8 cities to visit in Switzerland

1. Zurich

zurich

Zurich has a lot to offer and is a worthwhile visit if you find yourself travelling through Switzerland. The city is located in north-central Switzerland at the northwestern tip of Lake Zurich. It is a leading global city and among the world’s largest financial centres – despite a relatively low population.

Young people from all over the country and even from foreign nations make their way to Zurich to look for good jobs or study there. The University of Zurich and ETH-Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich consistently rank among the top universities in the world. Another reason to come to Zurich in your heyday is the great deal of variety Zurich offers when it comes to night-time leisure. Especially at the famous Langstrasse in district 4, where you can party into the early hours.

If you only spend a couple of days in Zurich, go shopping along the famous Bahnhofstrasse or in the Niederdorf old town, enjoy a nice walk along the lake with a picturesque view of the alps, or make your way up to the Uetliberg, Zurich’s renowned mountain.

2. Lucerne

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Another famous city is Lucerne, it’s located in central Switzerland on the shores of Lake Lucerne (Vierwaldstättersee). With stunning views on Mount Pilatus and Rigi in the Swiss Alps, Lucerne is a popular destination for tourists from all over the world. One of the city’s most famous landmarks is the Chapel Bridge (Kappelbrücke), built back in the 14th century and is one of the oldest wooden bridges of Europe. A very famous building in Lucerne is the KKL, a spectacular building located lakeside which houses several concert halls, as well as the Lucerne Art Museum.

Some cities in Switzerland including Lucerne and Basel, celebrate a big carnival called Fasnacht each year. So if you happen to be in Switzerland in February, put on some colorful clothes and masks, join the chaotic “march in any direction you like” street parade, and enjoy unique music (Guugemusig) and friendly vibes at the Lucerne Fasnacht.

3. St. Moritz

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If you want to experience one of the most stunning mountain regions in the world, a visit to St. Moritz in the Engadine Valley is a must. The highest summit in the Eastern Alps Piz Bernina lies only a few kilometres south of the town. St. Moritz is also one of the only three cities that has hosted the Winter Olympics twice, in 1928 and 1948 respectively.

St. Moritz has also been luring royals, celebrities and other wealthy visitors for many years. Admittedly it is quite an expensive place, so if you aren’t ready to spend too much money, stay in one of the cute villages around the city in the Engadine Valley instead – we assure you it’s just as beautiful!

Aside from the usual skiing and snowboarding areas, the Engadine Valley also offers excellent places for summer sports such as biking, hiking and climbing.

4. Zermatt

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Who doesn’t know the Matterhorn, the iconic mountain on the famous Toblerone chocolate? If you’d like to see the mountain for real, visit Zermatt, yet another renowned mountaineering and ski resort in the Swiss Alps. Zermatt lies at an elevation of 1620 meters at the foot of Switzerland’s highest peaks. The town has only around 5800 permanent inhabitants but several times as many tourists at any time of the year.

During the summer, Zermatt also attracts many hikers, as it offers walking tours which lead up to a staggering 3883m. This high altitude is great for skiing and is continuously available throughout the summer season. Of course, the winter season skiing area is a lot bigger since the connection through the Plateau Rosa glacier over to Italy opens up.

To prevent air pollution, which could obscure the town’s view of the Matterhorn, the entire town is a car-free zone. Almost all the vehicles are battery driven and are almost completely silent. Most tourists come to Zermatt by train and have the possibility to use tiny electric shuttles or electro taxis inside the city. Most attractions are within walking distance of each other anyway!

5. Geneva

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Now to the French part of the country and the second biggest city in Switzerland. Geneva is situated right where the Rhone exits Lake Geneva at the French border. Together with Vienna and Zurich, the francophone city ranks in the top three cities with the highest quality of life in the whole world. Geneva is also home to numerous international organizations, including the United Nations and the Red Cross.

The city is perfect for exploring on foot. Geneva’s lakefront should be the first on your list of things to see followed by the famous fountain, St Peter’s Cathedral and the birthplace of the UN. Another highlight of the city is a walk through the beautiful pedestrian old town, where you’ll find luxury jewellers and famous Swiss chocolate shops.

6. Lugano

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Lugano is a city in southern Switzerland, in the Italian-speaking canton of Ticino, which borders Italy. With its location at Lake Lugano and the alps at its back, the city has a little bit of everything. Another advantage Lugano has in comparison with other Swiss cities is the humid subtropical climate. People from all over Switzerland like to go to one of their southernmost cities to enjoy a sunny day.

Ride a cable car up to Monte San Salvatore or Monte Bre for sunny panoramas of the lake, rivers, mountains and the city. Or go and explore the town’s churches, cathedrals, not to mention the colourful Piazza Della Riforma. In Lugano, you’ll experience beautiful Swiss nature mixed with a touch of Italian flair.

7. Interlaken

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Interlaken lies in the Bernese Oberland between Lake Thun and Lake Brienz. The city is famous for its numerous outdoor activities and its vicinity to the three mighty mountains – Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau.

In winter, visitors benefit from the central location of Interlaken, allowing them to take their pick of the Jungfrau’s top ski regions. Over 45 mountain railways, aerial cableways and ski lifts take tourists to over 200 kilometers of pistes.

In summer, Interlaken is the ideal location for activities such as canoeing, river rafting, paragliding, skydiving, hiking, climbing and lots more. Interlaken is the perfect place to be if you love outdoor adventures.

8. Bern

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Last but not least there is also Switzerland’s de facto capital Bern, or as the Swiss call it the “Bundesstadt”. Bern is very well known for its historic old town in the centre of the city, which back in 1983 became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Close to the old town you will also find the Bern Bear Park, where you can watch the famous bear family. One of Bern’s landmarks is the Houses of Parliament – the seat of the Swiss Government.

The Aare River flows through Switzerland’s capital and provides an opportunity for a nice summer swim. Good swimmers even allow themselves to drift along in the clean Aare while enjoying a view of the historic city.