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Six tourist attractions in Switzerland you have to visit

Shannon Chaffers
Shannon Chaffers • 27 Mar, 2023 Updated Mon 27 Mar 2023 16:06 CEST
Six tourist attractions in Switzerland you have to visit
Château de Chillon, Veytaux, Switzerland. Photo by Bo Zhang on Unsplash

Switzerland is a small country, but its diverse geography and fascinating history means it has a lot to offer. Among the various cities, mountains, and lakes that span the country, The Local has identified six places you should check out.


The Matterhorn: 

Of course, Switzerland is most famous for the Alpine mountains that dominate much of the country’s landscape. You can’t go wrong in visiting any of these mountains, but why not go for the most iconic, the Matterhorn? At nearly 5,000 meters, its sharp peak is one of highest in the Alps, and the way it juts up to the sky makes for an unforgettable view. 

At its foot is the village of Zermatt, a picturesque town near the southeastern border where horse drawn carriages take the place of cars. Using Zermatt as your base, you can explore the various smaller slopes in the area, which offer many hiking, skiing, and toboggan trails. The Glacier Palace, located within the glacier that lies between the Klein Matterhorn and the Breithorn, is particularly intriguing. Accessed via the highest cable car in Europe, here you can make your way through ice tunnels lined with a variety of fascinating ice sculptures.


You can even supplement your stay in Zermatt with a visit to the Matterhorn Museum, which details the history of the region.

READ ALSO: Why is Switzerland's famous Matterhorn mountain disappearing from Toblerone bars

Zermatt-Matterhorn slopes. Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP)

Historical Museum of Bern: 

Speaking of museums, if you find yourself in the Swiss capital, be sure to check out the Historical Museum of Bern, which also includes an Einstein exhibit. Displays dating from the Stone Age to the 20th century coexist with the papers and personal objects of famed physicist Albert Einstein, who developed his theory of relativity in Bern. You can check out a 15th-century Flemish tapestry in one part of the museum, and watch an animated film on Einstein’s most important theories in another. 

Chateau de Chillon

If you are spending time in the cities of Lausanne or Geneva in Switzerland’s southwest, be sure to add a day trip to Chateau de Chillon to your itinerary. Located on the eastern shore of Lake Geneva, this medieval castle, which inspired writers such as Jean Jaques Rousseau and Victor Hugo, is more than just a stunning architectural landmark.

Inside the complex, you can explore rooms housed within the 25 buildings assembled around 3 courtyards. The three great halls offer stunning views of Lake Geneva, while the well-preserved Camera Domini (Lord’s Bedroom) features 14th century wall murals. In addition, you can venture into the subterranean vaults that formerly served as a weapons hold and a dungeon. 

READ ALSO: Seven events not to miss in Switzerland in April 

Monte San Salvatore: 

On the opposite end of the country sits another picturesque lake: Lake Lugano. Located in the Italian speaking region of Ticino, there’s no better way to take in its beauty than by heading to the top of Monte San Salvatore, the mountain that rises above it.  

Lugano - Monte San Salvatore, Carona, Switzerland. Photo: Julia Goralski on Unsplash

At 912 meters high, you can hike to the summit in about two hours, or you could opt for the funicular ride to the top. Once there, you’ll have amazing 360 degree views of the lake, which you can enjoy at the Restaurant Vetta, known for its Italian dishes and Ticenes specialties. After you’ve taken in the view, one of the hiking trails or the funicular will take you back down.


The Rhine Falls: 

Moving to the northeast but sticking with the water theme, you won’t want to miss the Rhine Falls at Schaffhausen.  

By taking a short train from Zürich, you can experience this stunning 150 meter wide, 23 meter high waterfall formed during the last Ice Age 17,000 years ago. The best time to visit is early summer, when the mountain snow has melted and the water volume is at its highest. You can see the falls from viewing platforms on both sides of the Rhine River, or via a boat trip up the river itself.  

Rhine Falls, Laufen-Uhwiesen, Switzerland.

Rhine Falls, Laufen-Uhwiesen, Switzerland. Photo by Hasmik Ghazaryan Olson on Unsplash


Weidling tour in Basel: 

A more traditional way to travel up the Rhine River awaits in Basel, which lies on the convergence of the Swiss, French, and German borders. Although Basel’s many museums and art collections have earned it recognition as the cultural capital of Switzerland, its status as a key trading centre along the Rhine is what initially put it on the map. 

And to navigate this important trade route from Venice to the North Sea, merchants in the middle ages used weidlings, narrow and flat wooden boats that first emerged in the fifteenth century. With a tour, you can put yourself in their shoes, and even have a chance to try out the special upriver paddling technique called spiking. 


So, now you know some of the places you have to see when spending time in Switzerland. All that’s left to figure out now is: where to start? It may be a tough question, but with these options, you definitely can’t go wrong.

READ ALSO: Five beautiful Swiss villages less than an hour from Basel


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