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Tips from a hiking pro

Jura-based journalist and photographer Pascal Bourquin is hiking the equivalent of one and a half times around the world for his project “La vie en jaune” (Life in yellow). His aim is to complete all hiking trails in Switzerland within 25 years – a total of 65,000 kilometres. Here are his tips for beautiful, relaxed hikes.

Florence Herndl

Rich Content Section

Portrait of hiker Pascal Bourquin beside a long-haired goat.
Copyright: Pascal Bourquin

Learn how to read a map

Putting a hiking itinerary together yourself is the best way to make it unforgettable. To help you achieve this, there’s nothing better than learning how to read a map. Contour lines can help you get an idea of the topography of the area and of the hike itself.

Explore places away from the beaten track

90 percent of hikers use only 10 percent of trails. But there are also beautiful hiking trails away from the beaten track. Again, knowing how to read a map is very useful for discovering new or unknown places in your vicinity. 

Adapt your hike to your fitness level

Don’t forget to adapt your hike to your own fitness level, or if you’re planning a trip with your family or friends, to the person with the lowest level of fitness. Overestimating yourself can have unpleasant consequences.

Good planning is half the battle

Start with the toughest part! Steep inclines, areas where there may still be snow, rough terrain or places exposed to the elements should be tackled at the start of the hike, when you still have the energy and when the weather is good.

Pack your backpack properly

To pack your backpack properly, you need to take into account the difficulty and length of the trail, the weather and the supplies you’ll need. You should be sure to bring a fully charged phone, water, a snack and a windproof coat.

Bear everyone’s preferences in mind

If you’re hiking with your loved ones, you can enjoy amazing moments together. It’s important that everyone is happy. Children like games and are motivated to hike when they are given intellectual stimulation. Teenagers prefer a challenge, a reward or a landmark of some kind along the way.


Pascal Bourquin’s hiking project will take 28 years

More than one and a half times around the world: that’s how far Pascal Bourquin will have hiked by the end. But there will surely never be a dull moment along the way. After all, Swiss hiking trails are very varied. The 65,000-kilometre hike will take him through all 26 cantons, through cities and villages, over mountains, through forests, and along lakes and rivers. At 1.93 metres tall and 58 years old, the hiking pro is fit enough to take them all on. When he has time, he’ll cover kilometre after kilometre, walking and jogging. If he wants to keep on schedule, he has to manage 40 to 45 kilometres a week. You can follow his progress on his website “La vie en jaune” or his Facebook and Instagram channels.

Discover our family-friendly hikes!

In conjunction with the Swiss Hiking Trail Federation, Swiss Post is committed to keeping the network safe and well maintained. Are you planning your next hike and in need of inspiration? Then go to our website (in German) and browse our suggested hiking itineraries to discover all sorts of hikes tailored specifically to families. And don’t forget: you can also order our new hiking map (in German) – including a snakes and ladders game when you need to take a breather.

written by

Florence Herndl

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