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Where to Find the Best Tourist Spots in Switzerland

Where to Find the Best Tourist Spots in Switzerland

From lofty mountain peaks and glaciers to celebrated vineyards and historic chateaus, Switzerland offers something for everyone. The country seduces visitors, whether hiking up to a UNESCO World Heritage-listed castle or swimming in a turquoise lake.

Visit in spring and summer for awe-inspiring views and lush landscapes. Or head to UNESCO World Heritage-listed Jungfraujoch for jaw-dropping views and winter snow fun.

Bern

The Swiss are famous for their chocolate, cheese, charming towns and scenic landscapes – but there’s so much more to this landlocked country. Spectacular alpine scenery sweeps across 60% of the country, with glacier-topped peaks, crash-bang waterfalls, and turreted castles that look ripped from a fairy tale book. Across the emerald valleys, you’ll find mountain towns with chalets, villages that seem straight out of a storybook, and meadows dotted with grazing cowbell-wearing sheep.

Switzerland’s joie de vivre is evident everywhere, from the enchanting old town in Bern (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) to enthralling markets and atmospheric theaters. Then there’s the city of Zurich, which offers a sophisticated urban twist on Swiss culture. Its cobbled streets throng with chic boutiques, elegant galleries and restaurants, and it’s also home to some of Europe’s best museums.

But it’s the Alps that pull in most visitors, and it’s not hard to see why. You can hike along glistening turquoise lakes and craggy mountains that look as though they were carved out of the earth by some giant’s hands. Gondolas whisk you up to jaw-dropping vistas and classic mountain chalets nestled in their depths. And, if you’re lucky, you might catch sight of some of the region’s wild animals, such as red squirrels and ibexes.

The Alps’ splendor is even more alluring in winter, when you can partake in a variety of snow sports. The Jungfrau region is one of the most spectacular spots in the Alps, with awe-inspiring waterfalls, icy glaciers and sweeping views. The Bernese Oberland is another top place for outdoor adventurers, with ski trails that lead to snow-covered peaks and villages that look like they’ve been plucked from the pages of a book.

Bern

Lausanne

Whether you’re strolling through the historic old town of Lausanne or hiking to the top of the Matterhorn, Switzerland will seduce you with its breathtaking beauty. The mountainous country is dotted with turquoise lakes, glistening glaciers and celebrated vineyards, while the city centers offer old-world Swiss charm, world-class museums and vibrant cafes. Then there are the pristine alpine landscapes that are just begging to be explored.

The French-speaking city of Lausanne is often overlooked in favor of its more well-known neighbor, Geneva, but it’s a gem in its own right. “Rich in art and culture, with a youthful vibe and gorgeous lakeside location,” writes Caroline Bishop on Lonely Planet, the city of Lausanne is a treat for any traveler. “From beaches and boat rides to vineyards and pop-up bars, there are plenty of things to do in Lausanne.”

In the heart of the city is the Palais de Rumine, a stunning building housing five different museums. The site was once the main residence for the Counts of Savoy and later became the headquarters of the International Olympic Committee, so you’ll see an interesting mix of historical and modern architecture.

Another must-see attraction is Chateau de Chillon, a palatial castle that inspired the setting for Disney’s The Little Mermaid. It’s located on the shore of Lake Geneva (Lac Leman) and offers stunning views over the Alps. The castle’s gilded rooms, gardens and opulent interiors make for a fascinating tour.

Lake Geneva also boasts many gorgeous beaches. On a summer weekend, the beaches in Vidy and Lutry fill up with sunbathing travelers and picnickers. The sandy beach in Vidy is a popular spot for families, while the grassy lakeside at Lutry is more serene.

The hilly Lausanne is also home to some world-class parks and grand palace hotels. For example, the Château de Beau-Rivage Palace in Ouchy is a beautiful option that “ticks all the right boxes,” said The Hotel Guru, including luxurious bedrooms and suites, a pampering spa and Michelin-starred dining.

To take in all of the stunning scenery, you should visit Switzerland during summertime, from June through mid-September. This is when the weather is warmest, and you’ll find most attractions have their longest opening hours of the year.

Interlaken

With glimmering turquoise lakes, emerald valleys where tingling bell-wearing cows graze and village peaks that look ripped from the pages of a fairytale storybook, Switzerland is the definition of natural beauty. Lofty peaks and glittering glaciers ripple across 60% of the country, while soaring waterfalls cascade down cliffsides, turreted castles loom over idyllic meadows, and historic villages ooze with old-world Swiss charm.

For a taste of the country’s heavenly scenery, visit Interlaken, where a mountainous backdrop and sparkling blue lakes come together for a postcard-perfect escape. A walk around the cobbled streets of the Old Town reveals car-free medieval magic, while the mile-long Bahnhofstrasse is a shoppers’ paradise lined with designer stores. The awe-inspiring Jungfrau region lies nearby, where a trip to the top of Europe on the Jungfraubahn cogwheel train is an unforgettable experience that won’t give you a chance to blink.

Lakes Thun and Brienz are also nearby, as is the Harder Kulm viewpoint, where you can look down on Interlaken from above. Hiking trails snake through flower box-filled alpine farms, while gondolas sweep you up from deep valleys and drop you next to classic mountain chalets surrounded by the Eiger and Monch Mountains.

As summertime rolls around, the Alps are in full bloom with wildflower meadows and glistening streams. You can take a serene cruise on Lake Thun or a paddle steamer on the placid waters of Lake Brienz and enjoy the breathtaking views of the surrounding soaring peaks.

The UNESCO World Heritage–listed city of Lucerne is less than an hour away from Interlaken and offers a dose of medieval magic. Its enchanted Old Town is packed with frescoed, covered bridges, waterfront promenades, and fountain-splashed plazas. The Chapel Bridge, which marks the entrance to the Old Town, is particularly impressive and is one of Lucerne’s top attractions.

When winter arrives, Lucerne transforms into a snowy wonderland where you can enjoy a range of adrenaline-pumping activities such as skiing and snowboarding. The ice-skating rink in the center of the city is a must-visit and provides stunning views over the icy lakes below.

Rhine Falls

If you’re looking for a spot to soak up Switzerland’s stunning natural beauty, look no further than the Rhine Falls. This incredible waterfall features a mighty rock formation in its center, and a cliff-top viewing platform allows visitors to get up close and capture amazing photos of the raging waters. For an even more memorable experience, visit the falls during the first of August to witness a spectacular fireworks show.

This is also an ideal time to eat at one of the many restaurants located in the area. You can sample delicious Swiss cuisine, such as crispy rosti with grilled Alpine cheese or hearty beef stroganoff. There are also plenty of shops located nearby where you can purchase souvenirs.

Another must-see destination is the Bernese Oberland, a mountainous region that’s home to sweeping lake views and celebrated vineyards. The capital city of Bern, meanwhile, offers a storybook setting with cobbled streets, flag-bedecked medieval buildings, and eye-catching Zytglogge.

In the Jura Mountains, you’ll find a different kind of beauty—peaceful meadows, ancient forests, and rocky outcrops that overlook three lakes against an Alpine backdrop. Hikes here take you through secluded valleys and past rustic Alpine huts where you can enjoy Gruyere cheese tasting.

On the shores of Lake Geneva, Lausanne is a vibrant university city with an impressive Gothic cathedral and pretty lakeside promenades. This is where you’ll find the headquarters of the International Olympic Committee, and it’s easy to spend days exploring its renowned art galleries and museums.

Taking a boat ride near the Rhine Falls is a must-do activity, especially during the months of late March or early April through October. This is when the rate of flow is at its highest. But you can still visit the falls outside of these months as well, just without a boat ride. The Northern and Southern banks of the river offer spectacular views of the rushing waters, and you can even bring a picnic along if you want. Make sure to pack comfortable shoes and a waterproof jacket for your trip. You can also visit the falls after dark to see how they’re lit up with various colors.

Rhine Falls

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