The following is a guest post by Anna. She was born to travel the world, having studied languages all her life. Although she has traveled the world, she now calls Switzerland home and spends her time writing about her experiences on her travel blog, Expert World Travel, with her husband.
Switzerland never runs out of ways to take your breath away. Situated in the heart of the Alps, its glittering lakes and vast meadows take visitors to a place that seems almost magical. Whether you’re down in the city or up in the mountains, you’re sure to experience something memorable.
Aside from breathtaking vistas, Switzerland is also teeming with historical relevance, cultural experiences, and mouth-watering regional dishes. If you have at least a week to spend in the country, it’s possible to squeeze in some of the most beautiful places in Switzerland. However, if time is of the essence, here are just a few that will surely be the highlight of your visit.
There’s no escaping Europe’s most iconic peak towering over the town of Zermatt. The Matterhorn’s jagged Alpine peak stands alone in its space in the horizon, creating a fascinating image against clouds and sunlight.
There are many attractions and activities up on the Matterhorn, but if you want something to take your breath away, take a gondola ride up to the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise. As the highest viewing platform in all of Europe at 3,883 meters above sea level, the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise gives visitors a 360-degree view of 38 Alpine peaks. From here you can also spot 14 glaciers in the French, Italian, and Swiss Alps.
Those who want to take it easy can enjoy the cinema and several restaurants in the area. For the more outdoorsy type, there are many hikes you can take. There are also ski pistes open all-year-round, including the much-visited Theodul Glacier. In the summer, Snow Park Zermatt at the Plateau Rosa is a playground for snow tubing.
Zurich’s own mountain is the best spot for incredible views of the city. On a clear day, you see all of Zurich, its lake, and Alpine peaks in the background. It’s also a great choice if you don’t have the time or the energy to go all the way up to higher mountains.
Getting to Uetliberg is a quick train ride from the city via the Uetlibergbahn from the Selnau Station to the upper station. From here, it’s a mere 10-minute hike to the lookout point. There’s a lookout tower you can climb for 2 CHF, or just stay on the ground and enjoy almost the same views. Around the area is a sit-down restaurant and snack stand surrounded by picnic tables and benches. There’s also a park and a playground by the train station. In short, Uetliberg is great even for kids and families.
Dinner at the Uetliberg is also a fantastic experience. The broad walkway is enclosed with glass and leads up to the restaurant. It’s well-lit and throws city views in a beautiful glow. In the winter, the city lights reflect onto the snow and cast a magical vibe over the place.
Chapel Bridge, Lucerne
No visit to Lucerne is complete without a stroll along the Chapel Bridge. Built in 1333, this is one of the oldest bridges in Europe and one of the most popular spots in Lucerne. The bridge is a work of art in itself and spans the River Reuss. In 1993, the majority of the wooden bridge burned down in a tragic accident. While the main cause of the fire is still disputed, much of the original structure was lost, including some of the beautiful 17th-century paintings that line the bridge.
A year later, the Chapel Bridge was restored and is as glorious and picturesque as it always has been. There are more than 100 17th-Century paintings and pictures hanging from the rafters inside the bridge, depicting the town’s history. Some of these paintings are a facsimile of the original ones that burned down. However, a stroll along the bridge is a walk through history, punctuated by the glistening River Reuss below and Alpine peaks in the distance.
Harder Kulm, Interlaken
To say that the views from Harder Kulm are fantastic is an understatement. Known as Interlaken’s local mountain, Harder Kulm rises to 1,322 meters above sea level. A five-minute walk from the station brings visitors to Two Lakes Bridge that overwhelm guests with views of the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau peaks, as well as Lakes Brienz and Thun. A portion of the viewing platform also has a glass floor for those brave enough to look down. Beside the bridge is the Harder Kulm Panorama Restaurant, an art-nouveau style reminiscent of a castle serves amazing regional cuisine.
Part of the experience is riding up the panorama funicular. It just takes 10 minutes from Interlaken to the station at Harder Kulm but offers views that will last a lifetime. This ride has been taking visitors up to the mountain for 100 years, through charming forests and the wildlife park.
Grindelwald First, Grindelwald
There are many things to do in Grindelwald, but Grindelwald First takes the cake. The First is a haven for the outdoorsy visitor keen on experiencing many of the traditional Swiss activities, but the best way to savor the location is by the First Cliff Walk.
The First Cliff Walk just over a cliff 45 meters from the ground below. While taking a stroll on this metal walkway might be a bit harrowing for some, the views are worth it. There are many signs that lead guests to the path right off the gondola ride, starting with a path winding around a hill and onto a metal pathway. As expected, the views are fantastic, encompassing Alpine peaks, green pastures, and glittering lakes.
Trummelbach Falls, Lauterbrunnen
Lauterbrunnen is a charming town that has inspired many of the world’s greatest poets and writers. Among its picture-perfect attractions are the many waterfalls against dramatic cliffs that can be found all over this one-kilometer valley. With a whopping 72 waterfalls in Lauterbrunnen, the hypnotic sound of rushing water is almost constant.
One of the most thunderous falls in Lauterbrunnen is Trummelbach Falls. After a mere 30-minute stroll from the town, the falls consists of a series of ten glacier waterfalls thundering through Europe’s largest subterranean caves. Rushing at 20,000 liters per second, the falls have carved intriguing patterns and corkscrew channels over millions of years. The stepped walkway at Trummelbach Falls leads visitors over and around the falls to feel and see the power of water up close.
Chateau de Gruyeres, Gruyeres
The medieval town of Gruyeres is nothing short of romantic. Breaking away from towering Alpine peaks, Gruyere is characterized by green alpine hills and its famous historic castle.
Chateau de Gryueres has been looking over the town atop a verdant hill since the 13th century. It served as the residence of the Duke of Gruyeres and has lived through eight centuries of history, folklore, and legends. Visitors can tour the castle for free or book tours with multilingual guides to better understand the castle’s role in its glory days. Housed in the castle are many exhibits and treasures that mark the turns of different centuries.
Lavaux Vineyards, Montreux
Switzerland evokes images of snow-capped peaks and clear blue lakes. It’s known for cheese and chocolate, medieval towns and castles, and even clocks and craftsmanship. But wine is something that Switzerland does very well that not many people give the country credit for.
Stretching 830 hectares between Lausanne Montreux, the Lavaux Vineyards is a wonderful place for a peaceful stroll and a sampling of fine Swiss wine. Dating back to the 11th century, some saying as far back as the Roman period, the vineyards are recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site. There are several trails that go through the vineyards and the views are simply breathtaking. Situated on the shores of Lake Geneva, the lake glistens under the summer sun and snow-capped mountains are seen all around.
Also known as the “Pearl of the Swiss Riviera”, Vevey is a small town known for many things. It’s the final hometown of comedy legend Charlie Chaplin, as well as the headquarters or the world’s most popular chocolate maker, Nestle. The Laveux Vineyards is also accessible from this town, but there’s one institution that opens up a world of experiences.
The Alimentarium is the first museum in the world solely about food and nutrition. With a brilliant combination of science, culture, and art, the museum presents interesting and interactive exhibits that explore all areas of the human diet. It’s also a great place for some food tasting, cooking workshops, and gardening. It’s not just the inside that’s iconic, however. The building itself is a stunning neo-classical structure made of sandstone.
Perhaps just as popular as the museum is the commemorative 8-foot tall fork plunged into Lake Geneva in celebration of the museum’s tenth anniversary in 1995. Both the fork and the museum have been recognized as unique cultural symbols of Vevey.
Lake Geneva, Geneva
Out of the many things to do and see in Geneva, Lake Geneva is undoubtedly the star of the show. The lake spans Geneva, Lausanne, Montreux, and several other lakeside towns, making it the perfect spot to discover much of Switzerland in one trip.
As the largest lake in Central Europe, Lake Geneva is a dramatic backdrop for a memorable day.
Whether you’re going solo, as a couple, or with the entire family, Lake Geneva is where you can spend your best times in Switzerland. Around the lake are parks, gardens, trails, and museums that all share the fantastic views of the water and the Alpine peaks. In the summer, the water is perfect for swimming, fishing, or taking a cruise on a historic paddle boat. Wintertime gives visitors an amazing spot for ice skating.
Here is where you’ll also see Jet d’Eau, the famous fountain that shoots water 140 meters into the air.
The list of amazing places to visit in Switzerland is endless. There’s definitely something for everyone, from a relaxing day lounging by the lake to a thrilling adventure bungee jumping off the cliff. Whatever kind of traveler you are, however, every corner of the country is sure to take your breath away.
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