Kandidat Nationalpark Park Adula

Any nature lover’s heart will skip a beat in Parc Adula. Located in a pristine natural landscape, Switzerland’s largest National Park will soon open its doors officially.

Regionaler Naturpark Beverin

Three valleys, two cultures and one park with deep gorges, intact townscapes, crystal-clear mountain lakes and ibexes. The majestic ibex watch over the park’s wild and natural landscape.

Regionaler Naturpark Landschaftspark Binntal

The Binntal offers surprises at every turn. This tributary valley in the Valais is rich in minerals, which await discovery by amateur geologists in the Lengenbach quarry or on the guided tour with reflectors.

Parc naturel régional Chasseral

There are many different aspects to the Chasseral, the splendid mountain ridge that overlooks western Switzerland: wild gullies, hospitable valleys, windswept plateaus, pastures and vineyards.

Regionaler Naturpark Diemtigtal

With its cultural treasures and extensive landscape, the Diemtigtal Nature Park is an ideal destination for excursions. Hiking trails lead along streams, past old wooden houses and through luscious Alpine meadows and forests.

Parc naturel régional du Doubs

The Doubs River forms a natural border for 40 km between Switzerland and France. The river continues its course through wild gorges, passing through Goumois and continuing all the way to Clos du Doubs before re-entering France.

Regionaler Naturpark Parc Ela

Offering a spectacle of nature over 548 square kilometres, Parc Ela in the Albula and Surses Valley is Switzerland’s largest nature park. Mires, dry grasslands, mountain lakes and forests await discovery there.

Regionaler Naturpark UNESCO Biospähre Entlebuch

Hardly any other region in Switzerland can boast as many natural treasures as the “Wild West” of Lucerne. It is no surprise that Entlebuch has been listed as a Unesco biosphere reserve.

Regionaler Naturpark Gantrisch

Years ago, little Gantrisch mountain lake was on the verge of siltation. Today, this mountain lake shimmers once again in the scenic mire landscape. Hikers encounter cows and goats, and, with a little luck, they may spot some chamois.

Parc naturel regional Gruyère Pays-d’Enhaut

People, nature and culture unite in impressive harmony here. Historic villages adorn rugged hills. The La Pierreuse and Vanil Noir nature reserves are outstanding in their beauty.

Parc naturel régional Jura vaudois

The Jura Vaudois Nature Park extends from the Givrine pass near Saint-Cergue to the small medieval town of Romainmôtier with its famous abbey.

Regionaler Naturpark Jurapark Aargau

Nestling between the rivers Aare and Rhine lie the hills of the Aargovia Jura. This is the largest natural recreation area between Basel and Zurich. At the heart of the park lies the Tafeljura.

Regionaler Naturpark Pfyn-Finges

Grasslands and biotopes, idyllic mountain villages and towns, sloping vineyards and one of the largest spruce woods in the Alps: the Pfyn-Finges Nature Park presents enormous natural diversity in a small area.

Parc Naziunal Svizzer

Thanks to its amalgamation with Val Mustair Parc in 2010, the first Alpine UNESCO biosphere reserve was able to double its area. A truly magical location.

Regionaler Naturpark Thal

The Thal Nature Park is something of an insider secret. Nestling in the hills of the Solothurn Jura, nature can be enjoyed here at any pace: while cycling, hiking, climbing and feasting in the mountain restaurants.

Regionaler Naturpark Biosfera Val Müstair

The idyllic Val Müstair is a world in itself. Lush green meadows and picturesque villages form a stark contrast to the wilds of the nearby National Park. A unique landscape, a tranquil paradise.

Naturerlebnispark Wildnispark Zürich Sihlwald

Switzerland’s first nature discovery park is a place of mystery. In the largest beech forest on the Swiss Central Plateau, nature works its magic and creates a fairytale realm.

Candidato parco nazionale del Locarnese

This National Park extends from the sub-tropical Brissago islands to the snowy peaks of the Ticino Alps. The area, where the African and the European continental plates meet, is one of considerable contrasts.

All parks at a glance

Zur Detailansicht die gewünschte Region anklicken.

List of all Switzerland's parks

Treasures sky-high

Any nature lover’s heart will skip a beat in Parc Adula. Located in a pristine natural landscape, Switzerland’s largest National Park will soon open its doors officially and thereby provide protection for unique natural treasures such as the Greina high plateau and the sources of the Rhine. Efforts are also being made to promote environmentally friendly tourism to ensure the sustainable development of the park. The park takes its name from is Mount Adula, also known as Rheinwaldhorn.

Excursion tip: Calanca Valley panorama trail

From Braggio/Stabbio to Selma: 5.6 km. Hiking time: 2:10 hours. The panorama trail provides visitors with spectacular views of numerous picturesque villages, the large fir and larch forests, the impressive cliffs and the valley’s many gorges.

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Home of the ibex

Three valleys and two cultures all in one park. The Beverin Nature Park is renowned for its deep gorges, intact townscapes, crystal-clear mountain lakes and ibexes. The majestic ibex thrive on the steep rock faces around Piz Beverin (2998 metres) and watch over the Beverin Nature Park, whose wild and natural landscape stretches across 373 square kilometres.

Excursion tip: Veia Traversina

From Thusis to Zillis: 12 km. Hiking time: 5 hours. Among the highlights of the first leg of the “Via Spluga” cultural hiking trail are Hohen Rätien castle, a wooden suspension bridge and the Punt da Suransuns stress-ribbon bridge.

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Unexpected treasures

The Binntal offers surprises at every turn. This tributary valley in the Valais is rich in minerals, which await discovery by amateur geologists in the Lengenbach quarry or on the guided tour with reflectors. And that is not all. The idyllic mountain village of Ernen is a wonderful destination for gourmets and music lovers, with classical music concerts of international standing. In Grengiols, a unique type of wild tulip blooms in the rye fields in May. Niederwald is the hometown of Cesar Ritz, who founded the Ritz-Carlton hotel chain.

Excursion tip: Römerweg (Roman Road)

From Binn to Grengiols: 11 km. Hiking time: 3:30 hours. The hiking trail starts in the “mineral” village of Binn, continues along the historical path through the wild and romantic Twingi Gorge, and ends in the “tulip” village of Grengiols.

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Authentic living

There are many aspects to the Chasseral, the splendid mountain ridge that overlooks western Switzerland. The pastures, vineyards, wild gullies, plateaus and valleys bear testimony to a fierce desire to live with dignity. The pioneering spirit of the earliest inhabitants can still be observed in the area’s hi-tech products. Quality watches, famous cheeses, dependable values: these can all be savoured while walking, breathing, eating and observing life in this spectacular park.

Excursion tip: Mont Sujet trail

From Les Prés d'Orvin to Twann: 12 km. Hiking time: 3:20 hours. This varied hike through very attractive landscape leads up to Mont Sujet and along the Sculpture Path down to Lake Biel.

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Our valley, your park

With its cultural treasures and extensive landscape, the Diemtigtal Nature Park is an ideal destination for excursions. Hiking trails lead along streams, past old wooden houses and through luscious alpine meadows and forests. Theme trails provide specific information about the beauty and secrets of nature, such as the rare Rosalia alpine beetle. The Grimmimutz discovery trail leads families to a series of recreation points. Young nature lovers can discover the joys of getting wet at the water playground.

Excursion tip: “Fünf-Sterne” (Five Star) trail

From Oey-Diemtigen to Grimmialp: 16 km. Hiking time: 4 hours. There are many valley hiking trails, but this one is unique. It follows the Filderich and Chirel streams and leads through lush meadows and forests.

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River, border and link

The Doubs River forms a natural border for 40 km between Switzerland and France. In Les Brenets, this wonder of nature is particularly impressive because here the river becomes a tranquil turquoise lake flanked by steep cliffs before plunging to the depths at the Saut-du-Doubs waterfall. You can reach the waterfall on foot from the pier. The river continues its course through wild gorges, passing through Goumois and continuing all the way to Clos du Doubs before re-entering France.

Excursion tip: Saut-du-Doubs

From Les Brenets to Biaufond: 21.2 km. Hiking time: 6:25 hours. After three kilometres, the hike arrives at the first highlight, the ‘Saut-du-Doubs’ waterfall. It continues along the Lac de Moron and on to the dam.

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The largest nature park

Parc Ela is located in the Albula and Surses Valley. It is the largest nature park in Switzerland, offering a spectacle of nature on a stage encompassing 548 square kilometres. Mires, dry grasslands, mountain lakes and forests await discovery there. The historically important Alpine passes Albula, Julier and Septimer have provided Ela Park with a wealth of cultural assets, fortified castles and 19 villages, which have maintained their original charm. The Rhaetian Railway’s Albula-Bernina line, which winds its way through Ela Park, is a Unesco World Heritage site that you can enjoy not only by train, but also along the many hiking trails.

Excursion tip: Exploratour

From Julier Hospiz/La Veduta to Bivio: 11.4 km. Hiking time: 5 hours. The Parc Ela trail “From the Continent to the ocean bed” presents geological  treasures at every step and turn.

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Hiking on ground as soft as cotton wool

Hardly any other region in Switzerland can boast as many natural treasures as the “Wild West” of Lucerne. It is no surprise that Entlebuch has been listed as a UNESCO biosphere reserve. The park is an enchanting world of unspoiled mires alternating with idyllic Alpine meadows and the majestic Mount Schrattenfluh. Whether you decide to visit the Kneipp spa centre, take a guided tour, go on a five-day discovery hike of the mires or head off on your own across the soft terrain, Entlebuch offers a wealth of hiking opportunities.

Excursion tip: Hike along the banks of the river Emme

From Sörenberg to Emmenbrücke: 54 km. Hiking time: 12 hours, ideally a three-day trip. There is much to discover along the Little Emme River, from the river’s source to its confluence.

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Rescue of an idyllic mountain lake

Many people fought to save this gem of a lake, which was on the verge of siltation years ago. The long hours put in by volunteers succeeded in saving little Gantrisch mountain lake. Today, this mountain lake once again shimmers in the scenic mire landscape. A short hike leads from the lower Gantrisch lodge to the lake’s shore. You will meet cows and goats along the way, and if you happen to have binoculars, you might even spot a couple of chamois.

Excursion tip: Upper Gürbetal valley trail

From Kehrsatz to Mühleturnen: 17 kilometres. Hiking time: 5 hours. This enjoyable mountain trail near the city of Bern runs along Mount Längenberg above Gürbetal valley, and provides views of the Alps and traditional Swiss farmhouses.

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Landscapes and people

In the Gruyère Pays-d'Enhaut Regional Nature Park people, nature and culture unite in impressive harmony: rugged hills dotted with shingle-roofed alpine huts and historic villages with their stone bridges over the River Saane bear witness to a centuries-old culture. Today the local people still celebrate their pride in their region with numerous folk festivals and customs. And they take delight in the wonderful countryside, the La Pierreuse and the Vanil Noir nature reserves are outstanding in their beauty.

Excursion tip: Hike between Hochmatt and Vanil Noir

From La Villette to Granges: 21.4 km. Hiking time: 7:25 hours. This marked route through the mountains on the Fribourg-Vaud border traverses a richly varied landscape.

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From nature to culture

The Jura Vaudois Nature Park stretches from the Givrine pass to the small medieval town of Romainmôtier with its famous abbey. The park has a rich variety of natural features: tranquil forests, mysterious mires, wide open grasslands and karst rocks. The region is a great place for mountain biking. And for those who enjoy a less strenuous hike, there are numerous traditional auberges and buvettes – farmhouse inns – serving local specialities.

Excursion tip: Over the summit of the Swiss Jura

From Le Sentier to Montricher: 16 km. Hiking time: 5:30 hours. The 1679-metre ascent of Mont Tendre is rewarded with a breathtaking panorama of the Alps and the Lake Geneva basin.

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A green paradise

Nestling between the rivers Aare and Rhine lie the hills of the Aargovia Jura. This is the largest natural recreation area between Basel and Zurich, where hikers can delight in majestic fir trees, slopes dotted with orchids, rocky plains and vineyards. It is the perfect place to relax, discover and enjoy your surroundings and get some exercise. At the heart of the park lies the Tafeljura between Frick and Villigen, an area of high plateaus giving views far into the Alps. The Aargovia Jura, with its original valleys and villages, provides a gentle contrast to the built-up areas along the Aare and Rhine.

Excursion tip: Hike in cherry country

Round trip: 5.5 km. Hiking time: 1:30 to 2 hours. The delightful
 “Chriesiwäg” (Cherry Trail)  is a thematic route and conveys useful information about cherry growing and the many uses of the fruit.

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The biodiversity hotspot on the language boundary

Grasslands and biotopes, idyllic mountain villages and towns, sloping vineyards and one of the largest spruce woods in the Alps: the Pfyn-Finges Nature Park presents enormous natural diversity in a small area and has an astonishing variety of landscapes, flora and fauna. The Nature and Landscape Centre in Salgesch provides information about the area and local hiking trails, and organises guided tours with botanists, ornithologists and geologists.

Excursion tip: “Bärenpfad” (Bear Path) hiking trail

From Unterems to Oberems: 6 km. Hiking time: 2:45 hours.
The Bear Path trail leads along delightful wooded tracks, old-fashioned villages and across the famous Bärensteg or ‘bear bridge’. Spectacular cable car rides round off the experience.

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The forerunner of all Alpine national parks

In the context of nature conservation in Europe, the Swiss National Park assumes a truly pioneering role. Founded in 1914, it was the first national park in the Alps, and has the highest classification as a wilderness area. In addition to animals and plants, all natural processes within the park are strictly protected. The 80-km-long network of trails enables visitors to experience this fascinating landscape and its dynamic processes at close quarters.

In 2010 the Swiss National Park and the neighbouring Val Müstair Biosphere were amalgamated to form the UNESCO-Val Müstair Parc Naziunal Biosphere reserve.

Excursion tip: Margunet

From Stabelchod to Il Fuorn: 8 km. Hiking time: 3 hours. The nature trail leads from the Ofenpass forests to the high Alpine meadows with their rich flora and fauna, and provides a glorious panoramic view over half of the national park.

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Ideal at any pace

The Thal Nature Park is something of an insider secret. Nestling in the hills of the Solothurn Jura, this is a place where nature can be enjoyed at any pace. You can cycle through countryside, which is dotted with ruined castles, or hike along the thematic trails and discover more about the region’s flora and fauna, geology, and local myths and legends. Alternatively, you may want to try out your climbing skills. And the less energetic can enjoy a good meal in one of the mountain restaurants.

Excursion tip: “Wolfsschlucht” (Wolves’ Gorge) trail

Circular trail from Welschenrohr. 14 km, 4 hours. On this hike you can experience the many different aspects of the Thal Nature Park. It begins with an ascent through the wild and romantic Wolfsschlucht (Wolves’ Gorge).

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Where nature can be itself

The idyllic Val Müstair is a world in itself. Lush green meadows and picturesque villages form a stark contrast to the wilds of the nearby National Park. This unique region received no less than two awards in 2010. The Val Müstair is now both a regional nature park and forms part of the Val Müstair UNESCO Alpine Biosphere Reserve - Parc Naziunal Svizzer, the Swiss National Park. A gentle walk along the high ‘Senda Val Müstair’ trail affords wonderful views of this quiet paradise and leads through pine forests and Alpine flower meadows.

Excursion tip: Senda Val Müstair

From Ofenpass to Lü: 9 km. Hiking time: 3 hours. This is a varied walk which takes you past the idyllic little mountain lake of Lai da Juata and affords a marvellous view of, among other highlights, the imposing summits of the Ortler range.

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Where wilderness takes root

Switzerland’s first nature discovery park is a place of mystery. Since 2000, the Sihlwald forest has largely been left to its own devices and nature is now working its magic in the largest beech forest on the Swiss Central Plateau. The result is a fairy-tale realm full of gnarled trees and roots and decomposing natural debris. The Sihlwald provides both a recreation area for the inhabitants of Zurich, and a place to discover and experience nature. Native species such as the bear, wolf and lynx can be found in the Zurich Langenberg Nature Discovery Park.

Excursion tip: Wilderness trail through the Sihlwald forest

From Hausen am Albis to Horgen: 12 km. Hiking time: 3:15 hours. The hike leads right across the Wildnispark Zurich Sihlwald. The Albishorn is reached after a steep ascent. The trail ends at Lake Zurich.

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Where Africa and Europe meet

The Locarnese National Park Project extends from the sub-tropical Brissago islands to the snowy peaks of the Ticino Alps. This area, where the African and the European continental plates meet, is one of considerable contrasts: people live busy lives among palm trees at the lakeshore while, no distance away, untamed nature reigns in isolated valleys, wild gorges, dense forests and on majestic mountain peaks. The area is dotted with secluded villages of ancient stone houses, churches and chapels bearing testimony to a once lively Alpine culture.

Excursion tip: Bordei in Centovalli

From Intragna to Rasa: 10 km. Hiking time: 2:45 hours. The route leads through a wild and romantic chestnut wood and along the ancient bridle path as far as Ponte Romano, the oldest arched stone bridge in the valley

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Plan your trip

Every park is worth a visit

Many of the Swiss parks are within easy reach of the major Swiss towns and cities. The travel planner shows you the best way to the Information Centre of the park of your choice.

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Order map

The information map is available to order free of charge. It tells you about the Swiss parks and where they are located. A brief portrait of each park is also provided on the back of the map.
The campaign

Swiss Parks of National Importance are characterised by their scenic beauty, rich biodiversity and valuable cultural heritage. The people within the park communities are committed not only to preserving this valuable resource, but also to improving and utilising it for the economic and social development of their region.

Parks of National Importance are divided into three categories: National Parks, Regional Nature Parks and Nature Discovery Parks. These three park types have different organisational structures and pursue different goals.

The Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) awards the park label for a period of ten years to park projects that fulfil all federal requirements. At the same time, the park authority can grant the product label to individuals or organisations whose products and services are sustainably produced and provided within the grounds of the park.

Significant scenic, natural and cultural value

Of significant value in a Park of National Importance are forests and waters rich in biodiversity, rare habitats such as marshlands, alluvial zones and dry meadows, and unique landscapes of exceptional beauty such as the Jura Heights in Aargau or the glaciers in Parc Adula (GR). In addition, the buffer zones around National Parks and Regional Nature Parks are areas of well-tended cultural landscapes, unspoilt villages and valuable cultural assets such as the St. Johann Monastery in Val Müstair (GR), which is a UNESCO world heritage site.

Backed by the people

Parks are established not on the drawing boards of administrators, but in the hearts and minds of the local people. The latter must give the impetus for the creation of a park. Only then will the federal government support a park project and award it the park label – provided all requirements are fulfilled. The local communes play a considerable role in the park authority, making strategically important decisions about the park.

Preserving value and promoting sustainable management

Increasing numbers of communes in Switzerland are adopting policies based on sustainable development. This is particularly noticeable in the parks, where the inhabitants are aware of the special nature of the local and regional area and of the value of the landscape. This value also lies in the villages and the culture of the people living there. Communes within the parks work together to develop visions and strategies to preserve these values and utilise them to develop their communities sustainably.

Closer than you think

The information campaign „The Swiss Parks – Closer than you think” of the Federal Office of Environment tries to raise awareness of Swiss parks and motivate the public to visit one or more parks.

Campaign objectives

Since 2008 Switzerland has created a number of Parks of National Importance in all language regions. Further parks are in the development stage. Awareness among the general public of these new parks and what they have to offer is still small. The information campaign aims to raise awareness of Swiss parks and motivate the public to visit one or more parks.

The Parks of National Importance are not only areas of beautiful countryside and huge natural and cultural value, they also offer a range of attractions for the local communities and for visitors.

The campaign aims to:

  • Raise public awareness of the Swiss Parks brand

  • Position the Parks of National Importance as institutions offering exciting outdoor, countryside, cultural and gastronomic experiences

  • Sensitise the public to Swiss parks as forward-looking projects which encourage innovation and cooperation and create identity and added value

  • Create a positive and authentic image for Swiss parks

  • Raise public awareness of the location of Parks of National Importance and of their special features: what makes them particularly attractive and how they can be visited.

Campaign sender and further information

The Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) is the sender of the «Swiss Parks – Closer than you think» information campaign.

The campaign is based on the legal requirement (Parks Ordinance Art. 29 para. 4) to raise the profile of the Swiss Parks brand.

The Swiss Parks Network and the individual parks support this campaign with communication activities and by providing attractions for the local communities and visitors.

 

Further information

For further information click on the following links

Desktop view

Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN)

Swiss Parks Network

 

Contact

paerke(at)bafu.admin.ch