Food blog

Cheesy Delights on the Alpine Trails: Buying Swiss Cheese While Hiking the Alps

In Switzerland, you can buy cheese while hiking along the Alps

Switzerland is a country known for its picturesque landscapes, and one of its most iconic features is the majestic snow-capped Alps. Each year, approximately 150,000 hikers flock to the Swiss Alps for the adventure of a lifetime. With over 40,000 miles of mountain trails to explore, the Swiss Alps not only offer breathtaking scenery, but also the unique opportunity to purchase cheese while hiking. Yes, you read that right! You can indulge in the deliciousness of Swiss cheese while immersed in the beauty of nature.

Discover Trail-Side Cheese

As you traverse the mountain trails, it’s not uncommon to stumble upon a delightful surprise-a mini-fridge filled with an assortment of Swiss cheeses. These fridges operate on an honor system, allowing hikers to select the cheese of their choice and leave payment in a lockbox. It’s a testament to the honesty and trust that characterize the Swiss culture.
Alternatively, you may come across small alpine dairies along your journey. These dairies offer the opportunity to learn about the country’s rich cheese-making traditions and to purchase cheese directly from the farmers or merchants. By interacting with the locals, hikers can gain insight into the art of cheesemaking and appreciate the dedication and passion that goes into making Swiss cheese.

Switzerland’s Alpine Cheeses

Cheese has been a cherished staple in Switzerland for centuries, and the country is renowned for its high-quality and delicious varieties. Many of these cheeses are produced in the mountains and are categorized as alpine cheeses. Famous Swiss alpine cheeses include Gruyere and Emmental, the pitted and hearty fromage that often comes to mind when one thinks of “Swiss cheese.”
These alpine cheeses are a treat for weary hikers, especially on multi-day treks. Imagine adding a slice of flavorful Swiss cheese to your freeze-dried hiking meals – a simple luxury that can enhance your culinary experience on the trail. Plus, bringing home a piece of alpine cheese as a culturally significant souvenir allows you to share the taste of Switzerland with friends and family back home.

Embark on the Alpine Cheese Trail

For those seeking an immersive cheese experience, Switzerland offers an actual Alpine Cheese Trail in the beautiful town of Engelberg. This trail spans over 29 miles and takes hikers on a journey past seven different cheese dairies. Along the way, you can learn about the ingredients and processes involved in making Swiss cheese, from the pastures where the cows graze to the final stages of cheese making. Some of these dairies have been in operation for over 60 years and run entirely on solar energy, demonstrating the commitment to sustainability in Swiss cheesemaking.
As you hike the Alpine Cheese Trail, you’ll have the opportunity to sample different cheeses and appreciate the hard work and dedication of the cheesemakers. It’s a chance to gain a deeper understanding of the craft and enjoy the flavors of handmade Swiss cheese in a truly remarkable setting. Don’t forget to bring some cash so you can take home a selection of the finest Swiss cheeses to create a memorable charcuterie board for your guests.

A truly unique experience

Buying cheese while hiking in the Alps is a unique experience that combines the beauty of nature with the richness of Swiss culinary traditions. It allows hikers to engage with local culture, support local farmers and artisans, and create lasting memories. Whether you stumble upon a trail-side fridge or embark on the Alpine Cheese Trail, be sure to savor the flavors and appreciate the significance of enjoying Swiss cheese while surrounded by the breathtaking splendor of the Swiss Alps.


Can I really buy cheese while hiking in Switzerland?

Yes, you can! Switzerland offers a unique experience where you can buy delicious Swiss cheese while hiking through the stunning Alps.

How do I find cheese while hiking?

As you hike, you may come across Swiss cheese mini-fridges along the way. These fridges operate on an honor system, allowing you to select the cheese of your choice and leave payment in a lockbox. You may also come across small alpine dairies where you can buy cheese directly from farmers or merchants.

What types of cheese can I find while hiking in Switzerland?

Switzerland is famous for its Alpine cheeses, including well-known varieties such as Gruyere and Emmental. These cheeses are known for their exceptional quality and unique flavors.

Are there special trails or areas where I can find cheese?

If you are hiking in Switzerland, you may come across alpine dairies or alpine fridges almost anywhere in the Alps. However, if you are looking for a dedicated cheese experience, Engelberg offers the Alpine Cheese Trail, a 29-mile trail that takes you to seven different dairies where you can learn about cheese production and sample various cheeses.

Can I take cheese home as a souvenir?

Absolutely! Bringing home Swiss cheese as a souvenir is a fantastic idea. It allows you to share the flavors of Switzerland and the memories of your hiking adventure with friends and family.

What is the best time to hike in Switzerland to find cheese?

The summer months, especially from June to September, are the best time to go hiking in Switzerland and discover the cheese offerings along the trails. The weather is generally pleasant and the alpine dairies are in full swing.

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