Switzerland is one big fascinating open air museum with its huge mountains, charming Swiss villages, green meadows full of cows with bells, unlimited number of hiking trails, big city architecture, enormous valleys, powerful waterfalls and many many other things, but let us discover top 25 places to visit in Switzerland. These places consist of small villages, mountains, castles, big beautiful cities, mountain passes, national parks, skiing resorts and other spectacular places.
Switzerland has something to offer for everyone: nature lovers, hikers, mountaineers, skiers, snowboarders, food lovers, architecture explorers, the one who look for perfect escape from big city life, history buffs, boutiques researchers, swimmers and all of you who looks for your next adventure. There are so many places to visit in Switzerland.
If you would decide to visit all the places in the list, you could easily spend a week in Switzerland, so that could perfectly fit into your 7 day Switzerland itinerary.
Things to know before visiting Switzerland
I have traveled quite a lot in Switzerland and have prepared a list of things you can do to save some money: Switzerland budget traveling. Switzerland is the most expensive country in Europe, and pretty much all around the world, so if you have a limited budget and look for ways to squeeze a bit more from your wallet, have a look.
The list will help you to save some money during your whole trip. The tip includes ways to save money for food, transport, hotels and other things you would need.
But during the trip in Switzerland I highly recommend for at least once:
- Try local fondue in a restaurant, preferably in a mountain village.
- Take at least one gondola ride. You are going to love what is waiting for you on the top.
- Spend a night in the mountain hut. This requires a bit more planning, but have a look at my guide: hut to hut hiking in Switzerland.
- Buy some local food from the Swiss farmers. You will definitely see some during your hikes.
- If you come in winter, rent the snowshoes and conquer some mountains. One great place to snowshoe is Sulwald: Sulwald snowshoe tour.
Switzerland as well has 4 spoken languages: German (with strong local accents, from Zürich to Basel and so on, so not be worried if you don’t understand it, BUT every Swiss living in german cantons speak perfect Hochdeutsch), French, Italian and Romansh. So there’s a great opportunity for you to improve your language skills if you are learning any of these languages. German language you will mostly find in the north and mid Switzerland, Italian in the south (Ticino canton), French around Geneva and Jura mountains, Romansh – in the villages of Graubünden canton and other more remote places.
Ok, let us dive into the list of Top places to visit in Switzerland.
Basel is known as the capital of museums in Switzerland. No other city in Europe has so many great museums in such a small area (the population of Basel as well is just over 170 000): they have even 40 museums. If you go to Basel, you must visit at least one of them.
In Basel you can find great art museums, history museums, culture museums, architecture museums, electricity museum and many others. As well, Basel is a host of famous Art Basel: that is probably the biggest art show in Europe where many artists from all around the world gather in Basel, huge trade shows location and present their art. I have visited this even and was blown away of the sheer size of this exhibition. I literally walked for hours to visit all the halls, all artists, all paintings, sculptures and other art works. It is amazing place for art lover and explorer.
Basel as well have a very nice walk by the Rhein river and if you are there in summer, you will definitely see how many people are swimming in the river. It happens every day, hundreds of people jump into the river and just float till the old town. The start is by another great museum: Tinguely Museum. So if you want to have an art experience with some swimming – there’s a perfect combination.
You are going to love the Basel old town as well with many beautiful squares, narrow streets, historical houses, churches and charming red roofs. You will find there many cozy boutiques and tiny cafes which will give you a perfect escape from the fast street life.
Zürich is the biggest city in Switzerland, and no, it is not the capital of Switzerland. The capital of Switzerland is Bern and it is next on our list of places to visit in Switzerland.
Zürich is right next to the huge Zürichsee (Zürich lake) so that offers slow walks by the lake and if you are lucky and the weather is clear, you will get to see the Swiss Alps right from Zürich.
Zürich is probably the most vibrant city in Switzerland with many restaurants, hotels, clubs, pubs, boutiques, huge shopping streets and many other places to spend time.
Once you had your walk by the lake, you can prolong it while going in the old town which is full of historical buildings, churches, tiny squares and rickidy dickidy narrow streets. Overall the old town of Zürich is very calm and humble.
If you are looking for art experience, you can visit the Kunsthaus Zürich which is right next to the old town. On the other hand, if you want to enjoy the wide views of city Zürich and the lake, you can take a train up to Uetliberg, the views are especially breathtaking at night.
Welcome to the Swiss capital which is sitting in the middle of Switzerland.
You are going to love how peaceful and charming Bern’s old town is; it is in UNESCO world heritage. Being the capital city, the old town of Bern is full of Swiss history with many churches, old buildings, and other significant places as the Swiss Parliament or the Swiss national bank.
And what about the famous Zytglogge – the watchtower which was built back in 1530. If you are lucky and come on time, you will see that clock dancing while announcing time. You can as well visit the inside of the tower if you book the tour: Zytglogge tour.
Highly recommend going to Bundesplatz Bern with fountains going up from the ground, perfect activity on a hot summer day. If you go further through the arcs of the Parliament building, you will get a perfect view of Bern with all the red roofs. It is one of the best viewing points in Bern.
If you want to get to an even calmer place, you can stroll by the Aare river and walk to the Alpine Museum of Switzerland.
If you are looking for more history and cultural knowledge, you can visit the Bern History Museum or even Museum of Fine Arts.
Everything is reachable on foot, but if you want to move faster, you can rent a bike and explore more of the city this way.
Lucerne would definitely make it into the top 10 most beautiful cities not just in Switzerland, but in all Europe, for sure.
The city is in a perfect location next to the crystal clear lake with a view to the Swiss Alps all year round. And as well, the old town is charming. It is one lucky city to have it all.
Once you are in Lucerne, please go and visit the Harry Potter world-looking bridges which cross the lake. Kappelbrücke and Spreuerbrücke are old medieval bridges which attract many tourists, so even human traffic jams are possible over there, so take it easy.
You can as well taste the local hot raclette next to the lake – traditional swiss cheese.
If you are looking for more fun, you can take a boat tour on a huge lake Lucerne to many charming villages around the lake.
If you are looking for ultimate Lucerne experience, you must visit Mount Pilatus with its breathtaking views, huge mountain station and nice dinner at 2128 meters altitude.
Lausanne as Lucerne is in a perfect location: on the shores of a huge lake and with a perfect views to Swiss Alps peaks. Once you are by the lake in Lausanne, you pretty much feel like being by the sea.
Lausanne is in a french speaking part of Switzerland so you definitely feel it as well in the local architecture.
Once you are in Lausanne I highly recommend taking a walk by the Lac Leman (Lake Geneva), there is a very nice promenade with restaurants, small port and ice cream places to enjoy. If you want to enjoy a bit more of the lake, you can take a boat tour as well.
Do not forget to visit the famous Château d’Ouchy which is right on the shore of the lake. While continuing your walk by the lake, you can visit Parc Olympique, Louis Bourget Park and Pavillon Thaïlandais.
Once you go back to the old town, you can have a look at The Olympic Museum which is dedicated to Olympics and Musée de l’Elysée which exhibits art of photography.
Later on, when the evening comes, get on to Esplanade de Montbenon where you can get great views to the lake, city and Swiss Alps from the higher grounds of Lausanne.
Zermatt definitely makes into any list of Switzerland top places to visit: if that would a village, a historical site, a mountain place, a hiking place – it is perfect for everything.
Zermatt is a small isolated village that has a famous Matterhorn in its backyard.
Zermatt is as well a car-free village, so you can only reach it by train or hike to it. I have done it once, you can do it as well: Hike from Täsch to Zermatt.
Once you get into Zermatt, you should walk through it if you want to see Matterhorn mountain. If the weather is not foggy or cloudy, you will definitely see it.
One thing that you should do in Zermatt, is to get to Matterhorn glacier paradise. It is the highest mountain station in Europe sitting at 3883 meters elevation. There’s a cable car station from which you can get up there in just under 1 hour. If you feel a bit dizzy on the top, don’t get surprised – it is because of the lack of oxygen.
On the top, you will get a perfect view of many 4000 meters peaks, glaciers, Italian Alps, Zermatt, and Mont Blanc – the highest mountain in Europe.
In the station, you will find as well a restaurant where you can have a hot cup of coffee and as well you will be able to visit ice museum or even go outside on the mountain. It is a fascinating place.
Zermatt is as well perfect for hiking, one hike you can try is to Gornergrat, have a look at it here: Hike to Gornergrat. But all around Zermatt, you will find dozens of different hikes and many Swiss Alps lakes as well.
It is a perfect location for the adventure seekers.
If you have ever seen a Swiss image of a village between mountains and a big waterfall in the background – that is probably Lauterbrunnen. It is a postcard-looking location.
If you are in Lauterbrunnen, you must visit its waterfalls: Staubbach falls and Trümmelbachfälle. Staubbach fall is right in the village, so the walk to it from the village center is just 10 minutes, Trümmelbach falls are bit further and there you can actually walk into a small canyon where water pours from the glaciers up in the mountains.
If you would like to do some hiking, I highly recommend hiking to Mürren village straight from Lauterbrunnen OR get to Grütschalp with a cable car and walk the panorama road to Mürren. The latter is an easier option and the walk up there is full of amazing views. The walk to Mürren will take you 1 hour and from there you can take a train back to Lauterbrunnen.
Wengen is yet another isolated village in the Jungfrau region.
You can not get to Wengen, as to Zermatt, with your own car – you must take a train or you can hike up to it.
You will have to take a train in Lauterbrunnen just for 6.60 CHF and just in 10 minutes you will get to Wengen. The ride from Lauterbrunnen to Wengen is one of the most amazing train rides for such a low price – once you are in a train you will get breathtaking views to Lauterbrunnen, waterfalls and the whole valley.
Best thing to do in Wengen is hiking or skiing in winter. Wengen – Jungfrau skiing resort is one of the best in Switzerland with amazing long slopes and perfect services. You can have a look at my review right here: Wengen skiing resort.
If you come there in summer, you can hike to Männlichen (the harder one) or to Leiterhorn – both places offer stunning views to the mountains and valleys.
Grindelwald is the third place in the Jungfrau region I would highly recommend visiting.
Grindelwald is bigger than Lauterbrunnen and has more restaurants, hotels, and activities overall.
But for sure, the best activities over there are in nature. Hiking, skiing, snowboarding.
If you love mountains, I highly recommend getting up to Jungfraujoch mountain station where winter is all year round.
You will have to take a train from Grindelwald up to Kleine Scheidegg, another mountain station where you can visit local shops or restaurants and as well have a perfect view of Eiger glacer. From Kleine Scheidegg the train will take you inside the mountain and for a while, you will ride in a tunnel which was dug over hundred years ago.
In Jungfraujoch, you will find many chocolate shops, watch shops and other Swiss shops. These shops are all highest in Europe.
There is as well a very nice restaurant where you can have Swiss fondue with great views to snowy peaks.
Geneva is a very famous Swiss city that is home to World Trade Organization, World Health Organization, United Nations, and many other international organizations. It would be even hard to find any other city in the world which has so many important decision-makers.
Geneva is in a french speaking part of Switzerland, so the french language is most common over there. Funny thing is that not every Swiss speaks both french and german, so they communicate in English.
Geneva is in a really nice location close to the Swiss Alps by the big lake of Geneva. As in Lausanne, you can really feel that the architecture of Geneva was as well influenced by french.
There are many different locations you can visit in Geneva, from museums to parks, from churches to cozy boutiques.
You should visit a beautiful Parc de La Grange which was opened to public back in 1917 and has a pristine rose garden.
If you are looking for museums, you can visit Musée Barbier-Mueller – the museum which is home to 7000 artworks & artifacts from the world’s tribal cultures.
Morcote is one of the hidden treasures of Switzerland, so it would be impossible not to include it in top places to visit in Switzerland.
It is situated right next to Italy in Ticino canton, not far from Lugano city.
It is a small medieval village by the lake of Lugano.
I highly recommend walking through all the old town and climb a bit higher, higher than the church tower, so you will get a perfect view of the lake and all village houses and roofs. It looks really charming.
In Morcote as well you can take a boat tour on the lake and even visit Italy. Italy is right on the other side of the lake.
There as well you can visit a beautiful garden Parco Scherrer which is full of different ancient statues or take a walk to Castello di Morcote which is surrounded by vineyards.
Sion is a city in a Valais canton right next to huge mountains.
Sion has two medieval castles which you can even see from the highway once you drive by.
As Sion is right in the middle of the Swiss Alps it offers a very nice cultural and historical visit for fellow city guests.
I would highly recommend a walk in the old town and then visit both of the castles which are on two hilltops: the castle of Tourbillon and the castle Valere. On both hills, you will get great views of surrounding areas and Sion city.
Later on, it is very nice to taste the local wines in Les Fils de Charles Favre where you can choose from the high variety of red and white ones.
If you want to have a barbeque or a picnic, you can go to Domaine des Iles where the whole place is prepared for such activities.
As well, Sion has many hiking trails leading to the mountains.
St Moritz is one of the most famous skiing resorts in the world as it is the first one in the world. Pretty cool, uh?
Back in the 19th century, it became the first place for many people to ski as before mountains in winter was not that much used. Just cold, too much snow, hard to get around – it was painful. Now tens of thousands come to St. Moritz to ski or snowboard.
The village itself is quite small and humble but in wintertime population of the city pretty much multiples 5 times 🙂
There is a very nice lake in the middle of the city you can take a walk around or even on the ice if you wish.
If you have done your skiing, you can go and visit the Segantini Museum which exhibits the works of Segantini, Alpine painter.
As well there is an Engadiner Museum which explores the alpine culture. Engadiner name indicates the place where St. Moritz is – in the Engadine valley.
In the summertime you can take as well take a cable car to Piz Nair or many other places in the mountains.
Davos is probably the most famous village all around the world. Why? Well, it is hosting the most popular economic forum in the world.
Probably all the most powerful people have visited this place: Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Barack Obama, Donald Trump, Greta Thunberg, Angela Merkel and many others. All the leaders of the world gather around in this village once a year to discuss the issues of the world.
Davos village is pretty high up: at 1560 meters altitude, so it is pretty chilly all year round.
Davos has many many amazing hiking trails to the surrounding mountains or you can take a car and visit Flüelapass – a beautiful mountain pass at 2383 meters altitude.
Of course, Davos is a great skiing destination, as St. Moritz.
There you can as well visit the Alpine Botanical Gardens where you will find the Swiss Alps fauna.
Bike roads down the mountains in Davos are as well a pretty breathtaking experience.
Furka Pass is a stunning mountain pass and is famous because James Bond once visited it in the movie Goldfinger which was made back in 1964. But still, till this day Furka Pass is the most popular mountain pass in Switzerland, or even in all the Alps.
It is pretty hard to choose the most beautiful mountain pass as there are many others next to Furka Pass, you can check my ultimate mountain passes adventure right here: Swiss mountain passes trip.
On the Furka Pass, you will get to see the iconic Belvedere hotel right next to the glacier entrance. You should visit the glacier as it is getting smaller each year, it is even hard to believe the old photos from the 19th century how big it was. Next to the hotel, you will find a small restaurant, a souvenir shop, and a parking lot, but that is not the top of Furka Pass. To reach the highest point of it, you will need to drive a bit further and you will get to 2429 meters. That is one of the highest mountain passes in Switzerland.
On the top of Furka Pass, you will find many hiking trails to the next standing valleys and mountains. As well, you can take an epic steam train trip up the Furka Pass if you wish.
I would say that the Furka Pass trip is one of the best alpine drives you will find in Switzerland and the views will blow your mind.
Sankt Gallen is situated in the east of Switzerland and has a really charming old town.
The history of Sankt Gallen is very long as the monks started to come there back in the 8th century (there was no united Switzerland then) and founded the famous St Gallen Abbey.
St Gallen Abbey is the dominant building in the old town and I highly recommend visiting it.
There is a very nice old library inside there you can see old books, some of them are thousand years old. Can you imagine? As well, they have a very old globe coming back from the 16th century and not all the countries are on it as the world was just being explored at that time. It is very cool to look at. Do not be surprised if your home country is not on it.
If you are looking for a more cultural experience, you can visit a very cool museum in the warehouse: Warehouse museum.
As well they have a very nice Kunstmuseum where they exhibit the local and international artists works.
But for me personally, the most beautiful place of St Gallen is right next to the abbey and Kirche St. Laurenzen – it is a peaceful piece of old town which really looks like brought from the 17th century.
Montreux was home to probably the most famous singer of all times: Freddie Mercury. He had a house there and made music right next to the lake of Geneva.
Montreux is in a stunning location: right next to the lake with clear views of the mountains surrounded by vineyards.
Montreux really has this postcard look.
Probably the most famous place to visit in Montreux is the Chillon castle which sits right next to the lake. The castle has a very long history and once even was used as a prison.
If you are a fan of Queens, you can find the Freddie Mercury statue right next to the lake.
Would you like to see some art? Then visit the Plexus Art Gallery.
The museum of Montreux displays archaeology, art, sculptures, and much more in former 17th-century vineyard houses.
And as well visit the Gorges du Chauderon where you will get to see many small waterfalls in lush nature. The whole walk leads up the mountain and in the end you will get a very wide view of the lake and mountains.
Andermatt is a real paradise for mountain explorers or for people who look for a perfect mountain escape.
You can take a fascinating train ride to Oberalp Pass and hike dozens of hiking trails over there. You can hike to the Tomasse, the lake which is the beginning of Rhein river. Or you can do the whole Glacier Express ride through the mountains where you get to see not only mountain peaks, but glaciers as well. It is one of the most breathtaking train rides in Europe.
Andermatt as well has a very nice little old town with local restaurants where you can try Swiss cuisine.
As well, I haven’t found exactly where is the highest golf course in Europe, but there’s a big chance that it is in Andermatt: at 1447 meters altitude. There is one right next to the steep mountains.
And yes, the skiing in Andermatt is extraordinary as they have many beautiful slopes for advanced and beginning skiers.
Flims is in the biggest canton of Switzerland called Graubünden.
It is a small town and the most famous destination in Flims is a beautiful Caumasee – it almost looks like from the Pandora planet (movie Avatar). It is crystal clear and so blue that even hard to believe that it exists in the forest of Flims.
I highly recommend taking a hike through the forest to Il spir where you will get great views to Rheinschlucht – the biggest canyon in Switzerland. The nature up there is really mind bogling.
Back in Flims city you can get a cable car ride to the Flims Laax or explore the little old town and visit DAS GELBE HAUS FLIMS – a little museum dedicated to photography and other arts.
Adelboden is yet another Swiss Alps village in the middle of Swiss Alps and is the last village on the road which makes it a perfect hiking location.
In winter time it is a perfect location to ski, snowboard or even build your own iglu and have a fondue in it after the snow building construcgtion.
Once you settle in in Adelboden, you can have a nice 5 kilometers hike to Engstligen Falls – a waterfall pouring down from a huge mountain wall.
One very fun activity is going up to Tschentenalp – take cable car or hike; over there there is a famous Giant Swing – there you can get an iconic picture of you swinging above Swiss Alps. The shots are breathtaking over there.
What I recommend as well, is taking a hike to a very small village: Stiegelschwand. It is just couple of kilometers from Adelboden – it is very beautiful with old Swiss architecture and if you are lucky, in the fields you will get to see the long hair cows – the most charming ones. As well Stiegelschwand is in a valley, so the views all around are stunning.
Schaffhausen is a proud city and I love it for that. If you land in Zürich, you may see an advertisement with such message: “Welcome to Zürich, a pretty little suburb of Schaffhausen” – isn’t that cool. A city with a proud soul.
Schaffhausen has a very charming medieval old town with many beautiful buildings and narrow streets which you must check out.
Once you are in old town, visit Munot castle (you will get to it while climbing through vineyards) which offers you the best views to the city.
In the old town as well do not forget to have a look at these buildings: Haus Zum Sittich, Haus Zum Ritter, St. Johann Church, Münsterkirche (a very majestic church), Mohrenbrunnen, Fronwagplatz, Diebsturm.
You probably know that Switzerland is famous for its iconic watches, so why not to visit a watch museum –IWC Museum.
But for sure, the most famous place in Schaffhausen is the Rhine Waterfalls. It is the most massive and powerful waterfall in Switzerland. It is pouring thousands of liters of water each minute. Take a bout tour to the small rocky island in the middle of it and make your best Insta shots right there.
Swiss national park
Situated right in the Swiss Alps it is the biggest national park in Switzerland. So that is why it is in top places to visit in Switzerland.
It is so beloved and protected that you can not even let your own dogs run around. Switzerland tries to keep nature as pristine as possible over there.
Zernez village is the gateway to national park so you can start your trip or hike right there.
Needless to say that this park has probably hundreds of very well prepared and maintained hiking trails, but one of the best ones is to Alp Trupchun. This hike offers perfect opportunity to observe local animals, in particular red deer, ibex and marmot. Check out the map and information of this hike right here: Alp Trupchun hike.
In the park as you well you will find many charming villages such as: Val Müstair, Santa Maria Val Müstair, Müstair, but mostly all the park is pretty much uninhabited.
As well, you can visit the very high Umbrail Pass.
If you go a bit further from Umbrail Pass, you will get to Stelvio Pass in Italy – the highest one in Europe.
To get the most information about the park, please visit the Park Information center in Zernez village and get information about all the hikes or places you would like to visit. I must advice you that the best time to visit the park is summer as all the trails would be then snow free.
I think that it is pretty obvious that Swiss lakes and especially the Swiss Alps lakes are pretty much the most beautiful thing you will ever see in nature.
It is hard to offer just one lake as there are so many, so let us discover the best lakes you can visit.
Oeschinensee – a beautiful lake next to Kandersteg city. It has a very specific color and is completely surrounded by huge mountains. You can hike there or take a cable car. The hike would take you around 1 hour.
Tomasee – cute little lake very high up in the Swiss Alps next to Andermatt and Oberalp Pass. It is the starting place of huge Rhine river.
Fälensee – a pristine lake far from any city in the middle of the mountains. It has a very nice restaurant and mountain hut next to it, so you can spend a night on the lake.
Caumasee – a lake next to Flims. A crystal clear lake in the middle of the forrest.
5 Pizol lakes – an amazing hike you can do next to Pizol to see 5 lakes in couple of hours.
Lake Sils – a beautiful lake next to Maloja Pass with a huge mansion/hotel on its shores.
Big lakes such as: Geneva lake, Zürich lake, Lake Maggiore, Lake Lugano, Brienz lake, Lake Thun and many others.
Switzerland doesn’t have access to the see, but some lakes pretty much feel like being by the see – especially the Geneva lake.
Switzerland has quite many fascinating bridges which are situated in crazy places, but Trift bridge is pretty much the most insane one. So it definitely makes into top places to visit in Switzerland.
It is a long 170 meters “monkey” footbridge above Trift glacier. Once you cross it, the ground is 100 meters below you.
You can reach it only by hiking to it (1,5 hour, back and forth – 3 hours), you will have to gain 695 meters in altitude and it is open only from June to October.
A hike itself to the bridge is a small adventure with a views to the mountains, forests and turquoise blue glacier lake.
On the way back you can visit the local hut: Windegghütte or even spend a night there up in the Swiss Alps.
This hotel/restaurant is situated in pretty much the most uncomfortable location in Switzerland, but it looks stunning and attracts many visitors each year.
Just have a look how unusual it looks. Lovely!
Top places to visit in Switzerland sum up
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