Top 10 places to visit in Switzerland

Top 10 places to visit in Switzerland

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Whether you're just visiting or moving to Switzerland, there are many top Swiss attractions. Visit these top 10 places in Switzerland to experience the best of Switzerland's tourism.

Switzerland may be a small country but Switzerland's tourism is anything but miniscule. Soaring Alps and glaciers dominate the top Swiss places to visit –  there are more than 200 peaks higher than 3,000m – alongside Switzerland's bucolic countryside, ancient castles, clear turquoise lakes and breathtaking mountain peaks in every direction. The top Swiss foods make travelling around Switzerland a regional surprise, and once you learn the top Swiss fact, it's easy to see this tiny country has a lot to offer.

To dive into Switzerland tourism, you don't have to travel too far and an excellent Swiss transport system makes it affordable to see the best places in Switzerland. The Swiss countryside, lakes and mountains are beautiful anytime of year, from snow-capped mountain peaks and ice-skating on lakes to hiking through green fields or celebrating the top Swiss festivals, Swiss carnival or national Swiss holidays.

Those who want to experience this European gem will have no shortage of finding places to visit in Switzerland, and will feel safe travelling in this low-crime rate country, although a list of Swiss emergency numbers is always handy. Here are the top 10 places to visit in Switzerland you have to see to experience the best of Switzlerland's tourism.

1. Matterhorn, Zermatt

This pyramid shaped giant is arguably the most photographed mountain in the world and therefore, also Switzerland's most famous Alpine peak and a top place to visit in Switzerland. The Matterhorn in Zermatt stands at 4,478 metres high and draws mountaineers from all corners of the globe eager to conquer its ascent – some even daring to reach its summit. Cable cars frequently zip through the mountain station in Zermatt, the highest cable car station in the Alps, and take skiiers and snowboarders to surrounding mountains during the winter and hikers in the summer.

Top 10 places to visit in Switzerland: Matterhorn in Zermatt

2. Chateau de Chillon, Montreux

Located in the heart of the Swiss Riviera on the banks of Lake Geneva is Chillon Castle – the four-century old water fortress that served as the seat of the wealthy Counts of Savoy. Stroll by the lakeside or parade through its ancient halls where 14th century paintings, towers, subterranean vaults, bedrooms, weaponry and furniture have been kept preserved in their original form. Chateau de Chillon consists of 25 building and three courtyards and is accessible by boat, bus or foot from the town of Montreux. This is one of the most visited historic buildings in Switzerland and certainly a top place to visit in Switzerland.

Top Swiss places: Chillon castle

3. The Jungfrau Region

The Jungfraujoch is an Alpine wonderland that has much to offer adventurers and those seeking a quieter retreat. The 'big three' – glacial monoliths Jungfrau, Monch, and Eiger – tower over rolling green meadows and winding mountain paths, making for truly enchanting views that embody the best of Switzerland tourism.  

In its middle lies Interlaken, a rustic town that has become a popular starting point for travellers in the region. From there you can visit the Jungfrajoch's highlights, such as the towns of Grindelwald, Murren, Wengen and Lauterbrunnen. Hike or take a scenic train trip to the peaks of Kleine Scheidegg, Grindelwald-First, Schynigge Platte or Schilthorn and treat yourself to panoramic views you won't soon forget. 

Top 10 places to visit in Switzerland: Jungfraujoch

4. Swiss National Park, Zernez

Switzerland's only national park is a spectacle not to be overlooked. A throwback to how the Alps was before it was touched by tourism, the Schweizerischer Nationalpark features 172 square kilometres of unspoilt scenery from snow-encrusted glaciers, verdant pastures, waterfalls and lush woodlands, making it a top place to see in Switzerland. A total of 21 hiking routes crawl through the park, giving visitors a chance to glimpse its magnificent flora and, if luck is on your side, perhaps even sight the rare golden eagles, chamois, ibexes and marmots that call it home. The park is easily accesible from Zernez, S-chanf and Scuol.

Top 10 places to visit in Switzerland: Swiss National Park in Zernez

5. Lake Geneva and surrounding cities

Hugged by Geneva on the west and Lausanne on the east is Lake Geneva, a giant liquid basin that has been aptly called by the Celts 'Lem an' or 'Large Water'. It's now referred to as Lac Léman by the French-speaking Swiss who reside in the area, and the 582 square kilometre-lake is dotted with luxurious fairy-tale chateaus on its shores and stretches of hillside vineyards rise from the lake, giving a rare glimpse into the world of Swiss wines. Ferries, paddle streamers and boats paddle through its topaz waters daily. 

The lake is a great starting point to explore Canton Vaud's wineries, Jura Mountains and Vaudoise Alps or the charming student city of Lausanne. Those seeking a more multicultural vibe can quickly hop to cosmopolitan Geneva, the centre of at least 200 international organisations and the United Nations. As the third biggest city in Switzerland, Geneva caters to a sophisticated crowd with elegant green spaces, enchanting museums and gourmet restaurants, yet maintains its grit with a lively alternative arts scene. One of the tallest fountains in the world, the Jet d'Eau, is Geneva's postcard photo. Read about the prettiest Swiss towns within two hours of Geneva.

Top 10 places to visit in Switzerland: Lake Geneva

6. Lugano

Travelling to Lugano shows Switzerland in a different light. Bordering Italy in the south, the Italian influence is undeniable in the Ticino region, from the local language, romantic villas and rich cuisine up to the warm summers. Although a landlocked country, the weather in southern Switzerland is tinged by rushes of warm Mediterranean air. Lugano is flush with museums and a number of heritage sites housed in neoclassical palazzos (grand buildings). The city stands north of the gorgeous Lago di Lugano (Lake Lugano), an area frequented by celebrities which has been dubbed the 'Monte Carlo of Switzerland'.

Top 10 places to visit in Switzerland: Lugano

7. Bern

Not many people know that the medieval city of Bern is Switzerland's capital – but once you step on its narrow cobblestoned streets, all doubts are sure to vanish. History sings in every corner of this top place to visit in Switzerland, especially in its Old Town, which has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Archaic towers loom over Bern's sandstone facades, numerous fountains and entrenchments while arcades are filled with boutiques, bars, cafes and cabaret stages that are sometimes hidden within vaulted cellars. As the current seat of the Swiss parliament (Bundeshaus), Bern is one of the most well-preserved historical centres in Switzerland. It boasts a stunning botanical garden, a colourful weekly market and access to the River Aare and the Bear Park, where a family of bears – the city's symbol – reside. 

Top 10 places to visit in Switzerland: Bern

8. Lucerne

In the heart of Switzerland lies the lakeside city of Lucerne, another postcard-perfect town nestled among a mountainous panorama. Fortified towers, wooden bridges and timeworn churches festooned with antique frescoes have allowed the city to keep its traditional townscape, adding to the charm of this top place in Switzerland. Take pleasure in the thrilling views of the city proper and Lake Lucerne by riding up to the peak of neighbouring Mt Pilatus, Mt Rigi or the Stanserhorn. 

Top 10 places to visit in Switzerland: Lucerne

9. The Rhine Falls

The Rhine Falls, Europe's largest waterfall, is a bewitching natural wonder of Switzerland tourism. At the northernmost part of Switzerland near the town of Schaffhausen, the mighty falls roar from a breadth of more than 150 metres. Visitors can watch the spectacle from several viewing decks while those bold enough can rent their own canoes and travel to nearby castles Schloss Laufen and Schloss Wörth. On Swiss National Day, 1 August, the Rheinfall flaunts a senational firework display that attracts flocks of tourists.

Top 10 places to visit in Switzerland: Rheinfall

10. Zurich

As the cultural hub of Switzerland, Zurich is not one to cross of your list of top Swiss places to see. Unbeknown to many, behind Zurich's metropolis, financial facade exists a pulsating nightlife with a contemporary edge. After all, Zurich hosts the Street Parade, one of Europe's biggest annual rave parties.

While the city has kept some of its historical roots – evident in the emblematic guild houses, Grossmünster church, Swiss National Museum and Lindenhof square – regeneration is supreme in wealthy Zurich. Old heritage sites and factories have been repurposed and now serve as cultural spaces, joining more than 50 museums and 100 art galleries to see in Zurich. Known as one of the world's most livable cities, Zurich offers everything you'd want for an urban escape, yet also the chance to reach rural, idyllic towns just a stone's throw away. Read about the prettiest Swiss towns within two hours of Zurich.

Top 10 places to visit in Switzerland: Zurich

Travel abroad to more top European destinations:

 

Expatica

Updated 2016.

Photo credit: rockyeda (Jungfrau region), bafac (Chillon castle), Hansueli Krapf (Swiss National Park), Dylan Marriott (the Matterhorn), Randi Hausken (Lugano), dicau58 (Lucerne), Petar Marjanovic (Zurich), bigbirdz (Alps thumbnail).

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26 Comments To This Article

  • Jesse posted:

    on 13th November 2016, 12:36:25 - Reply

    Hi, there, thanks for the amazing article about Switzerland! Learn something new about Switzerland.
  • Ganesh posted:

    on 24th September 2016, 22:27:14 - Reply

    I am holding the Nepalese passport. I really like to travel to Switzerland for one time because it is really amazing. But I don't have any idea to go there. So if there is someone who can guide me how can I get the visa and how can I adjust there please

    [Moderator's note: You can also post questions on our Ask the Expert free service.]

  • Poster posted:

    on 2nd September 2016, 16:34:13 - Reply

    Hi I am planning for honeymoon in swiss so can anyone guide me to take best package and place to visit

    [Moderator's note: You can also post questions on our Ask the Expert free service.]

  • Tarun posted:

    on 14th June 2016, 02:50:08 - Reply

    Hi I wish to visit swiss with in 2 years. May the best packages?

    Thank you!

    [Moderator's note: You can also post questions on our Ask the Expert free service.]

  • Natasha posted:

    on 29th April 2016, 09:46:29 - Reply

    I will be planning to visit Switzerland in month of July for 4 days.Which places should I visit and stay in? will this be good if i take Swiss Rail pass for 4 days? Can you pls suggest

    [Moderator's note: You can also post questions on our Ask the Expert free service.]

  • shanu posted:

    on 8th February 2016, 11:19:28 - Reply

    Hi,
    i'll be in visiting Europe(austria-nenzing) in Feb 21 to march 11 can any one suggest me which places i can visit in austria and switzerland

    [Moderator's note: You can also post questions on our Ask the Expert free service.]

  • albertjack posted:

    on 7th January 2016, 09:56:06 - Reply

    Great article, I appreciate your effort. The Rhine Falls is an amazing destinations for enjoyment. I also visited there after my las vegas to yellowstone tours
  • Seri posted:

    on 22nd November 2015, 19:52:53 - Reply

    if you have 3 full days then try Bern (1 day), Montreux 1 day(visit the Lavaux vineyard there) , Lucern (visit Mt Pilatus there) . Zurich town is not that interesting and nothing much to see.

  • Bareyto posted:

    on 10th November 2015, 20:46:13 - Reply

    I will be visiting Europe during the holidays and I'm interested in visiting Switzerland. I have availability from 2-8th of January. Which places should I visit and stay in? Should I get a Swiss Pass for the train?

  • Kumar posted:

    on 15th October 2015, 08:00:53 - Reply

    Hi, I wish to spend three days in Switzerland in second week of December. Please suggest the places to visit. Can I see all these places while staying at Zurich and go for day sight-seeing. Please reply. Thanks

  • Jank posted:

    on 28th September 2015, 22:04:08 - Reply

    Only place to visit in Switzerland : the morgue. And then get te hel outta there....
  • antoine posted:

    on 31st August 2015, 16:20:42 - Reply

    Forget about Geneva. Not worth it, pretentious, boring and super expensive (I know it, I live there !) unless you want to discover the lovely Asian "Baur Foundation" museum. "Chexbres" village in Lavaux vineyards has the best stop overlookingthe vineyards and lake. Montreux is very romantic and breath taking with the lake and Alpes in the background. Go to Lausanne for teens parties, to Zurich, Basel, Lausanne, Martigny and Lausanne for museums. Spend a day in Gruyeres (lovely Castle, cheese factory, "Alien" museum, etc.). Do Lucerne plus Mount Pilate in one day. Don't miss Neuchatel for its amazing archeology museum presenting the life of Swiss ancestors living by the lakes' shores.

  • jaya posted:

    on 15th August 2015, 07:57:24 - Reply

    I am disappointed to not to find TITLIS in the list
  • Damien posted:

    on 8th September 2014, 13:38:10 - Reply

    Nice collection of Places! For People who want to do cultural activities, there's "Kulturpicknick Baden", a combination of cool activities and great deals on accomodation. More at http://kulturpicknick.baden.ch/

  • ella posted:

    on 29th August 2014, 13:04:37 - Reply

    good work
  • Eathen posted:

    on 29th August 2014, 12:54:33 - Reply

    I have never been to the Switzerland but have a dream to visit this once in my life. I now that. Gorgeous Mountain, remarkable resorts, beautiful lakes, green forests, spectacular castles, admirable museums, and historic and modern architecture are its attractive features; that make it a dream destination. I have heard a lot and read few blogs and article about this lovely destination. Now after visiting this great piece of sharing I wish to visit this after completing my Niagara Falls tours. I would like to explore its all major attractions.
  • Marielle posted:

    on 22nd July 2014, 23:48:17 - Reply

    You should definitely come and visit Lavaux Region (next to Lausanne). This region is listed in the UNESCO heritage. The view is amazing and there are great unknown winemakers to visit, check this on www.winemax.ch
  • Michael B posted:

    on 7th March 2014, 13:16:33 - Reply

    No way that St.Gallen should be on this list, there are so many other nicer places in Switzerland.
  • Hendra posted:

    on 21st February 2014, 21:38:48 - Reply

    cool,
  • Suzette Gräbe posted:

    on 8th February 2014, 15:53:20 - Reply

    How many days do I need to see these 10 places and where is the best place to stay that is central?
    Thank you
    Suzette
  • Peter posted:

    on 4th October 2013, 21:51:11 - Reply

    Great guide. I'd also like to put in a vite for Bern. Great city. And for me I'd choose Haslital over Jungfrau. Same mountains, but less tourists and lower prices. [Edited by moderator]
  • Chandru posted:

    on 3rd October 2013, 16:55:46 - Reply

    How long time it takes to cover from one place to another one
  • dr umesh posted:

    on 22nd July 2013, 16:49:45 - Reply

    i want to know how many days i should keep for 10 best attractions in switzerland?
  • Roderick Garztes posted:

    on 31st May 2013, 11:01:21 - Reply

    Nice list. May I suggest you includ BERN in it. The is a UNESCO site, and it´s IMHO the prettiest town in the country. Well worth a visit.
  • Hi posted:

    on 6th March 2013, 08:14:33 - Reply

    this is really good site
  • Hello Bye posted:

    on 7th August 2012, 18:41:39 - Reply

    I think that this site really gives the information i am looking for. Since I need info about what to see in Switzerland- this completley tells me everything i need to know. THANK YOU EXPATICA!!!!