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1. Zurich

Limmat river with views of Fraumunster and St. Peter church in Zurich.
Embark on a walking tour in Zurich where you can cover Limmar river, Fraumunster and St. Peter church at the same time.

Hugging the shores of Lake Zurich with the majestic Alps as a backdrop, Zurich is Switzerland's cosmopolitan hub and beckons travelers with a blend of historic allure and modern sophistication. From the cobblestone streets and medieval architecture of Old Town to the vibrant Kunsthaus Zurich art museum, you’ll find a wealth of places to see and things to do in Zurich.


  • Wander through Old Town's cobbled streets and marvel at the iconic Grossmünster Cathedral.
  • Immerse yourself in the local culture at the Kunsthaus Zurich art museum and check out the quirky charm of Freitag Tower, a tower constructed from repurposed shipping containers.
  • Take a cruise on Lake Zurich for breathtaking views of the Alps, and sample delectable Swiss chocolate at Sprüngli.

Insider tip: For a truly unique experience on your Zurich trip, join locals in their summer tradition known as ‘Limmat-Schwimmen,’ a refreshing swim down the Limmat River, navigating its gentle currents through the heart of the city.

2. Interlaken

Man paragliding over Interlaken.
Paraglide over the scenic landscape of Interlaken for an adrenaline rush.

Nestled between Lake Thun and Lake Brienz, Interlaken is a Swiss jewel renowned for its breathtaking landscapes and thrilling adventures. Surrounded by the towering peaks of the Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau, this picturesque town serves as the gateway to the beautiful Bernese Oberland region. Interlaken is a paradise for outdoor activities with everything from paragliding to white-water rafting.


  • Embark on a glacier hike and explore the Aletsch Glacier, the largest in the Alps, and its surrounding frozen world of awe-inspiring beauty.
  • Discover the serenity of Lake Thun and Lake Brienz on a leisurely boat cruise surrounded by the grandeur of the Swiss Alps.
  • Ascend to Jungfraujoch, the ‘Top of Europe,’ aboard the Jungfrau Railway. Wind through tunnels and spectacular alpine landscapes to the peak and head to the Sphinx Observation Deck for unparalleled views of the region.

Insider tip: Check out the daily chocolate show at Grand Café Restaurant Schuh. Learn about the delicious tradition of Swiss chocolate making and try your hand at creating your own sweet masterpiece!

3. Lucerne

Chapel bridge in the afternoon.
Visit one of the most famous landmarks in Lucerne, the Chapel Bridge.

Another Swiss gem not to be missed is Lucerne. Tucked amidst the snow-capped Swiss Alps and hugging the shores of Lake Lucerne, this enchanting city is a treasure trove of history, culture, and natural beauty. Charming squares lined with colorful buildings and narrow alleys reveal centuries of history in Lucerne's Old Town. Walking over the iconic Kapellbrücke (Chapel Bridge)—Europe's oldest covered wooden bridge—is a must! Discover the poignant Lion Monument, a rock relief carved into a sandstone rock face. The solemn sculpture depicts a dying lion, commemorating Swiss Guards who lost their lives during the French Revolution.


  • Stroll along the Museggmauer, Lucerne’s medieval ramparts, and climb the Zyttum (clock tower) for superb views of the city and Mount Pilatus.
  • Ascend to the summit of Mount Pilatus via the cogwheel railway and aerial cableway to soak up spectacular panoramic views of Lucerne, the lake, and the surrounding mountains.
  • Catch the funicular up to the fairytale Château Gütsch for a drink with a view. Perched on a hill above the city, this Rapunzel-esque hotel has a beautiful terrace overlooking the city and lake far below.

Insider tip: The Altstadt (Old Town) has numerous water fountains, so don’t buy bottled water. Bring a refillable one and help yourself to water while wandering.

4. Appenzell District

Housing in the Old Town of Appenzell.
Marvel at the architecture of the Old Town in Appenzell.

With its rolling hills, Alpine meadows, and distinctive cultural heritage, the Appenzell District captures the essence of Switzerland. Situated in the northeastern corner of the country, this region’s beautiful landscapes are ideal for outdoor adventures on a visit to Switzerland.


  • Hike the scenic trails of Ebenalp with breathtaking vistas of the Alpstein massif and the iconic Aescher Cliff and Wildkirchli caves.
  • Explore the captivating Appenzell village; it is stocked with well-preserved medieval architecture and colorful houses adorned with intricate frescoes.
  • Visit an Appenzell cheese dairy to taste Appenzeller cheese. Witness the time-honored process of crafting the famous cheese, known for its distinct flavors and aromatic richness.

Insider tip: Plan your visit during the Alpabfahrt Festival in late September, a whimsical celebration of the return of cows from their summer Alpine pastures. Experience the spectacle of elaborately decorated cows, traditional music, and locals donning traditional Appenzell attire.

5. Lugano

Lugano funicular that goes through Monte Bre and Lake Lugano.
Enjoy a Lugano funicular ride to Mounte Bre and Lake Lugano.

This picturesque city on the shores of Lake Lugano near the Swiss-Italian border boasts a unique blend of Swiss tradition and Italian charm. Mediterranean influences, from the architecture to the cuisine, abound, and the lakeside landscapes are breathtaking. Lugano is known for its beautiful historic villas, like Villa Ciani and Villa Favorita, which exude aristocratic elegance.


  • Cruise the crystal-clear waters of Lake Lugano and soak up breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and picturesque lakeside villages.
  • Visit the charming villages of Monte Brè and Monte San Salvatore using the historic funicular for breathtaking vistas of Lake Lugano and the surrounding peaks.
  • Explore art and culture at LAC Lugano Arte e Cultura, which houses a concert hall, theater, and dynamic art spaces.

Insider tip: Dine in style at Ristorante Vicania, a hidden gem overlooking Lake Lugano. Dine on authentic Ticinese cuisine on the terrace, where each dish is a culinary masterpiece.

6. Zermatt

Skiers enjoying a cable chairlift ride in Zermatt.
While the main attraction to Zermatt is skiing, you'll also get to enjoy a cable chairlift ride to the skiing arena, which adds to the fun.

Nestled at the base of the iconic Matterhorn, Zermatt is one of the best places to visit in Switzerland for outdoor adventures. Home to the world’s highest ski resort, the car-free alpine village offers world-class skiing and snowboarding in winter and hiking, mountaineering, and biking in the summer.


  • Hit the glorious slopes of Gornergrat for unparalleled skiing and snowboarding against the backdrop of the Matterhorn as a part of your adventure trip to Switzerland.
  • Hike the legendary Hörnli Trail, the historic route to the summit of the Matterhorn, tracing the footsteps of mountaineering history.
  • Descend to the Gorner Glacier and explore the hidden wonders of the Ice Palace. Carved into the heart of the glacier, this surreal world of ice caves and sculptures reveals the glacier's inner beauty.

Insider tip: Experience the Matterhorn in all its glory by catching the sunrise from the Riffelberg platform. Arrive early, and as the first light bathes the iconic peak, you'll be treated to a breathtaking, crowd-free spectacle. 

7. Gruyères

Blocks and a slice of gruyere cheese with Swiss flag.
Visit a local cheese dairy to indulge in a Gruyère cheese tasting experience and witness the traditional craftsmanship behind this world-famous cheese.

Step back in time in the medieval town of Gruyères, home to one of Switzerland's most iconic castles. Tucked away in the Fribourg region, Gruyères is famous for Gruyère cheese, which has been produced in the region for over 900 years. The 13th-century Gruyères Castle highlights the town’s rich cultural heritage, while the adjacent HR Giger Museum, dedicated to the renowned artist, brings avant-garde allure to this historical setting. The town is surrounded by the Gruyère Pays-d'Enhaut Regional Nature Park where you can hike and explore pristine Swiss countryside.


  • Explore Gruyères Castle, roam through centuries-old halls, climb the towers for panoramic views, and delve into the history of the Counts of Gruyères.
  • Stroll through the cobblestone streets of Gruyères' Old Town, admire charming medieval houses adorned with flower boxes, and visit artisan boutiques.

Insider tip: Time your visit so you can attend Gruyère’s annual medieval festival in June, which brings the town to life with jousting tournaments, medieval markets, and lively processions.

8. Brienz

Brienz Rothorn Railway of Switzerland, a must-visit place in Switzerland.
Visit the famous tourist rack railway, Brienz Rothorn Railway when in Brienz.

Head to the Bernese Oberland region to find one of the most beautiful towns in Switzerland. Overlooking Lake Brienz, the charming town is flanked by towering evergreen mountains and boasts breathtaking scenery. Brienz is renowned for its woodcarving heritage, and the village is adorned with wooden sculptures, from intricately carved balconies to public art installations. The surrounding landscapes are a paradise for hikers and nature enthusiasts.


  • Trek through the Aare Gorge, a natural wonder carved by the river over thousands of years with striking formations and emerald waters.
  • Take the Brienz Rothorn Bahn, a historic cogwheel railway, to the summit of the Brienzer Rothorn for breathtaking vistas of Lake Brienz and the surrounding mountains.
  • Learn about the centuries-old tradition of woodcarving at the Brienz Woodcarving School.

Insider tip: Dive into the cultural heritage of the region at a special Folklore Evening at the Ballenberg Open-Air Museum. Enjoy traditional Swiss music performances and storytelling sessions. 

9. Geneva

Yachts parked in Leman lake.
When in Geneva, enjoy a yacht ride on Leman Lake.

Set along the banks of Lake Geneva in western Switzerland, the cosmopolitan city of Geneva is a hub of international diplomacy, culture, and natural beauty. Home to the headquarters of the Red Cross and the United Nations, this Swiss metropolis is also known as the ‘Peace Capital.’ The iconic Jet d'Eau shoots water 140 meters into the air and is a must-see in Switzerland!


  • One of the top things to do in Geneva is to take a guided tour of the United Nations headquarters and delve into the heart of global diplomacy.
  • Visit the Jardin Anglais and marvel at the L'Horloge Fleurie, Geneva's famous Flower Clock. This masterpiece of precision and artistry displays Switzerland's global reputation for precision timepieces.

Insider tip: Enjoy a one-of-a-kind lunch at Maison de la Créativité in Parc la Bâtie. Combining art, nature, and gastronomy, it’s an offbeat and unforgettable dining experience. 

10. Engelberg

The convent of Engelberg during winter.
Plan a serene escapade to the convent of Engelberg.

Engelberg is a year-round playground for nature lovers and adventure seekers. Surrounded by towering peaks, this charming village is perfectly placed for downhill and cross-country skiing, snowboarding, and sledding in winter. Miles of hiking trails, a toboggan run, and water activities on the crystal-clear Trübsee Lake beckon in summer. The Titlis Cliff Walk, Europe's highest suspension bridge, offers a thrilling experience with panoramic views of deep crevasses and snow-capped peaks.


  • Ride the world's first rotating cable car to the top of Mount Titlis, where a breathtaking 360-degree panorama of the Swiss Alps awaits.
  • Visit the historic Engelberg Abbey, dating back to the 12th century, and discover Engelberg's religious and historical heritage.
  • Head to Trübsee Lake for boating, hiking, picnicking, or simply absorbing the serene beauty.

Insider tip: Experience the thrill of night sledding on the illuminated slopes of Fürenalp. After the sun sets, take the cable car to Fürenalp and enjoy the exhilarating descent under the starlit sky.

Published by Supriya Rayamajhi, updated on March 6, 2024
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