17 Natural Wonders in Switzerland That'll Take Your Breath Away
For such a small country Switzerland, a land of mountains, is spoiled by its spectacular natural scenery. In almost any part of the country, you’ll be treated to view that will take your breath away, and leave a lasting memory. Here, discover 17 of the natural wonders that can be found in Switzerland.
Renowned as the most photographed mountain in the world, the jagged tooth-like Matterhorn is a wonder to behold. At a dizzying 4,478-metres high it’s one of the tallest mountain in the Alps.
The Rhine Falls
The Rhine Falls, Europe’s largest waterfall, is a wall of frothing white foam that thunders from afar as hundreds of cubic feet of water flow over it every single second. Even more impressive are the rocks at its centre which have somehow withstood it’s erosive power for centuries.
Other lakes may be larger, but few challenge the Oeschinensee in terms of beauty. Like a mirror, it reflects the surrounding mountain walls that surrounds it, making it perhaps the most photogenic lake in the Alps.
One of the great glaciers from the last Ice Age, the Aletsch Glacier stretches for 23 kilometres and is the largest glacier that can be found in Europe today.
Known as the Top of Europe, the Jungfraujoch is one of the most spectacular areas of the Swiss Alps, directly accessible by railway.
This ancient glacial valley is 3 kilometres deep! Its distinctive U-shape makes it easy to imagine the massive glaciers that carved it from the surrounding mountains. Not to mention, a staggering 72 waterfalls line the valley.
Among the many waterfalls in the Lauterbrunnen Valley are the Staubbach Falls, the highest free-falling waterfall in Europe, where the water cascades from 300 metres high.
Eiger is where you’ll find the Mordwand, the Death Wall. This another name for Eiger’s notorious north face which has claimed many experienced climbers’ lives over the years. This fear-inspiring reputation has ensured Eiger more fame than the taller mountains of Monch and Jungfrau which stand nearby.
Four-armed Lake Lucerne, is a picturesque, if not complicated, lake. In German it is known as the “Lake of the Four Forested Elements” which explains quite well its unusual shape, full of sharp bends and a width that spans four valleys.
The largest lake in Switzerland, and in the Alps, Lac Léman (also known as Lake Geneva) curves for 73 kilometres from Geneva, on the western border with France, all the way along to the resort town of Montreux. Towering above it are the Alps, making for dramatic views along the breadth of the water’s edge.
Lac souterrain St-Léonard
Europe’s largest underground lake is found in Switzerland, along the Rhone valley. On a boat ride you can explore its eerily calm waters.
Glacial flow from the nearby Eiger Glacier is responsible for the wonder that is the Trümmelbach Falls, a spectacular network of 72 underground waterfalls. It’s possible to follow the falls through a trail of bridges and tunnels.
The Fairies’ Grotto, St. Maurice
Carved by thousands of years of erosion, the Fairies’ Grotto in St. Maurice is home to a subterranean lake and a thundering 50 metre high underground waterfall.
Another glacier carved wonder is Aare Gorge, where the Aare River, fed by glacial run-off, cut through 200 metres of limestone leaving behind a 1.4 kilometre long gorge. Walking along the length of the gorge and running a hand along of the smooth surfaces gives a sense of the power of the natural forces that shaped the surrounding land.
Creux de Van
Admire nature’s transformative power at the Creux de Van which looks uncannily like a giant amphitheatre. This 160 metre high curving bowl is also a great place to spot ibex and other wildlife.
Les Grottes de Vallorbe
The floor blends with the ceiling in the Vallorbe Caves as natural limestone stalactites and stalagmites are dotted around this cave complex that follows the course of the Orbe River. Also on show is the “Fairies’ Treasure”, a large collection of minerals and crystals.
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The Earth Pyramids of Euseigne are a veritable wonder. Between 8,000 to 10,000 years old, these earth columns were created during the last Ice Age when the retreating glaciers left behind large rocks that stopped the ground beneath them from eroding.