Hiking in Switzerland. There's something about the sound of that sentence that conjures up images of lush green hills, Heidi, farm animals, and mountaintops. Well, let me tell you- I had a faint inkling of what the experience would be like, and the real thing far surpasses anything you could imagine.
When I was first researching what things we absolutely had to do while in Zürich, the Planetenweg "Path of the Planets" hike from Felsenegg to Uetliberg kept popping up. Naturally, that got put on the list. And I'm so glad, because this was the absolute highlight of our time in Zürich, personally.
For those of you sitting through humpday at your desk, I'm going to take your minds on a little adventure, vicariously through my photos. Starting off with some quick facts to know while preparing for this hike, then off on a photo story!
Before you go:
HOW TO GET THERE:
Google maps directions are a big help here-- for those of you in city center, take the S4 train from Zürich HB to Adliswil (8 stops, about 15 minutes). After getting off at Adliswil station, follow the obvious street signs for Adliswil Luftseilbahnstation/Felsenegg Cable Car (about 10 minute walk, slightly uphill).
ABOUT THE CABLE CAR RIDE TO FELSENEGG:
The timetable depends on the season, and you can check it here. In the summer, it runs every 15 minutes from 8:05am. We took the 9:05am cable car and had it all to ourselves. The cable ride itself lasts about 10 minutes to reach Felsenegg
ONCE YOU REACH FELSENEGG AND EMBARK ON PLANETENWEG TO UETLIBERG:
There is one and only one restaurant right a few feet away from the Felsenegg cable car station- the Felsenegg restaurant. I suggest you grab a water, some food, and use the facilities if you plan on taking your time on the hike. Once you start the path to Uetliberg, simply follow the signs for Planetenweg and main pathway- we managed easily without a map and directions.
DIFFICULTY/DURATION OF HIKE:
The hike is quite suitable for all fitness levels. It is quite easy with only some inclines/declines sprinkled throughout, but at the very end if you would like to climb to the summit of Uetliberg, there are many steep stairs. The hike on average takes people 1.5-2 hours. We would have comfortably finished the hike in 1.5 hours if we weren't stopping so frequently for photos! This is averaging around a 3.0-3.5mph walking pace.
GETTING BACK TO ZURICH FROM UETLIBERG:
Follow the signs to get to the Uetliberg train station (about a 10 minute walk from peak), and take the S10 train towards Zürich HB (8 stops, about 20-25 minutes).
Now, let's hike!
Views from the bottom of and during the cable car ride. We were a bit groggy from waking up early to kick off the morning early with this hike, and admittedly a bit cranky. But once we got on the cable car and started elevating higher and higher, our tiredness quickly dissipated as we started realizing what kind of view we were being treated to.
Once we got to the top at Felsenegg, we hopped off our cable car and headed over to the Felsenegg Restaurant for a bite to eat before kicking off our hike. Boyfriend introduced me to melange, which is espresso with milk, topped with either milk foam or whipped cream. We had some mountaintop melanges, along with some fresh fruit and a little breakfast at this adorable family-run restaurant while marveling at the unreal view. As we ate, the morning fog began to lift, and we were able to see more of the Alps in the distance.
We then started our hike on Planetenweg towards Uetliberg. First, it was a path of a ton of thick forest pine trees
Then we came across an opening to a jaw-dropping landscape.
Yes, really. Not photoshopped one bit. Being a city girl, I've never seen this many cows up close in my life. My Midwestern boyfriend was extremely amused with my reactions to these picturesque little (well, not little in size) cows with the bells around their necks, happily grazing on grass in these large open fields.
After boyfriend managed to tear me away from the cows, we continued on for more gorgeous scenery. So much gorgeous scenery that it all started to blend together in beautiful shades of green. I remember closing my eyes, making sure to remember the one-of-a-kind crispness of the fresh Swiss mountain air filling my lungs, the breeze of the absolutely perfect 70 degree day, the dirt under my feet, and the sounds of nature surrounding me.
Finally, we reached signs to climb to the peak of Uetliberg. As I'm excited to see the view from the top, I attack the steep stairs a little too ambitiously and find myself a little more winded than I'd like to admit to myself. After a lot of heavy breathing and bright red flushed faces, we both clambered to the top and took in the view. Oh glorious Switzerland, you are just a dream. These views are what stock photo wallpaper for computers and phones are based off of.