It's tough to find a place not to like in Switzerland.
― Michele Bachmann
The birthplace of winter tourism, Switzerland seems to be an extremely harmonious blend of almost hallucinatory landscapes, alpine traditions, and urban glamor and glitz. As a picturesque region that has been graciously blessed by Mother Nature, Switzerland, a small landlocked country in Europe, is on the wish list of each and every travel enthusiast. And why not? It offers countless options to see and do for all kinds of tourists. For sightseers, the country is nothing less than paradise. For adrenaline junkies, it is an adventure hub, for photographers, there can be no better place on the planet, and for the chocolate lovers, it is the sweetest vacation destination in the world.
10 Most Beautiful Swiss Places to Visit
Alpine forests, stunning lakes, green pastures, bold architecture, and world-class modern art, Switzerland boasts of all these and more. The country is absolutely unsurpassed in terms of beauty. This Buzzle article brings to you a list of ten most beautiful places to visit in Switzerland that will help you plan your Swiss itinerary.
An absolute feast, both for the eyes as well stomach, the canton of Appenzell in Northeastern Switzerland is a perfect place to be for nature lovers as well as foodies. One of the most 'picture perfect' rural landscapes in Switzerland, Appenzell is surrounded by the Prealps, which also makes it a haven for hikers. There are numerous hiking trails in the region; however, those who are not much into the activity can take cable cars to the summits of some of the major mountains. What you cannot but ignore are the traditional buildings with pastel-colored façades, many of which house cafés, bakeries, cheese shops, and fabulous restaurants that offer the various mouth-watering local delicacies.
: Appenzell is famous for its cheese. Visit one of the local cheese factories (there are also guided tours available), and watch the cheese being made.
A purely Italian experience in the Swiss country―that's what the southernmost canton of Switzerland, Ticino has to offer. It's a strange mix, a blend of Italian passion and Swiss cool. The canton boasts of most things Italian―Italian weather, Italian food and drink, Italian language, Italian architecture, and even Italian style. However, before you are too overwhelmed by the "Italianness" of the place, let us tell you that this is that Switzerland, which Heidi
never made a mention of. Beautiful lakes with crystal clear waters, scattered valley hamlets, and imposing mountains―it is a perfect place for those wishing to experience the rural quiet.
: Bellinzona, the capital of the canton is an awe-inspiring fortress town of the Middle Ages. Visit the three castles and old market in the town, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Located right in the heartland of Switzerland is Lucerne, a small city, unsurpassed in terms of beauty and lore. The nostalgic yet highbrow city came to the forefront after, in the 19th century, influential people like Queen Victoria and Goethe spoke flatteringly about her. Lined by majestic mountains and embellished by Lake Lucerne, the city is a perfect destination for paragliding enthusiasts. Visitors are sure to be delighted by the very look of the city―roofed bridges, waterfront promenades, and astonishing candy-colored houses, all make it a must-visit destination. Plus, it has had a reputation of producing some really melodious music for a long time. But, do not get too tempted by the numerous cramped-up shops, which Mark Twain described as "gimcrackery of the souvenir sort."
: If you wish to embark on excursions to the famous sites of Mount Rigi and the Rütli Meadow, Lucerne is the place to start.
Located amidst a perfect setting of two alpine lakes―Thun and Brienz―Interlaken has been rightly called the 'adventure capital of Switzerland.' The scenic city that made mountain vistas stand in tandem with the confined spaces of grand hotels in the Victorian era has today become a haven for adrenaline junkies. And, when it comes to adventure sports, sky is the limit―paragliding, hang gliding, bungee jumping, canyoning, river rafting, rock climbing, sailing, mountain biking, skydiving, skiing, snowboarding, sledging, night sledding, ice skating―just name it and you have it. Plus, it is a terrific base to explore Central Switzerland, a.k.a. Bernese Oberland.
: Take a ride in one of the mountain railways to view the extremely enchanting alpine scenery of Switzerland. A round-trip ticket will often include, apart from the ride, a drink at one of the mountain restaurants.
One of the most famous holiday destinations in the country, Zermatt is Switzerland's car-free village, located in the canton of Valais. Famous for its spellbinding natural beauty, the region boasts of featuring one of the finest examples of topographic perfection―the Matterhorn, a mighty monolith that rises above the village like a shark's fin. One of the most publicized hiking, skiing, and mountaineering resorts of Switzerland, Zermatt and its breathtaking views attract thousands of tourists each year.
: Zermatt's ski region, known as the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise
, is the largest and the highest summer skiing region in the whole of Europe. It is open 300 days a year, and also features the highest altitude mountain railway station in Europe.
Switzerland's second most populous city and the third largest, Geneva is also one of Europe's most expensive cities. Perfectly cosmopolitan in nature, Geneva's people are found chatting in every possible language there might be, and also feasting on an incredible choice of international cuisine. Located around the shores of the largest Alpine lake of Europe―Lake Geneva―the city is a melting pot of international politics. In fact, there is a whole world of international governmental and non-governmental organizations out there. From the United Nations to the International Red Cross to the World Health Organization, the city has it all. And for the tourists, it is a city with attitude. Alongside the picturesque lakeside and the skiing and sailing activities that the city offers, tourists also get a glimpse of what an ultra-elite lifestyle is all about.
: While Lake Geneva is the unmistakable highlight of the city, you can never miss the stunning Jet d'Eau
, one of the largest fountains in the world, located at the point where Lake Geneva empties into the Rhone River. Visible from anywhere throughout the city, it is Geneva's most famous landmark.
Located in the Upper Engadin valley in Switzerland's Graubünden canton, St. Moritz boasts of being the cradle of Alpine tourism. This winter resort has been attracting the rich and the famous since the mid-19th century with its extremely placid aquamarine lake, imposing mountains, and still forests. One of the best known vacation spots in Europe, St. Moritz is famous for adventure sports such as skiing, snowboarding, ice skating (which also happens in summer in the specially made artificial ice rink), hiking, and mountain biking. Moreover, it is also a haven for shopaholics―some of the most high-end designer boutiques are located in St. Moritz, which are often frequented by celebs.
: Amongst all the attractions that you may see in St. Moritz, do not forget to visit the Heidi Hut
. It is where the movie (Heidi) was filmed in Engadin, and today, it is the most famous sightseeing attraction in the area.
One of the most underrated tourist destinations in Switzerland, Basel is Switzerland's third most populous city, located right at the point where the Swiss, German, and French borders meet. In fact, Basel also has its suburbs in France and Germany. The city boasts of world-class art museums, Romanesque, Renaissance, and contemporary architecture, and a vibrant carnival that it hosts each year. The city is also home to numerous art fairs and markets.
: The city encompasses two different worlds into one. River Rhine meanders through the city and divides it into Grossbasel (Greater Basel) and Kleinbasel (Little Basel), the former featuring a vibrant art market and other daytime attractions, while the latter featuring an extraordinary nightlife.
Cobbled streets, frolicking fountains, imposing clock towers, captivating hills, crammed red-roofed houses, and over 500 long years of history characterize Bern, the capital of Switzerland. However, that's not all. The most recognizable feature of Bern is its location along the meander of the fast-flowing Aare River, which has given it the image of a perfect picture postcard Old Town. Bern boasts of several museums and plenty of public art, numerous parks, an ice hockey stadium (second largest in Europe), and an excellent night life, alongside numerous high-end restaurants and bars.
: If you love going to pubs, you can join one of the free pub crawls, which are organized on every first Friday of the month. You will get to visit various high-end bars around the city, and also get a glimpse of the local lifestyle.
Once reputed as the boring banking capital of Switzerland, meant only for the business-minded, Zürich has now come a long way. It is grown to become one of the trendiest cities in the country, but is still far off from all the hustle and bustle that characterizes big and important cities. Home to the fourth largest stock exchange in the world, it is also a city of elite, classy, fashion-conscious people. The city also hosts the biggest open-air street party, the Street Parade
, in the whole of Europe. This is held every year on the second Saturday of August.
: A 45-minute train ride from Zürich Airport will take you to the site of the largest plain waterfall in Europe, the Rhine Falls
. Make sure that you don't miss this intriguing sight.
Most people visit Switzerland for its blissful scenery; however, the country has much more to offer. The splendors of Switzerland never seem to cease, but to experience them, one needs to leave aside the tourist brochures and venture deep into the very heart of the sublime country.