10 PLACES YOU HAVE TO VISIT IN SWITZERLAND

Switzerland is such a fantastic little country. Even though on a map it may look tiny, it is absolutely packed with things to do and places to see. I only got to visit a few places while I was in Switzerland, though, so I figured that it was time to bring in the big guns – the travel bloggers! So, in answer to the question of where to go in Switzerland, here are 6 places that travel bloggers say you can’t miss!

Let’s start off with a place that really surprised me.

Bern

Even though Bern is Switzerland’s capital city, it’s often looked over when people are planning their trips to Switzerland. But in my opinion, that really shouldn’t be the case. I spent one full day there this past spring and absolutely loved it. Now let me convince you why you should go as well.

If you didn’t know it, you would never guess that Bern is Switzerland’s capital. In fact, I would argue that Bern is just about the most charming capital that I’ve ever been to. The winding streets and plentiful fountains give so much more character than the bustling streets and angry commuters of most big-city capitals that I’ve been to.

If you cross the river and climb a hill up to the Rose Garden, you’ll be greeted with the most amazing view you’ve ever seen. Roofs spread out below you, and if you’re lucky it’ll be clear enough to see mountains bordering the city in the distance.

Walk back down the hill and wave to the Bern Bears as you head back into the center of the city. Spend your afternoon wandering, fountain-spotting (Bern’s most famous one is the Kindlifresserbrunnen – an ogre eating children), or eating cheese and chocolate to your heart’s content.

If science or history is your jam, you might want to check out Einstein’s House or the Bern Historical Museum, which has a permanent exhibit on the famous physicist.

No matter what you end up doing though, Bern is certainly worth at least a day of your time. I’m sure you’ll be just as charmed by this little capital city as I was.

Baden

baden

Baden is a town which is situated around twenty minutes from Zürich by train. It’s a lot quieter than other cities in Switzerland, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a heck load of things to do there.

Baden is surrounded by all sorts of nature, particularly in the form of lush, green forests. When in Switzerland do as the Swiss do and go for a hike! If you head out in the summer, it’s worth taking some food with you, so that you can stop for a picnic or even a BBQ.

There are also lots of vineyards and farms just outside the town border. Farmers will leave their wares outside the front of their properties along with honesty boxes. You can buy milk, fresh cream, strawberries, jam, and even plum schnapps!

Baden has a delightful Old Town that is very much intact. You can wander down the cobblestone roads, taking in the delightfully pastel-colored houses. Stop at a local café and indulge in some people watching, or head on down to the river that intersects the town.

Like many small towns in Europe, Baden boasts its own castle. Stein Castle is in ruins, but it’s well worth marching up to the very top of the structure, as it offers an unparalleled view of Old Town Baden and beyond.

Crans Montana

Crans Montana

Crans Montana is a sleepy ski town nestled in the Valais region with stunning views of the Swiss Alps. The surrounding villages are typical Swiss style villages dotted with wooden chalet houses. I spent a little more than a year living there. With stunning views of the alps, it was hard not to fall in love with the place.

During high ski season (approximately December-March) the town comes alive with activity. Après ski parties at places like Zerodix, Le pub, Pacha, Constellation, Leo’s bar, etc. are certainly plentiful. To soak up the alcohol, gourmet burger places like Burger Lounge and Montana Diner are the perfect complement. Or if you prefer Swiss fare, like fondue, raclette, or rosti, then Petite Paradis, Restaurant Vieux Moulin, Boulangerie Gerber & Cie are solid choices for typical Swiss food. Due to the proximity of Italy to Switzerland, this southwestern region of Valais/Wallis has quite a number of excellent Italian restaurants and eateries. My favorite places in Crans Montana for Italian food are Molino’s, La Piccolina, and Oliveto.

Skiing in Crans Montana

Skiing in these mountains are a bit challenging at time because these are big mountains and it helps to brush up on your skills and fitness levels before coming here otherwise you might be sore at the end of your first ski day. Though the allure of the big mountain views might entice you to take multiple breaks throughout the day to soak it all in. Picture worthy moments are plentiful because the Swiss countryside is postcard perfect. Your friends and family will think you’re living in a postcard!

The ski stations are located in Crans, Montana, and Aminona. I recommend renting your ski or snowboard equipment as close to the ski stations as possible unless you have a car because walking with gear up slippery steps and slopes with snow and ice aren’t fun and a bit risky.

Other activities in this town include ice skating, bowling, luxury shopping, cross country skiing, a casino, a cinema, spa activities (in the nearby town of Leukerbad there are the thermal baths where you can soak all day nestled among the mountains), golf, hiking trails, and mountain biking trails in the summer months.

I miss this quaint town dearly and the fresh mountain air.

Interlaken

Interlaken

Interlaken is the adventure capital of Switzerland, reminding me so much of Queenstown back in my homeland New Zealand. The first time I saw the cartoon-like blue rivers meandering through the city is when I knew I was going to like this place as it was so fresh off the alps.

I hiked on my two full days in Interlaken before retiring back to the campervan in the evening which is always a favorite activity of mine. There are dozens of hiking trails offering views over the city of varying distances. You’ll find the trails right along the edges of the city, so there’s no need to plan in advance.

Where To Stay in Interlaken: Seehotel Boenigen

If I had some more money in my hand, my Interlaken bucket list would include paragliding which I saw people doing off the mountain above me, and maybe a sneaky helicopter ride over the Alps.

The other reason I loved Interlaken was everything Swiss about it. If I had a home to bring things back to I would have brought Swiss chocolate, a Swiss army knife, and a Swiss watch – all found throughout the city. Ah, the small things that make a city awesome and me smile.

One museum I visited was Jungfrau Park, founded by Erich von Daniken. He is a believer in some crazy stuff, like aliens ancient astronauts, and having read one of his books in the days leading up to our arrival, it made for an interesting visit. He is one interesting person and the museum does make you question many of your beliefs.

Lauterbrunnen

Lauterbrunnen

All trips to Switzerland need to include some time in Lauterbrunnen. I’m sure it isn’t the first city that comes to mind when booking a Swiss vacation, but it really should be. The 360-degree vantage point of the surrounding Alps, the fresh air, the waterfalls, the local food…they all prove that this quaint village should have a spot on your itinerary.

Can you believe that this little village became known in the 1200s? Since then it has blossomed into a must-see destination attracting thousands of visitors yearly.

This village has something for all your vacation needs. Enjoy Swiss cuisine? Look no further than the Hotel Oberland, local accommodation and restaurant in the heart of the village. They have killer Cheese fondue unlike anywhere else! I cannot stress enough how delicious this fondue was, served with an assortment of veggies and bread for dipping. They even have gluten-free options for special diets.

Looking for something special to do while here? Head up Jungfrau Mountain, one of the highest Alps in the country! Take the special mountain train all the way up to the observatory deck. Once there, enjoy the mountain museum, various ice sculptures, cafes, educational videos, a life-size snow globe, and more. If you have a little extra time after exploring, buy a postcard and mail it from the top! They have a special mailbox and an exclusive postmark for mailing it there.

There really is so much more to see in this beautiful Swiss village. I hope you seriously consider adding Lauterbrunnen to your beautiful European vacation.

Lucerne

Lucerne

Switzerland comprises picture postcard-perfect towns and Lucerne is one of the popular ones to spend some time at. Thanks to the meticulously punctual Swiss trains, you can make a quick day trip to this Alpine town without much difficulty. Once you land at the train station, you will be greeted with the sight of Lucerne’s famous lake and wooden bridge. The bridge is adorned by painted triangular wooden blocks, dating back to the 17th century AD, by local painter Hans Heinrich Wägmann and depict events from Lucerne’s history.  The famous water tower of Lucerne is right next to the bridge and is a complete misnomer because it was once used as a torture chamber (not anymore, thankfully).

Cross the bridge towards the old town and you will be greeted with the typical European city offerings such as old building facades with painted murals, cobbled streets, and city squares.

Owing to the military roots of the city and Catholicism, many of these murals depict holy figurines or war soldiers. The other major attraction of the city is the dying lion, which the famous American author, Mark Twain described as “the most mournful and moving piece of stone in the world”. This sculpture, also known as the Lion monument /Lion of Lucerne, was designed by Bertel Thorvaldsen and sculpted in 1820–21 by Lukas Ahorn. It honors the valor of the Swiss Guards who were killed in 1792 during the French Revolution when revolutionaries stormed the Tuileries Palace in Paris.

Where To Stay in Lucerne: Tourist Hotel Luzern

When in Lucerne, stop by “Change Makers” a small boutique in the city to pick up a Swiss/local souvenir, Laderach or Max for some famous Swiss chocolates and the charming Mill’ Feuille restaurant for a bite to eat.

Finally, Lucerne is flanked by the towering Swiss Alps peaks of Pilates and Rigi, of which Mount Pilates is a mere 45 min away. If you have enough time on your hands, do try to visit it via the cogwheel train, supposedly the steepest train ride in the world.

Mürren

Mürren

Mürren is the perfect Swiss village located high above sea level, only accessible by the cable car. With gorgeous views of three towering mountains, and a population of a mere 450 people. the small farming village on the way to the Schilthorn peak is the perfect escape from reality.

With no cars driving through the village, it was like a movie! You can enjoy breakfast with a 360-degree view of the mountains at the revolving restaurant at the Schilthorn, parasail through the mountains, or eat some delicious fondue with the gorgeous scenery.

With 32 miles of trails to enjoy, a hike to Gimmelwald is the perfect mid-day activity. Everywhere you go in Mürren is picture perfect! This is the place to go for the gorgeous Switzerland scenery! 

Rhine Falls

Rhine Falls or Rheinfall is a must-see for anyone who is in Switzerland. It’s the largest plain waterfall in all of Europe! So yes, it’s a very very large waterfall. It’s located in Neuhausen am Rheinfall and pretty easy to get to from Zurich. It’s about one hour by train from Zurich to the fall. You can take the train from Zurich’s main station going towards Schaffhausen and get off at Neuhausen. After getting off the train, there will be signs to guide you the rest of the way to the falls.

Rhine Falls is like nothing you’ve ever seen or experienced before. Photos online don’t do it justice at all. Since the waterfall isn’t too high it seems a little underwhelming in photos. But in person, it’s definitely not underwhelming at all. You’re watching gallons upon gallons of water rush down with killer velocity.

There’s a platform there that you can stand on which sits right above the bottom of the falls. It’s really an amazing experience to see and feel that much power flowing right underneath your feet. Surprisingly, the water barely touches you on that platform. It’s like having some sort of magical barrier between you and the white waters. The water levels can be high and the waters can be round after some rain. But, if conditions permit you can take a boat tour out and get up close to the falls. And some tours even dock at a rock that sits in the center of the falls!

Zermatt

Almost completely surrounded by mighty Alpine mountains, with snowy peaks and glaciers over 4,000 meters above sea level, Zermatt is a lovely town full of cozy chalets just three hours train ride from Zürich. With its scenic high altitude skiing pistes, it is one of the country’s best ski resorts offering winter sports activities basically throughout the year and serving as a starting point for hiking and mountaineering in the summer months. The easiest way to get spectacular views on the mountains is to take a nearby cable car ride up to the Klein Matterhorn station, the highest viewing platform in Europe.

But it is not all about sports and being active. Zermatt is known to be a foodie paradise, home to a couple of Michelin-starred restaurants as well, so it is easy to spoil yourselves with delicious local delicacies like the famous cheese fondue, raclette, Swiss chocolate, mountain cheese and other.

Another thing we love is the fact that the whole town is a car-free zone. Due to no traffic the air is clean, there is a massive noise reduction, the atmosphere in the town is pleasantly relaxed and everything is easily navigated on foot.

Booking a train ride on the Glacier Express train which connects Zermatt to St. Moritz is also a wonderful experience providing amazing views and a great way to get to or out of Zermatt.

Zurich

Zurich is perhaps my favorite place in the world. It’s the city that my grandmother grew up in, and that I always long to return to. And why, you ask? Because it’s everything. Zurich is a simultaneously beautiful old town in Europe and a vibrant young city. It might have a bad rep as a banking city, but it is clearly so much more than that.

Start your time in Switzerland’s largest city by taking a free walking tour of the historic downtown – or set out on your own! Zurich’s streets are perfect for getting lost in. Just take a turn down a random alleyway and see where it leads.

Where To Stay in Zurich: Wellenberg Hotel

Be sure to head up to the Lindenhof for views of the city. Or if you’re looking for something a little bit more high up, take the 20-minute train ride up Zurich’s own mountain: Uetliberg! There, you’ll find sweeping vistas of Zurich and the surrounding areas. If cities aren’t really your thing, it’s pretty much the perfect escape. Or you can always take a boat ride on Lake Zurich.

But even if cities aren’t your thing, you’re sure to love Zurich because it hardly feels like a city. Even though it has the museums, trendy nightlife, and theatre scene that any self-respecting city does, you start to recognize streets and landmarks after only a few hours – making you feel almost like a local. And the Swiss flags lining the streets make it feel so much more festive than many dingy cities.

Whether you love museums, wandering European Old Towns, or discovering trendy new eateries, Zurich has something to offer everyone.

By Addie,

Source: addieabroad.com.