There is an endless list of gorgeous places to visit in Switzerland, which is why many consider Switzerland the most beautiful country in the world.
Switzerland is a landlocked country in Central Europe and in the heart of the Alps. The impressive mountain range boasts a plethora of 4,000-meter mountains, glaciers, alpine meadows, and mountain huts that dot the countryside. My first time to Switzerland is one that I will never forget. I stood atop Mount Pilatus near Lucerne where dairy cows grazed on the green pastures while a lake in the far distance flickered under the early morning sun – a moment I will never forget.
However, the beauty does not end with Switzerland’s impressive mountains and waterfalls, because its historic cities with cobbled stone streets, wooden bridges, and affluent old towns beckon travelers to descend from the mountains.
While writing a list of the best places to visit in Switzerland isn’t easy, however we’ve tried with this list of where to go in Switzerland for you!
The Best Places to Visit in Switzerland
Grindelwald village is like a movie set that looks too good to be true, like something you see in dreams. Then combined with the two valleys and surrounding villages such as Wengen and Lauterbrunnen, it creates a soul-stirring region in Switzerland.
To walk along the streets in these charming villages as the famed North Face of the Eiger looms overhead is everything you could hope for in Switzerland.
Grindelwald is the perfect getaway at any time of the year and one of the best places to visit in Switzerland. Everything becomes covered in white during the Grindelwald winter months, trees shiver off their last leaves, and the stars shine brighter than ever. Winter in Grindelwald means that the slopes become a playground for snowboarders and skiers with a relatively good selection of runs for everyone’s experience.
As for spring and summer, well, what can I say? Everything thaws out, and wildflowers fill the lush meadows; the snow melts from the high Alps, creating natural flows of water conversing its way around Grindelwald.
The whole atmosphere pulls at your heartstrings. Grindelwald during the summer is a trekker’s paradise with hundreds of kilometers worth of trails, and a large percentage of those leads to mountain tops, meadows, or glacial lakes.
Despite attracting more tourists year after year, Lucerne is a relaxed mountain hamlet and one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Lucerne sits aside Lake Lucerne; a stunning lake often dotted with black swans; a historic bridge famed across the globe stretches across its alpine waters. Naturally, the Chapel Bridge has become the most popular spot for a photo of Lucerne and an icon of Switzerland.
Lucerne is close to Mount Pilatus seen from the city’s center and Chapel Bridge. Lucerne is a great place to stay, especially if you plan to explore Pilatus and Lake Lucerne in depth.
If you’re seeking a bit of sun, then Ticino is for you as it’s one of the best places to visit in Switzerland! This part of Switzerland is said to have the most amount of rain-free days in the whole of Switzerland. Ticino is heavily influenced by Italy as it is close to the Italian border. If you don’t fancy a trip to Italy, why not just pay a visit to the vibrant towns of Locarno and Lugano, where you are bound to find a piece of Italian culture and food.
While you’re likely to find mouth-watering pasta, this region is also known for its rolling Alpine landscapes. Ticino has everything from sandy beaches, alpine lakes, meadows, small cottages, cows with bells, and an endless number of hiking trails that lead to UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Ticino’s natural beauty goes to show that every corner of Switzerland is heaven upon earth. The romantic bridge Ponte dei salti is located near Ticino, and is well known for being the “jump bridge,” where plenty of travelers head to jump in the crystal clear waters of the Verzasca Valley
Switzerland’s capital city of Bern is one of the most beautiful city in the country. Bern isn’t known for being located in the Alps like most Swiss cities; instead, it lies in the rolling hills towards the French border to the Northwest. Bern is an ideal town that has formed along the banks of the Aare River. The 15th-century village at its core has given it a reason to be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Aare River is at the heart of Bern, one of the best places to swim in Switzerland during spring and summer. Locals and tourists alike jump into its “warm” waters for a paddle, kayak, or to float around with friends and family.
Thinking about visiting Bern but not entirely sure? The neighboring Emmental Valley is bound to entice you to visit the ever-beautiful Bern. The Emmental Valley overlooks Swiss farms, mostly dairy, and sheep in all directions, where cheese is the original product from the area. On a clear day, the city has views of the Alps, including the Matterhorn.
We are moving from the rolling hills of the Emmental Valley to one of the highest points in Switzerland, Jungfraujoch. Jungfraujoch is a train station, research station, museum, and restaurant on top of a high Alpine Peak. The peak provides views of snow-covered mountains year-round and the massive Aletsch Glacier.
The vast majority of travelers arrive via the highest train in Europe; of course, if you prefer to climb a mountain worthy of world-class alpinists, there is always that option.
The train takes around two hours from Interlaken and requires a transfer at Kleine Scheidegg. Once at the top, the views of the Bernese Alps are breathtaking as they are some of the most rugged mountains in the Alps. In the summer, they also open a marked route along the Aletsch Glacier to which you can go hiking; see our guide on best hikes in Switzerland.
Neuchâtel might be the only place on this list of beautiful places that you haven’t heard of before now. Neuchâtel is a French-influenced town given its locality to France and the Jura Mountains to the east.
The Harbour of Neuchatel allows for exploration of this beautiful area by water, so why not hire a boat and have a professional sail you around for the morning!
Neuchâtel is one of the quieter regions of Switzerland, so escaping the rush of Zurich and Lausanne has never been closer and easier!
St Moritz – Graubünden
Switzerland is known for its excellent quality of skiing and snowboarding. There is hardly a place more famed for luxury and world-class ski than St. Moritz. It’s the destination for celebrities, royalty, and the wealthy, with plenty of luxurious places to eat, drink, and stay.
I have seen a lot of ski resorts on my travels, but none compare to St. Moritz. The village and its surroundings encapsulate the best of Switzerland. It’s a must-visit for those who can afford the price or have the time. The hardest part will be deciding whether to visit during summer or winter.
Starting with winter, given that St Moritz was constructed to host avid skiers and adventurers dating back to 1935 when the nearby mountains became accessible by chair lift. St Moritz became so intrinsically tied to winter sports many years later that it hosted the Winter Olympics twice.
Summer is always the best month to visit Switzerland outside of the colder months, and that’s because everything begins to bloom, days get warmer and longer, creating one of the best outdoor lifestyles in the country.
You can get the best view of St Moritz by heading up the Muottas Muragl cogwheel, which ascends to the mountain top. From the top, you can see far into Italy in addition to the astonishing views of St. Moritz.
Zermatt is the quintessential Swiss town perched at the base of Switzerland’s most famous mountain, The Matterhorn. It is one of the most surreal places one can visit in Switzerland, especially during the colder months when you can ski in Zermatt.
Zermatt is known to be the place to go for all things snowboarding, skiing, trekking, biking holidaying and photography.
A trip to Zermatt is on many people’s Switzerland bucket list. It’s one of the best places to visit in Switzerland, known for its endless adventure activities and, of course, one of the most iconic mountains in the world that you can enjoy many hikes under.
We’ve visited Zermatt in both the winter and summer and it’s truly hard to pick a favorite. In the winter you can enjoy some of the best skiing in Europe, before dining at a beautiful restaurant in the village.
While in the summer you can mountain bike, enjoy the alpine lakes, and even climb The Matterhorn if you are a climber!
Even if you don’t love adventure sports, Zermatt is a photographer’s paradise. Especially at night with the orange and yellow glow of the townhouses flickering away to The Matterhorn, a mere 10 or so kilometers away.
One of the most beautiful places to visit in Switzerland! Lauterbrunnen is a place you have probably seen time and time again, and it’s that sort of place that you would want to visit over and over as it is one of Switzerland’s most magical places.
If there were a list of the most beautiful places to visit on planet earth, Lauterbrunnen would be a contender for the number one position. Lauterbrunnen is only a few mountains away from Grindelwald and Interlaken, which makes access easy for those exploring the Jungfrau region.
Lauterbrunnen is known for its cascading Swiss waterfalls plummeting from the cliffs above, fed by melting glacial waters, and that’s one of the main reasons why thousands come to visit.
Most of the year, the waterfalls or wasserfall in Swiss continue to flow with high melt rates of the glaciers that feed them. One of the most iconic waterfalls is located directly behind the main street in Lauterbrunnen, known as the Staubbach Wasserfall. On a windy day, you can feel the freezing water blowing onto your face as you walk down the main street!
Just outside of the town of Lauterbrunnen, several lifts can take you above the valley floor and onto the mountain tops, which opens up a whole new world. Heading to towns like Murren and Wengen is one of the best things to do in Lauterbrunnen.
The Lauterbrunnen-Grutschalp lift can assist you on your way to hiking along the cliffs of Lauterbrunnen or head onto Wengen, where access to the higher mountains, trekking routes, ski fields, and also Grindelwald for a more scenic route.
Lauterbrunnen is one of the most popular destinations in Switzerland, so I would advise going early in the morning to avoid the crowds.
Thun is roughly located halfway between Bern and Interlaken making it easily accessible for those wandering out of Bern or Lucerne.
Thun has one of the most jaw-dropping backdrops of any town in Switzerland, with the Swiss Alps dominating the views.
Thun has a hint of Bern about it with an Old Town, church, and even a castle that dates back to the 12th century. Thun has a close connection with Bern despite being an hour or so drive away.
The Aare River flows through the Old Town of Bern and flows through right near Thun, making it idyllic for summer swims and water activities.
Thun is a great place to be based during the winter months if Interlaken and Grindelwald are full with only a 1.5-hour drive or train to some of Switzerland’s most prized mountains.
If you are visiting the spectacular waterfall valley of Lauterbrunnen, why not visit Gimmelwald? Gimmelwald is a tiny town with a population of fewer than 200 people; that’s 2.7 people per waterfall (locals only).
So why go to Gimmelwald? Yes, it is close to Lauterbrunnen, but if you are an avid adventurer and can’t resist the outdoors, Gimmelwald allows you to get a few summits and ridges under your belt. You can walk through some of the most surreal mountainside environments that should be high on your places to visit in Switzerland!
When you thought Gimmelwald could not get any more beautiful, Jungfraujoch Mountain pops its head out of the clouds in all of its glory.
Murren Village is set at the very end of the Lauterbrunnen valley, right above Gimmelwald. This is a classic Swiss-style hamlet that is entirely car-free like other nearby towns.
It’s only a short, 20-minute journey via cable car from the valley floor. Just the ride up to Murren in the cable car is well worth the ride in itself. Once in Murren, there’s a wide array of cute cafes with outdoor seating so you can enjoy the mountain views. Many of these restaurants serve up classic local cuisines like fondue.
You can take the funicular up to Allmendhubel and saunter around the flower trail from Murren. Or take the cable car up to the Schilthorn Viewpoint to get views looking out over the Big Three; Eiger, Monch, and Jungfrau. Up here, you can spend a morning at the revolving restaurant, Piz Gloria.
One of our favorite things to do in Murren is the Via Ferrata trail that leaves right from down. It’s a thrilling experience not for the faint of heart!
The tiny village of Vals may not be on your Switzerland bucket list radar; we honestly never had heard of it, but we are so happy we made the journey through this land of endless waterfalls.
The tiny hamlet of Vals is far from the madding crowds that you see in Switzerland in the summer. Nestled deep in a long valley in the mountains, Vals is known around Switzerland for the Therme Vals baths.
The 7132 Therme Vals spa comprises 60,000 slabs of the local Vals quartzite and disappears into the landscape. It is a landmark in the world of architecture, and you don’t need to be an architect to appreciate the building as its fame is apparent.
Stone slabs resemble a cave, and its design highlights the landscape outside from within, and the spa’s exterior disappears into the hillside. It’s a spa that allows guests to disappear into the landscape in a fog of steam and natural thermal waters.
Beyond the thermal water and spa, there is much more to love about Vals. The town is rustic and extraordinary, with an abundance of natural beauty and charm.
Nearby there are some fantastic Switzerland hikes up to see the three lakes of Guraletschsee, Ampervreilsee, and Selvasee.
Wengen is another authentic alpine village near Lautebrunnen, Gimmelwald, and Murren. You can easily visit this car-free town from Lauterbrunnen via a quick cogwheel train ride. Wengen is full of cute timber chalets and provides the most astonishing views over the Lauterbrunnen Valley.
In the winter, you can take a toboggan down the Fox Run Wengen, which runs for 4.5 kilometers from Kleine Scheidegg to the town of Wengen.
The village of Meiringen at the foot of Lake Brienz is surrounded by colossal peaks and is one of the best places to base yourself for exploring the Bernese Oberland. Meiringen is the perfect point of departure for many adventures around the Haslital.
Meiringen is well known for two things. First, it’s said to be the birthplace of the Meringue, the airy sugary egg white shell desserts created in the 1600s., which you will no doubt find all over town. And second for Reichenbach Falls.
These falls were famously featured in an episode of the BBC drama Sherlock and as the setting for The Final Problem in the collection The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. The dramatic drop is a total of 820 feet, falling throughout seven steps, and is easily one of the most famous Swiss waterfalls.
From Meiringen, one of the best things to do in Switzerland is take the gondola up to the Alpine Tower and hike the Horizon Trail.
From Planplatten via Balmeregghorn, the trail winds its way along the mountain to the Tannensee Lake. It’s one of the most beautiful trails in Switzerland and if you hit it on a sunny summer day, consider yourself extra fortunate.
The Reichenbach Valley is a stunning valley well worth a day of exploration. It’s home to the Rosenlaui Glacier Gorge and Old Sawmill Schwarzwaldalp.
The sawmill at Schwarzwaldalp is truly old and magnificent. Built in 1896 and completely restored in 2000, it’s a fun sight to see. Catch it at the right time, and you may even see people working in there. This sawmill is the only water-driven planing machine in Switzerland!
Nearby is the Rosenlaui glacier gorge, a popular attraction in Switzerland that will have visitors exploring the bizarre cliff formations that have formed over thousands of years.
The Saastal Valley is comprised of Saas-Almagell, Saas-Grund, Saas-Fee, and Saas-Balen. All are worth visiting, but we chose to base ourselves in Saas-Fee at The Capra. Saas-Fee is the largest village in the Saastal Valley and serves as the central hub for tourism in the winter and summer.
Saas-Fee is famed for its year-round ski that draws in dozens of professional ski teams to train throughout the summer months. However, the village has so much more such as excellent hiking trails via Ferrata routes, fine dining, staggering landscapes, climbing, mountain biking, and access to over a dozen 4,000-meter mountains making it easily one of the best places to visit in Switzerland.
Saas-Fee is another car-free village; however, there is no train service, meaning the tourism numbers here are much lower than nearby Zermatt.
Kandersteg is a beautiful mountain town with stellar views of the Blümlisalp Massif and is one of the best places to visit in Switzerland. It’s an outdoor mecca with cross country ski trails in the winter and plenty of hiking trails in the summer.
The highlight of Kandersteg is the stunningly blue Lake Oeschinen, which is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful lakes in Switzerland. Nearby is also the Mountain Coaster Oeschinensee Kandersteg, which has made its rounds on social media for being the most beautiful coaster globally.
When is The Best Time to Visit Switzerland?
Switzerland has so many things to do for all visitors at any time of year, so deciding when to go can be quite hard.
Switzerland has two very distinct seasons, winter and summer. These months are very much the opposite but are both equally impressive and give a whole new perspective to the place you are visiting. During the winter months, December to early April, snow fills the valleys of Lauterbrunnen to the peak of The Matterhorn. Temperatures fall drastically, providing a winter wonderland, perfect for fondue and a hot chocolate as sunset slips over the Alps.
On the other hand, summer is just as mesmerizing, with fields of wildflowers blossoming after winter has thawed out. Access to mountain cabins becomes easier, creeks and rivers flow with snowmelt, and the birds start to chirp! September and Fall provide comfortable temperatures with fewer crowds, and summer, like most places in Europe, is lovely yet crowded.
No matter what time of year you visit Switzerland, it will never cease to amaze. Read the month by month breakdown here.
How to See Switzerland’s Beautiful Places?
Public transport (trains and buses) is a popular way to get around Switzerland. The Alpine country is well known for its efficient and widespread public transport network. Many ski villages are car-free and public transport such as buses and trains in your lift ticket, so it may not be in your best interest to have a rental car depending on your Swiss itinerary.
We used a Swiss Pass to travel around Switzerland, and it gave us unlimited first-class transport on all public transport in Switzerland. It alleviated a lot of stress when it came to planning our trip. The pass may not be for everyone as it runs concurrently, so if in one village or town for your ski holiday, it may be best to book a private transfer or buy individual train tickets.
Check out the Swiss Federal Railways site for help booking your train tickets and times (Google Maps public transport provides up-to-date travel information).
Cable Cars and Gondolas
Often the best way to get onto the mountains of Switzerland if you do not feel like hiking is by cable car or cogwheel.
They are very safe modes of transport, and you’ll only be on it anywhere from 1 to 2 hours at the most. Cable cars and cogwheels have large windows so you can make the most of the views along the way!
Riding a bicycle is the next best thing to walking. As you might read, Switzerland is wonderful, and some places are free of cars like Grindelwald, so why not hire a bike and explore the town, city or landscape with that?
Europe is known for having more bikes than humans, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find somewhere to rent a bike for a few hours or so.
Without mountains, Switzerland wouldn’t have places like the Rhine River, The Aare, or its vast network of glacial-fed lakes such as the five lakes of Pizol and Lake Lucerne. Water is parts of everyday life for the Swiss people, so why not hire kayaks or skipper a yacht for an incredible experience on the water?
Seeing the Swiss landscape from the air is a must, and I am not saying go and take photos with your drone; instead, opt for a scenic flight.
Scenic flights operate from most main towns and cities in Switzerland (weather dependent), and the cool things are that if you want to see The Matterhorn and you are in Lucerne, you can do so as Switzerland isn’t an overly big country.
Scenic flights also are an incredible way to capture photos from the air where you wouldn’t be able to send a drone.
Tip: It’s cheaper to rent your car in Germany, Austria, or France and then embark on your trip to Switzerland from there.
I generally like to check comparison sites to get the best prices.
My favorites to look at are:
- RentalCars.com: Provides comparisons for car rentals in Europe.
- AutoEurope: I can often find deals here for car rentals in Europe.
- Discover Car Hire: Searches rental car prices around the globe.
Plan and Pack for Switzerland
Plan For Your Trip
- Protect Your Trip: We don’t travel without travel insurance and neither should you. You never know what can happen while traveling so it’s best to be prepared. HeyMondo provides excellent short-term and long-term travel insurance plans.
- Travel Adapter: Make sure you find a good adapter to keep your personal electronics charged. Otherwise, you may be paying for a cheap one once you land. Purchase one here.
- Travel Backpack: We like the Nomatic Travel Backpack for our travels. Check the price here.
- Our Favorite Travel Shoes: Our answer to this question is always ALLBIRDS! Check them out on their site!
- Get a Travel Credit Card: We travel around the world for free because we have leveraged our spending into points. See why you should get a travel credit card and how you can do the same with our favorite travel credit cards.