Switzerland’s ten most beautiful villages you have to visit

Here's a list of the ten best Swiss villages you've never heard of, which are well worth a visit when you get the chance.

Switzerland's ten most beautiful villages you have to visit
Photo courtesy of Les plus beaux Villages de Suisse

The popular swiss contest “Das schönste Dorf der Schweiz” organised by the Ringier media group, every year crowns a ‘best village’ based on a public vote. But if the whole country knows about it then where’s the fun in that?

The Local asked the folks over at the association “Les plus beaux Villages de Suisse” (The most beautiful Villages in Switzerland) to come up with a list they consider to be the crème de la crème of Switzerland’s hidden treasures. 

Without further ado, here are their picks. How many have you been to?

Valangin (NE)

Valangin is a medieval village with just 500 inhabitants. It’s position where the road narrows between Neuchâtel and La Chaux-de-Fonds is a key ingredient of its rich history.

Enjoy its picturesque setting and its relaxed atmosphere surrounded by nature and dominated by its castle which houses a very interesting museum.

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Must see: A visit to the local castle, a medieval tower surrounded by ramparts

Tschlin (GR)

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Tschlin, in the lower Engadine, is a pretty village located on a sunny terrace from where the view sweeps over the Italian, Austrian and Swiss Alps.

The old town is full of Engadin-style houses, narrow streets and flower-covered squares. In summer, when it’s hot, the local inhabitants cool off in the public fountains scattered throughout the village.

Must see: The magnificent late-gothic church of St. John the Baptist

Cabbio – Muggio (TI)

In the green Muggio Valley, in Canton Ticino, there are two authentic small villages marked by a common history: Cabbio and Muggio. In the first village there are magnificent and unique public fountains.

In Muggio, on the other hand, the houses built in local stone are reminiscent of distant times and the view of the terraces opposite is evocative of faraway exotic villages. 

Must see: The Bruzella mill, still in operation, where one of the best polenta flour in Switzerland is produced.

Luthern (LU)

Not far from the chaotic Lucerne there is a quiet, little-known valley: the Luthertal. The main centre of this valley is the village of Luthern: a compact agglomeration of beautiful Lucerne houses and wooden farms scattered across the meadows.

As you walk through the streets of the village, the bellowing of the cows will keep you company and you will feel as if you are meeting Heidi at any moment.

Must see: The view of the village from the many surrounding paths. Not to be missed is the hike on the Napf.

Simplon Dorf (VS)

The Simplon Pass is one of the main passes connecting the Canton of Valais in Switzerland to Northern Italy. Few, however, are aware that a magnificent village is hidden nearby: Simplon Dorf.

This village echoes the Italian style in its architecture and its main square. This village is home to one of the oldest bakeries in Switzerland.

Must see: In the surroundings of the village are scattered ancient chapels which are worth a visit.

Eglisau (ZH)

Nestled along the Rhine River, just 20 minutes from Zurich, Eglisau is a quiet and charming village. Behind the row of magnificent houses rise several hills where vines are carefully cultivated by local families.

The wine produced here will impress even the most refined palates for its exquisiteness!

Must see: The Untergass is the main street of the village where there are the most beautiful corners of the village.

Lichtensteig (SG)


In the canton of St. Gallen, 600 metres above sea level, stands the semi-circle village of Lichtensteig founded around 1200 by the Counts of Toggenburg on a rock spur. In the alleyways, over a dozen shops, restaurants and cafés invite you to stroll and snoop around.

During events such as jazz days or the Christmas market, the old town does not become a backdrop, but remains a central part of the events.

Must see: The historical centre of the village with the church of St. Gallen.

Grandvillard (FR)

Grandvillard in Canton Fribourg has its origins as far back as Roman times and has preserved the traces of a strong past activity: granaries, mills, beaters, tanneries.

Just 10 minutes away from the much more famous Gruyères, this village has kept its authenticity intact. The main local product is the delicious cheese, considered by many to be one of the finest and tastiest.

Must see: At the edge of the forest, the house of Pierre de la Tinaz, cheese and banneret trader, still breathes the soul of this village.

Romainmôtier (VD)

Along the historic via Francigena, which connected Rome to Canterbury, we find one of the oldest abbeys in Switzerland that will leave you speechless.

The village is one of the hidden pearls of Canton Vaud. In addition to the magnificent abbey, it is also worth stopping to admire the other beauties such as Lieutenant Ballival’s house or the clock tower.

Must see: Of course the abbey, both outside and inside where frescoes from the 14th century are preserved.

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Triesenberg (FL)

What’s a non-swiss village doing on this list? Triesenberg is in fact located in the Principality of Liechtenstein, a small independent state but with strong connection to Switzerland, having in common not only the language but also the currency, traditions and much more.

That’s why in 2019 it joined the swiss association of most beautiful villages. Triesenberg was founded by the Walser community on a panoramic terrace overlooking the Rhine valley.

Must see: The municipality has several beautiful hamlets: Masescha with its three-storey church, Steg with an idyllic alpine lake and Malbun with its state-of-the-art skiing facilities.

All of these villages and many more feature in the Les plus beaux Villages de Suisse free app available in english for iOS and Android. 

All photos courtesy of Les plus beaux Villages de Suisse  .

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Five European cities you can reach from Switzerland in less than five hours by train

Summer holidays are around the corner and if you plan to remain in Europe and visit nearby destinations, train travel from Switzerland is a convenient way to get around. This is where you can travel in just a few hours.

Five European cities you can reach from Switzerland in less than five hours by train

Given the number of flights that are being cancelled or re-scheduled, the general chaos reigning at European airports, and the ever-increasing cost of air travel, you might be tempted to stay closer to home, while still experiencing different cultures, foods, and general ambience.

READ MORE: Which flights have SWISS airlines cut ahead of summer season?

READ MORE: Airport chaos in Europe: What are your rights if flights are delayed or cancelled?

Train travel may be just the ticket.

Switzerland has efficient and mostly punctual trains that can, either alone or in partnership with foreign railway networks, transport you pretty much everywhere in Europe.

Unlike air travel (and quite aside from the hassle of getting to and from airports which are often distant from city centres), trains allow passengers to sight-see, as many parts of Europe are quite scenic.

And if you don’t want to venture too far, you can choose destinations in neighbouring countries that can be reached in under five hours.

These are some of them:

From Lausanne / Geneva to Paris

There are very few people in the Geneva / Vaud region who have not taken, at least once in their lifetimes, the high-speed TGV train that whizzes passengers from Lausanne or Geneva straight to Gare de Lyon in the centre of Paris in just over three hours.

Such a short travel time means that you can go to Paris for just weekend, or, if you don’t even have this time to spare, you can take the 6:29 am train from Geneva, arrive in Paris at 9:42, am, and head back at 20:18, arriving at 23:45.

It’s cutting it close but it’s doable.

You can see this in a day. Image by Nuno Lopes from Pixabay

From Zurich to Munich

The capital of Bavaria can be reached from Zurich’s main station on a direct train in just 3 hours 30 minutes which, just as is the case with Paris, allows for short stays.

And if you leave from St. Gallen, your travel time to Munich will be mere 2 hours and 30 minutes, about an hour less that travelling from the northeastern Swiss city to Geneva.

Bird’s eye view of Munich. Photo: Pixabay

From Lausanne / Zurich to Milan

Depending on the train you take, you can get from Lausanne to Italy’s fashion capital in just over three or just under four hours.

From Zurich, the travel time takes just over three hours as well.

Before 2016, when the Gotthard Base Tunnel was opened to rail traffic, a trip from Zurich to Milan took an hour longer.

Milan Cathedral. Image by 昕 沈 from Pixabay 

From Basel to Innsbruck

Sure, there are plenty of mountain destinations in Switzerland, but the Austrian city of Innsbruck is pretty as well and worth a visit, especially as the train ride takes just four hours and 41 minutes.

Whether you are still in Switzerland or have already crossed the border, you will see spectacular views, although the question of whether Austrian Alpine scenery differs much from the Swiss is debatable.

Innsbruck in Tyrol. Image by Lichtenfels from Pixabay 

From Lugano to Venice

The advantage of boarding a train in Lugano is that Ticino borders Italy, so several Italian cities are easy to reach from there (Milano, for instance, is just over an hour away).

A trip to Venice takes about 4 hours and 30 minutes, so it is certainly a reasonable trip to make to one of Europe’s most beautiful cities.

To get to the water you mist first take a train. Photo: PIxabay

This is what else you should know if you want to travel to these five cities (or other European destinations) by train:


Fares depend on several factors, such as time of the day and day of the week when you travel. While a rock-bottom cheap fare may be available on one day in the morning, it won’t necessarily be offered the next day (or week) in the afternoon, or vice-versa.


If you have a general or half-fare travel card, they will be valid only on Swiss territory. This means that in case of Geneva it can’t be used at all, and only for a very limited distance (about 20 km) in case of Lugano.

It will however, lower your ticket price somewhat if you are departing from other cities.

You can find more pricing information (including discounts) and timetables on the website of Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) .

If you are interested in travelling farther afield, including with night trains, these articles provide more information:

Travel: What are the best night train routes to and from Switzerland?

OPINION: Trains are in fashion so why is rail travel across Europe still so difficult?