25 best places to visit in Switzerland

Itinerary guides, Switzerland29 comments

Beautiful scenic locations, stunningly pretty lakes and mountains, charming towns and villages, the yummiest chocolates and cheeses, and superlative public transportation – what’s not to love about Switzerland! (Except maybe how expensive it is but hey, you get used to it after a while!) You could spend years in Switzerland and still continue to be overwhelmed by how spectacular everything is! To give you a taste of the best of it, here’s my list of the best, most epic places to visit in Switzerland.

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!

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

Best places to visit in Switzerland – Beautiful Lakes

Bachalpsee

Surrounded by snow capped mountains and crystal clear water, Bachalpsee is the prettiest Swiss mountain lake.

Stunning Bachalpsee

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. This is a day trip we take all our visitors to give them a jaw-dropping experience! 

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.

Bachalpsee - Bucket List places in Switzerland

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.

Grindelwald First Cliff Walk

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

Read my complete guide to visiting Bachalpsee and my guide to the First Cliff Walk.

Oeschinensee

Oeschinensee is a bright blue Swiss mountain lake – unbelievably photogenic and much lesser known, making for fewer crowds!

The spectacular Lake Oeschinen

Located in the Bernese Oberland region at a height of ~1600 m the lake makes for a stunning landscape. Surrounded by sharp peaks and a small waterfall at one end, Oeschinensee is ridiculously beautiful and one of the best places to visit in Switzerland. This lake also features high on our list of places to take visitors to!

The very short optional hike to the lake adds to the charm of the experience. The landscapes along the hike are simply breathtaking and quite different to most other hikes you’ll do in the Swiss Alps.

You can also take a boat out to see the waterfall up close – and get a little workout for your arms!

Best time to visit Oeschinensee: May to October are the best months to hike to Oeschinensee. The lake freezes over in winter and the trails usually open by May.

Oeschinensee - best places to visit in Switzerland

How to get to Oeschinensee: From Zurich, take the train or drive up to the town of Kandersteg and head to the Oeschinensee cable car station. Take the gondola up to the top station, Oeschinen Bergstation and from there either take the electric bus or (recommended!) take the easy 2 km hike to the lake.

Bonus feature to add to your trip to Oeschinensee: Ride the toboggan (or the mountain coaster) down the mountain for an exhilarating experience. Take up more hikes in the region – some take you higher up into the mountains for more spectacular views of Oeschinensee.

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

See also: Where to stay near Oeschinensee

Read my complete guide to visiting Oeschinensee.

Gelmersee

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!

Gelmersee - best places to visit in Switzerland

You would have seen sped-up versions of this funicular on social media and though the actual ride is not quite as exciting, it’s spectacular nonetheless!

Crystal clear water, mirror-like reflections and no tourists – this lake is a treat to visit. 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.

We had booked our tickets for this lake a few times before we were finally able to make it there! Some of the times it was down to bad weather while other times it was our inability to get up early in the morning (the overconfident me had often booked tickets for the earliest time slot which meant leaving from Zurich at the crack of dawn, easier said than done!)!

The time we were finally able to make it was absolutely fantastic – it’s quite hard to believe how beautiful the place is. The pictures hardly do it justice!

Gelmersee - Best places to visit in Switzerland

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

Bannalpsee

Bannalpsee is a hidden gem – a beautiful lake set amidst tall cliffs and with no people around! 

Stunning Bannalpsee

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. 

While 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.

The stunningly beautiful Lake Bannalp

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.

Engelberg - best places to visit in Switzerland

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

Read my complete guide to visiting Bannalpsee.

Lake Brienz

Lake Brienz’s powder blue colour and it’s stunning location surrounded by the mountains of the Bernese Oberland make it a breathtaking place to visit.

Brienz Lake - Best places to visit in Switzerland

The town of Brienz located at the shores of this lake makes for the perfect spot to enjoy the lake. There is a wonderful promenade along the lake lined with beautiful wood carvings. Brienz town and the lake are bucket-list worthy places to visit in Switzerland!

Fun fact: The town of Brienz has a long history of woodworking and you’ll find fascinating carvings everywhere!

Brienz - best lakes to visit in Switzerland

I’ve loved this lake ever since I first took the Golden Panorama train ride in Switzerland back in 2013 and then brought my husband back to it during our honeymoon! Can’t believe my luck that I’ve visited it so many more times now that I live in Switzerland!

Brienz Lake - Best places to visit in Switzerland

We’ve been to this lake both during the summer and during the winter and every time it’s been fairly empty and we’ve had the most wonderful experiences. The milky blue colour of Brienzersee is very unique and it is one of the absolute best places to visit in Switzerland.

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

Read my guide to visiting Lake Brienz.

Blausee

Blausee is the bluest lake you’ll ever see – its name literally means Blue Lake!

Blausee - best lakes to visit in Switzerland

This small lake with crystal clear waters is located in a beautiful nature park. There is a trail that goes around the lake taking you through pine trees and moss-covered boulders. You are guaranteed to feel transported to an enchanted forest here!

There is an interesting legend behind Blausee. It is said that the lake is deep blue in colour because of the deep blue coloured eyes of the young girl who died of a broken heart. In eternal memory of the love of this girl, there’s even an underwater statue at Blausee!

Blausee

Best time to visit Blausee: The park is open year round so pick your time! Try and avoid the peak summer season to enjoy the place in peace.

How to get to Blausee: If you’re driving, the GPS coordinates you need are: 46°32’02.0″N 7°40’01.6″E. We’ve visited Blausee on day trips from Zurich multiple times and it is easily doable. If you’re using public transportation, head to the train stations of Frutigen or Kandersteg and take the bus to Blausee.

Where to stay to visit Blausee: You can choose to stay at Grand Hotel – the hotel right in the park itself or in the nearby town of Kandersteg. You can also base yourself at Interlaken or Bern.

See also: Where to stay near Blausee

Caumasee

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.

We also took our parents to the lake and despite the long drive from Zurich, they were enthralled by the place. Bonus for us was that we reached the place after 5 pm so the entry was free!

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 - Bachalpsee - stunning off beat, non touristy places 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.

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

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

Read my detailed guide to visiting Caumasee and the hike to the Swiss Grand Canyon.

Klöntalersee

Klöntalersee is a large Alpine lake surrounded by lush green forests and tall mountains.

Klontalersee - best lakes to visit in Switzerland

Ridiculously photogenic and completely devoid of tourists, Klöntalersee is one of the hidden gems of Switzerland

This emerald lake occupies a large portion of the Klöntal valley and is used as a natural reservoir. There is a lovely trail along the lake through the forests where you can hike, picnic or swim.

We came across this lake when we were looking for places to visit in Glarus in Switzerland since that was a canton that we hadn’t been to much. Surprisingly, it took quite a bit of research to come across this beautiful lake! Well, now the secret is out! Add Klöntalersee to your list of places to visit in Switzerland.

Best time to visit Klöntalersee: All year round! If you’d like to swim or take the drive up to Klausen pass, choose the summer season to visit the lake.

Klontalersee - best lakes to visit in Switzerland

How to get to Klöntalersee: Drive or take the train to Glarus. From there head to Klöntal and follow signs to Klöntalersee.

Bonus feature to add to your trip to Klöntalersee: Take a drive along the stunning mountain scenery to Klausen Pass – an Alpine pass at a height of ~2000 m. The views from the top of the pass are absolutely spectacular. 

Klausen Pass Switzerland

Where to stay to visit Klöntalersee: Stay at the town of Glarus nearby or camp at the lake itself! There are large camping grounds next to the lake.

See also: Where to stay near Klöntalersee

Planning a trip to Switzerland? Here are more useful tips.

Best places to visit in Switzerland – Stunning Mountains

Mount Rigi

Mt. Rigi offers an all-encompassing experience of all that’s wonderful about Switzerland!

Mount Rigi - Bachalpsee - stunning off beat, non touristy places in Switzerland

A trip to Mount Rigi from Lucerne includes a cruise on the delightful Lake Lucerne, a ride on a steep funicular, spectacular views from the Rigi cogwheel train, a beautiful mountain top and stunning views across Central Switzerland – and surprisingly few tourists! There are 13 lakes that you can see from the top! On a clear day, even the sharp peaks of several Jungfrau giants are visible. 

A visit to Mount Rigi is fully covered under the Swiss pass. Need I sell the place more?! Make sure it’s on your list of places to visit in Switzerland! 

Rigi - Best places to visit in Switzerland

Best time to visit Mt. Rigi: Rigi is open for visits all year round – from hiking in the summer to skiing in the winter, there’s a lot to do here!

How to get to Mt. Rigi: Start at Lucerne and take a ferry to Vitznau. You can buy a round trip ticket for the entire journey up to and back from Rigi Kulm right at the ferry ticket counter. Take the mountain railway from Vitznau to Rigi Kulm.

Bonus feature to add to your trip to Mt. Rigi: There are multiple hiking trails on Mt. Rigi. Here’s where you can find more details.

Where to stay to visit Mt. Rigi: Lucerne or Zurich are both ideal for this trip. If you’re staying in Zurich, add about 45 min – 1 hour travel time for this excursion.

See also: Where to stay near Mt. Rigi

Read my complete travel guide to visiting Mount Rigi.

Schilthorn

Schilthorn offers 360 degree panoramic views of the Swiss skyline including the giants of the Bernese Oberland region – Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau.

Schilthorn - best places to visit in Switzerland
Schilthorn - best places to visit in Switzerland

At a height of 2970 m, Schilthorn is one of the highest peaks in the region located across the Lauterbrunnen valley from the famous Jungfraujoch. From the multiple viewing platforms, you get spectacular views of 200+ mountain peaks!

Famous for being the shooting location for a Bond movie, there are Bond motifs all over the mountain. Enjoy the photo booths and the trivia about Bond movies here.

Another landmark at Schilthorn is Piz Gloria, the famous rotating restaurant! Enjoy a meal while taking in views of the mountains around you.

Schilthorn - best places to visit in Switzerland

Best time to visit Schilthorn: Year-round! Since Schilthorn is less touristy than Jungfraujoch, you can easily get tickets and enjoy the views with much fewer crowds

How to get to Schilthorn: Head to Stechelberg, near Lauterbrunnen and take the cable cars upto Schilthorn.

Bonus feature to add to your trip to Schilthorn: Stop over at Brig for the thrilling cliff walk and at Murren to take a stroll through the charming car free village.

Schilthorn Cliff Walk Brig
Murren - best places to visit in Switzerland

Where to stay to visit Schilthorn: Stay at Lauterbrunnen or Interlaken to make the easy trip to Schilthorn. We have (as usual!) visited this place as a day trip from Zurich.

See also: Where to stay near Schilthorn

Mount Titlis

Mount Titlis is always our recommendation to visitors asking for a snow capped mountain to discover in Switzerland.

Titlis - best places in Switzerland

Cheaper than most other attractions (I’m looking at you Jungfraujoch!) and just as spectacular, Mt. Titlis is a must-visit place in Switzerland.

At ~3200 m, Titlis is one of the highest mountains in Switzerland and is perpetually covered in snow. The landscapes from the top are absolutely breathtaking. There are multiple viewing areas which give you 360-degrees views of the mountains around.

The thrilling cliff walk is one of our favourite features at Mt. Titlis. Walk through the snow to get to the start of the cliff walk, and end it in an ice cave – could there be anything more fun!

Titlis - best places in Switzerland
Titlis - best places in Switzerland

Best time to visit Mt. Titlis: Open year round, Titlis is an amazing place to visit in any season – just make sure it’s a clear sunny day.

How to get to Mt. Titlis: Drive or take the train to Engelberg where the Titlis cable car station is located and take the gondolas up to the mountain.

Bonus feature to add to your trip to Mt. Titlis: Discover the pretty village of Engelberg!

Where to stay to visit Mt. Titlis: Stay at Engelberg for a quick visit to Titlis or stay at Lucerne or Zurich and visit Titlis as a day trip. Guess our preferred way to visit Mt. Titlis – that’s right, a day trip from Zurich!

See also: Where to stay near Mt. Titlis

Read my guide to visiting Mount Titlis.

Harder Kulm

Interlaken’s own mountain, Harder Kulm offers views like no other – from the stunningly blue Brienzersee to the emerald blue Thunersee, with the peaks of Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau in the background.

Located at 1300 m, Harder Kulm is one of the best places to visit in Switzerland. Take in the spectacular views from the Zwei-Seen-Steg (Two-Lakes-Bridge) or from the castle-like restaurant next to it.

Harder Kulm - epic places to visit in Switzerland
Harder Kulm - epic places to visit in Switzerland

Best time to visit Harder Kulm: The gondola that takes you up to Harder Kulm operates from April to November. Avoid the peak July – August season if you’d rather not stand in queues.

How to get to Harder Kulm: The easiest mountain to reach, Harder Kulm is super easy to visit. Take the 10-minute cable car up from the gondola station located next to the Interlaken train station.

Bonus feature to add to your trip to Harder Kulm: Several panoramic hikes start from Harder Kulm, or if you’re not feeling too adventurous, head down to the town of Interlaken and take a stroll through the pretty streets.

Where to stay to visit Harder Kulm: Interlaken forms the perfect base location not just to visit Harder Kulm, but also to visit all the attractions in the Bernese Oberland region.

See also: Where to stay in Interlaken

Fronalpstock (& Stoos)

The world’s steepest funicular (with a 110 percent 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 steepest funicular in the world. Bachalpsee - stunning off beat, non touristy places in Switzerland. Bachalpsee - stunning off beat, non touristy places in Switzerland

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!

We took our parents on a short hike at Fronalpstock and they loved it! We had panoramic views of Lake Lucerne throughout the hike, as well as tall Alpine peaks of central Switzerland in the background.

Fronalpstock Switzerland
Enjoy beautiful hikes on the mountains near Zurich

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

Best places to visit in Switzerland – Spectacular Waterfalls

Rhine Falls

Europe’s most powerful waterfall, the Rhine falls, are our go-to day trip for any visitors.

Rhine Falls

We’ve already been to Rhine Falls 5+ times already and every outing continues to amaze us! 

These falls are super easy to reach and are among the cheapest but most amazing places to visit in Switzerland!

There are multiple platforms built along the falls that give you an opportunity to see them up close. Standing in front of the gushing waterfall will leave you spell bound!

My favorite viewing platform - the water almost has a hypnotic effect here!

Best time to visit Rhine Falls: Rhine Falls remain open throughout the year. It’s equally wonderful to take in the falls with snow surrounding them in the winter as it is to visit in the summer. I’ve been there in April, June and July and have enjoyed myself every time. I’d still suggest Summer as the best time, preferably May to July to get the best views.

How to get to Rhine Falls: Rhine Falls are easily accessible by train or by road from Zurich/ Lucerne. If you’re using public transportation, head to Schloss Laufen am Rheinfall. A short walk (or an elevator ride) up from the station is the Schloss (German for castle) where the falls are located. If you’re driving, head to Parking am Schloss Laufen.

Bonus feature to add to your trip to Rhine Falls: The charming town of Schaffhausen is located very close to the falls. Explore the wooden buildings and the beautiful painted facades in this historic town.

Where to stay to visit Rhine Falls: Zurich would make an excellent place to base yourself in to explore these falls.

See also: Where to stay near Rhine Falls

Read my detailed guide to visiting the Rhine Falls.

Trümmelbach Falls

One of the most unique waterfalls I’ve ever seen, Trümmelbach Falls are Europe’s largest subterranean waterfalls and one of the best places to visit in Switzerland.

Trummelbach Falls - where to visit in Switzerland

Set inside a mountain, these are a series of 10 waterfalls fed by the Jungfrau glaciers. Superb Swiss engineering allows you to access these falls through underground lifts and galleries.

Deafeningly roaring water will greet you as you go inside the caves to see these falls – you’ll feel awed and supremely tiny in the face of the waterfalls!

As amazing as these falls are, they are very difficult to capture on camera – the low lights and the sprays of water do not help.

Trummelbach Falls - where to visit in Switzerland

Best time to visit Trümmelbach Falls: The falls are open to visitors from April to November and are very busy during July – August. 

How to get to Trümmelbach Falls: About a 5-minute drive from Lauterbrunnen you’ll see signs for Trümmelbachfälle. If you’re using public transportation, take the post bus from Lauterbrunnen.

Bonus feature to add to your trip to Trümmelbach Falls: Hike back from the falls to Lauterbrunnen through the valley of 72 waterfalls! On the way, spend some time at the famous Staubbach Falls.

Where to stay to visit Trümmelbach Falls: Lauterbrunnen or Interlaken would be ideally suited for a visit to these falls (and multiple other places in the Bernese Oberland region!). You can also visit as a day trip from Zurich or Lucerne.

See also: Where to stay near Trümmelbach Falls

Reichenbach Falls 

I’m not saying I sneaked this one into this list since I love Sherlock Holmes, but hey, who doesn’t love Sherlock Holmes, right?!

Reichenbach Falls - where to visit in Switzerland

The famous Reichenbach Falls are the setting of Doyle’s ‘The Final Problem’ where Sherlock fights Moriarty to his death (albeit a temporary one since he was resurrected later!). You will find odes to the great detective everywhere near these falls, including a small museum!

While Reichenbach Falls are not the most spectacular of waterfalls in Switzerland, the sweeping views of the valley from the top make it worth a visit.

Best time to visit Reichenbach Falls: The Reichenbachfall-Bahn funicular operates from May to October

How to get to Reichenbach Falls: Head to the Meiringen railway station and take a bus to the Reichenbachfall-Bahn funicular, or drive directly to the funicular station.

Bonus feature to add to your trip to Reichenbach Falls: Visit the spectacular Aare Gorge, located just a 10 minutes’ drive from Reichenbach Falls. 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.

Aare Gorge Switzerland

Where to stay to visit Reichenbach Falls: Base yourself at Meiringen or at Interlaken to visit most places in the Bernese Oberland region. Or, per my usual advice, visit as a day trip from Zurich or Lucerne!

See also: Where to stay near Reichenbach Falls

Best places to visit in Switzerland – Charming Swiss Cities & Towns

Zürich

Zürich is a vibrant cosmopolitan city steeped in culture and history dating back 5000 years.

The Gross Munster is one of Zurich's icons
The Gross Munster is one of Zurich’s icons

A beautiful river and a stunning lake surrounded by lush green hills add to the charm of this city.

I’ve called Zürich home for a few months now and can already understand why it ranks so highly on the list of cities with the world’s best quality of life. Head on to Zürich to discover for yourself and be prepared to be amazed at the plentiful opportunities (and mostly free ones!) for leisure, enjoyment and relaxation and the beautiful cultural and gastronomic diversity.

Every time I’m out in the old town of Zurich for shopping I’m tempted to take pictures and join the hordes of tourists doing the same! It’s just so pretty that I can’t help it!

Zurich - best places to visit in Switzerland
Zurich - best places to visit in Switzerland

Best time to visit Zürich: Any time! You can enjoy the beautiful Christmas markets and wonderful holiday season during the winter or come during summer for wonderful views and spectacular hikes.

See also: Where to stay in Zürich

Read my complete guide to Zurich, including things to do in every season, the best places to eat and stay at, and tips on getting around.

Lucerne

Lucerne is a fairy-tale like town, complete with charming cobbled streets, a stunning lake, snow peaked mountains and quaint buildings.

Lucerne - bucket list places in Switzerland

One of the most romantic places to visit in Switzerland, Lucerne will take your breath away!

From the charming old town to the famous Kapellbrücke, the Lion Monument, and the spectacular lake promenade, Lucerne has plenty of amazing sights to keep you engrossed in the town itself. 

Lucerne - bucket list places in Switzerland
Lucerne - bucket list places in Switzerland

Head on to the nearby mountains for panoramic views and opportunities for hiking (or skiing!).

Best time to visit Lucerne: Anytime! The beautiful town covered in snow looks just as magical as when it is covered in flowers! 

See also: Where to stay in Lucerne

Zermatt

Another fairytale-like (and charmingly car-free) town – inches of snow and the magnificent Matterhorn make Zermatt one of the absolute best places to visit in Switzerland.

Matterhorn Toblerone Zermatt

Zermatt is a beautiful town located at an elevation of 1600 m, below the iconic Matterhorn. It’s a popular place for mountaineering, skiing and hiking. Or even a beautiful stroll in the town if you are the more laid back type.

We visited Zermatt on a day trip from Zurich (I know, ambitious right?!) and the 3 hours in the train to get there were tiring but worth it! The fresh air at Zermatt is enough to invigorate anyone! Plus, on the way back we decided to skip the regular route and took the Glacier Express route on a whim and it turned out to be a fantastic decision – we got to explore the beauty of the glaciers without paying the exorbitant ticket prices for the actual Glacier Express.

Zermatt - one of the best places in Switzerland

Best time to visit Zermatt: Anytime – Ski in the winter and hike in the summer!  Even if you are not into either of these activities, the views from taking various excursions such as the trains to Gornergrat or the cable car to Sunnegga, are worth a visit.

See also: Where to stay in Zermatt

Read my guide to the best things to do in Zermatt.

Ascona

Let’s head to the Mediterranean side of Switzerland for a bit and take in Ascona, the pearl of Lake Maggiore!

Ascona - where to visit in Switzerland

Ascona is a historic village with a rich medieval and Renaissance history. As you stroll down the streets, you’ll be enthralled by the cultural and historic landmarks. The lakefront is my favourite place in Ascona – with colourful houses and cafes lining the promenade, it’s an amazing place to take a stroll in (and have some fantastic Italian food!).

We last visited Ascona during the winter and while there was snow everywhere on the drive from Zurich, Ascona was wonderfully bright and sunny! (It’s another story that our car decided to make us extend our stay in the town by bursting one tyre! But hey, walking in a town is any day better than driving right?!)

Ascona - where to visit in Switzerland
Ascona - where to visit in Switzerland

Best time to visit Ascona: Anytime! The mild Mediterranean climate of Ascona means you’ll be able to enjoy sunny days whenever you visit.

Bonus feature to add to your trip to Ascona: Visit the town of Locarno on the northern shore of Lake Maggiore. This is Switzerland’s warmest town and just as pretty as Ascona!

Locarno Switzerland

See also: Where to stay in Ascona

Lugano

Continuing your sojourn in southern Switzerland, head to Lugano located on the shores of Lake Lugano.

The Swiss-Italian mix of cultures in everything, from the food to the architecture will charm you to no end!

Stroll around the historic town centre or take the funicular up to Monte Brè for sweeping panoramic views over the lake and the mountains.

We visited Lugano over a weekend when we were headed to Lake Como and loved the place so much that we’ve been itching to go back! Our love for the city has not been hampered much (well maybe just a bit!) by the hundreds of Swiss Francs we had to pay in fines for disobeying a red light (by the most minuscule amount, barely a fraction of a second!).

Best time to visit Lugano: Visit in spring to enjoy the flowers blooming everywhere, especially along the lake promenade

Bonus feature to add to your trip to Lugano: Bellinzona famous for its historic castles or Lake Como which is just a ~45 minutes’ drive away.

See also: Where to stay in Lugano

Lavertezzo

One of the lesser known places in Switzerland, Lavertezzo is a picturesque village, also in southern Switzerland.

Lavertezzo - Places to visit in 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

Montreux

From the Italian speaking part of Switzerland, head next to the French speaking one! 

Montreux - Places to visit in Switzerland

Located on the shores of Lake Geneva (Lac Léman), Montreux is a beautiful town with postcard-perfect landscapes. Start exploring the town from the pretty lake promenade, lined with flowers, interesting sculptures and cafes. This is our favourite part of the town and we always end up spending hours here often walking all the way to the Chillon Castle.

Montreux is also the end/ start station for the Golden Pass train line, one of the must-do train journeys in Switzerland.

Best time to visit Montreux: Summer, to see the flowers in all their glory, as well as the terraced vineyards of Lavaux. The famous Montreux Jazz Festival is held in this season too.

Montreux - Places to visit in Switzerland

Bonus feature to add to your trip to Montreux: Located little over an hour away on the other side of the lake is the city of Geneva. Visit the beautiful lakefront and the famous fountain Jet d’Eau, the Flower Clock in the English Garden and the charming old town.

See also: Where to stay in Montreux

Lauterbrunnen

Heading back into the heart of Switzerland and the Swiss Alps, unarguably the most beautiful region of Switzerland – the Bernese Oberland.

Lauterbrunnen - Places to visit in Switzerland

The small, traditionally Swiss village of Lauterbrunnen is located in a huge valley, surrounded by tall mountains and gigantic rock faces. The Lauterbrunnen Valley is known for its 72 (!) waterfalls and beautiful alpine meadows. Stroll through the valley and try to spot as many waterfalls as you can!

Lauterbrunnen - Places to visit in Switzerland

I’ve lost count of how many times we’ve driven through this village and every time the landscapes have made us look up in awe!

Lauterbrunnen is where you can base yourself at for most excursions in the Bernese Oberland region – Schilthorn, Jungfraujoch, Grindelwald, Schynige Platte, Trummelbach Falls, and more!

Lauterbrunnen - Places to visit in Switzerland

Best time to visit Lauterbrunnen: Anytime! Summer opens up more opportunities for hiking and mountain visits though.

Bonus feature to add to your trip to Lauterbrunnen: Take your pick of any place to visit in the Bernese Oberland region!

See also: Where to stay in Lauterbrunnen

Bern

The capital city of Bern is severely underrated for how pretty a place it is!

Bern Switzerland

Surrounded on 3 sides by the Aare river, Bern is a historically and culturally rich city.

The old town of Bern is breathtaking to walk through with its numerous fountains and beautiful sandstone facades. The place is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the best places to visit in Switzerland!

Bern Switzerland

Somehow all our trips to Bern have been when it’s been raining so all my memories of Bern include an umbrella! However, despite the bad weather, we’ve always enjoyed a stroll through the old town towards the elevated Rose Garden above the Bear Park.

Best time to visit Bern: All year round! 

Bonus feature to add to your trip to Bern: Bern is located in the heart of Switzerland and acts as the gateway to the Alps. Most places in the Bernese Oberland are within easy reach of the city. If you’re looking for something slightly different, make the ~1 hour journey to Gruyère and see cheese being made!

See also: Where to stay in Bern

Looking for more beautiful Swiss cities? Here’s a Basel city guide to inspire you!

Best places to visit in Switzerland on the map

Best places to visit in Switzerland MAP
Best places to visit in Switzerland – MAP (Google Map data ©2020 GeoBasis-DE/BKG (©2009), Inst. Geogr. Nacional ) – Click to expand map

Have you visited any of these places? Tell me about your experience!

Which place would you like to visit the most? Let me know in the comments below.

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25 best places to visit in Switzerland
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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.

29 Comments

  1. Loved reading this post as it brought back lovely memories of our visits to Switzerland. The country is a real treasure trove of nature and there is so much to see. We loved visiting Lucerne on a misty morning, it looked so ethereal. Our other favourites were Zermatt and Gornergrat. We also discovered some offbeat places like Rapperswil and Uster.

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  2. Goodness Smita you really have made the most of your time in Switzerland. You have been to sooooo many ridiculously beautiful places. I am so in love with all those crazy blue lakes!!

    p.s. It made me smile that you booked to visit Gelmersee a couple of times before you made it there! I know what you mean about waking up early for adventures – it seems soooo hard when you actually wake up!

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    • haha yeah Josy, somehow managed that! Can’t wake up early for the life of me!

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  3. Inspiring blog post and absolutely gorgeous photos. You had me at the Oeschinensee – I had never heard about this lake and really hope to visit it soon. Thank you for all the recommendations!

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  4. What a great round-up of places to see in Switzerland. I’ve never been, but would love to get there one day. It’s so beautiful!

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  5. Wow, look at those clear blue lakes and bright green landscapes, stunning! I’d love to visit Switzerland, especially after seeing your pics 🙂

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  6. Every single time I read your blog, I am amazed at the sheer stunning beauty of Switzerland! It is gorgeous. I am trying to talk my husband into taking our next vacation here, because of how beautiful it is.

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  7. Wow this is a great guide to Switzerland. I have been to some of them. Reminded of my visit to Rhine Falls from your lovely pictures. I would love to visit Bern again.

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  8. Oh my goodness, so many wonderful places to see in Switzerland. I haven’t been since I was a child and only went to Lucerne. I desperately need to visit some of these gorgeous lakes. I can’t imagine why Klontalersee was completely devoid of tourists. It is stunning! Oeschinensee is unbelievably beautiful also. I wouldn’t be able to go on the steep funicular to Stoos, as I’m not a fan of rollercoasters. How else can you get there?

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  9. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more organized and beautiful travel blog post as this one! Switzerland is a place we still want to visit, so this one hit my bookmarks folder!

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  10. Switzerland certainly has a lot to offer! When I was a kid, my parents used to take me to Bodensee in Konstanz, Germany to visit relatives. It’s right at the German-Swiss border, so we would take a boat to visit Switzerland on a day trip. Now whenever we drive down to Italy, we have to cross Switzerland. Last time we stopped in Lugano for 2 days and liked it a lot. But we should certainly visit Switzerland for a longer period since there are so many amazing towns and sceneries! And by the way, I was supposed to go to Bern for work last year. Now I kinda regret that I cancelled that work trip!

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  11. Hello Smita,

    Thank you very much for the great collection of 25 best places to visit in Switzerland with fantastic photos. You provided a lot of information in one post – more than I could digest at once LOL. I bookmarked your post to come back when I start planning my trip to Switzerland. You are absolutely right: the lakes and mountains views are jaw-dropping.

    Cities are good, but I love nature more. I liked the wood sculpture you posted the picture of, in the town of Brienz. 🙂

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  12. I’ve been to Switzerland twice and I loved both cantons I have been too. wonderful country, beautiful, and calm.

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  13. I have always wanted to travel to Switzerland, but your photos literally just gave me such a huge case of FOMO! It’s legit so clean and picturesque that I cannot imagine being there to take in all that beauty in person. This was a pretty epic virtual tour and I must thank you for it.

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  14. It seems to be that Switzerland is all about glorious blue lakes and mountains, mountain, mountains. Would you ever get sick of visiting quaint towns with towering hills and turquoise waters? I don’t reckon so.

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  15. This is great – I grew up in Bern, Switzerland and have visited many of these, but certainly not all. There are loads of wonderful places in Switzerland, both in winter for skiing and in summer for hiking and exploring.

    One thing to note if you go to Bern in the summer: bring a bathing suit! You can actually swim in the river Aare, looking at the government building while you float along the river. Pretty unique experience.

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  16. I studied at les roches in bluche and did my stage in Geneva, Fribourg and craans montana and can relate to all the writing and wonderful pics you have. This is an amazing write-up and your pics are wonderful.

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  17. I have spent some time in Lucerne and everywhere around it including Liechtenstein but really haven’t explored much of the rest of Switzerland. So when I was reading these best places to visit in Switzerland I realized I really need to go back and spend a good chunk of time preferably during the warmer months to really explore the outdoors there. I love hiking and backpacking so exploring all the lakes and those waterfalls would be right up my alley! Though I have to say the little kid in me LOVES funiculars for some reason so when you shared that Stoos has the most steep funicular in the world, that immediately jumped into my bucket list project!

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  18. I am a HUGE fan of Switzerland. Not just because my part of my family lives there, but the landscapes are absolutely stunning! I try to get there once a year and when I do, we go to Grindelwald for the weekend. The glaciers and mountains are just breathtaking.

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  19. Great places! Switzerland is among the places I’m dreaming to settle down.

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  20. You are so lucky. I would love to visit Switzerland! Yet, your review and pics make me feel like I’m already there

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    • Awesome! Every place is so picturesque. I can’t even decide where to go first! Thank you for this write up, Switzerland is just amazingly beautiful. ?

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  21. As someone who skis I have always wanted to visit Switzerland and I recognize some of the names of these mountains like Schilthorn. I’ve only ever seen Switzerland covered in snow yet these photos of lakes and valleys are stunning. Your pictures are unreal. I hope to one day visit Switzerland.

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  22. Absolutely stunning photos, how can you not fall in love?

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  23. You brought my memories back from my visit to this beautiful nation. I visited Switzerland back in 2011, been a long time; almost enough time to visit again.

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  24. Switzerland is amazingly beautiful. I have been there only once and have fallen in love with it.

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  25. These places in Switzerland are absolutely stunning and picture-perfect! How on Earth is so unfair?! You are so lucky to visit these beauties. The Bachalpsee is truly breathtaking.

    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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