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The 10 Most Charming Villages in Switzerland

Picture of Chloe Hay
Updated: 12 March 2018
Switzerland’s cities may be beautiful, but its Alpine and lakeside villages are even more so. So leave the guidebook at home and skip over Zurich, Geneva and Basel on your next visit to explore one of these 10 magical villages instead.

Grindelwald

Also known as the ‘Glacier Village’, Grindelwald is a popular holiday spot for hikers and keen adventurers. One of the best ways to appreciate the sheer beauty that makes up Grindelwald is to take a ride on the First Flyer. A seated zip-wire ride that allows four people to fly side by side.

Guarda

During the summer months, visitors can embark on a fairly easy hike to Piz Buin – the mountain made famous by the sun cream brand. In winter, the village comes alive with toboggan runs, ice rinks and cross-country ski routes to keep all of its visitors entertained. A village of national importance, the sheer beauty of this picture-perfect place is not to be underestimated.

Morcote

A picturesque lakeside village in the Lugano region of Switzerland, Morcote is home to several architectural wonders listed as Swiss heritage sites of national significance. Among these are the ornate Church of Sant’Antonio Abate, an Egyptian temple and an abundance of Greek sculptures.

Gimmelwald

Gimmelwald lies halfway up a mountain in the Bernese Oberland. One of the last car-free villages in Switzerland, Gimmelwald is a completely pedestrianised village making it an idyllic retreat from urban life. Take the cable car from Stechelberg and enjoy the spectacular views of mountains and waterfalls as you make the ascent to Gimmelwald.

Interlaken

Surrounded by mountains, Interlaken is a popular paragliding spot. Those taking a stroll on the ground should look up to the sky, as they meander through the Japanese gardens, to witness the rare sight of dozens of bird-sized humans flying above them. Interlaken is also the gateway to exploring the Jungfrau region, and visitors can take the Jungfraujoch express from Interlaken train station to the Top of Europe.

Andermatt

Situated in the heart of Alpine Switzerland, there is an abundance of activities and attractions to keep visitors returning to Andermatt. A typical summer tourist itinerary here would include hiking, mountain biking, climbing and fishing, while photographers and appreciators of stunningly peaceful panoramas will love a ride on the slowest express train in the world: the Glacier Express, which will take you all the way to Zermatt.

Spiez

Dominated by a handsome castle, Spiez is a peaceful village situated on the edge of Lake Thun. Highlights from this little village include a 14-mile circular hike promising fine views of the mountainous terrain and bright blue lake waters, and a visit to the 1000-year-old church within Spiez Castle.

Wengen

Not far from the quaint capital city of Bern, Wengen lies at the foot of the imposing Eiger-Mönch-Jungfrau mountain range. The views alone are enough of a reason to take a trip to Wengen, but those in search of a little more adventure certainly won’t be disappointed either.

Appenzell

The traditional architecture and colourful façades of Appenzell’s main square and street draw visitors to its centre year after year. Home to an impressive castle, Catholic church and mural-covered town hall, a guided tour around the best of the village’s architectural delights is always a treat.

Zernez

Acting as the gateway to the Swiss National Park, Zernez is easily accessible from Switzerland’s neighbouring countries of Italy and Austria. Keen hikers and mountain bikers will fall in love with Zernez instantaneously as it offers a network of trails unrivalled by many other villages in the country.