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Switzerland’s Most Beautiful Places
Switzerland, a small European country surrounded by the majestic Alps, impresses with its natural beauty and cultural diversity. Bordered by Germany, France, Italy, and Austria, it is known not only for its precise Swiss watches and fine chocolate but also for its breathtaking scenery.
With over 48 peaks exceeding the 4,000-meter mark and an impressive number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Switzerland is a place that is a record holder in many ways and has a huge selection of sights to explore.
But when visiting Switzerland, how should you decide which of the country’s many impressive and scenic sites to visit? To help you decide, our Swiss travel guide has 12 of the most beautiful places in Switzerland to visit that you should not miss during your trip.
Switzerland Travel Resources
Here are the services we use and recommend for traveling in Switzerland;
How to get to the most beautiful places in Switzerland?
On the map, Switzerland looks quite small. But since 60% of Switzerland consists of mountains, it is often not so easy to get to the most beautiful places in the country.
Of course, you can rent a car and take a Switzerland road trip like we did but gas is not cheap, and parking does cost in many places. You will have to drive deep into the valleys and over mountain tops. The Alpine roads can be narrow, often winding and steep, and for some drivers they can be a challenge – unless you love a road trip, of course!
The best and most cost-effective way to get around is with the Swiss Travel Pass. This ticket allows free use of the well-developed and punctual public transport network including trains, buses, and boats. Although it may look expensive when you add up the cost of hiring a car, fuel, and parking you’ll realize it offers really good value for money, and just adds to the beautiful Switzerland experience!
Zermatt, the picturesque village at the foot of the impressive Matterhorn, is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places in Switzerland. This car-free mountain village deep in the Swiss Alps is known for its horse drawn carriage rides, luxury chalets and all-year round skiing opportunities.
The Matterhorn, one of the most famous mountains in the world, towers majestically over Zermatt. Various viewpoints from the surrounding alpine meadows and smaller peaks offer breathtaking panoramic views of the stone giant which tops out at 4,478 meters high!
The highest cog railroad in Europe reaches the Gornergrat, which is almost 3100 meters high. Alternatively, there is the Klein Matterhorn, which at 3,883m above sea level is the highest mountain railway station in Europe.
With the Matterhorn Alpine Crossing, which opened in July 2023, you can even travel dry-footed in less 1.5 hours by cable car to the Aosta Valley in Italy to have a cappuccino!
In summer, Zermatt is a paradise for hikers, mountaineers, and mountain bikers. In winter, Zermatt transforms into one of the best European ski resorts, with world-class slopes and excellent opportunities for skiing and snowboarding, although Europe’s highest ski resort is open all year round.
Make sure you have travel insurance you can trust when visiting Switzerland. We recommend True Traveller for their 5-star TrustPilot reviews, variety of cover options, best activities cover as standard, great prices, and excellent service.
The picturesque and unspoiled Verzasca Valley is hidden in the Ticino Alps in the south of Switzerland. This valley is one of the lesser-known but is still a fascinating treasure of Switzerland and worth a visit at any time of the year.
The idyllic Verzasca Valley is crossed by the turquoise-blue mountain river of the same name, which is flanked to the left and right by high, sometimes rugged, cliffs.
One of the main attractions is the Ponte dei Salti, an ancient stone bridge that crosses the crystal clear, emerald-green river. The waters and natural pools are ideal for relaxing and refreshing in summer. In winter, mystical mist often lies on the water, making the valley a popular spot for nature lovers and photographers.
Another highlight is the picturesque village of Lavertezzo, whose stone houses and narrow streets exude a charming alpine flair. The backdrop of green forests and high peaks is breathtaking and a hikers paradise.
The tranquility and natural beauty of the Verzasca Valley make it a hidden gem of the country. It is undoubtedly worth discovering, being one of the most beautiful places in Switzerland.
Beautiful Lake Brienz and Lake Thun sandwich Interlaken between them, making the city an ideal place to stop and explore the area. Being so close together, it’s easy to discover the attractions of both, but we prefer Lake Brienz for its gorgeous turquoise water, waterfalls, pretty towns dotting the shoreline, and dramatic steep mountains.
Make sure to take a boat trip on the lake where you can see the famous mirror reflections of the mountains in the clear water and marvel at the breathtaking Giessbach waterfall as thunders over 14 tiers, plunging 400 meters into the depths of Lake Brienz.
Lauterbrunnen is so perfectly picturesque that it could be mistaken for a film set, which it has actually been! Both Lauterbrunnen and nearby Mürren served as filming locations for the James Bond movie On Her Majesty’s Secret Service in 1969.
The valley town is known for its 72 waterfalls, including the famous 300-meter-high Staubbach Falls, and the nearby Trümmelbach Falls, which gush through mountain crevices past viewing platforms.
Hiking, paragliding, rock climbing, and canyoning are all popular ways to experience what Lauterbrunnen has to offer. For a truly unique experience, consider viewing the mesmerizing landscape and the awe-inspiring Bernese Alps from a hot air balloon.
From nearby Stechelberg, you can take the Schilthorn cable cars to the Birg Station at 2,970 meters altitude for breathtaking 360-degree views of the mighty Oberland trio of the Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau peaks.
Chateau of Chillon
The Château de Chillon is a picturesque medieval castle on Lake Geneva, near the city of Montreux, famous for the Montreux Jazz Festival held every June. This impressive water castle is perched on a small island, not far from the shore, in the second-largest lake in Central Europe.
The history of the Château de Chillon dates back to the 12th century. The castle was also immortalized by the famous poet Lord Byron in his poem The Prisoner of Chillon.
With its imposing towers, battlements, and walls rising majestically from the lake, against the backdrop of glittering Lake Geneva and the snow-capped Alps, it is simply spectacular and one of the most popular photo opportunities in Switzerland.
Visitors can stroll inside the castle through the magnificently furnished rooms and dungeons. Highlights include the Hall of Arms, the chapel, and the panoramic terrace, which offers magnificent views of the lake and surrounding mountains.
From Montreaux, you should take a ferry to the castle to get a different perspective from the water. For the way back, the 30-minute pedestrian walk, directly on the lakeshore, is a wonderful option.
This impressive castle is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places in Switzerland and a must-see for history enthusiasts.
The Jungfraujoch, also known as the ‘Top of Europe’, is a saddle connecting two major 4000ers of the Bernese Alps: the Jungfrau and the Mönch. Located at an altitude of 3,450 meters above sea level in the Bernese Alps, the Jungfraujoch offers breathtaking scenery.
A day trip to the Jungfraujoch begins in the pretty mountain village of Grindelwald. The Jungfrau Railway, one of the highest trains in Europe, takes you right into the heart of the first natural heritage site in the Alps. If you’re visiting in summer try and avoid the weekends and take the first early morning train.
Once at the top, a majestic world of eternal ice and snow for 365 days a year, opens up. The Sphinx Observatory viewing platform offers spectacular panoramas of the surrounding mountain peaks: on one side the view of the Swiss Mittelland all the way to the French Vosges, on the other the impressive Aletsch glacier, lined with four-thousand-meter peaks.
You can take a short hike to the Mönchsjoch hut through the alpine glacier world surrounding the Jungfrau-Aletsch. The highest-altitude serviced hut in Switzerland can be reached on foot from the Jungfraujoch on a high-Alpine path in 45 minutes with around 200m of elevation gain. You need to be reasonably fit and wear good hiking shoes or boots to attempt this – but it’s so worth it!
Jungfraujoch is undoubtedly a highlight in this fascinating country and a place you should not miss on your list of the most beautiful places in Switzerland.
Other Swiss Travel Ideas
Bellinzona, the capital of the southern Swiss canton of Ticino, is a historical treasure. Landmarks are the three well-preserved medieval castles that dominate the city: Castelgrande, Montebello, and Sasso Corbaro. These medieval fortresses are recognized UNESCO World Heritage Sites, built to control the surrounding Alpine passes.
Castelgrande, the largest of the three castles, towers majestically directly over the old town and offers a breathtaking panoramic view of the narrow streets and rooftops of Bellinzona. Positioned above it is the Castello di Montebello with its well-preserved towers and views over Bellinzona and into several valleys. The Castello di Sasso Corbaro, with its imposing fortress wall, completes Bellinzona’s fortifications.
The city of Bellinzona is a living testimony of the rich history and culture of Ticino and Switzerland and simply cannot be left out of the list of the most beautiful places.
Nestled in the Dreiländereck, or three countries’ corner, Basel serves as a gateway to the Swiss Jura mountains, as well as nearby cities of Zürich and Lucerne, and the neighboring French region of Alsace and the German Black Forest.
The country’s third largest city is a hidden gem among Switzerland’s tourist destinations. Boasting a stunning medieval old town centre, an intriguing carnival, and world-renowned art museums, the cosmopolitan city is considered to be the cultural capital of Switzerland.
Another beautiful place in Switzerland is the picture-perfect Lake Oeschinen. It has been voted the most beautiful mountain lake in the country several times and is a popular destination in winter and summer.
Lake Oeschinen is located in the Bernese Alps, near the village of Kandersteg, and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is surrounded by an impressive mountain landscape. The clear, mirror-like surface of the lake reflects the surrounding peaks, including the imposing Blüemlisalp massif, creating a picturesque backdrop that excites hikers and nature lovers alike.
One of the best ways to explore Lake Oeschinen is by hiking along the numerous trails in the area. The lake is surrounded by lush forests that are lined with wildflowers in the summer. In winter, the place turns into a winter wonderland, ideal for ice skating or winter hiking on the frozen lake.
The mountain inns around the lake offer delicious Swiss cuisine, including cheese slices and rösti, and are the perfect place to refuel after a hike.
The mountain lake is easily and simply accessible to everyone. After a short cable car ride, it’s only a 30-minute walk on a large walkway. Hikers can reach the popular mountain lake after about 1.5 hours from Kandersteg.
The capital of a country is not always one of the most beautiful places. In Switzerland, however, it is! Always in the shadow of rivals Zurich and Geneve, Bern impresses not only with its historic old town but also with its scenic location on the river Aare.
The old town of Bern, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a real treasure: characteristic arcades and well-preserved medieval buildings. The Zytglogge, an impressive astronomical clock, is an architectural masterpiece and a must-see during a stroll through the old town. Stunning is also Bern Cathedral, a Gothic church with a breathtaking view from its tower, which is one of the tallest steeples in the country.
One of the highlights of Bern is the Rose Garden. This idyllic park is home to an amazing collection of roses and offers panoramic views of the old town, surrounded by the Aare River, which is popular for swimming in summer.
Bern combines history, culture, and natural beauty and is definitely one of the most eclectic places in Switzerland, which you should not miss during your visit.
Rhine Falls and Schaffhausen
The Rhine Fall near Schaffhausen, in the far north of Switzerland, is a spectacular natural spectacle and one of the most impressive places in the country. This massive waterfall, which stretches along the Rhine between the towns of Schaffhausen and Neuhausen, right on the German border, attracts visitors from all over the world.
The Rhine Falls is one of the largest waterfalls in Europe and impresses with the huge amount of water that falls over the rocks. At 23 meters, it is not particularly high but an imposing 150 meters wide. The roar of the water and the rising spray create an imposing atmosphere.
One of the best ways to experience the Rhine Falls is to take a boat ride. The excursion boats take the visitors on a small rock, in the middle of the water forces, so that the mighty power of the fall can be felt up close.
The surrounding area around the Rhine Falls also offers beautiful viewpoints and hiking trails. From various platforms along the shore, you can enjoy great panoramic views of the waterfall.
Schaffhausen itself is a beautiful town with a well-preserved old town of medieval architecture, worth visiting. Above it, the historic fortress Munot perched on a hill, offers a great panoramic view.
This combination of natural beauty and cultural treasures makes the Rhine Falls and the city of Schaffhausen one of the most fascinating places in Switzerland.
Another fascinating natural treasure of Switzerland is the Aletsch Glacier, the largest and longest glacier in the Alps. This impressive natural wonder stretches over a length of 22.6 kilometers and an area of 78.49 square kilometers in the Bernese Alps.
One of the best ways to experience the Aletsch Glacier is by hiking along the Aletsch Panorama Trail. This trail offers spectacular views of the glacier from all sides. Alternatively, you can take the cable car up to the Eggishorn. This nearly 3000-meter-high peak is one of the most popular lookouts and offers an impressive view of the glacier.
Unfortunately, the most powerful ice stream in the Alps is also a symbol of climate change. It is shrinking by 5 meters per year due to global warming!
The Aletsch Glacier is undoubtedly (still) one of the most dramtically picturesque places in Switzerland and an impressive example of the majestic landscape of the Alps.
Swiss National Park
The Swiss National Park, which covers an area of 170 square kilometers in the Western Rhaetian Alps, is the only national park in the country and has been recognized as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
Being one of the oldest parks in Europe, it boasts of breathtaking alpine beauty, thanks to the strict regulations enforced within its boundaries. The park’s stunning scenery includes picturesque greenery, majestic rivers, and snowy peaks that make it a remarkable destination for nature enthusiasts.
One of the park’s highlights is the Pravcická Brána, Europe’s largest and very impressive sandstone arch. There are also some great hikes in the park, notably the scenic Val Trupchun hike and the Sapphire Lakes of Macun trail.
The Rhine Gorge, or Ruinaulter Gorge, is also known as the ‘Swiss Grand Canyon’, is another of the most naturally beautiful places in Switzerland. This dramatic gorge stretches along the young Rhine in the canton of Graubünden and offers a breathtaking backdrop of rocks, gorges, and roaring water.
The water flows wildly and torrentially through the massive gorge with rock walls up to 300 meters high, forming spectacular rapids and waterfalls.
The best way to experience the Rhine Gorge is to take a train ride along the banks of the Rhine or hike along the Rhine Forest Trail and to the viewpoints, high above the imposing natural wonder. A popular outdoor adventure is also a kayaking or rafting trip on the wild water.
The area surrounding the Rhine Gorge is part of a nature reserve and provides habitat for many species of animals and plants, including rare bird species and plants making it a must for nature lovers.