10 hidden gems in Switzerland

Itinerary guides, Switzerland47 comments

Switzerland is one of the most beautiful countries, blessed with stunning natural beauty. The best places to visit in Switzerland for me are the hidden gems, ones where you can enjoy nature, without being tread upon by hordes of tourists! So if, like me, you’d like to experience those hidden gems, read on! 

Planning a trip to Switzerland? Click here for a detailed travel guide to Switzerland – including the best time to visit, itinerary options (for 3, 5, 7 or 10 days), visa, transportation in Switzerland (including Swiss Pass), accommodation options and more!

I’ve called Switzerland home for a couple of years now and it still leaves me awestruck when I visit a new place! Unsurprisingly, what adds to the magic of these places is how few people we encounter there – makes for such a peaceful experience. If you’re looking for that magic, here are Switzerland’s hidden places you should add to your list (instead of the tourist-laden, and expensive Jungfraujoch or Pilatus!).

For my list on hidden gems in Switzerland, I have tried to include places that are jaw-droppingly amazing to visit yet do not feature very prominently on most folks’ itineraries, and are not crowded even during the peak summer months!

Have limited time in Switzerland? Here’s a 5-day Switzerland itinerary to take in the best of the country!

Here are more ideas for your trip to Switzerland: 25 best places to visit in Switzerland!

Hidden gems in Switzerland

Bachalpsee – The prettiest Swiss mountain lake!

Bachalpsee - stunning off beat, non touristy places in Switzerland

This stunning mountain lake located in the Bernese Oberland is one of the most picturesque locations in Switzerland. It’s also one of the best (and easiest) hikes in Switzerland. It’s the place I recommend to all first time visitors to Switzerland.

The Bachalpsee hike encompasses all that’s most beautiful about Switzerland – stunning snow-capped mountains, lush green meadows & valleys, crystal clear lakes, and wildflowers, all to the soundtrack of ringing cowbells! It is one of the best places to visit in the Jungfrau region and my personal favourite place in Switzerland. This lake makes for a perfect day trip and a fantastic outdoor activity cum beautiful hike from Interlaken, Lucerne or even Zurich. In fact, this is one of the best and easiest hiking trails in Grindelwald & the Jungfrau region. 

Located in the Bernese Oberland at a height of ~2200 m, amidst lush Alpine greenery and snowy vistas, Bachalpsee is a must-visit place in Switzerland. 

While technically not a hidden gem of Switzerland since Bachalpsee is fairly known, there is a hike required to reach the lake which means there are fewer people there. In addition, since it’s a 3-km hike, everyone is so spread out that you still enjoy the mountains & the scenery in peace!

Bachalpsee - Bucket List places in Switzerland

The walk upto the lake is just as spectacular as the lake –  the sharp peaks of Wetterhorn, Schreckhorn and Finsteraarhorn are visible on the opposite side of the valley as you hike along it. This is the hike that will get you excited for more hikes in the Swiss Alps!

Best time to visit Bachalpsee: Bachalpsee can be visited during the spring/ summer depending on snow conditions. The best time to visit Bachalpsee is during the summer, around May-June when the flowers are at their best and the crowds are much thinner.

How to get to Bachalpsee: Head first to Grindelwald in the Bernese Oberland region – easily accessible by car or train from anywhere in Switzerland. At Grindelwald, head to the Grindelwald First cable car station and take the gondola up to Grindelwald First. A 3 km easy hike from there will bring you to Bachalpsee.

Bonus feature to add to your trip to Bachalpsee: Grindelwald First is a beautiful mountain with a thrilling cliff walk which helps you take in the views in an even better way! There are several more activities such as first glider, first flyer, first mountain cart and trottibike available at this mountain.

Where to stay to visit Bachalpsee: Base yourself at Interlaken or Lauterbrunnen for a quick trip to Bachalpsee. You can also visit the lake as a day trip from Zurich or Lucerne.

See also: Where to stay near Bachalpsee

More reading for your trip to Bachalpsee: Read my complete guide to visiting Bachalpsee and the Cliff Walk.

Gelmersee – The lake with the roller-coaster like funicular!

Gelmersee - Bachalpsee - stunning off beat, non touristy places in Switzerland

Crystal clear water, mirror-like reflections and no tourists – this lake is a treat to visit. One of the steepest funiculars in Switzerland takes you up to the lake – on a ride that feels more like a roller coaster than a train! With open carriages (and safety bars like a roller coaster), this funicular is one of the best parts of a visit to this lake – it offers sweeping views of the mountains as it takes you uphill. Tickets for the funicular are on a timed entry basis so it’s good to book in advance.

There’s an optional 2-hour hike that you can do around the lake for even better views, or just walk along the dam and relax on the small beach. Make sure you allocate enough time at the lake while buying tickets since you wouldn’t want to head back once you get there!

Gelmersee is an absolutely fantastic and one of my favourite hidden gems of Switzerland – it’s quite hard to believe how beautiful the place is. The pictures hardly do it justice!

Best time to visit Gelmersee: The Gelmerbahn runs from May to October and tickets are sold for exact time slots. Try to visit around May – June, preferably in the morning to enjoy the hike and the lake with minimal crowds.

How to get to Gelmersee: This lake is located near Meiringen, about 2 hours’ drive from Zurich and makes for an excellent day trip. It is easily accessible by car, however, there are only limited connections with public transportation.

Bonus feature to add to your trip to Gelmersee: After you have visited the lake, you can also continue driving towards the Grimsel Pass for stunning panoramic views, and 3 more lakes to enjoy! 

Grimsel Pass Switzerland

Where to stay to visit Gelmersee: Meiringen or Interlaken, both of which are ~45 minutes’ drive away.

See also: Where to stay near Gelmersee

Melchsee-Frutt – 2 stunning Swiss lakes & beautiful mountains! (A wonderful hidden gem in Switzerland!)

Hidden gems Switzerland - Melchsee-Frutt

Melchsee-Frutt is a mountain resort village which boasts of 2 absolutely spectacular Alpine lakes – Melchsee & Tannensee. An easy walk through beautiful rolling hills covered in flowers with tall snow peaks visible in the distance and the melody of ringing cowbells make for a fantastic experience up at Melchsee-Frutt!

The two highlights of the place are its picture-perfect mountain lakes – Melchsee and Tannensee. Surrounded by mountains and grassy meadows these lakes are worth a visit even if you do not plan on doing any hiking/ biking/ etc.!

Melchsee-Frutt Switzerland
Hiking at Melchsee-Frutt Switzerland

Best time to visit Melchsee-Frutt: The summer season runs from June to October. Visit during the early summer months for some beautiful views of flower-covered grasslands and snow peaks. 

How to get to Melchsee-Frutt: Take a train to Sarnen and from there the post-auto bus to Stöckalp. The Melchsee-Frutt gondola station is located at Stöckalp. If you are driving, take the A8 to Sarnen and the cantonal road to Kerns – Melchtal – Stöckalp. There is a large parking lot at the gondola station at Stöckalp.

Where to stay to visit Melchsee-Frutt: There are a few hotels at Melchsee-Frutt so you can stay right next to the slopes and amidst spectacular panoramic views!You can also stay nearby at Kerns or Sarnen.

See also: Where to stay near Melchsee-Frutt

More reading for your trip to Melchsee-Frutt: Read my complete guide to visiting Melchsee-Frutt

Caumasee – The most turquoise coloured lake ever!

Caumasee - Bachalpsee - stunning off beat, non touristy places in Switzerland

Located in the town of Flims in the Swiss canton of Graubünden, Caumasee is one of the least-touristy places in Switzerland.

Caumasee quite whimsically translates to Lake of Noon Rest. Surrounded by forests, it’s an ideal place to relax, swim and have a picnic. The most stunning feature of the lake is its turquoise green water, unlike anything you may have seen before! Caumasee is easily accessible by a very short walk. It can be visited standalone without the need for a hike. Take a virtual tour of the lake here.

Flims was the first area in Switzerland that we hiked in and though the hike may not be as spectacular as some in the Bernese Oberland region, it was still absolutely amazing. Tall mountains, beautiful forests and wild flowers made the trail supremely beautiful.

Caumasee - Hidden gems in Switzerland

Best time to visit Caumasee: While you can visit the lake year-round, check the weather cam before you visit. The Caumasee lift and the bathing area at Caumasee are open from the end of May to October. While the lift helps save some time, it’s not essential to reach the lake.

How to get to Caumasee: You need to first get to the Flims Waldhaus bus stop. From there, follow the signs along the parking lot behind the bus stop to Caumasee lift – it’s an easy 10-15 minute walk. This lift takes you directly down to the lake. You can also skip the lift and walk another 15 minutes down to the lake if so inclined.

Bonus feature to add to your trip to Caumasee: Take a hike from Caumasee to The Rhine Gorge, Switzerland’s very own Grand Canyon. This 13-kilometer long gorge is the result of geological events tracing back 10,000 years. While you can see the Rhine Gorge from several points along the way, the best views are from the viewing platform – The Il Spir viewing platform is located just a few minutes from Restaurant Conn. The Swiss grand canyon in all its glory can be seen from here.

Where to stay to visit Caumasee: Stay at the nearby town of Flims or if you have the energy, stay in Zurich and visit Caumasee as a day trip (which has been our preferred way to visit the lake several times!)

See also: Where to stay near Caumasee

More reading for your trip to Caumasee: Read my detailed guide to visiting Caumasee and the hike to the Swiss Grand Canyon.

Bannalpsee – A beautiful lake set amidst tall cliffs and with no people around!

Bannalpsee - Bachalpsee - stunning off beat, non touristy places in Switzerland

Bannalpsee is a reservoir in Wolfenschiessen in the Swiss canton of Nidwalden and was built in the 1930s. This lake is located close to Engelberg, home to the famous Mt. Titlis. 

While there are several hiking options, if you are a more laid back traveller (like me!) you can reach Bannalpsee taking a very short walk. Though this may not be my absolute favourite lake, it’s one I’d happily go back to for more visits since it’s usually so empty. It’s one of the most peaceful places I’ve come across in Switzerland.

Bannalpsee - Switzerland's hidden gem

Best time to visit Bannalpsee: If you are there just to visit the lake, May to October would be ideal. The cable car runs during winter too if you’re interested in winter activities.

How to get to Bannalpsee: You need to get to the Fellboden cable car station or the Fell station to take the cable car up to the lake. If you are driving the address for the GPS is: Fellboden, 6387 Wolfenschiessen, Switzerland. By public transportation, take the train to Wolfenschiessen and then the bus from Wolfenschiessen Bahnof to Oberrickenbach, Talstat followed by a 2 minute walk to the Fellboden cable car station.

Bonus feature to add to your trip to Bannalpsee: Located just 15-20 minutes’ drive (or train ride) away is the town of Engelberg, home to the cable car heading up to the famous Mt. Titlis.

Where to stay to visit Bannalpsee: Engelberg is closest to the lake, however Lucerne or Zurich would be more central locations to stay at.

See also: Where to stay near Bannalpsee

More reading for your trip to Bannalpsee: Read my complete guide to visiting Bannalpsee.

Stoos – The world’s steepest funicular!

Stoos steepest funicular in the world. Bachalpsee - stunning off beat, non touristy places in Switzerland. Bachalpsee - stunning off beat, non touristy places in Switzerland

The world’s steepest funicular (with a 110 per cent incline and covering ~740 metres altitude in just about 5 minutes!) brings you to the charming village of Stoos, located at the foot of the Fronalpstock mountain. Stoos is a beautiful village that you can walk across in about 30 minutes.

Once you’ve explored the village, take the chair lift and head up to the mountain for some panoramic views and spectacular hikes. Located at ~1900 m Fronalpstock has several viewing platforms and hiking paths to take in the stunning views over Lake Lucerne and 9 other lakes!

Fronalpstock Switzerland

Best time to visit Stoos: Year round! Go in the summer for the beautiful hikes and in the winter for fun winter sports.

How to get to Stoos: If you’re driving, head to Stoosbahn to take the funicular up to the village. Using public transportation, head to Schwyz and take the bus to Stoosbahn.

Bonus feature to add to your trip to Stoos: Explore the beautiful lakes of Lucerne or Zug nearby.

See also: Where to stay near Stoos

Brienz – Switzerland’s most idyllic lake!

Brienz - Bachalpsee - stunning off beat, non touristy places in Switzerland

Lake Brienz is one of the prettiest, yet one of the most underrated lakes in Switzerland! The uniquely turquoise blue colours of the lake, the charming Swiss villages around it and the beautiful landscapes of the Swiss Alps make Lake Brienz one of the best places to visit in Switzerland and one of my absolute favourite Swiss Lakes!

I had first visited Lake Brienz several years ago when I was an exchange student in Paris and had fallen in love with it and with Switzerland! I had then dragged my husband for a holiday to the lake a few years later. Fortunately, I’ve now been able to make innumerable visits to Lake Brienz since we moved to Switzerland!

Lake Brienz promenade in Brienz Switzerland
Brienz wood carvings

Best time to visit Brienzersee: All year round! 

How to get to Brienzersee: One of the easiest lakes to reach, you just need to get to the town of Brienz – easily accessible by public transportation or by car!

Bonus feature to add to your trip to Brienzersee: Take the charming steam train up to Brienz Rothorn, the 2350 meter summit for some panoramic views.

Where to stay to visit Brienzersee: Stay right in the town of Brienz or at nearby Interlaken.

See also: Where to stay near Brienzersee

More reading for your trip to Brienzersee: Read my guide to visiting Lake Brienz.

Swiss Grand Canyon – The stunning Rhine Gorge!

Swiss grand canyon - Bachalpsee - stunning off beat, non touristy places in Switzerland

The Rhine Gorge is Switzerland’s very own Grand Canyon. This 13-kilometre long gorge is the result of geological events tracing back 10,000 years. You can do several hikes around this area to take in the stunning views of the gorge. 

Read here for my detailed guide to an easy hike around the Rhine Gorge.

Aare Gorge – An awe-inspiring geological phenomenon!

Aare gorge - Bachalpsee - stunning off beat, non touristy places in Switzerland

The Aare Gorge is a stunning rock formation made by the Aare river eroding a series of rocks over thousands of years. There are a series of walkways inside the gorge to give you a close glimpse of this awe-inspiring geological phenomenon.

Lavertezzo – A romantic Swiss village

Lavertezzo - Places to visit in Switzerland

One of the lesser-known places in Switzerland, Lavertezzo is a picturesque village, in southern Switzerland. The unique stone buildings in the village give it a very historic, romantic charm.

My favourite feature of the place is the 17th century double-arched stone bridge Ponte dei Salti over the River Verzasca. This strikingly emerald-coloured river will make you question whether it’s possible to have such vivid colours naturally! Smooth, bright white rocks along the river add to its other-worldly charm and make for the perfect spots to sunbathe or relax after a swim.

Lavertezzo - Places to visit in Switzerland

Best time to visit Lavertezzo: Visit during the summer so you can take a dip in the beautiful river!

Bonus feature to add to your trip to Lavertezzo: Ascona is located just about 30 minutes away from Lavertezzo so you can combine the two into a day trip!

See also: Where to stay in Lavertezzo

So, what do you think? Would you add these destinations to your Swiss list? Which one are you most excited to head to?

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TRAVEL RESOURCES

Planning a trip? Here are some of my go-to travel resources to make it more efficient for you, while staying within budget!

ACCOMMODATIONBooking.com is my favourite platform for hotel or apartment bookings. I love their map interface (I prefer to stay within walking distance of major attractions!) and they have an excellent customer service

FLIGHTS – I prefer to use Skyscanner to find the cheapest flights. I often use their monthly view of prices to decide my travel dates!

TOURS & ACTIVITIESGet Your Guide is my go-to choice for fun tours and activities. They have a wide range of options and a great interface.

TRAVEL INSURANCE – Travel insurance is absolutely essential for all your international travels. I’ve been saved by it a few times when I fell sick while travelling and I swear by it since then! World Nomads is an excellent choice for travel insurance.

47 Comments

  1. So very beautiful! I love Switzerland, it never fails to impress me, everything is very beautiful there, nice list too

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    • Thanks, Lyosha!

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  2. I’ve always wanted to visit Switzerland and now I want to even more!! These images are gorgeous!!

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    • Thanks Alyssa! Switzerland is indeed worth a visit 🙂

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  3. Switzerland is in my bucketlist. But i do find the Rhine falls very touristy instead. Maybe because i like water spots ?

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  4. I don’t need much convincing to visit Switzerland but if I did, the Aare Gorge would be the straw that broke the camel’s back! Visiting Switzerland is one of my top places I want to visit. I definitely want to partake in the tourist-y parts but this will be a list that I bookmark for venturing away from those places.

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    • Aare Gorge is definitely a supremely impressive structure, definitely worth a visit!

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    • Thanks! 🙂

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  5. Switzerland looks spectacular – I love lakes and mountains so it pushes all the right buttons! Less touristy is a definite draw too.

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    • It absolutely is – I love lakes and mountains too, so my love for Switzerland borders on obsession! 😛

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  6. OHHHH MY GOD!!! Switzerland really is a beautiful place!! These photos are dreamy and I can’t stop staring. Definitely tops my travel bucketlist!

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    • Thanks, Jam!

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  7. Switzerland is one of the places in Europe i rly wanted to visit. And looking at your photos gave me more reason to go. Its rly inviting <3

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    • Switzerland really is one of the best places in the world!

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  8. Never been to Switzerland but it’s my dream to go some day! Whenever I go I would def refer back to your suggestions. I love a mixture touristy and non touristy places. All these photos convinced me for sure to check out these places!

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    • I’m glad I inspired you to give these places a go!

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  9. Wow, what beautiful sight. It’s nice to see the beautiful colours of nature. The waters are very clear, someone could mistakenly drink it.

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    • hahaha yeah, the waters are amazingly clear!

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  10. Wow, Switzerland is so beautiful! The colour of the water is amazing!

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    • Isn’t it?! Swiss lakes are absolutely stunning – such different shades of blue that you are left awestruck!

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  11. I would most certainly add these to my Switzerland itinerary. It’s so nice to hear about places less “touristy.” They each look really beautiful, but I’d have to say Brienz is so picturesque, I’m enchanted by it! Banalpsee might be a close second. Thanks for bringing them to my attention with these incredible photos! I hadn’t heard of most of them and now they’re on my bucket list.

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    • Thanks, Jackie! Hope you get to travel here soon! I love Brienz and Bannalpsee too.

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  12. These photos are all so lovely- I’m intrigued by the blueness of the water. I’d love to visit Switzerland for these stunning views and chocolate.

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    • Thanks Abby! Swiss lakes are absolutely stunning – such different shades of blue that you are left awestruck! And of course, the chocolate is absolutely divine.

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  13. I’ve never been to Switzerland; these photos are gorgeous! Wow, it just takes my breath away, as I can truly imagine myself there with my family enjoying ourselves.

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    • Thanks, Betsy!

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  14. Thank you for sharing these off the beaten track places in Switzerland! I have visited Switzerland twice and it remains one of my favorite vacation spots. I hope to return to visit some of the special places you have highlighted especially Caumasee.

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    • Switzerland is one of my favourite holiday spots too – I got lucky to get a chance to live here! Hope you come back for a vacation soon!

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  15. Stunning photos! The reflections are just crazy (and I really loved the wee duck in the turquoise water at Brienz). Also some of the best cheese and chocolate to bring on your hikes. 🙂

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    • Thanks, Lene! I love that wee duck too! Adds such a lovely charm to the picture. And yes, amazing cheese and chocolate for snack breaks are a must!

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  16. The photos are stunning, and yes Switzerland is in our bucket list. I’m saving this for future travels. Thanks for sharing your beautiful journey.

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    • Thanks April!

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  17. We love Switzerland. Something about the scenery and the people just makes you love it more. I can recommend taking a hike to Mount Pilatus. It is right outside of Lucerne.

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    • Absolutely, Switzerland’s my favourite place for natural beauty too!

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  18. I honestly can’t believe these are the less touristy spots of Switzerland. Absolutely stunning locations. They don’t look real. Would love to see some of these.

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    • A lot of these are untouched nature at its finest. It’s absolutely awe-inspiring to visit these.

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  19. Visiting Switzerland has always been a dream of mine and this is why. Your pictures are absolutely gorgeous. I’m definitely doing the Bachalpsee hike and would love to check out all these other beautiful spots!

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    • Thanks, Catherine! These are some of my favourite locations. The Bachalpsee hike is at the top of that list – it’s the one I suggest to all first timers!

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  20. I really haven’t thought much about visiting Switzerland before, but these pictures are making me change my mind! I can’t believe the water is that blue, and I love to see Brienz and the Swiss Grand Canyon most.

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    • Glad I’m making you change your mind! Brienz is absolutely spectacular – a very unique shade of blue.

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  21. Oh my, too many lakes to decide. Can you help me select the best three? We like to do short hikes and we don’t mind having people around us. What are the most beautiful lakes with the most stunning scenery that we should visit in your opinion?

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    • 1. Bachalpsee – by far the prettiest hike surrounded by mountains of the Bernese Oberland and ending at the picture-perfect Lake Bachalp.
      2. Bannalpsee – several hiking routes on the mountains around this lake
      3. 5 lakes in Zermatt – though not included in this article, the 5 lakes hike in Zermatt is stunning

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  22. It just seems loopy that these places are not completely rammed with tourists! Most of your photos seem unreal with the perfect blue waters, sunny weather and picturesque mountains.

    It all looks like a hikers paradise!

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    • hahaha, I like the word ‘loopy’! And yeah it is loopy that there are so many beautiful places that folks do not know about, especially for hiking!

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  23. I love hiking and exploring areas around lakes nestled in the mountains. I haven’t heard of a few of those places. Brienz looks amazing!

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    • Switzerland is perfect for you then! 🙂 Plenty of hikes in the Swiss Alps and tons of pretty mountain lakes.

      Reply

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About me

Gruezi! My name is Smita, a part time traveller and a novice travel writer, currently living in Switzerland. So far I’ve been what you might call a serendipitous traveller! I got a chance to visit several amazing places more by chance than by design. I would love to put all my extensive travel planning to good use by sharing it with you and hope that these inspire you to visit all those famous, and not-so-famous locations! Read More

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