When choosing a walking, hiking, trekking tour in Switzerland and/or Italy, it is important to know what to expect. The last thing one wants is to find oneself dealing with more than one has bargained for.
With the following information we strive to give you a good idea of the difficulty level of any given tour. It is a challenging task, however, as many are the variables. If in doubt, please contact us, and we will be happy to help you choose the right active vacation for you.
Walking – Two-three hours per day, on most days of the itinerary. Wide gravel or country roads, comfortable mule paths, and/or paved roads, on hilly terrain. Slight and gentle uphills and downhills. Sightseeing or exclusive visits in the afternoons. Multiple nights in each hotel.
Hiking – Three-five hours per day. Well-maintained trails through pastures, forests, in mountainous, alpine environment. Some trips require up to six-seven hours of hiking, on any given day. When on gravel roads, steeper uphills and/or downhills. The second half of the afternoon may be dedicated to sightseeing or to exclusive visits. Multiple nights in each hotel.
Trekking – Five-seven hours, on any given day. Some longer days. Challenging terrain, alpine trails and passes, glaciers, higher altitudes. Generally, steep uphills and downhills. Focus is more on natural scenery than sightseeing or exclusive visits. Single overnights in each accommodation. Some of the accommodations may be modest.
Easy – Well marked paths on easy, gentle or slightly hilly terrain. Good health required. No specific physical fitness requirements. The hikes can lead along paved or gravel country roads, as well as easy walking paths and trails. Low elevations, 200-500 m/650-1600 ft. Sneakers with good soles are acceptable.
Easy to Moderate – Well-maintained hiking paths/trails, some uphill and downhill. Good health and some physical fitness and endurance, good balance, sure footing, and concentration required. Elevations between 500-900 m/1600-3000 ft. Hiking shoes with good lug sole or lightweight hiking boots required.
Moderate – Well-maintained hiking trails, can be uneven and strewn with rocks. Some ascents and descents on steeper gradient. Good health, physical fitness and endurance, good balance, sure footing and concentration are required. Elevations between 900-2000 m/3000-6600 ft. Lightweight or mid-weight, ankle-high hiking boots with good lug soles are required.
Moderate to Strenuous - Alpine trails in mountainous environment. Potentially long and steeper ascents and descents. Rocky and uneven trails. Optimal health, physical fitness and endurance required. Good balance, sure footing and concentration a must. Elevations between 1500-2700 m/4900-8900 ft. Mid-weight, ankle-high hiking boots with good lug soles required.
Strenuous - Alpine trails, steep and rocky. Long ascents and descents, with possible elevation gains and drops of up to 1400 m/4500 ft. Some stretches of trail could be secured with railings or chains. Optimal health, physical fitness and endurance required. Good balance, sure footing and concentration a must. Elevations between 1800-2900 m/5900-9500 ft. Mid-weight, ankle-high hiking boots with good lug soles required.
Very Strenuous - Alpine trails on very challenging terrain. Steep ascents and descents, boulder fields, glaciers, and snowfields. Exposed areas. It may require sleeping at high elevations and/or in mountain huts. Tour guided by a licensed UIAGM/IFMGA mountain guide. Excellent health, physical fitness and endurance, excellent balance, sure footing and concentration a “must”. Participants must have no fear of heights or exposure. Elevations up to 3500 m/11500 ft. Heavy weight, ankle-high boots with good lug soles, or mountaineering boots, required. May require carrying a heavier backpack with extra gear.