Switzerland is one of Europe’s most beautiful and popular holiday destinations due to its outstanding scenery and various outdoor activities and attractions.
From hiking and skiing the Swiss mountains to enjoying delightful lake cruises and exploring dreamy Swiss castles, there are plenty of things to do and see in Switzerland to please all travellers.
Visit Switzerland in summer and enjoy the great outdoors, and in winter, have fun at the Swiss Christmas Markets. Basel was voted the most beautiful Christmas market in Europe in 2022!
This post highlights six of Switzerland’s most beautiful city destinations. Helpful information includes where to stay and which fabulous Swiss activities you can experience, from walking tours to lake cruises.
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Map of Switzerland
Discover Switzerland’s Best Cities
Interlaken is Switzerland’s epicentre of outdoor pursuits and lies between Lake Thun and Lake Brienz.
Hiking, kayaking, parasailing, and skiing are all accessible activities to try while in Interlaken, and there are plenty of fabulous day trips from Interlaken to discover the best of Switzerland.
Interlaken is quite commercialised as it is a popular base for travellers exploring the surrounding villages and towns.
There is also an abundance of watch shops in Interlaken; after all, Switzerland is the world’s number one country for watch manufacturing!
A popular thing to do in Interlaken is to take the funicular train to the top of Harder Klum for spectacular views of the town below and across three mountains; Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau.
The Panorama Restaurant is at the top of Harder Klum, with a small bar adjoining it where you can grab a beer with a view.
For water sport enthusiasts, Interlaken is the centre for kayaking, canyoning and rafting. For adrenaline junkies, the skies above Interlaken are the perfect place to skydive and paraglide or enjoy a scenic helicopter sightseeing tour.
Back in town, wander around the designer stores or head out to Lake Thun, where you can visit the beautiful Swiss castles that line its shores.
Afterwards, experience a traditional Swiss village complete with wooden chalets, waterfalls and cows wearing bells around their necks; a trip to nearby Lauterbrunnen will fulfil all your expectations of Switzerland.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Interlaken
Basel is located in the northwestern part of Switzerland and sits on the border with France and Germany.
It is a destination in Switzerland often overlooked by its more popular neighbours; however, this unique location gives it an international feel and allows for a diverse mix of cultures.
One thing that makes Basel stand out is its stunning architecture. The city is home to many historical buildings, including the iconic red sandstone Münster Cathedral which dates back to the 12th century.
Another must-see attraction in Basel is its world-renowned art scene. The city boasts over 40 museums and galleries, making it a hub for art enthusiasts from around the globe. From classical works at Kunstmuseum Basel to contemporary pieces at Fondation Beyeler, there’s something for everyone here.
But Basel isn’t just about admiring art and architecture – it’s also a great place to enjoy outdoor activities. The Rhine River runs right through the heart of the city, providing scenic views and opportunities for boat tours or even swimming during warm weather.
And let’s not forget about the food! Basel has a rich culinary scene with traditional Swiss dishes like fondue or raclette alongside international cuisine options from all corners of the globe. Try out Michelin star Cheval Blanc By Peter Knogl, one of the best restaurants in Basel.
Overall, if you’re looking for a charming European city full of history, culture, and natural beauty – look no further than Basel. It truly has something for everyone!
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Basel
If you intend to travel around Switzerland by train, bus, boat or public transport, you can save money by purchasing the Swiss-All-In-One-Travel-Pass. You can choose passes from 3 -15 consecutive days with unlimited access to the Swiss rail network. You can even use it on some of Switzerland’s scenic routes, including the Bernina Express and the Glacier Express!
Geneva is one of the most beautiful cities in Switzerland, and it’s easy to see why!
With its stunning natural beauty, vibrant culture and rich cultural heritage, it’s no wonder that Geneva is a popular destination for tourists worldwide. There are plenty of things to do in Geneva, so this Swiss gem has something for everyone.
The beautiful city is nestled on the shores of Lake Geneva, one of Europe’s largest freshwater lakes. It stretches over 70 km in length and offers breathtaking views. Most impressive on the landscape is the Jet d’Eau – the tallest fountain in the world, shooting water 140 metres into the sky.
You can stroll along the promenade and check out the sculptures, including one of Freddie Mercury or take a boat ride to enjoy the scenery. If you’re feeling adventurous, try water sports like paddleboarding or windsurfing!
Away from Lake Geneva, the city is full of history and culture. The Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and boasts picturesque cobblestone streets lined with historic buildings.
You can explore landmarks such as the remarkable stained-glass windows inside St Pierre Cathedral, delve into the city’s past at the oldest house in Geneva, the 12th-century Maison Tavel museum, and see Place du Bourg-de-Four – one of Europe’s oldest public squares.
Geneva is also famous for being home to numerous international organisations, including the United Nations headquarters and International Red Cross Museum. You can tour these global institutions to learn about their vital work towards peacekeeping and humanitarian aid.
And last but not least, the cuisine. Geneva boasts an incredible culinary scene reflecting its Swiss roots and international influences. From traditional Swiss cheese fondue to Michelin-starred restaurants serving exquisite fine dining experiences – there’s something for every palate in Geneva.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Geneva
Lake Lucerne is the likely pull for a visit to this Swiss city, and for a good reason – it is idyllic.
With the River Reuss running through the city, paddleboat tours during the summer months allow tourists to take to the water for breathtaking views of Mt. Pilatus and Mt. Rigi.
And for those wanting to have one of the best experiences in Switzerland, the journey to the top of the mountains is a must-do in Lucerne. Both summits are accessible by a combination of a cable car and cogwheel train and give visitors sensational views of the Alps.
A popular circular route is to take a boat from Lucerne to Vitznau, then board the cogwheel train up Mount Rigi.
To come down the mountain, you can catch the cogwheel train to Arth-Goldau and then take a normal swiss train back to Lucerne. This journey is one of the most popular things to do in Lucerne.
Back on the ground, walk around Lucerne’s old town to see the brightly painted burgher houses giving this medieval town a fairytale feel.
One of Lucerne’s photography hotspots is the 14th-century Chapel Bridge (Kapellbrücke) spanning the Reuss River.
This is the world’s oldest covered wooden bridge, decorated with the most beautiful brightly coloured flowers.
No day trip is complete without a shot of this iconic Lucerne landmark followed by a cheese fondue at one of the great restaurants in Lucerne that line the waterfront.
If time permits, a visit to the Lion Statue is a must. It is one of the best-known sights in Lucerne.
Hewn into the side of the rock face, the statue is of a dying lion.
The monument represents the many Swiss soldiers killed in the French Revolution while protecting King Louis XVI. It can be found in Löwenplatz.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Lucerne
One of the most beautiful cities in Switzerland is Bern. It also happens to be the capital of Switzerland and a Unesco World Heritage Site.
The River Aare runs through Bern, allowing visitors to explore delightful waterside trails and river cruises.
And just outside the city, hiking routes through the Gantrisch mountains will allow visitors to smell the fresh Swiss air and be at one with nature.
There are plenty of things to see and do in Bern, one of the favourites being the Gothic architecture of St Vincent’s Cathedral.
The climb up the 344 steps gives incredible views across Bern and out to the Bernese Oberland mountains.
Or visit one of Bern’s popular sights, the iconic 13th-century astronomical clock, Zytglogge, similar to the one in Prague. Steps inside lead to the bell tower for views over the city.
Stroll around the old town and shop for Swiss goods in the historical shopping arcades or at the Bundesplatz market for fresh produce and Swiss souvenirs.
And for a burst of Swiss culture, head to the Einstein or Kunst museums and immerse yourself in the works of two of Switzerland’s most influential figures.
A popular attraction is Bern Bear Park. Bears are the city’s symbol and have lived in Bern since the 16th century. Visitors can see the original bear pit and the new expansive leafy bear park that opened in 2009 and is near the old town.
Try out Swiss cuisine at one of Bern’s many restaurants, including Michelin-star Mille Sens, a modern and creative restaurant, in a minimalist-style establishment.
Take a guided tour of the old city and explore its medieval architecture.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Bern
Often mistaken as the capital, Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland and one of the most popular Swiss city break destinations.
Due to its size, there are plenty of things to do in Zurich, including visiting museums, parks, and hidden gems like cafes and boutiques.
Stroll along the cobblestone streets of Zurich’s old town lined with medieval 12th-century buildings and colourful shops. Don’t miss visiting Grossmünster Church which has been standing since 900AD!
Stop by the Swiss National Museum with its incredible art and artefacts from centuries past to modern works. Art lovers will also love seeing works from Monet, Picasso and more at the Kunsthaus Zürich.
And maybe, take a trip out of town and explore Uetliberg Mountain, which overlooks Zurich’s skyline. On a clear day, you may also see the Swiss Alps.
Take the train from Zurich main train station to Uetliberg station to get there. The journey takes around 25 minutes. Once off the train, it is a 10-minute walk to the summit, where you will find the Hotel and restaurant Uto Klum and some walking trails.
Enjoy a shopping trip in Switzerland’s largest city
Zurich is also known for its excellent shopping opportunities.
From luxury stores in Bahnhofstrasse, sometimes referred to as the most expensive shopping street in the world. And unique boutiques around Zurich West’s Viadukt, there’s something for everyone here. Remember to bring your credit card for any extravagant purchases!
And no visit to Zurich is complete without spending time on Lake Zurich. Stroll along the lake or take a boat tour to enjoy the amazing mountain views.
There are plenty of great places to eat in Zurich. Whether you’re in the mood for traditional Swiss fare, international cuisine or something unique, Zurich has something to satisfy your taste buds.
Try the iconic, Kronehalle restaurant, part of Zurich’s dining scene since 1924. It features a classic interior with high ceilings and wooden furniture that evoke old-world charm.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Zurich
Switzerland is a must-visit destination for anyone seeking breathtaking scenery and an unforgettable travel experience. It is one of my favourite European countries, and I always look forward to returning.
From the picturesque Alpine villages to the crystal-clear lakes, Switzerland offers something for everyone.
The country’s friendly culture and welcoming people make it easy to feel at home in this stunning country.
Whether you’re visiting for a weekend getaway or on a European road trip, Switzerland will leave you with lasting memories.
So why wait? Start planning your next adventure to beautiful Switzerland today!
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