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17 Top-Rated Attractions & Places to Visit in Switzerland

Written by Becca Blond and Joni Sweet Updated Sep 26, 2023

Switzerland's natural beauty is as addictive as its mouthwatering chocolates – one taste and you'll be left craving more. Whether you are on the hiking trails outside Zermatt, laying eyes on the iconic Matterhorn for the first time, or marveling at the Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau mountains schussing down a ski trail beginning atop the Jungfraujoch, Switzerland seduces quickly.

Matterhorn and mountain scenery in Switzerland

This landlocked central European country is home to two mountain ranges, the Alps in the south and the Jura in the northwest. But Switzerland's natural attractions don't stop with peaks and glaciers. You'll also find glimmering turquoise lakes, emerald valleys where tingling bell-wearing cows and sheep graze, charming chalets, and flower box-filled villages that look ripped from the pages of a fairytale storybook.

Amid all this natural beauty are also some fantastic urban diversions and places to visit. With four official languages (French, German, Italian, and Romansch), Switzerland has a multicultural sophistication to its cities, which all offer something different when it comes to history and culture.

French speaking Geneva is home to four major offices of the United Nations and has a large international population. German speaking Zurich is Switzerland's largest city and financial center, known for its shopping, museums, and nightlife. The capital city of Bern boasts a medieval old town with a famous moving puppet clock tower and a stunning riverfront locale.

Switzerland is a four-season destination with countless things to do for outdoor adventurists. In winter you can partake in snow sports at world-class resorts, while summers are perfect for hiking, biking, climbing, and paragliding.

Getting around Switzerland is easy. Although you can rent a car and drive, we recommend utilizing its excellent train system that goes almost everywhere in the country. Trains are fast, mostly on time, and allow you to just sit back and soak up the stunning scenery.

Explore in more depth by checking out our list of top attractions and places to visit in Switzerland

1. The Matterhorn

3. jungfraujoch: the top of europe, 4. interlaken, 6. lake geneva, 7. chateau de chillon, montreux, 8. st. moritz, 10. lake lugano and ticino, 12. the rhine falls, 13. swiss national park, 14. the albula/bernina railway line, 15. oberhofen castle, 16. swiss grand canyon, 17. gruyères.

The Matterhorn

You'll never forget the first time you see Switzerland's most symbolic mountain, the Matterhorn. Maybe you arrive in the charming village of Zermatt, at its base , on a clear blue day and the 4,478-meter high , tooth-shaped mountain looms clearly in front of you. Or maybe it is spitting rain when you first set foot in the car-free town, and it isn't until the next morning that you witness the emblematic peak emerging from a sea of dissipating clouds. Whichever way you first see this legendary mountain, it will remain seared into your memory for years to come. It's that impressive.

One of the highest mountains in the Alps, the Matterhorn sits on the border with Italy. It has four steep faces rising to its craggy tip. Climbers have been intrigued by this mountain from the first successful summit in 1865 by British climber Edward Whymper and his team. The trip still ended tragically when four of the climbers fell to their deaths during the descent.

Today, thousands of experienced climbers come here in a summit bid each summer. There are several routes to the top of this mountain, which is not accessible by cable car. The easiest route is the Hörnligrat, which begins in Zermatt.

Things to Do at the Matterhorn

Gornegrat Bahn cog railway and the Matterhorn

If you don't have the skills to summit the Matterhorn, there are still plenty of ways to experience the mountain. One top excursion is to ride the Gornegrat Bahn cog railway to the summit of the 1,620-meter Gornergrat mountain for stunning Matterhorn views. Europe's highest open-air cog railway, and the first fully electric train of its kind, departs from Zermatt station multiple times per day.

The ride itself is also bound to leave you speechless. Taking 33 minutes and climbing 1,469 meters it crosses dramatic bridges, passes turquoise-hued mountain lakes, and at times clings to the side of the mountain with views down into rocky ravines.

Once you reach the mountaintop, you'll find an observation deck with views in all directions including a view of Switzerland's highest mountain and the second biggest glacier in the Alps. Keep an eye out for wild ibex near the viewing platform in summer.

Europe's highest-altitude hotel, the Kulmhotel Gornegrat is also here. Besides lodging, it has a restaurant and shops open to the public. There is excellent hiking in summer, while Switzerland's highest sledding hill provides winter fun.

Buildings in the village of Zermatt

At the foot of the Matterhorn, lies the charming village of Zermatt, a top international resort that is one of the most popular ski destinations in Switzerland , and a hiking, biking, and climbing paradise in summer.

Laid out along just a few main streets with a surreal-looking blue river running through it, motorized vehicles except for official electric taxis are banned to preserve the air quality and the town's peaceful ambiance.

Zermatt can also only be reached via helicopter (very pricy) or the Matterhorn Gotthard railway via the towns of Visp or Brig. If you drive to the region, you'll need to park your car down the valley in the town of Tasch, and then continue by train. As such, staying in Zermatt truly feels like you hiked into a remote mountain paradise.

View from the Top of the Rothorn

In the winter, skiers can play on more than 300 kilometers of slopes accessed via a funicular and the Blauherd and Rothorn gondolas. In the summer, these slopes turn into hiking and mountain biking trails.

The Five Lakes Trail is one of the most popular hikes, beginning at the top of the Blauherd gondola and eventually taking you back to town via a series of five lakes, three of which you can see the reflection of the Matterhorn in on a clear, windless day. If you want to paraglide, this is also available.

Summer street scene in Zermatt

Back in town, you'll find dozens of shops, restaurants (order Raclette, a cheese and potato dish that is a regional specialty), and hotels. If you are interested in history, pay a visit to the Matterhorn Museum , which tells the story of the mountain village turned international holiday resort. It also provides facts and photos from the Matterhorn's first ascent.

  • Read More: Top Tourist Attractions in Zermatt & Easy Day Trips

View from the Top of Europe

Since 1912, tourists have been making their way to the fairytale-like village of Grindelwald for an excursion to the Top of Europe (also known as Jungfraujoch). As its name suggests, it's the highest train station in Europe.

It offers panoramic views of the UNESCO-recognized Jungfrau region that will make your jaw drop. The Sphinx Observatory, an astronomical observatory that looks like a Bond villain lair perched 3,454 meters above sea level, is the best place to see the magnificent Aletsch Glacier and the 4,000-meter peaks that flank it. With snow 365 days per year, it's also a prime spot to get a break from Europe's heat in the summertime.

Sphinx Observatory

This famous attraction has come a long way in the last 100 years, giving tourists lots of things to do at the top. Step into the 360-degree cinematic experience room for a closer look at the glacier and the Swiss Alps (perfect for ensuring you still get a wonderful view on a foggy day). Walk through a 250-meter-long corridor with artifacts and exhibits on the history of the miners who built the railway to Jungfraujoch—the antique mining equipment hanging on the walls will give you a deeper respect for these early pioneers.

The Top of Europe

Peek inside a giant snow globe that depicts the region with charming moving figures, like yodelers and gondolas. Then, glide through the Ice Palace. Frozen from floor to ceiling, it features smooth, icy hallways filled with ice sculptures of animals, including several penguins around an igloo.

Jungfraujoach's highly sustainable cable car, the Eiger Express , shortened the journey between Grindelwald and Jungfraujoch from 45 minutes to just 15 minutes when it opened in late 2020. That makes it possible to summit the Top of Europe on a day trip from Interlaken or even Zurich, but if you have time, it's worth sticking around Grindelwald to hike for a few days .

Panorama Trail

The trails here are among the most beautiful in the world and most trailheads are easily accessible through the town's network of cable cars and gondolas. The aptly named Panorama Trail takes you along paths lined by wildflowers with a backdrop of snow-capped peaks, while the Grindelwald First cable car station puts you on the path to the world-famous Bachalpsee lake.

You can also break up your days of hiking with adventure activities. Grindelwald First is home to a zip line that soars at 80 kilometers per hour and a mountain cart attraction that lets you race down winding gravel paths, plus a trail you can tackle on a "trottibike"—a unique cross between a scooter and a bike that's surprisingly fast.

Jungfruajoch - Section map

Nestled on a strip of land between two glassy lakes, Interlaken looks like a postcard brought to life. The enchanting resort town has been a popular vacation destination for centuries, giving tourists a home base to explore the Bernese Oberland. Visit in the spring or summer to take in the striking sight of the town's lush gardens blooming with the snow-dusted Eiger, Jungfrau, and Mönch towering in the background.

Interlaken's proximity to Lake Thun to the west and Lake Brienz to the east, along with soaring alpine mountains, has helped it become the "Adventure Capital of Europe" —and it offers thrills for any taste.

Interlaken Harderbahn

Want to hike? Take a 10-minute ride on the Interlaken Harderbahn, a funicular railway that's more than 100 years old, to the Harder Kulm (Interlaken's closest mountain). A brick path lined with quirky Swiss statues takes you to the trailhead for the Harder Kulm Circular Path , a relatively easy, forested path that opens up to panoramic views of Interlaken.

From mountainside slopes, you can also take the sky on a paragliding adventure in the summer, or slip on a pair of skis and zip down fresh powder in one of five winter sports areas around Interlaken. It's also a lovely place to get out on the water. Rent kayaks, row boats, and pedal boats for a serene experience on the lakes. Or challenge yourself to wakeboarding, windsurfing, or water skiing.

Interlaken

The beautiful part about Interlaken, though, is that it's as much a place for excitement as it is for a laid-back retreat. Once you've gotten your share of adrenaline, wind down with a stroll on the Höheweg , Interlaken's main boulevard, or find a moment of peace at the Garden of Friendship, the country's first Japanese garden.

  • Read More: Top Tourist Attractions in Interlaken & Easy Day Trips

Lucerne

Imagine a sparkling blue lake surrounded by mountains, a car-free medieval old town, covered bridges, waterfront promenades, frescoed historic buildings, and sun-splashed plazas with bubbling fountains. No wonder Lucerne (in German, Luzern) is a top spot for tourists.

Famed for its music concerts, this quintessential Swiss town lures renowned soloists, conductors, and orchestras to its annual International Music Festival . The Culture and Convention Center is home to one of the world's leading concert halls.

Lucerne

One of the city's most famous landmarks is the Chapel Bridge , built in the 14th century. In a small park, lies the famous Lion Monument , a poignant sculpture of a dying lion, which honors the heroic death of Swiss Guards during the attack on the Tuileries in the French Revolution. History buffs will enjoy the Swiss Transport Museum with extensive exhibits on all forms of transport, including air and space travel, railroad locomotives, and a Planetarium.

For beautiful views of Lucerne, the Alps, and the lake, ride the funicular to the Dietschiberg on the north side of Lake Lucerne; cruise up Mt. Pilatus on the cableway; or head to the Rigi , a famous lookout point.

  • Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Lucerne

Lake Geneva

Lake Geneva, Europe's largest Alpine lake , straddles the Swiss/French border, and laps at the shores of some of Switzerland's most popular cities. The city of Geneva (in French Genève; in German Genf) sits between pretty snowcapped peaks at the point where the Rhône spills into Lake Geneva.

This French-speaking "capital of peace" is the European seat of the United Nations and exudes a pleasing blend of French joie de vivre and Swiss structure. Promenades, parks, and gardens surround the lake, and the old town is a lovely spot to stroll among the historic buildings. The Jet d'Eau , a fountain in Lake Geneva shooting water 150 meters into the air, is a famous landmark. Cultural attractions include the Opera House and the Grand Théâtre , which stages international acts.

Also on the lake, about 62 kilometers from Geneva, Lausanne boasts lovely views over the surrounding region and the lake, with the Alps rising in the distance. Take a stroll through the medieval old town with its cute cafés and boutiques and stunning Gothic cathedral. At the foot of the Alps, on Lake Geneva, Montreux hosts the world-famous Montreux Jazz Festival in June/July.

  • Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Geneva

Chateau de Chillon, Montreux

On the shores of Lake Geneva, near Montreux , the Chateau de Chillon (Chillon Castle) has inspired artists and writers for centuries. Lord Byron, Jean Jacques Rousseau, and Victor Hugo are among the luminaries who have written about this architectural treasure.

Once the stronghold of the Counts and Dukes of Savoy from the 12th century, the complex encompasses about 25 buildings clustered around three courtyards. Highlights include the Great Halls, with magnificent views of Lake Geneva; the Gothic underground rooms; the Chapel , adorned with 14th-century paintings; and the Camera Domini , a bedroom occupied by the Duke of Savoy decorated with medieval murals.

View over St. Moritz

St. Moritz is a city of firsts. The world's first electric light clicked on here in December 1878. In 1889 it hosted the Alps' first golf tournament and in 1935 began operating one of Switzerland's first ski lifts. Additionally, the town is considered the birthplace of Alpine winter tourism after a hotelier convinced British summer guests to winter here in 1864. It went on to host the Winter Olympics twice (1928 and 1948).

In the Upper Engadin region in southeast Switzerland, in a valley surrounded by the Alps, today it is one of the world's most ritzy ski resorts , favored by billionaires and celebrities. It has 350 kilometers of ski and snowboard runs with some of Switzerland's steepest terrain.

Winter sports run the gamut, from skiing, snowboarding, skating, and bobsledding to tobogganing. One of the oldest natural ice runs for toboggans on the planet is found here, the famous 1.2-kilometer-long Cresta Run . There is also a snowboard fun park and 150 kilometers of winter walking and cross-country ski trails.

St. Moritz

In summer, St. Moritz attracts hikers, bikers, horseback riders, and rock climbers. If you prefer to golf, you can play four courses with fantastic mountain views. You can also enjoy the iron-rich natural mineral hot springs here year-round. They were discovered about 3,000 years ago.

Adding to all this spectacular mountain scenery, St. Moritz is a cultural crossroads. Romansch, German, Italian, French, and English are all spoken in the surrounding areas, not to mention the different languages of the many well-heeled international visitors and expats.

The town is divided into two parts: St. Moritz Dorf sits on a sunny terrace overlooking the Lake of St. Moritz. The other part of town, lakeside St. Moritz Bad on the valley floor, is a health resort with less expensive lodging.

  • Read More: Top Tourist Attractions in St. Moritz & Easy Day Trips

Bern

In a stunning location, perched on a peninsula of the River Aare, the Swiss capital of Bern exudes old-world charm, and the city's medieval old town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Strolling along the cobbled streets, visitors can explore the tallest cathedral in Switzerland, with panoramic views from its tower; 16th-century fountains; the Zytglogge medieval clock tower with moving puppets; and six kilometers of shopping arcades, called " Lauben " by the locals. The Rose Garden (Rosengarten) offers beautiful views of the old town center.

Bern has many tourist attractions waiting to be discovered, including excellent museums. Art lovers will appreciate the impressive galleries, including the Zentrum Paul Klee, the world's largest collection of works by this famous artist, and the Bern Museum of Art (Kunstmuseum).

Don't miss the markets, held in the Bundesplatz (parliament square) with views of the elegant Renaissance-style parliament building (Bundeshaus). Families will also enjoy a visit to the Bear Park.

Lake Lugano and Ticino

Lake Lugano lies on the Swiss/Italian border in Ticino, Switzerland's only official Italian-speaking canton, and offers a tantalizing taste of the Mediterranean. Citrus, figs, palms, and pomegranates flourish in the mild climate here–even as snowcapped peaks beckon in the distance.

In the towns around Lake Lugano and Lake Maggiore to the west, the feel of Italy is unmistakable in the architecture, the piazzas, and the passion for fine food, which spills over the Italian borders from the south, east, and west.

Visitors can explore the area by touring the lake on one of the white steamers or renting a boat. For a panoramic overview, Monte San Salvatore offers one of the most spectacular vistas of the surrounding countryside, lake, and snow-capped peaks.

Lugano , a financial center and the largest and most significant town in Ticino, is a popular summer resort. Northwest of Lugano, in sun-drenched Locarno on Lake Maggiore, Swiss lakeside living takes on a subtropical touch with warm days, blossoming gardens, and palm-studded estates. In Bellinzona , capital of the canton, three magnificent castles are UNESCO World Heritage sites.

  • Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Lugano, Locarno, and the Ticino Region

Zurich

Zurich is Switzerland's largest city, a major transportation hub, and a top starting point for travelers. The city lies at the northwestern end of Lake Zurich astride the river Limmat. Beyond its buttoned-up façade, this affluent banking capital boasts a rich line-up of cultural treasures.

A great place to begin a walking tour is the cobbled streets of the Old Town with its quaint shops, cafés, and galleries. Mile-long Bahnhofstrasse , one of Europe's finest shopping strands, beckons with designer stores selling fashion, watches, and jewelry.

Venturing away from the boutiques, visitors will find more than 50 museums and 100 art galleries, as well as many other tourist attractions . A top pick is the Kunsthaus Zürich , the museum of fine arts, with an impressive collection of art from the Middle Ages to the present day. Another favorite is the Rietberg Museum , which focuses on non-European art with many works from China, India, and Africa.

A short stroll from Zürich's main station, the Swiss National Museum , in a Gothic chateau, spotlights Swiss cultural history. Families will love the Zurich Zoo with an elephant park, penguin parade, and Madagascar pavilion. From the city, take a train ride to Uetliberg Mountain for panoramic views of the city and countryside.

  • Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Zürich

The Rhine Falls

Spanning 150 meters, the Rhine Falls (Rheinfall) at Schaffhausen are the largest falls in Europe. The best time to visit is during June and July when the mountain snow melts, and the falls swell in volume to spill over a 21-meter-high ledge of Jurassic limestone.

Boat trips up the Rhine provide excellent views of the falls, as do the viewing platforms on both sides of the river.

Hiking trail in the Swiss National Park

Founded in 1914, Swiss National Park in the Engadine Valley is the oldest reserve in the Alps. The park sits right on the border with Italy and encompasses more than 170 square kilometers of flower-dotted hollows, fast-flowing rivers, and limestone crags. The scenery is especially dramatic in winter when the forested mountains are covered in a blanket of snow, and the views from the cross-country ski trails are stunning.

Nature lovers can explore the region on the large network of trails, though veering off these paths is forbidden in an effort to preserve the natural ecosystems. More than 5,000 species of wildlife call the park home, including marmot, red deer, chamois, ibex, fox, and more than 100 species of birds.

Swiss National Park - Layout map

One of the very few railway lines in the world designated as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage listing, the Albula/Bernina line on the Rheatian Railways offers a majestic ride not to be missed. The route extends throughout the Albula and Bernina landscapes, covering 122 kilometers and winding through almost 200 bridges, the Graubünden mountains, and a number of tunnels and viaducts along the way.

A ride on this train means panoramic seats that overlook unspoiled mountain landscapes, including the Piz Bernina, the highest mountain in the Eastern Alps at just over 4,000 meters tall. The train operates all year long, and the views are just as magical in summer as they are in winter.

Oberhofen Castle

Right on the shore of Lake Thun and surrounded by a 2.5-hectare park, this 13th-century castle is one of the most breathtaking in Switzerland. Because Oberhofen Castle changed hands many times through the centuries, and new owners kept adding rooms to it, the result is a magical mix of many styles: Bernese Baroque-style buildings, Romantic-style facades, and Prussian-inspired exotic new areas (including a library and a smoking room).

The castle also houses a living museum showcasing the times and lives of feudal societies that called the castle (and its surroundings) home from the 16th to the 19th centuries.

View over the Ruinaulta (Swiss Grand Canyon)

The Ruinaulta (also known as the "Swiss Grand Canyon") is a deep gorge surrounded by expansive meadows and forested cliffs. Located in Eastern Switzerland, it was created over 10,000 years ago–when the Ice Age Rhine Glacier retreated, it led to a chain of events that resulted in a massive rockslide in the Rhine Valley. As the Rhine River seeped through the rock walls, the gorge was filled with water.

Today, the Swiss Grand Canyon is not only one of the most beautiful areas in Switzerland, but also a preferred destination for hikers, bird-watchers, and nature lovers. It's possible to raft the rapids here between May and October, or rent a canoe or kayak for a gentler route with stunning views of the steep cliffs all around.

Aerial view of Gruyères Castle

Even if you don't know anything about this small medieval town, you've probably heard about the hard yellow cheese that made its name famous. Today, that's one of the town's main attractions. Visitors can tour a cheese factory, sample the local specialties, and wave to the cows that call the surrounding green hills home. If cheese isn't enough, the Maison Cailler Chocolate Factory also operates in town.

Gruyères might be tiny – it covers an area of just 28.4 square kilometers and is home to around 2,000 permanent residents – but it makes up for it with plenty of things to do, including the 13 th -century Castle of Gruyères and its two small arts and regional museums, as well as Saint-Germain Castle, which was bought by Swiss surrealist painter and sculptor H. R. Giger, and it now houses a museum dedicated to his work. The Tibet Museum, housed in an old church in town, is also worth a visit.

Stunning landscapes surround Gruyères, including the Gorges de la Jogne (favorite with hikers) and the nearby Mont Moléson, popular with climbers in the warmer months and home to ski and snowshoe trails during winter.

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Best places to visit in switzerland.

Switzerland is known around the world for its chocolate, cheese, charming towns and scenic landscapes . Everywhere you turn, you're treated to a little bit of history and a little bit of nature's beauty, as well as plenty of mouthwatering cuisine in between. U.S. News considered factors like sights, culture, accessibility and variety of things to do, plus traveler and expert input, to calculate the best places to visit in Switzerland. Peruse the list below, and vote for your favorite spots.

Appenzell District

Jungfrau region.

switzerland tourist destinations

Interlaken's unique location between two lakes – Lake Brienz and Lake Thun – makes it a breathtaking spot for a vacation. Here, you can spend hours hiking various trails, taking in the castle-studded shores of Lake Thun on a boat cruise or gazing at the surrounding mountains from the Harder Kulm observation deck (accessible via a funicular). To see more of the region's stunning scenery, go for a ride on the Schynige Platte Railway or sign up for a paragliding or skydiving excursion.

switzerland tourist destinations

Travelers looking to ski or snowboard in the Swiss Alps should head to Zermatt. This small, car-free town in the middle of the Alps is famous for housing one of the world's most famous attractions — the Matterhorn (a peak so popular that it inspired a Disneyland ride) — and Switzerland's highest ski resort. Novice and expert skiers and snowboarders can spend the bulk of their vacation hitting the slopes, which showcase incredible mountain views. After shredding powder, visitors can ride the Gornergrat train, pick up a slab of homemade chocolate from a local shop or savor cheese fondue at a traditional Swiss restaurant.

switzerland tourist destinations

Picturesque Lucerne sits on Lake Lucerne in central Switzerland, framed by snowcapped mountains and medieval buildings. This beautiful city's old town is home to historic attractions, lively town squares, boutique shops and old churches. Top attractions include the Musegg Wall and its towers (the preserved fortifications date back to the 13th century) and Europe's oldest wooden covered bridge, the must-see Chapel Bridge, which was originally built in the 1330s. Those looking for a once-in-a-lifetime adventure can also ride a cable car to Mount Pilatus for stunning views of Lake Lucerne and plenty of activities at the top.

switzerland tourist destinations

This lakefront city on the Swiss-Italian border offers visitors a unique travel experience. Because Lugano shares waters with neighboring Italy, the city features a mix of Swiss and Mediterranean influences in everything from its cuisine to its architecture. Plus, Lugano boasts unforgettable panoramas. Visit Monte San Salvatore and Monte Brè, both of which you can reach by funicular, for bird's-eye views of Lake Lugano and the city. Or, spend a few hours hiking the Olive Grove Trail or strolling the gardens of Ciani Park. If you'd rather lounge on a beach, head to Lido di Lugano.

switzerland tourist destinations

Zurich is a cosmopolitan financial center, a foodie haven and a romantic European city that appeals to all types of travelers. A vacation here should include spending time admiring Lake Zurich, exploring the trendy bars and Michelin-starred restaurants, meandering through Lindenhof park and exploring the city's distinct neighborhoods. Join well-heeled shoppers (or just admire the window displays) on Bahnhofstrasse, a world-famous exclusive retail boulevard. While here, be sure to sample the famous dark chocolate Champagne truffles from specialty chocolatier Teuscher.

switzerland tourist destinations

Visit the medieval town of Gruyères if you want to feel as if you've stepped back in time during your next trip. Its good looks (think: car-free cobblestone streets, fountain-filled squares and a 13th-century castle) create an old-world ambiance you're bound to love. Plus, the town is world-renowned for its Gruyère cheese, which you can sample and learn more about at a local cheese dairy or cellar. Sampling chocolate is also a must-do here, so be sure to check out a chocolate factory or attend a chocolate workshop while in town.

switzerland tourist destinations

Like its neighbor Lugano, Locarno is located in the Ticino region near the Italian border. This quiet, small town is surrounded by stunning scenery (it sits on the shores of Lake Maggiore in the foothills of the Alps), and since it's the warmest destination in Switzerland, you'll have plenty of opportunities to get outdoors and explore. Be sure to stroll through the picture-perfect main square, Piazza Grande, where the city hosts several summer festivals, and trek to Madonna del Sasso, considered sacred among Roman Catholics. Then, head to the Verzasca river valley to swim or bungee jump.

switzerland tourist destinations

Appenzell captures the essence of Switzerland with rolling hills, a car-free village and well-preserved customs. Visitors can take in the scenic landscape of the Appenzell District (located in the northeastern part of the country) by taking a cable car to the oft-photographed Aescher guest house, picturesquely built into the rock face, or hiking the region's "experience trails" like the Gonten Barefoot Trail and Appenzeller Kapellenweg, which weaves past 11 chapels. Meanwhile, the tiny village of Appenzell boasts quaint, frescoed shops and Museum Appenzell, which highlights the region's traditional crafts, folk music and art.

switzerland tourist destinations

You'd be hard-pressed to find a small town that boasts more charm and incredible scenery than Brienz. Located in the stunning Bernese Oberland region, Brienz sits on the northeastern shore of Lake Brienz, which features gorgeous turquoise water and is flanked by towering evergreen mountains. Some of the best ways to soak up the awe-inspiring setting include strolling picture-perfect Brunngasse (often proclaimed the most beautiful street in Europe), riding the Brienz Rothorn Bahn (which traverses a steam rack railway) and taking a boat tour to lake attractions like Giessbach Falls.

switzerland tourist destinations

Set along the banks of crystal-clear Lake Geneva in western Switzerland, this city is known for its incredible views and as the headquarters of the Red Cross and the United Nations. Geneva is also home to some iconic sights, including the Jet d'Eau (one of the world's tallest water fountains) and an old town with cobblestone streets and picturesque squares. While exploring the latter, be sure to check out the Saint Pierre Cathedral, which features Roman, Gothic and neoclassical details.

switzerland tourist destinations

The capital of Switzerland, Bern sometimes gets overlooked for flashier Swiss cities like Zurich and Geneva. But Bern holds many charms, including an old town (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) featuring the iconic Zytglogge clock tower, Renaissance-style fountains and a Gothic cathedral with the highest spire in Switzerland. The city also boasts many museums – several dedicated to Albert Einstein, who lived in Bern when developing his theory of relativity. Head to Gurten mountain – which you can reach by funicular, by bike or on foot – for sweeping views of the city below.

switzerland tourist destinations

As the largest ski area in central Switzerland, Engelberg is a winter playground, with a long, snowy season for downhill and cross-country skiing, snowboarding and sledding. But don't sleep on a summertime visit here; warmer months allow for a bevy of fun family activities like a toboggan run, 300-plus miles of hiking trails and water activities on Trübsee lake. Regardless of when you visit, you won't want to miss the TITLIS Rotair, a revolving cable car that takes riders up Mount Titlis, and the other cable lifts that stop at a glacier cave, a panoramic restaurant, and the TITLIS Cliff Walk.

switzerland tourist destinations

Considered "the birthplace of Alpine winter tourism," St. Moritz welcomes travelers with world-class skiing, swanky hotels, renowned après-ski offerings and top-notch restaurants. In addition to offering downhill skiing trails so highly regarded that the town has hosted the Olympics twice, St. Moritz features excellent spots for cross-country skiing, sledding and winter hikes. Come summertime, the area invites outdoor lovers to golf, bike, hike or enjoy water sports and swimming in the surrounding lakes.

switzerland tourist destinations

The Jungfrau Region is the perfect place for first-timers wanting to experience the otherworldly splendor that is the Swiss Alps. But be forewarned: The destination is sky high. Popular attractions like the Jungfraujoch (which features Europe's highest train station), the Grindelwald-First cable car and the First Cliff Walk Presented by Tissot sit at the top of towering peaks. The innovative Eiger Express gondola offers even faster transport to the top (just 15 minutes from Grindelwald). For those who'd rather stick closer to Earth's surface, prioritize a hike on a lower-level valley path and a visit to the Pfingstegg toboggan.

switzerland tourist destinations

Tourists may not be as familiar with Montreux as they are with its Lake Geneva neighbors, which makes this Swiss town such an undiscovered gem. Quaint Montreux features a waterfront promenade dotted with flowers and trees, a medieval castle and a charming old town, not to mention a statue commemorating Freddie Mercury (Queen recorded multiple albums here from 1978 to 1995). Montreux is also surrounded by vineyards and hosts a popular open-air jazz festival every summer, while the holiday season brings the festive Montreux Noël market.

switzerland tourist destinations

Located less than 5 miles from Montreux, Vevey is another Lake Geneva gem. This town's picturesque promenade along the lake is filled with flowers and features a sculpture of Charlie Chaplin, who spent the last 25 years of his life in Vevey. The Alimentarium, a nutrition-focused museum, also adorns the shoreline with its beautiful sandstone building, which once served as the headquarters to Nestlé (the company is still based in Vevey). After admiring the town, visitors can take a cog railway to the scenic Les Pléiades vantage point for its stunning views and the astronomy-centric Astropléiades trail.   

switzerland tourist destinations

The second-largest city on Lake Geneva, Lausanne is characterized by its renowned Gothic cathedral and surrounding hilly terrain. The stunning lake views and colorful city center don't hurt, either. Travelers can take in Lausanne's lively atmosphere by checking out the city's cafes, admiring the old town's beautiful architecture and perusing the exhibits at the Olympic Museum. No visit would be complete without venturing outside the city to nearby Lavaux, where you can enjoy wine from vineyards that are so scenic and well-preserved (some date back to the 11th century), the area was deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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Switzerland Travel Guide

The Ultimate Switzerland Travel Guide

Switzerland stats.

Official Languages: German, French, Italian, and Romansh

Population: 9 million

Capital City: Bern

Currency: Swiss franc

Power Outlet: Types C and J

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Switzerland by Region

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Top experiences in switzerland.

Bernese Oberland.  For many visitors, the Bernese Oberland is the highlight of a trip to Switzerland. Towering mountains, alpine meadows, soaring cable cars, historic cogwheel trains, scenic walking trails, quaint villages and hamlets…this is what most people think of, when they think of Switzerland.

Jungfraujoch.  A trip up to Jungfraujoch is one of the most popular things to do in the Bernese Oberland. Stand on one of the highest points in the Swiss Alps, walk through an ice cave, play in the snow, get panoramic views over the Alps, and hike out to Mönchsjochhütte.

Schilthorn.  Schilthorn is one of the highest peaks in the Jungfrau region and it is one of the best places to go for panoramic views of the Swiss Alps. While you are here, enjoy the view as you dine at Piz Gloria, learn a little James Bond history at Bond World, and add on the thrilling Cliff Walk in Birg.

Spend some time in Bern. Enjoy the humble and medieval city of Bern! With its pretty river views, quaint streets, and cozy shops, this city is a delight to wander. Enjoy Bern’s museums, see Einstein's home, and climb to the top of the 13 th century Zytglogge tower to look out over the city.

Lucerne.  Lucerne is a gorgeous Swiss city that sits at the foot of the Alps. The best things to do are to wander the old town, eat, drink, shop, and enjoy the views of the lake.

Mt. Pilatus. Mt. Pilatus is a jagged mountain that overlooks Lucerne. Cable cars and a cogwheel railway whisk visitors to the top, where you can go hiking, ride Switzerland’s longest summer toboggan, and take in the view from a handful of viewpoints. 

Zürich.  Zürich, with its colorful old town and handy public transportation network, is a great city to add on to your tour of Switzerland. Wander the picturesque old town, dine on fondue, go shopping, and take a boat tour of Lake Zürich.

Zermatt.  Zermatt is an idyllic mountain village tucked away in the Swiss Alps. The mighty Matterhorn dominates the skyline, creating one of the most unique alpine landscapes in Europe. Explore the hiking trails, journey up higher into the mountains by cable car and train, stroll the scenic streets of Zermatt, and go skiing all year long. 

Visit St. Moritz. T his small resort city surrounded by large mountains and gorgeous lakes. Enjoy the city’s fine dining and exquisite shopping, paddle board on Lake St. Moritz, or look down on the city from the top of a mountain.

Lausanne. Sitting on the shore of Lake Geneva is Lausanne, a charming city that is located in French-speaking Switzerland. With a colorful old town and numerous world-class museums, this is a delightful city to add to your tour of Switzerland.

Gruyères.  Located in the idyllic, rolling hills of French-speaking Switzerland sits Gruyères, a picture-perfect medieval town. Cheese, chocolate, and beautiful cobblestoned streets attract visitors all year round.

Geneva. Geneva is a common gateway into Switzerland for many travelers. It’s a large and bustling city, yet ancient architecture, old cathedrals, and cobblestone streets still remain. Explore the city’s old town, sail on Lake Geneva, and savor Swiss fondue at local restaurants. 

Visit the Appenzell District. Visit the quaint and historical villages in the Appenzell District, set amongst green pastures and soaring mountains. Here, you will be able to experience traditional Switzerland, taste freshly-made Appenzell cheese, and admire remnants of the Middle Ages.

How Many Days Do You Need in Switzerland?

At minimum, plan on spending 7 days in Switzerland. This gives you just enough time to visit Lucerne, Bern, or Zürich and then spend a few days in the Swiss Alps.

With 10 days in Switzerland, you have enough time to tour Lucerne, Zürich, the Bernese Oberland, and Zermatt.

With even more time, you can add on Lugano, Lausanne, St. Moritz, or spend more time in the Swiss Alps.

If you only have a few days in Switzerland, we recommend visiting Lucerne and day tripping into the Jungfrau region from here.

Best Time to Visit Switzerland

You can visit Switzerland all year round.

The best time to visit, in my opinion, is during the summer months, especially if you want to go hiking. Many of the hiking trails do not open until the end of May or early June, and then close in October, when the snow begins to fall. So, if you are a hiker, the best time to visit is during the summer months.

Summer is peak season, especially in the Bernese Oberland. It will be more crowded and expensive to visit at this time, so you will need to make your hotel reservations far in advance (ideally 4 to 6 months before your visit). But the weather is warm, the flowers are blooming, and the days are long.

If you want to hike the trails and have lower crowds, plan your visit for the end of September to early October.

But Switzerland certainly does not lose its charm during winter months! Swiss cities are filled with Christmas celebrations and markets, and Switzerland has some of the best snow sports in Europe. Meanwhile, the Bernese Oberland is a snow-covered wonderland. Ride the cable cars to Schilthorn and Jungfraujoch for spectacular views, go skiing, and spend the evenings in a cozy hotel with views of the snow-capped mountains.

Most of the trains and cable cars operate year round, although some will close for a short period of time for maintenance, either during the winter, spring, or fall months.

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20 of the Best Places to Visit in Switzerland — From Quaint Villages to Glamorous Cities

From tiny medieval towns to iconic ski resorts, here are 20 of the best places to go in Switzerland.

switzerland tourist destinations

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When you close your eyes and think of Switzerland, what do you see? Is it snow-capped mountains? Perhaps a verdant valley punctuated by springtime wildflowers? Or maybe it's a quaint Swiss city filled with cultural attractions and world-class restaurants. No matter which vision comes to mind, all of them are right — because Switzerland is all that and more. 

"Switzerland is small, yet we have four official languages, and every single one of the 26 cantons (states) is unique and has something different to offer," Catja-Camilla Straub, a tour guide with GatyaGoes , shared with Travel + Leisure . "There are different ways to explore and experience Switzerland, and there is something for everyone's interests: the outdoors, activities, luxury, a large number of festivals, food, culture, and history." 

Straub isn't the only one to see the nation's remarkable beauty. "Switzerland can offer you all Europa has to offer in one country," Tim Wehrle, a tour guide and underwater archaeologist in Zurich, said. "From lonely mountain valleys to a Mediterranean flair in the south of Switzerland, from busy nightlife to historic town centers, you can find everything in Switzerland." 

Ready to see it all? Here are 20 of the best places to visit in Switzerland.

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“Zurich is a small gem with only 450,000 inhabitants, yet it's the largest and most vibrant city in Switzerland,” Straub shared. Zurich may be best known for its banking and shopping, but, as Staub noted, it “actually has a rich history dating back to the Romans.” Staub recommends seeing it all and learning everything you can on a walking tour with a local like her.

Mount Rigi Kulm

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Make your way to the top of Mount Rigi to get a view of three countries at once. The mountain, located between Lake Lucerne and Lake Zug, offers views of Switzerland, France, and Germany at the top, which you can reach by taking a train or hiking all the way .

Lake Lucerne

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Lake Lucerne offers some of Switzerland’s most fantastic views. The glittering lake stretches on for 43 square miles, offering visitors the chance to hike around it, boat through it, or stay at any number of fantastic hotels lining its shores to enjoy the view. 

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Make your way about an hour northeast of Lake Lucerne to the town of Rapperswil , which sits on Lake Zurich. The town is known for its abundant roses in the spring and summer and for its medieval architecture, including its very own castle.

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History lovers, this one is for you. Ticino, a town in southern Switzerland, is home to not one but two UNESCO World Heritage Sites — the Bellinzona castles and Monte San Giorgio. Come explore them all year long, dive in the lake in summer, or take to the mountains for a ski trip in winter. 

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Tucked between Lake Thun and Lake Brienz, travelers can find the town of Interlaken . It’s well known as an adventure-lovers paradise, offering the chance to hike, ski, paraglide, skydive, and more through the majestic mountain range surrounding the town.

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Quinten , which sits on the shores of Lake Walen, is the place to be for those who love to see everything on foot. The entire community is car-free and offers spectacular views throughout its terraced neighborhoods lined with vineyards overlooking the Churfirsten mountain range.

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Want another car-free adventure? Head to the picturesque town of Appenzell in northeast Switzerland. The small community of just 7,000 full-time residents is known for its hand-made cheeses, best enjoyed with a picnic out in the rolling green pastures. 

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Montreux, positioned on the shores of Lake Geneva, is loved for its palm-lined promenade, castles, and gorgeous alpine vistas. It’s also the place to be over the summer when it hosts the annual Montreux Jazz Festival, which is worthy of planning an entire trip around.

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If you’re into cheese, you’ve likely heard the name Gruyère before. Visit its namesake town, located in southwest Switzerland, to dig into the cheese-making tradition and to visit its fairy-tale streets surrounded by a positively bucolic landscape.

Oeschinen Lake

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Explore another UNESCO World Heritage Site in Switzerland with a visit to the glacial Oeschinen Lake. Like many places in Switzerland, this lake comes flanked by snow-capped peaks and alpine meadows, and it offers more than its fair share of outdoor fun, including everything from hiking and biking to ice fishing in the winter.

Lavaux Vineyard

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Wine lovers will adore visiting Lavaux Vineyard, the nation’s largest contiguous vineyard area that goes on for nearly 2,000 acres. The vineyard is yet another one of Switzerland’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites, which comes with the added bonus of gorgeous views and divine wine tastings .

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Want to feel like you’re on top of the world? Head to Stoos , a town located at 4,265 feet. The entire (car-free) town is adorable, but the coolest part is its funicular railway — which holds the record as the steepest on Earth — that takes guests some 2,400 feet high in under 10 minutes. 

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Find a little slice of luxury in St. Mortiz. The high-end town marries some of the best skiing in the world with some of the best shopping. It’s got glitz, glamour, and plenty of bona fides to back up its reputation as a winter sports heaven; St. Moritz hosted the 1928 and 1948 Winter Olympic Games.

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Geneva, the second-largest city in Switzerland, is renowned for its international organizations like the United Nations European headquarters and the International Committee of the Red Cross. It’s also a spot where travelers can find luxuries galore, including high-end watch shops selling some of the most exclusive pieces on Earth.

Rhine Falls

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Feel the power of Mother Nature at Rhine Falls, Europe's largest waterfall. Visitors can marvel at the thunderous waters from viewing platforms, and those feeling more adventurous can take boat trips for a closer experience. Just make sure to wear something waterproof.

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Zermatt , which sits in the shadow of the Matterhorn, is one more car-free village that combines rustic charm with high-end amenities, including some of the best skiing in Europe. Of course, guests can explore the mountains all spring, summer, and fall by hiking and biking, or just enjoy the town’s fantastic (year-round) shopping opportunities.

Bern, Switzerland's capital, offers an enticing mix of old and new. The city has retained much of its medieval architecture and cobblestone streets, now the setting for world-class dining venues, boutiques, and beer gardens, all worthy of visiting on your next trip.

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Find a little taste of Italy in Lugano, the largest Italian-speaking city in Switzerland (which counts Italian among its four official languages). The Swiss city offers more gorgeous promenades to stroll, along with delicious Italian-influenced restaurants and an art scene that can't be beaten. 

Swiss National Park

Get one more taste of Switzerland’s incredible natural beauty with a visit to Swiss National Park , located in the Engadin Valley. The park encompasses 68 square miles, making it a fantastic place to explore. While on a hike, see how many animals you can spot, including the park’s resident marmots, ibexes, and golden eagles.

12 of the best things to do in Switzerland 

Kerry Walker

Dec 5, 2023 • 13 min read

switzerland tourist destinations

Experience the best of Switzerland with these top things to do © nycshooter / Getty Images

No country has it all, but the Swiss are justified in feeling pretty smug about their lot.

In Switzerland almost every drive , train journey , boat trip or cable car ride has an element of the epic, taking you to thundering falls, gorges, valleys hidden deep in the mountains or World Heritage vineyards. Cities with medieval old towns, big-hitter galleries and extraordinary cultural collections are often just a whisper away from vivid turquoise lakes and the glacier-capped Alps. The stride between urban and outdoors is effortless.

Whether it’s floating down the Rhine in Basel, admiring Paul Klee’s punchy art in Bern, hiking below the mighty Matterhorn, feeling the thrill of ice at the Aletsch Glacier, or sipping Chasselas wines in the terraced vineyards of the Lavaux as the last sun touches Lake Geneva, these are some of the best things to do in Switzerland .

Scenic view of Rhine embankment with people swimming in the river in Basel, Switzerland

1. Float down the Rhine in Basel

At the point where Switzerland, Germany and France converge, Basel dives into creative waters when it comes to avant-garde art and architecture, with a raft of galleries right up there with Europe’s best. But this city also likes to let its mind drift. 

Cue the Rhine, where office workers ditch their suits to take a dip, and families gather for a city swim on weekends. A novel way to see Basel is to grab a Wickelfisch (a fish-shaped waterproof bag to keep your stuff dry), make for the river banks in Kleinbasel, then strip to your bathers and float past city landmarks as the current carries you gently downstream. If you prefer to keep your head above water, rent a stand-up paddleboard or join a tour with Birs73 . Locals like to end their dip socially, with drinks and a sunbathe at a buvette (riverside bar), especially on hot summer days.

Planning tip: Hop in just below Museum Tinguely to float 3km (1.8 miles) down the Rhine, or plot your own route by taking a look at the map . You can buy a Wickelfisch at the tourist office in central Barfüsserplatz.

2. Stargaze from your bed

It’s a night silent enough to hear your own heartbeat. Up in the Alps, darkness falls and the only sound is the gentle chime of cowbells. Constellations and distant planets sprinkle the sky like handfuls of glitter. Sound beautiful? It is. Harnessing the wild, Million Stars Hotel is a huge collection of open-air, one-of-a-kind sleeps across the country, where you can slip back to nature and enjoy a little pre-bedtime stargazing.

But we’re not just talking canvas here. These imaginative overnighters are ones that you’ll be raving about for years to come – from beautifully made-up beds plonked on top of remote mountains to a stylishly converted gondola on the edge of a crag, a bed under an apple tree and a “beehive” pod with views of Eiger’s mile-high North Face. And with this being Switzerland, they are not just clever but comfortable, too.

Planning tip: As each place only sleeps two, advance booking is highly advisable. Most are open from July to October.

A woman stands at the edge of a river looking upwards at a multi-arched viaduct

3. Ride the Glacier Express

No country nails rail travel like Switzerland, where little red trains (polished and perfectly on time) chug from valley to peak with ease, leaving you to swoon over the Alpine scenery from the comfort of your panoramic carriage. Evoking a golden age of travel, Switzerland’s train journeys are hands down some of the world’s finest.

The big one everyone is eager to do at least once (and with good reason) is the Glacier Express , which crosses over the Furka, Oberalp and Bernina passes on the eight-hour ride between Zermatt and St Moritz in Graubünden ’s Upper Engadin. Riveting views of meadows, forests, fast-flowing turquoise rivers, canyons, castles, big-shouldered mountains and glaciers keep you glued to the window. The entire journey is a remarkable feat of 1930s engineering, but special mention goes to the Landwasser viaduct – the gravity-defying six-arched bridge that leaps between Tiefencastel and Filisur, and the Oberalp Pass (2,033m/6,670ft), harnessing the true wilderness of the Swiss Alps.

Planning tip: If you want to save a few francs, regularly scheduled services plying the same route can be just as enjoyable and significantly less expensive. Break up the journey by using cheaper SBB trains and overnighting along the way.

4. Hike in the Swiss National Park

For a taste of the Alps before tourists rocked up, head southeast to the Swiss National Park in Graubünden’s Lower Engadin valley, where the mountains nudge their way over into Italy. Easily accessed from the quaint villages of Scuol, Zernez and S-chanf, Switzerland’s only national park is a 172-sq-km (66-sq-mile) visual feast of rushing streams, high moors, pastures, glaciers, larch, pine woods and lakes. Here, nature has been left totally to its own devices: no trees are felled, no meadows are cut, and no animals have been hunted since the park was founded in 1914.

The only way to properly see the park is by chucking on boots and heading for its trail-laced heart. If you only have time for one walk, make it Lakes of Macun, a 21km (13-mile) day hike from Zernez, leading to a high Alpine plateau splashed with 23 lakes that shimmer topaz and sapphire. If you prefer, you can join a guided walk with one of the park rangers (you can book these at the visitor center in Zernez). With an expert in tow, you stand better chances of spotting rarities like wild edelweiss, ibex, chamois, golden eagles and bearded vultures.

Planning tip: Camping is off-limits, but you can stay the night at the gloriously remote Chamanna Cluozza . At 1,882m (6,174ft) above sea level, this is quite possibly the off-grid log cabin of your wildest Alpine dreams. The hut is reached on a moderately challenging 3½-hour uphill hike from Zernez. Bring your own sleeping bag.

Two people take a small boat out on a lake at the edge of a scenic city

5. Boat across Lake Lucerne

There are higher mountains in Switzerland than those lining the fjord-like shores of Lake Lucerne , but none are more enshrined in flag-waving Swiss myth. Boat across the emerald waters of Lake Uri and you’ll glimpse Rütli Meadow , the hallowed birthplace of the Swiss Confederation in 1291. You can also experience the Tellskapelle , a tiny, frescoed chapel that is said to be where the apple-shooting hero and beloved Swiss rebel William Tell escaped from the boat of his Hapsburg captor, Gessler.

Legends swirl like storm clouds over the mountains on the doorstep of Lucerne . Since 1889, the world’s steepest cogwheel railway has been rattling up to 2,128m (6,981ft) Mt Pilatus, where the restless ghost of Roman prefect Pontius Pilate is said to still roam. Never mind the spook stories – you’ll be captivated by the views reaching as far as Germany’s Black Forest on cloudless days. Its beauty rival is 1,797m Mt Rigi (5,895ft), famous for its painterly sunrises and sunsets and once a source of fascination to JMW Turner, who painted it in three different moods.

Planning tip: Lucerne makes an appealing base for exploring the lake, with its Old Town, medieval wooden bridge and promenade strung along the lakeshore.

6. Take the Eiger Express to Jungfraujoch

You’ve got to hand it to the Swiss – they are always ahead of the game. Since 1912, a little red train, fueled by hydro-power from the outset, has wound its way up to Jungfraujoch , Europe’s highest train station at 3,454m (11,332ft), blasting through the icy heart of Eiger. Just recently, the journey has become even more eco-friendly with Grindelwald’s Eiger Express , a super-speedy tri-cable gondola that covers the first leg of the journey using its wheels to generate green power. The ride will make you gasp out loud as you float above the landscape, with spruce forests and log chalets giving way to a realm of rock and ice. You’ll get so close to Eiger’s beastly, mile-high North Face that you’ll feel as though you’ll slam right into it.

At the top of UNESCO World Heritage-listed Jungfraujoch, temperatures drop and the world is always white. You’ll be wowed by the view from the Sphinx observation deck, reaching across a sea of snow-capped, 4,000m (13,123ft) peaks and the 23km (14.2-mile) swirl of the Aletsch Glacier while Germany and France hover in the distance. The frosty Ice Palace is a wonderland of ice tunnels and sculptures – they are impressive today but must have been even more so back when mountaineers first hacked them out by pickaxe in the 1930s.

Planning tip: Bring warm layers and boots, particularly if you fancy the 45-minute stomp to Mönchsjochhütte , Switzerland’s highest serviced mountain hut.

A road winds through mountains with many tight bends and switchbacks

7. Drive the Furka Pass

You won’t be able to tell if it’s the stomach-flipping hairpin bends or the gob-smacking views that make your heart beat so wildly on this high, twisty, up-and-over-the-Alps drive from the isolated valley of the Goms in Valais to mountain-encrusted Andermatt in Uri – the gateway to southeast Switzerland. 

Drive the 31km (19-mile) Furka Pass from west to east to maximize the drama as dark, craggy peaks and glaciers fill your rear-view mirror. If you have a bit of a Bond moment behind the wheel, it’s no coincidence – this road starred in the car chase scene in the 1964 movie Goldfinger. As you swing dizzily around switchbacks, the road tops out at the 2,429m (7,969ft) Furka Pass, where you can peer across the lunar rockscape of a wind-battered plateau to the deeply crevassed Rhône Glacier and its ice grotto before the long, sweeping descent to Andermatt.

Planning tip: The road is open roughly from June to October (depending on snow) but check conditions before heading out.

8. Get active in Ticino’s valleys

In the sultry, parle Italiano canton of Ticino in southern Switzerland, it’s the lakes that get all the love. But dip into Ticino ’s hidden valleys and you’ll lose the crowds and find the region’s true pulse. Here glassy, jewel-colored rivers float past chestnut woods and incredibly pretty granite hamlets cresting hilltops (including Switzerland’s smallest, Corippo , with a population of just 15). And after a day’s hike or bike ride, you can kick back on the vine-swathed terrace of a rustic grotti (tavern) for polenta and brasato (beef braised in red wine) with a glass of the beefy local Merlot.

The wild, woody Valle Maggia is a magnet to mountain bikers and hikers, laced with 700km (435 miles) of trails, including the challenging 52km (32-mile), six-day Via Alta that spotlights the region’s best. For more adventure, head over to the rugged Val Verzasca, bisected by its namesake emerald river and crisscrossed by the Sentiero Verzasca trail. Every Alpine activity imaginable is offered in this valley, from hiking and cycling to rafting, bouldering, paragliding and bungee jumping from the 220m (656ft) Verzasca Dam, which starred in the opening scene of GoldenEye . Swissraft makes it happen.

A crowded street on a summer's day in the old town of Thun, a popular tourist destination in the canton of Bern.

9. Have a culture fix in Bern

You might have an I-can’t-believe-it’s-the-capital moment roaming the streets of Bern , with its refreshingly easygoing vibe, parks and alfresco cafes, resident bears and lush backdrop of hills. The city is certainly a looker, situated on a sharp bend in the startlingly turquoise Aare River, encircled by gentle hills and with views of the snow-frosted Alps on crisp, clear days. And you can get your cultural kicks here, too. 

Begin with a romp around the Altstadt , Bern’s medieval, cobbled, arcaded, flag-bedecked heart. Here you’ll spy the ornate Zytglogge clock (come at four minutes before the hour for the glockenspiel parade), the 15th-century Gothic Münster (hike up its lofty spire, Switzerland’s tallest, for far-reaching views over the rooftops) and many folkloric fountains, including the Kindlifresserbrunnen , depicting a giant snacking on children.

Museum-wise, Bern is a treat. Tour the apartment where Einstein lived and the magnificent Kunstmuseum , home to Renaissance masterpieces, Monets and Picassos. Make the short hop out to Renzo Piano’s bold, wave-like Zentrum Paul Klee to see the color-charged works of Swiss-born German artist Paul Klee.

Detour : Break up sightseeing with a wild swim in the Aare River. When the weather warms, join the Berner for a cooling downstream float. 

10. Ski or hike below the Matterhorn

Nothing sums up Switzerland’s outdoor-loving spirit better than the Matterhorn, the peak that has broken many a rock climber’s rope (and soul) and has a chocolate bar (Toblerone) shaped in its honor. Arrive in Zermatt on the train that chugs from Täsch. Like those who have come before you, you won’t be able to stop yourself from obsessively gawping at that mountain. 

And who could blame you? Razoring up above the Italian border in southern Valais, this 4,478m (14,691ft) fang of rock and ice is utterly mesmerizing, especially when seen from above. You can ski, hike or climb in its pyramid-shaped shadow by riding the world's highest-altitude 3S cable car to 3,883m (12,739ft) Matterhorn Glacier Paradise , on the Klein Matterhorn, with views reaching deep into the Swiss, French and Italian Alps. 

For close-ups of the melting ice, hook onto the two-hour, 6.5km (4-mile), moderately challenging Matterhorn Glacier Trail. When the flakes fall in winter, you can pound the powder on 360km (223 miles) of ski runs, some of which dip over the border into Italy and nearly all of which offer distractingly lovely views of the Matterhorn.

Planning tip: If you have some climbing experience under your belt, you can climb your way to the top with an Alpine guide .

A person hikes on a vast glacier as the sun shines down

11. Admire the Aletsch Glacier  

As you journey into the remote Goms valley in Valais , the Alps take a turn for the wild and the hamlets are pure Heidi stuff with sun-blackened chalets and flower-freckled meadows sweeping up to whopping mountains. The Matterhorn gets all the fuss, but just as arresting is the Aletsch Glacier , the jewel in the crown of the Jungfrau-Aletsch region. Powering past wispy waterfalls, rock spires and the dagger-shaped summit of Aletschhorn (4,193m/13,756ft) like a six-lane glacial superhighway, this 23km (14 mile) swirl of deeply crevassed ice is the longest and most voluminous glacier in the Alps.

Observe the glacier from the viewpoint, or – for close-ups – hit the trail on the 17km (10.5-mile), five- to six-hour hike from Fiescheralp to Bettmeralp where every bend in the ice reveals phenomenal views and the odd Valais Blacknose sheep. If you prefer instant thrills, wobble across the Aletschji–Grünsee Suspension Bridge, which straddles the 80m-deep Massa Gorge.

Planning tip: Reaching the glacier is part of the fun. From Fiesch, take the cable car up to Fiescheralp, then beyond to Eggishorn for your first glimpse of the mighty Aletsch.

12. Walk among vines in Lavaux

In the country’s western crook, the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Lavaux vineyards are heaven on earth to oenophiles. The world’s steepest vineyards stagger up the terraced hills above Lake Geneva . If you’ve never heard of them, it’s because the hand-picked wines are so select and small-batch that the Swiss keep most of them to themselves – few bottles ever reach export.

Before hitting the caveaux (wine cellars) for a petite dégustation (tasting), brush up your wine knowledge. It’s said that these grapes are blessed by three suns: the one in the sky, the one on the lake and the one radiating heat from the dry-stone walls. The main grape is Chasselas, a very old variety producing crisp, flinty white wines with a fresh, citrusy nose. The fruity reds (Gamay, Pinot noir and Salvagnin) make up just 20% of production.

You can drive the meandering roads that loop around 40km (25 miles) of shore or take the Lavaux Panoramic Train , but you’ll get a better feel for the Lavaux by heading out on foot. Little trails dip into the vines everywhere, but top billing goes to the 11km (6.8-mile) trail from St-Saphorin to Lutry, where you’ll take in stirring views, pretty villages and welcoming cellars.

Planning tip: For a great primer on Lavaux wines, stop off at Vinorama in Rivaz. Housed in a strikingly revamped bunker, the lakefront center speeds you through the wine-growing process, and you can sample dozens of different wines in the Espace Dégustation.

This article was first published September 2022 and updated December 2023

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17 Spectacular Places to Visit in Switzerland (+ Map!)

Nestled in central Europe and dominated by the Alps, the best places to visit in Switzerland are downright sublime.

When it comes to jaw-dropping landscapes, quaint small towns, and enchanting cities that perfectly blend the past, present, and future, nowhere does it quite like Switzerland.

Many people (us included) put off planning trips to Switzerland’s beautiful corners for years because of its deserved reputation for high prices–but the best Swiss travel destinations are so incredible that, while expensive, you never doubt that you’re getting your money’s worth.

To help get you excited about planning your bucket list Switzerland vacation, we’ve worked with several other travel bloggers to round up the most magnificent places in Switzerland to visit!

Whether your dream Swiss trip involves Alpine hiking, lake swimming, skiing, or simply eating lots of fondue while overlooking the mountains, there’s an incredible getaway in Switzerland here for you.

Here are some of the most beautiful places to visit in Switzerland!

Table of Contents

Stunning Cities to Visit in Switzerland

Beautiful small villages + mountain towns in switzerland, more of the best places to visit in switzerland, map of the most beautiful places in switzerland to visit.

kate storm in a black dress with the alps in the background on the murren to gimmelwald hike

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From Rachel of Rachel’s Ruminations

Basel is a lovely little city with a historical core that is just perfect for strolling and soaking up the atmosphere.

The houses are simple and charming, some dating to the Middle Ages.

Art dots the streets: fountains, decorative sculpture, and painting on the centuries-old buildings as well as amusing modern art, like the dragon sculpture that breathes actual smoke!

“Reaction ferries” – no motor or sails – carry passengers across the Rhine between the two halves of the city.

If you like to see historical sights, the Romanesque and Gothic Basel Cathedral is one of the best sights in Basel , and climbing the spire to see the view is also worth the effort.

close up of red decor on basel town hall with clock in the center

Three of the original city gates still stand, restored to their medieval glory, and the bright red Rathaus (city hall) is quite a sight too.

The more modern Tinguely fountain is an amusing cross between a fountain and a kinetic sculpture.

The Foundation Beyeler, on the edge of town, houses a truly exceptional collection of modern masterpieces by major artists such as Rothko, Picasso, Monet, and Mondrian. It’s just outside of town but easy to reach.

Basel is a year-round destination, but summer is the best season for enjoying the outdoor attractions and architecture.

However, December brings a different charm: Basel is home to what is widely considered to be the best Christmas market in Switzerland!

view of old town basel, one of the best cities to visit in switzerland, with river in the foreground

From Caroline of Veggie Wayfarer

Snowcapped mountains, half-timbered houses, and a city that seemingly rolls down a hill right into the most pristine lake, upon which steamboats glide to and back from France: this is the storybook city of Lausanne, in the  Vaud-region .

Built atop three hills, the very first thing you will want to bring with you is a good pair of walking shoes. Start at the Lausanne Cathedral for some of the best views over the entire city, walk down the famous wooden staircase ( Escaliers du marché ) into the heart of the city at the  Place de la Palud , which contains a clutch of restaurants and bars as well as the oldest working fountain of the city.

skyline of lausanne switzerland with gothic cathedral prominent

Meander through the tiny streets until you hit  Palais de Rumine , a Renaissance palace well worth a visit.

The buzzing Flon district is great for a night on the town, or grab a drink at Brasserie Montbenon if you are looking for a more intimate setting.

Make your way to Lake Geneva at the foot of Lausanne, where you’ll find a variety of watersports on offer throughout the year.

Time permitting, hop of a steam peddler to Chillon Castle.

On the way make a brief stop at the UNESCO Lavaux vineyards, to try a glass of locally-produced wine.

view of chateau in lausanne with flowers and lake in the foreground, one of the best switzerland cities to visit

From Zoe of Together In Switzerland

For one of the best places to visit in Switzerland, consider booking your next Swiss getaway in Lugano!

Located in the heart of the Italian-speaking Ticino region, Lugano is beautiful to visit all year round.

However, the best time for  Lugano is in the summer , with long warm days and lots of local events in the city.

Since Lugano is well known also for its Lake Lugano, one of the best things to do after exploring and shopping in the city is to get out onto the lake!

You can rent cute red little paddle boats for a minimum of 30 minutes, or else book a larger boat trip that includes sightseeing at some local villages nearby. 

view of lugano city and lake from above

Lugano also is home to two funiculars that you can take up either Mount San Salvatore or Monte Bre.

Both nearby mountains are just above 900 in elevation and both have gorgeous views of the lake and the city of Lugano.

Summer is especially beautiful at each top mountain as they both have a restaurant serving drinks and food late into the night.

From there, you can see the sunset from above as well as watch the city light up in the darkness. 

If you’re visiting Switzerland in the summer, it’s also a must to bring your swimsuit to Lugano as you should not leave without swimming in the lake!

There are a few dedicated swimming areas to choose from, such as at Lido Riva Caccia right in the city center. 

paddleboats parked near the shore in lugano, one of the most beautiful places switzerland

From Kristin of Global Travel Escapades

When looking for the best travel destinations in Switzerland, you won’t want to miss the lakeside city of Geneva.

The city is in the French-speaking region of Switzerland and is located right next to the border of France, not far from Annecy.

In addition to being a beautiful city with lots of French-style architecture, Geneva’s location along Lake Geneva makes it an ideal Swiss city to visit.

The most iconic attraction in Geneva is the Jet d’eau Geneve, a 140m tall water jet in the middle of Lake Geneva.

Jet d'eau Geneve in geneva swizterland near sunset

After seeing the fountain, you can walk along the harbor and admire the colorful flower clock in the nearby Jardin Anglais.

The flower clock features over 6,500 flowers that create the watch’s face.

No trip to Geneva would be complete without paying a visit to Palais de Nations.

You’ll see the flag of each country that is part of the United Nations!

So if you’re looking for places to visit in Switzerland, consider Geneva, and make sure you visit during the summer months to minimize your chances of rainy weather!

view of lake geneva and the city from saint pierre cathedral in geneva, one of the best places in switzerland to visit

From Dymphe of Dym Abroad

One of the best places to visit in Switzerland is the picturesque city of Lucerne.

Whether you are spending  one day in Lucerne  or enjoying a longer trip, this German-speaking city nestled along the River Reuss is a beautiful travel destination.

One of the best things to do in Lucerne is to visit the Kapellbrücke, a covered pedestrian wooden bridge that spans the river in the city that dates back to the 14th century.

The Kapellbrücke has unique architecture and there are historic interior paintings that are very interesting to see.

chapel bridge in lucerne, one of the most beautiful cities in switzerland to visit

If you like the Kapellbrücke, the Spreuer Bridge is another must-see!

Other top attractions in central Lucerne include climbing the towers along the Musegg Wall for incredible views of the city and Lake Lucerne and visiting the Swiss Museum of Transport .

Another one of the best things to do in Lucerne is to spend time on Lake Lucerne to enjoy spectacular views of the mountains. You can ride the ferry or go swimming in the summer.

While visiting Lucerne, don’t miss the chance to head up to Mount Pilatus , either–not only are the views incredible but getting to the top includes riding the steepest cog railway in the world!

view of tower and lake lucerne from musegg walls, one of the best things to do in lucerne

From Sarah of CosmopoliClan

Nestled amidst rolling green hills and hugged by the crystal-clear Aare river, lies the city of Bern.

It’s the political epicenter of Switzerland with the Bundeshaus as the seat of the Swiss Parliament.

Bern’s picturesque Old Town may be compact, this UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site has a lot offer.

Visiting the Zytglogge, or Clock Tower, is one of the most popular of  things to do in Bern .

This landmark featuring a bear parade, golden rooster and time god Chronos as it strikes the hour, seems to come straight out of a story book.

As you stroll the elegant flag-lined streets of Bern, you’ll notice the many colorfully decorated water fountains.

historic center of bern switzerland street lined with flags and clock tower in the distance

Other architectural highlights are the stately arcades and the vaulted cellars that guarantee a pleasant shopping or dining experience regardless of the weather.

For a wonderful view over the city, climb the 312 steps to the viewing platform of the Bern Minster. This cathedral has the highest spire in all of Switzerland.

Behind it, you’ll find the Mattelift which will take you to the lower-level Matte district with its artistic flair and half-timbered houses.

From there, you can cross the Aare river to the Bärengraben where you can meet some of the city’s most famous residents: the bears.

The legend goes that the Duke who founded Bern would name the city after the first animal he encountered while hunting and that happened to be a bear.

End your visit at the Rosengarten park and take in the most spectacular panoramic view over the Altstadt and the white mountain peaks of the Bernese Oberland.

aerial view of bern surrounded by aare river, one of the most interesting switzerland cities to visit

From Emma of Travel on a Time Budget

Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland , with no shortage of things to do.

It’s also a beautiful city, with the Limmat River flowing through the old town and Lake Zurich at one end, surrounded by mountain peaks.

Among the best things to do in Zurich is to spend some time in the historic old town.

This has picturesque cobbled streets and squares to wander through, with beautiful churches, wonderful cafes and restaurants, and a 17th-century renaissance town hall.

Boat trips run along the river and around the lake; the ferry stops at Zurichhorn for the chance to walk around the park and visit the small pretty Chinese Garden with its lake and colorful temples.

Zurich also has a number of fascinating museums to visit.

These include the Swiss National Museum, the Lindt Home of Chocolate Museum , the Rietberg Art Museum, and the FIFA World Cup Museum dedicated to the history of football.

For visitors looking for some relaxation, there is the rooftop thermal pool at the Thermalbad and Spa that provides views out across the city.

view of zurich switzerland from above in the summer, one of the best places to go in switzerland

Zurich is a wonderful place to visit at any time of year.

The summer months are perfect for walking around the lake or dipping in the water in one of the city’s lidos.

In the winter, there is skiing in the nearby mountains and ice skating in the city.

The city’s streets are lit up, and there are cozy cafes to pop into to warm up with the local fondue. At Christmas, the city hosts several markets.

Though deservedly famous for being expensive, Zurich has a range of accommodations to suit most Switzerland-friendly budgets.

The Hotel Montana near the main train station is ideal for short city breaks.

For more luxury, The Dolder Grand , with its hilltop setting, complete with an ice rink in winter, is a great option. 

central zurich decorated for christmas at night with a tram running down the street

From Megan of Megan & Aram

Interlaken, also known as the “Adventure Capital of Switzerland”, is a gorgeous place that can be visited in any season!

There are so many things you can do regardless of whether  you visit in winter   or summer… you just need to dress appropriately for the weather.

Go kayaking on beautiful Lake Brienz in all seasons, and relax on the beach after a swim session in the summer.

Interlaken has many fantastic hiking trails to choose from, and some of the most popular ones are Oberburghorn or Hardergrat.

You can take the funicular up the mountain to the Harder Kulm viewpoint, where you can enjoy the stunning views and dine at the Panorama Restaurant.

people standing on observation deck overlooking interlaken, one of the top travel destinations switzerland

To see the countryside from another perspective, take a hot air balloon ride!

And for even more views, take Europe’s highest railway to Jungfraujoch, where you will get breathtaking views from an elevation of nearly 3,500 m (about 11,500 ft).

You will never get tired of the spectacular scenery no matter how many viewpoints you go to!

Travel back in time by visiting the following fairytale-like places: St. Beatus Caves, a cave system over a kilometer long where legend says St. Beatus ousted a dragon living there in the 6th century; the medieval Thun Castle; or the charming village of Grindelwald.

Interlaken is a must-visit location in Switzerland and should be added to every itinerary!

historic center of interlaken with river in the foreground

From Paul D’Souza of Paulmarina.com

Mürren  is a beautiful, small village in the Bernese Oberland in Switzerland.

Situated at 5400 feet (ca. 1,646 m) above sea level, this car-free village can only be accessed by cable car or mountain train.

Visitors can get there within 10 minutes from Stechelberg with the Schilthornbahn or take the iconic mountain train via Grütschalp to travel to Mürren within 20 minutes.

The views from Mürren are beyond stunning and will enthrall every nature and mountain-loving traveler.

Mürren and the Schilthorn peak came to fame thanks to a James Bond movie. Take the cable car further up to Birg and Schilthorn to discover Bond World and enjoy brunch in the Piz Gloria rotating restaurant.

people walking through central murren switzerland in the summer

From there you can spot the Mönch, Jungfrau, and Eiger peaks.

Adventure lovers will enjoy the Brig Via Ferrata trail, a rock climbing, zip lining, and tight rope walking trail further down.

Every season is beautiful and has its perks in Mürren, but the warmer months are more suitable to go hiking and paragliding.

Skiing and snowshoe walking are popular winter activities in the area.

A winter wonderland awaits you from December to March with plenty of snow and snow-dusted Swiss mountains.

ranger storm sitting on a stump in murren switzerland with alps visible behind him

From Dean and Laynni of Routinely Nomadic

Home to the world-famous Matterhorn, Zermatt has long been one of the most popular tourist destinations in Switzerland.

So, yes, it can get very busy. But the fabulous mountain scenery more than makes up for that.

While the iconic Matterhorn dominates the skyline, the town is completely surrounded by impressive mountains and fantastic viewpoints, many of which are accessible by cable car .

Truly a year-round destination, Zermatt is one of the top skiing destinations in Switzerland in the winter, while in summer it attracts outdoor enthusiasts from all over to enjoy mountain biking, rock climbing, paragliding, white-water rafting, and, of course, hiking.

If you have your heart set on seeing the Matterhorn , try to give yourself a few days in Zermatt in order to increase your odds of clear weather.

hiking trail in zermatt switzerland with matterhorn in the background, one of the most beautiful places in switzerland to visit

Along with a wide variety of gorgeous day hikes, Zermatt serves as the start or end point of the incredible  Walker’s Haute Route , a phenomenal 2-week hut-to-hut trek through the Alps that is arguably the best long-distance hike in Europe.

Secluded at the top of a picturesque valley, Zermatt is closed to vehicles (except for electric hotel and work shuttles), making it a wonderful place to wander on foot.

While long-time visitors to Zermatt lament the ever-growing number of hotels, restaurants, and retail stores, they make it a very easy place to have fun and every new building still conforms to the town’s classic ski town vibe.

Those looking for a luxury stay with amazing Matterhorn views should check out the Europe Hotel & Spa , although there are practically endless Zermatt accommodation options to fit most budgets.

view of zermatt from above at dusk with matterhorn in the background, one of the best places to visit in switzerland

Baden, Switzerland

By Nina of Nina Out and About

Baden is the spa capital of Switzerland, yet most people have never heard of it.

Unlike Bath in the UK, Baden has remained off the beaten paths for tourists, and even most  expats who live in Switzerland .

Baden is a small town located in Aargau, about 20 minutes by train from Zurich.

It’s routinely confused with Baden-Baden in Germany (even when you try to buy a ticket to visit). But don’t be fooled: it does exist!

Baden’s claim to fame is the natural springs that have made it a popular spa destination for centuries.

The most well-known is the Friedensquelle (“Peace Spring”), but there are several others to explore as well.

baden switzerland with river in the foreground, one of the beautiful small towns in switzerland

In addition to its spas, Baden is also home to a beautiful old town with plenty of shops and restaurants. There’s also an interesting museum dedicated to the history of the town’s springs.

You can try out the hot springs for free along the riverside.

There’s a bench with a trough of natural hot water that you can put your feet in while you enjoy a hot chocolate or takeaway pastry.

The spa inside has evening and early morning discounted tickets, which will allow you to enjoy the spa when it’s nearly empty.

If you’re looking for a relaxing day trip from Zurich to one of the most underrated places to visit in Switzerland, Baden is the perfect place to head.

The best time to visit Baden is in the spring or summer when the weather is warm and you can enjoy all the town has to offer.

view of the center of baden switzerland from above in the summer

Lauterbrunnen

From Martha of May Cause Wanderlust

Lauterbrunnen is a village at the base of the stunningly beautiful Lauterbrunnen Valley in the Bernese Oberland region, and it is indisputably one of the absolute best places to visit in Switzerland!

It is the epicentre of this bucolic area, which boasts of pretty waterfalls, steep snow-capped mountains and quaint wooden chalets, and there are plenty of  things to do in Lauterbrunnen  and the surrounding area.

In the village itself, you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to scenery. On either side of the village, there are green hillsides dotted with chalets and sheer cliff faces.

The stunningly delicate and impossibly tall Staubbach Falls seem to be falling on the village – although they are actually just a short walk outside it.

village of lauterbrannen switzerland with waterfall visible on the right

And the best view of all is southward across the village towards Lauterbrunnen Church.

Looking in this direction, you see the pretty church steeple flanked on either side by the steep valley walls and the Staubach Falls, with the snow-capped peaks of the Alps behind them.

It is so picture perfect, it almost doesn’t feel real!

To explore the countryside around Lauterbrunnen, there are hiking and cycling trails, and you can also take trains and/or cable cars to the neighbouring car-free alpine villages of Mürren and Wengen.

You can also take a series of trains from Lauterbrunnen to Jungfraujoch for an up-close look at one of Switzerland’s remarkable glaciers.

For a reasonably affordable stay, with good food and a chance of gorgeous views from your room, check out the Hotel Oberland .

lauterbrunnen valley from above as seen via switzerland train ride

From Marianne of Pasta, Pretzels & Passports

Located approximately 25 kilometres southwest of Lucerne, in the heart of a UNESCO biosphere reserve, lies the picturesque town of Entlebuch.

Covering a 22-square-mile area, the town is home to only 3,300 people.

But don’t let its size fool you! Entlebuch is one of the prettiest towns you will ever see.

And if you enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, biking, climbing, or canoeing, then this town is definitely one of the best places to visit in Switzerland.

Entlebuch offers more than 60 kilometers of well-marked hiking trails.

You can also choose one of the 13 loop trails that wind through gorgeous forests, along clear rivers, and through mountain meadows.

hiking path through tiny village in switzerland on sunny summer day

But if you are looking for something truly unique, head over to  Stillaub Lama  where you can go Lama-Trekking with a guided tour! Enjoy an incredible hike accompanied by llamas.

If canoeing is something that interests you, the Canoe Club in Entlebuch offers canoe rentals or even guided excursions.

Paddle along the scenic Emme (Emmenuferweg) river between Hasle and Entlebuch.

And although summer is an incredible time to visit Entlebuch, if you like winter activities, the town has plenty to offer at that time of the year as well.

From snowshoeing to winter hiking, cross-country and downhill skiing, you won’t find a more scenic location.

And after an exhilarating day of exploring this incredible area, head back to town where you will find several excellent restaurants serving local cuisine.

church with steeple in the alps of entlebuch switzerland

From Trijit of Budget Travel Buff

On the banks of Lake Geneva stands the charming resort city of Montreux, which happens to be one of the most beautiful places to visit in Switzerland.

The town looks out over the entrancing splendor of the surrounding countryside as it lies peacefully tucked away within the Swiss Alps.

The architecture of the historic cities and the ancient castles of Montreux has made it a place worth exploring.

The ideal months to visit Montreux are from April to October, but you’ll also find a charming Swiss Christmas market here in December!

The French-speaking Vaud region of Switzerland, which stretches from Lausanne to Montreux, is the heart of the Swiss Riviera and has a distinct Mediterranean character.

The lakeside resorts provide a surreal view of the lush green landscape, where you can unwind.

It’s one of Switzerland’s most picturesque locations due to its gorgeous lakeside location, expansive vineyards, and mountains, hills, and valleys.

woman leaning over a rail overlooking montreux and lake geneva, some of the best places to visit in switzerland bucket list

Take a relaxing boat trip on Lake Geneva to take in the beauty of the surrounding landscape and the lakefront villages.

You can visit the Freddie Mercury statue, wander along the Old Town’s streets, and circle the Montreux Lake.

It is unusual to visit Switzerland without trying  Swiss chocolate , the country’s most well-known delicacy.

The chocolate train on the Montreux-Berner Oberland Railway is devoted to the world’s most delicate temptation.

The famous Château de Chillon, which is about a 30-minute walk from Montreux, is another reason to visit.

This 13th-century fortress comes from the Middle Ages and features a beautiful view of the lake.

Château de Chillon as seen from across lake geneva with a path and flowers in the foreground

From Michelle C. of Intentional Travelers

When it comes to beautiful places in Switzerland to add to your bucket list, nothing compares to the Alps.

Nendaz, a small ski resort town up in the mountains, is popular for both winter and summer activities.

Arrive via train to Sion, in the valley, and then take a Postbus up to town.

The drive up the winding mountain road is a beautiful initiation to the area with spectacular views.

In the summer and fall, there are great hikes leaving from town so be sure to pack  walking shoes !

nendaz switzerland with bernese alps looming behind the town

Several of the trails in the region follow along the “ bisses ,” or old waterways, in and out of small villages and farms, through the hills and forests.

The ski lift to Tracouet’s Black Lake provides another panoramic perspective and more hiking trails.

The vacation rental options in Nendaz are abundant, although many of the hotels close in the shoulder season (fall).

Staying in Haute (“high”) Nendaz not far from the Tourist Office is best for easy access to restaurants, grocery stores, bus stops, and the ski lift.

Nendaz can also be a good base for day trips to other excellent Switzerland travel destinations like Sion, Martigny, Zermatt, and even places a little further like Spiez, Interlaken, and Bern.

cable cars rising above nendaz, one of the best mountain towns in switzerland

Ascona, Switzerland

From Giorgy of G-Extreme Travel

The small lakeside town of Ascona is located in Ticino, the sunny, warmest, and most charming place in Switzerland.

Indeed, it boasts more than 300 days of sunshine a year and its mild climate makes it a popular destination for tourists from all over the world.

There are always plenty of delightful things to do in Ascona, regardless of the time of year.

From hiking to discovering the holy Monte Verità, and from soaking in the Maggia or Verzasca Valley surrounded by magical waterfalls to visiting historical museums such as Castello san Materno, Galleria Borgo, and Museo Comunale d’Arte Moderna.

ascona switzerland with lake in the foreground and town visible in the background

And, of course, the Ascona lido is always tempting in the summer.

Don’t forget to walk along the famous lungolago, where there are plenty of restaurants offering delicious Italian cuisine.

From this promenade, you can take an electric train around Ascona to discover the local attractions.

Or, you can take a boat to Brissago Island in the middle of Lake Maggiore letting you live an exciting story of only Switzerland’s Botanical Garden on the island.

Whether you’re looking for a relaxing vacation or an action-packed getaway, this little hidden gem is an incredible Switzerland travel destination to add to your bucket list!

black and red sign reading "i heart ascona" near lake shore

Bernina Express

It’s hard to say whether a train ride counts as a Switzerland travel destination–but then again, trains in Switzerland are a bit more exciting than just about anywhere else.

Famous for being one of the most spectacular train rides in the world, the Bernina Express runs from Chur, Switzerland to Tirano, Italy, covering truly spectacular scenery along the way!

Featuring nearly 200 bridges and more than 50 tunnels along the way, this 4-hour scenic journey definitely belongs on your Switzerland bucket list.

Dramatic views of the Alps, glaciers, the soaring bridges, and more are waiting to be enjoyed through panoramic windows.

Be sure to book this Swiss travel experience in advance–the train is deservedly popular, and gets booked up quickly!

bernina express entering tunnel over landwasser viaduct, one of the most beautiful places in switzerland

Schynige Platte

From Amela of Stay Wild Travels

If you’re heading to the Jungfrau Region in Switzerland, then visiting the summit of  Schynige Platte  is a must.

In order to get there, you’ll need to hop on board the Schynige Platte-Bahn, an old-fashioned, historic railway that leaves from the small village of Wilderswill which is not too far from Interlaken.

It chugs slowly up the mountainside and offers fantastic views, which is an incredible experience in itself.

Once you’ve arrived at the summit, you’ll find a plethora of hiking trails, a restaurant and a botanical alpine garden, to name a few.

historic red cogwheel train approaching schynige platte with alps in the background, one of the most beautiful places in switzerland vacation

The most popular hiking trail is the Panorama Trail. As the name suggests, this offers unmatched views over the Jungfrau Region, including the three major peaks in the area: Jungfrau, Mönch and Eiger.

You’ll be able to visit Schynige Platte from the end of May to the end of October.

Those looking for a traditional stay among the mountains are in luck, as the restaurant also offers doubles up as a popular hotel .

The rooms are quaint with Swiss décor and offer picture-perfect mountain views.

It’s worth noting that Swiss Travel Pass holders receive a discount on the trip, and Jungfrau Pass holders have a visit included with their card.

Take This Map With You! Click each highlight to pull up the name of the destination. To save this map to “Your Places” on Google Maps, click the star to the right of the title. You’ll then be able to find it under the Maps tab of your Google Maps account! To open the map in a new window, click the button on the top right of the map.

2 photos of swiss travel destinations, black and red text reads "17 spectacular places switzerland"

About Kate Storm

Image of the author, Kate Storm

In May 2016, I left my suburban life in the USA and became a full-time traveler. Since then, I have visited 50+ countries on 5 continents and lived in Portugal, developing a special love of traveling in Europe (especially Italy) along the way. Today, along with my husband Jeremy and dog Ranger, I’m working toward my eventual goal of splitting my life between Europe and the USA.

2 thoughts on “17 Spectacular Places to Visit in Switzerland (+ Map!)”

One place that should be a must to visit when in Switzerland is the Rheinfall (Rhinefall) near Schaffhausen which also is a beautiful town. It is less then 1 hour from Zurich. PS: A small typo, the river in Lucerne is called Reuss, not Neuss

Thanks, Thomas, I’ll get that fixed. 🙂

And yes, I hear the falls are supposed to be gorgeous!

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18 Best Places to Visit in Switzerland

Last updated on January 15, 2024 by Carl Austin, Becky Griswold and Jamie Gambetta - 14 Comments

You are probably thinking about Swiss chocolate, Swiss cheese, and clocks, too. These are some of the things that you know about Switzerland already. But this landlocked country is a haven for anybody who might be looking for some truly picturesque and sweepingly dramatic landscapes. It’s in the middle of the Alps, so how couldn’t it boast the picture perfect look that it does?

You might find yourself getting a cogwheel railway up a mountain one moment and visiting slices of medieval heritage nestled on lakes the next. You’d better prepare yourself for some breathtaking views of craggy peaks from Swiss mountain towns, exploring historic districts on a crisp backdrop of glittering water, and marveling at majestic alpine meadows ringed by snowy mountains. Here’s a look at the best places to visit in Switzerland:

Map of Switzerland

Switzerland Map

In this post, we'll cover:

Basel

With over 300 days of sunshine every year, there’s never a bad time to be in Basel. Set along the Rhine River, Basel is the third-largest city in Switzerland. But tradition, quirkiness, and a splash of rebellious spirit make Basel different to the rest.

Baslers, as they are known, are a fascinating community. You’ll find them floating along the Rhine in summer, going with the current until something else calls them forth. That thing could be a family swim in one of the city’s historic fountains.

The joie de vivre goes through all parts of life. You can find it in their excellent galleries (plus 40 museums) and atmospheric markets. The latter includes Marktplatz in the Old Town. Also, in the way they celebrate Christmas.

Along the old streets, you’ll find elaborate architecture, from the town hall to the cathedral. Not to mention some of Switzerland’s best theaters.

17. Appenzell

Appenzell

Enveloped in beautiful countryside, Appenzell is equal with its surroundings. The lovely village is complete with vibrant gabled architecture, a great selection of museums, some mouthwatering bakeries and cultural events.

Speaking of events, Appenzell maintains tradition. For several weeks from mid-May, alpine herdsmen don their customary wear and guide their cows in an enormous procession up into the high hills. The cattle drive occurs again towards the end of summer. In between is the Appenzell Folk Music Festival, where the town’s artistic heritage is on full display.

Other traditions still take place year-round, including the creation of Appenzeller cheese, known for its bold taste. Complement this with some Rösti, and you’ll receive the proper local culinary experience.

From there, it’s time to hike. You’ll have endless options, from hiking hut to hut across the Appenzell Alps to trekking up to the romantic Berggasthaus Äscher, a guesthouse built into the side of a mountain.

16. Swiss National Park

Swiss National Park

In Engadine, the Swiss National Park is renowned for its wildlife, a sanctuary set in an utterly Swiss landscape. With room to roam and well-maintained trails, it’s exciting and easy to explore the country’s only national park.

You can be assured of the spectacular here. Lace-up your boots and discover dense forests that quickly dissolve into vast meadows beset with wildflowers. The valleys drive you towards tumbling falls and azure lakes. It’s once you’re here that you will appreciate the towering moors and summits.

Some of the park’s best hikes include the 21km Lakes of Macun Trail through high alpine plateaus and Alps views. The easier 13km Munt la Schera takes you through steppe-landscapes.

While the family-friendly Alp Trupchun remains steady, providing a great overview of the park and wildlife. This includes stag rutting in autumn, marmots, chamoix, ibex and deer.

15. St. Moritz

St. Moritz

A beloved winter destination since the mid-19th century, St. Moritz remains at the height of Swiss glitz and glamour. The snow forecast beckons high-end ski bums from across Europe, hoping to explore the slopes that have hosted two Winter Olympics. But there’s much more to St. Moritz for those who prefer to leave the skis at home.

Luxury palatial hotels bring warmth to the heart of winter. Day spas, retreats, romantic ice skating, even horse racing on ice. When the skiers and snowboarders return, swap stories in front of the cozy alpine fireplace.

Summer is a great time to visit St. Moritz and not just for the discounted 4 and 5 star hotels. One can sail on Lake St. Moritz, windsurf on Lake Maloja or float along the surging Inn River. To stretch your legs, plan a hike up to the Hedi Hut or wander the Segantini Museum.

14. Gruyères

Gruyères

In the flowing hills of French-speaking Switzerland, Gruyères’ cobbled streets lead you to a colorful mix of culinary and cultural delights. In classic Swiss fashion, the picturesque medieval town is also a proverbial trailhead for adventures beyond.

The Gruyères Castle dates back to the 13th century, from which the town surrounded it and spread out. It remains in great condition, atop the hill, offering splendid views of the diminutive Old Town.

From there, wander down to the historic main street, which at 300m long is packed with historic sights, charming buildings and cafe patios. Soon you’ll connect with the Les Grands Chemins, Gruyères’ walking path that circles the town.

As you explore, aromas will capture your attention. When in Gruyères, you’ll have an excellent opportunity to learn about the town’s famous cheese at the La Maison du Gruyère. Not to mention try the famous fondue at Restaurant des Remparts.

To work it off, hike the ionic Gastlosen or take the funicular to Moléson-sur-Gruyères.

13. Verzasca Valley

Verzasca Valley

Lost in the midst of Switzerland’s many amazing destinations, the Verzasca Valley is home to azure waters, deep valleys and imposing summits. In southern Switzerland, the valley too has more than a splash of Italian influence.

The valley is a place to be in nature and admire the diversity of landscape that Switzerland has to offer. You’ll feel a long way from Jungfrau, with the Mediterranean atmosphere providing an entirely different environment.

It all starts at the valley’s 220m dam wall, made iconic by James Bong. Verzasca expands to be a haven for hikers. The Sentierone goes end to end, while mountain bikers will also get their fix.

But perhaps the most famous part of the entire valley is the Ponte dei Salti. This 400-year-old medieval footbridge features two arches that run over the emerald waters, leading you to the small town of Lavertezzo.

12. Montreux

Montreux

On the eastern shores of Lake Geneva, Montreaux is an elaborate collection of 19th century noble excellence amidst 13th century medieval architecture. Its beautiful surroundings, in partnership with a cooler climate has made it a popular summer escape.

This can be traced back to the 1800s, when the community slowly became the stuff of legend. It’s a magical mix of Swiss Alps scenery, the snow-fed lake and the rows of celebrated vineyards. This has created a renowned arts culture, of which the annual Montreux Jazz Festival, held in July, is the centerpiece.

But you can’t get to know Montreux’s contemporary history without understanding what came before, and what still stands today. This includes the Chateau de Chillon, a Middle Ages masterpiece on the lake’s edge.

Cap that off by wandering the parts of the 10km promenade. All before walking up the cobbled streets, encased in Belle époque elegance and wrought-iron balustrades.

11. Rhine Falls

Rhine Falls

In Schaffhausen, the Rhine Falls is Europe’s largest waterfall. The stupendous beauty of the falls is a natural spectacle, one worthy of a spot on your packed Switzerland itinerary.

In the country’s north, the falls can be found on the High Rhine. They were created as the tectonic plates shifted during the Ice Age some 15,000 years ago. From the observation platform, you can see upwards of 600,000 liters of water surge off the edge every second. For reference, that’s the equivalent of 20,000 basketballs!

The best time to visit the Rhine Falls is in the middle of the year. Come June and July, the snowmelt floods the region where this waterfall surges and drops over 21-meter ledge of pure Jurassic rock.

Surrounding the Rhine Falls, you can uncover the amazing Schloss Laufen, a 9th century castle. Its glass elevator offers some of the area’s best views with the castle’s thousand-plus year history dancing on your fingertips.

10. Interlaken

Interlaken

Interlaken used to be known as a watch making center, but today it’s more popular as a tourist resort. Tourists started coming to Interlaken in the early 1800s to breathe in the mountain air and partake of spa treatments. Its popularity only grew from there. The Swiss city is located directly between two major Alpine lakes: Thun and Brienz. As a result, you’ll never be too far from the chance to go swimming, boating or biking around the lakes.

Offering spectacular views of three famous Swiss mountains, the Eiger, the Jungfrau and the Monch, the city is also a popular base camp for outdoor acitivites in the surrounding Bernese Oberland Alps. Travelers looking for something different to do might want to sign up for a class or two at a woodcarving school. Hungry tourists may want to try raclette, a classic Swiss dish made from cheese.

9. Lausanne

Lausanne

Right on the shores of Lake Geneva, and with views of both the Swiss Alps and the French Alps, is the city of Lausanne. Serving as a gateway to a major ski area and the home to two major universities, it is easy to see the universal appeal of Lausanne.

The city is divided into districts, and the Cité district is by far the most important for travelers. In Cité, you can explore what was once known as the Old Town, and you can explore some of the architecture, which includes everything from cathedrals to castles. If you only have time to explore one attraction in Lausanne, make it the Palais de Rumine. This Italian Renaissance-style building is home to five different museums, making it the perfect place to spend an entire day learning more about local art, culture and history.

A part of the Swiss Riviera, Lausanne has been popular with writers over the centuries, include Lord Byron, the Shelleys and Ernest Hemingway. Located in the French-speaking sector of Switzerland, Lausanne boasts an impressive cathedral and wonderful outdoor markets.

Geneva

Geneva is a city where international influences reign supreme. It is home to the International Red Cross Committee and the European headquarters of the United Nations, as well as 20 other international organizations. Environmental travelers will enjoy the fact that Geneva is a “green” city, with 20 percent of its land devoted to parks, earning it the nickname of “city of parks.”

A highlight of a visit to Geneva is a chance to see the iconic Jet d’Eau, an enormous fountain seen from the Lac Léman waterfront that spews water high into the air. In the Old Town, the towers of Cathédrale St-Pierre are the tallest things you can see, and you will definitely want to stop for some photographs of the exterior and a tour of the interior. Geneva also is a good city explore by bike or rest weary feet by taking a boat ride on Lake Geneva.

Zurich

The city of Zurich is the largest in Switzerland, and it is known for being a major financial hub in Europe. Even if you’re not a part of the business world, Zurich has plenty to offer to visitors. To start, Zurich is located right on the edge of Lake Zurich. You can hike or cycle around the perimeter of the lake for some exercise, you could rent a boat and head out onto the water or you could check out some of the man made beaches and jump into the refreshing water for a lake swim.

Zurich is also home to a number of historic churches, world-class museums and renowned architecture. Not to be missed is the Swiss National Museum, located in a fairytale castle, it is dedicated to Switzerland’s cultural history. To see as much of Zurich as possible at once, hop aboard the Polybahn, a funicular dating back to the 19th century, for amazing views and a chance to dine at the charming cafe terrace at the top.

Zermatt

Zermatt is a small town that is famous for skiing and mountaineering due to its proximity to the Matterhorn, one of Switzerland’s highest mountains. Cable cars whisk skiers up surrounding mountains in the winter and hikers in the summer.

Zermatt is a good town for walking to various sites, since gasoline-driven vehicles are not permitted; any vehicles within the city limits must be battery-operated. As you wander, sun-soaked patios beckon you in. The same ones whose aromatic espresso and hot chocolates promise a warm escape once the snow has arrived. But keep your eyes peeled, as a striking view of the impregnable Matterhorn lies in wait.

Under the summer sun, the mountain blooms green, creating a mix of nature, rock and glaciers that create a climbing and biking mecca. Treks like the 5 Lakes Trail, peel back the curtain of the area’s beauty showcasing, yes, five lakes, many with Matterhorn reflections.

However, it’s the winter fun that brings most visitors. Funiculars and gondolas run up multiple sections to create a skiing and snowboarding paradise. With a touch of après-ski added in.

5. Jungfrau Region

Jungfrau Region

The Top of Europe, the Jungfrau Region, brings together all that is great about Switzerland. Offering a bounty of outdoor adventures, it’s the centerpiece of the Bernese Oberland with endless snowy peaks that descend via glaciers into the lush valley.

Home to Grindelwald, Mürren, Wengen and the fairytale waterfalls of Lauterbrunnen, it’s easy to access the all-encompassing bonny beauty of Jungfrau. That’s all before you truly get to know how Switzerland makes some of its best scenery accessible to you, without overpowering nature.

Gondolas sweep you up from the deep valleys and place you alongside classic mountain chalets surrounded by alpine farms. One of Switerland’s most scenic rail trip, the Jungfraubahn takes visitors from the Kleine Scheidegg mountain through the Eiger and Mönch up to the Jungfraujoch.

Hiking trails snake through blooming meadows to remote villages and the views just, don’t, stop.

The four Jungfrau towns noted above are great places to visit in Switzerland and a good pick to base yourself. This isn’t an area you want to rush through. Take your time to discover the towns themselves, and the peaks that rise from their doorsteps.

Lugano

Lugano has been nicknamed the “Monte Carlo of Switzerland,” because of its growing popularity with celebrities. The city is located on Lake Lugano, in the Italian speaking section of this alpine country. Lugano, which is blessed with warm summers, dates back to the 9th century.

A major draw to Lugano is outdoor recreation, and there are plenty of ways to stay active in and around the area. You might spend the day hiking along the clearly signposted Olive Tree Trail, or you could go for a swim at the easily accessible Lido di Lugano right by the city center. After strolling through the Old Town to enjoy the architecture, view it all from a unique perspective at the charming and fascinating Swiss Miniature Village.

3. Lake Geneva

Lake Geneva

A joyous blend of Swiss and French soak Lake Geneva in opulent elegance as captivating as the scenery itself. And with the Rhône flowing into Europe’s largest alpine lake, encompassing high altitude peaks and rolling green meadows, there are few better.

Crescent-shaped Lake Geneva is speckled with fascinating towns and cities alike. The kind that doesn’t overwhelm the surroundings, but merely blend in.

Here, you can explore world-class museums, discover Renaissance and contemporary arts, laze in gorgeous botanical gardens, admire the Jet d’Eau and take your pick of the waterfront cafes. As you do, you’ll see the mouettes, a boat taking locals from A to B across the glass surface of Lake Geneva.

Another beautiful example of Lake Geneva’s life is Lausanne. The medieval old town, backed by towering peaks, boasts a stunning cathedral and access to the lake and mountains.

Lucerne

There is something effortlessly romantic about Lucerne . Whether it’s the glacial-fed lake that reflects the world like a mirror, or the utterly walkable Old Town. Magic abounds here. Medieval buildings have become the home of modern luxuries and comfort. While the ancient streets eventually lead you to the iconic Kapellbrücke Bridge.

Before you notice the 14th century bridge, however, you’ll sense the peace that comes from a car-less Old Town. A haven for pedestrians, and a dream to wander, you can bounce between plazas, by frescoed buildings and along the edge of the Reuss River. Another famous monument is the Dying Lion, which was carved out of rock to honor Swiss mercenaries who died in France in 1792.

Along the way, you’ll discover that not much has changed since the likes of Queen Victoria, Goethe and Wagner were entranced by Lucerne two centuries ago. You’ll be glad it hasn’t.

After wandering across the Kapellbrücke Bridge and visiting the KKL and Rosengart galleries, head to the town’s namesake lake. Here you’ll find some of Switzerland’s best sunsets surrounded by epic peaks.

Bern

Bern is a picturesque medieval city with a history that dates back to the 12th century, though it did not become a part of the Swiss Confederacy until the 16th century. While not the largest city in Switzerland, Bern is the capital. Its most famous attraction is the Zytglogge, an ancient clock tower with moving puppets. Other popular sites in Bern include the Munster, a Gothic cathedral that rises from the old town, and its town hall.

The bear is the symbol of Bern, with several being kept in an open-air pit. Shoppers will appreciate the old town that boasts four miles of arcades, making it one of the longest covered shopping areas in Europe.

Switzerland Map

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Reader interactions.

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December 14, 2020 at 10:57 am

I really loved Montreux. I love walking the path right next to Lake Geneva and all the beautiful artwork.

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November 4, 2019 at 4:44 pm

I agree with all of the above comment! one thing in particular that I enjoyed is the punctuality of the trains. Did you know that the Bern StAtion is completely underground. .AMaZING!!! FYI, The Matterhorn, most of the time, it is surrounded by clouds (you cannot see the top).

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December 27, 2018 at 2:52 pm

Most beautiful city in the Switzerland for me is Fribourg with biggest, best-preserved and best-maintained old city with large number of true medieval buildings. Beautiful Fribourg is unfortunately in shadow of only 30 km away politicaly more important capital city Bern, also very beautiful but more modern predominantly baroque.

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January 1, 2018 at 3:21 pm

I am making my 11th trip to Switzerland next week. I always use rail passes and have travelled extensively on Swiss trains. I would highly recommend all the routes from Interlaken up to the Jungfrau and also Zermatt and the Gornergrat. Then the Glacier Express to St Moritz followed by the Bernini Express to Tirano. Also the Goldenpass train and a visit to Titlis and Pilatus. If time permits do Lugano in the South and Arosa in the East. Luzern is great along with the lake trips. Any of the above are very good see them all and you’ve cracked it. Oh and Martigny to Chamonix and the cable cars there and you’ll be amazed at what the Alps has to offer. Just do it. Enjoy.

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October 27, 2017 at 2:22 am

I have been to Switzerland thrice and I think it is the most beautiful country in the world. I can go there again and again and again.

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May 18, 2017 at 10:51 pm

St. Gallen is also worth visiting. Not only it has a UNESCO world heritage site, the Abbey of Saint Gallen, but the landscapes also are quite beautiful. The Appenzell Alps and the Lake Constance create some really pleasing views.

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April 19, 2017 at 7:37 am

My favorite area is the Berner-Oberland region which comprises Interlaken, Beatenberg (stunning views), Grindelwald, Lauterbrunnen and Wenger. I have seen every corner of this country and if you are looking for stunning natural wonders that seem like you are in a cartoon you can’t beat the areas I just mentioned.

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May 10, 2016 at 6:46 am

I visit Switzerland last year. For me the best place was the Jungfrau region.

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March 14, 2016 at 2:35 am

been to switzerland but i haven’t visited Lugano. Got to visit in my next trip.

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November 15, 2015 at 7:09 pm

Switzerland is indeed the most beautiful and sensational country in every way. The scenery, culture and traditions are just a visual and aesthetic delight!!! My most favourite alpine village is Zermatt and of course the Mattterhorn, what a incredible presence that mountain exudes over the whole village. Every time the mountain seems to call me and the trip up the Gornergrat railway blows me away!!! Love the country, the people, culture, food, wines and traditions.

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October 3, 2015 at 1:21 pm

I have visited Switzerland more than 5 times. I have visited several places of this beautiful country like Geneva, Zurich, Bern, Luserne, Laussane, Jungfrau, Interlaken Aust & West, Zermatt, Vevey, Lugano, Swiss Alps, Grindelwald, any several more. It is one of my favourite country in the World.

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June 2, 2015 at 3:01 am

I visited Switzerland in May including Lucern, Interlaken, Luzane and Bern. The best one was Interlaken which is beautiful and very interesting.

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May 22, 2015 at 11:35 pm

Rhine falls – Great experience, every time you visit. Next is Chapel Bridge and Water Tower Others are definitely worth visting

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May 19, 2015 at 7:20 am

To me, Switzerland is the most beautiful country on earth…. the nature is Switzerland is such a great sight to watch…… I would place Zermatt and Zurich a little higher than where you placed…

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Best Time to Visit

Weather & Climate

Switzerland Airports

Getting Around

Places to Visit in Switzerland

Top Things to Do in Switzerland

Top Things to Do in Geneva

One Week Itinerary

Most Scenic Train Routes

Switzerland's Nature Parks

How to Go Skiing

The Top Hikes

Matterhorn Complete Guide

The Most Beautiful Lakes

Foods to Try

Best Restaurants

Your Trip to Switzerland: The Complete Guide

switzerland tourist destinations

If you've ever ogled over photos of Switzerland's Alpine peaks, rolling meadows, and pristine lakes, you'll be happy to know that it's even more beautiful in person. The central European country is small compared to its neighbors, but it packs a lot into its 16,000 square miles, including 13 UNESCO World Heritage Sites , more than 1,500 glaciers, and at least that many lakes.

All these geologic wonders add up to some of the more stunning scenery in the world. And that's enough to bring travelers—about 12 million of them per year —to Switzerland. When you factor in the countless opportunities for hiking, skiing, and boating; hearty Swiss food; modern, interesting cities; and what is probably Europe's best public transportation system, you're met with an accessible, exciting, and altogether satisfying vacation destination.

Planning Your Trip

  • Best Time to Visit :  The best time to visit Switzerland depends on what you want to do while you're here. Ski slopes are open November through March (though there is year-round skiing in a few places), while hiking and swimming are glorious in the summer months. But to beat the crowds, consider a visit in spring or fall.
  • Language:  Switzerland's cantons, or states, are mostly either French- or German-speaking. In the southern Ticino canton, Italian is the first language and in the Graubünden/Grisons canton, Romansh, a form of ancient Latin, is still spoken by about 60,000 people. The good news for travelers is that English is widely spoken, especially in hotels, restaurants, stores, and tourist attractions.
  • Currency:  Despite being in the middle of western Europe, Switzerland is not part of the EU, though it participates in the European Common economic market. The official currency here is the Swiss franc (abbreviated CHF). That said, your euros will probably be accepted at most places, though they'll give you change in francs.
  • Getting Around :  The clean, convenient, and comprehensive Swiss Travel System is the pride of Switzerland, and rightly so. The system includes trains, buses, lake and river ferries, funiculars, cogwheel trains, ski lifts, and gondolas that permit access to virtually every corner of the country. Because the system is so complete, we recommend touring Switzerland by public transportation, instead of by rental car. From airports and larger train stations, taxis are always available for those who don't feel like schlepping their bags.
  • Travel Tip:  If you plan to do a lot of travel within Switzerland, consider purchasing the Swiss Travel Pass , which grants the holder unlimited first- or second-class travel across the country's network of trains, buses, and boats, and most scenic railways. Plus, you'll get admission to more than 500 museums, as well as discounts on mountain excursions. However, if you just plan to visit a couple of places in the country, you can get by with individual train/transit tickets.

TripSavvy / Michela Sieman

Things to Do

While every traveler has their own reasons for visiting Switzerland, the big draws here can more or less be broken down into three categories: scenery, outdoor activities, and Swiss history and culture. Your trip will likely start or end in one of Switzerland's big cities, where that history and culture are on full display. Be sure to plan at least one (or several) excursions into the Swiss countryside, either on an easy or challenging hike, a boat ride across an iconic lake, or a cable car ride up to some of the highest peaks in Europe.

Here are some ideas for planning your Swiss itinerary:

  • Explore one of the country's culturally rich cities. If you're flying into Switzerland, you'll most likely arrive in Zürich or Geneva. Zürich , Switzerland's largest city, is a delightful place to spend a few days taking in art and history museums, dining in centuries-old restaurants, and strolling down the River Limmat. Geneva , in French-speaking Switzerland, is the diplomatic center of Europe, with plenty of history and classical appeal, and an idyllic setting on the shores of Lake Geneva.
  • Hike, bike, swim, or ski. No matter what time of year you visit, you'll find a huge range of outdoor activities in Switzerland—though admittedly, swimming is a bit brisk from October to June! There are biking and hiking routes for every level of fitness, extensive networks of ski "arenas" across the Alps and the Jura mountains, and rivers and lakes waiting for you to jump in for a swim or a paddle.
  • Choose a mountain excursion. In Switzerland, it doesn't matter if you're not a skier or hiker. You can answer the call of the mountains just the same, thanks to dozens of scenic mountain excursions that whisk you—by cogwheel rail, cable car, or ski gondola—for close-up looks at the Matterhorn , the Eiger, the Aletsch Glacier, and more. At most places, you can have lunch on the mountaintop while you enjoy the view. Don't leave Switzerland without partaking in at least one of these thrilling rides.

For more trip-planning ideas, check out our full-length articles on the top things to do in Switzerland , Switzerland's most scenic train rides , and Switzerland's top lakes .

What to Eat and Drink

Swiss cuisine is hearty, to say the least. Cheese, chocolate, potatoes, and meat feature heavily on Swiss menus everywhere, and risotto is popular in the cantons bordering Italy. Swiss wine, from vineyards mostly south of the Alps, is so popular among the Swiss that only 2 percent is exported!

Here are some of the foods and beverages you shouldn't miss in Switzerland:

  • Fondue. This classic dish of melted cheese, served with bread and vegetables for dipping, is as iconic as the Matterhorn. Fondue originated in French-speaking Switzerland , but it's pretty much ubiquitous across the country.
  • Raclette. Sort of a cousin of fondue, raclette is melted cheese served on a plate with bread, potatoes, and gherkins. Its roots are high in the Alps, where farmers would make meals from their abundant cheese reserves.
  • Rösti. Pancakes made of grated, fried potatoes, rösti may be served as a side dish or, when paired with eggs, meat, or cheese, as the main course.
  • Chocolate. Thanks to milk from grass-fed Alpine cows, plus a few "secret" recipes, Swiss milk chocolate is among the creamiest in the world. Brands to look for include Toberlone, Lindt, Sprüngli, and Läderach.
  • Swiss wine. Largely produced in the more temperant cantons south of the Alps, Swiss wine is equally celebrated in its red and white varieties. Chasselas and pinot noir are among the most common grapes, but across the country's wine-growing region, micro-vineyards specialize in small-batch wines. Be sure to sample the wine while you're here— Swiss wine is hard to find outside Switzerland.

Read more in our guides to the top foods to try in Switzerland and where to eat in Zürich .

Where to Stay

Switzerland's accommodation options range from rustic mountain bunkhouses for hikers to luxurious 5-star hotels with spas, Michelin-star dining, and every imaginable amenity. In between those extremes, there are concept hotels, ski-in/ski-out lodges, and a host of B&Bs, small inns, and vacation rentals.

If you're staying in a city, we usually recommend basing yourself in the historic center so that you're within walking distance of popular tourist attractions, restaurants, and bars. But cities like Zürich also have creative, modern districts outside of the center, which make for interesting bases as well. In an Alpine destination such as Zermatt, Saas-Fee, or Gstaad, we like cozy, traditional hotels that really impart a sense of place.

For a taste of what Zürich has to offer, check out our articles on Zürich's top neighborhoods and best hotels.

Getting to Switzerland

International flights to Switzerland, especially those originating outside of Europe, will likely arrive in Zürich or Geneva. Some intra-Europe flights might land at Basel's airport, which is actually located just over the French border.

You can reach Switzerland by train from the neighboring countries of Austria, Germany, France, and Italy. Note that if you're traveling to Switzerland from an adjacent country, your ticket will likely only cover you until your first stop in Switzerland; for example, if you're traveling from Milan, Italy, your ticket will take you as far as Lugano. After that, you'll need a travel pass or ticket from the Swiss Travel System if you want to change trains.

If you're driving to Switzerland, you need to purchase or make sure your car already has a motorway vignette —a sticker that permits access to Swiss highways.

Learn more by checking out our guides to Zürich airport , traveling to Switzerland from Italy , and Zürich's public transportation .

Culture and Customs

While there are no special "rules" for visiting Switzerland, travelers here might find the Swiss somewhat reserved, especially when compared to Mediterranean cultures to the south. Here are a few basic customs and courtesies to keep in mind:

  • Be on time. Trains aren't the only thing that runs on time in Switzerland. Plan to arrive on time, or even a few minutes early, for restaurant reservations or other reserved activities.
  • Don't be noisy. In restaurants, on public transportation, and especially in the evenings in residential areas, keep your voices at a conversational level.
  • Tip in moderation. While tipping waitstaff is appreciated in Switzerland, it's not expected. Tips for your hotel cleaning staff and bellhops are the norm, however.

Money Saving Tips

Here's something you should know about Switzerland before you start planning your trip: it's expensive. Hotels, dining, trains, and attractions are all costly compared to many other European countries, but there are a few ways you can save money:

  • Travel in the shoulder seasons. Visit Switzerland in the spring or fall to save money on airfare and hotels.
  • Drink tap water. Unless otherwise posted, tap water in Switzerland is clean and safe to drink. Bring a reusable water bottle and fill it up at any tap.
  • Pack a picnic. Before you head out for a day of adventures, stop at a grocery store and pick up bread, cheese, cold cuts, or whatever else you want for a picnic. Just don't forget to grab a chocolate bar for the road!

https://whc.unesco.org/en/statesparties/ch

https://www.worlddata.info/europe/switzerland/tourism.php

Switzerland Tourism. "Language distribution." Retrieved on November 9, 2021.

Switzerland Tourism. "Currency." Retrieved on November 9, 2021.

BBC. "Tracing fondue’s mysterious origins." February 12, 2013.

Switzerland Travel Guide

The 17 Best Countries to Visit in Europe

The Top 20 Things to Do in Switzerland

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How to Travel From Florence to Paris by Train, Bus, Plane, and Car

The 10 Best Restaurants in Switzerland

One Week in Switzerland: The Ultimate Itinerary

France Guide: Planning Your Trip

How to Travel Between Italy and Switzerland by Train

The Best Time to Visit Switzerland

Matterhorn: The Complete Guide

Your Trip to Zurich: The Complete Guide

The Most Beautiful Lakes in Switzerland

How to Use Swiss Trains and the Swiss Travel Pass

The Complete Guide to Switzerland's Nature Parks

Skiing in Switzerland: The Complete Guide

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  • 14 Spectacular Switzerland Tourist Attractions That Are Worth A Visit In 2024!

23 Mar 2023

Federer, cheese, chocolates, cakes, watches, knives, banks, romantic childhood fantasies – if there is one word that can prefix all of these, it’s Swiss. Switzerland, to be clearer. Splendid alpine frames oozing out from storybook villages, glittering turquoise lakes and picturesque hamlets – the dreamland Switzerland is a metaphor for all the fairy tales one could ever fancy. Have a look at the top Switzerland tourist attractions . These attractions are full of natural wonders that showcase a wide variety of green shades. Switzerland is a destination that is truly remarkable. 

14 Best Switzerland Tourist Attractions

With such grandeur and glamor in stock, a Swiss trip is generally confusing to itinerate. Hence, to help you zero down on the major and must visit Switzerland tourist attractions  here is a list to answer all your confusions.

  • Lucerne –  Land Of Concerts 
  • Interlaken – Home To Flower Gardens
  • Jungfraujoch –  Best Train Journey
  • Lake Geneva –  Serenity All Around
  • The Matterhorn –  Charming Village
  • Zurich –  Transportation Hub
  • Swiss National Park –  Oldest Reserve
  • Chateau De Chillon, Montreux –  An Architectural Treasure
  • St Moritz –  Skiing Spot
  • Bern –  Ancient Town
  • The Rhine Falls –  Largest Falls
  • Lake Lugano And Ticino –  Fairytale Land
  • Oberhofen Castle –  Blended Styles
  • Swiss Grand Canyon –  Standing Since Ice Age

1. Lucerne – Land Of Concerts 

The Chapel Bridge made of wood in Lucerne is one of the major Switzerland tourist attractions

Image Source A turquoise blue lake surrounded by mountains, covered bridges, frescoed historic buildings, waterfront promenades, and sun-splashed plazas, a car-free medieval old town, with bubbling fountains – Lucerne is the perfect name to start the list of Switzerland tourist attractions. It hosts music festivals and concerts like a few in the world. From Archaeology to history and entertainment to infotainment, Lucerne is a complete package.

Major attractions: Chapel Bridge, Lion monument, annual International music festival, Swiss Transport museum with extensive exhibits on all forms of transport, including railroad locomotive.

Suggested Read: 24 Things That Make Visiting Switzerland In May An Awesome Experience

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2. Interlaken – Home To Flower Gardens

A train journey through the mesmerising mountains of Interlaken is another name among the famous Switzerland tourist attractions

Image Source Interlaken rests between Lake Thun to the west and Lake Brienz to the east. This beautiful city hosts some of the best summer holiday resorts in Switzerland. Höhematte, a marvel of urban planning with 35 acres of open space boasts of flower gardens, hotels, and cafés in the middle of the town and provide for scenic vistas to be framed in memories forever. It is one of the gorgeous  Switzerland tourist attractions.

Major attractions: Railways, ski lifts, chairlifts and cable cars; snowboarding, cross country skiing, paragliding over snow, paddle steamer cruise around the lakes

Suggested Read: Go Paragliding In Switzerland For The Most Amazing Swiss Alps Experience

3. Jungfraujoch – The Top Of Europe

UNESCO World Heritage site of Great Aletsch Glacier

Image Source Jungfraujoch hosts of the UNESCO World heritage site of Great Aletsch Glacier, beautiful train journeys to the Bernese Oberland and an enriching observation terrace with a scientific observatory. While the Great Aletsch Glacier is the longest in Europe, the train journey is one of the unique experiences on rails in Europe. It is also a base for famous treks to the surrounding mountains and houses some of the oldest of Swiss resorts in history. This is what makes it one of the must-visit Switzerland tourist attractions. 

Major attractions: The scenic beauties, walks till Panorama Way to the sunny, south-facing First slope; the Gletscherschlucht (Glacier Gorge); and Öpfelchüechliwäg – the high-altitude trail from Holenstein to Brandegg through fields of flowers, alpine pastures, and woodlands

Suggested Read: Street Food In Zurich: 5 Dishes To Treat Your Taste Buds With The Real Swissness!

4. Lake Geneva – Serenity All Around

Rainbow at  Lake Geneva

Image Source Europe’s largest Alpine lake – Lake Geneva lies on the Swiss/French border. The UN city lies between snow-capped peaks with promenades, parks, and gardens that surround the lake. The old town has its own rustic charm that makes it a lovely spot to stroll among the historic buildings. It is one of the most spell-binding  Switzerland tourist attractions.

Major attractions: The pristine lake, gardens, Opera House, Grand Theatre, cute cafes, and the Montreux Jazz Festival in June/July

Suggested Read: 7 Glorious Places To Visit Near Switzerland For A Thrilling Getaway

5. The Matterhorn – Charming Village

A mesmerising sunset at the The Matterhorn

Image Source Matterhorn – the iconic Swiss peak hosts the charming village of Zermatt, a top international resort with horse-drawn carriage rides, quaint chalets, and world-class restaurants and hotels. Sharing the border with Italy, the peak is 4,478 meters high, and the four steep faces of the peak lie in the direction of the compass points. What is striking is that the village has banned motored vehicle to preserve the air quality and peaceful ambiance. It is one of the top tourist attractions in Switzerland. 

Major attractions: Skiing in winters on a slope of 300 kilometers, swimming and tennis as well as hiking, biking, and climbing in the surrounding mountains

Suggested Read: Skydiving In Switzerland: A Guide That’ll Help You Have An Experience To Cherish

6. Zurich – Transportation Hub

An evening view of Zurich

Image Source The largest city and a major transportation hub, Zurich lies at the northwestern end of Lake Zurich. This name among the Switzerland tourist attractions boasts of a rich lineup of cultural treasures like quaint heritage shops, galleries, cafes, and colorful streets. The zoo here is a special attraction among the families which boasts of an exclusive Elephant Park and Madagascar pavilion.

Major attractions: Kunsthaus Zurich – the museum of fine arts, shopping at Bahnhofstrasse, Gothic chateau, penguin parade

Suggested Read: 10 Adventure Sports In Switzerland That Are Only For The Daring Souls

7. Swiss National Park – Oldest Reserve

The scenic vistas of  Swiss National Park

Image Source The Swiss National Park, founded in 1914, is one of the oldest reserves in the Alps of Engadine Valley and one of the famous places in Switzerland . Spread over 170 sq km of pine forest in the mountains, it invites nature lovers to explore the wildlife of more than 5,000 species including marmot, red deer, chamois, ibex, and fox.

Major attractions: Flower-dotted hollows, shrubs and streams, limestone crags, mountain treks

Suggested Read: 10 Best Ski Resorts In Switzerland

8. Chateau De Chillon, Montreux – An Architectural Treasure

The beautiful architecture of Chateau de Chillon is a must for switzerland sightseeing

Image Source Lord Byron, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Victor Hugo – the likes of these artists have written about this architectural treasure. By the shores of Lake Geneva lies Chateau de Chillon (Chillon Castle) which has inspired artists for centuries. The complex encompasses about 25 buildings clustered around three courtyards. It is one of the most exotic  Switzerland attractions. 

Major attractions: The gothic underground rooms, heritage architecture, great halls, the Chapel adorned with 14th-century paintings and several medieval murals

Suggested Read: 10 Fab Places To Visit In Basel On Your Switzerland Vacation

9. St Moritz – Skiing Spot

Snow polo in the snow lands of St Moritz

Image Source Crystal clear lakes, glaciers, snow washed peaks, alpine forests, and days full of sunshine – St Moritz is one of the world’s top mountain destinations. Having hosted two winter Olympics, the small town overlooks the turquoise Lake of St Moritz.

Major attractions: Health resorts, lake, hiking, biking, glacier skiing, skating and snowboarding, bobsledding and tobogganing on the famous 1.2 km long Cresta run.

Suggested Read: 8 Enticing Festivals In Switzerland For Mirth And Merriment

10. Bern – Ancient Town

AN evening at the beautiful city of Bern

Image Source A perfect amalgamation of old and not so old – Bern is one place that exudes old world charm along with the freshness  of the new changed world. Cobbled streets leading to the cathedrals, panoramic vistas to frame in the memories, and 16th-century fountains – all conspire simultaneously to keep their admirers stuck for long.

Major attractions: Tallest cathedral, Zytglogge medieval clock, Rose garden, Bern Museum of art, Bear Park

Suggested Read: 7 Days In Switzerland: Sonia’s Enthralling Vacation Will Definitely Ignite That Wanderlust Inside You!

11. The Rhine Falls – Largest Falls

The magical Rhine Falls

Image Source Another name in the list of Switzerland tourist attractions is the largest falls in Central Europe – Rhine Waterfalls that span over 150 meters at Schaffhausen. During the months of June and July, the falls spill over a 21 m high edge of Jurassic limestones.

Major attractions: Boat trips up to the falls, scenic vistas as seen from the falls

Suggested Read: Dreaming Of An Exotic Honeymoon In Switzerland? Make It Happen

12. Lake Lugano And Ticino – Fairytale Land

Lake Lugano And Ticino

Image Source One of the popular places for Switzerland sightseeing , Lake Lugano is a pristine blue water body that is sitting on the Swiss-Italian border of Ticino. Famed for ever so fresh citrus, figs, palms, and pomegranates, this destination oozes of charming vibes. With an Italian aura spread all around, Ticino is home to some magnificent architecture, the piazzas, and the locals with a love of some fine food. This spot is surrounded by some beautiful snow-clad mountains that are a true view of this town. Major Attractions: Boating, views of Monte San Salvatore, true summer resort vibes, three UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Lake Maggiore, Locarno

Suggested Read: 7 Best Spots For Canyoning In Switzerland For All Adventurous Souls

13. Oberhofen Castle – Blended Styles

Oberhofen Castle

Image Source One of the stunning tourist attractions in Switzerland , Oberhofen Castle is sitting on the shore of Lake Thun and is neighbors with a 2.5-hectare park on one side. Originally, the castle was constructed in the 13th century but has been a part of numerous renovations since then. In the present day, one can witness the finely blended architectural styles of Bernes Baroque, Romantic facades, Prussian, and more. This is also a living museum that showcases the ancient times of the families.

Major Attractions: Live Museum, perfectly blended architectural styles

Suggested Read: A Guide To Switzerland In March Tailor Made For You

14. Swiss Grand Canyon – Standing Since Ice Age

Swiss Grand Canyon

Image Source Also known as the Ruinaulta, the Swiss Grand Canyon is a deep meadow that is full of different shades of green. Created around 10,000 years ago during the Ice Age, this Canyon offers views that make it look right out of a storybook. The beauty of this destination with vast green land, clear blue river, forest-clad mountains, and the tiny houses is something totally unmatchable. It is one of the breathtaking tourist places in Switzerland .

Major Attractions: Hiking, bird watching, natural landscapes, kayaking, views of Rhine Valley

Suggested Read: Top 18 Places To Visit In Switzerland In Winter 2021-22 For A Memorable Vacay!

From a buck load of Switzerland tourist attractions , we have provided you with the bests. All you need to do is to pack up and embark upon the journey to live those swiss dreams on your trip to Switzerland . 

Disclaimer:  TravelTriangle claims no credit for images featured on our blog site unless otherwise noted. All visual content is copyrighted to its respectful owners. We try to link back to original sources whenever possible. If you own the rights to any of the images, and do not wish them to appear on TravelTriangle, please contact us and they will be promptly removed. We believe in providing proper attribution to the original author, artist or photographer.

Please Note:  Any information published by TravelTriangle in any form of content is not intended to be a substitute for any kind of medical advice, and one must not take any action before consulting a professional medical expert of their own choice.

Frequently Asked Questions About Switzerland Tourist Attractions

What is the most beautiful place in Switzerland?

There is no dearth of places to visit in Switzerland that are beautiful including Lucerne, Bern, Interlaken, Lake Geneva, and more.

What is the cheapest month to fly to Switzerland?

The cheapest month to pay a visit to Switzerland is in the month of February.

Is Switzerland expensive to visit?

Yes. Switzerland is a pretty expensive country to visit. However, one can still plan a budget trip by cutting down expenses.

How many days are enough in Switzerland?

In order to witness the entire country at once, you should spend around 6 days.

What is the best month to go to Switzerland?

The best month to pay a visit to Switzerland is October.

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Europe , Switzerland , Travel

The perfect switzerland itinerary 7 days – 10 days.

Best Switzerland Itinerary 7 days

If you’re looking to spend 7 days in Switzerland, or even 10, this Switzerland Itinerary will help you plan the perfect trip for your first time. With day-by-day itineraries and detailed activity suggestions, you’ll be on your way to enjoying one of the most beautiful places on Earth!

Switzerland itinerary- the best way to spend one week in switzerland + 3 bonus days.

If you're looking to spend 7 days in Switzerland, or even 10, this Switzerland Itinerary will help you plan the perfect trip for your first time. With day-by-day itineraries and detailed activity suggestions, you'll be on your way to enjoying one of the most beautiful places on Earth!

From its snow-capped mountains and glistening lakes to its quaint villages and world-class cities, Switzerland is a country that has it all. And whether you’re looking for an action-packed adventure or a relaxing vacation, you’ll find plenty of things to do in Switzerland that fit the bill.

We had the opportunity to live in Switzerland for a bit while we had some work there. We lived in Basel and loved our time there. I’ve since been back several times to visit friends and to visit this gorgeous country. I recently went back a few months ago and wanted to share my itinerary to help you make the best of your time, whether you have 3 days in Switzerland or 10 days in Switzerland.

If you’re spending one week in Switzerland, you’ll have enough to see the highlights, but I’ve added on a few extra days in case you have more time for a few extras on your vacation to Switzerland. I always recommend prioritizing the 7 day Switzerland itinerary, and then moving on to the extras only if you have time.

  • Don’t have time to read a bunch of reviews and blog posts? Here are our top picks for visiting Switzerland:
  • Wanderlust Switzerland Guide

Need a quick day-by-day, open-and-go itinerary for Switzerland? Get my guide and let me do the work for you!

switzerland tourist destinations

  • Our favorite Hotels in Switzerland
  • Zurich : Baur Au Lac
  • Lucerne : Burgenstock Alpine Hotel & Spa
  • Zermatt: The Omnia
  • Interlaken : Victoria Jungfrau Grand Hotel
  • Bern : Hotel Schweiserhof
  • Geneva : Swiss Luxury Apartments
  • Montreaux : Eurotel Montreaux

Getting Around Switzerland

  • Unlimited Train Rides : Swiss Pass
  • Renting a Car : Cheap Rental Cars or Expedia Cars
  • Our favorite activities and tours in Switzerland
  • Paragliding
  • Lindt Chocolate Tour
  • Lake Lucerne Cruise

Here's a Short Cut

Map of Switzerland

How do i get around switzerland, where do i purchase my swiss travel pass, swiss half fare card, where should i stay in switzerland, what languages are spoken in switzerland, do i need to know germany before i visit switzerland, what is the best time to visit switzerland, is it safe to travel to switzerland, how many days are enough for my switzerland itinerary – 7 days or more, what apps should i download for visiting switzerland, what currency is used in switzerland, how much is a trip to switzerland, is the tap water safe to drink in switzerland, what should i pack for my vacation to switzerland, some things to do in zurich, some things to do in lucerne, some things to do in interlaken, some things to do in lake thun, some things to do in the lauterbrunnen valley, some things to do in zermatt, some things to do in bern switzerland, some things to do in gruyeres, some things to do in montreux, some things to do in geneva, to sum this all up, here is my recommended switzerland trip itinerary:.

This interactive map will help you get around during your Switzerland itinerary. It’s color-coded by each day, so you can easily locate where you want to go and navigate there. Feel free to copy this map and download it offline so you can use it while you travel in Switzerland. Use the arrow on the top left of the map to pull up the key and see that each day is a different layer. It’s a very handy map once you figure out how to use it.

Things to Know About Visiting Switzerland

There are many ways to get around Switzerland, the two main ways are using public transportation and renting a car. I’ll highlight the best way to get to each destination below. This Switzerland itinerary can easily be used with either a car or by train.

If you choose to get a rental car in Switzerland, I always recommend using this site to compare rates and cars.

If you’re renting a car, there are two companies we prefer to use: Rental Cars and Expedia Cars. We have had no issues with them and have been able to find the best prices available.

If you choose to use public transportation in Switzerland, I recommend getting the Swiss Travel Pass to maximize your time and save you money . The Swiss Travel Pass offers unlimited train rides on most lines, free or discounted gondola rides, and discounts to many attractions though Switzerland.

I find that it’s especially worth buying the Swiss Travel Pass if you are planning to visit Zermatt because the expensive Gornergratt train is quite expensive, and it’s half off with the pass. If you’re comfortable riding trains and buses, I think it’s the best way to travel in Switzerland.

switzerland tourist destinations

You can purchase your Swiss Travel Pass here . Just select the correct number of days for your Switzerland itinerary and check out. The pass begins on your selected date and runs continuously. The Swiss Travel Pass comes in. 3, 4, 6, 8, and 15 day increments.

If you’re unsure of your dates or the amount of time your Switzerland itinerary will be, it might be a good idea to purchase a Swiss Half Fare Card instead. This pass is good for one month and will offer 50% off most trains. There seems to be less of a discount on shorter journeys. I prefer to purchase the more expensive Swiss Travel Pass just for ease of use while I am in the country. But the Swiss Half Fare Card may be a better option if you are only planning on taking several long and expensive rail journeys. You can purchase the Swiss Half Fare Card here .

While Switzerland is a small country with world-famous efficient public transportation, there can be some destinations that take longer to get to. For this reason, I recommend staying in a few different places during your trip. You should adjust this to your own needs and time restraints, but I recommend staying in these destinations in this Switzerland itinerary:

A red and brown swiss chalet house covered in snow with snow covered pine trees in the background in Switzerland.

  • 1 night – Zurich (either at the beginning or the end of your trip depending on flight times)
  • 2 nights – Interlaken
  • 2 nights – Lauterbrunnen
  • 2 nights – Zermatt
  • If continuing for 10 days in Switzerland:
  • 3 nights – Bern with day trips to Gruyere, Montreux, and Geneva

Our Hotel & Chalet Recommendations: Zurich Hotels here Interlaken Hotels here Lauterbrunnen Chalets here Zermatt Hotels here Bern Hotels here

Believe it or not, there are actually FOUR official languages in Switzerland: German, French, Italian, and Romansh. Each of these is spoken in different regions of the country.

  • Swiss German is the most widely spoken language, spoken by 63% of the population, and is spoken in the northern, eastern, and central parts of Switzerland. All official communications and publications are conducted and printed in German, however, there are also many different Swiss German dialects. Swiss German is a collection of Alemannic dialects no longer spoken in Germany or Austria, with French expressions sprinkled in. The Swiss German speakers take pride in the diversity of their dialects.
  • Swiss French is the second most spoken language in Switzerland and is spoken mostly in the western cantons of Geneva, Vaud, Neuchâtel, and Jura. This is generally standard French that is also spoken in France.
  • Swiss Italian is spoken in the canton of Ticino and the southern part of Graubünden, on the south bordering Italy. Funny enough, you’ll find German speakers in the northern regions of Italy. Most locals will speak both German and Italian, as this region of Italy was once part of Austria. Swiss Italian is only spoken by about 350,000 people in Switzerland.
  • Romansh is the final official language of Switzerland and is the least spoken language with only 37,000 people. When the Romans conquered the province of Rhaetia, the language combined with the native people creating Rumantsch .

Women walking in traditional swiss clothing in Zermatt Switzerland

Learning German before you visit Switzerland isn’t a necessity as many people speak English, but it is definitely a good idea to learn a few German, and even French, phrases before you go. This should be plenty to help you get by during your time in Switzerland. You may not even need them, but it’s good to be prepared.

  • Yes/No : Ja/Nein Pronunciation: Yah/Nine
  • Hello: Hallo Pronunciation: a-low
  • Excuse Me : Entschuldigung Pronunciation: ehnt-SHOOL-di-gung
  • Good Morning: Guten Morgen Pronunciation: GOO-ten MOR-gen
  • Good Evening: Guten Abend Pronunciation: GOO-ten aa-behnt
  • Goodnight : Gute Nacht Pronunciation: GOO-teh nahkht
  • Goodbye : Auf Wiedersehen Pronunciation: all-veet-a-zen
  • See You Later: Bis Spotter Pronunciation: BIS Sh-put-er
  • Thank You: Danke Pronunciation: dong-ka
  • Thank You Very Much: Merci Vilmal Pronunciation: MEL-see VIL-mall
  • You’re Welcome: Bitte Pronunciation: BI-teh
  • Nice to Meet You: Freut Mich Pronunciation: FROYT mikh
  • What’s Your Name : Wie Heisst du? Pronunciation: vee HICE-en zee?
  • My Name Is : Ich Heisse Pronunciation: Ikh HICE-eh
  • Do You Speak English? : Sprechen Sie Englisch? Pronunciation: SHPREHK-en zee EHN-glish?
  • Welcome: Willkommen Pronunciation: Wheel-come
  • Sorry: Tut mir leid Pronunciation: TOOT meer LIGHT
  • I am Sorry, I Don’t Speak German : Entschuldigung, ich Spreche Kein Deutsch Pronunciation: Ent-shu-il-de-gung, eek sprek-a-nee doy-ch
  • I Do Not Understand : Ich Verstehe Nicht Pronunciation: Ikh fehr-STAY-eh nikht
  • Where is the Bathroom? : wo ist die toilette, bitte? Pronunciation: VOOH ist dee twah-LET-uh, BIT-tuh?
  • How Much Is That? : Was kostet das? Pronunciation: vahss KOSS-tet dahss?

There’s really no correct answer to the question. There are incredible things to do in Switzerland during every season of the year. I personally always prefer to travel when there are less crowds and when the weather is not too hot and not too cold. This usually means taking a Switzerland trip during the shoulder season in April-May or September-October.

Two kids skiing in bright clothing in Switzerland

In June, July, and August you will find the busiest days in Switzerland. With a winter Switzerland itinerary, you will definitely have snow, especially in the Swiss Alps , and the weather in Switzerland in the summer is generally warm and pleasant, but still can be cold and rainy.

  • Best time to visit to avoid crowds (shoulder season) : April – June, September – October
  • High Season : July – August. The high season is July to August when the weather in Switzerland is the warmest it is in the entire year, but you will have to face a lot of tourists, and over 50% increase in prices.
  • Low Season : October – March
  • Ski Season : December – March
  • When are the Seasons in Switzerland : April – June (spring), July – August (summer), September – October (fall), November – March (winter)
  • Best Time to Ski in Switzerland: Winter (between December and March) is the low season in most parts of Switzerland, as there will be intense snowstorms. However, this is the best season for those who want to ski in Switzerland.

According to US News , Switzerland has been rated #1 in safety! And according to Travel Safe Abroad , it was given a Safety Index of 89, So I’d say that’s a pretty good sign. Every time I’ve visited Switzerland, I’ve felt completely safe, but as always, be on guard when you travel, protect your wallet, and don’t be an idiot when you travel in Switzerland.

I will say that your risk of being injured doing outdoor activities is most likely higher if you’re not used to being active outdoors at home. Just be careful and know your limits. Always register with STEP (Smart Traveler Enrollment Program) in case anything happens.

For this reason, also, I always recommend that you purchase travel insurance before you travel. Especially these days, you just never know. And better safe than sorry.

Your Switzerland itinerary will depend on the number of days you are able to travel, but I recommend spending at least 7 days in Switzerland if possible, although 10 days is ideal. A one week Switzerland itinerary will allow you to see most of the destinations on this list, so if you’re able to stay longer, keep going until day 10.

A phone with 3D mountains coming out of it with the alps in Switzerland in the background.

  • SBB App – Public transportation in Switzerland is shockingly punctual, clean, fast, and efficient. The SBB app will tell you when and where to get your trains and buses to take you where you want to go. This is the most important app you’ll need in Switzerland if you’re only traveling by public transportation.
  • Switzerland Mobility App – If you’re looking for great hikes in Switzerland, you’ll want to download the Switzerland Mobility App to help you find the best trails and not get lost.
  • Duo Lingo – If you want to learn a bit of German or French before visiting Switzerland, Duo Lingo is a fun and free app to help you learn.
  • Google Translate – While most people in Switzerland will be able to communicate with you in at least a little bit of English, it’s always goo to have the Google translate app, especially for reading signs or menus that are not in English.

Switzerland uses the Swiss Franc (CHF). The exchange rate right now is $1.05 USD to 1 CHF.

Swiss Francs money in a hand with green landscape in the background in Switzerland

This depends on many factors like where you’re traveling from, when you’re going, how many people are in your party, what kind of hotels you choose, what activities you want to do, whether you rent a car or take public transportation, etc. It’s almost impossible to estimate how much this Switzerland itinerary will cost. I always say to plan around $3,000 USD per person for any trip to Switzerland.

A fountain with water coming out of a lion's mouth

Tap water is safe to drink in Switzerland and you can also find drinking fountains all over the country that you can drink from. I’ve filled many water bottles from these fountains and it’s been tasty and safe.

When you’re planning a trip to Switzerland, you’ll want to be sure you pack properly. But don’t worry, there are plenty of places to shop if you forget anything. Here are a few essentials you’ll want to be sure to pack for Switzerland. You can see my Switzerland packing list , or check out my abbreviated list below.

A group of people hiking through the alps in Switzerland with hiking poles and backpacks

  • Power Adapter for Switzerland
  • Portable Charger ( my favorite )
  • Portable WiFi Device
  • Appropriate Outdoor Clothing ( I like to shop here )
  • A few nicer outfits for dinners
  • Packable down jacket
  • Your favorite sun hat
  • Sunscreen ( my favorite )
  • Comfortable Walking Shoes
  • Good Hiking Boots (if you’re planning to do lots of hikes)
  • Collapsible Hiking Poles
  • Packing Cubes
  • Melatonin for Jetlag
  • Packable Day Pack
  • Liquid IV for Dehydration
  • Waterproof Phone Case
  • Reusable Water Bottle
  • Quick Dry Towel

The Best Switzerland Itinerary for 7-10 Days

Ok now on to what you came here to read! This is the best Switzerland itinerary to help you maximize and enjoy your vacation. It spans the Switzerland countryside and cities and includes recommendations on where to stay and what to do in each destination.

Day 1 – Arrive in Zurich & Explore

Most major international flights to Switzerland will arrive at Zurich international airport, which is a great starting point for your Switzerland itinerary. Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland and one of the most popular tourist destinations. With its picturesque Old Town and world-class museums, it’s easy to see why Zurich is such a popular destination. You’ll most likely be beginning and ending your vacation to Switzerland here.

If you only have a short time in Switzerland, I recommend taking day trips from Zurich .

A sunset in Zurich Switzerland over the river

  • Walk Around Old Town Zurich
  • Explore Lake Zurich
  • Visit the Museum of Art
  • Enjoy Views from Lindenhof
  • Visit the Swiss National Museum
  • Visit Grossmünster Church
  • See the Impressive Zurich Zoo
  • Ride the train to the top of Uetlibertg
  • Take a Cruise down the River
  • FIFA World Football Museum
  • Day 2 – Lucerne

Lucerne is a small city located in central Switzerland that is often overlooked by tourists. But with its beautiful Old Town, covered bridges, and Alpine setting, Lucerne is well worth a visit. And if you’re looking for things to do outside of the city, you can take a boat ride on Lake Lucerne or even go for a swim!

A flower covered bridge over the water in Lucerne Switzerland

  • Wander Around the Old Town
  • Take a Cruise on Lake Lucerne
  • Visit the Swiss Museum of Transport
  • Walk Across Chapel Bridge
  • Visit the Rosengart Collection
  • See Bertel Thorvaldsen’s Lion Monument
  • Explore the Glacier Garden
  • Enjoy the Views from Musegg Wall
  • Visit Hofkirche Basilica

Day 3 – Interlaken and Lake Brienz

Nestled between Lake Brienz and Lake Thun in the Bernese Oberland region of Switzerland, Interlaken is a popular tourist destination for those looking to enjoy the great outdoors. Surrounded by mountains, Interlaken is the perfect base camp for hikes, mountain biking, para-gliding, and other adventure activities. It also has a cute old town center to explore and dine in. I had the privilege of paragliding in Interlaken and I will never forget it. The whole area is postcard perfect!

Lake Brienz in Switzerland with houses and a castle

  • Go Paragliding
  • Ride up Harder Kulm via funicular
  • Take a Steamboat on Lake Brienz
  • Ride the Schynige Platte Railway
  • Tour Justistal Alpine Dairy book here
  • Aareschlucht Gorge info
  • Explore the charming views at Istelwald village

Day 4 – Lake Thun

Lake Thun is the other lake that borders Interlaken and is just as beautiful as Lake Brienz. Spend a few days between these two lakes and soak up all the beauty around you.

Lake Thun in Switzerland

  • Explore Lake Thun
  • Ride a Steam Boat on Lake Thun
  • Visit Thun Castle
  • Explore St. Beatus Caves
  • Wander around the medieval old town of Unterseen
  • Weissenau Nature Reserve
  • Explore the picturesque town of Spiez
  • Panoramabrücke Sigriswil – Panoramic Footbridge

Day 5 – Lauterbrunnen, Murren & Schilthorn

The Lauterbrunnen valley is a gorgeous area of the Bernese Oberland that is a must-see. When you picture a quaint village in Switzerland with wooden chalets, Alpine valleys, high mountain peaks, and roaming cows with bells, it’s likely Lauterbrunnen valley that you’re thinking of. If you want to see iconic scenes like this when you visit Switzerland, Lauterbrunnen is the perfect place to go.

Lauterbrunnen in Switzerland with small houses and large cliffs and a waterfall with a sunset

  • Hike the Lauterbrunnen – Murren Trail (4 miles)
  • Visit the largest free-falling waterfall in Europe (Staubbach Falls)
  • Take the cog railway to nearby Wengen
  • Take the cable cars to nearby Murren
  • Take a cable car ride up to Schilthorn
  • Eat at Piz Gloria, the rotating James Bone restaurant
  • Visit the Highest Altitude Structure in Europe ( Sphinx Observatory)
  • Explore Trummelbach Falls (a UNESCO World Heritage Site)
  • Go paragliding or just watch the paragliders
  • Grab a drink at the Horner Pub in town
  • Rent bikes and ride around Lauterbrunnen Valley

Days 6 & 7 – Zermatt

While the mountain resort town of Zermatt is small, the surrounding mountains in the Swiss Alps and the surrounding areas are massive. This destination takes some time and effort to get to, even though it’s simple to reach by public transportation, so I always recommend staying the night and exploring Zermatt for two days if possible. Many people will attempt Zermatt as a day trip from Bern or Zurich, which is fine, it just limits what you can do there. It’s a must on any Switzerland itinerary. Zermatt is most famous for its incredible views of the Matterhorn, but there’s a lot more to this picturesque town. It’s home to some of the most scenic train rides on Earth and some great restaurants and shopping as well.

Zermatt is also the end of the Walker’s Haute Route , which is a massive hike through the Swiss Alps that begins in Chamonix, France, and traverses some of the most beautiful scenery in Switzerland, ending in Zermatt.

switzerland tourist destinations

  • Take the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise
  • Hike the Matterhorn Glacier Trail
  • Visit Schwarzsee (lake)
  • Take the Gornergrat Railway (one of the most scenic train rides in the world)
  • Hike from Gornegrat to Riffelsee (1.5 miles)
  • Befriend Blacknose Sheep
  • Explore the old town of Zermatt
  • Eat Fondue & Raclette
  • Visit the Matterhorn Museum
  • Pay your respects at Mountaineers Cemetery
  • Walk through the Hinterdorfstrasse – old town
  • Walk along Gorner Gorge

That’s the end of my one week in Switzerland itinerary. However, if you have another 3 days in Switzerland or more, I recommend continuing with the next few destinations. They are great, but I always recommend prioritizing the above itinerary if you only have 7 days in Switzerland.

Day 8 – Bern 

Bern is the capital of Switzerland and a unique and relatively small city. The entire city is a UNESCO world heritage site with so much to explore. The medieval architecture and easy public transportation make it an easy city to visit.

Dramatic clouds over the city of Bern in Switzerland with a bridge over a river

  • Explore Old Town Bern
  • Count the fountains of Bern
  • Visit Berner Munster (Bern Cathedral)
  • Climb up Kafigturm
  • Zytglogge Clock Tower
  • Visit the bears at the Barengraben, or Bear Pit
  • Walk through the Rosengarten (Rose Garden Park)
  • Visit the Einstein Museum & Einstein House
  • Walk along the Aare River
  • Relax at the Hamman & Spa Oktogon

Day 9 – Gruyere & Montreux

These two Swiss towns are some of the most beautiful in the country and reside in the French-speaking section. If you have a car, it’s only a 30-minute drive between the two. Public transportation between them can be tricky, so you may just want to pick one to visit if you don’t have a car, depending on where you’re staying. Either town is a great day trip from Bern or the Lauterbrunnen valley.

Gruyere is an idyllic farming town nestled in the Swiss Alps and renowned for the famous Gruyeres cheese, which you’ve probably tried before. Be sure to have fondue here, as it’s some of the best we’ve ever tried in Switzerland.

Two women in Gruyeres

  • Visit the Gruyeres Cheese Factory & Tour
  • Walk down Rue de Bourg in the Old Town
  • Walk Le Grand Chemins
  • Tour Gruyeres Castle
  • Walk along the Ramparts
  • Eat Gruyeres Cheese Fondue
  • Visit the HR Giger Museum
  • Grab a drink at the Giger Bar
  • Visit the Tibet Museum
  • Tour Maison Cailler Chocolate Factory

Montreux is a dazzling town set against the backdrop of the mountain peaks of the Alps and on the shores of Lake Geneva. Also in the French-speaking region of Switzerland, Montreux has much to offer in way of scenery and cultural opportunities.

A vineyard on the banks of Lake Geneva Switzerland

  • Explore Montreux Old Town
  • Visit Lavaux vineyards, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Walk Along the Montreux Lakeside Promenade
  • Hike the Gorges du Chauderon
  • Take a Cruise on Lake Geneva
  • Visit Chateau de Chillon
  • Hike Rochers de Naye
  • See the Freddy Mercury Statue
  • Visit Chaplin’s World Museum
  • Visit the Nest Museum
  • Day 10 – Geneva

Situated between the French border and Lake Geneva, the town of Geneva is an international town known for being the United Nations Headquarters and also the headquarters for The Red Cross. It’s also a great place to visit on your Switzerland trip if you want to get more of a feel for the French part of Switzerland.

Two rows of international flags leading to a building in Geneva Switzerland

  • Take a boat ride on Lake Geneva if you haven’t done that Montreux
  • Check out the famous Jet d’Eau (Water Jet)
  • Visit the Romanesque Temple de Saint-Pierre
  • Explore Geneva’s Old Town
  • See Bourg-de-Four, the oldest square in the city
  • Check out the flags at Palais des Nations
  • Tour the Art & History Museum
  • Visit the International Red Cross and Crescent Museum
  • Visit the Ariana Museum, dedicated to ceramics and glass
  • Wander around Parc de la Grange

There’s so much to see and do in Switzerland and you could easily spend months exploring all this Alpine country has to offer! But if you only have a week, this Switzerland itinerary will help you make the most of your time in this beautiful country. From hikes with unbeatable views to leisurely days spent soaking in mountain views from your hotel room window and delicious chocolate and fondue, you’re sure to fall in love with this corner of Europe. I hope this Switzerland trip planner was helpful and that you’ll be on your way to planning a great vacation.

If you're looking to spend 7 days in Switzerland, or even 10, this Switzerland Itinerary will help you plan the perfect trip for your first time. With day-by-day itineraries and detailed activity suggestions, you'll be on your way to enjoying one of the most beautiful places on Earth!

  • Use the train to get around Switzerland
  • Purchase a Swiss Travel Pass or Half Fare Card before you travel to Switzerland
  • There are four official languages spoken in Switzerland
  • Learn a few German phrases before your vacation to Switzerland
  • The best time to visit Switzerland is Spring and Fall 
  • Switzerland is a very safe country
  • 7-10 days in Switzerland is an ideal time
  • Download important apps before Switzerland trips
  • Swiss Francs (CHF) are used in Switzerland
  • Tap water is safe to drink in Switzerland
  • Pack appropriately for Switzerland
  • The Best Switzerland Itinerary:
  • Day 1 – Zurich
  • Day 3 – Interlaken – Lake Brienz
  • Day 4 – Interlaken – Lake Thun
  • Day 5 – Lauterbrunnenn, Murren, & Schilthorn
  • Day 6 – Zermatt – Glacier Express Train
  • Day 7 – Zermatt – Gornergratt
  • Day 8 – Bern
  • Day 9 – Gruyeres & Montreux

If you're looking to spend 7 days in Switzerland, or even 10, this Switzerland Itinerary will help you plan the perfect trip for your first time. With day-by-day itineraries and detailed activity suggestions, you'll be on your way to enjoying one of the most beautiful places on Earth!

Wanderlust Crew

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Best Places to Visit in Switzerland: Top 10 Tourist Attractions + 5 Amazing Alpine Lakes

There are many stunning countries around the world, but in this article, we will look at the best places to visit in Switzerland . There is a vast beauty to this country that is undeniable, and each location on the list is worthy of being added to your bucket list. 

The Best Places to Visit in Switzerland

Why You Should Visit Switzerland

Switzerland might be landlocked and small, but packed within its borders is an exceptional natural beauty. This Central European country offers a string of majestic vistas filled with lofty peaks, the bluest lakes, and the most charming Alpine villages you could imagine.

The Jungfrau, Matterhorn, and Eiger are the country’s most renowned mountains. But did you know Switzerland’s mountains cover 60% of the country ?

Beyond the awe-inspiring scenery, Switzerland is also known for its love of the Helvetica font, its culture of banking secrecy befitting a spy movie, those quirky little red pocket knives, and the very best watches . The Swiss are also renowned for their  delectable chocolate , cheese, and muesli.

Truly Switzerland is an eclectic mix of the modern, the natural, the cultural, and the historical.

10 Places to See and Things to Do in Switzerland

It is impossible to capture all of Switzerland’s medieval grandeur and natural beauty in words. To illustrate the magical charm of this country, we have listed some of the best places to visit in Switzerland below.

Wengen is one of the most beautiful places in Switzerland

Wengen is one of the most beautiful places in Switzerland. Nestled on the Lauterbrunnen Valley’s slopes, this charming Swiss Alpine hamlet in the Jungfrau region is high up on Mount Eiger. The white glaciers surrounding Wengen are the loftiest in the Bernese Alps, which surround Wengen’s countryside like a wall. The ‘maiden’ or Jungfrau mountain is the highest peak of this particular massif.

You will find snow-capped tops all year round. These snow-layered tips perfectly contrast the greenery of the surrounding valley, creating the most celestial views you have ever laid your eyes on. Add to it the old school allure of the village’s timber chalets, and it’s easy to see how this is one of the most sought-after tourist spots in Switzerland.

Did You Know – Wengen has been luring tourists since the Edwardian age.

Wengen’s hotels are of the belle époque age and perfectly capture the village’s romantic appeal. These intimate lodgings were the meeting places of lovers and bons vivants of the 19th century. These old school abodes still hold the grandeur that high society craved at the turn of the last century. Yet, despite that, they have an undeniable homeliness to them.

What is even more spectacular about Wengen is that you can only get to this village via the Wengeralp railway. Wengen is, therefore, a car-free town that has a calming quietness to it. 

Everything in Wengen is within walking distance. You can find plenty of fine dining and skiing opportunities here. Other Alpine adventures popular amongst the Wengen tourist crowd are zip lining, sledding, tobogganing, and snowshoeing. The to-go-to activity for those interested in something less hair-raising is a hike up Wengenalp.

2. Montreux

Is Montreux one of the best places to visit in Switzerland

Montreux is Switzerland’s hidden gem. It is not a touristy town like other towns on Lake Geneva, but it is nevertheless gorgeous. The town has an unrivaled view of Lake Geneva, sitting by the water’s shoreline at the base of the Swiss Alps. While, a waterfront promenade stretches along the lake’s bay.

Its elevated surroundings shelter it from east and north winds, giving it an all-year resort-like climate. Along the lake’s shores are beautiful bay, mulberry, fig, and almond trees interspersed by palm and magnolia. It is a Mediterranean paradise, despite its close location to the Alps.

The historic town has aristocratic roots and is one of the country’s most noble resorts. As a result, there are some fantastic historic sites and examples of picturesque architecture. In addition, the town hosts many international festivals such as the International Choral Festival , Montreux Jazz Festival , and the September Musical Concert.

Freddie Mercury loved Montreux so much that he made it his home. Queen had their Mountain Recording Studio here, and it is where Freddie recorded his last album. The town even has a bronze statue on its waterfront to honor Freddie’s memory.

Montreux has many winter and summer activities for tourists, including biking and hiking. You must plan a visit to Chateau de Chillon. One of Switzerland’s most famous historic castles, lies just half an hour’s walk away from Montreux.

3. St Moritz

St Moritz one of the best places to visit in Switzerland

If you had all the money in the world, where would you spend it?

St Moritz has been a billionaire’s go-to resort for decades. This glitzy alpine town is one of the best places to visit in Switzerland for winter sports. A traditional resort town enjoyed by the social elite.

Perched high at 1856M elevation on Upper Engadin in the Switzerland mountains, St Moritz is sheltered from the cool north winds and is sunny 322 days of the year. The town is the birthplace of winter tourism and has twice played host to the Winter Olympics.

The Swiss town’s propensity for tourism kicked off over 3000 years ago, with the discovery of mineral springs on St Moritz. Named after a Christian saint, the little alpine village would host many a pilgrim who would come to drink of its healing bubbling waters. The lore goes that in 1519, the pope offered absolution to any pilgrim that made the journey up to the alpine springs.

Today, this beautiful region attracts celebrities, dynasties, and billionaires that come to drink up the beauty of its 25 clear mountain lakes, glaciers, and forests. While there, they also enjoy first-class gourmet dining and some of the best shopping spots in the country.

St Moritz is an outdoor sports arena famous for its windsurfing, hiking, sailing, climbing spots. It is also a renowned glacier skiing and horseback riding town.

Basel one of the more beautiful places in Switzerland

Basel is a culturally diverse riverboat port town that straddles the mighty Rhine. It is Switzerland’s third-largest city . This is the only town on earth where you can cross international borders by tram. Basel borders both Germany and France. For this reason, it is a prolific transport and trade hub.

A visitor to Basel will be awestruck by the city’s eclectic architectural style with gothic cathedrals and ornate public buildings.

Basel is a city of art and has close to 40 museums. In 1967, the town unanimously decided to purchase some Picasso paintings. This action moved Picasso so much that he gave three of his works to the city’s museums. The ART Basel festival pays homage to the city’s art-loving artful culture, museums, and galleries.

What makes Basel one of the best places to visit in Switzerland is its multicultural energy.  To experience Basel’s beauty and grandeur, wander its cobbled streets, browse the amazing food markets and eat your fill dining al fresco on the riverside. 

Taking a walk along the Rhine is a great way to experience this part of beautiful Switzerland. The river view is to die for. In addition, there are six bridges to cross should you want to move from one side of the city to the other. While at it, grab an ice cream cone or snack at one of Basel’s renowned buvettes.

5. Lake Lucerne and Lucerne

Lucerne is a prime example of Beautiful Switzerland

Some of the best places in Switzerland are synonymous with high adrenaline sports such as skiing. Lake Lucerne’s pace is different. Its beauty is best appreciated by the slow crowd looking for blooming mountain flower scenery, water, and greenery. 

The lake’s mountain areas are connected via walking routes, cog railways, and cable cars. A visit to the crystalline blue lake framed by the lofty peaks of the Switzerland mountains is a must-do activity. Experience the beauty of the lake atop century-old paddle steamer tours.

The old town of Lucerne has historic buildings and medieval bridges, including Chapel Bridge, that cross the River Reuss. The chapel bridge is one of the oldest wooden bridges in Europe. Its old churches, town square, and fresco facades give the charming town an unrivaled fairy tale book-like look. The city’s home mountain is Mount Pilatus, with its dramatic and stark lonely peak. Lore has it that the solitary peak had a resident dragon and a darker history.

Did You Know – The cog railway to Lucerne is the steepest there is in the world.

6. Swiss National Park

Swiss National Park one of the best places to visit in Switzerland

Did you know Switzerland has only one national park? The Swiss National Park is not only one of the oldest in Europe, but it’s also the only such park in the Alps to have ‘strict nature reserve’ status from the ICUN.

Established in 1914 on the national day of Switzerland and offering stunning alpine views, it easily shows off how beautiful Switzerland is. The views alone are reason enough for this to be one of the best places to visit in Switzerland. 

The 172.3 km² Swiss national park is situated in the Western Rhaetian Alps and boasts stunning peaks, dense forests, and azure rivers. Hidden amongst the wilderness, nature lovers will find long trails perfect for hiking.

Wildlife spotters will enjoy the region’s magnificent anthills and sightings of the once almost extinct bearded vulture. Hunted to its knees, the park reintroduced it in 1991, and it is thriving under protection. You will also find the golden eagle, one of Europe’s largest birds of prey. Other attractions include marmots, elk, and chamois.

Best Places to Visit in Switzerland - Bern

The city of Bern is a place that perfectly captures how beautiful Switzerland is. Its charm and history alone give this old town a warranted place on your bucket list. The old city is a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site.

Its most remarkable feature is the Child Eater Fountain, and its medieval arcades. A trip to Bern should always begin in the old town.

Here you will find fantastic examples of medieval European architecture. Some must-see features include the Prison Tower and the Church of the Holy Ghost or Heiliggeistkirche. The old town also hosts the 16th-century Pfeiferbrunnen (Bagpiper Fountain) by Swiss sculptor Hans Gieng. 

Bern hosts Einsteinhaus, Albert Einstein’s former residence, now a museum. Here, the scientist chanced upon the theory of relativity. The Bern tower’s majestic 300 steps are one of the city’s favorite viewpoints. Visit it for sweeping views of Bern and the snow-capped Switzerland mountains surrounding it.

Best Places to Visit in Switzerland - Zermatt

Zermatt is an alpine paradise for winter sports fans, and the home of the famous mountain, the Matterhorn. From cross country skiing and snowboarding to ice skating and curling, there is nothing that can’t be done under the impressive gaze of the Matterhorn. The near-perfect pyramid is one of the most famous mountains in Europe, and that alone makes Zermatt one of the places in Switzerland you just have to visit.

Alongside sporty activities, the main street offers a rich bounty of hotels, boutiques, and restaurants, giving you plenty to do once you’ve put your skis to rest for the day. 

Zermatt is a 100% car-free zone and holds the distinct honor of being Europes highest summer skiing resort. Regardless of the season, you can enjoy the 360km of skiing routes accessible via 54 different mountain railways and ski lifts.

Geneva the heart of beautiful Switzerland

You might wonder why anybody would want to travel to a city dubbed the worldwide center for diplomacy; it’s usually not for a tour of the United Nations headquarters.

However, once you look beyond the pure business district, you will find that Geneva is a beautiful city and one of the best places to visit in Switzerland. Set along the southern edge of its namesake lake, the city boasts views of all the Switzerland mountains, both the Alps and Jura mountains. 

The city also offers stunning views of Mont Blanc, yet another one of the famous mountains found on Swiss soil. Geneva is a city rich in history, laying claim to no less than 82 different Swiss heritage sites of national importance. The old town in its entirety is a protected site and offers intrepid travelers a multitude of places to go and things to see.  

Did you know the old Geneva city covers just 6 square miles?

There have been many famous faces who have called Geneva home over the years. Non more influential than Henry Dunant, the man who founded the Red Cross and was the first-ever recipient of the Novel peace prize. 

Is Zurich the best place to visit in Switzerland

Despite being a relatively small city, Zurich is considered one of the largest financial centers in the world. Much like Geneva, however, there is much more to this city than just businessmen and money. 

Zurich, as a city, was founded in 15BC and is now one of the key travel hubs for the entire country. One of the best places to visit in Switzerland, it has a rich history and is a culturally diverse paradise. Located in the north of the country, it feels like a city with the attitude of a small mountain town.

If you venture into the old town area, you will find yourself going backing time, wandering along narrow cobbled streets lined with boutiques and cafes.

A visit to the city is not complete without visiting either the Swiss National Museum or Teuscher Chocolates of Switzerland. Their champagne truffles are reason enough to consider Zurich as one of the best places to visit in Switzerland. 

5 Amazing Swiss Lakes

Switzerland is a land chock full of stunning scenery and gorgeous snowcapped mountains. However, there is another side to the country. Their beautiful lakes attract travelers from the world over.

Let’s take a quick look at some of the iconic lakes you could visit in this breathtaking country.

1. Lake Geneva

Lake Geneva One of the Best Places to Visit Switzerland

Lake Geneva is the most well-known of the Swiss lakes. It is also the largest body of water in the country. Lake Geneva is a crescent shape lake nestled within the Swiss Alps. There is no shortage of things to do around the lake also. A small town shopping trip or maybe a visit to Chateau de Chillon.

It should not be confused with Geneva Lake in Wisconsin, United States.

Lake Geneva has been a popular tourist spot for over two centuries. With cruises, old-fashioned paddle steamers, and a host of other water sport activities on offer it’s not surprising this central Europe’s largest lake remains popular.

2. Lake Lucerne

Lake Lucerne One of the Best Places to Visit in Switzerland

Lake Lucerne is a valley filled with glacial water. It is one of many glacial lakes in the country. Recent reports suggest that since 1850, ongoing climate change has ‘created’ over 1000 new glacial lakes in Switzerland.

Lake Lucern has been a popular spot for centuries, with the Shelley family choosing to frequent it whenever possible. The surrounding mountains and old town Lucerne only add to its everlasting appeal.

3. Lake Zurich

Visit Lake Zurich in Switzerland

Switzerland’s fifth largest lake, Lake Zurich is a water lover’s paradise. It offers everything you could think of, from paddle boarding adventures to swimming and a plethora of lakeside bars and eateries. With a backdrop of lush green alpine meadows, it is the ideal location for nature lovers.

Certainly one of the best places to visit in Switzerland. As we have already mentioned, you also have the city of Zurich with its quaint old town begging to be explored.

4. Lake Thun

Lake Thun Switzerland

Nestled away in the Jungfrau region of the Swiss Alps lies the astonishingly blue Lake Thun. Set in a carefully preserved alpine environment, this lake is a fantastic spot for those who enjoy spending time on the water.

Not as well known as some of the other lakes on this list, it offers everything from cruises and paddle steamers to swimming and sailing.

The views on offer include sweeping vistas of the surrounding snowcapped mountains sprinkled with one romantic alpine village after another. Just away from the water, you can enjoy a stroll through the medieval old town of Thun with its castle and beautifully preserved medieval bridges.

Lake Brienz

Lake Brienz Switzerland

Another lake from the Jungfrau region, Lake Brienz is a small slice of paradise watched over the Swiss Alps.

The lake is the ideal place to go and relax and enjoy water sports, while the surrounding mountains offer endless miles of beautiful alpine forest and, during the right seasons, unforgettable cross country ski trails.

The namesake medieval town of Brienz is part of the UNESCO world heritage site that covers the Jungfrau region.

Why You Should Consider Visiting Beautiful Switzerland

Matterhorn in Beautiful Switzerland

Well… the flag’s a big plus.

All jokes aside, Switzerland is a wonderful country to visit. A paradise for those who enjoy hitting the slopes, good food, beer, and chocolate. If the above list didn’t give it away, the views alone are reason to visit beautiful Switzerland. It doesn’t matter where you venture; you will be confronted by gorgeous mountain vistas and stunning architecture. 

From adrenaline junkies to foodies, the country promises the world and delivers it on a chocolate-coated, cheese-boasting silver platter. 

It should not be forgotten that Switzerland is also a nation that enjoys itself. From your everyday nightlife to a string of festivals throughout the year. 

Experience the Swiss Alps in All Their Glory

Switzerland Mountains - The Swiss Alps

There is so much more to the Swiss Alps than just their beautiful scenery. They are an experience that needs to be experienced to be understood. From the winding wild azure rivers weaving their way through the mountains and around picturesque towns with their medieval castles and traditional town squares.

There is a peace that is found among their shadows. Whether you are going to horse drawn carriage rides through the Swiss National Park or exploring the Swiss Riviera, nothing happens beyond their snow-capped watchful gaze.

The Alps offer you the chance to take a cable car or a boat ride into some medieval old town that otherwise may have gone unvisited. The small town locations that don’t make it into the guidebooks or reviews on TripAdvisor.

Switzerland is a Skiing Paradise

Beyond the different sightseeing locations, some of the truly best places to visit in Switzerland are the ski resort locations . Yes, visiting historic buildings is fun but when you’re in the mountains, you want to experience skiing the way it was meant to be enjoyed.

Switzerland’s highest ski resort is found around its most famous mountain, the Matterhorn. Matterhorn paradise is, at almost 4,000m elevation a trip that every ski enthusiast needs to make in their lives.

You don’t even need to stick to the popular places either. There are lots of mountain destinations that offer the chance to ski, followed by some good food and a stroll through local shops selling traditional g

Best Places to Visit in Switzerland: Parting Words

These are just but a few of the most beautiful places in Switzerland. However, you could easily pluck any random location out of the atlas, and rest assured that a good time is waiting for you. From cultural diversity to stunning mountains, it could be argued that Switzerland itself is the best place to visit in Switzerland.

What do you think? Have you visited any of the places on your list? If so, please let us know in the comments . What did you enjoy most about your time there? Would you go back, and if so, what would you make sure you spent more time doing? Perhaps you feel there are other places to go in Switzerland that warrant inclusion on the list. 

Best Places to visit in Switzerland - The Swiss Alps

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  1. 11 of the best places to visit in Switzerland

    1. Jungfrau Best for outdoor activities The idyllic Jungfrau region is the icing on the Alpine cake of Switzerland's Bernese Oberland. Sky-high peaks, glaciers and thundering falls elicit gasps of wonder wherever you go.

  2. 17 Top-Rated Attractions & Places to Visit in Switzerland

    1. The Matterhorn The Matterhorn | Photo Copyright: Becca Blond You'll never forget the first time you see Switzerland's most symbolic mountain, the Matterhorn. Maybe you arrive in the charming village of Zermatt, at its base, on a clear blue day and the 4,478-meter high, tooth-shaped mountain looms clearly in front of you.

  3. 17 Best Places to Visit in Switzerland

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    Biosfera Val Müstair La Chaux-de-Fonds / Le Locle Tectonic Arena Sardona Top museums Switzerland is proud of its diversity of museums: Thematically they range from art and culture, to history, customs and crafts, and to many other peculiarities which will amaze and amuse visitors. Show all Swiss Museum of Transportation

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    The Best 17 Places to Visit in Switzerland Vacation like a pro Your Trip to Switzerland: The Complete Guide SEE FULL GUIDE Top Things to Do in Switzerland Top Things to Do in Geneva One Week Itinerary Most Scenic Train Routes Switzerland's Nature Parks How to Go Skiing The Top Hikes Matterhorn Complete Guide The Most Beautiful Lakes Foods to Try

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    11. Chaplin's World 10. Jet d'Eau 9. Mount Pilatus 8. Rhine Falls 7. Bernina Express 6. Zytglogge 5. Jungfraujoch 4.

  7. The Ultimate Switzerland Travel Guide

    The Walker's Haute Route. The Walker's Haute Route is a 14-day trek from Chamonix, France to Zermatt, Switzerland. It's a challenging walk through the Swiss Alps. Along the way, you visit Swiss towns and hamlets, cross 10 mountain passes, and have extraordinary views of this part of Europe.

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    Here are 20 of the best places to visit in Switzerland. 01 of 20 Zurich Stephanie Pollak/Travel + Leisure "Zurich is a small gem with only 450,000 inhabitants, yet it's the largest and most...

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    Famous landmarks everywhere you look: the variety of different sights to see in Switzerland is truly incredible. Discover glaciers, mountain worlds, rivers and impressive buildings. Or explore museums and institutions that especially symbolise our country's identity. Top 5 attractions The Rhine Falls Creux du Van Matterhorn - Symbol for Switzerland

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    01 / Attractions Must-see attractions for your itinerary Stiftsbibliothek Northeastern Switzerland If the greatest masterpieces on earth are wrought for the glory of God, St Gallen's Stiftsbibliothek (Abbey Library), is like a living prayer. Religious… Jungfraujoch Bernese Oberland This is the big one.

  13. 12 of the best things to do in Switzerland

    5. Boat across Lake Lucerne. There are higher mountains in Switzerland than those lining the fjord-like shores of Lake Lucerne, but none are more enshrined in flag-waving Swiss myth. Boat across the emerald waters of Lake Uri and you'll glimpse Rütli Meadow, the hallowed birthplace of the Swiss Confederation in 1291.

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    1. Lucerne Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers This medieval town has covered bridges, waterfront promenades, frescoed historic buildings, and sun-splashed plazas with bubbling fountains—making it a spectacular, popular tourist spot.

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  16. 18 Best Places to Visit in Switzerland (+Map)

    1. Bern. With over 300 days of sunshine every year, there's never a bad time to be in Basel. Set along the Rhine River, Basel is the third-largest city in Switzerland. But tradition, quirkiness, and a splash of rebellious spirit make Basel different to the rest. Baslers, as they are known, are a fascinating community.

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    Nestled between Lake Brienz and Lake Thun in the Bernese Oberland region of Switzerland, Interlaken is a popular tourist destination for those looking to enjoy the great outdoors. Surrounded by mountains, Interlaken is the perfect base camp for hikes, mountain biking, para-gliding, and other adventure activities.

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    796 Zurich, Switzerland from $631/night 2023 THE OMNIA 1,465 Zermatt, Switzerland from $415/night 2023 Swiss Luxury Apartments 417 Geneva, Switzerland from $395/night

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    Certainly one of the best places to visit in Switzerland. As we have already mentioned, you also have the city of Zurich with its quaint old town begging to be explored. 4. Lake Thun. View in gallery. Nestled away in the Jungfrau region of the Swiss Alps lies the astonishingly blue Lake Thun.

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