Switzerland is renowned for many reasons, including its luxury watches, luscious chocolate, and high standard of living. But one reason rises above all: Switzerland’s breathtaking natural scenery.
The image of crystalline lakes framed by snow-covered mountain peaks found on so many postcards is real. Switzerland lies in the heart of the Alps, its massive mountains dominating the southern region of the country; the rolling hills and expansive lakes of the Swiss Plateau are home to the country’s most populous cities. Further north, the lesser-known Jura Mountains line the border between Switzerland and France.
For nature lovers, there are plenty of places to see in Switzerland – and even more to experience when it comes to nature.
Walk through the Tamina Gorge
Walking the narrow path through the Tamina Gorge in Bad Ragaz, a spa town in the canton of St Gallen, is like strolling through a fairy tale. Begin the 450-meter journey near the old bathhouse at Pfäfers, and follow the path through the towering walls of the rocky gorge. You’ll pass majestic thermal water fountains until you reach the spring water grotto. Don’t forget to fill your water bottle!
Bathe at Burgseewli Beach
Just outside popular tourist destination Interlaken and north of Lake Brienz is Burgseewli, a small lake nestled between tall trees. It’s the perfect location to frolic in the water – which reaches a balmy 26°C thanks to its’ small size. Swim with the ducks, float alongside water lilies or sunbathe on the beach surrounded by boundless blooms. And with onsite amenities including a barbecue site and children’s play area, there’s plenty of space for lakeside fun.
Trek through the Aare Gorge
Take a hike in the Aare Gorge and watch the waters of the Aare River flow beneath you. The walkway, which has been open to the public since the 19th century, has guided nature lovers through the often-narrow gorge – only one meter wide in some areas – for over a hundred years. With steep cliffsides stretching 50 meters high on either side, the Aare Gorge is an impressive (and perhaps intimidating) sight.
Hike the Creux du Van
At the natural rock “amphitheatre” – actually called a cirque – of Creux du Van, you’re given a panorama of perfection. Over millions of years, Mother Nature carved into the rocky terrain to create a curved masterpiece, dotted with natural springs and covered in foliage. Hike the marked paths, navigating the steps and bridges, to reach the outlook points. Keep an eye out for the elusive ibex throughout the area.
View the Saut du Doubs from a boat
Along the border between France and Switzerland flows the serpentine River Doubs, whose crown jewel is the Saut du Doubs waterfall. Reaching 27 meters high, the cascading water is the perfect backdrop to outdoor excursions including hiking, swimming or – best yet on the Doubs – a leisurely boat ride on the river.
Get a taste of Swiss wine on the Vineyard Trail
Most people think of France or Italy when imagining sprawling vineyards, but Switzerland has its own storied history of winemaking. Get a taste of the wine when touring the Swiss wine region on a 6-kilometer vineyard trail from Sierre to Salgesch. Along the way, you’ll see plenty of vineyards, which you can visit for a sample and a lesson in wine.
Lay about at Lake Oeschinen
Take a dip in Lake Oeschinen to enjoy a secluded slice of paradise. This is where secluded means no mobile reception and absolutely no cars. The lake has plenty to offer without the help of the Internet; there are countless hiking trails and leisurely walking paths, a summer toboggan run, and the opportunity to enjoy the pristine waters of the lake.
Wash some gold on the Simplon
Put on your boots, wade into the river, and pan for gold in Simplon in the canton of Valais. Combine your gold-panning adventure with a journey through the 100-plus-year-old gold mine. If you’re lucky, you’ll strike it rich (with knowledge, of course)!
Walk the Gletsch nature trail
The village of Gletsch may be small, but it packs a big nature punch. With dozens of trails meandering along the valley, there is no shortage of sights. Along the nature trail – marked by six signposts that detail the history of the region – you can take in the rare plants and animals that call the region home.
Switzerland is a hotspot for luxury tourism, and not just for the country’s renowned wealth and history. It is its physical beauty that makes it one of the best countries for nature lovers.