Se­cret Swiss gold

For out­door ex­plor­ers seek­ing wild alpine ad­ven­tures away from the madding crowds, hik­ing and bik­ing in Switzer­land’s enig­matic east is the per­fect way to ex­pe­ri­ence the soul­ful soli­tude of the moun­tains.

Australian Geographic Outdoor - - Contents - Words Pat Kin­sella

Head to the moun­tains for great hik­ing and MTB

It should come as no sur­prise that Switzer­land

– the coun­try where the con­cept of tourism was born and a na­tion whose to­pog­ra­phy in­spired the Toblerone – has some of the best hik­ing and bik­ing in the world.

Posh pen-wield­ing Poms like Lord By­ron be­gan wan­der­ing in the rare air of the Swiss Alps over two cen­turies ago, kick­ing off the tra­di­tion of the Grand Tour, and be­fore long Thomas Cook started of­fer­ing pack­age hol­i­days into the white-pointed peaks of the beau­ti­ful Ber­nese Ober­land.

Well-heeled globe trot­ters con­tinue to en­joy jaunts to the Jungfrau Re­gion and so­journs to swanky vil­lage re­sorts like St Moritz all year round, but de­spite the peren­nial pop­u­lar­ity of this much-traf­ficked desti­na­tion, Switzer­land still has some se­crets, many of them in the wild east, tucked away in the ter­rific ter­rain of Thur­gau, St Gallen, Ap­pen­zeller­land and Graubün­den.

And the re­ally good news is, you don’t nec­es­sar­ily need a bulging bling-stuffed bank ac­count to ac­cess them – just a pair of boots and/ or a bike. Here’s a fist­ful of ad­ven­tures to start you off.

Moun­tain bik­ers can ride the trails of the Swiss Na­tional Park just one day each year, dur­ing the Na­tion­al­park Bike-Marathon.

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