There are many, many places in Switzerland that locals would prefer you, as a potential tourist, don’t know about, and for a whole cartload of reasons. Some of these places are so breathtakingly beautiful that an influx of camera-toting tourists could ruin their peaceful ambience, while others are a little more embarrassing. Read on to discover just some of the places locals would prefer you didn’t know about.
Giovanni Segantini, a 19th-century Italian painter, was full of praise for the tiny village of Soglio in the canton of Grisons, describing it as ‘the gateway to paradise’. Perched on the Swiss-Italian border, the village is perhaps best known for the Palazzo Salis, a historic palace-hotel, which was first opened by a knight in the 17th century.
Alpine gold stashes
Commugny is a nondescript little town in the countryside of Geneva. As nondescript as it may be, it has a gruesome past. It was here that a brutal, absinthe-fuelled murder took place that led to the drink being banned for almost a century. While completely drunk, one Jean Lanfray murdered his entire family before he turned a gun on himself, and survived, leaving this small community with a ghastly story that people living there probably don’t want to remember.
Near the town of Flims, in Grisons, is a lake that is known by locals as ‘Lag la Cauma’ in the local Romansh language, which translates to ‘siesta lake’. Smooth, tranquil and a beautiful spot to hike to, Lake Cauma is a little more off the beaten trail and is just waiting to be discovered.
If you are planning to work in Switzerland, the people of Ticino would probably prefer you forgot about their canton, which borders Italy. Every day, around 60,000 workers move across the border to work in the region. This fact prompted a public referendum in 2016 that aimed to restrict the number of foreign workers in the region. So, while they are fairly welcoming of tourists, if you’re looking for a job, some of the locals might want you to think twice.
The Sonnenberg Tunnel
The Sonnenberg Tunnel is one place that some Swiss probably do, and some probably don’t, want you to know about if you happen to be in Lucerne when a nuclear war kicks off. This tunnel, which handily doubles as a nuclear shelter, has room for around 20,000 people (about a quarter of Lucerne’s population) and is packed with a whole host of lodgings and amenities in case a nuclear winter ever descends.
The wall of skulls
We all have skeletons in our closet, but few of us have a 9-foot tall, 65-foot long wall of skulls hiding in our basement. That’s exactly what lies beneath the St. Stephen’s Church in the small town of Leuk. Nobody knows exactly why this macabre cellar exists, but the prevailing hypothesis is that there simply wasn’t enough room in the local cemetery. Whether the locals are happy about it or not, Leuk is now known for little more than its wall of skulls.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.