7 best places to visit in Switzerland
Switzerland is truly blessed with natural beauty, interesting sights to see and great things to do. Thanks to its rugged mountains, flowing rivers and glittering lakes, there’s never a dull moment in the alpine nation, but if you’re new to the country, it can be overwhelming trying to decide where you should visit first. Here are some of our picks of the best places to visit in Switzerland.
Best places in Switzerland to visit
Though Switzerland is stunningly beautiful, you can’t always rely on the Swiss weather to pull through when you’re planning a day out. Thankfully, there are some great indoor spots you can visit on a rainy day too. Our list features seven great places in Switzerland to visit, with three spots sure to be totally weatherproof, just in case!
The world-famous Interlaken resort is known for its stunning beauty, especially during the peak of the Swiss summer. Here, you can see some of the best of Switzerland’s nature and, thanks to an expansive network of railways, cable cars, chair lifts and ski lifts, there are many different hikes that visitors can enjoy. While often described as the adrenaline capital of Switzerland in its own right, the town is also a great base to explore nearby locations like Grindelwald and Blausee.
During the summer, the town is a popular spot for paragliders, who often lift off just 10 kilometres away from the town of Beatenberg - Niederhorn. The town is also home to many wild animals including ibexes, chamois and marmots. In the winter, the wider region doubles as a ski resort, with more than 200 kilometres of pistes and more than 220 walking routes in and around the surrounding hills, making it perfect for a little winter day trip, too.
Swiss National Museum
The Swiss National Museum, affiliated with the Federal Office of Culture of the Swiss government, holds the title of the most frequently visited museum in Switzerland. The organisation exhibits pieces from prehistory right through to the modern day and is itself housed inside a stunning castle-like building in the heart of Zurich.
As an expat, it can be hard to get to know the history of your new country, since much of our understanding of history and culture is passed down through our family or taught in school, but the Swiss National Museum can help you to fill those gaps in your knowledge and gain a greater understanding of how the alpine nation came to be.
The museum’s collection holds more than 870.000 objects and artworks, showcasing the craftsmanship of the Swiss and the country’s ancient culture. These include metalworks, archaeological discoveries, paintings, sculptures, ceramics, glasswork, furniture, textiles, jewellery and more.
Jungfraujoch is a ridge at the lowest point that connects two major Swiss mountains - the Jungfrau and the Mönch. Since 1912, visitors have been able to visit the spot via the Jungfrau Railway to see the fantastic views from the top. The train line boasts the highest train station in Europe and allows tourists to access a number of points of interest at the top.
After alighting the train at Jungfraujoch, guests can expect to find a number of panoramic restaurants with stunning views of the Swiss Alps, as well as a number of shops, exhibitions and even a post office where you can send a postcard to friends or family.
From the Jungfraujoch, you can also carry on to the Sphinx Observatory, one of the highest observatories in the world and the second highest in Switzerland. Here, scientists monitor the earth’s atmosphere to better understand the effects of climate change.
Switzerland is home to some of the world’s greatest cheese producers, making world-class cheeses that achieve quality awards annually. Thankfully for us, many of these cheese producers are keen to share their craft by opening the doors to their factories.
In Switzerland, you can find cheese factories for every palette. From the Appenzeller Cheese Factory, with its wild spicy kick, to the smooth taste of the cheese rolled out of La Maison du Gruyère, you really can get a great understanding and appreciation of the craft of cheesemaking through watching the experts do their thing. While we would never tell you what cheeses to eat, we can definitely recommend a few different factories that you might want to try:
- Emmentaler Schaukäserei
- La Maison de la Tête de Moine
- Appenzeller Cheese Factory
- Alpine Cheese Factory Marbach
- Airolo Cheese Factory
- La Maison du Gruyère
For some bonus cheese action, you can also try the National Dairy Museum in Kiezen to learn about the history of cheesemaking in Switzerland.
Image: Shutterstock.com / Roman Babakin
For something less cheesy, a trip to the Rhine Falls is never a bad idea. This huge waterfall is the most powerful in all of Europe, located on the High Rhine River. You can choose to see the waterfall by boat or on foot, and if you approach the Rhine Falls from the northern platform, the visit is free!
The water in the Rhine Falls flows so fast that it is not possible for fish to swim upstream here, but eels can use the rocks to slither up the Rhine. The waterfall was formed in the last ice age, sometime around 14.000 to 17.000 years ago.
Science Centre Techorama and CERN
For something a little different, why not dedicate a day to Swiss science? The country has a long history of fostering groundbreaking research and innovation and is still home to some of the world’s best research institutes. Science Centre Techorama in Winterthur, Canton Zurich hopes to inspire curious minds by presenting fun and interesting experiments, functioning as a sort of museum, but one where you can touch and play with everything!
The Science Centre is one of the largest in Europe and makes a good day out for the whole family. There are more than 500 “discovery stations” where you can marvel at scientific experiments and magical natural phenomena. The centre also hosts mind-blowing demonstrations using electricity and gas as well as workshops on a number of scientific topics.
For the real nerds (like us!), the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, also known as CERN, is the largest particle physics laboratory in the world, located right in the heart of Geneva! Visitors can have a tour of the lab, learn more about the groundbreaking research taking place, and find out more about the origins of our planet, the solar system and life itself.
Image: Shutterstock.com / olrat
The Aletsch Glacier is the largest glacier in the Alps and can be found in Canton Valais. The glacier has a length of around 13 kilometres and covers an area of around 81,7 square kilometres.
If you fancy a trip to the glacier, you can take part in a guided tour, leaving from the nearby towns of Riederalp, Bettmeralp and Fiesch-Eggishorn. Since the glacier is easily accessible, it makes for a great place to hike around, as well as a good spot for partaking in winter sports. The glacier was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2001.
Tick these places in Switzerland off your bucket list
These are just a few of our favourite places to visit in Switzerland, but there are definitely many more out there waiting to be discovered. Let us know in the comments below where your favourite places to visit in Switzerland are, and where we should head to next!