Switzerland is one of Europe’s most popular travel destinations, and for good reason; the country boasts amazing scenery, magnificent ski resorts, and a rich and well-preserved history.
Before you buy your plane ticket, make sure you have your itinerary packed with some of Switzerland’s must-see destinations.
The Matterhorn: Switzerland’s Iconic Mountain
No vacation in Switzerland would be complete without a visit to the Matterhorn, the country’s most famous mountain (and one of the most famous in the world). You might recognize it from the package of the Toblerone chocolate bar. The mountain is unique in that its four faces are pointed in each of the four cardinal directions. Although it’s not the highest peak in the country, its steep and triangular shape make it an exciting challenge for mountain climbers and also a favorite subject of amateur and professional photographers alike.
Zermatt: A Haven for Hikers and Skiers
Right at the foot of Matterhorn is the quaint and picturesque town of Zermatt. This charming car-free town attracts troves of tourists every year, both to enjoy its rich history and to take advantage of the region’s plentiful ski options. Skiing is open year-round in this area, not only in the winter, so if skiing is your go-to sport you’ll have plenty to do.
The forested area on its perimeter make for some breathtaking scenery as well, where hiking is popular. Cycling is another fun pastime in this friendly town and is the best way to get around and explore the plethora of food options. While you’re here, you’ll also want to hop on the cog railway, which offers spectacular views of the mountain.
The Glacier Express: A Mesmerizing Ride Through the Alps
The Glacier Express is one of Switzerland’s top destinations, but it’s more than just a train ride; this 8-hour journey takes you over more than 200 bridges and through the Swiss Alps for a truly breathtaking, panoramic experience. A favorite moment on the ride is the spectacular views above Landwasser River. The ride goes all the way from Zermatt to St. Moritz and is an unforgettable trip for any world traveler. The train is built for a pleasant ride too; expect spacious dining cars, large windows and comfy seating.
GoldenPass: Take a Ride on the Chocolate Train
Another popular train ride is the GoldenPass. As with the Glacier Express, this is no ordinary train ride. The epic journey allows you to travel through three different regions, and there are 7 train lines depending on what you’re interested in seeing. The chocolate train is one of the most popular; you travel to Switzerland’s famous chocolate and cheese destinations and learn about how these delectable foods are made.
It’s no surprise that Switzerland is a paradise for chocolate connoisseurs. After all, milk chocolate was invented in the country in 1875. Since then Switzerland has created some of the best tasting chocolate anywhere in Europe (and the world).
Bern: Switzerland’s Historic Capital
Of course, close to the top of the list for must-see Swiss destinations is the country’s beautiful capital, Bern. This famous city is a great stop for those who love to shop. It boasts 4 miles of sheltered shopping arcades, so you can find the best Swiss goods and sweets even if the weather is bad outside. The city is rich with history, and you’ll be delighted by the amazing traditional and medieval architecture. Some call Bern the “City of Fountains”; the city has over 100 beautiful fountains, with the oldest built in the 16th century.
Lucerne: A Swiss Shopping Experience
Aside from the capital, Lucerne is another one of Switzerland’s most visited cities. Lucerne boasts one of Europe’s oldest bridges, Chapel Bridge. Take a stroll on this pretty wooden bridge and enjoy the pleasant view. If you’re looking for a souvenir to bring back home, Lucerne has plenty of amazing shops where you can find the perfect gift. If you’re a watch enthusiast, this is the city to be. Aside from chocolate, Switzerland is known for its expert craftsmanship when it comes to watches, so if you were planning on investing in a new watch, this would be the place to do it!
Appenzell: Home to Folklore and Crafts
The charming town of Appenzell is a common tourist stop for those traveling through Switzerland. Since the town lacks connections to major roadways, it has a truly local and comforting atmosphere, and is a delight for those who just want to escape the activity and noise of daily urban life. The economy of this little oasis focuses on local crafts, so it’s a great stop for those looking for one-of-a-kind Swiss gifts. The buildings are colorful as well and the entire town has an almost fairytale quality to it. Also, it doesn’t hurt that they make some very appetizing cheese!
Swiss National Park: The Natural Beauty of Switzerland
If you’re a nature lover, a stop at the Swiss National Park should be an important part of your itinerary. The only national park in the country is home to chamois, ibex and other animals, and in the springtime this stunning wildlife sanctuary has a beautiful display of flowers. Since the park is pristinely preserved as part of Switzerland’s natural heritage, there’s only a single road for visitors, and trips into the park are limited. If untouched meadows and forest are your thing, make sure to pay this park a visit.
If you’re ready to plan your trip to Switzerland after reading about all the amazing activities and sights, remember that Switzerland isn’t part of the European Union, so the Swiss currency is Swiss Francs, not the Euro. Travel between Switzerland and other countries in Europe is still easy, so you’ll have no problem coordinating your Swiss travels with your other European destinations. If you do decide to go to Switzerland, don’t forget to bring back some delicious chocolate for your friends and family!
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