Walking on historical routes


May 11, 2021

Switzerland has many mystical routes, not all of which are well known. There’s a wide variety of people who use them, ranging from pilgrims all the way to tourists. Not only do they have breathtaking landscapes, but they’re also great historical routes. We will touch on three routes in particular. Walking on historical routes can be a mesmerizing experience. We’ve decided to highlight The Via Francigena, The Way of St. James, and the Path of Freedom. All three have a lot to offer and you should definitely consider visiting them.

Want to learn more about them? Keep reading the article!

Several mythical routes and paths pass through Switzerland and are used every year by pilgrims. These routes are of course not only for spiritual seekers but also for tourists who want to make a slow journey through Europe. Here is a closer look at three of these routes.

The Via Francigena

In recent years, thanks to the Via Francigena Association, the pilgrimage of the Archbishop of Canterbury has been revived. The rehabilitation of this journey has been supported by the publication, in 2004, of forty geocultural map sheets from Canterbury to the Great St Bernard. This pilgrimage follows the route of the journey undertaken in 990 by Sigeric, Archbishop of Canterbury, who went to Rome to meet Pope John XV, making the journey with the “Romipetal” pilgrims.

Those wishing to follow the route of this very popular journey in the 13th century can obtain a guidebook listing the places of passage from London to the Great St Bernard via France. For the section in Italy, the Via intersects with the route of Santiago de Compostela. In Switzerland, it enters Ste-Croix and crosses the canton of Vaud before crossing the Valais from St-Maurice to the Grand St-Bernard Pass.


The Way of St. James

In Switzerland, there are several variants of this mythical route which traditionally retraces the route taken by the apostle James who left the Near East to preach the word of Christ in the West, as far as the Iberian Peninsula. In Switzerland, the route is called Via Jacobi and crosses the country from Lake Constance to Geneva. The most interesting section is between Schwarzenburg and Fribourg. It crosses the district of Singing, is 20 km long, and appeals to walkers for its beauty and the sights that line it… Like the chapel of St. James in Tafers, which is closely linked to the legend of the gallows and the “hanged man”. Used by pilgrims since the Middle Ages, this section ends with a possible stop at the Hôtel de l’Ange, a former pilgrims’ inn located in the heart of the old town of Fribourg.

www.jakobsweg.ch/fr/eu/ch and www.viajacobi4.ch

The Path of Freedom

Also known as “In the footsteps of the Huguenots and Waldensians of Piedmont”, this is the route taken by the Protestants when nearly 200,000 of them fled France in 1685 when the Edict of Nantes was revoked by Louis XIV.

The Trans-European Footpath follows the routes taken by the fugitives as closely as possible and pays tribute to them by proposing a route that starts in the Drôme and goes through Italy and Switzerland to Bad Karlshafen in Germany. The trail enters Switzerland via Geneva, and some of the exiles passed through the Pied du Jura. It takes four days to cover the 76 km of the trail in the canton of Vaud. The path leads from Morges through the countryside, along the banks of Lake Neuchâtel to Yverdon-Les-Bains. It then heads towards Neuchâtel and Biel, where it enters German-speaking Switzerland and will lead to Germany (see map).


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