Nestled in central Europe and dominated by the Alps, the best places to visit in Switzerland are downright sublime.
When it comes to jaw-dropping landscapes, quaint small towns, and enchanting cities that perfectly blend the past, present, and future, nowhere does it quite like Switzerland.
Many people (us included) put off planning trips to Switzerland’s beautiful corners for years because of its deserved reputation for high prices–but the best Swiss travel destinations are so incredible that, while expensive, you never doubt that you’re getting your money’s worth.
To help get you excited about planning your bucket list Switzerland vacation, we’ve worked with several other travel bloggers to round up the most magnificent places in Switzerland to visit!
Whether your dream Swiss trip involves Alpine hiking, lake swimming, skiing, or simply eating lots of fondue while overlooking the mountains, there’s an incredible getaway in Switzerland here for you.
Here are some of the most beautiful places to visit in Switzerland!
Table of Contents
Some links in this post may be affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these links, we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Please see our disclosure policy for more detail.
Stunning Cities to Visit in Switzerland
From Rachel of Rachel’s Ruminations
Basel is a lovely little city with a historical core that is just perfect for strolling and soaking up the atmosphere.
The houses are simple and charming, some dating to the Middle Ages.
Art dots the streets: fountains, decorative sculpture, and painting on the centuries-old buildings as well as amusing modern art, like the dragon sculpture that breathes actual smoke!
“Reaction ferries” – no motor or sails – carry passengers across the Rhine between the two halves of the city.
If you like to see historical sights, the Romanesque and Gothic Basel Cathedral is one of the best sights in Basel, and climbing the spire to see the view is also worth the effort.
Three of the original city gates still stand, restored to their medieval glory, and the bright red Rathaus (city hall) is quite a sight too.
The more modern Tinguely fountain is an amusing cross between a fountain and a kinetic sculpture.
The Foundation Beyeler, on the edge of town, houses a truly exceptional collection of modern masterpieces by major artists such as Rothko, Picasso, Monet, and Mondrian. It’s just outside of town but easy to reach.
Basel is a year-round destination, but summer is the best season for enjoying the outdoor attractions and architecture.
However, December brings a different charm: Basel is home to what is widely considered to be the best Christmas market in Switzerland!
From Caroline of Veggie Wayfarer
Snowcapped mountains, half-timbered houses, and a city that seemingly rolls down a hill right into the most pristine lake, upon which steamboats glide to and back from France: this is the storybook city of Lausanne, in the Vaud-region.
Built atop three hills, the very first thing you will want to bring with you is a good pair of walking shoes.
Start at the Lausanne Cathedral for some of the best views over the entire city, walk down the famous wooden staircase (Escaliers du marché) into the heart of the city at the Place de la Palud, which contains a clutch of restaurants and bars as well as the oldest working fountain of the city.
Meander through the tiny streets until you hit Palais de Rumine, a Renaissance palace well worth a visit.
The buzzing Flon district is great for a night on the town, or grab a drink at Brasserie Montbenon if you are looking for a more intimate setting.
Make your way to Lake Geneva at the foot of Lausanne, where you’ll find a variety of watersports on offer throughout the year.
Time permitting, hop of a steam peddler to Chillon Castle.
On the way make a brief stop at the UNESCO Lavaux vineyards, to try a glass of locally-produced wine.
From Zoe of Together In Switzerland
For one of the best places to visit in Switzerland, consider booking your next Swiss getaway in Lugano!
Located in the heart of the Italian-speaking Ticino region, Lugano is beautiful to visit all year round.
However, the best time for Lugano is in the summer, with long warm days and lots of local events in the city.
Since Lugano is well known also for its Lake Lugano, one of the best things to do after exploring and shopping in the city is to get out onto the lake!
You can rent cute red little paddle boats for a minimum of 30 minutes, or else book a larger boat trip that includes sightseeing at some local villages nearby.
Lugano also is home to two funiculars that you can take up either Mount San Salvatore or Monte Bre.
Both nearby mountains are just above 900 in elevation and both have gorgeous views of the lake and the city of Lugano.
Summer is especially beautiful at each top mountain as they both have a restaurant serving drinks and food late into the night.
From there, you can see the sunset from above as well as watch the city light up in the darkness.
If you’re visiting Switzerland in the summer, it’s also a must to bring your swimsuit to Lugano as you should not leave without swimming in the lake!
There are a few dedicated swimming areas to choose from, such as at Lido Riva Caccia right in the city center.
From Kristin of Global Travel Escapades
When looking for the best travel destinations in Switzerland, you won’t want to miss the lakeside city of Geneva.
The city is in the French-speaking region of Switzerland and is located right next to the border of France, not far from Annecy.
In addition to being a beautiful city with lots of French-style architecture, Geneva’s location along Lake Geneva makes it an ideal Swiss city to visit.
The most iconic attraction in Geneva is the Jet d’eau Geneve, a 140m tall water jet in the middle of Lake Geneva.
After seeing the fountain, you can walk along the harbor and admire the colorful flower clock in the nearby Jardin Anglais.
The flower clock features over 6,500 flowers that create the watch’s face.
No trip to Geneva would be complete without paying a visit to Palais de Nations.
You’ll see the flag of each country that is part of the United Nations!
So if you’re looking for places to visit in Switzerland, consider Geneva, and make sure you visit during the summer months to minimize your chances of rainy weather!
From Dymphe of Dym Abroad
One of the best places to visit in Switzerland is the picturesque city of Lucerne.
Whether you are spending one day in Lucerne or enjoying a longer trip, this German-speaking city nestled along the River Reuss is a beautiful travel destination.
One of the best things to do in Lucerne is to visit the Kapellbrücke, a covered pedestrian wooden bridge that spans the river in the city that dates back to the 14th century.
The Kapellbrücke has unique architecture and there are historic interior paintings that are very interesting to see.
If you like the Kapellbrücke, the Spreuer Bridge is another must-see!
Other top attractions in central Lucerne include climbing the towers along the Musegg Wall for incredible views of the city and Lake Lucerne and visiting the Swiss Museum of Transport.
Another one of the best things to do in Lucerne is to spend time on Lake Lucerne to enjoy spectacular views of the mountains. You can ride the ferry or go swimming in the summer.
While visiting Lucerne, don’t miss the chance to head up to Mount Pilatus, either–not only are the views incredible but getting to the top includes riding the steepest cog railway in the world!
From Sarah of CosmopoliClan
Nestled amidst rolling green hills and hugged by the crystal-clear Aare river, lies the city of Bern.
It’s the political epicenter of Switzerland with the Bundeshaus as the seat of the Swiss Parliament.
Bern’s picturesque Old Town may be compact, this UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site has a lot offer.
Visiting the Zytglogge, or Clock Tower, is one of the most popular of things to do in Bern.
This landmark featuring a bear parade, golden rooster and time god Chronos as it strikes the hour, seems to come straight out of a story book.
As you stroll the elegant flag-lined streets of Bern, you’ll notice the many colorfully decorated water fountains.
Other architectural highlights are the stately arcades and the vaulted cellars that guarantee a pleasant shopping or dining experience regardless of the weather.
For a wonderful view over the city, climb the 312 steps to the viewing platform of the Bern Minster. This cathedral has the highest spire in all of Switzerland.
Behind it, you’ll find the Mattelift which will take you to the lower-level Matte district with its artistic flair and half-timbered houses.
From there, you can cross the Aare river to the Bärengraben where you can meet some of the city’s most famous residents: the bears.
The legend goes that the Duke who founded Bern would name the city after the first animal he encountered while hunting and that happened to be a bear.
End your visit at the Rosengarten park and take in the most spectacular panoramic view over the Altstadt and the white mountain peaks of the Bernese Oberland.
From Emma of Travel on a Time Budget
Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland, with no shortage of things to do.
It’s also a beautiful city, with the Limmat River flowing through the old town and Lake Zurich at one end, surrounded by mountain peaks.
Among the best things to do in Zurich is to spend some time in the historic old town.
This has picturesque cobbled streets and squares to wander through, with beautiful churches, wonderful cafes and restaurants, and a 17th-century renaissance town hall.
Boat trips run along the river and around the lake; the ferry stops at Zurichhorn for the chance to walk around the park and visit the small pretty Chinese Garden with its lake and colorful temples.
Zurich also has a number of fascinating museums to visit.
These include the Swiss National Museum, the Lindt Home of Chocolate Museum, the Rietberg Art Museum, and the FIFA World Cup Museum dedicated to the history of football.
For visitors looking for some relaxation, there is the rooftop thermal pool at the Thermalbad and Spa that provides views out across the city.
Zurich is a wonderful place to visit at any time of year.
The summer months are perfect for walking around the lake or dipping in the water in one of the city’s lidos.
In the winter, there is skiing in the nearby mountains and ice skating in the city.
The city’s streets are lit up, and there are cozy cafes to pop into to warm up with the local fondue. At Christmas, the city hosts several markets.
Though deservedly famous for being expensive, Zurich has a range of accommodations to suit most Switzerland-friendly budgets.
The Hotel Montana near the main train station is ideal for short city breaks.
For more luxury, The Dolder Grand, with its hilltop setting, complete with an ice rink in winter, is a great option.
Beautiful Small Villages + Mountain Towns in Switzerland
From Megan of Megan & Aram
Interlaken, also known as the “Adventure Capital of Switzerland”, is a gorgeous place that can be visited in any season!
There are so many things you can do regardless of whether you visit in winter or summer… you just need to dress appropriately for the weather.
Go kayaking on beautiful Lake Brienz in all seasons, and relax on the beach after a swim session in the summer.
Interlaken has many fantastic hiking trails to choose from, and some of the most popular ones are Oberburghorn or Hardergrat.
You can take the funicular up the mountain to the Harder Kulm viewpoint, where you can enjoy the stunning views and dine at the Panorama Restaurant.
To see the countryside from another perspective, take a hot air balloon ride!
And for even more views, take Europe’s highest railway to Jungfraujoch, where you will get breathtaking views from an elevation of nearly 3,500 m (about 11,500 ft).
You will never get tired of the spectacular scenery no matter how many viewpoints you go to!
Travel back in time by visiting the following fairytale-like places: St. Beatus Caves, a cave system over a kilometer long where legend says St. Beatus ousted a dragon living there in the 6th century; the medieval Thun Castle; or the charming village of Grindelwald.
Interlaken is a must-visit location in Switzerland and should be added to every itinerary!
From Paul D’Souza of Paulmarina.com
Mürren is a beautiful, small village in the Bernese Oberland in Switzerland.
Situated at 5400 feet (ca. 1,646 m) above sea level, this car-free village can only be accessed by cable car or mountain train.
Visitors can get there within 10 minutes from Stechelberg with the Schilthornbahn or take the iconic mountain train via Grütschalp to travel to Mürren within 20 minutes.
The views from Mürren are beyond stunning and will enthrall every nature and mountain-loving traveler.
Mürren and the Schilthorn peak came to fame thanks to a James Bond movie. Take the cable car further up to Birg and Schilthorn to discover Bond World and enjoy brunch in the Piz Gloria rotating restaurant.
From there you can spot the Mönch, Jungfrau, and Eiger peaks.
Adventure lovers will enjoy the Brig Via Ferrata trail, a rock climbing, zip lining, and tight rope walking trail further down.
Every season is beautiful and has its perks in Mürren, but the warmer months are more suitable to go hiking and paragliding.
Skiing and snowshoe walking are popular winter activities in the area.
A winter wonderland awaits you from December to March with plenty of snow and snow-dusted Swiss mountains.
From Dean and Laynni of Routinely Nomadic
Home to the world-famous Matterhorn, Zermatt has long been one of the most popular tourist destinations in Switzerland.
So, yes, it can get very busy. But the fabulous mountain scenery more than makes up for that.
While the iconic Matterhorn dominates the skyline, the town is completely surrounded by impressive mountains and fantastic viewpoints, many of which are accessible by cable car.
Truly a year-round destination, Zermatt is one of the top skiing destinations in Switzerland in the winter, while in summer it attracts outdoor enthusiasts from all over to enjoy mountain biking, rock climbing, paragliding, white-water rafting, and, of course, hiking.
If you have your heart set on seeing the Matterhorn, try to give yourself a few days in Zermatt in order to increase your odds of clear weather.
Along with a wide variety of gorgeous day hikes, Zermatt serves as the start or end point of the incredible Walker’s Haute Route, a phenomenal 2-week hut-to-hut trek through the Alps that is arguably the best long-distance hike in Europe.
Secluded at the top of a picturesque valley, Zermatt is closed to vehicles (except for electric hotel and work shuttles), making it a wonderful place to wander on foot.
While long-time visitors to Zermatt lament the ever-growing number of hotels, restaurants, and retail stores, they make it a very easy place to have fun and every new building still conforms to the town’s classic ski town vibe.
Those looking for a luxury stay with amazing Matterhorn views should check out the Europe Hotel & Spa, although there are practically endless Zermatt accommodation options to fit most budgets.
By Nina of Nina Out and About
Baden is the spa capital of Switzerland, yet most people have never heard of it.
Unlike Bath in the UK, Baden has remained off the beaten paths for tourists, and even most expats who live in Switzerland.
Baden is a small town located in Aargau, about 20 minutes by train from Zurich.
It’s routinely confused with Baden-Baden in Germany (even when you try to buy a ticket to visit). But don’t be fooled: it does exist!
Baden’s claim to fame is the natural springs that have made it a popular spa destination for centuries.
The most well-known is the Friedensquelle (“Peace Spring”), but there are several others to explore as well.
In addition to its spas, Baden is also home to a beautiful old town with plenty of shops and restaurants. There’s also an interesting museum dedicated to the history of the town’s springs.
You can try out the hot springs for free along the riverside.
There’s a bench with a trough of natural hot water that you can put your feet in while you enjoy a hot chocolate or takeaway pastry.
The spa inside has evening and early morning discounted tickets, which will allow you to enjoy the spa when it’s nearly empty.
If you’re looking for a relaxing day trip from Zurich to one of the most underrated places to visit in Switzerland, Baden is the perfect place to head.
The best time to visit Baden is in the spring or summer when the weather is warm and you can enjoy all the town has to offer.
From Martha of May Cause Wanderlust
Lauterbrunnen is a village at the base of the stunningly beautiful Lauterbrunnen Valley in the Bernese Oberland region, and it is indisputably one of the absolute best places to visit in Switzerland!
It is the epicentre of this bucolic area, which boasts of pretty waterfalls, steep snow-capped mountains and quaint wooden chalets, and there are plenty of things to do in Lauterbrunnen and the surrounding area.
In the village itself, you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to scenery. On either side of the village, there are green hillsides dotted with chalets and sheer cliff faces.
The stunningly delicate and impossibly tall Staubbach Falls seem to be falling on the village – although they are actually just a short walk outside it.
And the best view of all is southward across the village towards Lauterbrunnen Church.
Looking in this direction, you see the pretty church steeple flanked on either side by the steep valley walls and the Staubach Falls, with the snow-capped peaks of the Alps behind them.
It is so picture perfect, it almost doesn’t feel real!
To explore the countryside around Lauterbrunnen, there are hiking and cycling trails, and you can also take trains and/or cable cars to the neighbouring car-free alpine villages of Mürren and Wengen.
You can also take a series of trains from Lauterbrunnen to Jungfraujoch for an up-close look at one of Switzerland’s remarkable glaciers.
For a reasonably affordable stay, with good food and a chance of gorgeous views from your room, check out the Hotel Oberland.
From Marianne of Pasta, Pretzels & Passports
Located approximately 25 kilometres southwest of Lucerne, in the heart of a UNESCO biosphere reserve, lies the picturesque town of Entlebuch.
Covering a 22-square-mile area, the town is home to only 3,300 people.
But don’t let its size fool you! Entlebuch is one of the prettiest towns you will ever see.
And if you enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, biking, climbing, or canoeing, then this town is definitely one of the best places to visit in Switzerland.
Entlebuch offers more than 60 kilometers of well-marked hiking trails.
You can also choose one of the 13 loop trails that wind through gorgeous forests, along clear rivers, and through mountain meadows.
But if you are looking for something truly unique, head over to Stillaub Lama where you can go Lama-Trekking with a guided tour! Enjoy an incredible hike accompanied by llamas.
If canoeing is something that interests you, the Canoe Club in Entlebuch offers canoe rentals or even guided excursions.
Paddle along the scenic Emme (Emmenuferweg) river between Hasle and Entlebuch.
And although summer is an incredible time to visit Entlebuch, if you like winter activities, the town has plenty to offer at that time of the year as well.
From snowshoeing to winter hiking, cross-country and downhill skiing, you won’t find a more scenic location.
And after an exhilarating day of exploring this incredible area, head back to town where you will find several excellent restaurants serving local cuisine.
From Trijit of Budget Travel Buff
On the banks of Lake Geneva stands the charming resort city of Montreux, which happens to be one of the most beautiful places to visit in Switzerland.
The town looks out over the entrancing splendor of the surrounding countryside as it lies peacefully tucked away within the Swiss Alps.
The architecture of the historic cities and the ancient castles of Montreux has made it a place worth exploring.
The ideal months to visit Montreux are from April to October, but you’ll also find a charming Swiss Christmas market here in December!
The French-speaking Vaud region of Switzerland, which stretches from Lausanne to Montreux, is the heart of the Swiss Riviera and has a distinct Mediterranean character.
The lakeside resorts provide a surreal view of the lush green landscape, where you can unwind.
It’s one of Switzerland’s most picturesque locations due to its gorgeous lakeside location, expansive vineyards, and mountains, hills, and valleys.
Take a relaxing boat trip on Lake Geneva to take in the beauty of the surrounding landscape and the lakefront villages.
You can visit the Freddie Mercury statue, wander along the Old Town’s streets, and circle the Montreux Lake.
It is unusual to visit Switzerland without trying Swiss chocolate, the country’s most well-known delicacy.
The chocolate train on the Montreux-Berner Oberland Railway is devoted to the world’s most delicate temptation.
The famous Château de Chillon, which is about a 30-minute walk from Montreux, is another reason to visit.
This 13th-century fortress comes from the Middle Ages and features a beautiful view of the lake.
From Michelle C. of Intentional Travelers
When it comes to beautiful places in Switzerland to add to your bucket list, nothing compares to the Alps.
Nendaz, a small ski resort town up in the mountains, is popular for both winter and summer activities.
Arrive via train to Sion, in the valley, and then take a Postbus up to town.
The drive up the winding mountain road is a beautiful initiation to the area with spectacular views.
In the summer and fall, there are great hikes leaving from town so be sure to pack walking shoes!
Several of the trails in the region follow along the “bisses,” or old waterways, in and out of small villages and farms, through the hills and forests.
The ski lift to Tracouet’s Black Lake provides another panoramic perspective and more hiking trails.
The vacation rental options in Nendaz are abundant, although many of the hotels close in the shoulder season (fall).
Staying in Haute (“high”) Nendaz not far from the Tourist Office is best for easy access to restaurants, grocery stores, bus stops, and the ski lift.
Nendaz can also be a good base for day trips to other excellent Switzerland travel destinations like Sion, Martigny, Zermatt, and even places a little further like Spiez, Interlaken, and Bern.
From Giorgy of G-Extreme Travel
The small lakeside town of Ascona is located in Ticino, the sunny, warmest, and most charming place in Switzerland.
Indeed, it boasts more than 300 days of sunshine a year and its mild climate makes it a popular destination for tourists from all over the world.
There are always plenty of delightful things to do in Ascona, regardless of the time of year.
From hiking to discovering the holy Monte Verità, and from soaking in the Maggia or Verzasca Valley surrounded by magical waterfalls to visiting historical museums such as Castello san Materno, Galleria Borgo, and Museo Comunale d’Arte Moderna.
And, of course, the Ascona lido is always tempting in the summer.
Don’t forget to walk along the famous lungolago, where there are plenty of restaurants offering delicious Italian cuisine.
From this promenade, you can take an electric train around Ascona to discover the local attractions.
Or, you can take a boat to Brissago Island in the middle of Lake Maggiore letting you live an exciting story of only Switzerland’s Botanical Garden on the island.
Whether you’re looking for a relaxing vacation or an action-packed getaway, this little hidden gem is an incredible Switzerland travel destination to add to your bucket list!
More of the Best Places to Visit in Switzerland
It’s hard to say whether a train ride counts as a Switzerland travel destination–but then again, trains in Switzerland are a bit more exciting than just about anywhere else.
Famous for being one of the most spectacular train rides in the world, the Bernina Express runs from Chur, Switzerland to Tirano, Italy, covering truly spectacular scenery along the way!
Featuring nearly 200 bridges and more than 50 tunnels along the way, this 4-hour scenic journey definitely belongs on your Switzerland bucket list.
Dramatic views of the Alps, glaciers, the soaring bridges, and more are waiting to be enjoyed through panoramic windows.
Be sure to book this Swiss travel experience in advance–the train is deservedly popular, and gets booked up quickly!
From Amela of Stay Wild Travels
If you’re heading to the Jungfrau Region in Switzerland, then visiting the summit of Schynige Platte is a must.
In order to get there, you’ll need to hop on board the Schynige Platte-Bahn, an old-fashioned, historic railway that leaves from the small village of Wilderswill which is not too far from Interlaken.
It chugs slowly up the mountainside and offers fantastic views, which is an incredible experience in itself.
Once you’ve arrived at the summit, you’ll find a plethora of hiking trails, a restaurant and a botanical alpine garden, to name a few.
The most popular hiking trail is the Panorama Trail. As the name suggests, this offers unmatched views over the Jungfrau Region, including the three major peaks in the area: Jungfrau, Mönch and Eiger.
You’ll be able to visit Schynige Platte from the end of May to the end of October.
Those looking for a traditional stay among the mountains are in luck, as the restaurant also offers doubles up as a popular hotel.
The rooms are quaint with Swiss décor and offer picture-perfect mountain views.
It’s worth noting that Swiss Travel Pass holders receive a discount on the trip, and Jungfrau Pass holders have a visit included with their card.
Map of the Most Beautiful Places in Switzerland to Visit
Take This Map With You! Click each highlight to pull up the name of the destination. To save this map to “Your Places” on Google Maps, click the star to the right of the title. You’ll then be able to find it under the Maps tab of your Google Maps account! To open the map in a new window, click the button on the top right of the map.
2 thoughts on “17 Spectacular Places to Visit in Switzerland (+ Map!)”
One place that should be a must to visit when in Switzerland is the Rheinfall (Rhinefall) near Schaffhausen which also is a beautiful town.
It is less then 1 hour from Zurich.
PS: A small typo, the river in Lucerne is called Reuss, not Neuss
Thanks, Thomas, I’ll get that fixed. 🙂
And yes, I hear the falls are supposed to be gorgeous!