From the picture perfect snow-capped Alpine scenery to the quaint little Heidi like villages, glistening emerald lakes and world class resorts, Switzerland is on the bucket list of many a travel enthusiast. Immersed in history, the country offers excellent adventure and winter sports, and is home to several historic monuments and museums and galleries which speak volumes of its history and culture. Landlocked from all directions, Switzerland is a beautiful little nation with influences of the surrounding nations of France, Germany, Italy and Austria infused through its culture.
Travel is a breeze with the excellent Swiss Transport System and quite safe given the low crime rate. A trip through this country is like reading a classic, which keeps getting even more charming and enchanting as you turn the pages. Be it any time of the year, Switzerland always stands photogenic. Here are the top ten attractions is Switzerland which you absolutely cannot miss when you visit the country.
Top 10 Best Tourist Attractions in Switzerland To Visit
1. Matterhorn, Ranked #1 out of 10 top attractions visited in Switzerland
The renowned,naturally chiselled Matterhorn depicted in several postcards is an icon in Swiss tourism. Its name is derived from the German words Matte which means meadow and Horn which means Peak. It lies on the Italian border of Switzerland and is one of the highest peaks in the Alps. It is also a very dangerous climb with step faces and regular avalanches. The first ascent itself was a disaster when four climbers fell to death during their descent. Ever since then about 500 people have met with the same fate in their conquest of these peaks. But still several experienced climbers come here for summiting every summer to scale its 4,478 metres of altitude.
People also come here for skiing and snowboarding in the surrounding mountains. You can take a cable car from Zermatt, a charming village at the foot of the peak to reach the surrounding mountains. The Zermatt mountain station is the highest cable car station in the world. Zermatt also houses a top class resorts where you can get horse drawn carriage rides, world class restaurants and old-fashioned chalets. The village does not allow use of any motorized vehicles in order to preserve the quality of air in here and hence you are greeted with the most pleasant ambience topped with breath taking views.
2. Jungfraujoch, Ranked #2 out of 10 top attractions visited in Switzerland
The “top of Europe”, Jungfraujoch, is a beautiful piece of nature and one of the best Swiss tourism has to offer. Mountain paths winding through lush green meadows offer enchanting views through the train journey to this region. The starting point of the journey, a rustic town by the name Interlaken is in itself a popular tourist attraction as are the towns of Murren, Lauterbrunnen, Grindelwald and Wengen that fall along the way.
Jungfaujoch is the place where the largest glacier in Europe, the great Aletsch Glacier begins. It has been granted the status of a UNESCO World Heritage site. Clinging to the north face is the renowned Eiger trail which runs from the Eiger glacier to the Alpiglen. And then there are the peaks of Grindelwald-first, Schilthorn, and Klein Scleidegg which offer an amazing panoramic view of the region. All of these peaks are accessible by hikes or trains.
3. Chateau De Chillon, Ranked #3 out of 10 top attractions visited in Switzerland
You have probably read ballads of praise of this beautiful little architectural jewel in the writings of Lord Byron, Victor Hugo and Jean Jacques Rosseau. Sitting on the shores of Lake Geneva in the heart of the Swiss Riviera, the little castle has long been an inspiration to several writers and artists. In the yester years, it has stood guard to the land route to St Bernard pass and was the main fortress for monitoring the freight on the lake.
Since the 12th century it has been a stronghold for the Dukes and Counts of Savoy. There are three courtyards in this beautiful complex and 25 buildings have been built around these courtyards. Inside the buildings you can find Gothic underground rooms, a Chapel embellished with 14-century paintings, a bedroom of the Duke, adorned with several other paintings of the medieval era. People can also rent out this castle for their fairy-tale wedding. It is one of the most visited attractions of Switzerland accessible by boat, bus or just a walk from the town of Montreux.
4. Chapel Bridge, Ranked #4 out of 10 top attractions visited in Switzerland
Chapel Bridge is one of the most famous landmarks of the city of Lucerne. This 14th century monument is the most photographed attraction in Switzerland and forms the background of many postcards. This monument has made the town of Lucerne a very important tourist destination in Switzerland. It is the world’s oldest covered wooden bridge and dates back to 1332. The original one was however, destroyed in the fire of 1993 and was rebuilt to look exactly the same. It leads to the water tower which is an important part of the city’s fortification.
The bridge runs across the Reussriver and offers great views of the Landscapes of the city and the sunsets. Close-by is another important attraction – the Lion Monument which is a representative of the sacrifice of the heroic Swiss Guards during the French revolution.
5. Zytglogge, Ranked #5 out of 10 top attractions visited in Switzerland
The medieval old town of Bern is a UNESCO World heritage site and a major attraction here is the Zytglogge clock tower of the medieval times. The clock tower gate is the oldest city gate in Bern and was built during the 11th century. The tower hosts one of the most spectacular and oldest clocks in the world. The clock was built in 1530 and used to be the master clock of the city for a very long time. It is carved in Baroque style with gold accents.
In the tower are two tower clocks, an astronomical clock, hour chimes and figurines of moving puppets and a central mechanism drives them all. It is a testimony as to why Switzerland is a premier watch making destination in the world. This masterpiece is the King of all cuckoo clocks in the world. Visitors flock to the location to watch the show begin as the hour strikes and the puppets are set into motion offering a true visual delight.
6. Lake Geneva, Ranked #6 out of 10 top attractions visited in Switzerland
Lake Geneva is Europe’s largest Alpine Lake and spans the Swiss-French border of the town of Geneva. It is surrounded by parks, gardens, and promenades offering a perfect backdrop to the historic buildings and making for a great stroll along the old town.
The most famous attraction of Lake Geneva is the Jet d’Eau – a giant fountain shooting 460 feet up into the air shooting 7 tons of water at any given point. The spectators often enjoy a little spray of water that strays away from the mountain. On few occasions, to depict a humanitarian cause the fountain is illuminated in lights of corresponding colors of the occasion.
The fountain sits right at the point where the lake empties into the river Rhone. There is also a local swimming area nearby called Bains de Paquis. Other attractions near Lake Geneva include the Opera House and the Grand Theatre where you can witness international performances.
7. Zurich, Ranked #7 out of 10 top attractions visited in Switzerland
Soaked in culture, Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland and is home to 50 museums and more than 100 art galleries. The most famous museum is the Swiss National Museum which is built inside a fairy-tale castle. Here you can learn a great deal about the culture of the place and understand where Switzerland stands in the history of the world. Another important museum is the Kunsthaus Zurich, the museum of fine arts dedicated to art collection ranging from the medieval era till the present day.
Apart from being culturally rich, the city also houses several clubs. It is a major transportation hub and is located along Lake Zurich which is another lovely boating spot. There are also a few mountains nearby where you can go for a hike. It is also one of Europe’s hottest shopping destinations where you can find designer brands and fashion watches and jewellery in quaint boutique stores which you come across as you stroll along the cobbled streets.
8. Swiss National Park, Ranked #8 out of 10 top attractions visited in Switzerland
Encompassing an area of 172 square kilometres, the Swiss National Park was founded in 1914 and lies in the Engadine Valley in Zernez. It is the oldest reserve in the Alpine region. Most of the area in an unspoilt mountain pine forest dotted with hollows, floral patches, pastures, woodlands, waterfalls, limestone crags, shrubs and fast flowing rivers. The place is literally exploding with nature and is home to several animal species like ibex, chamois, red deer, marmot, foxes, the rare golden eagle and many other species of birds and animals which you can chance upon as you traverse through the 21 hiking routes there are in the park. This wildlife sanctuary is the only national park in Switzerland and is truly an epitome of alpine splendour.
9. The Rhine Falls, Ranked #9 out of 10 top attractions visited in Switzerland
Located in Schaffhausen, the Rhine Falls spans 150 metres in breadth and is the largest waterfall in Central Europe. There are several viewing decks from where you can watch this bewitching natural wonder of Switzerland. These platforms make you feel like you are hovering directly above the falls. If you have the nerve, you can also rent a canoe and get up close with the roaring waters. Nearby are the castles of Schloss Worth and SchlossLaufen which you can access via your canoe. There is also a children’s playground, a museum of history and an adventure trail close by.
June and July is an excellent time to visit this place as the snow from the surrounding peaks melts and causes the feeding river to swell in volume. The river now can spill over a 21 meter high ledge of Jurassic Limestone perched in the middle of the river at the top of the falls. If you happen to be here on 1st August, which is the Swiss National Day you can witness a sensational display of fireworks.
10. Lugano, Ranked #10 out of 10 top attractions visited in Switzerland
Otherwise known as Switzerland’s little Italy, Lugano lies in the country’s only Italian Speaking Canton and on the banks of the Lake Lugano. It has a heavy Italian influence and shares Italy’s love for Wine, food and la dolce vita making it a must see. The little town is famous for palm trees and the so-called Floral route which begins with a ride on the Monte San Salvatore Funicular, continues through San Salvatore until Ciona and Carona.
The city has a mild climate allowing trees like pomegranates, and figs to flourish even with the snow-capped peaks surrounding it. You can see the influence of the neighbouring country of Italy in their architecture, the piazzas, the frescoes in the churches.
Switzerland is a land of contrasting features and attractions. No matter what kind of trip you come looking for, you will end up finding much more.