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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.

1. Wengen

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.

4. Basel

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.

7. Bern

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.

8. Zermatt

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.

9. Geneva

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. 

10. Zurich

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.