The 25 best places to visit in Switzerland

 

In the extreme west of the country, in a pocket of Switzerland surrounded by France is the city of Geneva, the second most populated city in Switzerland. Straddling the beautiful Lake Geneva, the city is a mix of modern and ancient architecture, with the old city holding 82 buildings listed as Swiss heritage sites of national significance.

Pictured is the Jet d'Eau Fountain. Installed in 1886 AD it can reach a height of 140 metres (460 ft), with around 7,000 litres of water flying through the air at any given moment. Over the years the fountain has become the most famous landmark in the city.

25. Genève

 

In the south of the country, on the Verzasca River that feeds Lake Maggiore, surrounded by mountains is the picturesque municipality of Lavertezzo. The most iconic location in the area other than Lake Maggiore is the double arched stone bridge of Ponte Dei Salti, crossing high above the crystal clear waters of the Verzasca River. With a clearance of 14 metres (46 ft) above the still water, do you have the nerve to jump from the bridge?

24. Ponte Dei Salti

 

In the south east of the country, a stones throw from the border with Italy is the picturesque​ village of Soglio, regarded to be one of the prettiest in Switzerland. Tucked into a valley between the high Alp mountains, with its cobblestone streets and quaint Alpine buildings, Soglio is quintessentially Swiss, with breath taking views from virtually everywhere.

23. Soglio

 

In the extreme south of the country, on a peninsula between two strips of Lake Lugano is the 912 metre (2,992 ft) high Monte San Salvatore. Visitors can hike or take the funicular from the city of Lugano to the mountain top village of Carona. From the summit there are many trails snaking their way along mountain paths, offering great views over Lake Lugano and the city.

22. Monte San Salvatore

 

In the north east of the country, close to the border with Liechtenstein is the Berggasthaus Aescher Wildkirchli, a restaurant/guesthouse in one of the finest locations imaginable. Take an aerial cable car from Wasserauen to be met with a view of Lake Constance along with the high plateaus and panorama's of the Alpstein Mountain Chain.

21. Berggasthaus Aescher Wildkirchli

 

Opened in 1905 close to the city of Lucerne is the Hammetschwand Elevator, Europe's highest external elevator, also holding the title of fastest in the world. The elevator whisks visitors up to 1,132 metres (3,717 ft) above sea level, joining a rock path that leads to the Hammetschwand Lookout, from which there is a panoramic view of Lake Lucerne and the surrounding Alps.

20. Hammetschwand Elevator

 

In the northern centre of the country, at the northern end of Lake Zürich is the city of Zürich, the largest and most populated city in Switzerland. Between Limat and the lake lies the medieval old town, centred around the town hall dating from the 1690's, this area is where the churches and old houses are clustered along with the most expensive and touristy shops. Surrounded by low lying mountains with snowy peaks visible in the distance, the tranquil lake and wonderful architecture, Zürich is one of the most livable cities in the world, and a great holiday destination.

19. Zürich

 

First appearing in written record in 1005 AD, lying at the eastern end of Lake Geneva is the historic monument of Chillon Castle, one of the most visited castles in Europe. Well known to be the inspiration for the castle in the 1989 animated film, The Little Mermaid, its real life setting is just as picturesque. Standing on the banks of Lake Geneva with a backdrop that includes the Dents Du Midi, otherwise known as the Teeth Of Noon, a mountain of seven summits that reaches 3,257 metres (10,686 ft) above sea level. Chillon Castle is one of the most important fortifications in the country, recognised as a Swiss heritage site of national significance.

18. Château De Chillon

 

In the southern centre of the country, in the heart of the Alps connecting the north and south of Switzerland is the Gotthard Pass. This ribbon of highway curls its way through the mountains, twisting and turning to its peak some 2,106 metres (6,909 ft) above sea level. With spectacular views and one hairpin bend after another, it is regarded to be one of Europe's finest roads.

17. Gotthard Pass

 

Opened in 2017 in Randa, in the south of the country, is the Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge, spanning 494 metres (1,621 ft) it is the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in the world. Set among the beautiful surroundings of the Swiss Alps, the bridge forms part of the Europaweg, a fantastic hiking route between Zermatt and Grachen.

16. Charles Kuonen Hängebrücke

 

First built in the 13th century to south east of the capital, Bern, on the banks of Lake Thun lies probably the most visually striking castle in Switzerland, the majestic Oberhofen Castle. Over the centuries much of the structure has been demolished and rebuilt, with the building today mostly having an 18th century Romantic and Baroque style. Set within wonderful landscape gardens, this beautiful lakeside castle has been declared a Swiss heritage site of national significance.

15. Château De Oberhofen

 

To the south east of the capital, Bern, in the Bernese Highlands in a narrow stretch of valley between the emerald waters of Lake Thun and Lake Brienz is the beautiful town of Interlaken, one of the finest mountain towns in the Alps. With its old timber houses and extensive parkland it is surrounded by steep snow capped mountains with dense forests, alpine meadows and glaciers. With its natural beauty and extensive hiking trails, Interlaken has become a favourite among all types of traveller.

14. Interlaken

 

In the north west of the country sits the capital of Switzerland, Bern, and at its heart lies a medieval centre. Surrounded by the river Aare on three sides, the compact city centre has remained largely unchanged since its construction in the 12th to the 15th centuries. Home to the countries tallest cathedral, many historical buildings, churches and bridges as well as a large collection of Renaissance fountains, many  of the buildings have been designated Swiss cultural properties of national significance. Such is the significance of its medieval core the entire historical centre of Bern has been classified a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

13. Bern

 

In central Switzerland on the shore of Lake Lucerne and surrounded by the high alpine mountains is the city of Lucerne. Owing to its beautiful location it has long been a tourist destination, with the river Reuss meandering its way between the historical buildings and narrow streets down into the lake.

Pictured is the Kapellbrücke, literally meaning Chapel Bridge. First constructed in 1333 AD, the 204 metre (672 ft) covered wooden footbridge spans the Reuss River. Partially destroyed by fire in 1993 and rebuilt the following year, it has become the symbol of Lucerne and one of the most visited attractions in Switzerland.

12. Lucerne

 

South of the city of Lucerne, at an elevation of 2,132 metres (6,994 ft) above sea level is the summit of Mount Pilatus. Visitors can reach it using the worlds steepest cogwheel railway, and once there they will find an incredible view over the town and lake of Lucerne. There is a selection of hotels and viewing platforms as well as hiking trails across the mountain tops.

11. Mount Pilatus

 

Southeast of the town of Interlaken, within the Bernese Alps is the picturesque village of Grindelwald, set among some of the finest natural scenery in Switzerland. A popular gateway to the Jungfrau Region, with skiing in the winter and hiking in the summer, the village is a destination for all seasons. Close to the famous Eiger Mountain among many other high peaks, the village offers visitors the chance to visit the Gletscherschlucht glacial gorge and the Grindelwald Cliff Walk.

10. Grindelwald

 

Opened in 1969 to the south of Interlaken, at an elevation of 2,970 metres (9,740 ft) above sea level at the summit of the Schilthorn is the mountaintop revolving restaurant of Piz Gloria. Famous for its appearance in the James Bond film 'On Her Majesty's Secret Service', visitors can admire one of the most special views anywhere in the Alps.

9. Piz Gloria

 

Built in 2014 in the south west of the country, set at an elevation of 2,971 metres (9,747 ft) above sea level and spanning 107 metres (351 ft) is a bridge known as the Peak Walk, the world's first suspension bridge connecting two mountain tops. From its vantage point visitors can see some of the most famous mountains in the Alps, these include Mont Blanc, the Matterhorn, Monch, Jungfrau and the Eiger. On certain days its possible to experience winds of up to 200 km/h (120 mph).

Peak Walk is the second highest suspension bridge in the world behind the Titlis Cliff Walk. Built along the cliff of Mount Titlis at a height of 3,000 metres (10,000 ft) above seal level it too is found in Switzerland.

8. Peak Walk

 

South east of the capital, Bern, in the western centre of the country, set at an elevation of 1,578 metres (5,177 ft) above seal level surrounded by pine trees and mountains is the picturesque Oeschinen Lake. Visitors wishing to gaze upon this tranquil lake will need to get to Kandersteg, then either grab a cable car or hike the steep trail for around 1.5 hours. Sitting within an area known as the Jungfrau Aletch Bietschorn, the lake and its surrounding landscape has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

7. Oeschinen Lake

 

South of the city of Interlaken, in an area of high peaks and some of the most incredible mountain scenery in the Alps is the town of Lauterbrunnen, nestled within the Lauterbrunnen Valley. Flanked by extremely steep limestone precipices, rock faces and mountain peaks, the valley is home to alpine meadows, glaciers and 72 waterfalls, the most famous undoubtedly being the Staubbuch Falls. With a free fall of 300 metres (984 ft) it is one of the highest free falling waterfalls in Europe.

6. Lauterbrunnen Valley

 

In the southern centre of the country, within a remote area of the Swiss Alps lies one of Switzerland's more hidden gems, the Trift Glacier, seldom seen thanks mostly to its less than easily accessible location. Getting to it requires visitors to take a cable car, a gondola followed by a two hour trek over steep and rocky ground. One of the best views of the glacier is from the Trift Bridge. Opened in 2009 the bridge measures 170 metres (560 ft) long and spans the ravine 100 metres (328 ft) over the Triftsee Lake, holding the record of longest pedestrian only suspension bridge in the Alps.

5. Trift Glacier & Trift Bridge

 

In the east of the country is Switzerland's only national park, aptly named the Swiss National Park. Almost entirely untouched the park is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve of wildlife, lakes, streams, rivers and mountains. So protected is the area, it is forbidden to disturb the animals or plants, take anything from the park or even leave the designated paths. For that level of protection visitors get to witness the Alps in their most natural form.

4. Parc Naziunal Svizzer

In the southern centre of the country, in an area of high peaks and some of the finest scenery in the Alps lies the Aletch Glacier, sometimes called the Great Aletch Glacier. Measuring 23 kilometres (14 miles) in length and over one kilometre thick in places it is the largest glacier in the Alps. Sitting within an area known as the Jungfrau Aletch Bietschorn, the glacier and its surrounding landscape has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

3. Aletch Glacier

 

In the southern centre of the country, in an area home to some of the finest scenery in the Alps is one of the most distinctive sights of the Swiss Alps, the Eiger and Jungfrau, two of the most well known mountains in the range. Standing at 3,970 metres (13.020 ft) above sea level is the Eiger, next to the even taller Jungfrau, at 4,158 metres (13,642 ft) above sea level. Sitting within an area known as the Jungfrau Aletch Bietschorn, the entire landscape has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Pictured from Männlichen with the north face of the Eiger on the left and the Jungfrau on the right.

2. The Eiger & Jungfrau

 

In the south west of the country, forming part of the natural border between Switzerland and Italy is the famous Matterhorn, standing 4,478 metres (14,692 ft) above sea level it is the 6th tallest peak in the Alps. Translated as The Peak Of Meadows, sometimes referred to as the mountain of mountains, it is surely the most famous mountain in Europe, with a reputation as one of the deadliest in the world. Famous for its near symmetrical pyramidal peak, it has become the iconic emblem of the Swiss Alps.

1. The Matterhorn

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