What are the top ten things to do in Switzerland?
Have you selected Switzerland as your next vacation spot, but are unsure what its major highlights are? Whether you want to soak up the stunning scenery of the Swiss Alps, explore one of its historic cities, or gorge on deliciously rich gastronomy, this small Central European nation has mountains of appeal.
The landlocked country isn’t just about magnificent alpine scenery and melt-in-your-mouth fondue, though. You’ll also find numerous other attractions and activities to pique your interest in our list of incredible things to do in Switzerland below.
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1Hike up the Matterhorn
Found on the border of Italy, the landmark Matterhorn is one of the top things to see in Switzerland. Why not visit the pyramid-shaped peak on a walking tour during the warmer months? It towers over the landscape at nearly 15,000 feet and looks just as spectacular from afar as it does up close. If you’re booking a Swiss vacation in the winter, you could snowboard or sled down its slopes instead.
2Tempt your Tastebuds with Regional Cuisine
While Switzerland may not be lauded around the world for its cuisine, there’s still a handful of dishes you must try during your vacation. Cheese – from holey Emmental to soft and savory Raclette – is produced across the country and often melted into a tasty fondue, plus it pairs perfectly with wine from cantons (districts) like Zaud and Geneva. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, you can’t miss indulging yourself with some decadent Swiss chocolate made from the milk of alpine cows.
3Go Back in Time at Château de Chillon
Like many of its neighbors, Switzerland is dotted with fairytale castles boasting fascinating histories. One of the most iconic is the Château de Chillon which sits on the tiny island of Chillon, just off the eastern shores of Lake Geneva. The château itself – which was restored in the 1800s – dates back to the 9th century, although it has been the site of a fortification since Roman times. Our top tip is to approach it from the north to admire views with snow-capped mountains in the background.
4Soak up the Outdoors in the Jungfrau Region
Switzerland has long been a popular vacation spot for walking and other outdoor pursuits. If you’re keen to breathe in the fresh mountain air and glimpse idyllic vistas of chocolate-box villages, you’ll want to make a beeline for the Jungfrau Region. It forms part of the Bernese Highlands and is one of the country’s top skiing destinations. When it’s warmer, Jungfrau is the perfect place to enjoy hikes and leisurely bike rides in addition to fun water sports from/in Interlaken.
5Ride the Bernina Express Through the Swiss Alps
One of the best ways to see as much of the Swiss Alps as possible is by rail. You can hop on the Bernina Express in Chur and then meander through valleys and around picturesque peaks all the way to Tirano in neighboring Italy. Part of the journey takes you along the UNESCO World Heritage Rhaetian Railway which was built in the late 1800s and features no fewer than 84 tunnels, including one that’s 19 miles long!
6Take a Boat Ride Across Lake Geneva
The most well-known alpine lake in Europe, Lake Geneva is recognizable for its unique crescent-shape. It’s surrounded by majestic peaks, plus the city of Geneva borders its south-west tip. Discovering the glistening scenery of Lake Geneva by boat is one of the top things to do in Switzerland and you can set off on a leisurely cruise from various points, including Lausanne, Evian and Geneva.
7Visit the Spectacular Rhine Falls
Situated along the High Rhine river, these tumbling cascades are a truly enchanting sight.
Rhine Falls is known as the most powerful waterfall in Europe and it’s easy to reach in under an hour by train or car from Zurich. You’ll be able to enjoy the best views of this natural phenomenon during a 45-minute walking trail which begins at the Schloss Laufen am Rheinfall station.
8Explore Bern’s Medieval Old Town
When it comes to discovering this compact country’s cities, Bern should be on the top of your list. It’s at the heart of the Bern canton and has been Switzerland’s capital since the 19th century. As well as many modern conveniences and attractions, Bern’s UNESCO Aldstadt (Old Town) is one of the city’s major draws. The area dates back to Medieval times, with hotspots being the Zytglogge – a two-faced clock tower built in the 12th century – and the Bundhaus Parliament building, which is framed by 26 water fountains.
9Stroll Down Historic Streets in Zurich’s Old Town
Zurich is another Swiss city with awe-inspiring architecture. Visit its historic heart that’s spread across both banks of the Limmat River and dotted with gorgeous guild houses and Medieval structures such as St. Peter Church. Don’t miss ambling down the famous shopping boulevard Bahnhofstrasse, admiring the beautiful boutiques along cobbled Rennweg, or exploring the alluring alleyways of Niederdorf.
10Spend a day in Swiss National Park
Get back to nature at this stunning spot that’s the oldest National Park in the Alps and part of the protected UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. In addition to tackling over 50 miles of hiking trails, the Swiss National Park also gives you a chance to spot native species such as golden eagles, ibexes, and marmots in their natural habitats. Begin your intrepid adventure at the Zernez visitors center which has a great interactive exhibition on the Swiss National Park’s history.
Keen to see even more of this alpine country’s sights during your vacation? Get in touch with us for further suggestions on the top things to do in Switzerland.
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Bern, the Swiss capital, gets its name from the bears that have always lived in the woods around the old town.
Geneva is a renowned global city, thanks to the Red Cross, the World Trade Organization, the World Health Organization, and the European branches of the United Nations and World Bank…
Interlaken is a paradise for outdoor sports enthusiasts and adventure travelers from around the globe.
Zermatt is a picture-perfect Alpine town that lies in the shadow of the iconic Matterhorn peak, surrounded by the snow-clad Swiss Alps.
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