10 Hidden Gems in Switzerland – The Most Underrated Places
- 1 10 Hidden Gems in Switzerland – The Most Underrated Places
- 1.1 Lago di Saoseo in Graubünden
- 1.2 Sigriswil in Bernese Oberland
- 1.3 Flims in Graubünden
- 1.4 Gelmsersee in Bernese Oberland
- 1.5 Susten Pass in Bernese Oberland / Uri
- 1.6 Aarau in Aargau
- 1.7 Solothurn in Solothurn
- 1.8 Weggis in Lucerne
- 1.9 Appenzell in Appenzell Innerrhoden
- 1.10 Sassal Masone in Graubünden
- 1.11 Places not on the List
If you are interested in traveling, you probably know about Lucerne, Geneva, Zermatt, Zurich, and Interlaken. These are all places that are well-known, popular, and often crowded (understandably, as they are really beautiful).
It is no secret that Switzerland has some of the most amazing scenery in the world – the Matterhorn, Jungfraujoch, and other famous places are on the bucket lists of many.
But there are places that are equally stunning, but underrated, and these are the ones I want to introduce to you.
I saw places like the Blausee, Montreux, and even Oeschinensee on a list of hidden gems – and while I am sure that even travel addicts might not have heard of those places, I still think that they are too popular to be on this list.
I really tried to only name places that haven’t become Insta-famous (yet) or that aren’t named in hundreds of other publications. So, it was hard to focus on ten, but here they are – stunning places for your off-the-beaten-path Switzerland itinerary.
Here are my top 10 recommendations for not crowded, lesser known places in Switzerland that are worth visiting!
From lakes to mountain peaks, to villages and towns and mountain passes, here are some great places to visit in Switzerland that you probably haven’t heard of before.
The Most Unique Places in Switzerland That Are not Overrun by Tourists
Lago di Saoseo in Graubünden
Switzerland. So tiny, yet with so many stunning lakes. Of course, Lake Brienz and Lake Oeschinen are well-known for a reason, but this lake is actually mind-blowing and it is no exaggeration if you’ve read that it is the prettiest mountain lake in Switzerland.
The lake color is unique, as is the backdrop with larches and mountains – really, I couldn’t believe why I did not encounter way more people there.
Getting there isn’t as easy as getting to some other lakes and this can be the only explanation why it is still a hidden gem.
Whether you enjoy hiking or not, it is worth the effort. You will be rewarded with seeing one of the prettiest lakes in Europe (that isn’t totally overrun).
Click here for my detailed post on visiting Lake Saoseo.
Sigriswil in Bernese Oberland
This is another underrated attraction in the area of Interlaken, and as mentioned above, no attraction is really secret in Interlaken. Sigriswil, however, somehow is.
If you finished visiting the St. Beatus Caves (which should be on any Interlaken itinerary), head to Sigriswil on the north shores of stunning Lake Thun. You have beautiful views over the lake and the Alps. The best views are probably from the Sigriswil suspension bridge.
The bridge over the Gummi Gorge is more than 340 meters long and connects the villages of Aeschlen and Sigriswil. This is perfect for those who would like to hike from Oberhofen to Sigriswil.
The only downside: To pass the bridge, you actually have to pay around 8€ (some discounts are available with a Thun or Interlaken Guest Card). Good news: This ticket is also valid for the next hidden gem that I totally fell in love with in Sigriswil.
Grabenmühle: While I am still not sure how to classify this place, I know that hardly anyone knows about it. Not even locals. It is a beautiful place that sends you back in time (where you can also prospect for gold), and the pretty flower posts and the view of stunning Niesen Mountain make this one of my favorite underrated places in Switzerland.
Flims in Graubünden
Another hidden gem in Switzerland (and Graubünden) is Flims, which is home to several beautiful tourist attractions – including two lakes and a gorge.
While doing an easy downhill hike, you will stumble upon Lake Cauma first, and later you have a great view of the Rhine Gorge from the viewing platform II Spir Conn. Near the end of your hike, you will pass another beautiful mountain lake, Lake Cresta.
Bring your blanket and some snacks because you have plenty of options for where to rest along the way.
How can it be that this gorgeous place is still a hidden gem and mostly only visited by Swiss? I really don’t know.
Here is a detailed post about hiking and seeing these three places.
Gelmsersee in Bernese Oberland
Okay, the area around Interlaken is anything but a well-kept secret, but though this artificial lake is not a real gem, it somehow still is.
When you start your Gelmsersee hike via the Gelmserbahn (funicular), you might see crowds of Asian tourists and wonder how I added it to the list of “underrated places.”
BUT, being politically incorrect, “Asians don’t hike.” Whether you have Chinese, Indian, or Arabic tourists standing in line for the funicular that brings them to the lake, Asian visitors hardly hike. My Asian genes made me hesitant to hike for the longest time, too.
But once you get in the hiking mood, and pass the visitors at the funicular station, you have the lake almost all to yourself.
The hike isn’t easy, but it’s doable, and having such a stunning place for your own is worth the effort.
Want to see more places to see in Interlaken? Here are my favorite Interlaken activities.
Susten Pass in Bernese Oberland / Uri
If you are road tripping Switzerland, you will most likely pass some mountain passes. If not, then you should check your itinerary and make sure to add a few mountain passes to your list.
While I cannot name one particular pass as my very favorite, driving the Susten Pass is indeed an incredible experience. The 45 km-long pass connects Innertkirchen and Wassen, and has made it on the list because it isn’t a typical tourist attraction.
While it can be busier in the summer months (it is only open for a few months in summer), it is still a unique experience. Try to enjoy a break around sunset at Steinsee (a little artificial lake at Susten Pass). It is an incredible place to watch the sun go down.
Aarau in Aargau
Since I don’t live in Switzerland, I hadn’t really heard of it much – and probably you haven’t heard of it either.
However, this little town, and capital of the Aargau canton is a lovely place to visit – great for those who want to escape the crowds, but still want to have a Swiss experience (including some castles).
The town has some really impressive buildings with beautifully painted eaves (Dachhimmel). Aarau is surely not a place where you have to fight your way through tourist crowds. The town itself is small, but the buildings are perfect for architecture and art lovers. After strolling the old town, head to Alpenzeiger for a nice view.
The area is also home to some lovely castles, like Lenzburg and Wildegg Castle.
Solothurn in Solothurn
A beautiful town located on a beautiful river – Solothurn provides just that.
If you are looking for a lovely town that is centrally located (between Lucerne and Zurich) and that has old and beautiful baroque and renaissance buildings, plus a relaxed environment, then add Solothurn to your list.
Stroll the car-free old town and admire buildings like the St. Urs Cathedral, and count the churches, water fountains, and towers (okay, spoiler alert: there are eleven of each).
On a warm day, the best way to top it off is to get a drink (or ice cream, I suggest ice cream) and have it at the Aare River.
Weggis in Lucerne
Tourists love Lucerne and, yes, it is pretty. But did you know that the best place to swim in Lake Lucerne is actually in Weggis, at the shores of Rigi Mountain and Lake Lucerne?
Weggis is a luxury resort that can be reached via car, boat, or public transportation, and it is home to a luxurious hotel and a lido. But for the ultimate hidden experience, pass the lido and keep walking towards the end of Hertensteinstrasse and you will find a perfect spot to relax and swim. There are even toilets, benches and if the water level is high, it is actually very easy to get into the water :).
In all the years I have been there, it was never crowded or busy – not even in the summer months.
No entry fees, no tourists, just some locals and a great place to chill while looking at the Alps. Is there a better place to relax in Lucerne than here?
Appenzell in Appenzell Innerrhoden
If you plan to visit the world-famous mountain guest house, the Aescher, you should make sure to add this tiny town center to your itinerary, too – Appenzell. While it may have gotten busier recently, it is still not overrun with tourists.
The colorful and unique houses with their interesting architecture make great Instagram pictures – so seriously, this is great social media material (of course, I am a bit dramatic, but it is really lovely).
The German-speaking town of Appenzell is a great base from which to hop on a train and get to Wasserauen Station, where the hike to the Aescher starts. But before that, make sure to plan in an hour or two to stroll the streets, marvel at the colorful buildings, and have a drink or two.
Sassal Masone in Graubünden
This! This place is probably the most underrated place in all of Switzerland.
Though the view is probably one of the most unique ones in the country, looking at the Palü Glacier and Palü Lake, for example, it is somehow not known outside of Switzerland.
This is a perfect place for those who like easy hikes without compromising on the views.
To enjoy the view, you could get here by train (one of the most scenic train rides around, just saying), get out at the highest regular train station, and then do an easy one-hour hike. It is so secret that it hasn’t even been posted about that much on Instagram. So, how much more of a hidden gem could it be?
Read a detailed post on travel tips for Valposchiavo
Places not on the List
There are some places that haven’t made it on my list – of course, I don’t claim to have seen all of Switzerland (yet) – but some just weren’t unique or impressive enough.
Creux de Van hasn’t made it onto my list. While it is true that the place isn’t overrun, I openly admit that I wasn’t too impressed. Sure, if that place had been in my hometown Bremen I would have been blown away – but for Switzerland my standard is high. Don’t ask me why, but I still wanted to mention it here as I read several times that it is an absolutely perfect Swiss hidden gem.
I also did not add places like Stein am Rhein (even though it is the most beautiful town in Switzerland) just because I don’t think it is a real hidden gem – it seemed it is not as famous as it deserves but it still is known amongst Switzerland visitors…And neither is Blausee or Oeschinensee is a hidden gem because they are nowadays well known outside of Switzerland.
I hope this post has inspired you to visit less popular and lesser-known – but no less stunning – places in Switzerland.
Btw: As you might know, I am totally in love with the Bernese Oberland region – so here are my favorite day trips from Interlaken.