Switzerland is defined as a country with fabulous nature, orderly life, and a high standard. This glory is not without coverage – the majestic Alps, the coquettish villages, deep blue lakes, green valleys, glaciers … And last but not least, world-class resorts with many things to do: hiking, cycling, skiing, climbing, paragliding. Do not miss the historical landmarks that testify to the rich history. In the famous great guards of Switzerland, such as Zurich, Geneva, and Lausanne, you can see museums and galleries, historic buildings and enjoy famous music festivals. The capital Bern offers you a unique medieval old town, Ticino – Italian architecture of Ticino, and in some places – the dialects of Swiss-German and Latin-Romance. Switzerland is a cosmopolitan place where several European nations seem to meet to enrich culture, language, and customs.
Among such a wide selection, where to go, what are the best places to visit in Switzerland? We have selected a selection of places you should not miss:
- 1 Bern
- 2 Zurich
- 3 The Matterhorn
- 4 Jungfraujoch
- 5 Interlaken
- 6 Lake Geneva
- 7 Lake Lugano and Ticino
- 8 Bellinzona
- 9 Lucerne
- 10 The Rhine Falls
- 11 Basel
- 12 St. Moritz
- 13 The Albula/Bernina Railway Line
- 14 Oberhofen Castle
- 15 Gruyères
- 16 Chateau de Chillon
- 17 Swiss National Park
- 18 Swiss Grand Canyon
- 19 Appenzell & the Northeast
- 20 Great St. Bernard Pass
We start with the capital – a magical place where you are transported to another world. The city is located on a peninsula on the river Aare. Here you will be immersed in the charm of the old world, radiated by the medieval city, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Among the things to do in Switzerland, this is one of the most impressive: a walk along the cobbled streets, a tour of the tallest cathedral in Switzerland, with a panoramic view of its tower, a view of the 16th-century fountains, the medieval clock tower Zytglogge with moving dolls, the rose garden. And yet – six kilometers of shopping arcades, called by locals “Lauben”. But not everything in Bern is old history because there are many tourist attractions, museums, galleries, Bear Park, Zentrum Paul Klee – the largest collection of works by the famous artist, as well as the Bern Museum of Art (Kunstmuseum). You can shop in the markets that take place on the Bundesplatz (Parliament Square) overlooking the beautiful Renaissance-style Parliament Building (Bundeshaus).
Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland and a major transport hub. It is located in the northwestern part of Lake Zurich, above the Limmat River. Also known as rich banking capital, Zurich is also full of cultural treasures. And not only the cobbled streets of the Old Town with its spectacular shops, cafes, and galleries will enchant you. On Bahnhofstrasse, considered one of the best shops in Europe, you will find designer shops selling fashion, watches, and jewelry. The famous Swiss watches, a symbol of accuracy! Dozens of museums and hundreds of galleries await you, and among the tourist attractions of Switzerland is the Kunsthaus Zürich – the Museum of Fine Arts, with an amazing collection of art spanning periods from the Middle Ages to the present day. Another interesting museum is Ritberg, where you will get acquainted with non-European art, mainly works from China, Africa, and India. Among other things, for families with children, there is a zoo with an elephant park, a parade of penguins, and a pavilion in Madagascar. And if you take a train from the city to the Uetliberg mountain, you will see a stunning panoramic view of the city and its surroundings.
The Matterhorn is the legendary pointed peak of Switzerland, which is 4478 meters high, and whose four steep walls lie in the direction of the compass points. The first ascent of this peak in 1865 ended tragically, with the death of four climbers, and today there are still thousands of enthusiasts who want to climb them every summer. For non-climbers goledakta is strikingly beautiful, and at the foot of the peak is the beautiful village of Zermatt, marked as a top international resort. If you rest here, you will have the opportunity to walk in horse-drawn carriages, watch bizarre huts, dine in world-class restaurants and hotels. In order to keep the mountain air clean, the movement of motor vehicles is prohibited in the village. If you are a fan of skiing, winter is your place. You can go down on slopes over 300 kilometers long. If you come in the summer, you can indulge in activities such as swimming, tennis, hiking, cycling, mountain climbing, or summer glacier riding.
One of the most popular things to do in beautiful Switzerland is the train ride to Jungfraujoch, called the “Top of Europe”, which, at an altitude of 3454 meters, has an observation terrace and a scientific observatory. There is also the longest glacier in Europe, the Great Aletsch Glacier, which is under the auspices of UNESCO World Heritage. One of the famous hiking trails is the Eiger Trail, which sticks to the rocks at the foot of the north wall. Others include the Panorama Way to the sunny first slope facing south, the Gletscherschlucht (glacial gorge) and the Öpfelchüechliweg. The latter is a high-altitude trail from Holenstein to Brandegg, passing through fields of flowers, alpine pastures, and dense forests. If you are not feeling well, rent a gondola or gondola lift. In the Jungfrau region is the picturesque glacial village of Grindelwald, nestled at the base of the snow-capped mountains, which is one of the oldest resorts in Switzerland. And to enjoy stunning views of the peaks, Faulhorn at 2681 meters offers it.
Interlaken is a natural paradise located between Lake Thun in the west and Lake Brienz in the east. It is considered one of the most popular summer holiday resorts in Switzerland. One example of great tourist attractions is the Höhematte with 35 acres of open space dotted with flower gardens, hotels, and cafes, the main boulevard here with majestic breathtaking mountain views. The very peaks of Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau, rising above the city, offer perfect conditions for alpine adventures. Interlaken is one of the places to visit in Switzerland, where you can indulge in hiking, climbing, downhill, and kayaking. The opportunities for sightseeing from above seem innumerable, given that over 45 mountain railways and cable cars, chair lifts and ski lifts transport visitors to the surrounding provinces, offering them panoramic landscapes.
Lake Geneva is the largest alpine lake in Europe. Crystal water beauty crossing the Swiss-French border and touring the shores of some of the most popular cities in Switzerland. The city of Geneva is located between beautiful snow-capped peaks at the point where the Rhone River flows into Lake Geneva. The city has been known for years as the French-speaking “capital of peace”, as it is the European seat of the United Nations. Here you can feel a mixture of French and Swiss-style. Along the lake, there are promenades, parks, and gardens, and the old town is a great place to walk among the historic buildings. You will see one of the major tourist attractions in Switzerland – Jet d’Eau, a fountain in Lake Geneva, launching water 150 meters into the air. Cultural attractions include the Opera and the Grand Théâtre, which host international performances. And not only the city of Geneva will delight your eyes, but also Lausanne, where the view is no less breathtaking. And here the old medieval town welcomes you with cafes and boutiques, plus an impressive Gothic cathedral. And for lovers of Montreux jazz, its place at the foot of the Alps, on Lake Geneva. The city hosts the annual jazz festival in June-July.
Lake Lugano and Ticino
The city of Lugano is a financial center and is considered the largest and most important city in Ticino. Apart from its fame, it is also popular as an attractive summer resort. Lake Lugano is a name known to fans of tourism. It is located on the Swiss-Italian border in Ticino and is the only official Italian-speaking canton in Switzerland. Therefore, here you can taste the Mediterranean with a mild climate and blooming citrus fruits, figs, palms, and pomegranates. The Italian atmosphere is especially felt in the cities around Lake Lugano and Lake Maggiore in the west, especially in the style of architecture, squares, and fine food. You can tour the area by renting a steamer or just a boat. You have the opportunity to enjoy a panoramic view of Monte San Salvatore, which offers you one of the most spectacular views of the lake and snow-capped peaks.
Bellinzona is the capital of Ticino. The atmosphere is fascinating: medieval castles rising high and the spectacular beauty of the Alps. Italian is felt everywhere – cuisine, culture, history, especially in the historic city center, where it is full of colorful alleys, Renaissance churches, and squares, beautiful cafes, where there is laughter and merriment, the ringing of glasses and bells. Be sure to see each of the castles here, including Castelgrande on top of the hill. Even if you do not have a precise plan for spending time in Bellinzona, you will simply be able to soak up its spirit and enjoy excellent food.
Probably in your dreams, you imagined a sparkling blue lake surrounded by green mountains, a medieval old town, without cars and pollution, covered bridges, coastal alleys, historic buildings with frescoes, sunny squares with bubbling fountains. This place is real and is called Lucerne. It is also known for its definition of a typical Swiss city. It features music conducted by world-renowned conductors and orchestras at the International Music Festival. Apart from being cultural, Lucerne is also a congress center. Among the most prominent landmarks here is the Chapel Bridge of the chapel, built in the 14th century. Here is the famous monument to a lion, a touching sculpture of a dying lion, honoring the heroic death of the Swiss Guards during the attack on Tuileries in the French Revolution. There is also for history buffs who can visit the Swiss Transport Museum with exhibits for all modes of transport in the world.
The Rhine Falls
The Rhine Falls are a magical sight. Covering 150 meters, they are the largest waterfall in Central Europe. It is best to visit them in June and July, when the snow in the mountains melts and the waters of the waterfalls rise, then spill onto a 21-meter Jurassic limestone ledge. You have the option to take a boat ride up the Rhine to have a beautiful view of the waterfall or go to the observation platforms on both sides of the river.
Among the best places to visit in Switzerland is Basel. It is a destination for art lovers, but not only. Situated on the banks of the Rhine, this city offers you a lot: world-class art, a hot food scene, state-of-the-art buildings by Pritzker Prize-winning architects, and cafes that exude culture. Located on the border between three countries, Basel is high on the back of the biotech and pharmaceutical industries. Once in the city, prepare a few days for a relaxing walk in the center. Among the tourist attractions is the Kunstmuseum with a collection of fine arts and design museums. But it’s not just the urban atmosphere that attracts people here. Basel is most popular with those seeking solitude, with drinks for sunset or swimming in the Rhine. You can rent a Wickelfisch (waterproof fish-shaped bag) at the tourist office, then get ready to sail down the city’s sights.
St. Moritz is one of the best mountain destinations in the world and is just a must on your list of things to do in Switzerland. You find yourself in a winter paradise of mirror lakes, glaciers, jagged peaks, alpine forests and also, sunshine. Stay transformed into some of the magnificent hotels, dine in restaurants, and relax in this city, hosting two Winter Olympics. Located in an alpine valley at 1,800 meters above sea level, the city offers a range of winter sports: skiing, snowboarding, skating, bobsleigh, sledding on the famous 1,2-kilometer Cresta Run. In summer there is also something to do: hiking, cycling, water sports, even ice skiing.
The Albula/Bernina Railway Line
This destination is a remarkable Swiss tourist attraction – one of the few railways in the world that are on the UNESCO World Heritage List. This is the Albula/Bernina line on the Rhaetian Railways, which offers you a royal trip that is not to be missed. The route passes through the landscapes of Albula and Bernina, covering 122 kilometers, and winds through almost 200 bridges, the Graubünden mountains, and numerous tunnels and viaducts. This is no ordinary train because you will travel sitting in panoramic seats overlooking pristine mountain scenery, including Piz Bernina – the highest mountain in the Eastern Alps, just over 4,000 meters high. And it doesn’t matter what time of year you ride, because the views are beautiful every season.
Oberhofen Castle is located on the shores of Lake Thun and is surrounded by a 2,5-hectare park. It dates from the 13th century and is one of the most beautiful in Switzerland. Due to the fact that over the centuries the castle has changed its owners, each of them has added something, and therefore a mixture of many styles has emerged: Bernese Baroque, Romantic, Prussian. In the castle, you can see a living museum showing the time and life of feudal societies from the 16th to the 19th century.
Gruyères is a small area, covering an area of only 28.4 square kilometers with about 2,000 permanent residents, but there is definitely a lot to do here. Explore the 13th-century Gruyères Castle, also Saint-Germain Castle, and The Tibet Museum. Enjoy stunning scenery surrounding Gruyères, including Gorges de la Jogne and nearby Mont Moleson, beloved by winter lovers. Even if you don’t know anything about the small medieval town, you’ve probably heard of the hard yellow cheese that made its name known. That is why among the main attractions here is the cheese factory, where you can try local specialties, see the cows, which otherwise graze peacefully from the lush meadows. And for dessert, visit the Maison Cailler chocolate factory.
Chateau de Chillon
Chateau de Chillon is located on the shores of the vast Lake Geneva, near Montreux. The place is scary and magnificent at the same time and has inspired artists and writers for centuries – such as Lord Byron, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Victor Hugo. It was once a fortress of the counts and dukes of Savoy from the 12th century, and now the complex comprises about 25 buildings, clustered around three courtyards. Attractions include the Great Halls overlooking Lake Geneva, the Gothic underground rooms, a chapel with 14th-century paintings, and the Camera Domini, the bedroom of the Duke of Savoy, with medieval frescoes. Chateau de Chillon is like the setting of a novel of the above-stated classic authors, and you will feel just like that, being in it…
Swiss National Park
The Swiss National Park is one of the best places to visit in Switzerland. It was founded in 1914 in the Engadine Valley and is the oldest reserve in the Alps. The park is located right on the border with Italy and covers over 170 square kilometers, in which there is an abundance of flowers, fast-flowing rivers, and limestone cliffs. This is a destination for nature lovers who have the opportunity to explore the region on a large network of trails. However, keep in mind that deviating from these trails is prohibited in order to preserve ecosystems. The park is home to over 5,000 species of wildlife, including red deer, marmot, chamois, fox, and more than 100 species of birds. The landscape is idyllic in summer and dramatic in winter when the wooded mountains are covered with snow and the views from the cross-country ski runs are a real beauty.
Swiss Grand Canyon
The Swiss Grand Canyon is the other name of the Ruinaulta – a deep gorge surrounded by beautiful, vast meadows and wooded cliffs. landslide in the Rhine Valley. And when the Rhine seeps through the rock walls, the gorge is filled with water. Nowadays, the Swiss Grand Canyon is considered one of the most beautiful areas in all of Switzerland, and therefore – a favorite destination for birdwatchers. In addition to walking, you can go rafting on the rapids between May and October, or rent a canoe or kayak, simply to indulge in the emotion of watching the stunning views of the cliffs.
Appenzell & the Northeast
If you are a family, this destination in Switzerland is right for you. In northeastern Switzerland, there is no charm of the high Alps, but here you can enjoy a quiet, rural lifestyle. This small area has St. Gallen, the Stiftsbibliothek (Abbey Library), the beautiful Appenzell, and rising further south in the Alps, you will reach the 2501-meter Säntis to stop at views spanning six countries. Go to Werdenberg, a remnant of a medieval village, where you will see the oldest wooden huts in Switzerland.
Great St. Bernard Pass
Switzerland is full of nature, sights, and history. And for the seekers of places-legends is the Great Pass of Saint Bernard, which is the oldest pass in the Western Alps and the third highest in Switzerland. St. Bernard rescue dogs are known from the highest point of the road, where the Great St. Bernard Hospice is located. Anyone who loves high mountains, snow, and the spirit of adventure, and has excellent physical training, can feel the full pleasure of the pass.
Amazing Switzerland has become a household name for stunning nature and many cultures that are served in the best possible way. Here are not only the
best places to visit in Switzerland, as there are really many things to do in this lovely country, full of tourist attractions.