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With a location in the Alps mountain range and an impressive railroad that runs through it, the country of Switzerland is in no short supply of beautiful scenery. This is a wonderful place to visit if you enjoy snow sports, but it’s also a year-round destination with great arts, culture, and culinary scenes. Since Switzerland is a small country, it’s easy to visit lots of places in just one trip. Here are the top cities to visit in Switzerland.
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Geneva is not only an important city in Switzerland, but for the rest of the world as well. This is where the United Nations, the International Red Cross, and many other international organizations are headquartered. But this city’s appeal goes beyond just humanitarianism and business. Geneva is also known as the “city of parks,” which means that there is lots of green space to relax in between sightseeing stops. It’s fun to take a walk through Geneva to check out its art and clock museums. This is also a good city to explore by bike to reach the many watch shops and theaters.
Some of the best ski slopes in the world located just outside of Lausanne. The city itself is located along Lake Geneva, and it’s also known for outdoor markets and being a favorite spot among famous writers. You can easily reach Lausanne from Geneva by train, and this is one of the best day trips you can make if you fly into Geneva for your vacation. Lausanne is also home to the International Olympic Committee and has a relaxing café culture. There are vineyards nearby, and it is easily explored on foot.
Bern is a city full of history that’s fun to visit for travelers who like to shop and sight-see. It is also known for its bakeries that sell traditional sweets and pastries. While in Bern, take note of all the historic architecture that dates back to the 12th century. The Old Town section of Bern is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The Zytglogge, which is a clock tower with puppets that move as the clock chimes, is also a big hit to see in town.
For a small mountain town with lots to ways to get active, visit Zermatt. Definitely come here for your epic mountaineering and skiing adventures. This area gets lots of snow and tends to get very popular and crowded in the peak winter holiday season. It’s one of the few places that you can go summer skiing as well. And then explore the town on foot to see the sights. It’s fun to take a cable car to access the mountain summit and get lovely views of the region. There’s also a train that connects Zermatt to other nearby towns and offers an incredibly scenic ride. This is very eco-friendly town that actually doesn’t even allow gas-powered cars in town.
Zurich is a large city in Switzerland that has a little of everything. This is an ideal place to come to get your arts and culture fix, thanks to the many galleries and museums here. There are also mountains and a lake nearby for outdoor recreation and adventure. While in Zurich, consider hiking at Utliberg Mountain or going boating on Lake Zurich. There’s lots of high-end shopping here too in the city’s boutiques. Zurich has a fun nightlife scene as well, so it’s exciting to go bar hopping in the city with a group of friends. This is one of the top party spots in all of Europe.
Lucerne is another very beautiful city in Switzerland that has a historic bridge and water tower and other sites that tell the city’s fascinating history. Here you’ll find charming town squares, a covered bridge, and panoramic views of the Alps. The big landmarks of Lucerne are Mount Pilatus, Lake Luzern, and Mt. Rigi. You can also visit the Swiss Museum of Transport, the Dying Lion of Lucerne Monument, and the Rosengart Collection during your visit to the city. This is also a very friendly town that’s easy to get around and get acquainted with. It’s fun to marvel at the town’s beauty from the water on a Lake Lucerne cruise ship as well.
In addition to Zermatt, Arosa is another great place to ski in Switzerland. Arosa is known as more of a well-kept secret than Zermatt though, as this town is in a more remote area of the country but still offers epic runs and scenery. This is also a nice place to come for an alpine spa vacation at a local spa like Tschuggen Bergoase. In addition to the Arosa Ski Resort, make sure to check out the Eichhornchenweg and Wandern hiking trails, have a delicious lunch at Tschuggenhuttte, see the picturesque church called Bergkirchli, and enjoy an evening drink with a view at Kursaal. Winter hiking, the summer classic car race, the annual musical festival in March, and watching the local hockey team take the ice are all popular things to do in Arosa.
For a unique multi-cultural vibe, head to Basel, which is heavily influence by both German and French cultures. One top attraction in Basel is the Basel Art Museum, and this town is even referred to as “city of art.” You’ll also find many museums, theaters, and art galleries in town. For example, take some time to explore the Basel Paper Mill Museum and the Altstadt-Spaziergange durch Basel neighborhood. The Rheinfahre ferry offers tours of the river and is a must-do while in Basel.
If snow and cold weather isn’t your idea of a fun vacation, then head to Lugano in the summertime. This Southern Swiss town is known for its warm summers with fresh Mediterranean air and the Lugano classical musical festival. Its situated along Lake Lugano and has been a favorite destination among celebrities lately. Take some time to relax and spend time at Parco Civico, Monte San Salvatore, and Monte Bre to soak up the scenery of Lugano. Many people stop here while traveling between Switzerland and Italy.