Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Go Really Green—Camping in Switzerland

When the weather is amenable, camping is an inexpensive and environmental option. In Switzerland there are numerous campgrounds, but camping outside of designated camping areas is forbidden (verboten).

Two Web sites provide campsite information for Switzerland, available in German and English and can be searched by region: and The Swiss Camps site lists thirteen campsites that rent tents (tent is zelte in German). A few sites offer regional camping information—for the Valais area; for the Berner Oberland area; and the Interlaken area

A cross between camping and hosteling is Schlaf im Stroh (Sleep on Straw), for which you need a sleeping bag and a desire for a farm experience. Some of the two hundred and forty farms participating in this program also offer camping, guest rooms or dorm-style accommodations. Prices range from 20 to 30 CHF/person/night. The Web site, offered in German, French and English, is searchable by region using a map or list; Web:

There are hundreds of alpine “huts” across the Swiss Alps. Short and long term hikers can take advantage of these—most are open only in the summer and early fall, while a few are open in winter and early spring. Often local food is served—from homemade butter, jams and breads to vegetables and traditional muesli. Founded in 1863, The Swiss Alpine Club manages the three hundred plus huts. Visit for a map showing hut locations. The site is in German and French, but easily searchable under French “Chercher une cabane” or German “Hütte suchen”—click on the map and then click on any red “hut” dot for more information about that specific hut location.

Whether camping or not, take advantage of the remarkable walking trails, the Wanderweg, that wind through Switzerland.

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