7 best places to visit in Switzerland
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Curious about the best places to visit in Switzerland? Switzerland is an ideal destination for hikers and outdoor sports lovers. It’s a landlocked country bordered by Italy to the south, France to the west, Germany to the north, and Austria and Liechtenstein to the east. It seems everyone knows how expensive the country is, but at the same time rarely anyone talks about how beautiful Switzerland is.
Switzerland offers world-class hiking trails, amazing ski-resorts and some of the world’s most beautiful landscapes.
Sounds enticing? Wanna come and explore?
But what exactly to do in Switzerland?
To help you with the task of planning we’ve created this list of some of the best places to visit in Switzerland.
7 best places to visit in Switzerland
Zermatt & Matterhorn
With an elevation of 1608 m, Zermatt is one of the most famous skiing and mountaineering resorts in Switzerland. It is undoubtedly one of the best places to visit in Switzerland.
It lies at the upper end of the Matter Valley, at the foot of the Matterhorn — probably the most famous mountain in the Alps.
Zermatt is surrounded by other high mountains of the Pennine Alps, including Switzerland’s highest peak Dufour Peak (4634 m) in the Monte Rosa mountain group.
What to see in Zermatt?
Take the gondola to the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise on the Klein Matterhorn above Zermatt. With an elevation of 3883 m, it is the highest cable car station in Europe.
Visit Gornergrat for truly unforgettable views of the Matterhorn. The platform is at 3131 metres above sea level and can be reached from Gornergrat station.
Hornlihutte Hiking Trail in Zermatt offers up-close views of the iconic Matterhorn.
Take the Glacier Express from Zermatt to St. Moritz. The scenic train ride takes about eight hours and offers exceptional views of the majestic mountains, mountain forests and alpine meadows.
The Glacier Express crosses 291 bridges and viaducts and runs through 91 tunnels. It carries travellers in comfortable panorama cars. Taking the Glacier Express is one of the best things to do in Switzerland.
Interlaken & Jungfraujoch
Interlaken is a resort town and the main transport gateway to the mountains and lakes of that region.
The town is especially popular with hikers, mountaineers, skiers and other outdoor lovers.
Interlaken has a number of trails with an abundance of green mountain views.
There are two funiculars in Interlaken. One of them takes visitors up to the summit of the Heimwehfluh (680 m). The second, the longer of the two, runs from Interlaken to Harder Kulm top station at an altitude of 1305 m.
Harder Kulm is one of the best places to visit in Interlaken. It boasts a viewing platform with spectacular mountain and lake views.
When visiting Interlaken, do not miss Jungfraujoch, a mountain pass between two-four-thousanders — Jungfrau and Monch.
It is nicknamed the ‘Top of Europe’, and it definitely lives up to its name.
At 3454 m Jungfraujoch railway station is the highest railway station in Europe. Unfortunately, there’s no direct train from Interlaken to Jungfraujoch — you will have to change the trail 2 times. But as the Swiss railway is very efficient, you won’t have a problem with it.
Jungfraujoch is more than the highest railway station in Europe. There are several amazing places to visit in Jungfraujoch. Glacier Plateau, Sphinx Observation deck and Aletsch Glacier, Ice Palace, Alpine Sensation — they all should be on your must-visit list.
Lucerne & Mount Pilatus
Lucerne (Luzern) is a picture-perfect city in central Switzerland, situated beside the lake of the same name.
It is often called the ‘Miniature version of Switzerland’. It is rich with history and culture and features two unique wooden pedestrian bridges — Kapellbrücke and Spreuerbrücke. They are unlike any other in Europe.
Lucerne is a small town that is easily explored on foot. Cross the medieval Kapellbrücke (a.k.a. Chapel Bridge) into Lucerne Old Town. The best view of Lucerne is from the towers in the medieval fortifications.
When you are visiting Lucerne, do not miss Mount Pilatus — a mountain massif overlooking the city. It is composed of several peaks, of which the highest is named Tomlishorn (2128 m).
The top of the massif can be reached with the Pilatus Railway (the world’s steepest cogwheel railway) from Alpnachstad, or with the aerial panorama gondolas and aerial cableways from Kriens.
Also, there are several hiking routes from Lucerne to the top of Mt. Pilatus.
Bern is the capital of Switzerland and the fifth-most populous city in the country.
With a picturesque setting on the River Aare, Bern is a compact city. It is super easy to explore it on foot.
The historic old town, where fine buildings line the cobbled streets, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Thanks to the beautifully preserved architecture, the historic old town of Bern is one of the most beautiful of Switzerland’s historic towns.
Lake Geneva is a crescent-shaped lake shared between France and Switzerland. With an area of 581 km2, it is Europe’s largest Alpine lake.
With an abundance of wonderful places to visit, Lake Geneva is one of the most popular destinations in Switzerland.
Places to visit in the area:
- Geneva — a picturesque city that lies at the southern tip of the lake. It is the second-most populous city in Switzerland.
- Lavaux Vineyards — one of the most beautiful places around Lake Geneva. The terraced vineyards stretch for about 30 kilometres along the shores of Lake Geneva. Since July 2007, Lavaux is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Chillon Castle — a castle situated on the shores of Lake Geneva, near Montreux. It is the most beautiful castle and the most-visited historical site in Switzerland.
- Lausanne — a charming, vibrant city with a beautiful historic old town and spectacular buildings.
Zürich is the largest city in Switzerland, and many people mistake Zürich to be the capital of Switzerland.
Zürich is a hub for railways and air traffic. Both Zurich Airport and its railway station are the largest and busiest in Switzerland.
Dating back thousands of years, Zürich is rich in history and culture. It is one of the best places to visit in Switzerland.
Many great museums and galleries can be found in Zürich. Visit the Swiss National Museum and the Kunsthaus (an art museum).
Visit Zürich Old Town, which contrasts with the new, modern Zürich. Filled with historic charm, Zürich Old Town is one of the best places to visit in Zürich.
For the best views of the city and the lake, hike to the top of Uetliberg (elevation: 869 m). If the day is clear, you may even get a glimpse of the Alps.
Swiss National Park
The Swiss National Park is located in the Western Rhaetian Alps, in eastern Switzerland. It is part of the worldwide UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
Founded in 1914, it was one of the earliest national parks in Europe. The Swiss National Park is the only National Park in Switzerland.
With an abundance of hiking trails, the park is a nature-lovers playground.
There’s a 100 km network of trails and a choice of 21 routes. Most of these routes take only 2 to 4 hours to complete.
The altitude in the National Park varies between 1400 and 3200 m above sea level.
Download a smartphone app & digital hiking guide iWebpark, which will lead you through the National Park and provide you with information.
Switzerland travel tips
- If you are a citizen of the EU, you don’t need a visa to travel to Switzerland. Citizens of many other countries can travel to Switzerland for a stay of up to 90 days within a 180-day period without having to obtain a Schengen visa.
- Get a Swiss Travel Pass to save money on travel. The Swiss Travel Pass is available for periods of 3, 4, 8 or 15 consecutive days, and it entitles you to unlimited travel by train, bus, boat and city transport. The pass also gives free entry to more than 500 museums and offers various discounts.
- The official currency of Switzerland is the Swiss Franc (CHF).
- Switzerland has four national languages: German, French, Italian and Romansh. English is quite widely spoken, too.
- Eating out in Switzerland can be costly. Book a hostel or a room in a guesthouse with a kitchen and cook your own meals to save some money.
- The best time to visit the country depends on how you plan to spend your time there. Skiing season runs from mid-December to late spring. Easter holidays, July to late August and Christmas are the busiest times. Spring and autumn are quieter. The mountains are very beautiful in spring when wildflowers start to bloom.