Last Updated on 23rd December 2018 by Sophie Nadeau
Shimmering water, Swiss Chalets, and endless mountain views, there’s a reason that Switzerland tops many people’s bucket lists. From fairytale like towns to all the good food (read cheese, chocolate, and more cheese!), here are the most beautiful places in Switzerland you’ll want to visit for yourself:
Let’s get this one out the way first! Of all the most beautiful places in Switzerland on this list, the Matterhorn is without a doubt, the most famous of them all. Situated in the very heart of the Swiss Alps, the iconic pyramid peak rises out of the mountain range, dominating the surrounding landscape.
The Matterhorn is near symmetrical in its shape. Although the mountain was little known until the late 19th Century, countless explorers, hikers, and geography enthusiasts have brought it to the forefront of Swiss Adventure travel.
Charming Swiss Architecture and fairytale rooftops grace the cityscape of Lausanne, a fairytale town just across the lake from France (and the famous home of Evian water. In fact, a day trip from Evian to Lausanne is perfectly possible). Look out over the beautiful Lac Léman and over towards the Alps. Wander around the cobbled lanes and take a peek inside the wonderful collection of Palais Rumine.
In Lausanne, you’ll also find the city’s main cathedral (which is reputedly the most beautiful Gothic building in Switzerland), and a museum dedicated entirely to the Olympics. After all, Lausanne is home to the International Olympic Committee Headquarters!
#3 Chillon Castle
Situated lakeside, Chillon Castle is often said to be the most beautiful castle in Switzerland. And it’s not hard to see why! On a clear day, the castle’s many turrets, spires, and beautiful architecture is reflected perfectly on the surface of Lac Léman, furthering the beauty of this medieval fortress.
Although the first written record of the castle dates back to 1005, parts of the castle which cannot be dated by any reliable scientific method may be even older still. What is clear though, it that Chillon Castle is easily one of the most beautiful places in Switzerland, and its beauty makes it ‘Switzerland’s most visited historic monument’.
I was first lucky enough to visit the pretty city of Geneva a few years ago (and before I had this blog!) when one of my best friends studied there for a year. Located alongside the same lake, Lac Léman, as Lausanne, Geneva is a pretty city right on the French border, and so counts French as its official language. Although the city can be expensive to visit, it is possible to do it on a (kind of) budget!
Geneva is most famous for its Jet d’Eau (a massive fountain that jets 500 litres of water into the air per second), the Palace of Nations (home to the UN), and its proximity to the French Prealps (Mont Salève is an easy day trip from Geneva).
The cute French-speaking city of Sierre was founded well over a thousand years ago, and perhaps even before that. Situated in the Canton of Valais, there’s a wine museum (the canton Sierre is the capital of wine and has been producing the stuff for over a thousand years).
Elsewhere in Sierre, you’ll find plenty of Swiss Cuisine restaurants (raclette and fondues are both traditional Swiss foods and both worth a taste!), as well as a castle. The Château des Vidômes dates back to the 15th Century and is Sierre’s oldest building.
The art city of Basel lies along the River Rhine (the same river on which you’ll find the German city of Düsseldorf) and is close by to the French and German borders. When arriving in the city via the airport, don’t make the same mistake I did and exit into France rather than Switzerland!
Head to Basel if you love visiting museums, historic architecture, and want to attend the yearly world-famous Art Basel International art fair. If you’re looking to explore the tri-country area of Germany, France, and Switzerland, then Basel is also a great place for which to base yourself and take day trips from the city.
#7 Rhine Falls
Switzerland’s largest waterfall was formed during the last ice age and is so rapid flowing and steep, that no fish can swim upstream (with the exception of eels). The Rhine Falls are fairly close to Zurich and stand at 23 metres high. Close by to the Medieval and fortified, Wörth Castle, the beautiful rapids are great to visit if you love natural beauty.
Situated in the North of Switzerland, just a few hours away from the tiny country of Liechtenstein, Zurich is widely regarded as a global centre for banking and finance. As a result, plenty of international companies house their headquarters there. But what really earns Zurich a place on the most beautiful places in Switzerland, is its Altstadt, typically Swiss Architecture, and offbeat cafés and clubs.
Although Switzerland’s Constitution does not mention a capital, the city of Bern is the seat of federal authorities (Switzerland is made up of 26 cantons, each with its own capital). This makes Bern a de facto capital for all intents and purposes, and so Bern is widely regarded as the capital of the Swiss Confederation (Switzerland’s official name).
Politics and geography aside, Bern is a beautiful city filled with a historic old town that has since been named a UNESCO world heritage site, a history dating back to the 12th Century, and a Cathedral with the highest spire in Switzerland. The Gothic Münster was built in the 15th Century and reaches 100m into the air.
Medieval and enticing, though Switzerland may be small, that doesn’t mean that it’s not absolutely packed with history and culture. Lucerne is a beautiful destination all year round; in the summer it’s the perfect place to take part in water sports activities, while in the winter the small city is filled with Christmas markets and all the mulled wine!
In the European shoulder seasons (traditionally the Spring and Autumn months), Lucerne is a pretty place to see some spring blossom or to admire the final fall foliage falling from the trees. Other highlights of Luzern also includes admiring the beautiful Swiss architecture and wandering across the Middle Ages Kapellbrücke.
Located on a lake in the very heart of the land-locked country, Interlaken can be found on the small strip of land that separates Lake Thun and Lake Brienz. Home to stunning mountainscapes and several luxury hotels, Interlaken is the ultimate place to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Often referred to as the ‘St Tropez of Switzerland,’ Ascona can be found in the South of the country, on the shores of the glittering Lake Maggiore. Located alongside the iconic town of Locarno, though there is little by way of attractions in Ascona, this pretty Swiss town is filled with stunning architecture and several centuries-old-churches.
Read more: A guide to the best things to do in Ascona
#13 St Moritz
The alpine town of St Moritz can be found in the Engadin valley. Popular for its many ski runs and luxurious hotels, this pretty city has also hosted the Olympic Games twice. Best seen in the winter, so as to enjoy the snow-caked slopes at their best, other highlights of St Moritz include winter polo, snowboarding, and taking the Corviglia Funicular.
#14 The Bernina Express
Though not technically a ‘city’, ‘location,’ or ‘town,’ the Bernina Express more than merits its place on this list of the most beautiful places in Switzerland. After all, a significant portion of this train route takes the voyager along parts of the UNESCO designated tracks between Chur in Switzerland and Tirano in Northern Italy.
In the summer there’s the chance to spy green pastures and glittering lakes, while the winter promises snow-capped peaks and frozen glaciers. En route, there’s a chance to stop off at Alp Grum, the impossibly high mountain chalet, as well as the opportunity to explore Tirano for an hour mid-way through the four-hour-each-way trip.