Switzerland is a dream. The landscape is almost surreal. We always love traveling to Switzerland and experiencing it’s natural beauty. Ok Ok. I have to be give full disclosure. Kati and I did lose our car one time on a rainy day in Zurich. But finally found it, and even that experience allowed us to explore the city and discover many hidden gems.
Perched in the heart of Europe, Switzerland is known for its unmatched elegance and cultural diversity. Beyond its noisy clocks, chocolate, and caroling, Switzerland offers a rich mix of cultures and some of the world’s most beautiful natural landscapes. Endowed with a plethora of turquoise lakes, soaring mountains, calm rivers, lush valleys, fine wine, and a country-side riddled with historical wonders, most of Switzerland’s cities are an eighth wonder of the world, with the most spectacular scenic views.
Most of Switzerland’s cities are easily accessible, as the country has express trains that can shuttle you through these vibrant cities. At the same time, century-old steamers packed with historic coaches will lazily spiral through the ancient-old villages and the surrounding scenic areas. And do not be hesitant about renting a car and heading out on your own. The experience will be amazing.
Whether it’s summer or winter, you’ll have a fantastic time in the Alps. Winter is excellent for snowshoeing and skiing, while in summer, there are loads of never-ending hiking trails.
With so many beautiful places and activities to choose from, it becomes a challenge when planning your holiday! To help you prepare for your holiday, here are a few suggestions on which cities to visit while you are in Switzerland.
Top cities to visit in Switzerland
Widely recognized as Switzerland’s financial capital, Zurich is a culturally diverse city and is ideally located on Lake Zurich’s shores with a panoramic view of the snow-capped Swiss Alps on the horizon. The old town area offers a unique combination of things to do and see- boasts of the largest number of art galleries and museums.
For designer brands, you can stroll down the winding alleys of Bahnhofstrasse, a vibrant one-mile shopping street full of large unique boutiques. For a more relaxed day, you can head off to Lindenhof park, just next to River Limmat, for a picnic and some breathtaking views of the old town part of the city.
Take along enduring hike up the Uetliberg mountain for the experience of a lifetime! Other must-see historical treasures include the Great Minister, Fraumunster Church, St Peterskirche, and Rhein Fall.
Not to be missed is a visit to the Swiss National Museum housed inside the Fairy-Tale Castle. When you get tired of looking at the prehistoric artifacts, you can head down to Lake Zurich for an afternoon boat ride.
Hugging onto a steep-sided coastline of the crooked fast-flowing Aare River, Bern is full of charm mixed with scenic, historical features and lots of activities to do. Famous for its beauty, medieval architecture, narrow clobber stone alleys, and vibrant atmosphere making it one of the best places to visit in Switzerland.
Wondering around the Old Town is an excellent way to start your day; as you walk through the ancient sandstone buildings, be sure to take photos with the beautiful fountains located in every corner of the city. Another must-see attraction in the old town is Zytglogge, an ancient city clock in the heart of Old Town.
Don’t forget your cameras while climbing up the tower of the magnificent Cathedral of St. Vincent for an awesome view of the city including The Bernese Mountains. History lovers can check out Bern Historical Museum for some Swiss historical lessons. Other attractions include the Einstein Museum, Kunstmuseum, and the Bern Bear Park.
Set between the Swiss Alps and the mountainous terrain of Mountain Jura, Geneva, a French-Speaking City, also known as “Capital of Peace,” plays host to various international organizations, such as Red Cross, United Nations, and World Bank.
Just like Zurich, Geneva is renowned for its lake; Lake Geneva tops the list as the biggest fresh-water lake in Europe. A walk around the lake is a must as you enjoy the sparkling blue waters and see the colossal Jet d’Eau fountain shooting water at 140 meters into the air.
For Science buffs (or Big Bang Theory buffs) , you have to pass by the CERN, a nuclear research center, then cross over to the Geneva Observatory Station. Watch collectors will have a blast visiting the Patek Philippe Museum, a famous watch manufacturer.
Other must-see spots include the Red Crescent Museum and St Pierre Cathedral. Lastly, Don’t forget to take an evening walk through Old Town; these sandstone streets are dotted with beautiful boutique shops and many lovely cafes.
This magnificent city is truly breathtaking to visit, thanks to the snow-capped Central Swiss Alp and the shimmering Lake Lucerne that borders it. There are a ton of stunning views to be enjoyed. In addition to the picturesque landscapes, Lucerne has a beautiful medieval quarter that adds to the romantic atmosphere.
Lucerne is a small community, and you can tour the entire town on foot. Head over to Kappellbrucke( the Chapel Bridge ), one of the oldest bridges in the world, for some memorable photos, then take a leisurely walk along the shores of Lake Lucerne.
If you still have time, you can climb up the Musegg Wall for some picturesque views of the city. You can also check out the Lion Monument that pays respect to the fallen soldiers killed during the French Revolution.
Surrounding Mount Pilatus offers skiing activities in winter and breathtaking views of the city all year round. You can get to the mountain top riding a cable car.
There’s a uniqueness about the most famous mountain in the world, the Matterhorn, which unknowingly draws people to have a glance at this mystical mountain. Be it on Postcards, postal stamps, on the geographic channel, or even on other print media forms, and It’s a sight to behold!
The Matterhorn is Switzerland’s Stonehenge. Zermatt is a reserved little town with a few hidden gems plus an unforgettable charm – from ancient villages and picturesque hikes with that delightful wedge-shaped mountain peaking its glistering peak in the background.
To get to Matterhorn by rail, use the available transportation at the local cable car station. The rare alp ride gives you an astoundingly beautiful view of the town as well as the stunning mountain from the top. A trip to the Matterhorn gives you an unforgettable Swiss experience. That’s the true spirit of visiting the impressive Alps.
Lauterbrunnen – Jungfrau
Lauterbrunnen is strategically located in a small village in the Lauterbrunnen valley, nestled between gigantic rocks that block the sun from reaching the valley’s floor. It’s a refreshing scenery for excursions through the Jungfrau region, including the mountain villages Wengen and Mürren – ideal for day trips, as you encounter the magnificent waterfalls (72 in total). Still, there’s a visible waterfall from the village horizon.
Lauterbrunnen is small but has all the comforts that come with a touristy town. You can enjoy a decent meal in nearby restaurants, stay in cozy hotels, go camping, and shop for your supplies in the town’s supermarket.
Lauterbrunnen is a beautiful place but not ideal for winter sports as the village sits on the valley floor, too low for heaps of snow.
The Alpine wonderland nicknamed “the Top of Europe” Jungfraujoch is a glacier saddle flanked by two mountains and Switzerland’s chief attraction. However, possibly a unique interest is the Jungfrau railway station, in all of Europe. It takes off from Kleine Scheidegg and climbs up over 3,000 meters above sea level to Jungfraujoch.
Main attractions include:
- Ice Palace in the glacier for some of the most striking ice sculptures
- Flying on the famous air zip-line
- The Jungfrau ski region
- Breathtaking sights from the Sphinx Viewpoint
Perched at River Rhine’s shores, bordering Germany on the left side and France on the top side, Basel is the third-largest city in the Swiss. Basel’s strategic location, the city boasts a vibrant cultural mix combined with beautiful old buildings and modern art and architecture.
Basel’s Old Town is ideal for walking around and admiring the city’s exquisite buildings, like The Base City Hall, the monkey fountain and the colonial houses on Petersgasse,. Basel also pays homage to several museums; the most notable ones include, Basel Historical Museum and The Kunstmuseum Basel.
From the museum, you take a stroll towards River Rhine for some relaxing boat ride, a swim, or pass-time at one of the coffee shops near the river. You can also climb up Basler Munster to enjoy the beautifu scenery of the city. As evening approaches, you can pop in one of the restaurants for some exquisite Swiss food.
Lausanne city lies above Lake Geneva and is toppled by snow-covered mountains- an excellent mix for water-lovers, hikers, and those who like to admire the scenic views. If that’s not enough, you can sample the famous swiss cheese and chocolate at any local restaurants and cafes. The city plays host to the Olympic museum as well as the Olympic committee headquarters.
While at the Old Town, you can borrow a bike and enjoy the magnificent view riding along Lake Geneva or the nearby vineyard terraces. Later on, you can stop by the Olympic Museum to learn more about the Olympic games.
Lastly, you can relax your evening enjoying some delicious looking chocolate and cheese. There are plenty of hotels in Lausanne; check out these hotels if you are on a budget. SwissTech Hotel, and Hotel Angleterre & Residence.
Montreux is positioned right on lake Leman’s shores and against the breathtaking view of the Swiss Alps. The city offers a beautiful waterfront that connects to some panoramic hiking trails. Generally, the city offers lots of outdoor adventures all year round.
Montreux is home to a wide range of places to visit and site-see. You’re certainly not expected to leave Montreux without walking around its charming Old Town. While there, make sure you visit St –Vincent Temple, which provides picturesque views of the city and the surrounding landscape. Another must-see attraction is the Iconic Chateau de Chillon Castle.
For a relaxing evening, take a long leisurely stroll along the waterfront. You will find many restaurants and waterfront cafes where you can enjoy a swiss meal along the waterfront.
Our Final Word
There are not enough superlatives to describe Switzerland. And if you love the mountains, snowy villages in the winter, chocolates, cheese and snow sports then Switzerland is the place for you. Switzerland is renowned for many things, but largely for its spectacular landscapes, beautiful lakes, and Swiss Alps, the elegance that attracts most travelers. Despite this, Switzerland cities, with their ancient culture and history, have not been left behind.
These cities give travelers a wide range of attraction sites and adventurous things to do. No matter which city you intend to visit anytime soon, it will undoubtedly surpass your hopes. So be ready to make lots of lasting memories.
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