The Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Switzerland to Visit in the Winter or Summer
There is an endless list of gorgeous places to visit in Switzerland, which is why many would consider Switzerland the most beautiful country in the world. Now we’re not here to make a case for that statement we do want to share some seriously jaw-dropping locations you should check out in Switzerland.
Switzerland is a landlocked country in Central Europe and located 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 of 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. It was a moment I will never forget.
However, the beauty does not end with Switzerland’s impressive mountains because of its historic cities with cobbled stone streets, wooden bridges, and affluent old towns beckon travelers to descend from the mountains.
Writing a list of Switzerland’s most beautiful places isn’t easy as you will soon find out.
The Beautiful Places to Visit in Switzerland
Grindelwald village is a bit like a movie set that looks too good to be true or something you see in dreams. Then combined the 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 hope for in Switzerland.
Grindelwald is the perfect getaway at any time of the year. During the winter months, everything becomes covered in white, 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, 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 are planning to explore Pilatus and Lake Lucerne in depth. Natasha and Cameron have used it as a base multiple times while exploring Switzerland as it’s located right in the center of Switzerland with great rail connections.
If you’re seeking a bit of sun, then Ticino is for you! 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 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 a 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, I have concluded that everywhere you go in this beautiful country you’ll be guaranteed to have your breath taken away!
Switzerland’s capital city of Bern has to be the most beautiful city in the country by a long-shot. 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.
At the heart of Bern is the Aare River, one of the best places to swim in Switzerland during spring and summer. Locals and tourists alike jump into to 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 in all directions Swiss farms, mostly dairy, and sheep where cheese is the original product from the area. On a clear day, the city has views of the Alps, including the Matterhorn.
Moving the 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 all 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 alpinist, 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.
If you intend on sticking around the Jungfrau Region, I highly recommend spending at least two days so that you can soak in as much of this beautiful country as possible.
Neuchâtel might be the only place on this list of beautiful places that you haven’t heard 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 yacht 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 never been easier!
7.) 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 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 spring 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. Many years later, St Moritz became so intrinsically tied to winter sports 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.
The Valais region is home to one of the most iconic mountains in the world, The Matterhorn which is like every grade school kids image of a mountain peak.
Zermatt is known to be the place to go for all things snowboarding, skiing, trekking, holidaying and photographing but if you don’t like any of those things, you can watch the mountains, there’s nothing better!
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.
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. The peak of The Matterhorn dominates the background, and it’s amazing!
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 most beautiful places to visit on planet earth, Lauterbrunnen would be a contender for the number 1 position. Lauterbrunnen is only a few mountains away from Grindelwald and Interlaken, meaning access is very easy for those exploring the Jungfrau region.
Lauterbrunnen is known for its cascading waterfalls plummeting from the cliffs above, fed my 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 where 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.
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 is said to date back to the 12th century. Thun has a close connection with Bern despite being an hour or so drive away.
The Aare River which flows through the Old Town of Bern also flows through right near Thun making it idyllic for summer swims and water activities.
During the winter months, Thun is a great place to be based if Interlaken and Grindelwald are full with only 1.5 hour’s 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 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.
When is The Best Time to Visit Switzerland?
Switzerland has so many things to do for all visitors at any time of year, so making a decision when to go can be quite hard.
Switzerland has two very distinct seasons, winter and spring. These months are very much the opposite but are both equally amazing 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.
Spring, on the other hand, 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?
Throughout our entire trip to Switzerland, we used public transport (trains and buses). The Alpine country is well known for its efficient and widespread public transport network. We found it to be a waste of money to have a rental car sitting in a parking lot while we went boarding every day. To only emphasize this point many of the ski villages are car-free and public transport such as buses and trains in your lift ticket.
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 seriously beautiful, 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 finding 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 actually cheaper to rent your car in Austria or France and then embark on your trip to Switzerland from there. That’s if you plan to begin in Geneva, at least.
I generally like to check comparison sites so I can 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
I love real books, but for traveling it can be easier to carry a lighter and more compact item like a Kindle. Plus, then you can download new books on the go!
Please consider purchasing a travel water bottle before your trip! We hate to see one time use plastic bottles ending up in the ocean. The tap water is so good here – seriously please don’t be one of those tourists that buys plastic water bottles. It’s a waste of money and plastic!
Remember that Switzerland uses the Type J outlets, unlike the rest of Europe. Many adapters around Europe are interchangeable, so make sure you find a good one like the one I have to keep you charged. (This one works well in Switzerland).