Switzerland may be a small country but Switzerland’s tourism is anything but miniscule. Soaring Alps and glaciers dominate the top Swiss places to visit – there are more than 200 peaks higher than 3,000m – alongside Switzerland’s bucolic countryside, ancient castles, clear turquoise lakes and breathtaking mountain peaks in every direction. The top Swiss foods make travelling around Switzerland a regional surprise, and once you learn the top Swiss fact, it’s easy to see this tiny country has a lot to offer. It’s countryside, lakes and mountains are beautiful anytime of year, from snow-capped mountain peaks and ice-skating on lakes to hiking through green fields.
At the far western end of Lake Geneva (Lac Leman) and almost at the French border, Geneva has a cosmopolitan atmosphere and international flavour as a result of being headquarters for a number of multinational corporations and associations. The old town rises on a hillside above the Rhône River, which flows from the lake, and its picturesque old streets and flights of steps are dominated by the cathedral. On three sides, the old town is surrounded by a ring of buildings and broad streets that trace the line of Geneva’s ancient fortifications. The business centre lies below the old town to the north and in the Saint-Gervais quarter. The lake front, along which you’ll find many of Geneva’s tourist attractions, is lined by elegant promenades, parks, and gardens.
Zurich, Switzerland’s largest city, is well known as the country’s economic and cultural hub and one of Europe’s main financial and industrial capitals, it’s easy to forget that it’s also a delightful and fascinating place for tourists. Its many attractions include dozens of museums, a well-preserved old town filled with medieval and Renaissance buildings, and enough art – both in and out of museums – to keep art-lovers happy for a week. Zurich’s tradition of liberal thinking and active intellectual life attracted leading figures that included Georg Büchner, Vladimir Lenin, James Joyce, C. G. Jung, and Thomas Mann, and this tradition continues into modern times. Although it buzzes with business activity, Zürich is one of the finest Swiss towns to visit and is perfectly arranged for sightseeing on foot. Be it Old town of Zurich or the Bahnhofstrasse, Zurich displays cultural and artistic marvels around every corner.
Bern is a picturesque medieval city with a history that dates back to the 12th century, though it did not become a part of the Swiss Confederacy until the 16th century. Its most famous attraction is the Zytglogge, an ancient clock tower with moving puppets. Other popular sites in Bern include the Munster, a Gothic cathedral that rises from the old town, and its town hall. The bear is the symbol of Bern, with several being kept in an open-air pit. Shoppers will appreciate the old town that boasts four miles of arcades, making it one of the longest covered shopping areas in Europe.
Lucerne, located in the German-speaking section of Switzerland, is a city that has it all: city life, a lake and mountains. Considered one of the world’s prettiest cities, Lucerne is most famous for its 14th century Chapel Bridge and Water Tower, which is said to be the most photographed monument in Switzerland. Another famous monument is the Dying Lion, which was carved out of rock to honour Swiss mercenaries who died in France in 1792.Hungry visitors may want to try Luzerner Chügelipastete, a local specialty made from puff pastry, veal and mushrooms doused in a cream sauce.
Lugano has been nicknamed the “Monte Carlo of Switzerland,” because of its growing popularity with celebrities. The city is located on Lake Lugano, in the Italian speaking section of this alpine country. Lugano, which is blessed with warm summers, dates back to the 9th century. The city is home to a large number of Swiss heritage sites, including three cathedrals, two libraries and several museums. Home to numerous financial institutions, the city also hosts an annual classical music festival, the Lugano Festival, in the summer.