Known and loved for its beautiful nature, Switzerland is one of the top places to visit for a vacation in the mountains. In this mountainous central European country, you can do a multitude of activities: put large sums of money in an account, enjoy a fondue, go greet the cows in the green meadows or discover breathtaking landscapes, no matter what season you plan to visit; there is something to be done.
There is no question that Switzerland is best known for the Alps and impressive glaciers, and spectacular mountain scenery. Located in the heart of Europe, Switzerland has 26 cantons, which is a type of administrative division of a country.
However, with so many attractions and exciting places to visit, it can be hard sometimes to decide where to go or what to do in Switzerland. To help you make the most of your visit to Switzerland, here is our guide to the most beautiful places to visit in Switzerland.
The Matterhorn Switzerland
Majestic, that’s probably the best way to describe Matterhorn Switzerland. You most likely know this one already since it appears on the logos of many Swiss brands! The Matterhorn Switzerland is 4,478 meters high, and it is one of the highest mountains in the Alps. It is simply unmistakable, thanks to its triangular shape.
The Matterhorn Switzerland has several routes for the ascent, but it is reserved only for experienced mountaineers. The pyramid-like shape makes it very difficult for climbers to scale this giant mountain.
In fact, during the first ascent in 1865, four alpinists lost their lives on the Matterhorn Switzerland. This is also one of the reasons for the fame of Matterhorn Switzerland.
But even from a distance, the Matterhorn Switzerland is a really special experience; no wonder it is one of the most photographed motifs in the country and the whole world. You can find more interesting facts about the mountain at the Matterhorn Museum in Zermatt.
The Matterhorn Switzerland is situated in the Aosta Valley and from the Zermatt town of the Valais canton, you can take the cable car up to 3820 meters. This mountain station is the highest cable car station in the Alps. At the top, there is a restaurant and a tremendous view of Switzerland, Italy and France.
It is impossible to imagine a visit to Switzerland without the Matterhorn; it is right there in every Swiss travel guide or picture book. Visiting the Matterhorn Switzerland should be on the top of your list of things to do in Switzerland.
Geneva is the capital of the canton of the same name. Among the best sights of the city, which is located in the southwest of Switzerland, is Lake Geneva, AKA Lac Leman, with the 140m-high Jet d’eau (water jet), and the old town with St. Peter’s Cathedral.
The region around Lake Geneva is extremely beautiful. In the middle of the vineyards on Lake Geneva, there is a unique pearl, which is the Lavaux region. Lavaux is located between Montreux, and Lausanne and a trip here can be perfectly combined with a visit to one of the two cities.
Both Montreux and Lausanne are charming cities directly on Lac Leman, and both cities invite you to stroll, eat or do some shopping. Also on Lake Geneva is Vevey, a beautiful little town with a grand promenade.
The former hometown of Charlie Chaplin, Vevey, is also known for the huge art installation in the water: the Fork of Vevey! The Fork of Vevey is even registered in the Guinness Book of World Records.
In the warm season, Lake Geneva is a popular destination for divers. However, numerous other leisure activities such as pedal and paddle boating or kite surfing and wakeboarding are also available here.
While in the city, we recommend taking the rack railroad to the local mountain Rochers de Naye. From the top of Rochers de Naye, you will have a breathtaking view of the Bernese, Valais and Savoy Alps, as well as the entire Mont Blanc massif.
Swizterland’s Capital: Bern
Of course, Bern must not be missed here! Not because it is the capital of Switzerland, but because the city is simply magnificent and has a lot to offer. Besides the Oberhofen Castle, Bern has another major attraction that keeps the visitors coming, the famous village of Iseltwald.
If you spend a lot of time on Instagram, you’ve probably seen a (drone) picture of Iseltwald. The small, very photogenic community, with only about 440 inhabitants, is incredibly beautiful, situated on a small peninsula on Lake Brienz.
In addition, you will find many original wooden houses, some of which date back to the 16th century. Fun fact: Iseltwald was only accessible by water for a long time until the first road was built here!
Iseltwald is a popular destination for day tourists, and there are also some vacation apartments here. Besides, there is a friendly lido in the community. Iseltwald is one of the spots you don’t want to miss on your trip to Switzerland.
Zurich is anything but an insider tip, but the city deserves to be mentioned over and over as it is truly one of the best places to visit in Switzerland.
The cosmopolitan and diverse city of Zurich is quite rightly considered a city with the highest quality of life in all of Europe. Shopping, going out or relaxing on Lake Zurich; Zurich has something for everyone.
Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland. The landmark of the city is the Grossmünster church, but the city has many other sights that are not to be missed like, the Uetliberg, Bahnhofstrasse, Lake Zurich, Sechseläutenplatz, Lindenhof and the Old Town. There are many great things to do in Zurich.
- Grossmünster: The landmark of Zurich
Grossmünster is a church in the old town of Zurich whose history dates back to the 8th century. Its characteristic double towers are the city’s landmark and can be seen from far away. There are also public tours of the Grossmünster, and there is a viewing platform on the Karlsturm.
For those interested in culture, there are regular organ concerts and night readings in the crypt. There are 187 steps to the observation deck. Afterwards, you will be rewarded with a great view over Zürich.
- Zurich Zoos
Countless parks and green spaces also make Zurich one of the most beautiful destinations in Switzerland. Of course, a visit to the Zurich Zoo is fun for the whole family. Above all, the zoo is very concerned about species conservation and biodiversity.
Basel is one of the three major cities in Switzerland. Basel, along with Bern and Zurich, is one of the cities in Switzerland where there is plenty to see for a 2- or 3-day city break.
The third-largest city in Switzerland is especially known for its numerous museums. Almost 40 different museums can be visited in the cultural metropolis of Basel in the border triangle. Some of them even have the best reputation worldwide.
There are so many touristic attractions in the city like the Basel Cathedral, the church that is probably the most famous landmark of the city. The marketplace is in the heart of the city with the imposing city hall. The Mittlere Brücke, which is one of the oldest Rhine crossings.
In addition to the abovementioned, there are also the Spalentor, a splendid and imposing city gateway, and the Tinguely Fountain, which depicts playful machine sculptures. Basel is one of the best places to visit in Switzerland.
Rhine Falls near Schaffhausen
One of the best things to do in Switzerland is going to feast your eyes on the natural spectacle that is the Rhine Falls waterfall in Schaffhausen. With a height of 23 meters and a width of 150 meters, it carries about 600,000 liters of water per second in summer, making it the largest waterfall in Europe.
Offering visitors a better view, there are viewing platforms on both sides of the Rhine. In addition, boat tours of the Rhine Falls are available, which also take you to Schloss Laufen. The water masses pelt down the rocks in a width of 150 meters.
The Rhine Falls basin can be reached by boat, and on certain viewing platforms, you can almost stand above or on top of the waterfall. If you love the thrill, just rent a canoe and paddle away. It will be a spectacular adventure!
Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau: Imposing Mountain and Glacier World
In the midst of several four-thousand-meter peaks of the Bernese Alps lies the Jungfraujoch, with an altitude of 3,466 meters. Up there is the highest railroad station in Europe and several viewing platforms with fantastic views of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau as well as the Aletsch Glacier, the largest and longest glacier in the Alps in terms of area.
At the Jungfrau, this summit culminates at more than 4150 meters of altitude! You can admire a gigantic glacier which unfortunately melts year after year, or practice typical mountain activities such as skiing, mountaineering or paragliding.
Nearby, the Jungfraujoch is a pass connecting the Mönche and the Jungfrau, in the heart of the Bernese Alps between the cantons of Bern and Valais, and it culminates at 3471 meters of altitude. It can be reached by an astonishing railroad, and on the top, you can enjoy the glorious view of the surrounding mountains.
Finally, the Eiger is a 3970-meter-high peak, and it is worth mentioning that the Eiger’s north face was one of the “great north faces of the Alps” for experienced mountaineers who often died there!
Today, many tourists come to admire this vertiginous individualized summit or even attempt its ascent. Visiting the Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau is one of the best things to do in Switzerland.
Furka Pass: Switzerland’s Most Spectacular Mountain Pass
The 2,429-meter Furka Pass connects the cantons of Valais and Uri. At 2,272 meters above sea level is the Hotel Belvédère, which is the most popular photo motif on Instagram.
In the summer, a ride on the nostalgic Furka steam train from Realp to Gletsch is ideal, as it offers a beautiful view of the Gotthard massif and the Urseren Valley. Interesting fact: scenes of the James Bond movie Goldfinger were also filmed on the pass in 1964.
Lake Oeschinen: One of the Most Beautiful Mountain Lakes in The Alps.
The Bernese Oberland is home to the Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site, which now includes Lake Oeschinen. With its area of 1.1 km² and a depth of 56 meters, it is one of the larger mountain lakes in Switzerland.
In the summer, the place is especially popular as a bathing lake. For families with children, there is also a summer toboggan run in the immediate vicinity. There is also a rowing boat rental. Lake Oeschinen is one of the best places in Switzerland to enjoy it with the family.
The Magnificent Swiss National Park
The Swiss National Park was founded in 1914, making it the oldest national park in the Alps. It is a unique natural oasis located in the Zernez village with a 170 km² core zone where all natural processes can operate without restriction.
For this reason, the National Park has been classified as a wilderness area by the World Conservation Union (IUCN) and thus meets the strictest standards that exist internationally for protected areas.
The Swiss National Park is a wilderness landscape in the Engadine Dolomites that has been untouched by man for over 100 years (category 1a according to IUCN). Wilderness areas have become rare in Europe and are considered a haven of biodiversity, and the Swiss National Park sure is a haven!
The Swiss National Park is known for its unique flora and fauna, which can be explored on the 80-kilometer network of hiking trails. However, it is not allowed to leave the trails, even resting is only allowed on marked places. The Swiss National Park will definitely leave you in awe!
The Beautiful Swizz Castles
One of the highlights of any trip to a foreign country is visiting the country’s enchanting old buildings, especially if these buildings are castles dating back to medieval times, and Switzerland has plenty of those!
- Hallwyl Castle on Lake Hallwil Aargau
Hallwyl Castle is one of the most important moated castles in Switzerland and is beautifully located not far from Lake Hallwil. It is best to combine a visit to the castle with a walk along the lake, a boat trip or, in summer, a visit to one of the swimming pools on Lake Hallwil.
You can also walk around the lake; 3/4 of the route leads along the water and partly through the beautiful nature reserve.
- Chillon Castle: Medieval moated castle on Lake Geneva.
A lake, a castle and a mighty, snow-covered mountain backdrop. Individually, this can create excitement, but together it is sheer greatness.
That’s why the Swiss moated Chillon Castle in Lake Geneva, whose history dates back to 1005, attracts so many visitors. The medieval castle is a real gem and one of the most visited historic buildings in Switzerland.
- The Stockalper Castle
The Stockalper Castle is recognized by its three prominent towers with a dome. It was built in the 17th century by the merchant Kaspar von Stockalper. The shrewd merchant is also known for numerous other works, such as the mule track over the Simplon Pass, a trade route between Gondo and Brig.
- Oberhofen Castle, Canton of Bern
In the Bernese Oberland, directly on the beautiful Lake Thun, lies the beautiful Oberhofen Castle in the municipality of Oberhofen. A real fairy-tale castle, which for some inexplicable reason is not even that well known outside the region.
The castle is located in a pretty little park, and there is also a restaurant in the modern glass cube, right next to the castle.
Ruinaulta: The Swiss Grand Canyon
Ruinaulta or Rhine Gorge is the name given to the 400-meter-deep and approximately 13-kilometer-long canyon of the Vorderrhein River, which runs between Ilanz and Reichenau in the canton of Graubünden. It was formed about 10,000 years ago after the Flims rockslide.
After marvelling at the beauty of the canyon, we recommend taking a rafting tour of the canyon through the gorges. In addition, numerous hiking trails and viewing platforms open up the area. At Ruinaulta, there is so much fun awaiting you.
Bernina Express: On the Panoramic Train From St. Moritz To Tirano
If you think trains are boring, you haven’t heard of the Bernina Express. That’s because the route, which includes a crossing of the Alps from St. Moritz to Tirano, runs through a breathtaking UNESCO landscape, which is particularly visible through panoramic windows on the train.
Part of the journey also includes 55 tunnels, 196 bridges and railroad tracks at an altitude of up to 2,253 meters. You should definitely not miss visiting the Bernina Express and make sure to book your tickets in advance.
The Emmental Alps
Situated in the Emmental Alps, the Napf, with its 1406 m above sea level, is the highest mountain peak of the Napfbergland and lies on the border of the cantons of Bern and Lucerne.
You can only get to the top of the mountain on foot, and there are countless beautiful hikes here. But the highlight is definitely the view from the top of the mountain, where you can enjoy a breathtaking view over the Emmental.
One of the most beautiful vantage points in the entire Emmental Valley is the Chuderhüsi tower, built entirely of wood and located in the middle of the forest. It is gorgeous here at sunset when the gentle, hilly landscape of the Emmental shines in the most beautiful colors.
Ice Grotto in The Rhone Glacier
Since 1870, an accessible tunnel with an ice dam has been cut into the Rhone Glacier in the Valais. There are only a few places where you can get this close to a glacier, and the ice grotto is one of them. The ice grotto is usually open between the beginning of June and the end of October, and it is a must-visit location in Switzerland!
It is well known that Switzerland is a chocolate paradise. But have you ever visited a chocolate factory? The Camille Bloch chocolate factory in the Bern area will show you how the famous Ragusa and Torino are produced.
Learn the history of the family business through sensory and interactive tours. Take part in a workshop to make your own creations; you can even do this with your family, colleagues or friends.