Did you know that Switzerland is dubbed the Playground of Europe? This is because it has spectacular views of stunning lakes, mountain ranges, and lush greenery. Moreover, the country also offers various adventurous activities like Bungee jumping or paragliding.
From snow-capped towering mountains to rolling hills and crystal clear lakes, the best places to visit in Switzerland have beauties of every kind that seem out of this world. The Playground of Europe can make everyone fall head over heels for it within a few days of exploring.
After reading, you’ll get the chance to learn about all the exciting adventurous opportunities as well as beautiful towns and cities you can take a stroll through. Scroll down to discover the picturesque destinations of one of the most breathtaking countries in the world now.
Best Cities To Visit In Switzerland
It’s hard to decide which one is the most beautiful city in Switzerland. But we will provide you with a list of the most noteworthy ones and let you be the judge of that. Every place has its charm, you should explore them all. Be sure to leave a comment below to tell us your opinions.
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Zurich is likely one of the first Switzerland tourist places most people visit once they fly to Switzerland. It’s no surprise because the city’s railway and air stations are the largest ones in the country. Zurich’s public transportation system is among the world’s best and most reliable.
One of the most popular tourist choices is Zurich Old Town. The Town Walking Tour is one program that appeals to history lovers and tourists alike. Within a few hours, visitors can learn about the colourful history of the place as they walk past the hidden-away places, age-old squares, and mediaeval backdrops.
Fun fact: Zurich’s nickname is Little Big City because this cosy gem, despite its small size, has attractions, amusements, chances for adventure, etc. It has everything for everybody!
Another must-see Switzerland attraction is the Swiss Grand Canyon, which you can reach via buses from Zürich HB (Zürich Central Station). It’s a 1 hr 50 mins trip, but trust us, it’s all worth it.
The Swiss Grand Canyon, or Rhine gorge, is a natural landscape of unrivalled views. You have many different ways to explore the place: by train, biking, hiking, or even river rafting and canoeing!
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Locarno is an amazing place to be with its prime location at Lake Maggiore. Great historical centres, extraordinary restaurants, and fascinating activities make it a popular destination for first-time explorers. You don’t want to leave out Locarno from the list of the best cities to visit in Switzerland.
After finding your way through atmospheric narrow alleyways, you will find yourself marvelled at the awe-inspiring Piazza Grande. The pastel-coloured facades and quaint eateries are so inviting that everyone can’t help but settle down for a cup of coffee or a meal to enjoy the lively atmosphere. We also recommended taking a stroll through the arcades, which are built with river pebbles dating back to 1825.
The vibrant heart of the city is also home to many cultural and recreational activities like the Locarno Film Festival, Moon and Stars music festival, Locarno on Ice, weekly markets, etc. Whenever an event takes place, the whole square transforms into a spacious venue with an open sky as your shelter.
Tips: You should seek a Swiss Half Card. It allows you to travel by train, bus, boat and most mountain railway excursions at half-price.
For wildlife enthusiasts, there is a program where you can see birds of prey at Falconeria Locarno. The twice-a-day show features flights of eagles, hawks, vultures, storks, and the like. This is your chance to meet and take pictures of these marvellous creatures.
Ascona, located on the Northern shore, is the definition of a hidden gem. Famous for its mild climate, the exclusive lakeside town is great for a leisurely walk at the promenade or sipping a coffee while viewing the Mediterranean-style architecture. Truly an ideal place for relaxation and healing.
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Many people are surprised upon learning that little Bern is the capital of Switzerland. While Zurich is the largest city in the country, unlike Bern, it’s not the administrative capital. The federal city is a strong contender for the title of the most beautiful city in Switzerland.
The mediaeval Old City of Bern was built in the 12th century on a hill bordered by the Aare River. This entire area is recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1983, thus there are many hidden gems like cathedrals, renaissance fountains, and bridges for you to discover.
Reichenbach falls is another amazing place you must visit. Located in the Bernese Oberland region, it is well-known for being a setting for the apparent death of Sherlock Holmes in the story “The Final Problem”.
Given the abundance of public fountains in and around the place, it’s no wonder why Bern is known as “the city of fountains.” In the past, these fountains were a reliable source of water for the locals and a place for gatherings and exchanging news.
Bernese incorporated detailed decorations and colourful figures into these Renaissance creations. Every fountain has its own history, meaning, and stories to tell.
Fun fact: Fountain water at any place in Switzerland is safe to drink. Everyone gets to quench their thirst for free!
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The name “cultural capital of Switzerland” is fitting for Basel as it boasts the largest collection of museums in the country, among which is Kunstmuseum, one of the world’s oldest museums. Basel is truly the best city to visit in Switzerland for art and culture connoisseurs.
Tips: You should exchange to Swiss francs (CHF) rather than Euros when travelling to Switzerland. Major stores, hotels, and restaurants may accept Euros, but they will give you the change in Swiss francs.
Being the country’s oldest university city, historic landmarks are everywhere. But the most fascinating aspect of Basel is how the old and new exist alongside each other. Modern architecture and historical museums stood next to each other, tradition and open-mindedness collided, creating a one-of-a-kind contrast. The art scene is the city’s identity.
An event you don’t want to miss is Fasnacht, the biggest carnival in Switzerland and also a UNESCO intangible cultural heritage. To catch the 3-day creative and unique celebration, consider visiting Basel between February and March. Everyone is welcome to be a part of the festivities.
Basel is especially transformed during the Christmas season. The whole city is radiant with warm illumination and golden glows from fairy lights, over a hundred Christmas trees, and decorated shops.
Basel Christmas market, a winner of the European Best Christmas Markets, will captivate anyone with the magical atmosphere around the Barfüsser Church. You can enjoy the delicacies provided by the food stalls, or even try candle dipping (Kerzenziehen), a Swiss Christmas tradition.
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Lausanne on the Northern side of Lake Geneva is the perfect lakeside resort to soak up a laid-back atmosphere for your summer break. The lake and alps podcast-perfect pictures are a view to remember for a lifetime.
The city is also known as the world’s Olympic Capital since it has been hosting some of the most important sporting events in the world like the Winter Youth Olympic Games and is home to the International Olympic Committee (IOC). If you are intrigued, you can come to the Olympic Museum, located on the Quais d'Ouchy lakeside walk, to learn more about it.
There are three things one must try once they come to Lausanne: wine, cheese, and chocolate. Fondue (Swiss melted cheese cooked in a communal pot) is a glossy and thick delicacy that is best eaten when the temperature begins to drop.
If you fancy taking in the spectacular view of Lausanne, the Geneva Lake, and the French alps, Sauvabelin Tower is the ideal spot to do so. Just hop on Bus 16 at Signal or Lac de Sauvabelin and you can get there effortlessly. However, there’s no elevator, so be ready to break some sweat climbing those 302 wooden steps.
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Bienvenue à Genève! (Welcome to Geneva!) Along with Zurich, it’s one of the richest cities in the world. However, there is something for tourists, too. You can find much fun in the cheerfulness of the place, a quality you often see in Switzerland tourist attractions.
The first thing you should get is the Geneva Pass. It’s available in 24, 48 or 72 hours and allows access to more than 50 attractions and activities. Some of these include cruises on Lake Geneva, canoeing, free admission to some museums and sites, guided city tours, etc.
If you want to observe Switzerland’s most magnificent landscapes in one journey, the Golden Pass train is the best way to do that. Train travel in the land of chocolate is exceptionally clean, comfortable, and efficient. This train line is no exception.
For about 5 hours and a half, passengers get to admire the breathtaking mountain passes, green valleys, and stunning lakes on 3 different train rides. The already jaw-dropping scenery is appreciated even further when you view them from the Panoramic VIP seat.
Tips: The fee is covered by the Swiss Travel Pass, so be sure to get one to get the most out of your journey. It also gives you unlimited access to the Swiss Travel System network.
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Speaking of Switzerland's beautiful places, you can’t leave out Lucerne. The well-preserved mediaeval atmosphere and historical buildings will make every tourist enchanted and can’t get the city out of their mind for a long while.
Kapellbrucke (Chapel Bridge) is a remarkable landmark of the region. The covered wooden bridge, perhaps one of the oldest in Europe, is not only a pathway to the bank of the Reuss River, but also into Lucerne's history. Visitors crossing the structure can gaze at the ravishing cycle of paintings framed on the spruce wood boards.
If you want to get away from the colourful mediaeval streets, consider taking a day trip to the mounts Titlis, Rigi, or Pilatus. Each has its own charm. For instance, Mt. Titlis has the world’s first revolving cable car which will give you a 360° panoramic view of the distant snowy mountain peaks.
Tips: Most Swiss cities offer a city pass or city card that allows access to museums and attractions for free admission or discounted price. Remember to get one!
Just about a 10-minute walk from Luzern station, behind a small pool, lies the Lion Monument. The memorial was erected to honour the Swiss mercenaries who died while defending Louis XVI in 1972.
American writer Mark Twain regarded it as “the most mournful and moving piece of stone in the world.” And it continues to move hundreds of visitors who come to learn the lesson about war and peace.
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If you want to explore one of the hidden gems, Montreux fits the bill. Given that it’s also near Lake Geneva, the place is a good gateway to start exploring Lausanne. These two cities are about 18 miles apart and take about 30 minutes (by taxi) to travel in between.
The first thing most people would mention when asked about Montreux would be the 13th-century fortress, Chateau De Chillon. It’s one of the most visited historic buildings in Switzerland, and not without good reasons.
Consisting of 25 buildings and 3 courtyards, it will take a full day to explore the whole castle. Having said that, you can shorten the trip to about 2-3 hours. But it’s advised to take your time to see all the sights and history that are waiting to be discovered.
Music lovers are sure to hit the jackpot when visiting Montreux in early July. Because that’s when the Montreux Jazz Festival is held. For two weeks, nearly 250,000 participants gather to enjoy legendary performances in breathtaking settings. Despite having “Jazz” in its name, this over 50 years old occasion allows all kinds of music genes. So fans of other musical styles can also enjoy the event to their hearts’ content.
Best Countryside Switzerland Places To Enjoy Nature
If you want to find the most beautiful places in Switzerland, it’s recommended to take a visit to the wonderful towns and villages in the countryside. You don’t want to skip the magical and fairytale-like landscape.
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Lying 1,600m above sea level, at the foot of the world-famous peak Matterhorn, the Zermatt town is famed as one of the hottest Switzerland attractions for vacation resorts and snow-eccentric sports. Once you come here, you will get your money’s worth!
One thing to note: the town is car-free. This means that you can only get around on foot, by eTaxi, eBus, bike, or horse-drawn carriage. Since you can’t drive to Zermatt, to get there you need to go by train.
Fun fact: The iconic mountain image on the Toblerone chocolate bar is modelled after Matterhorn mountain, Zermatt.
Given the snow-assured status of the peak in certain months, it’s no wonder that the place is popular with mountaineers and skiing enthusiasts. In summer, there are also dozens of opportunities for walking, cycling, climbing, or hiking.
Are you looking for a pure relaxation experience instead? Then start pampering yourself with a spa treatment at wellness centres and spas. Many hotels have a special discount for spas day, be sure to keep an eye out for them.
As for local cuisine, you should try Raclette cheese or Walliser trockenfleisch (salted, seasoned, and dried beef meat). The town has a nice gathering of high-quality restaurants, among which are Michelin-starred ones.
The peak season in Zermatt is in summer, between June-September. The climate warms up but remains cool, an ideal condition for hiking, skiing, or mountain climbing. Sunny days and clear skies are to be expected. But remember to book in advance as the place will be packed with visitors.
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Just about 69 miles away from Zermatt, we have the adventure capital of Switzerland, Interlaken. Whether you are an amateur or intrepid adventurer, playing air, sea, or ground sports, the town has a wide range of natural playgrounds suitable for whatever activity your hearts desire.
Paragliding is especially well-suited for the sweeping terrains and astounding scenery of Interlaken. Paired with an experienced pilot, rest assured you can confidently take a leap of faith for an experience of a lifetime. Further, this sport can be enjoyed in every season!
Boasting a total of 72 waterfalls, Lauterbrunnen valley is very well worth visiting. If you ask us which one you should go to, Trümmelbach Falls, another UNESCO World Heritage site, would be our answer. There’s nothing quite like the majestic thundering and roaring of such a wonderful natural occurrence.
Interlaken is among the top best places for Europe road trips. It takes at least several days to drive along all the scenic mountains, forests, glaciers, and meadows and around Lake Thun, Jungfrau region, Grindelwald, Blausee, etc. So wait no more and buckle up for that unforgettable ride of your life!
11. St. Gallen
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St. Gallen is one of Switzerland's beautiful places that frequently tops the travelling list of visitors. Besides the land of cheese and chocolate, the city also borders 3 other nations: Germany, Austria, and Liechtenstein. For that reason, St. Gallen is a good gateway to start discovering 4 countries in one trip.
Fun fact: Despite being a relatively small country, Switzerland has 4 national languages: German, French, Italian, and Romansh. Thankfully, English is also a relatively common non-national spoken language.
When you want to leisurely explore this compact urban area, the old town is a good starting point. Since it’s traffic-free, you can take a peaceful stroll through the historical alleyways to admire the well-preserved architecture, elevated oriel windows, and bustling squares at your own pace.
The top spot in the itinerary includes the Abbey Library and Cathedral. Both buildings were constructed at around the same time, in the 8th century. The entire Abbey precinct, where they are situated, has been recognized as a UNESCO world heritage.
You will have a great time exploring the lavish decoration, light interiors, and impressive collection of 170,000 books and media featured in these structures. What a wonderful way to explore twelve centuries of history!
Note: All books and media borrowing and consulting are free of charge. However, only those that are published after 1900 are available for lending.
St. Gallen thrives over the years thanks to the textile industry which is known for its embroidery and lace. The Textile Museum is a worthwhile attraction to learn about that. The place houses collections of the most important textile collections in the country.
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Of all the most beautiful Northern Switzerland places, Schaffhausen takes the cake. The town is the capital of the canton of the same name. The site was mentioned as early as 1045 under the name Villa Scafhusun.
A trip to Schaffhausen is not complete without a visit to Rhine Falls, Europe’s biggest waterfall. The sheer water volume of the 150 meters (492 feet) wide and 23 metres (75.5 feet) high fall instils a tremendous appreciation for Mother Nature in every person who looks at it.
Do you want an unobstructed view of this natural phenomenon? Munot Castle has the best viewing platforms to feast your eyes on Rhine Falls, the town, and the river landscape. All it takes is a peaceful walk through the surrounding garden to reach the 16th-century ring-shaped fortification.
Since Schaffhausen is close to Zurich (just a one-hour drive away!), it's best to plan a day trip to the town from the commercial capital of Switzerland. Did I mention that most of the attractions in Schaffhausen are free?
In case you don’t want to end up with potentially grey and sad scenery, avoid visiting the site between January - March and November. Summer is unquestionably the best time to enjoy outdoor activities. Nonetheless, the fall foliage has its own charm, too.
13. St. Moritz
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Here’s another resort that is up in the air. At approximately 1,800 metres (5,910 feet) above sea level, St. Moritz is surrounded by slopes of the Albula Alps and overlooks Lake Moritz, one of Switzerland's famous places. But it’s not your average holiday resort destination since it has hosted the Winter Olympic Games, twice.
With that information in mind, you can tell that the town is a haven for winter tourism and winter sports as well. With some of the finest ski resorts in Switzerland, it’s no wonder that British visitors, among others, are especially fond of this place.
Nothing can prepare you for experiencing the thrill of skiing on the snow-covered slopes glittered with the sparkles of the morning sun. Skiers and snowboarders are spoilt for choices with 88 sites to play their favourite sport.
When you want to recharge your energy for the next adventure, consider resting at Kulm hotel, a 5-star establishment that has been offering impeccable service for well over 160 years. If luxury hotels are not your style, Hauser Hotel or Berghotel Randolins would make a good alternative.
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Most places to see in Switzerland are Alpine hideaways, owing to the fact that the country is blessed with the most magnificent and tallest peaks in the world. Gstaad’s motto “Come up - slow down” tell you all you need about this place.
There are over a hundred miles of ski runs, cross-country trails, hiking routes, etc. But the important thing is how you start and end your day in Gstaad. It’s the “I can do anything, but don’t have to” attitude that defines the way of life in the town. The peaceful and fun-loving atmosphere of the town makes you want to stay here forever.
Are you in the mood for a shopping spree? Or window shopping, perhaps? In either case, come to Gstaad Promenade. Located right in the heart of Gstaad, this pedestrian street is the ideal place to soak up the traditional alpine and glamorous atmosphere.
If you are one in for the cultural experience, we recommend visiting the chalet villages near Gstaad, where the genuine Alpine and down-to-earth are preserved. You can reserve a stay at the alpine inns to see people making cheese in the morning.
Generally, June to August is the best time to take a tour in Gstaad. There’s a good chance you will get good weather conditions in July and August, the warmest months. June and May, on the other hand, are the rainiest months, so you may want to avoid them.
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Located in the central region and surrounded by eight year-round stunning Alpine passes, Andermatt Holiday Region is yet another must-see Switzerland's beautiful place for nature lovers. The pristine Alpine landscape is sure to capture the heart of anyone who gazes upon it.
Being in the centre of the Swiss Alps, Andermatt is easy to access from four directions. We recommended catching the Glacier Express from Zermatt or St. Moritz. As mentioned above, you should get your hands on a Swiss Half-Fare Card or Swiss Travel Pass to board the train at a discounted price.
Such an arrangement provides the chance to view the powdery snow-capped mountains, endless vineyards, castles, etc. The journey is a 7 hours ride (it’s the world’s slowest express train!), but you will be so absorbed with taking in all the scenery that time seems to fly by.
There are 180km of pistes and 30 lifts in total, which means the place is a paradise for skiers and snowboarders. Hikers will also have a field day of exploring over 500 km of hiking trails and 16 mountain huts.
Do you want to take it easy? Andermatt has no shortage of spa and wellness facilities either. There’s nothing quite like relaxing, swimming, or enjoying wonderful culinary arts in the fresh mountain air.
Switzerland Attractions Everyone Needs To Visit At Least Once In A Lifetime
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After learning about all the best places to visit in Switzerland, now you know why the land of Chocolate is consistently among the top most beautiful places in Europe. Whether you are jet-setting or going somewhere with family and friends, the Playground of Europe has something to offer for everyone.
Full of picturesque landscapes and rich in culture and history, Switzerland is truly the perfect place to unwind, laugh, and enjoy the joy of life and the beauty of nature. It’s where you want to spend time with your most beloved ones.
If you find everything covered in this complete guide helpful, be sure to tell others about it so they can appreciate such a beautiful country. Or better yet, using the article as a guide, you can make a plan to travel to Switzerland together.