The Most Beautiful Towns in Switzerland

Spreuer Bridge, Luzern
Spreuer Bridge, Luzern | © Kim Petersen / Alamy
Stephanie Carwin

For a relatively small, landlocked country, Switzerland contains an exceptional amount of natural beauty and cultural diversity. These 10 towns spread across the country demonstrate the best it has to offer in terms of spectacular mountain scenery, flower-lined nature paths, lakefront beauty, and picturesque historic centres.

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Architectural Landmark, Historical Landmark

2CC9EP8 Bern Switzerland , 27 June 2020 : Old street view with tourists flags and Zytglogge clock tower in Kramgasse street in Bern old town Switzerland
© Keitma / Alamy

Framed by the Aare river, the Swiss capital lies in the west-central part of the country. The charming Old City is a Unesco World Cultural Heritage Site, known for a number of 16th-century fountains that feature painted figures, including the curious Child Eater Fountain (Kindlifresserbrunnen). Bern also has an immense collection of pieces by surreal Swiss-German artist Paul Klee. They’re housed in the Zentrum Paul Klee, which was designed by renowned Italian architect Renzo Piano.


Architectural Landmark, Historical Landmark

Guarda, Switzerland
© Alberto Masnovo/Shutterstock

Set 1.7km (1.1mi) above sea level in the Lower Engadine mountains, Guarda is a remote village, where beautifully-painted 17th-century houses have been renovated so well they’ve earned the Wakker Prize for preservation. The setting of the famous children’s book Schellen-Ursli (1945) by Selina Chönz and Alois Carigiet, Guarda has also preserved traditional customs like the Chalandamarz event in March. The majority of the population still speak Romansch – Switzerland’s fourth official language after German, French and Italian.


Architectural Landmark

Market in the Market Square of the old town of Unterseen, Interlaken, Switzerland KD6CEX
© Ian Dagnall / Alamy
Interlaken is positioned between two lakes – Lake Thun and Lake Brienz – and surrounded by some of Switzerland’s tallest peaks, making it a place for stunning views in every direction. If you’re a bit of a rambler, you’ll be pleased to know there are loads of hiking paths nearby. They begin at Harder Kulm, a panoramic viewpoint 1.3km (0.8mi) up that’s accessible by a funicular railway. Since Interlaken lies in the heart of the Bernese Oberland, the big peaks of the region – Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau – are also accessible for a closer look via the trains of the Alpine railways.


Architectural Landmark

Lucerne city view with river Reuss and Jesuit church, Switzerland DB43H0
© Robert Zehetmayer / Alamy

Lucerne is a picturesque ancient city on Lake Lucerne best enjoyed on foot – that way you can stroll along gorgeously painted historic houses, such as those in Weinmarkt Square. There are also a number of notable medieval landmarks like the Chapel Bridge (Kapellbrücke), one of the oldest covered bridges in the continent. There’s also the Musegg Wall, an intact part of the defensive walls built in 1386. It’s not all ancient history though, as exemplified by the sleek, waterside KKL (Culture and Convention Center) designed by French architect Jean Nouvel. Breathtaking Alpine terrain is easily accessible thanks to cableways up to the Pilatus, Rigi or Stanserhorn mountains.


Architectural Landmark

HYC6FT Chillon Castle, Switzerland. Montreaux, Lake Geneve, one of the most visited castle in Swiss, attracts more than 300,000 visitors every year.
© Alpineguide / Alamy
Montreux is a resort situated on a long expanse of Lake Geneva, found in the French-speaking south-west part of the country. The quays here offer miles of lakeside strolling, surrounded by exotic flowers and trees, and framed by views of the Alps in the background. The town also has a 13th-century castle, Château de Chillon, that looks out onto the lake. It was originally built by the House of Savoy, and has inspired literary works by Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Lord Byron. The cultural events in Montreux are impressive as well: the town hosts the second-largest annual jazz festival in the world in early July.



Stunning view of the Morcote traditional village by lake Lugano in Canton Ticino in Switzerland 2F60JCT
© AsiaDreamPhoto / Alamy
A ferry trip away from Lugano, Morcote is far and away the prettiest village on the Lake Lugano shoreline. Formerly a fishing haven, it’s set into a hillside, offering charming alleys to explore as well as lovely vistas of the lake. The bell tower of the historic Santa Maria del Sasso Church towers over the houses below. The villa of Parco Scherrer is essential visiting when you come here. Not only does it have an exotic assortment of Mediterranean and Asian flora; there are also architectural touches like Greek sculptures, an Egyptian temple and even a Siamese tea house.


Architectural Landmark, Historical Landmark

Soglio, Switzerland
© Nagib/Shutterstock

In the southern canton of Graubünden – where German, Romansh, and Italian are all spoken – you’ll find Soglio: a hidden idyll tucked away in the mountains.The landmark Church of St. Lorenzo looms over the cobblestone streets, while the historic hotel of Palazzo Salis exudes a Mediterranean feel. The highlight, though, is the Via Panoramica: a path that travels through a romantic landscape of vibrant wildflowers.

Stein am Rhein

Architectural Landmark, Historical Landmark

Waterfront with town church, St. Georgen Monastery and Hohenklingen Castle, Stein am Rhein, Rhine Valley, Canton Schaffhausen, Switzerland 2D6E5DF
© mauritius images GmbH / Alamy

Stein am Rhein is what you’d imagine when thinking of the perfectly quaint Swiss village. The centre is a dense collection of well-preserved medieval structures – many of which have vibrantly-painted facades. Nicknamed the Jewel on the Untersee, Stein am Rhein also wows with a medieval hilltop castle, Hohenklingen Castle. It has a bird’s-eye view of the walled town below and the former Benedictine abbey (St George) erected in the 11th century.


Architectural Landmark, Historical Landmark

Mountain village Wengen, Switzerland W6HJR6
© kavalenkava volha / Alamy

A postcard-perfect mountain village accessible only by train, Wengen is home to timber houses, chalets and Belle Époque hotels. It’s an idyllic base from which to explore the surrounding mountains. Venture out along one of the walking trails, or take a cableway to a rural, panoramic view. For the more adventurous, thrilling sports like paragliding and river rafting can easily be sought out.


Ski Resort

Zermatt, Switzerland
© ansharphoto/Shutterstock

The car-free resort town of Zermatt is the highest in Europe. It guarantees a long ski season, including year-round skiing on the glacier. The town lies at the base of the famous Matterhorn, where lifts ascend 3.9km (2.4mi) to give you expansive Alpine views. Zermatt is also quite the hot culinary destination, with two restaurants awarded Michelin stars in 2015: Ristorante Capri, run by chef Salvatore Elefante, and chef Ivo Adam’s After Seven.

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