For a sizeably small, landlocked country, Switzerland has an exceptional amount of charm, natural beauty, cultural diversity, heritage and variety in its lap along with some of the most picturesque cities in Switzerland. Switzerland is not just about Davos. Davos is beautiful, but the Alpine and lakeside villages in the cities of Switzerland are even more gorgeous and breathtaking. So leave the guidebook and hop on to explore these 10 magical cities in Switzerland that we have curated for you instead. These ten cities of Switzerland spread across the country just elucidate the best Switzerland has to offer- spectacular mountain views, panoramic scenery, flower line nature walks and paths, lakeside beauty, and picturesque historic sights and attractions. Lakeside resorts, resorts nestled in the Alps, bustling cities and towns- the landlocked aura of Switzerland can be experienced in its entirety and is full of interesting and exciting things to do! Here is your guide to the best cities in Switzerland that you must visit instead of Davos:
As the name suggests, the city Interlaken is positioned between two lakes- Lake Thun and Lake Brienz. One of the most beautiful cities in Switzerland, Interlaken, is surrounded by some of the tallest peaks in the country. This strategic location gives it a special place in the tourism area of Switzerland as it offers stunning views in every direction. Interlaken is the perfect base to enjoy the natural splendors of the country- be it lakeside or hiking trails that begin at Harder Kulm. Harder Kulm is the panoramic viewpoint at an altitude of 1322 meters, which is only accessible by funicular. Located at the heart of the Bernese Oberland, the big peaks of the Interlaken region- Eiger, Monch, and Jungfrau are all accessible via train journeys through the scenic Alps. Enveloped by mountains, Interlaken makes for a great and popular paragliding spot. The ones who set on a walking tour through the town should meander through the well-manicured Japanese gardens and try to spot the rare sight of the dozens of humans that sail above them. Interlaken is also the strategic gateway to explore the Jungfrau region of Switzerland and tourists can take the Jungfraujoch Express from the Interlaken station to head to the Top of Europe.
Another one of the wonderful cities in Switzerland, Spiez is a peaceful and quiet village located on the edge of Lake Thun. With the presence of a looming handsome castle, the highlight of this little village is the 14 mile circular hike that takes you through fine, stunning views of the mountainous terrain and pristine blue waters of the lake. The hiking trail ends with a visit to the 1000 year church within the Spiez Castle. On the shores of Lake Thun, Spiez is a town that is surrounded by vineyards and forests. It is best known for the medieval historic castle with a Early Romanesque church that is over 1000 years old. The castle, which is a museum today, could be easily mistaken for a huge white chalet if not for the tall stone tower in its midst. The best way to explore the town is embark on a cruise on Lake Thun and a visit to the castle admiring the wondrous architecture. You could also choose to hike or fish in the Lake Thun and end the day by sipping on a glass of Spitzer, the locally made tasty wine.
Zernez is one of the few cities in Switzerland that is accessible from its neighboring countries- Italy and Austria. The town is the gateway to the Swiss National Park. The dense foliage, scenic views, and the mountainous terrain is a haven for keen hikers and mountain bikers. The network of trails cannot be rivaled by others in the villages of the country and will get tourists to fall in love with Zernez almost instantaneously.
In winter, Zernez offers cross-country skiing tracks, which also includes a wildly romantic forest track. In the summer, you could also visit the Swiss National Park- 170.3 square kilometers in area. The biggest nature preserve in Switzerland is a storehouse of Alpine plants and animals and a wild mountainous countryside that will blow your senses away. Zernez is also an ideal starting point for the discovery of the Engadine region in Switzerland. It is also an ideal place to discover the Switzerland-Italy-Austria triangle.
A popular tourist destination for hikers and adventure seekers, Grindelwald is also known as the “ Glacier Village”. Gilbert Grindelwald, the eponymous dark character of the famous Harry Potter series bears no similarity to Grindelwald the town or one of the most picturesque cities in Switzerland. A pretty town in the Bernese Alps, the scenery is inspiring and has fantastic north face views of the Eiger peak. The town has been the top tourist destination since the 18th century and there is a lot of hiking that can be enjoyed during the summer. The summer is also a great time to indulge in the Eiger Trail. One of the ideal ways to appreciate the sheer beauty of the town is to take a ride on the First Flyer. It is a seated zip-wire ride that lets four people to fly adjacent to each other and enjoy the thrill of viewing the scenery with an adrenaline rush. Grindelwald is also home to the largest ski resort in the Jungfrau region which makes it a popular tourist spot.
Morcote is just like the other towns or cities in Switzerland- picture postcard perfect. But this tiny town goes a step further with its beauty. Located on the shores of Lake Lugano, Morcote was voted as one of the most beautiful town in Switzerland in 2016. The village is renowned for its architecture and has an arcade that dates back to the Middle Ages. Houses from the 13th and 16th centuries dot the skyline and the Santa Maria del Sasso church from the 13th century is proof of its traditional heritage.
The Botanical and Art Park is a pleasure to stroll with its delightful displays of plants and artworks. Most of the architectural wonders of the village are listed in the Swiss heritage sites and are of national significance. The ornate Church of Sant Antonio Abate, the abundant Greek sculptures and the Egyptian temples are few of the historical attractions that cannot be missed. Morcote can be accessed via a ferry trip along the Lake Lugano. Formerly a tiny fishing hamlet, the village is set along the hillside that has discerning alleys to let you explore the wonderful vistas of the lake. The bell tower of Santa Maria del Sasso church towers and looms large on the pretty houses below. The Parco Scherrer is where you can experience an exotic assortment of Asian and Meditternean flora and architecture. The Egyptian temple and the Siamese tea house will offer ample panoramic views.
Another small town noted for its historic architecture, Guarda is another jewel in the crown of the cities in Switzerland. The town is dotted with home from the 17th century with colourful painted exteriors. The village is called Schellernursli after a character in a book for children. There is even a path named Schellernursli where families can go hiking together to enjoy some quiet family time. The summer months are a great time to go on a fairly simple hike to Piz Buin- the mountain which immortalized the sun cream brand. In winter, the place comes alive with toboggan runs, cross country ski routes and ice rinks to keep tourists entertained to the hilt. If the winter blues haunt you, just follow the ancient tradition of using cow bells to chase the chill away. A village with significant national importance, the sheer beauty of the picturesque place cannot be underestimated. If you wish to explore Guarda all by yourself, then just download the special app which will help you navigate through the place to enjoy it to the fullest.
With its reputation of being expensive, Geneva has earned an unfortunate reputation of being slightly boring among the cities in Switzerland. However, contrary to popular belief, you need to dig deep to discover the Geneva that is a quaint town waiting to be explored by foot.
With plenty of cobbled streets the town is home to Palais des Nations- the home of the United Nations office. Another town that is located on the shores of Lake Geneva, the city is arguably one of the most beautiful cities on the world. The city beckons tourists to explore the wealth of cultural attractions, museums, galleries and scenic beauty.
The International Red Cross Museum and the MAMCO- Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art are two popular museum which is frequented by visitors. A walk along the lakeside promenade helps to explore the cobbled old town and visit the artisans at the bohemian Carouge. If you want to shop for fabulous Swiss timepieces that never fail in the accuracy of time and wish to enjoy some delicious cuisine then Geneva is the place to be in.
Going back 2000 years in time, the city of Basel is located along the banks of the Rhine. The city has its own international airport and is a great place to explore. Crammed with mystic historic buildings and more than 40 museums within a 14 square mile radius. You can sign up for a guided tour to get a complete overview of the city and learn about is deep history. If you are a loner and like to explore by yourself, then start by walking through the cobbled streets of the well-preserved old town and make sure you visit the Rathaus ( city hall). For those staying in the city, the hotel can avail a Basel card which provides free access to free public transport and discounted entry to various attractions and museums. The city is called “the art city” and lives to that reputation with its museums, galleries that showcase rare works of art, and also several streets with art installations that will capture your vivid imagination. Basel is one of the most beautiful cities in Switzerland where you can enjoy a weekend or an even longer escape to beat the humdrum of a monotonous life.
Engelberg is the vacation destination in Central Switzerland that is located 18 kilometers to the south of Lake Lucerne. It is popular as both a summer and winter vacation spot. The winter sports season lasts from October to May and the resort all types of winter sports that you can imagine of- skiing, paragliding, snowboarding, and much more. The snowy slopes are conducive to all ages, from children to adults and even more comfortable for novices who are indulging in winter sports for the first time. The summer offers some great spots for hiking, mountaineering, rock climbing, biking, and even golf. The impressive Titlis Rotair Gondola can be ridden irrespective of the weather. It goes right up to the permanently snow-covered glacier where you can view the remarkable Titlis Cliff Walk suspension bridge. A family-friendly location that offers great activities for children and adults alike, Engleberg is one of the best tourist cities in Switzerland.
A unique village located in a valley, Andermatt, has eight mountain passes converging in the Alps. The largest of the passes reminds one of a rustic jewel. Located in the center of the Gothard Massif, Andermatt is picturesque as one would imagine Switzerland to be. Explore the town in a five-horse drawn carriage, on your own feet, or a steam railway engine. Andermatt is most famous as a winter tourist destination and reputed for its winter skiing. You can find lifts running from the village of Gemmsstock and Natschen. Located in the heart of Alpine Switzerland, there is no dearth of activities and tourist attractions to see in Andermatt. A typical summer itinerary would include hiking, mountain biking, fishing, rock climbing, and avid walkers that will be captivated by the varied panorama. You can even book yourself on to the Glacier Express and go all the way to Zermatt.
Sandwiched between four countries, Germany, France, Italy, and Austria, Switzerland is a tiny country abundant in surprises for its visitors. Be it attractions, natural scenic beauty, or skiing resorts, and the country is a perfect all year round vacation locale for everyone. Chocolate, timepieces, souvenirs – one can enjoy every bit of Switzerland in its varied diversity. There is no doubt it is one perfect picture postcard. Along the periphery of the country, you will find gorgeous rugged mountains interspersed with valleys and enchanting villages. A paradise for skiers in winter and hikers in summer, Switzerland, and its beautiful hamlets and villages are a perfect retreat for rejuvenating the soul. The best places to go to are the small towns or lesser-known cities in Switzerland that are the perfect gateway to the paradise in the mountain ranges of Alps. Do spend time in these charming towns or cities in Switzerland to make your holiday a memorable and exciting experience.