Cross Country Skiing in Switzerland

Nordic nirvana in the Swiss Alps.

St Moritz

Stylish town centre , High-altitude glacier skiing, G...

Great for:

  • Late-season skiing
  • Non-skiers
  • Couples

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

Davos

Off-piste mecca, long ski season, Classic mountain town

Great for:

  • Families
  • Non-skiers
  • Late-season skiing

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

Arosa

Awesome off-piste , New linked ski-area, Sunny, high...

Great for:

  • Off-piste
  • Beginners
  • Nordic walking

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

Verbier

Vast interlinked 4 Valleys area, Vibrant and varied ...

Great for:

  • Families
  • Groups
  • Non skiers

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

Les Diablerets

Charming Swiss village , Glacier skiing, Linked ski area

Great for:

  • Groups
  • Families
  • Short transfer

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

Klosters

Impressive off-piste, Beautiful scenery, Favourite of...

Great for:

  • Families
  • Late-season skiing
  • Foodies

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

Grindelwald

Classic ski destination, Exciting excursions, Linked ...

Great for:

  • Families
  • Scenery
  • Short transfers

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

Zermatt

Glacier skiing, Europe's highest slopes, Awesome scenery

Great for:

  • Groups
  • Off-piste
  • Luxury

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

Villars

Linked ski area , Access to glacier skiing, Charming...

Great for:

  • Groups
  • Families
  • Short transfer

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

Kandersteg

Beautiful scenery, New ski jumping centre, Incredible...

Great for:

  • Cross Country
  • Families
  • Non skiers

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

Top 10 Most Popular

Whether you’re calling it ‘langlauf’ in the north-east, or ‘ski-de-fond’ in the west, Switzerland’s cross-country skiing is rather spectacular: Glide over frozen lakes, pass ancient villages and scale high glaciers, with vast peaks looming overhead.

As you’d expect from a nation of such high standards, the quality of groomers and grooves is exceptional – and when it comes to afters, no-one does spa hotels, après-ski and gourmet restaurants quite like Switzerland.

Switzerland: Top 10 for Cross Country Skiing

St Moritz and cross-country skiing are old friends, and they take to the World Stage each year with the Engadin Ski Marathon. Over 13,000 skiers – pro’s, amateurs, and often some famous faces (Pippa Middleton gave it a bash not long ago) - don their skinny skis for an endurance-testing 42km race between Malorja and S-Chanf. Many of the finest trails here ramp up the mileage: As a warm up you can ski the 35km La Pachifica, or if your post-marathon legs are aching for more, try your stamina on the grand 65km La Diagonela. All in all there are 220km of classic and skating trails to feast your skis on, leading along rivers, over glaciers and through Narnia-like forests. 80km of them skip across lakes, including a glorious 12km red that carves a circuit over the frozen waters of the Sils, Silvaplana and Champfer, skims past dreamy side valleys and covers the stunning Isola peninsula. After the sun sets, there’s a floodlit 6.5km track behind the Kempinski Grand in town, with more night skiing further afield in Zernez and Pontresina.

A 4000m2 store of snow readies these trails for action as early as October, making the cross-country season one of the longest around - no wonder the Swiss, Scandinavian and Russian Nordic ski teams choose Davos for training. 100km of classic and 50km of skate trails are just a double pole push from the doorsteps, and they line the valleys hogging the best views. After a whistle-stop tour of the town (that should always include Höfmanner’s - the local XC specialists), explore the nearby valleys of Sertig and Dischmatal. The terrain here is on the relaxed side, warming you up for a challenge – the 10km Loipe Wolfgang. We’d ski this route all day if we could, as the classic lines that sweep through the quaint village of Schwendi are as smooth and polished as it gets - the only thing breaking the silence is the occasional appearance of the Rhaetian Railway that speeds by in a rush of red. For experts, the Cologna Stutz is the beast to beat: A steep challenge in the Flülatal valley. Named after local langlauf hero Dario Cologna, it was always going to be a difficult one - look out for the man himself who’s a frequent face in the area.

As well as having one of Switzerland’s biggest Alpine ski areas, there’s plenty of room for the 47km network of XC trails here. Shared evenly between Maran, Pratschalp, the Isel and the Obersee, the classic and skating routes do their level best to cover all ground. The 5.4km La Pala race circuit over in Lenzerheide is well-known for being a challenge, but that’s never put off its loyal fan base: Climbing up to 1540m, this black route hikes up the western side of the slope before looping downhill. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the double-tracked Obersee trail keeps things simple and scenic. Winding across the frozen lake, the 1km course is flat and forgiving, peaking at a snowy 1734m. After supper, two floodlit trails (one in Arosa, the other in Lantsch) open at nightfall, letting you ski your socks off all over again.

Coming tops for everything ski and non-ski, it’s just expected that Verbier would do well at cross-country. And boy it does: 22km of premium trails are ours to ski on flat, gentle terrain, meaning the route map’s mostly dashed with green and blue. You hardly have to lift a finger to access some corking trails in the town, with a steady 4km loop running from the Sports Centre, and an effortless 1.8km cruise drifting off from the station. Though it’s well worth using the lift system as up at 2200m, Les Ruinettes (take the gondola from Medran) is the place to be. The 6km round trip usually takes an hour or so to ski, but it can be drawn out into the realms of 3-4 hours if you stop to enjoy the views of the valley. Down in Val de Bagnes, a hefty 10km circuit is reserved for veteran skiers after an intense session. Or, just a hop, skip and a jump away is a 2km alternative in Plamproz, where everything’s easy-going and oh so peaceful.

A combined 45km of classic and skating trails loop their way around Les D, gliding towards Isenau and all the way up to the snow sure Glacier 3000. Close to home, a 9km interconnected circuit twirls through the town and out into the trees for a smashing start of day warm up. Another 10km stretch of steady terrain carries skiers out to L’Eglise, starting between the sports park and the Eurotel Victoria. A 5km track here’s kept aside just for novices, while anyone more au-fait with their skis continues on via the 20km marked track, through snow-capped forest and rolling fields towards Creux-de-Champ. Over in Isenau is an easy goal, a 6km route follows tramlines and a pristine groomer from the arrival zone of the telecabin down to Les Moilles, with access also possible from Col du Pillon. Last but far from least: the Sommerloipe up on the Glacier 3000 is the first track to open in the valley each season, and it’s sunny, sleek and utterly superb.

23km of classic, 23km of skating and 3km of night trails are open here during peak season, with even more over in Davos and Wiesen should you fancy a change of scene. The talk of the town is no doubt the steady 5.1km loop from the centre, via Aueja and the frozen expanse of the Schwaderloch Lake - a breeze even for the newest of skiers, both styles are welcome along the double tracks. Almost as long, the Baretschuhti climbs altitude and meanders through dense forest, managing to cram in a bird’s eye view of the Davosersee – cameras at the ready. Keeping things simple and flat, 3.6km of sleek lines create connections between Parsenn, Monbiel and Bundelti, giving newbies the best of both worlds with comfortable terrain and charming vistas.

Gorgeous Grindelwald’s 30km of langlauf loops start off from Grund and split off into classic and skating trails towards Schwendi, Gletscherschlucht and Lauterbrunnen. 4km of parallel tracks pull skinny skis towards Schwendi, framed by the extraordinary Eiger and thick forest borders, all the while following the roaring Schwarze Lutschine River that flows through the heart of resort. Split evenly between the two styles, a 14.5km circuit links Grund to Gletscherschlucht via a zig-zag that jumps the river and floats through the trees. The class act here is a 12km route from Grund to Lauterbrunnen – with your race time recorded at midway Stechelberg (thanks to an online ranking system), continue on for a hidden valley like no other where frozen waterfalls abound.

Like the village and its surrounding peaks, Zermatt’s cross-country is pretty spectacular. Often combined with a dash of downhill or winter walking, the days’ worth of grooves and groomers here mightn’t go on for miles, but they’re some of the most scenic you’ll ski. Getting the best of Zermatt’s one-of-a-kind backdrop, all 15km of the challenging routes have been laid out for fine angles of the Matterhorn. Täsch at the base of the valley is mostly flat but requires all the concentration and endurance of more difficult routes – the 10km SNO favourite here climbs 260m and reaches 1485m altitude at its peak. Anyone hoping to burn some serious KCAL should head straight for Randa: an expanse of white makes way for a 4.8km track that throws up steeps and the occasional rewarding descent.

The trails here wind their way through wooded valleys and past crystal waters in the most remote areas of the region, opening up views of Lake Geneva, Mont Blanc and the Dents du Midi. A simple 1.5km loop on the local golf course kicks off the day, with the rolling terrain setting the rhythm – and from then the altitude climbs ever upwards. Head out from the Roches Grises, where an exhilarating early steep is followed by a straightforward 3.9km glide that carries your skis all the way to La Plane. Serving as a crossroads, tramlines split off from here in a spider web of intricate lines, but there’s one trail we never miss – the 1.5km route to Bois des Tines. Besides running through flawless white, this is the doorway to a gruelling 1.6km mountainside trail that finishes up with the Col de la Croix viewpoint; pick a clear day and the sights will blow your socks off.

Going the extra mile to gather new recruits, Kandersteg does everything to make its beginner XC experience live up to Swiss standards. 52km of terrain is primed for different levels and, in previous years they’ve held ‘Try It Out’ weeks to nudge newbies onto the gentlest groomers. A 3km classic blue (just off the entrance to the Hotel des Alpes) is an easy-to-conquer loop that keeps things plain sailing, while for more experienced skiers, a 5km red loop provides a 2 hour classic and skating workout of bends and straight sections. To really up the ante, head to the Nordic centre car park, where a 10km black crams in all terrain types and has some rewardingly fabulous views. Outside the main skiing zone, anyone taking the Sunnbüel cable car skywards will reap the rewards - here you’ll find a 5km route (doable for all abilities, though beginners might want to walk the first bit) that has superb, sunny panoramas and lands itself slap bang in the centre of the Bernese Alps.

Switzerland’s most super cross country ski resorts have made our top ten list for their excellent trail conditions, incredible variety and gob-smacking scenery.

If you’re happy to consider other countries, see our guides to the best Nordic resorts in France, Italy and Austria - or see the best ten worldwide here.

Switzerland cross country ski resorts

Resort Length of Nordic ski trails Best cross country trail Holidays from (price per person)
St Moritz 230km Sils-Silvaplana-Champfer (12km) £677
Davos 150km Loipe Wolfgang (10km) £642
Arosa 47km La Pala (5.4km)
Verbier 22km Les Ruinettes (6km) £567
Les Diablerets 45km Les Diablerets – L’Eglise (9km)
Klosters 49km (local), 150km (area) Schwaderloch Lake 5.1km £525
Grindelwald 30km Grund – Lauterbrunnen (12km) £518
Zermatt 15km Täsch cross-country ski trail (10km) £644
Villars 50km Roches Grise (3.9km)
Kandersteg 52km Nordic centre black trail (10km)

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