Switzerland is home to seemingly endless natural beauty as well as a rich cultural history, ensuring there’s something to discover that will astound you. Read our list of the 20 must-visit attractions that you simply have to see for yourself.
One of the largest lakes in Western Europe, Lake Geneva has plenty to keep you enthralled. From Geneva on the western shores to the town of Montreux on the east, you’re treated to views of the Alps reflecting of the lake’s calm waters. In the summer, you can indulge in a number of water sports.
The Lion of Lucerne
In 1792, members of the Swiss Guard were massacred during the French Revolution. A couple of decades later, Lukas Ahorn carved the tragic Lion in its death throes into a rock face outside of Lucerne. The relief was designed by Danish sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen.
Great St. Bernard Pass
The Great St. Bernard Pass is the oldest pass in the Western Alps and the third highest in Switzerland. At the highest point in the road is the Great St. Bernard Hospice, where St. Bernard rescue dogs gained their fame.
Old Town of Bern
On a wander through the exquisitely preserved old town of Bern, you can feel the city’s history close in around you as you come across 15th-century arcades and 16th-century Renaissance fountains.
The Rhaetian Railway connects Switzerland to Italy through the mountains of Graubünden and is a remarkable feat of engineering through one of the country’s most photogenic regions. On the 130km ride, you’ll pass over 196 bridges and go through 55 tunnels, with the curving Landwasser viaduct being a spectacular highlight.
Vineyards stretch as far as the eyes can see in Switzerland’s longest vineyard region (843 hectares to be precise). On a leisurely hike along the vineyard trail, you can stop by and taste some of the local produce for yourself. Just remember you have to walk back.
The Lauterbrunen valley, also known as the valley of the 72 falls is home to the Trümmelbach Falls, the largest series of subterranean waterfalls in Europe. They carry the meltwater from the Jungfrau down to the valley below and they are fully accessible by lift, tunnels and paths.
One of the most beautiful and expensive shopping streets in Europe, the Bahnhofstrasse is a must visit on any trip to Zurich. Whether you are in the market for designer goods or just want the experience, make sure to take a wander through.
Gruyères is the cheese capital of Switzerland and the world famous cheese for fondue, aptly named Les Gruyères, is made there. Even if you’re not a fan of cheese, you should still visit as the town’s cream and meringue dessert is a must-taste.
Situated on a tiny island on Lake Geneva, Château Chillon is the most beautiful castle in Switzerland, offering stunning views of the surrounding Alps.
Otherwise known as the Roof of Europe, here you can admire the Alps in all their splendour. You can journey to Europe’s highest-altitude railway station at 3454m above sea level.
The Matterhorn is known as the world’s most photographed mountain in the world for a reason. Head to the fully pedestrianized resort of Zermatt if you want to tackle the challenge of climbing the mountain or ski on top-class slopes in its shadow.
Keeping on the trend of things at high altitude, at the Schilthorn summit you can dine out at just under 3000 metres in a revolving restaurant. From the viewpoint, it’s possible to see the Jungfrau, the Jura mountain range, the Vosges Mountains and catch a glimpse of the Mont Blanc in the distance.
The Aletsch glacier is the largest in the Alps at 23 km long. You can take a trek and get right up close to one of nature’s most spectacular bulldozers.
The oldest covered wooden bridge in Europe stretches across Lake Lucerne, with its structure dating back to the 14th century. Much of the bridge is a modern reconstruction after it was destroyed by a fire in the 90s. The interior of the Kapellbrücke contains artwork from the 17th century depicting important events in Swiss history.
At 125 metres wide and 25 metres high, the spectacular cascading waters of the Rhine Falls is the largest plains waterfall in Europe.
As one local Swiss comedian said, the Genevois are so proud of their tiny part of Lac Léman, or Lake Geneva, they decided to fire it hundreds of feet into the air. The Jet d’eau is one of the unmissable, if rather puzzling, sites of Geneva.
The Abbey of St Gall
This UNESCO World Heritage Site contains one of the oldest medieval libraries in the world and was one of the most important abbeys in Europe from the 8th century to the 19th. The structure we see today is the result of eight centuries of restructuring.
By Lake Lugano, with its Mediterranean climate, palm trees and the sound of Italian being spoken, you could easily forget that you are in Switzerland. Surrounded by mountains and blessed with fine weather, it makes for the perfect place for a relaxing getaway.
The castles of Bellinzona
The Castelgrande, Castello Montebello and Castello Sasso Corbaro protected the city of the Bellinzona, the capital of the canton of Ticino. Each castle is worth a visit by its own right, but together with their defensive walls they offer a fascinatingly beautiful step back in time.