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Though Switzerland seems relatively small compared to other European countries, this country has to offer a plethora of sights to see and activities to do. Switzerland is a mountainous country filled with sparkling lakes, scenic villages and lofty peaks of Alps.
If you want the strong reason to visit Switzerland then it would be the stunning scenic views, nature at its best.
High Season: July and August (Summer)
Best months (to avoid crowd): Between April and June/ September and October
Best season for outdoor activities: September
This is the list of top destinations in Switzerland where you can have a lot of experience in one trip. This saves your time not only while surfing the internet for the top destinations to travel but also while traveling or exploring that particular location. And of course, this can save your money too.
For Art Lover
- Zürich is one of the major entry points to Switzerland and is in close proximity to Rhine Fall and Lucerne.
- Zurich Lake
- Old Town
- Kunsthaus Zurich
- Swiss National Museum
- Explore the old town
- Ride a train to Uetliberg
- Walk down the street Bahnhofstrasse
- Visit the Swiss National Museum
- Walk or boat tour around Lake Zurich
- Day trip to Rhine Falls
- Proximity to mountain views
- Mount Pilatus, Jungfraujoch, Titilis (glacier) is just a day trip from Lucerne.
- Lake Lucerne
- Mount Pilatus
- Kapellbrücke (Chapel Bridge)
- The Lion Statue of Lucerne
- The Lucerne Town Hall
- Explore the Lucerne City
- Boat across Lake Lucerne to Alpnachstad,
- Take a cable car or the cogwheel railway up to Mount Pilatus at 2073 meters.
- Interlaken is between two lakes (hence the name), Lake Brienz and Lake Thun
- Interlaken is the adventure sports capital of Switzerland (paragliding and skydiving speed boating, river rafting, etc.).
- Jungfraujoch, the highest train station among Europe is the day trip from Interlaken
- Schynige Platte is at a distance of day trip from where the most spectacular views of Interlaken can be seen.
- Lauterbrunnen is at a distance of just 20 minutes from Interlaken
- Lake Brienz and Lake Thun
- Jungfraujoch, the highest train station in Europe
- Mountain Niederhorn
- Schynige Platte
- Rent a kayak or paddleboard on Lake Brienz or Thun
- Paragliding over the twin lakes
- Boating/speedboating in the lakes
- Rafting in the Lütschine River.
- Taste some chocolates at Chocolate Club,
- Hike the Harder Kulm
- Day trip to Jungfraujoch and Schynige Platte
- Visit Thun Castle, Oberhofen Castle
- Take a glimpse of waterfalls in Lauterbrunnen Valley, especially Trümmelbach Falls in between Lauterbrunnen and Stechelberg.
- Take the cable car or scenic train ride to Mürren via Winteregg for spectacular views of mountain and valley.
Annual Jazz Festival
- A traditional resort town on Lake Geneva
- Close proximity to Lausanne (42 min)
- Montreux is famous for its yearly Jazz Fest.
- Montreux is one of the most scenic places in Switzerland with stunning lake and mountain views.
- Lake Geneva
- Chateau de Chillon
- Chaplin’s World
- Freddy Mercury Statue
- Rochers de Naye
- Montreux Jazz Festival
- Walk around the Lake Geneva and along the promenade
- Boating/swimming in Lake Geneva
- Day trip to the Glacier 3000
- Take the scenic train up to Rochers de Naye for an aerial lake view
- Make a side trip to Lausanne
- Vineyards tour in Chexbres, Lavaux
- Relax in Vevey, a small village
- Take part in the Montreux Jazz Festival
zermatt and the gornergrat
zermatt and the gornergrat
- Zermatt is a mountain resort popular for the spectacular views of the iconic pyramid-shaped Matterhorn Peak
- Zermatt is renowned for skiing, hiking and climbing.
- Zermatt Village, Hinterdorf
- The Matterhorn and the Kleines Matterhorn (the highest cable car in Europe)
- Gorner Gorge
- Matterhorn Museum
- The Gornergrat Railway
- Explore the Zermatt Village
- View from Rotenboden
- Watch the Matterhorn.
- Ride a cable car to the Kleines Matterhorn
- Take the scenic railway up to the Gornergrat station or hike in the Gornergrat area instead
- Skiing and Snowboarding
- Go for 5 lakes hike
- Hike to the Hornihutte
Surrounded by Alps
- Geneva is one of the major arrival airports for travelers visiting Switzerland.
- Geneva offers stunning scenery with beautiful lake and mountain views.
- Geneva is close to Chamonix.
- The Jet d’Eau, the tallest fountains in the world
- The Musée Ariana
- Red Crescent Museum
- Lake Geneva
- Walk around the historic city
- Watch the Jet d’Eau fountain shooting
- Eat chocolates
- Visit the Palace of Nations, home to a huge branch of the United Nations
- Steamboat ride on Lake Geneva
- Visiting vineyards of Lavaux and the town of Evian
For non-European citizens, either a valid passport only or a valid passport with a visa (depending on your country) may be required to enter Switzerland. But for EU nationals either a passport or any other valid national ID card should suffice.
EU citizens can travel freely to Switzerland. Citizens from the EU and some selected countries can stay up to 90 days without a visa for tourism purposes.
Since Switzerland is a member of the Schengen Countries, visitors are allowed to travel to all Schengen areas without a visa. According to the category in which your country falls, you may have to apply for Schengen Visa, which is valid for a maximum stay of 90 days in a six month period. Applicants applying for the Schengen visa must also provide bank statements from the previous 3 months along with their application.
Different border control checks will apply for non-EEA nationals, and you may be asked to show a return ticket or onward ticket.
It’s better to check visa requirements (required for the nationals of your country) with the embassy well before you travel.
Master cards, Visa card, American Express, and Diners Club are widely accepted. You can draw cash from widely available ATMs. Changing cash or traveler’s check is not that hard. It is better to take a traveler’s check in Pound Sterling/US Dollar/Euro.
Since there are lots of international flights to Switzerland, you should choose one based on where you want to go and what you want to see.
Since the major attractions are well scattered across Spain, domestic flights are convenient and fast for traveling long distances but expensive.
In the case of time availability, buses are a fair option for traveling not-too-long distances. Major towns and cities are well connected by good quality roads. City buses/coaches are an affordable option as long as you are a familiar rider. Swiss Post provides regular coach services to many remote areas of Switzerland.
Inside the city, you can get around on foot or by taxi. Hiring a car or picking up a taxi (registered) can be the best alternatives too. You can rent a bike too.
A well-connected network of railways provides fast service throughout the major cities.
Mountain railways provide services to winter resorts.
Purchase rail tickets in advance for a cheaper option.
Tramways/Trolleybuses/Light rail also provides services in some cities of Switzerland.
Most of Switzerland’s attractions are free to visit while others require fees. You can get a special discount and free access to most of the museums with Swiss Travel Pass. There are other passes available too for the visitors.
It is a good practice to always check the latest weather updates before going to mountainous regions. Do not ignore the suggestions given by local people and always follow the instructions given by local authorities.
It’s better to take precautions against tetanus while traveling to Switzerland. Although immunizations are not required while traveling to Switzerland, it is advisable to update your standard vaccinations of mumps, measles, rubella, polio, diphtheria, and tetanus.
It’s better to make full travel insurance.
You should be aware of the petty crimes (from pickpockets, thieves, scammers, etc.) taking place inside and outside the cities. You should take care of your travel documents, luggage, and other belongings.
Based on the places and experiences that you will never get in other countries i.e they are uniquely different from other countries, we tried to narrow down the lists in terms of ‘must-see’ places.
Must-visit destinations in Switzerland:
If you are an outdoor activities lover:
If you are adrenaline activities lover:
If you are a nature lover:
If you are art, history and culture lover:
For Art, Museums and Galleries:
For Cultures and Traditions:
From the above list, you can see that Interlaken overlaps in more three categories and Zermatt overlaps in two categories. You can make your trip worthy by planning an itinerary according to your priorities and make much out of it by having a lot of experiences in your single trip without having your time and money wasted in traveling and just covering distances in-between.
Our Pick: Since Switzerland is mostly about stunning peaks of Alps, turquoise lakes and picturesque villages, our pick would be Lucerne, Interlaken, and Zermatt.
Follow these itineraries ideas (below): If you want to make most out of your trip; if you want to have a lot of experiences in one trip missing almost nothing in your whole trip; if you also don’t want to miss the must-see places and if you also don’t want to miss ‘nowhere-else’ destinations on the planet, then follow these tips.
If this is your first-time visit to Switzerland and
If you have 7-8 days, then we recommend you to choose the following itinerary:
Zurich (Day 1)→Lucerne (Day 2)→Interlaken (Day 3-4)→Zermatt (Day 5-6)→Geneva (Day 7)
If you have 10 days, you can improvise above itinerary. For this
After completion of Zermatt trip (Day 5-6), head towards Lugano (Day 7-8) (Skip Geneva)
After completion of Geneva (Day 7), head towards Lausanne→Montreux (Day 8-9)
If you are on your return visit, then choose another itinerary (from above) which you didn’t do in your first visit.
(Note: Please note that the itineraries mentioned here are focused on the routes or directions to follow for saving time and money and still not missing the ‘must-see’ destinations. The days mentioned here in-between the places is a rough estimation just to give you general itinerary ideas. You can shorten or lengthen this time according to your interests, season, budget and time available. For example, sometimes you might want to experience the nature, activities and culture in a relaxed manner without any haste and without feeling crammed.)
We’ve covered our recommendations for ‘must-visit destinations’. The list of other wonderful places throughout Switzerland can get long. The priorities for a destination to visit can be different from person to person as it depends upon personal preferences and interests. But these are the itineraries covering ‘must-do’ or ‘must-see’ places once in your lifetime.