Switzerland is spectacular. Whenever anyone asks us where have we seen the most beautiful mountains in the world, we always reply “Swiss Alps.” After our latest visit to Switzerland, we loved it even more! With every turn in every destination, we looked on in awe as we remarked how we felt we were walking through a work of art. As one person put it when writing in a journal sitting on a bench at the top of Grindelwald-First “I feel like I am looking at a Bob Ross painting.”
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Best Places to Visit in Switzerland
Switzerland has more beautiful places than just in the Alps, there’s the enchanting Lake Lugano sharing its border with Italy, beautiful Basel which we fell in love with, and the sophisticated city of Zurich. It can be difficult to decide where to go when you visit Switzerland, so we are going to break down the most beautiful places to visit in Switzerland to help you choose. Or better yet, do as we did and see them all!
1. Swiss Alps
I know we said there is more to Switzerland than The Alps, but they truly house the most spectacularly beautiful places in Switzerland, so we must start in the mountains.
The Alpine Region is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and for good reason. It is impossible to beat when it comes to beautiful landscapes in the country, therefore, making it our #1 choice for the best places to visit in Switzerland. Plus, the Swiss have done an outstanding job making their mountain peaks accessible and easy for everyone to see.
From Grindelwald to Jungfrau in the Bernese Oberland Region to St. Moritz and Zermatt-Matterhorn, these mountain destinations should be put at the top of your list of places to visit in Switzerland.
2. Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe
Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and it truly lives up to the hype. It is one of the top tourist attractions in Switzerland and once you see it with your own eyes, you’ll understand why!
Located in the Bernese Alps of the Jungfrau Region, a trip to Switzerland’s most exciting UNESCO World Heritage Sites takes you up a the most modern cable car in the world to the highest train ride in Europe on a cogwheel train to an elevation of 3454 meters (11,332 feet).
This viewpoint offers incredible views of the snowcapped mountains including the 4000-meter peaks of Jungfrau 4,158 meters (13,642 ft), Eiger 3,967-metre (13,015 ft), and Mönch 4,110 meters (13,480 ft).
- For more information on traveling to Jungfrau visit the tourism website.
- To purchase tickets up to Jungfraujoch via Jungfrau Railways here.
3. Aletsch Glacier
After you have taken in the beautiful scenery, take a walk under the Aletsch Glacier to explore the ice palace, a labyrinth of tunnels spanning 1000 meters under the sea of ice. We enjoyed our time at Jungfraujoch so much, we put it at the top of our most beautiful places to visit in Switzerland, not only for the beauty but for the experience.
There are so many things to do at Jungfraujoch, your senses will be overwhelmed with fun and excitement. Read more at Spectacular Switzerland, a Visit to Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe
We didn’t think it was possible to top Jungfraujoch, but when we hopped on a train ride to Gornergrat in Zermatt we couldn’t believe our eyes as we looked out the window. Located at an elevation of 3,089 m, Gornergrat has been one of Switzerland’s top places to visit for more than a century.
The stunning views of the surrounding mountains include the Matterhorn in all its glory, but it is the sea of glaciers that really took our breath away. Reaching the top takes you to a view of 29 mountains reaching more than 4000 meters. With every turn, it is one dazzling view after another.
The best way to get around the mountains and to explore all the things to do in Zermatt is to purchase an all-inclusive lift package that gives access to cable cars, the cog railway and gondolas. You can search for the right one for you at the Zermatt tourism website. Zermatt is popular in the summer, but it is also one of the premier places in Switzerland for winter sports.
Make sure to hike down to the Toblerone viewpoint in search of the cute black-nose sheep that roam the hills. The black nose sheep have become one of the top tourist attractions in Zermatt in their own right.
They are so darn cute and there is an app that you can download to see where they are roaming on the mountain. It works too! We found them during our hike down from Gornergrat. This is one of the most beautiful walks we’ve ever done in our lives. Read more: Incredible Zermatt, Switzerland – 23 Exciting Things to See and Do
Grindelwald-First is one of the most popular places to visit in Switzerland and with good reason. Located in the Interlaken-Oberhasli administrative district in the canton of Berne, Grindelwald first has one of the most photographed places in Switzerland.
Bachalpsee (Lake Alpsee) is a beautiful alpine lake that reflects the surrounding mountains when the weather is just right. Visit the Grindelwald Tourism website for more information on traveling to Grindelwald.
6. First Cliffwalk and Adventures
One of the most popular things to do at the top of Grindelwald first is to take the first cliffwalk. It’s free to enter and offers beautiful views of the velley below. There is a reason Grindelwald-First is so popular besides its stunning scenery. It has some of the best tourist attractions in the region.
From unique adventures like Trottibiking and mountain carting to the First Flyer and First Glider, there’s plenty of hiking, a heart-racing cliff walk, and cute marmots squeaking in the distance it makes for a great choice when planning your trip to Switzerland. Read more: The Complete Guide to Grindelwald-First in Switzerland
7. Zermatt Matterhorn
The Matterhorn is one of Switzerland’s most recognizable landmarks and one of the most photographed mountains on earth. In fact, the town of Zermatt was created to promote this spectacular landmark making it the first tourist destination in the country. Over the years, it has become one of the top tourist attractions in Switzerland.
Hiking out to Lake Stellisee at sunrise is one of the most beautiful places to see it. Take the train ride up the Sunnegga-Rothorn valley station for sunrise and then hike out to Stellisee for the most beautiful view of the Matterhorn. After you have enjoyed the morning, continue on to the 5 Lakes hikes for extraordinary stunning views of the Matterhorn and the surrounding mountains of Zermatt.
When you visit Switzerland, make sure not to miss seeing the Matterhorn. It took us three visits before we finally witnessed it and it turned out to be our favourite destination in the entire country. Read more: 5 Lakes Hike Zermatt – Incredible Matterhorn Views
8. Matterhorn Glacier Paradise
Matterhorn Glacier Paradise is another amazing destination in Zermatt. Zermatt may be a small town, but it is the most popular and beautiful place in Switzerland. When you reach the top of the world’s highest cableway, you are treated to a view of 38 four-thousand-meter peaks (13,000 feet) and 14 glaciers across Italy, Switzerland, and France.
There is also an awesome maze of tunnels to visit under the second largest glacier in Europe. This is one of the most beautiful places in Switzerland to ski. Glacier Paradise is Switzerland’s highest ski resort and you can ski here all year long.
9. St. Moritz
St. Moritz is the original winter tourist destination and with good reason, there are plenty of winter sports to enjoy. This beautiful Switzerland destination has been welcoming tourists to its slopes since the 1800s. The quintessential Swiss Town is home to two Winter Olympics, St. Moritz is an all-season mountain destination with spectacular hikes, world-class hotels and dining, and more than 250 km of ski trails and 580 km of hiking trails, it is an outdoor lover’s dream.
Winter sports lovers flock to St. Moritz as it truly is a winter wonderland, but it is an amazing place in Switzerland to visit in the summer too. Read our full article on What to do in St. Moritz. Visit St. Moritz tourism to help plan your trip.
10. Harder Kulm Interlaken
Interlaken is one of the top places to visit in Switzerland making for a great base to explore the Jungfrau Region of the Bernese Oberland. This beautiful lake destination has a gorgeous lookout.
Take the cogwheel train up to the spectacular Harder Kulm, 1322 meters above sea level. The view lets you see, Lake Brienz and Lake Thun and the striking peaks of Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau.
Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland and should not be missed. Located on Lake Zurich and the Limmat River, Zurich is beautiful as the steeples from its old town churches line the waterfront. As the financial capital of Switzerland, Zurich has its share of upscale attractions including one of the most expensive shopping streets in the world.
Take a stroll along the cobbled streets of Old Town and marvel at the stunning sunset over the spires of the city’s cathedrals. We suggest at least three days in Zurich to enjoy its museums, (most notably, The Swiss National Museum and the House of Lindt).
The affluent banking capital of the world (okay we are just speculating here) has so much to see in do. Take a boat ride on Lake Zurich, hike into the mountains, and enjoy its fine cuisine. Read More: Amazing Zurich – Discover the Best of Switzerland’s Largest City
As Switzerland’s largest city, Zurich is a place you can spend days exploring, there are plenty of cultural attractions, and outdoor adventures from taking the train to Uetliberg Mountain for panoramic views of the city to stand-up paddleboarding through the marinas of Lake Zurich.
Don’t forget to visit the chocolate museum at Lindt Home of Chocolate. Read more: The Perfect 3 Days in Zurich, Switzerland
12. Basel on the Rhine River
Basel is a wonderful city located directly on the Rhine River. Sharing a border with France and Germany, it is an ideal location to make a base and explore the countryside. Known as the cultural capital of Switzerland, Basel boasts some of the country’s most unique and beautiful architecture.
Its modern structures blend seamlessly with the Altstadt (Old Town) spanning across the Rhine as Basel Minster, the largest cathedral in Basel, stands like a sentry looking over from Grossbasel (Left Side of the River Bank) toward Klein Basel (Right Side of the River Bank)
- Read more: 20 Reasons to Fall in Love with Basel, Switzerland
- 24 Fantastic Things to do in Basel, Switzerland
- For more information on travel to Basel, visit the Basel Tourism website.
13. Ticino Region – Italian Switzerland
When you visit Switzerland, the Mediterranean isn’t something that springs to mind, but that is exactly what you’ll get in Ticino. The Mediterranean feel of the Ticino Region of Switzerland will transport you to Italy. In fact, it is almost entirely surrounded by Italy. Ticino has a distinct feel from the rest of Switzerland.
The warm weather and colorful buildings lining the likes of Lake Lugano and Maggiore feel as if you are on the Italian Riviera and the Cinque Terra. When looking for something different, make sure to put Ticino at the top of your places to visit in Switzerland.
14. Lugano in Ticino
The town of Lugano is the star attraction of Ticino with mountains framing its long beach and waterfront path along pristine glacial Lake Lugano. Known as the “Little Rio of Switzerland”, Lugano is the perfect place to slow down and take in the sunshine. (It really did remind us of Rio de Janeiro)
It rivals nearby Lake Como in Italy for beauty and luxury and it makes complete sense since Lake Lugano shares its border with Italy. Read more: Things to do in Lugano and the Ticino Region of Switzerland
15. Verzasca Valley
The Verzasca Valley is one of the most beautiful places in Switzerland that isn’t quite as famous as other places in the country but not for long! It is known for its electric emerald green waters flowing through polished layers of rocks, it is a gorgeous way to spend a day.
Swim in the waters, go for a hike or marvel at the cliff jumpers leaping from the double arches of the Ponte dei Salti. (A lovely medieval footbridge crossing the river)
16. Castles of Bellinzona
The capital of Ticino is not to be missed for its UNESCO World Heritage Sites – The Castles of Bellinzona. The castles consist of three well-preserved castles and fortified walls, Castelgrande, Montebello, and Sasso Corbaro are not to be missed when visiting Southern Switzerland. For more information on traveling to Ticino – visit the Ticino Switzerland website.
Switzerland is known for its spa experiences and one of the most beautiful spa retreats is in Leukerbad. The thermal baths date back to Roman times.
This wellness retreat attracts tourists to its 65 natural springs containing 3.9 million liters of hot water to relax in the healing pools of Valais Valley. It is one of the largest and most popular spa resorts in Switzerland. For more information on traveling to Leukerbad, visit the tourism website.
18. Grand Resort Bad Ragaz
The Grand Resort Bad Ragaz is the granddaddy of spas in Switzerland. Located just 1 hour from Zurich, this is the ultimate luxury spa retreat. The hot springs were discovered in the 1200s and people have been seeking their healing properties for centuries.
The hotel opened in 1869 and in 1872 it housed the first thermal water indoor pool in Europe. Today it is a five-star hotel that sits in the Rhine Valley. Visit Tamina Therme for more information on visiting the spa.
19. Lake Geneva
Lake Geneva is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Switzerland and one would argue that it is one of the most beautuiful places in Switzerland.
Surrounded by the Alps on one side and terraced vineyards on the other, it’s one of the most romantic places in the world. As the largest body of water in Switzerland, it’s also pretty hard to miss. Straddling the border of France and Switzerland, Lake Geneva is also Europe’s largest alpine lake.
20. Chateau de Chillon Montreaux
Montreux is famous for the Montreux music festival. We loved walking along the waterfront of this beautiful city set among the backdrop of the Alps and Lake Geneva. One of the top historical places to visit in Switzerland is the picturesque Chateau de Chillon. Dating back to the 12th century, the historic castle stands like a fairytale on the shores of Lake Geneva.
The top things to see at Chateau de Chillon are the Gothic underground rooms, its paintings dating back to the 17th century and its chapel. But it is truly its setting that took our breath away. Read more: Montreux and its Musical Legacy
While we are on the subject of the Lake Geneva region, no trip to Switzerland would be complete without visiting Geneva. Geneva is home to the headquarters of the United Nations, and the international Red Cross Committee. There are plenty of cultural attractions in Geneva including the Grand Theatre and the Opera House.
It is also the city where Dave got stuck on Swiss Rail without his passport, phone or wallet. The train system is efficient in Geneva and when he dropped his tripod while getting off the train, the doors closed in front of him. I was carrying all his ID and was stuck on the other side. It was 3 hours later that he made his way back to me while I sat in the metro station waiting for his return in a huge panic! (But that’s another story)
22. Bern – The Capital City
We only spent a day in the Capital City of Switzerland but I wish we spent more. Bern’s medieval old town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site boasting the world’s longest-covered shopping promenades with 6 km (3.7 miles) of arcades. It is the gateway to the Alps, houses the highest cathedral in Switzerland, and is the seat of parliament. The Old town snakes alongside the Aare River creating a picture-perfect setting.
Don’t miss stopping to see the landmark medieval clocktower tower in Bern, The Zytglogge. It is one of the top attractions in the city.
Like many cities in Switzerland, Lucerne has a gorgeous old town on a picturesque body of water. Lake Lucerne is the focal point of visiting the city with the gorgeous Chapel Bridge (Kapellbrücke) spanning the River Reuss.
Lucerne’s most popular landmark dates back to the 14th century and is the oldest covered bridge in Europe. With the Swiss Alps nearby, we ventured off the spa taking the Rigi Bahn cogwheel train for a ride on Europe’s first railway. It’s a wonderful place to spend a few days.
24. Swiss National Park
It is hard to believe that Switzerland only has one national park, but it is true. It is aptly named Swiss National Park and is a favorite among nature lovers.
Located in the heart of the Swiss Alps in eastern Switzerland, Swiss National Park was established in 1914 and covers an area of over 170 square kilometers (65 square miles).
The park offers a network of well-maintained hiking trails that cater to different skill levels, from gentle walks through lush meadows to challenging ascents to alpine peaks, there’s a trail for every adventurer.
25. Swiss Grand Canyon
The Rhine Gorge is often touted as the Swiss Grand Canyon. Visitors can witness this beauty by taking one of the most scenic train routes along the Rhine Gorge Adventure Train. Check out America’s Grand Canyon Attractions.
Best Way to Get Around Switzerland
Switzerland had an extensive rail system and you can easily travel to Ticino via rail with a Swiss Travel Pass.
- A Swiss Travel Pass includes:
- Unlimited travel by train, bus, and boat
- Public transportation in more than 90 cities and towns
- Including mountain excursions: Rigi, Schilthorn, Stanserhorn, and Stoos
- Free admission to more than 500 museums throughout Switzerland
- Get your Swiss Travel Pass Here.
- Two free informative apps to help plan your Switzerland journey are: Grand Train Tour of Switzerland app and the Swiss Travel Guide app
- Our trip to Switzerland is in partnership with MySwitzerland.com Visit their website to start planning your trip today.
There are so many amazing and beautiful places in Switzerland and we have not seen them all but we certainly look forward to visiting this beautiful country We have had the good fortune of visiting Switzerland three times and each time we visit, we find it to be more beautiful than the next. We can’t wait to visit again! Have you been to Switzerland? What are you favourite places to visit in Switzerland?