Via Jacobi (aka Jakobsweg)

  • View From Mt. Pilatus, Lucerne - © By Flickr user Shaferlens
  • St. Gallen - © By Flickr user Decade_null
  • Bern - © By Flickr user twicepix
  • Interlaken - © By Flickr user Tell_Jeeves
  • Bath House, Rorschach - © By Flickr user SebastienKippe
  • Fribourg - © By Flickr user T.M.O.F
  • Fribourg - © By Flickr user ActiveSteve
  • Fribourg - © By Flickr user Francois_Polito
  • House, Herisau - © By Flickr user Kecko
  • Auberge Rapperswill - © By Flickr user Lomyx
  • Interlaken - © By Flickr user Faithx5
  • Konstanz - © By Flickr user Jean and Nathalie
  • Konstanz From the Bodensee - © By Flickr user Allie_Caulfield
  • Konstanz Harbour - © By Flickr user Tom_Vogler
  • Lovely Bern - © By Flickr user GenevaLife
  • Lucerne - © By Flickr user trixnbooze
  • Near Brunnen - © By Flickr user Dick_Penn
  • Old Picture, Brunig - © Flickr Library image

Key information: Via Jacobi (aka Jakobsweg)

    • The Swiss feeder of the celebrated Camino de Santiago, which carried German and Scandinavian pilgrims from Lake Constance on the German/Austrian border to Geneva on the French, and ultimately to the shrine at Santiago de Compostela, Spain.
      • Recently restored, and waymarked with predictable (and wonderful) Swiss precision, the route leads right through the rural heart of this mountainous country, affording spectacular Alpine and lake views and delightful old towns as language, food, architecture and way of life gradually give way from German to French.
        • Skirting the fringe of the Alps, paths are a great way to experience the fascinating, varied culture of this venerable civilisation without the horrors of aprs-ski.

Walkopedia rating

  • Walkopedia rating80
  • Beauty30
  • Natural interest14
  • Human interest13
  • Charisma25
  • Negative points2
  • Total rating80
  • Note: Not as crowded as Spain, but popular

Vital Statistics

  • Length: 350km
  • 3 weeks in total
  • Maximum Altitude: 1,414m
  • Level of Difficulty: Variable


The celebrated Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route spreads its tentacles out way beyond Spain. In the Middle Ages, the shrine at Santiago de Compostela was a major draw for the religious across the continent, and many of what are thought to be the original paths remain intact. Though the practice had essentially fallen into desuetude, with only 13 people registering as pilgrims in 1978, the route is once again thriving, with 250,000 visitors to the shrine itself last year. Switzerlands Via Jacobi, also known as the Jakobsweg, marks the official start-point of the route (though it began, of course, at your own front door) for pilgrims coming from Eastern Europe and Scandinavia.

The Via Jacobi, which takes pilgrims from the German/Austrian borders at Lake Constance (the Bodensee) along a choice of paths to the French border at Geneva, has been wonderfully restored in recent decades, and now forms an impressive network of paths and mule tracks that carry one through the lush rural feet of the Alps.

Switzerland is often underestimated by those who think of it in skiing terms. Its beauties especially in spring and Summer, though walking continues year round on the impressive Winterwanderweg networks extend far beyond times of snow. Its surprisingly varied farming and cultures have thrived for many centuries in among the mountains, and of course, its neutrality (backed up by heavily-armed forces) during both world wars has meant that much of its Medieval architecture has survived.

These well-maintained, admirably signed, paths, though obviously involving some serious uphill stretches its a mountain country, after all afford a superb way to get a taste of the beauty of the Alps without the skills and burdensome equipment required for a long, high trek. Add to this a helpful, friendly, multilingual population and a vast choice of both accommodation and robust food (none of it cheap, however), and the charms of the Jakobsweg are obvious.

Fribourg - © By Flickr user T.M.O.F

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Bern - © By Flickr user twicepix

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Interlaken - © By Flickr user Tell_Jeeves

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