Want to stand on top of a snow-capped mountain and yodel with an alphorn?
How about walk on a 13th century bridge and feel the mist of a rushing waterfall?
These are just a couple life-changing experiences you can have in Switzerland, the tiny European country that offers visitors breathtaking scenery, cosmopolitan cities and amazing cultural experiences.
Why You Should Travel to Switzerland
If you don’t want to be transported to another world while looking at drastic mountain ridges reflected off pristine lakes, then you probably don’t want to go to Switzerland.
But if you think breathing in crisp mountain air while gazing at centuries-old castles is your idea of heaven … then you should book your ticket to Switzerland right now.
Apart from the diversity and splendor of the scenery, Switzerland is famous for its highly developed cities, economic wealth, egalitarian society, stable government and world-famous cuisine.
It’s no wonder the Best Countries Report consistently votes it the best country in the world.
How to Prepare for a Trip to Switzerland
Here are some things you need to do before you travel to Switzerland.
- Get your visa. If you’re a European Union citizen, you can enter and stay in Switzerland visa-free. If you’re from anywhere else, make sure you understand the visa requirements.
- Budget well. Switzerland has one of the highest costs of living in the world. It’s easy to get sucked into its charm and forget you’re in a highly developed and incredibly expensive country. Make sure you keep track of your finances and only spend what you can afford.
- Learn the language. While many people in Switzerland speak English, it isn’t an official language. The four official languages of Switzerland are German, French, Italian and Romansh. While German is the most spoken language, you’ll run into plenty of French- and Italian-speakers, too. Try FluentU free for 15 days to learn these languages before your trip and on the go. FluentU teaches you languages with authentic videos, like music videos, movie trailers and news broadcasts. The best part is that with one FluentU account, you can access all nine of its languages. You’ll be able to impress locals in every Swiss city!
- Know where to go. Granted, there’s no ugly area of Switzerland. But decide if you want to spend time in places geared toward tourists or meant for locals. Do you want to take in the Alps from a quaint mountain village or a luxury spa? Figure out which activities you’re looking to achieve and plan accordingly.
More Than Chocolate and Cheese: The 10 Most Beautiful Places in Switzerland
Montreux is a mostly quiet town at the foothills of the Alps that hosts the widely popular Montreux Jazz Festival every summer.
With a consistent backdrop of snow-capped Alpine mountains outlining the city’s vineyards, it’s easy to fall in love with Montreux.
Take a walk down the lake promenade and see the stunning views of Lake Geneva. Or take a ride to the castle island of Château de Chillon and see one of the most viewed historic monuments in Switzerland.
Gruyères is a medieval town in the upper valley of the Saane River. It’s world-famous for its Gruyère cheese.
This charming Swiss town is littered with cobblestone streets that offer sweeping mountain views. Gruyères has no shortage of scenery, with mountains surrounding all sides and Lake Geneva on its western border.
You can visit the 13th century Gruyères Castle to glimpse into Switzerland’s barbaric roots before gazing for hours at the majestic Moléson mountain.
Geneva is Switzerland’s second most populous city and a well-known access point to some of the most famous Alpine skiing in the world.
But this is more than just a skiing town. Geneva’s interior is filled with some of the most interesting architecture in Europe, from the 12th century St. Pierre Cathedral to the super sleek and modern headquarters of the World Health Organization.
And if the city gets to be too much for you, you can always trek up the Salève, Geneva’s city mountain.
Interlaken’s name comes from its location between two big and beautiful lakes, Lake Thun and Lake Brienz.
Both lakes offer amazing views of the Alps. Take in the scenery as you walk along the lakes’ edges or explore the them in kayaks or on a guided boat tour.
Interlaken offers a perfect base to explore some of the most quaint Swiss villages and neighborhoods.
A few kilometers south of the city center lies the first UNESCO World Heritage site in the Alps, the stunning Jungfrau-Aletsch-Bietschhorn.
Zermatt is a charming Alpine city with famous ski resorts, climbing expeditions and hiking trails.
Located at the foothills of the highest points in the Alps, this city is famous for its iconic views of the Matterhorn, a famous mountain along the border of Switzerland and Italy. But it also offers unparalleled views of other Swiss peaks, such as Gornergrat and Rothorn.
Because of its close proximity to these iconic Swiss mountains, the skiing and snowboarding around Zermatt is some of the best in the world.
Fun fact! Zermatt is a car-free village, which helps keep the environment peaceful, quiet and conducive for taking in the exquisite scenery around you.
Lauterbrunnen has some of the most epic scenery in all of Switzerland.
This mountainous Alpine village is located in a valley surrounded by dramatic mountain cliffs and waterfalls.
From this village you can see the region’s three most famous mountains, the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau, solidifying this area as a staple of stunning Swiss views. You can enjoy numerous activities to enjoy the scenery, from paragliding to skiing to taking trains bound for high-altitude glaciers.
In the Lauterbrunnen valley, there are quaint and idyllic mountain villages like Mürren and Stechelberg, offering gorgeous and interesting landscape scenery.
Lucerne is a culturally important Swiss city with medieval architecture.
You can check out the once Benedictine monastery-turned-parish church, Church of St. Leodegar. Or you can walk across the Reuss River under the covering of Kapellbrücke, a popular wooden foodbridge.
You can also visit the Lion of Lucerne, a dying lion carved into the side of a rock that has attracted the attention of many artists, including Patti Smith and Mark Twain.
Apart from the architectural and cultural beauty of the city itself, it’s also a common access point to Mt. Rigi, Mt. Pilatus, Mt. Titlis and Jungfraujoch.
Ticino is a Swiss-Italian border town and the only state in Switzerland where Italian is the official language.
Ticino resembles Italian architecture and culture. This town is like no other in Switzerland!
From stone bridges spanning babbling brooks to lakeside beauty covered in palm trees, Ticino is nothing short of magnificent.
Ticino also offers visitors a great access point to the glacial Lake Lugano, which is well-known for its mountainous viewpoints and thriving tourism industry.
Bern is the UNESCO World Heritage capital city of Switzerland that has managed to retain its cultural charm of the past.
Bern is placed delicately on a sandstone ridge with the Aare River weaving through snow-capped, dramatic Alpine mountains.
And Bern’s cultural heritage is just as rich as its awe-inspiring scenery.
St. Moritz is an Alpine resort town that has hosted the Olympics twice, once in 1928 and once in 1948.
Thanks to its Olympic heritage, St. Moritz houses an outdoor Olympic ice rink, world-class bobsled run and renowned Alpine skiing and snowboarding.
Because it’s high up in the Alps (1,800 meters), St. Moritz also offers up close views of some of the region’s most stunning mountains.
The city itself manages to balance both quaint charm and luxurious elegance with perfection, attracting celebrities for hundreds of years, from Alfred Hitchcock and Charlie Chaplin to the more recent Robert DeNiro and Ivanka Trump.
Switzerland is more than just cheese, chocolate and watches. It’s one of the richest and most developed countries in the world, and it offers some of the best scenery you could hope for.
And armed with the knowledge of the 10 most beautiful places in Switzerland, you can now explore the country that’s as rich in beauty as it is in wealth.
It won’t be long before you start to see why many call Switzerland the most beautiful place in the world!
Eric Michelson is a nomadic, philosophizing, peace-minded pluralist. He hopes to help bridge the divide between the diverse factions of the world by exploring various perspectives brought on by personal experience. You can follow Perspective Earth to learn more about him and his work.
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