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The most popular Switzerland cities to visit

Switzerland is difficult to top of breathtaking Alpine landscapes and charming communities oozing fairytale charm. The Alps’ soaring snowcapped peaks, sparkling blue lakes, verdant valleys, glaciers, and charming lakeside hamlets give this landlocked country a fairy-tale splendor. World-class international resorts and a broad variety of activities, such as hiking, bicycling, climbing, paragliding, skiing, and tobogganing, are nestled among the mountain valleys and lakes.

Travelers come for the breathtaking beauty, but they are also enchanted by the numerous cultural attractions. Cities like Zurich, Geneva, and Lausanne, which are steeped in history, provide outstanding museums and galleries, historic architecture, and renowned music festivals. Bern, the capital, has a magnificent medieval old town that hugs the bend of a river. Switzerland is bordered by Germany, Italy, Austria, and France, and their languages and customs imbue the country with a multicultural elegance.

From palm-studded Ticino’s Italian architecture to Swiss-German and Latin-derived Romansch languages, Switzerland can feel like multiple countries in one–all with the clean packaging and punctuality for which it is known.

With this list of the top attractions and greatest locations to visit in Switzerland, you can get a taste of this magnificent country.

 

Table of Contents

THE MATTERHORN

One of the highest mountains in the Alps is the Matterhorn, Switzerland’s distinctive pointed peak. This legendary hill rises to 4,478 meters at the Italian border, and its four steep slopes face the compass points. The first summit attempt, in 1865, ended tragically as four climbers died while descending. Every summer, thousands of expert climbers flock to the area.

The lovely village of Zermatt, located at the base of this towering peak, is a top international resort with horse-drawn carriage excursions, quaint chalets, and world-class restaurants and hotels. Motorized vehicles are prohibited in the community to protect the air quality and create a tranquil environment.

Skiers can schuss down more than 300 kilometers of slopes in the winter. Swimming and tennis are popular summer activities, as are hiking, riding, and climbing in the nearby mountains. There is also summer glacier skiing.

JUNGFRAUJOCH: THE TOP OF EUROPE

The train journey to Jungfraujoch, the “Top of Europe,” with an observation deck and scientific observatory positioned at 3,454 meters, is one of the most popular things to do in the gorgeous Bernese Oberland. The Great Aletsch Glacier, Europe’s longest, begins near Jungfraujoch and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The famed Eiger Trail, which runs from the Eiger glacier station to Alpiglen, clings to the north face’s rocks.

Panorama Way to the bright, south-facing First slope; Gletscherschlucht (Glacier Gorge); and pfelchüechliwäg, a high-altitude trail connecting Holenstein and Brandegg through flower fields, alpine pastures, and forests. Gondolas and cable cars transport the less active to magnificent vistas overlooking the Lauterbrunnen Valley.

Picturesque In the Jungfrau region, Grindelwald is a glacier settlement that serves as an excellent base for exploring the surrounding Alps. It is one of Switzerland’s oldest and most popular resorts, nestled at the foot of snow-capped mountains. The tiara-shaped Wetterhorn and the steep north face of the Eiger, one of the planet’s most stunning and challenging climbs, tower over this alpine valley. Grindelwald’s two gleaming glaciers are nestled between the Alps. Faulhorn, at 2,681 meters, gives the greatest views, with spectacular panoramas of the huge peaks.

INTERLAKEN

Interlaken is one of Switzerland’s most popular summer vacation destinations, nestled between Lake Thun to the west and Lake Brienz to the east. Höhematte, with 35 acres of open space in the heart of town, is a miracle of urban design. The Höheweg, the main road through town with beautiful mountain views, is surrounded by flower gardens, hotels, and cafés.

The Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau massive peaks loom above the town, providing superb options for alpine excursions. Hiking, climbing, abseiling, and kayaking are some of the most popular activities.

Over 45 mountain railways, cable cars, chairlifts, and ski lifts to transport guests into the surrounding area and provide enough opportunities for sightseeing from a higher vantage point.

Skiers and snowboarders can choose from a variety of nearby destinations in the winter, or cross-country skiing along with the large route network. Paragliders take off from Beatenberg-Niederhorn in the summer. Take a paddleboat trip around the lakes to see the beauty from a lower perspective.

LUCERNE

Imagine a glistening blue lake encircled by mountains, a pedestrian-only medieval old town, covered bridges, waterfront promenades, frescoed ancient buildings, and sun-drenched plazas with bubbling fountains. It’s no surprise that Lucerne (in German, Luzern) is a popular tourist destination.

This traditional Swiss village attracts renowned soloists, conductors, and orchestras to its yearly International Music Festival, which is known for its music concerts. One of the world’s best concert venues is located within the Culture and Convention Center.

The Chapel Bridge, erected in the 14th century, is one of the city’s most recognized attractions. The iconic Lion Monument, a sorrowful sculpture of a dying lion, is located in a small park and commemorates the courageous death of Swiss Guards during the attack on the Tuileries during the French Revolution. The Swiss Transport Museum, which features vast exhibits on all modes of transportation, including air and space travel, railroad locomotives, and a Planetarium, is a must-see for history fans.

Ride the funicular to the Dietschiberg on the north side of Lake Lucerne for stunning views of Lucerne, the Alps, and the lake; take the cableway up Mt. Pilatus; or visit the Rigi, a famous vantage point.

LAKE GENEVA

The largest Alpine lake in Europe, Lake Geneva, crosses the Swiss-French border and laps at the coasts of several of Switzerland’s most popular cities. The city of Geneva (French: Genève; German: Genf) is nestled amid picturesque snowcapped peaks at the confluence of the Rhône and Lake Geneva.

The European home of the United Nations, this French-speaking “city of peace” emits a delightful blend of French joie de vivre and Swiss structure. The lake is surrounded by promenades, parks, and gardens, and the old town is a great place to meander amid the historic buildings. The Jet d’Eau, a prominent sight in Lake Geneva, is a fountain that shoots water 150 meters into the air. The Opera House and the Grand Théâtre, which host international performers, are two of the city’s cultural highlights.

Lausanne, which is also on the lake and is about 62 kilometers from Geneva, has beautiful views of the surrounding region and the lake, with the Alps towering in the background. Take a stroll through the ancient old town, which is lined with charming cafés and boutiques, as well as the spectacular Gothic church. Montreux hosts the world-famous Montreux Jazz Festival in June/July at the foot of the Alps, on Lake Geneva.

ST. MORITZ

St. Moritz is one of the world’s top mountain destinations, with mirror-like lakes, glaciers, craggy peaks, alpine forests, and plenty of sunshine. It’s a must-see on any list of things to do in Switzerland. This posh resort town, which has hosted two Winter Olympics, is known for its opulent hotels and high-end restaurants.

The town is separated into two parts and is located 1,800 meters above sea level in an alpine valley. St. Moritz Dorf is located on a sunny terrace overlooking St. Moritz Lake. The second section of town, on the valley floor in lakeshore St. Moritz Bad, is a health resort with less expensive lodging. Skiing, snowboarding, skating, bobsledding, and tobogganing on the legendary 1.2-kilometer-long Cresta Run are just a few of the winter sports available.

Hiking, biking, and water activities abound throughout the summer. In the summer, you can go glacier skiing.

St. Moritz is also a cultural crossroads, which adds to the stunning mountain scenery. In the neighboring areas, Romansch, German, Italian, French, and English are all spoken, not to mention the various languages of the numerous well-heeled international visitors and ex-pats.

GRINDELWALD

The beautiful little city of Grindelwald, nestled in the midst of the Bernese Alps, offers a worthy residence in the heart of nature. Grindelwald, Switzerland, is home to roughly 3,600 residents and attracts visitors from all over the world. The city offers a nice relief from the hustle and bustle of metropolitan life, with its alpine splendor and bright skies. Grindelwald is one of the most scenic tourist attractions in the country, set against the backdrop of some noteworthy towering mountain peaks.

The splendor of Grindelwald is unrivaled, with its clean, glistening lakes, lovely flower-covered hiking trails, and rolling green slopes. The magnificent attractions located here add to the allure of the lovely Grindelwald. The attractions in Grindelwald are too numerous to be counted, from the ice-covered areas of the Jungfraujoch peak, with its Ice Palace and Observatory Deck, to the natural lakes of Bachalpsee and Brienz, or the Canyon with its giant spider’s web.

Grindelwald is known for its unique activities and experiences, in addition to its iconic tourist attractions. In the winter, the city becomes a pilgrimage place for skiers from all over the world, while in the summer, the city’s hiking routes attract both local and international hikers. The city also has rides and experiences that are unique to the globe, such as the First Flier, First Glider, and Alpine Sensations, to name a few.

Mountain carting, summer sledding, and Trotti biking are just a few of the distinctive outdoor sports available in Grindelwald. Furthermore, the weather in Grindelwald is pleasant all year. The summer months, from May to September, are mild and rainy, while the winter months, from November to March, are cold and snowy. The city receives a certain amount of precipitation throughout the year due to its height. Grindelwald is the ideal vacation destination for all of these reasons and more, and it should be on your list of places to visit.

ZERMATT

This lovely alpine community is at the base of the Matterhorn, one of Switzerland’s most mystical and majestic mountains. Zermatt. Zermatt is one of the most impressive destinations to visit in Switzerland, known for its rough, unspoiled beauty that is so quiet and calm that it will transport you to another universe. This is primarily due to the fact that Zermatt is a car-free village where visitors may enjoy the scenery on foot, horse-drawn carriages, electric cars, and gondolas.

There are up to 30 ancient buildings in the old village area, including granaries, that illustrate the traditional way of life of mountain inhabitants. A lovely historic church, a mountaineer’s cemetery, and a museum dedicated to mountaineering are also located in this area. Cafes with flower-lined walls fill the village streets in a traditional Swiss manner. As you savor delicious pastries, cheese, and coffee while gazing out the window at the Matterhorn, which looms just miles away, it’s an unforgettable experience.

Gornergrat, the sun-drenched observation deck with one of the best views of over 38 thirteen-thousands and 14 glaciers, including Monte Rosa, Matterhorn, and the Gorner Glacier, attracts visitors from all over the world. The glass cable car ride to this deck is as thrilling as the destination itself. The Kulmhotel Gornergrat, Europe’s tallest hotel, is located here. A trip to Zermatt isn’t complete without a hike through the stunning mountain scenery. Zermatt is one of the few spots in Switzerland where you can get up and personal with wild Ibex and visit an igloo hamlet. This is where you can obtain direct access to miles of perfectly groomed ski slopes and paragliding spots.

The options are unlimited, whether it’s true Swiss mountainside food in rustic cafés, award-winning restaurants providing hearty meals with the finest of ingredients, or dining in a sky-high gondola ride while viewing the sunrise or moonlight. Because of its position, Zermatt has consistently pleasant weather throughout the year. Summer days are overcast, with average temperatures of around 22°C. Winters are lengthy and brutal, with snowfall occurring on a nearly daily basis.

ST. GALLEN

St. Gallen is located in Switzerland’s north-eastern area, south of Lake Constance. It is regarded as one of Switzerland’s most beautiful locations. The Lake adds a plethora of vegetation and animals to the area, which is set between lush hills and acres of lovely meadows. This rustic location is a retreat for people who desire to lose themselves in the undulating beauty that it has to offer. Every Swiss city has its own distinct cultural fabric that is vastly different from the next.

St. Gallen has a distinctly European flavor to it, whether in architecture, cuisine, or history. It’s in the country’s northwestern corner and offers something for everyone: sightseeing, entertainment, literary arts, and so much more! The fashion business is St. Gallen’s claim to fame. It is home to the world-famous Textile Museum, and its distinct personality has influenced many artists and fashion designers. It is home to antique fabrics from Egypt and Europe. And the splendor doesn’t stop there.

The library at the St. Gallen Abbey Convent has been rated one of the most beautiful libraries in the world, and it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its collection of manuscripts starting from the eighth century. St. Gallen is a must-see for drink connoisseurs. It is home to Switzerland’s oldest brewery, Schutzengarten. It is well-known for its award-winning German wheat and schwarzbier beers. Take a tour of the facility to see the historic beer vessels and over 3000 bottles from across the country.

Red Square, the country’s largest outdoor living room, is one of the most breathtaking spots to visit here. Carlos Martinez, an architect, and Pipilotti Rist, a multimedia artist, collaborated to build this one-of-a-kind space. This massive lounge is covered in a red rubber granulate, with overhead lighting that changes depending on where you are. It contains sofas, couches, tables, and even a porch that can be used for business or as a play place for kids.

The city is also well-known for its wildlife and environmental paths. Visit Wildpark Peter and Paul to witness ibex, chamois, wild boar, lynx, and other creatures roaming freely. Summers in St. Gallen is pleasant, with temperatures average of approximately 17°C, thanks to its location near the lake. Winters are hard and bitterly cold, with frequent snowfall.

BERN & ZURICH

Bern, Switzerland’s capital, is positioned on a peninsula of the River Aare and oozes old-world beauty, with its medieval old town designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visitors can see the highest cathedral in Switzerland, with panoramic views from its tower; 16th-century fountains; the Zytglogge medieval clock tower with moving puppets; and six kilometers of shopping arcades, dubbed “Lauben” by the locals while strolling through the cobblestone streets. The Rose Garden (Rosengarten) provides stunning views of the historic town center.

Many tourist sites, including excellent museums, are waiting to be found in Bern. The impressive galleries, such as the Zentrum Paul Klee, which houses the world’s largest collection of works by this famous artist, and the Bern Museum of Art, will appeal to art lovers (Kunstmuseum).

The markets at the Bundesplatz (parliament plaza) with views of the beautiful Renaissance-style parliament building are not to be missed (Bundeshaus). A trip to Bear Park is also recommended for families.

Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland, as well as a significant transit hub and a popular starting place for travelers. The city is located on the Limmat River, at the northern extremity of Lake Zurich. Beyond its prim exterior, this opulent financial center is home to a plethora of cultural gems.

The Old Town’s cobblestone lanes, with their quaint shops, cafés, and galleries, are a perfect site to start a walking tour. One of Europe’s most beautiful shopping streets, Bahnhofstrasse, beckons with designer stores selling apparel, watches, and jewelry.

Away from the boutiques, there are more than 50 museums and 100 art galleries, as well as a plethora of other tourist attractions. The Kunsthaus Zürich, a museum of fine arts with a remarkable collection of art spanning the Middle Ages to the present day, is a top choice. The Rietberg Museum, which focuses on non-European art and includes numerous items from China, India, and Africa, is another favorite.

The Swiss National Museum, housed in a Gothic chateau a short walk from Zürich’s main station, highlights Swiss cultural history. The Zurich Zoo, which features an elephant park, a penguin parade, and a Madagascar pavilion, is ideal for families. Take a train journey from the city to Uetliberg Mountain for panoramic views of the city and surrounding area.

LAKE LUGANO AND TICINO

Lake Lugano is located in Ticino, Switzerland’s only official Italian-speaking canton, and offers a tantalizing taste of the Mediterranean. Even while snowcapped peaks beckon in the distance, citrus, figs, palms, and pomegranates thrive in the warm temperature here.

The architecture, piazzas, and passion for great food that spills over the Italian borders from the south, east, and west are unmistakably Italian in the towns around Lake Lugano and Lake Maggiore to the west.

Visitors can visit the lake on one of the white steamers or rent a boat to explore the area. Monte San Salvatore has one of the most beautiful panoramic views of the surrounding landscape, lake, and snowcapped summits.

Lugano, a prominent summer resort and a financial center, is the largest and most important town in Ticino. Warm days, flowery gardens and palm-studded estates characterize Swiss lakeside living in sun-drenched Locarno on Lake Maggiore, northwest of Lugano. Three splendid castles in Bellinzona, the canton’s capital, are UNESCO World Heritage sites.

GRUYÈRES

Even if you’ve never heard of this small medieval town, you’ve probably heard of the famed hard yellow cheese that bears its name. That is now one of the town’s most popular attractions. Visitors can take a tour of cheese production, try local delicacies, and wave to the cows who live in the nearby verdant hills. If cheese isn’t enough, the town also has the Maison Cailler Chocolate Factory.

The 13th-century Castle of Gruyères and its two small arts and regional museums, as well as Saint-Germain Castle, which was purchased by Swiss surrealist painter and sculptor H. R. Giger and now houses a museum dedicated to his work, make up for the town’s small size. A visit to the Tibet Museum, which is situated in an old church in town, is also recommended.

The Gorges de la Jogne (beloved of hikers) and the adjacent Mont Moléson (popular with climbers in the summer and home to ski and snowshoe trails in the winter) are just a few of the breathtaking scenery that surrounds Gruyères.

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