10 most popular spring destinations to visit in Switzerland

10 most popular spring destinations to visit in Switzerland

For many people, the arrival of spring presents an ideal time to leave work or school behind and go on a minibreak somewhere in Switzerland. If you aren’t sure where you should go this springtime, here are the top 10 destinations to visit in Switzerland, as chosen by locals!

Most popular Swiss destinations during spring and Easter

The coming of warm weather gives locals, expats and tourists alike the opportunity to visit some of Switzerland’s most beautiful cities, cantons and historical sites. For new arrivals and long-term residents craving a short break away, here are the 10 places that residents of Switzerland like to visit most in the spring:

1. Lugano

Based on visitor numbers, Lugano is by far the most popular Swiss destination for locals to visit in the spring - and it's easy to see why! Canton Ticino has been a prime holiday destination for the Swiss for many decades, thanks to its comparatively warm climate near the border with Italy.

Situated on the picturesque Lake Lugano, the city itself is an ideal base from which to explore the local countryside and mountains. If swimming and hiking are not for you, why not take in a concert or exhibition at the LAC Lugano Arte e Cultura centre? Once you've finished your grand day out, begin your evening by taking a leisurely stroll along the Olive Grove Trail, before returning to the old town to enjoy some local Swiss Italian delicacies.

Churchyard in the hills above Lugano, Switzerland

2. Zermatt

The ski season may be over, but that doesn’t make Swiss ski resorts any less appealing, with the town of Zermatt being one the country's favourite spring getaways. Situated below the imposing Matterhorn, the town has a number of interesting things to see and do.

Travellers wanting to get a better glimpse of the mountain can take the Gornergrat Railway up to the nearby observatory, or perhaps join a hike to the Stellisee. While the adrenaline junkies enjoy paragliding and helicopter touring, the more sedate visitors can take in the old town and local museums.

What’s more, getting to Zermatt can be an adventure all in itself, as you aren’t able to drive there. Instead, why not end your trip in style by boarding the Glacier Express, before taking regular public transport home?

View of the landscape of Zermatt with the Matterhorn in the background

3. Crans-Montana

Much like Zermatt, Crans-Montana boasts a number of interesting things to do. After taking the funicular from Sierre, the local area has a number of great walking and hiking routes, which can be seen on the official SwitzerlandMobility website.

Along with some excellent scenery, the town also has several museums like the Hameau de Colombire - a living museum that shows a faithful reconstruction of what life was like in the Alps in pre-modern times - and the Fondation Suisse des Trains Miniatures - a fantastic model railway museum.

Lake near the Swiss ski resort of Crans-Montana

4. Locarno

With our fourth entry, it's back to Ticino and to Lugano’s sister city Locarno. Despite being smaller, Locarno arguably has more sights to see like the Piazza Grande, the old town and the Castello Visconteo - the local castle. It also plays host to a number of great events, most notably the Locarno Film Festival and Le Corte in Canto.

Like many areas of the Swiss mountains, walking and hiking routes are plentiful. For the best view of the city and surrounding countryside, take the cable car up to the nearby mountain: Cardada.

High street of Locarno in Switzerland

Image credit: / elitravo

5. Zurich

As the largest city in Switzerland, it’s perhaps unsurprising that Zurich finds itself as one of Switzerland's top 10 destinations for spring. From the Grossmünster to the Landesmuseum, the “Swiss metropolis” has many excellent things to do, even on a rainy day.

The city is also easy to get to, with great public transport connections to the airport and the rest of Switzerland. Want fun things to do in the city that won’t break the bank? Check out our guide to 14 free or cheap things you can do in Zurich.

Town Hall bridge in the Swiss city of Zurich

6. Geneva

A piece of France in Switzerland: Geneva is a must-see for any traveller or new expat in the country. Dubbed the “international city”, the area is a melting pot of different cultures and activities. 

Knowledge-nuts among us will enjoy Geneva for its many engaging museums, some of the highlights being CERN, the Patek Philippe Museum, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum and the Museum of Art History. If you can, a tour of the Palais de Nations - one of the main headquarters for the United Nations - is also well worth it.

Waterfront of Geneva in Switzerland

7. Basel

Sitting on the border of three countries, Basel is an excellent place to visit for a long weekend. Along with having a pretty old town with an enchanting cathedral, the city is home to excellent museums relating to art and culture. 

Other attractions include the Dreiländereck - the point where the borders of Switzerland, France and Germany meet, the Art Museum and the local zoo.

Old town of Basel in Switzerland

8. Lausanne

If you want a snapshot of what French-speaking Switzerland has to offer in terms of food, architecture and culture, Lausanne is an ideal place to start. The city on the hill overlooking Lake Geneva has a myriad of places to explore and is a fantastic base for excursions to the castle at Chillon, Nyon, the vineyards of the Lavaux and the highlands of Vaud.

Within the city itself, Lausanne is perhaps most famous for the Olympic Museum and the old town. Another top activity is to take a boat cruise on the lake, as it is a great way to see the city in all its glory.

Cityscape of Lausanne, Switzerland

9. Ascona

The last of the Ticino trio, just across the River Maggia from Locarno is the top tourist hotspot of Ascona. The area remains a popular destination for Swiss people, with the wealthy residents of Zurich and other northern cantons known for owning summer houses in the city and along the lake’s coastline.

After a quiet walk along the shoreline of the lake, the town itself has a charming array of small cafes, bars and restaurants. Situated on Lake Maggiore, Ascona is within easy reach of Italy. One of the best day trips from Ascona is to the Brissago Islands further down the lake, home to castles and subtropical plants. 

Waterfront in Ascona, Switzerland

10. Montreux

Like Lausanne, Montreux really does come alive during the spring and summertime. Visitors in the warmer months can take in the magnificently cared-for lakeside boulevard, boasting all the most colourful flowers imaginable. Travellers can use Montreux as a base to explore the mountains of Vaud via the GoldenPass Express, the castle at Chillon, the enchanting wine regions of the Lavaux and Aigle and the home of Charlie Chaplin in Vevey.

Of course, any list including Montreux has to mention the Montreux Jazz Festival. While jazz lovers will have to wait until the summer to hear their favourite acts croon by the sides of Lake Geneva, in the meantime the city is a hub of great music, events and more!

Montreux, spring destination in Switzerland

Indulge in everything Switzerland has to offer this spring

Well there we have it, the 10 most popular destinations in Switzerland, as chosen by local residents. Have a top Swiss destination that we have missed out on? Let us know in the comments below!

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Editor for Switzerland at IamExpat Media. Jan studied History at the University of York and Broadcast Journalism at the University of Sheffield. Though born in York, Jan has lived most...

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