Start the day with a scenic train journey from Zurich (approx. 1 hour) to the small town of Sargans and the official start of the Via Alpina. Today is a gentle day and a great introduction to the trek. Heading out of Sargans, walk through a couple of small towns and hamlets before breaking free of the road. As you start to ascend, you will soon find yourself above vineyards with views to Sargans and Mels and to the mountains of Liechtenstein. Re-join the country road at the town of Schwendi and follow it to Weisstannen; a peaceful, traditional alpine village.
NOTE: please take your bags on the train with you to Sargans. Your Eurotrek (our local luggage handlers) luggage labels will be delivered to your Zurich hotel. Be sure to attach them to your bags and take your bags on the train with you to Sargans. Drop your bag off at the luggage facility at the station with your labels on the bag before 10am (there may be a nominal fee of 1 - 5 francs for this) then Eurotrek will collect your bags from the luggage facility and drop them off at your next hotel. There is a sign for the luggage counter with a suitcase on it as you disembark the train.
The weather can change rapidly in the Alps, always check the forecast before you start the days hiking and pack appropriately. If the weather is too rough, do not begin the trek.
There can be left over snow drifts early in the season, they have sometimes melted underneath - particularly if it covers moving water. Just because it looks solid, it doesn't mean it is. Exercise extreme caution when crossing such snow drifts and if possible walk around them to where you can see the solidity of the ground clearly.
Some of the ground can be uneven, with rocky/pebbly paths and even ice. Ensure you have suitable footwear with ankle support, and step cautiously when needed.
Much of the path is on clifftops and there has been some erosion, for this reason, the path is sometimes unclear, be careful of the drop and of loose rocks and edges to the cliffs.
Some of the gates are cattle deterrents and are electrified, be sure to use the plastic handles and reattach the cable to the housing when you pass through, they are 12 volts, so not dangerous but very unpleasant.
Tips, hints and links
Food and Drink
There are few opportunities for refreshments, pick up supplies in Sargans.
Points of Interest
A bustling town at the start of the Via Alpina it has all of the shops you might need to stock up on supplies before the start of your epic hike!
Views to Liechtenstein
Looking back as you ascend from Sargans, you can see the large rocky peaks of the mountains that cover the border between Liechtenstein and Switzerland before the path leads you into the woods.
A small but charming village, nestled into the rich green vaelleys that are speckeld with wildflowers, this is where you will overnight before continuing your journey.