I grew up in Switzerland and absolutely love my country – especially due to its incredible nature and sceneries that you can find all around the country. Often people ask me which are the best places to visit in Switzerland – and it’s honestly hard for me to give an appropriate answer, mostly because most tourists only stay in Switzerland for a few days (big mistake!).
Therefore, I decided to ask some of my fellow bloggers from all around the world to tell me about one destination they’ve visited in Switzerland – and we were able to create this awesome list, including some of the best places in Switzerland, that you shouldn’t miss on your trip to Switzerland.
Table of Contents
Every fall the most amazing event happens in the canton of Appenzell, the cows come home, and they are accompanied by lots of pomp and circumstance. Everyone gets dressed up in their Sunday best, then they parade the cows, and sometimes goats, back to town where the cows will hole up for the brittle winter.
Once the cows are back home, the festival begins and shoes come off, kids start singing, meat is grilled, and out comes the delicious summer cheese. Appenzeller cheese is pretty famous, and maybe a bit strong for most foreign tastes. It took me a while to get used it, but now I love it.
Traditionally while the cows were lolling in their mountain summer meadows, the boys that took care of them would also collect the milk and make the cheese. Today, though, the milk is brought to town every day and made in a creamery with lots of technical advances. The cheese is therefore ready for the cows coming home fest, and is served in a variety of ways. Some just cut it and eat straight up, but my favorite was a stand selling a pear sandwich where the Appenzeller cheese was melted all over it. Amazing! I highly recommend this area of Switzerland!
Submission by Corinne, Reflections Enroute
Ascona is a lovely small town in the Italian part of Switzerland – with access to Lake Maggiore, which is located in both Italy and Switzerland. When traveling to Ascona you will not expect a huge city – but a perfect place in Switzerland to relax and have a great time.
The lake is perfect to get some refreshment – especially during the summer time. One of the highlights is the Island of Brissago, which you can reach by boat from Ascona and is home to a huge variety of flowers, plants and of course beautiful views. It’s also a perfect location to do a day trip to Italy.
Additionally, Ascona (and the whole region) is home to several festivals, such as the Ascona Jazz Festival, which is a fantastic experience on its own.
Submission by myself (Michael Gerber)
One of my favourite city break destinations in Switzerland is undoubtedly the city of Geneva.
Geneva has a lot to offer travellers and, despite Switzerland being notorious for being expensive to visit, it is entirely possible to enjoy Geneva on a budget. One of my favourite budget activities is to simply stroll around Lake Geneva where you can see the famous Jet D’Eau as well as enjoy the frequent events and festivals that occur around the lake.
There are also plenty of interesting sites to explore in Geneva, ranging from historical buildings in the Old Town such as St Pierre’s Cathedral to the many modern international organisations that base themselves in Geneva – such as the Red Cross.
If you would like to get out of the city for a day, there are plenty of great day trips that you can enjoy from Geneva. These include taking a short bus ride to France and hiking up Mont Saleve or exploring the lovely town of Montreux and nearby Château de Chillon – a medieval castle built on a small island in Lake Geneva.
All in all, Geneva is a great place to visit in Switzerland as it offers travellers the ability to explore an interesting city as well as enjoy some fantastic nature.
Submission by Michael, The World Was Here First
“If heaven ain’t all it’s cracked up to be, take me to Gimmelwald”
This little local saying could not be truer. In fact, you’ll think you ARE in heaven in the car-free, breathtaking Alpine peaks in the Swiss Alps.
I personally love heading to Gimmelwald in the Spring or Fall, just on the outskirts of the busy season and hiking the trails that give unparalleled views to anything I’ve ever seen. There are both easy walks as well as strenuous hikes, making it an ideal location for all travelers.
You can even combine the trip with its sister town across the Lauterbrunnen Valley of Grindelwald, but I love the adventure of only being able to access Gimmelwald by foot or cable car and finding a less followed path where all I see are stunning mountain views, blooming flowers, and cows munching on the green grass.
It really is heaven on Earth.
Submission by Le Anna, Well Traveled Nebraskan
The Glattalp, located in the canton of Schwyz (pretty much the center of Switzerland), is definitely a hidden gem – while I never saw a tourist there, it’s even a pretty unknown spot for Swiss locals.
I went there two times during late summer and absolutely loved it! If you are looking for incredible nature in a remote location without hundreds of tourists – the Glattalp is the place to be. With its beautiful Glattalp Lake, which is hands down the most beautiful I’ve ever seen, and animals (cows, horses, goats) that are freely walking around it’s one of the few places where you can experience true Swiss nature.
Once you made it there (as I said, it’s pretty remote) you can hike for hours, as it has various routes for hikers of every level and also a lovely little restaurant with traditional Swiss food (for reasonable prices).
If you are interested in visiting the Glattalp, check out my complete Glattalp guide, which will cover everything you need to know.
Submission by myself (Michael Gerber)
One of the best places to visit in Switzerland is the alpine village of Grindelwald. The town is a popular ski resort in winter but from April to October there are plenty of reasons to visit Grindelwald, too.
You could easily be forgiven for falling in love with Grindelwald as soon as you arrive in town. Wooden alpine chalets line the main street, their windows adorned with brightly coloured flowers spilling out of window boxes.
Whilst the town is the quintessential Swiss alpine village, the huge array of outdoor activities on offer is one of the things that I love about Grindelwald.
Hikers and mountain bikers are well catered for with miles and miles of paths waiting to be explored. Those slightly more adventurous are spoilt for choice, too. A summer toboggan ride, zip line, and scooter and mountain cart rides are just some of the fun ways to pass your time in Grindelwald.
Excursions to the Jungfraujoch are a popular day trip from Grindelwald. A cable car to Kleine Scheidegg connects with the Jungfraubahn for the journey to the ‘Top of Europe’. The thing that keeps drawing me back to Grindelwald, though, is the scenery.
The hillsides surrounding the town are dotted with pretty wooden chalets, and cows graze in the meadows that are lush with alpine flowers. The towering snow-capped peaks of the Eiger, Wettenhorn, and Metterberg dominate the skyline reminding you again of Switzerland’s natural beauty.
Don’t just visit Grindelwald for a day. Stay a night or two and, when the day-trippers have gone home, sit back and breathe in the fresh alpine air and enjoy the tranquility of this beautiful Swiss alpine town.
Grindelwald is located about 30 minutes from Interlaken in the Jungfrau region and is well serviced by regular trains and buses.
Submission by Carolyn, Holidays to Europe
Gruyères, located in the Canton of Fribourg, is a little medieval town perched on the hill in the upper valley of the Sarine river. If you are travelling from Geneva, the trip will take you approximately 1.5 hours in the North-East direction. However, Gruyeres is easily reachable from every area in Switzerland.
There are tonnes of things to see and do in Gruyères. Apart from checking out the enchanting medieval castle, strolling down the cobblestone streets and exploring the chocolate factory, Gruyères is well known for its world-famous Gruyères Cheese.
Yes, this town is the birthplace of an unforgettable tasking cheese, which these days features in gourmet dishes all around the world. I do have to say, that it is a somewhat acquired taste, but definitely a must-try whilst in town.
If you are interested in art, Gruyères has plenty of fascinating museums to check out as well, including a very cool Museum of HR GIGER. For the fans, such as myself, this in itself is a reason to visit this amazing medieval town!
Best time to check out Gruyères is during the warmer months. This way you can enjoy the true beauty of this colourful town against the bluest sky and fully enjoy the outdoor dining as well.
Gruyères is a very peaceful small town without the hustle and bustle of traffic. Access to the town is by foot only, with the entrance close to the carpark located at La Maison du Gruyères.
Submission by Andrzej, Wanderlust Storytellers
One of my favorite places to visit in Switzerland is Interlaken. I love it because it’s quintessentially Swiss. That is, you’ll find lush green meadows that you would have seen only in postcards or calendars, the chalets are picturesque and of course, you get a close-up view of the Swiss Alps. A quiet walk in the streets, away from the town center, is bound to refresh both your body and mind.
The town of Interlaken is also located between two beautiful lakes – Lake Brienz and Lake Thun. There are boat tours that can take you on the lake. However, in my opinion, the best view of the lakes is from the top of Harderkulm, where there’s an observation deck at 1,321 meters high. If you want to see the surrounding mountain peaks of Gumihorn, Tuba, and Geiss, then take a train ride to Schynige Platte, where you can get very close to them.
Interlaken is also loved by adventure enthusiasts who come to skydive, paraglide, rappel, jump and glide down the waterfalls. As you can see, there are tons of things to do in Interlaken. You can also take day trips to Lauterbrunnen, Grindelwald, Bern, Jungfraujoch and many more that all just a short train ride away from here – which makes Interlaken one of the best places to visit in Switzerland during your holidays.
Submission by Traveling Pari
The Top of Europe (Jungfraujoch) is probably the most touristic place in Switzerland, yet, it simply has to be on this list. Where else can you easily reach 3’500 meters just by train? And enjoy a huge glacier once you arrived there?
Well, a visit to the Jungfraujoch is something you certainly won’t forget, especially if you’re from a country that is not used to snow or cold weather. While there are many cheaper options around the Jungfrau Area (a ticket costs over 100$), none of them is as spectacular.
If you plan to visit the Jungfraujoch, I recommend booking your tickets in advance, as the trains can be extremely busy, especially in Summertime.
P.S: Definitely wear proper clothing – I recently saw some tourists with high heels arriving on 3’500 meters – which was probably not a great idea 😉
Submission by myself (Michael Gerber)
If you’re planning a trip to Switzerland, you shouldn’t leave Lauterbrunnen off your list. Often a day trip from Interlaken, Lauterbrunnen is so beautiful and there is so much to do there that you could easily spend a few days staying in this picturesque Swiss village.
For one, Lauterbrunnen Valley is home to a massive number of waterfalls, 72 in fact! You can find two right in town, making for beautiful photos. There’s a church in town that is one of the most beautiful in the country with the Alps in the background. The nearby Trümmelbach Falls are a series of extremely powerful glacial waterfalls that you can find inside of a mountain. One of the most interesting things about Trümmelbach Falls is that you can actually take an elevator inside a mountain up to see them!
There are plenty of delicious restaurants in town where you can try traditional Swiss dishes like Fondue or rösti. Finally, there are plenty of cute villages that are quite easy to get to from Lauterbrunnen. I enjoyed taking the cable car to Mürren, a beautiful car-free village high up in the mountains with views all over the scenic Lauterbrunnen Valley. From there I enjoyed a scenic walk to Gimmelwald, which was also very cute, though quiet, and worth a visit.
I loved visiting Lauterbrunnen in the summer but I think it would be gorgeous in the winter covered in snow as well!
Submission by Alisson, Eternal Arrival
Leukerbad is a small town located in the Swiss Alps about a two-hour drive from Bern. We visited in winter and we loved this place for a few different reasons.
Firstly, it is a gorgeous town especially when it is covered in snow. It looks just how I imagined a Swiss town to look. There is easy skiing and sledding right on the edge of town that is easy to walk to from anywhere in town so it’s a great place to go if you have kids or a beginner skier.
Next, it’s surrounded by mountains that are quick and easy to get to via cable car and that have great views over the Alps including all the way to the Matterhorn. There is some great skiing here and, in summer, it is great for hiking.
We also loved Leukerbad because it’s known for its thermal springs. Sitting in the hot water while surrounded by snow is idyllic especially after an active day.
Finally, we loved Leukerbad because there weren’t so many foreign tourists. There were more locals and we barely heard English.
Leukerbad is a lovely place to visit at any time but winter is especially awesome when it’s covered in snow. It’s easiest to visit in your own car but there are also buses here.
Submission by Sharon, Simpler and Smarter
Let’s talk about my home city: Lucerne. It’s on almost every tourist’s itinerary – and it absolutely makes sense to stay in Lucerne for at least 2-4 days on your visit to Switzerland. Lucerne has a perfect location next to Lake Lucerne and nearby to several mountains that you can visit – such as Pilatus, Rigi or Titlis, just to mention a few of them.
While most tourists visit Lucerne in Summer, Lucerne is also wonderful during Winter time – with many winter activities offered around the area.
As Lucerne is a bigger city in Switzerland (still really small!) it’s also home to some interesting museums – the most famous one is the transportation museum, which is always worth a visit on a rainy day.
To get to Lucerne, you can simply take a direct train from Zurich Airport, which takes around one hour.
Submission by myself (Michael Gerber)
Somehow Lugano is often overseen by foreign tourists – even though it’s a great idea to make a day trip to Lugano or even stay for a few nights while exploring other parts of Ticino (Italian speaking Part of Switzerland).
In Lugano, you can find a beautiful old town, incredible views from the surrounding mountains (my favorite is from Monte Bré) and, of course, amazing (Italian influenced) food. You can literally feel the Italian influence of this place, yet it’s different.
I believe that Lugano is underrated and should get more attention – especially due to its beautiful nature and charm. Lugano can be easily reached by public transportation (train) or car and is certainly one of the best destinations to visit in Switzerland.
Submission by myself (Michael Gerber)
When we think of visiting Switzerland, nothing compares to the beautiful Swiss Alps. On our last trip, we made a home base in Nendaz, a small ski resort town up in the mountains, that is easily one of the most beautiful places to visit in Switzerland.
You can arrive via train from Sion, in the valley, and then take a Postbus up to town. The drive up the winding mountain road is a beautiful initiation to the area, as you get spectacular views.
Nendaz is popular for both winter and summer activities. The rental options in Nendaz are abundant on sites like AirBnB and InterHome, although many of the hotels were closed when we went in October (their shoulder season). I highly recommend staying in Haute (“high”) Nendaz not far from the Tourist Office in order to have easier access to restaurants, grocery stores, bus stops, and the ski lift.
In summer and fall, there are great hikes from town. Several of the trails in the region follow along the “bisses,” or old waterways, in and out of small villages and farms, through the hills and forests. You can also take the ski lift up to Tracouet’s Black Lake for another panoramic perspective and more hiking trails.
By renting a car, you can easily do day trips to neighboring towns like Sion, Martigny, Zermatt and even places a little further like Spiez, Interlaken, and Bern.
Submission by Michelle, Intentional Travelers
Stein am Rhein
Switzerland is a country filled with stunning natural scenery and countless charming towns along the way. Off all these quaint destinations in the country, Stein am Rhein is certainly one of our favorite places to visit in Switzerland.
The medieval town dates back to over a thousand years ago, and its center is incredibly well preserved. The artfully painted medieval facades and carefully decorated streets will certainly take you back in time! Most tourists flock to the town during the high season, when the sky is blue and the Rhine river filled with boats, to take you on scenic rides. Nevertheless, we loved visiting in the cold of Winter. The snow made the town even more magical, and tourists were very few!
You can easily get to Stein am Rhein using public transportation (the train station is only a 10-minute walk from the center), by car, or by boat in the warmer months. Nearby you can also visit the Rhine Falls, the largest waterfalls in Europe, and one of Switzerland’s most famous attractions. The famous falls were formed during the last ice age and are a stunning natural show to witness. You can use the viewing platforms across the falls, and in the Summer, boats are available to see the Rhine Falls from up close.
Submission by Two Find a Way
Deep back of the Maggia Valley, in the Italian part of Switzerland, lies Val Bavona. The valley is like a step back in time as many of the picturesque stone houses still aren’t connected to electricity. Not much is happening after dark and apart from a few Grottos (rural boutique restaurants that are unique to the Italian part of Switzerland), there are no restaurants or bars.
No one’s here for the nightlife, though, but for the stunning nature and dark nights. The area is favoured by hikers for off the beaten path hiking trails as well as by cliff divers who compete in jumping off the steep cliffs into the freezing name-giving river Maggia.
A beautiful hike starts and ends at the Grotto La Froda and goes up to the top of the Foroglio waterfall, where a quaint settlement and a river with the bluest water waits for you. If time allows, the trail does go on for a few hours, but the tiny town makes a great location for a lunch break.
What time to visit?
The best time is between spring and fall. All seasons have their own charm, but the busiest time would be summer (July / August). Although there is a small ski field at the end of the valley, I wouldn’t advise traveling in winter.
How to get there?
From Ascona (which is another stunning destination not to be missed in Switzerland) follow the signs into Maggia Valley. When in Bignasco, turn left into Val Bavona. Drive to the waterfall or just keep going until the road ends.
Submission by Discover Aotearoa
Switzerland might be popular for its cities like Geneva, Zurich or Bern, yet, there are several hidden gems or offbeat places which would charm you equally. One of such place is Vevey.
Not many people know, the world-famous comedian Charlie Chaplin chose Vevey in Switzerland as his retirement home after being barred from the United States. He along with his wife and children moved to a large mansion. The snow-capped Alps behind the lake provided the beautiful mountainous backdrop. He probably wanted a scenic peaceful surrounding.
Located at Lake Geneve, this little town Vevey could have a synonym as Charlie Chaplin. On the first glance itself, the town looks like it is wearing the personality of the evergreen legend. Several places in Vevey pay tribute to Charlie Chaplin. In the town, there are several high rise buildings with Charlie Chaplin’s murals. A cafe down the street bore his French pet name, Le Charlot, and a shop has a window decorated with a bowler hat, cane, red rose.
Walking on the promenade along the lake Genève, where Chaplin used to go for evening strolls with his wife Oona, is a different experience altogether. Now there stands a statue of Chaplin greeting the visitors. One of the major attractions of Vevey is Charlie Chaplin’s house and museum called Chaplin’s World. It includes the Manoir where he lived, a cinema museum dedicated to his professional work, and a restaurant.
Submission by Nisha & Vasu, Lemonicks
Nowhere quite compares to the stunning Swiss Alpine village of Zermatt. The mighty and majestic Matterhorn is never far away and when the morning sun catches its peak, it’s a truly magical place to be. Located high in a valley in the Swiss Alps and on the border with Italy, you feel isolated from the outside world – in a good way.
You will most likely arrive at the train station and be met by a fleet of tiny electric taxis as conventional cars are not allowed on the streets. Or maybe you are taking a horse and carriage, complete with an array of silver sleigh bells to your chosen hotel. Either way the journey will be very special.
Traveling through the narrow streets lined with many upmarket shops and restaurants, housed in traditional wooden alpine lodges, it feels like you have fallen right into a Christmas movie. And if you are lucky enough to arrive at dusk, the impressive illuminations add to what already feels like a fairy tale and make it a magical place to visit with children.
In the summer, there is hiking to enjoy, amongst the pretty mountain flowers, unbelievable clean air, and crystal-clear lakes. While in the winter, snow falls, covering everywhere with a thick layer of icing sugar. The 200 kilometers of slopes are perfect for skiers of all levels and access is easy by the Gornergrat express train or the Sunnegga funicular.
Submission by Gillian, The Little Den
If you plan to visit Zermatt in Winter, check out my favorite things to do in Zermatt in Winter.
With its beautiful ultramodern industrial buildings mixed with the medieval architecture set on both sides of Limmat River, and dozens of exciting things to do and scenic views, Zurich is definitely one of the best places to visit in Switzerland.
Zurich is the biggest city in Switzerland and a perfect gateway for couples, families, group of friends or solo travellers. There are many awesome things to do in Zurich. Various walking tours are available where you’ll get to explore the city’s Old Town. Visit the 13th-century Fraumunster Church, which is famous for its beautiful glass-stained windows. Kunsthaus houses an impressive art collection from medieval to contemporary times.
Street Parade in August is Europe’s biggest electronic festival attended by millions of people from all over the world. More than the music and the street parties, the Street Parade is actually a celebration of freedom and equality. The parade goes around the promenade surrounding the Lematt River.
If you are short in time, it’s best to book day tours in Zurich. Because it is the main hub of Switzerland, tours to other surrounding areas are offered by many agencies. Zurich is best to visit all year round with different activities each season. When going around, it’s best to get the Swiss Travel Pass which gives tourists access to boats, trains, buses and discounted prices to some museums.
Submission by Karolina Patryk
What are your favorite places to visit in Switzerland? Let us know in the comments!