A guide to wild camping in Switzerland 

A guide to wild camping in Switzerland 

by Clara Avrillier

Updated June 16, 2023

Switzerland is renowned for its breathtaking alpine landscapes, pristine lakes and picturesque valleys. It is therefore the ideal place for adventure seekers and nature lovers to experience the beauty of wild camping. In this article, we’ll review the rules of wild camping in Switzerland, including where you can legally do it. We’ll also take a look at some of the best camping sites in the country.

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The basics

First and foremost, is wild camping legal in Switzerland? While it is not permitted in most places, the country does allow wild camping in the mountains above the treeline. This means that camping in many nature reserves, valleys, forests and other similar areas — including the Swiss National Park — is not allowed. 

It’s important to remember that regulations can vary depending on the canton, so it’s always wise to check specific local rules before embarking on your adventure. Also, you are only allowed to wild camp at one specific location for one night at a time. 

As is the case with any wild camping adventure, it’s important to follow basic rules, such as limiting noise and not disturbing wildlife. Take care to use existing fire rings (if available), extinguish your fires completely and, of course, clean up properly after your stay. 

Where to go wild camping in Switzerland

Given the strict rules surrounding wild camping, we recommend that most casual campers simply go to a dedicated campsite in the country. Some of the best campsites include:

  • Nufenenpass, Swiss Alps
  • Arolla, Val d’Herens-Valais
  • Vidy, Lausanne 

If you’re still unsure of how to go about choosing a wild camping location, we recommend the following steps:

  1. Research online and offline. Check out guidebooks, online forums and camping websites to understand which areas are permitted camping grounds and know which regulations to follow.
  2. Seek local advice. Contact tourist offices in the cantons you are interested in to better understand where you can camp and other local regulations.
  3. Contact campsites directly. There are designated wild camping sites, so get in touch with these places either through the local tourist office or the nearest town hall. 

When to go wild camping in Switzerland

Switzerland offers remarkable camping opportunities year-round, but the best time to enjoy wild camping is during the warmer months, from May to September. During this period, the weather is generally good and nature is in full bloom. 

Your bag of tips for wild camping  

Let’s finish with some helpful tips, which could apply to wild camping in any country: 

  1. Research and plan accordingly. Aside from regulations, wild camping is not without risks. The best way to mitigate these risks is to plan ahead, check the weather forecast and trail conditions, and bring the correct items for your adventure. 
  2. Be prepared for weather changes. Weather conditions can vary in Switzerland, especially in the mountains where conditions can change rapidly. Make sure you take several layers of clothing so you’re prepared whether it’s raining, sunny or bitterly cold.
  3. Let someone know you’ll be wild camping. It’s always a good idea to let a friend or relative know where and when you’ll be wild camping so they know your location in a worst-case scenario. You should also have emergency numbers on hand and, if possible, a cell phone with service in remote areas. 

Get your tent ready! 

So, there we have it: everything you need to know about wild camping in Switzerland. This country is truly stunning and is the ideal place for wild camping if you love nature and want to completely disconnect from the digital world. As long as you follow regulations, this adventure will be unforgettable! 

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Clara Avrillier

Clara Avrillier is a writer, linguist and content manager living in the South of France. She loves getting out in nature, doing sport, reading and playing music. She also works with many expats looking to move to France. Find out more on her website, ON IT Translations, or connect with her on Linkedin.

Clara Avrillier

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