Though it is a small, landlocked country, Switzerland boasts some of the most beautiful cities in the world. It is well known for its natural beauty, and the picturesque collections of buildings and historic centers add to the appeal. From mountain resorts to gorgeous villages nestled amongst lakes and rivers, there are so many enticing destinations in Switzerland.
While there are many scenic towns worth the visit, these cities each offer something unique and exciting, definitely earning them a spot on top of your bucket list. Learn about the views, museums, and adventures awaiting you in these Swiss cities, so you can decide where you will visit next.
Situated in the mountainous Bernese Oberland region of central Switzerland, Interlaken rests between Lake Thun and Lake Brienz. It offers views of three mountains, Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau. The beauty of the area makes it a great spot for wellness trips, as well as the different spas for a comforting, relaxing retreat.
The city of Interlaken is the perfect starting point for numerous excursions in Switzerland. There is plenty of access to cable cars, lifts, and ships that will take you across the land, into the Swiss Alps, and throughout the different lakes. It is also a popular skiing and tobogganing region, ideal for family vacations. In summer, enjoy cruises, paragliding trips, and hikes along the many available routes.
Geneva sits at the southern tip of Lake Geneva, surrounded by the Alps and Jura mountains with views of Mont Blanc. It is also home to the headquarters for Europe’s United Nations and the Red Cross. There are things to do in every season, with options ranging from strolls through the city to vineyard tours and paragliding.
The treasures of the Old Town include scenic cathedrals, terraces, and streets that earn a spot on your list of things to see. Climb the towers of St. Peter's Cathedral and take in the views of the cityscape and Lake Geneva, but do not forget to enjoy the beautiful settings inside the cathedral itself.
At the foot of the alps and situated near Lake Geneva, Montreux offers beautiful views of the sloping hillside and flowing lakes. The enchanting town is full to the brim with flowers, sculptures, and grand Belle Époque buildings. You will find the Château de Chillon, a medieval island castle, nearby, beautifully decorated with 14th-century murals.
Visit in July and attend the Montreux Jazz Festival, perusing through the mountains, vineyards, and lakes in the summer. The microclimate provides a comfortable climate that is ideal for tranquil days spent walking through meadows, visiting restaurants, and hiking along trails. In winter, visit the Alpine resorts and ski, snowshoe, and revel in the fairytale-like snowy weather.
Zürich sits at the north end of Lake Zürich in northern Switzerland. It boasts views of central Old Town, which shares a glimpse into the city's pre-medieval history. The twin towers of the Grossmünster are the city's most prominent landmark, which you can climb and revel in scenic views of the area. A 10-minute train ride to the lookout of the Uetliberg, Zürich's own mountain, is the perfect way to take in the beauty of the city, lake, and Alps.
Enjoy guided day trips from Zürich to the Alps or get a city pass and receive access to excursions such as the Old Town walking tour, lake cruise, and numerous city tours. If you are a chocolate fan, do not forget to pay a visit to the world's largest Lindt shop and café.
Lucerne lies among the snow-capped mountains and Lake Lucerne. The medieval Chapel Bridge, one of the oldest wooden bridges in Europe, sits at the city's center. You can also visit the nearby mountains of Rigi, Pilatus, and Stanserhorn. Also, the Museggmauer, a medieval wall that is well-preserved, borders the colorful Old Town.
If you are a lover of outdoor adventures, visit the Glacier Garden to see the glacial potholes formed during the last ice age, or take a trip to the top of 6,982-foot Mount Pilatus. The Swiss Museum of Transport is another interesting spot, boasting a unique collection of impressive vehicles. The Lion Monument is another marvel, as a carving of a lion in a sandstone quarry documents the Swiss Guard, massacred while trying to protect Louis XVI in 1792 during the French Revolution.
Fribourg is the capital of the region of Fribourg in Switzerland. The medieval city sits above the Sarine River and the St. Nicholas Cathedral is one of the best places to stop, featuring stained glass artwork and scenic views from its 249-foot-high bell tower. The Old Town is especially unique, boasting views of over 200 Gothic facades from the 15th century.
The city is also home to 11 historic fountains, which each come with their own stories and secrets that you can learn in a guided tour. In winter, take a walking tour to learn all about the history of the city, or take a leisurely stroll across the many bridges, marveling at the flowing rivers. Boutiques, cafes, and restaurants line the narrow streets of the cities, alongside modern art displays and galleries.
Situated in Switzerland's Bernese Alps, Grindelwald is most popular for skiing in winter and hiking in summer. Surrounded by a captivating mountainscape, the city offers many lookout points and fun activities. You will also find Gletscherschlucht, a glacial gorge, just outside the city, along with gorgeous views and rushing waterfalls.
If you want to combine the joy of skiing with the marvels of Switzerland, visit the Jungfrau region ski arena, which reaches an altitude of 9,748 feet. There are also many winter walking trails and tobogganing areas, along with numerous other winter sports. In summer, enjoy over 186 miles of walking trails, along with views of the mountains of Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau.
Revered for its attractive combination of art, nature, and history, Winterthur is a medieval city chock full of life, shops, markets, and festivals year-round. The pedestrian zone in the charming Old Town, Switzerland's largest, is a most popular attraction, and there are a whopping 17 museums to also pique your interest.
Depending on when you visit, you might be in time for the International Short Film Festival or the Winterthurer Musikfestwochen festival, though there are always different events and exhibitions going on. If you are interested in traversing through the beautiful outdoors, check out one of the many beautifully cared-for gardens and parks, or join the city tour "Villas and Gardens."
A Swiss Alpine resort village, Wengen is a car-free city perched below the Bernese Alps in the Lauterbrunnen Valley. Take the railway up the mountain from Lauterbrunnen to reach the serene resort and indulge in family-friendly skiing around the Männlichen and the Kleine Scheidegg. The timber houses and hotels from the belle époque period add to the city's charm and character.
While skiing is most popular in this area, there are also toboggan runs and hiking trails to enjoy in the sun. In summer, there are over 310 miles of walking trails, many of which boast panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. Paragliding, canyoning, and river rafting are other popular activities.
The capital of Switzerland, Bern sits around a crook in the Aare River. The city is home to some of Switzerland's most famous activities, including skiing, pots of scrumptious fondue, and gorgeous artwork and architecture. Bern's Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, boasting everything from sandstone sculptures to architecture that dates back to the 12th century.
You will find many attractions in the city, including the Albert Einstein House, the Swiss Alpine Museum, and the Houses of Parliament. Enjoy the beauty of the area by taking a swim or cruise in the Aare River, and check out the Botanical Gardens in the area. There are many free activities, including the Bern Minster, which is home to the country's highest church steeple.
Venture to Switzerland
In the heart of Central Europe, Switzerland offers a glimpse into some of the most beautiful places, picturesque landscapes, and rich histories. The old city walls, majestic lakes and rivers, and enchanting mountainscapes promise a trip jam-packed with excitement. Each city is well-loved for its attractive views and delicious food so be sure to bring your camera and an appetite! From medieval Lucerne to the historic capital of Switzerland, there are countless cities to visit!