A Barefoot Walk in Engelberg
It was a gorgeous day at the top. Sun, snowcapped peaks and a promise of a beer for The Mister.
We took the Brunni lift to the peak since we were recovering from our walk-turned-5-hour-knee-grinding-hike down a mountain the day before. And we’re 10% lazy.
The view from the lifts was spectacular. We floated over the heads of Swiss walkers not too lazy to walk up the mountain.
We watched a dozen paragliders unfurl their sails, jump off the mountain and spin in slow circles before floating into the abyss.
We did a *little* hiking out and back. Very little. And then I saw the sign…
A Barefoot Walk.
I swear it’s a thing. A Swiss and German thing, primarily, but definitely a thing.
My husband tried to distract me from my barefoot walking idea, but eventually gave in. I’m pretty sure he is secretly thankful I talked him into it. This wasn’t our first barefoot walk, after all. I took the whole family on the 5km Barfussweg a few years ago and they still talk about it.
I’m full of good ideas.
Theoretically, barefoot walks are a sensory experience, a way to connect with nature and a little physical therapy all in one. They combine the benefits of foot massage (nice after a long hike) and the health philosophies of Dr. Kneipp. I can’t really explain it, but you have to try it at least once.
Here’s how to go barefoot walking…
Take off your socks and shoes. The Swiss think of everything, so there’s probably a place to store them nearby.
Find the beginning of the walk (usually signed) and go.
The Tickle Path” as this walk was called, wound around (and into) the tiny lake at the top of the mountain.
Barefoot walk pathways have different “sensory experiences.” Big, smooth rocks, tiny pebbles, tiny sticks, bark and sand interspersed with the opportunity to plunge you legs into icy cold mud and water! If you aren’t sure what to do or why you’re doing it, most of the walks are signed (in German, sorry).
Repeat the sequence until the trail ends or you can’t feel your feet anymore.
It actually does feel good after a long hike. Mostly.
We walked around the lake following a bunch of kids hopping on and off the trail in true kid fashion. They were either smarter than we were or not as tough. I like to think it was the latter. Whole families joined the parade around the lake, kids hollering and shouting encouragement to their parents.
But it was fun. I loved it and, based on the number of people who went around again, I wasn’t the only one.
We finished the walk at a huge hot-tub, perfect for washing off the mud. Too bad it was filled with icy cold mountain water.
We dried off, booted up again to head down the mountain in search of a beer for The Mister. He’s such a good sport…
Of course, we had just enough time for my other great idea…..
Have you ever been on a Barefoot Walk? Do you know of any I haven’t listed below?
Things to Know
You can find this Barefoot Walk (and luge and mountaintop beer) near Engelberg, Switzerland. Take the Brunni gondola and lift to the top for the walk and treasure hunt activity for the kids. You have to walk down to mid-mountain for the luge and beer. Or ride down like this couple…
We stayed in Engelberg for the weekend, an easy train ride from Zurich (under 2 hours, 1 switch) Fares vary, check here.
Information about other things to do in Engelberg, try here.
Other Barefoot walks in Switzerland…
The Stazerwald Forest, near St. Mortiz takes 45 minutes to 2 hours, depending on which path you take.
Blitzingen Natural Kneipp Trail, Switzerland’s longest, has grassy meadows, icy mountain streams and waterfalls.
For a listing of barefoot walks in Switzerland, check here. A listing for barefoot walks in Europe, try here.
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