Home Lifestyle Things to Do Top 10 places to visit in Switzerland
Last update on March 19, 2020
Christian Lapper Written by Christian Lapper

Ready to explore the majestic beauty of Switzerland? Whether you’re visiting or moving there, you won’t want to miss any of our top 10 places to visit in Switzerland.

Switzerland may be small but it has a whole host of great places to visit. From breathtaking mountain peaks to dreamy turquoise lakes and a countryside littered with ancient wonders, Switzerland really does have something for everyone.

In fact, there’s so much packed into Switzerland’s borders that expats and visitors alike will find it difficult to decide where to visit next. But fear not! With our guide to the top 10 places to visit in Switzerland, you’ll soon be exploring the stunning beauty of this unforgettable Alpine gem.

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1. The Matterhorn

This pyramid-shaped giant is one of the world’s most photographed mountains, which means it’s definitely a top place to visit in Switzerland. Standing at an impressive 4,478 meters, thrill-seeking mountaineers from around the globe descend on Switzerland to attempt the summit. If you’re not feeling quite so energetic, why not stick to the cable car? The mountain is home to the highest cable car station in the Alp, which offers some excellent views of the mountain peak and beyond. It really doesn’t get much more Swiss than a trip to the Matterhorn.

Matterhorn

You won’t want to miss…

  • Visting the Matterhorn Museum in Zermatt
  • Instagramming from the Gornergrat observation platform
  • Skiing on the Theodul Glacier 365 days a year

2. Château de Chillon

No trip to the Swiss Riviera is complete without checking out the medieval Château de Chillon. Located on an island in Lake Geneva near the popular town of Montreux, the castle dates back to the 10th century, when it was used as a strategic water fort. It then became a lakeside summer home for the wealthy Counts of Savoy, when the castle rooms were decked out with all manner of art and treasures visitors can enjoy today. The castle is Switzerland’s most-visited historical monument and is definitely a must-see while you’re exploring the country.

Chateau de Chillon

You won’t want to miss…

  • Taking in the castle’s three sumptuous great halls
  • Gasping at the impressive weapons room
  • Enjoying the boat ride from Montreux to the château

3. Jungfraujoch

The Jungfraujoch is an Alpine wonderland that fully deserves its nickname “The Top of Europe”. Technically a glacier saddle between two mountains, the Jungfraujoch is one the best – and highest – attractions in Switzerland. And don’t let the altitude put you off – there’s plenty for the whole family up there, from mountain climbing to tobogganing and much more. However, perhaps the most impressive attraction is the world-famous Jungfrau railway. Starting at Kleine Scheidegg, the train climbs up to 3,454 meters above sea level to Jungfraujoch, the highest railway station in Europe.

Jungfrau

You won’t want to miss…

  • Exploring the Ice Palace inside the glacier and seeing the famous ice sculptures
  • Flying through the air on the popular zip-line
  • Being amazed by the views from the Sphinx Observatory

4. Schweizerischer Nationalpark

In a country with amazing scenery at every turn, it can be hard to know where to go. But one thing for certain is that you’ll want to visit the Swiss National Par near Zernez. As the country’s only national park, it’ll give you an idea of how the Alps were before tourism. From snow-crusted glaciers to captivating meadows, this place has it all. There are plenty of hiking trails to choose from, each taking visitors past unforgettable sights. And, if you’re lucky you might catch sight of some of the park’s local residents – red squirrels, ibexes, and red deer all call this park home.

You won’t want to miss…

  • Checking out the skies – golden eagles live in the area
  • Learning about the bears that once roamed the park at the Schmelzra Museum
  • Exploring one of the park’s 21 hiking routes

5. Lake Geneva

Stretching from Geneva in the west to Lausanne in the east, Lake Geneva is one of Switzerland’s most beautiful places. From the international bustle of Geneva to the many vineyards that crawl up the hillsides around the lake, there’s plenty to do in the surrounding region. And there’s a lot of activity on the lake, too. Windsurfing, water skiing, and kayaking are all possible for more active visitors to the area. Or, if you’re feeling a little lazier, you can simply sit back and take in the beauty of the lake from the deck of a paddle steamer as it crosses the water.

You won’t want to miss…

  • Tasting the local wines as you take a vineyard tour
  • Taking the perfect Jet d’eau photo in Geneva
  • Going night-skiing in the mountains when the temperatures drop

6. Lugano

See Switzerland in a whole new light with a trip to the southern city of Lugano. Nestled on the shores of the breathtaking Lake Lugano, the city dubbed the “Monte Carlo of Switzerland” blends Swiss and Italian cultures into an unforgettable weekend break. Home to plenty of museums and warmed by Mediterranean breezes, you might even think you’re in nearby Italy when you visit. Outside the city, impressive villas are sprinkled around the lush hillsides that rise from the lake.

You won’t want to miss…

  • Seeing the best of Switzerland in miniature at the kid-friendly Swissminiatur
  • Brushing up on your Italian by chatting to the locals
  • Indulging your tastebuds with Lugano’s unique local delicacies

7. Bern

Not only is the medieval city of Bern Switzerland’s capital, but it’s also one of its most enchanting places to visit. Walk around the old town’s narrow cobblestone stones and you’ll soon realize just why the neighborhood is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. All across Bern’s historic center, you’ll find a whole host of boutiques, bars and… bears. Yes, that’s right, a family of bears – the city’s symbol – lives at the city’s aptly named Bear Park just across the river from the old town. If that wasn’t enough, the city hosts plenty of lively markets, including some memorable Christmas markets during Advent.

You won’t want to miss…

  • Uncovering your inner genius at the Albert Einstein Museum, located in his old flat
  • Telling the time at the famous Zytglogge, the landmark 13th-century tower
  • Taking a dip in one of the city’s popular outside swimming pools

8. Lucerne

In a country of picture-perfect lakeside cities, it doesn’t get much more impressive than Lucerne. Surrounded by three large mountains, the compact medieval city sits on the shores of Lake Lucerne. Wandering around the captivating old town, you’ll be forgiven for thinking you’ve stepped into a painting. There’s ancient churches, bustling squares and plenty of boutiques to explore as you marvel at the architectural wonder of the city. But the highlight is the Chapel Bridge, a covered wooden bridge that has been connecting the center of Lucerne since 1333.

You won’t want to miss…

  • Capturing the perfect shot of the majestic Chapel Bridge
  • Getting a bird’s eye view from Lucerne’s city wall watchtowers
  • Checking out Switzerland’s Transport Museum

9. Rhine Falls

As Europe’s most powerful waterfall, it’s easy to see why Rhine Falls is one of the top things to do in Switzerland. Visitors can take in the beauty of the waterfall – located near the northern town of Schaffhausen – from several viewing decks. If you’re feeling more adventurous, you can even rent a canoe and check out some nearby castles from the water. Every August, the falls host a spectacular firework display that attracts visitors from around the country as part of Switzerland’s National Day celebrations.

You won’t want to miss…

  • Getting up close and personal with the falls from a boat
  • Exploring the treetops at the nearby Rhine Falls Adventure Park
  • Relaxing with a drink at a cafe that overlooks the falls

10. Zurich

And last but not least, no list of the top things to do in Switzerland would be complete without mentioning Zurich. The largest Swiss city, Zurich is also the social and cultural hub of the country. In fact, despite its world-renowned financial offerings, Zurich has a surprisingly bustling social scene. From the popular Pride parade to Europe’s largest street rave, there’s a lot going on. And, if all that wasn’t enough, the city’s pretty easy on the eye – from the charming streets of the old town to the stunning scenery of Lake Zurich.

You won’t want to miss…

  • Relaxing in the parkland that stretches along the waterfront
  • Exploring the beautiful game at the FIFA World Football Museum
  • Enjoying an Aperol Spritz on a busy square in the old town