10 wild Flower walks you shall
take this Spring in the Swiss Alps
Have you ever walked in the field of wild spring flowers? If you did, you know that one can never get enough of that spring-like feeling when every bit of nature is waking up, some flowers are getting ready to bloom and others- are blooming.
Dandelions, daffodils, crocus and others, yet never seen before. Witnessing awakening and renewal of life. If you have never experienced this, it will for sure enchant your eye, make your steps more gentle and soften your heart. Walk in a living art gallery!
After a number of walks, I am sharing interesting information about 10 spring flowers and walks/hikes so you can find them.
Almost all hikes are suitable for beginners I hope you will enjoy discovering those flowers as much as I did!
Crocus (Anemone patens)
As soon as the snow starts melting, crocus start blooming and sometimes even while there’s still a covering of the white stuff in the low valleys of the Swiss Alps. You’ll be able to catch their white and violet petals popping up between the hundred years old cabins, fir forests and fields.
Did you know?- Saffron, the world’s most expensive spice, comes from the stigmas of saffron crocus flowers, however it is not the spring crocus from the alps, you need to look for Crocus sativus in autumn.
Blooming time: from mid of March to early May depending on the altitude.
Hiking/walking tips: they bloom pretty much everywhere.
However, if you want to see a high abundance of them, then hike go hiking at les Diablerets, above Saint Cergue Canton Vaud or yet in Bernese Oberland- above villages of Murren and Gimmelwald.
2. Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)
Yellow carpet of the Swiss alps. Not only they enchant the human eye, they also have lots of health benefits. Dandelion greens can be eaten cooked or raw and are an excellent source of vitamins A, C, and K. They also contain vitamin E, folate, and small amounts of other B vitamins. What’s more, dandelion greens provide a substantial amount of several minerals, including iron, calcium, and magnesium. Dandelion root is often dried and made into tea, but you can also eat it whole as you do other root vegetables.
An easy way to incorporate them in your diet is making a smoothie or adding the greens to your salad.
Blooming time: from end of March to end of May depending on the altitude
Hiking/walking tips: they bloom pretty much everywhere. However, if you want to see a high abundance of them, really a yellow carpet- then go to Pays d’en Haut and hike around the villages of Flendruz, Chateaux d’Oex and Rougemont.
Or Appenzeller end of May- ’yellow carpet’, guaranteed.
3. Hepatica (Hepatica Ranunculaceae)
I am personally very attached to this flower because in Baltics (where I come from) it’s a symbol of spring and we call it ’Žibutė ’. While most often it is found in the forests, I was so happy to find some in the Alps.
While walking in Switzerland, I discovered that they also bloom in white! Woow. In Baltics only ones of violet colours are known.
Blooming time: from mid of March to early May depending on the altitude.
Hiking/walking tips: various places, often next to the trees and in the forests. In Valais above Dorrenaz for sure you will find some or Eastern part of Switzerland- close to the town of Schaffhausen.
4. Tulips (Tulipa sylvestris)
Wild tulips exist in Switzerland. And you can discover them end of May in the village of Grengiols. The tulip probably came to Grengiols in the Middle Ages via the trade routes from the south. That’s why they used to call it the “Roman tulip”. The botanist Eduard Thommen discovered it as an own species in 1945.
If you are not into wild walks, do not miss tulip festival in Morges (March 18th to May 8th) or watch some tulips on the lake promenade at Montreux (early April).
Blooming time: from mid of March to end of May depending on the place
Hiking/walking tips: Grengiols in Valais
5. Pulsatilla (Pulsatilla Vernalis)
Yet called ’spring pasqueflower or ’lady of the snows’ witnesses a fragility of spring flower and life.
Blooming time: from early April to end of May
Hiking/walking tips: Alpine terrains, take some hiking trails above Ovronnaz village in Valais and you will find some for sure
6. Adonis (Adonis Vernalis)
Valais is the only region in Switzerland where you can find this lovely yellow flowering plant. The best way to enjoy the magnificent carpet of yellow flowers is by walking along the ’Adonis Path’. It is the symbol of the Valais flora.
Blooming time: from early of March to end of May
Hiking/walking tip: from Charrat to Saxon village
When apricots of Valais are blooming, its definitely a sign that spring is here. Canton Valais is the biggest apricot provider in Switzerland and in the village of Martigny there is ’an apricot trail,. Did you know- once apricots bloom, sometimes cold temperatures come back, therefore in order to protect the apricots, the farmers spill water on the bloom- as it freezes, the temperature stays at 0 C and protects the fruit. Wow!
Blooming time: from end of March to early April
Hiking/walking tips: from Charrat to Saxon village in Valais
8. Wild Daffodil (Narcissus pseudonarcissus)
The yellow trumpets of daffodils brighten up the dullest spring day as they cluster together in gardens, on roadsides and in parks during March and April. But these are often the planted or escaped garden varieties. A real treat is spotting a Wild daffodil among the wild meadows or ancient woodland. Wild wild wild!
Blooming time: from mid of March to early May
Hiking/walking tips: hikes on Jura mountain chain- especially a lot around Tramelan village, above the village of Saint Cergue in Canton Vaud.
9. Wild Narcisses (Narcissus poeticus)
This phenomena is definitely not to be missed in May. While canton of Graubunden has them too, the most known place to witness this white ocean of flowers is Montreux Riviera.
Did you know?- Narcisses in Montreux Riviera are known since Belle Epoque time and because of their abundance they are still called ’May’s snow’. There is for sure a reason for a fiesta once they bloom.
Blooming time: from mid of May to mid of June
Hiking/walking tip: above village of Caux and Glion or yet les Avants. Take a walk and you will never forget it!
10.Discover The flowers that you have never seen before
Get outside and just walk, allow yourself to discover what comes your way or put your intention on finding a wild flower and see what happens. This is also very meditative.
If you are hesitant to do this in the wild terrain by yourself, you can walk along the lake shore in Montreux early April. For sure you will find some flowers there that you have never seen before! Other cities in Switzerland also offer generous amount of flowers in the cities- the easiest way to find them is by walking in the parks or by the lake shore.
about the author of this blog post
Ruta is a professional mountain leader ( Association of Mountain Guides in Switzerland), neuro-coach (Neuroleadership Institute, London), and forest therapy guide (Association of Nature and Forest Therapy, USA)
By creating Be Outside Coaching movement, she has connected her 2 major passions: activities outside and human development. Be Outside Coaching delivers immersive and holistic Nature experiences in the different corners of pristine the Swiss Alps.
She is leading holistic Nature retreats in the Swiss Alps where she invites participants to slow down, practice mindful walking, discover forest bathing and other nature connection practices. Retreat participants often say that her passion to Nature is contagious.
’Flowers always make people better, happier and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul.’