is essential to check this before doing so.
Leave What You Find
Yes, it is always tempting when you find a souvenir you want to take home with you. However, a pretty rock or fresh flowers are not allowed to take. Be sure to leave what you find where you find it. This plays an essential part in keeping the land alive and healthy.
Minimize Campfire Impacts
There is nothing better than cozying up around a campfire under the stars. However, it is crucial to be mindful when building a fire. It is best to do it in more wooded areas and keep the fire small. Building a fire in an existing fire ring is the best way to keep the land safe.
It is important to remember that we are in the home of wildlife. Animals such as bears, coyotes, elk, and mountain lions are just some of the animals you may run into. So don’t spook them and give them space if you see one in the distance.
They usually don’t want to run into you either, so it is important to let them know you are not a threat. Do not approach wildlife at any time, and respect their home.
Be Considerate of Other Visitors
We are all out there to disconnect and enjoy nature for the same reasons. Be kind to other hikers or campers that you run into in the backcountry. Be mindful and see if they are safe or need help. We need to stick together when in remote areas to ensure safety.
What Kind of Weather to Expect on a Wild Camping
Switzerland’s climate is usually moderate, with no heat waves or freezing temperatures. In the Summer Months, plan to enjoy temperatures of 18 to 28 °C, with no humidity. During the Spring and Fall months, temperatures hit an average of 6 to 15 °C. The winter months -10 to 7 °C.
Wild campers need to keep in mind that these temperatures drop even lower when entering higher elevations. That could make winter hiking temperatures go into single digits. So the other concern you should have is the weather.
Also, be sure to check the forecast before adventuring. Since most legal camping areas are above the treeline, you need to be cautious. Rain or snowstorms without the proper gear can leave you freezing and in danger.
Best Arranged Campsites in Switzerland
Wild camping is not for everyone, as some travelers like to have a designated area to camp at. However, if you are one of those people who want that extra comfort, then look no further. We have listed the top five camping sites in Switzerland.
Camping Delta is a family-owned campground and park that hosts some of the most beautiful campgrounds. There are over 250 plots of land to camp at, some with private gardens.
The activities here are what makes it so exciting! First, take advantage of their sports, including volleyball, tennis, kayaking, soccer, and biking. Then, take the kayak out on the Maggiore River, which has two beaches to relax.
La Pinte du Vieux Manoir
For a luxurious option, spend a night glamping in La Pinte du Vieux Manoir. This resort-style campground is set on the lakeside of the stunning Lake of Murten. Relaxation is the game’s name here, known for peace and hospitality.
The Glass Diamond is a treehouse camping experience. This property does not offer the usual rugged camping but provides glamour and camping. The best is, it is one of the two glamping resorts in all of Switzerland!
TCS Camping Geneva-Vésenaz
A more traditional campground is TCS Camping Geneva-Vésenaz. Located in Geneva is a campsite site surrounded by willow trees and the banks of Lake Genova. Pitching a tent and relaxing under the stars is a popular activity here.
The grounds provide washrooms and restaurants. So you can still enjoy a piping hot meal at their restaurant on the property while still getting the benefit of outdoor camping.
For a bizarre yet very unique camping experience, stay at the Bubble Hotel. Technically you won’t be sleeping outside, but it will look like you are. This clear bubble is located in the forest of Romanshorn.
This clear bubble allows you to sleep under the stars while being protected by the transparent barrier. Your bed will be located inside the bubble, while chairs and tables will be located outside. The area is surrounded by vineyards, gardens, and orchards. A fun way to get out, in the middle of nature.
Relais de la Sarvaz
For a low-key campground, try Relais de la Sarvaz. Nestled on the side of a mountain are easily accessible tent sites. The area is located a few minutes away from the spa town of Saillon.
Spend your day hiking through the Valais Vineyard. Mountain biking and rock climbing are some other activities for you to try. After a day of activities, spend your evening soaking at the Saillon’s thermal baths, which are not far from the campground. You can book your accommodation on the site Pitchup here.
Switzerland on a Campervan or Motorhome
Traveling via motorhome or campervan is becoming popular among travelers. Saving money on hotels while being in the comfort of your own temporary home is tempting. Especially when you can park in the middle of nature and still be under the Switzerland sky.
The most popular driving route starts in Basel, then stops in Interlaken & Lake Brienz.
From there head to Lauterbrunnen & Grindelwald to Wengen & Murren. Glacier 3000 and Montreux, Lausanne, Gruyères will be your next stop. Eventually, ending your route with a stop in Zermatt, and finally back to Basel.
Since you are not allowed to park your camper wherever you would like in Switzerland. This route will provide you access to designated camper sites. You can park them at campsites or motor parks.
You can rent one pretty easily on Roadsurfer. A helpful hint is to pick up your Swiss Vignette before hitting this road. This small sticker, sold at gas stations, will act as your toll pass on the motorways.
Final Thoughts about Wild Camping in Switzerland
Wild camping is an excellent activity for adventurers coming from worldwide, but be sure to follow the rules. It is important to respect nature and its surroundings so future travelers can also explore these vast areas.
Spending the night under the Switzerland sky is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for many. The views of the majestic snow-capped mountains and lush green meadows will take your breath away. Convinced yet? Pack your gear and hit the road. The beauty of Switzerland is waiting for you!