BEST HIDDEN GEMS IN SWITZERLAND – ARZO TRAVELS

Hidden Gems in Switzerland – Most Underrated Places to Visit

Do you want to explore some hidden gems in Switzerland? Discover places that are not well known? Then this post is for you. As a Switzerland addict who has gotten to see A LOT of the beautiful country, I am happy to share my favorite off-the-beaten places with you. 

Switzerland has some unbelievable places that are off the beaten path, and almost unheard of. These incredible treasures have just as much stunning beauty – think extreme alpine peaks and enchanted lakeside trails… You name it!

So why not discover new hidden gems in Switzerland – this magnificent country? Whether some secret gems in the Swiss Alps or some other beautiful places in lower altitudes? 

Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or just getting started with your trips, venture further than Lucerne, Geneva, Zermatt, and Interlaken to check out lesser-known spots. 

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. This means I might earn a small commission when you buy a product (at no extra cost to you) after clicking on my link. More about it here.

TOP HIDDEN GEMS IN SWITZERLAND FOR YOUR BUCKET LIST

Check out these 10 amazing, off-the-beaten-path locations in Switzerland. From scenic lakes and snow-capped peaks to adorable villages tucked away in valleys – get ready to explore some of Switzerland’s best-kept secrets!

Lago di Saoseo in Graubünden

If you want a hidden getaway with mountain panorama views, then look no further than Lago di Saoseo in the canton of Graubünden (Grisons).

It’s the little Swiss lake that packs an almighty punch. Just wait until you witness it for yourself and your jaw will drop right into its crystal-clear water. This picturesque slice of heaven is undoubtedly one of Switzerland’s best-kept secrets – so make sure to put this on the top spot in your Switzerland bucket list!

Lago di Saosea - underrated places in Switzerland
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Valposchiavo Lake Saoseo
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One of the best-kept secrets in Europe – a stunningly unique lake surrounded by lush larches, majestic mountains, and complete tranquility! It’s definitely worth putting in the extra effort to get there. You won’t regret taking some time out of your day for a visit; you’ll be rewarded with one of THE prettiest views around!

While it is pretty at any time of the year, fall is surely the best season to see this Swiss gem with the fall foliage in full swing.

Click here for my detailed post on visiting this Swiss gem of Lake Saoseo.

Sigriswil in Bernese Oberland

Interlaken may have a well-earned reputation as one of Switzerland’s top tourist destinations, but Sigriswil – a small village near Interlaken – is the hidden gem that you can bet not many have discovered!

Interlaken best activities
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Check out one of nature’s most awe-inspiring landscapes – featuring mountains, lakeside villages, Lake Thun, and of course – their lovely Sigriswil suspension bridge. For all adventurous travelers who would love nothing more than to get up close to Mother Nature; this is where memories are made!

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 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 fell in love with, Grabenmühle.

Grabenmühle best place to visit
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Grabenmühle: While I am still unsure 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 pots 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, home to several beautiful tourist attractions – including two lakes and a gorge.

Caumasee - lift down
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Rhine Gorge from above - Can you spot the train from there?
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How to get to Crestasee
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You can get to Flims as a day trip from Zurich or stay there for a day or longer. 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 people? I don’t know.

Here is a detailed post about Flims and the 3 gems.

Gelmersee 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.

Where to go in Switzerland
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Gelmsersee in Switzerland
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When you start your Gelmsersee hike via the Gelmerbahn (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.

This mountain trek encircling Lake Gelmer offers breathtaking vistas of the high-alpine landscape from various angles. As you walk alongside the lake, you’ll encounter tranquil streams and expansive rock slabs, ideal spots for a brief respite.

Maintaining steady footing and possessing a fearless disposition towards heights are prerequisites when standing on the precipitous cliff’s edge, peering down at the crystalline waters of the lake.

The hike isn’t easy, but it’s doable (classified as a T2 hike), and having such a stunning place for your own is worth the effort. For more info, check out my detailed post on Gelmersee.

Want to see more places to visit 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, you should check your itinerary and add a few mountain passes to your list.

Sustenpass in Siwtzerland-2
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Best underrated activities in Switzerland-2
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While I cannot name one particular pass as my very favorite, driving the Susten Pass is indeed an incredible experience and one of the hidden gems of Switzerland. 

The Susten Pass connects the Reuss Valley, nestled at the base of the Gotthard Mountain, to the Hasli Valley in the Bernese Oberland, bridging the gap between the village of Wassen in Canton Uri and Innertkirchen in Canton Bern. Remarkably, the Susten Pass road was inaugurated as late as 1945, making it the pioneering pass road intentionally constructed to accommodate vehicular traffic.

The architecturally stunning Susten Road primarily caters to tourism and consequently tends to be one of the last roads to undergo snow removal, typically remaining inaccessible from early November until June.

While it can be busier in the summer months, it is still a unique experience. Try to enjoy a break around sunset at Steinsee (a little artificial lake at Susten Pass) and the impressive glacier in the background. It is an incredible place to watch the sun go down – a Switzerland road trip without driving this gem would not be complete.

Aarau in Aargau

Since I don’t live in Switzerland, I hadn’t heard of it much – and probably you haven’t heard of it either. Have not heard of the town Aarau in the canton of Aargau.

Aarau insider thing to do in Switzerland-2
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Castles in Aargau
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Aarau serves as the capital of the Canton of Aargau. Nestled along the banks of the River Aare, both town and canton derive their name from this scenic waterway.

Aarau finds itself at the southern foothills of the Jura Mountains, positioned at the heart of the bustling urban triangle formed by Zurich, Basel, and Lucerne. This central location’s significance was recognized early in Switzerland’s history, leading to Aarau briefly assuming the role of the country’s first capital and hosting Switzerland’s inaugural Houses of Parliament in 1798.

The charming old town of Aarau boasts some of Switzerland’s most exquisite eaves, famously known as the “Dachhimmel.” Moreover, the Canton of Aargau is home to an abundance of castles, among which are some of Switzerland’s most impressive fortresses, such as Lenzburg Castle, Hallwyl Water Castle, and Habsburg Castle, which served as the primary residence for the renowned dynasty from the 10th century onwards.

It 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 of the prettiest Swiss castles).

Aarau is undoubtedly 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. .

Solothurn in Solothurn

A beautiful town located on a beautiful river – Solothurn provides just that.

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Views from cathedral tower in Solothurn, Switzerland, Arzo Travels
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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.

Solothurn is celebrated as Switzerland’s foremost Baroque town, blending Italian opulence, French charm, and German pragmatism. From the 16th to the 18th centuries, this Catholic enclave served as the residence of the French king’s ambassador. You’ll encounter exquisite Baroque and Renaissance structures, such as the elegant Palais Besenval, alongside splendid religious edifices at every corner—Solothurn’s Old Town boasts an impressive eleven churches and chapels, matched by an equal number of fountains and towers.

The St. Urs Cathedral stands as a true marvel, featuring an Italian-style staircase at its entrance and adorned with marvelous Baroque stuccos within. Solothurn’s town walls, still partially preserved, were designed following the principles of the French military engineer Vauban.

Amidst these historic treasures, the car-free Old Town offers a delightful environment for leisurely strolls, replete with quaint shops and welcoming inns. On balmy summer evenings, the garden restaurants and bars along the Aare River provide a particularly enjoyable setting.

Check out my one day itinerary for Solothurn.

READ MORE: Things to know before visiting Switzerland for the first time.

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 in Weggis, at the shores of Rigi Mountain and Lake Lucerne (Vierwaldstättersee in German) which makes it a great day trip from Lucerne?

Weggis_ hidden gem
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Weggis beckons with a serene atmosphere and an opportunity for relaxation amidst a stunning backdrop of lake and mountain vistas. The area on the southern slope of the Rigi is often referred to as the “Riviera” of central Switzerland, and it lives up to this title.

As history attests, Weggis has long been cherished by visitors, including the celebrated American author and travel writer Mark Twain, who, in 1897, proclaimed it the “loveliest place” he had ever encountered. Today, Weggis remains a hidden gem, preserving its charm and allure for those fortunate enough to discover it.

But for the ultimate hidden experience, pass the lido and keep walking toward the end of Hertensteinstrasse, and you will find a perfect spot to relax and swim. There are even toilets and benches and if the water level is high, it is 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 small town center to your itinerary, too – Appenzell. While it may have gotten busier recently, it is still not overrun with tourists.

Things to do in Appenzell Town
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Appenzell, the most colorful town in Switzerland
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This region is renowned for its rural customs and traditions, including the ceremonial autumnal descent of cattle, vibrant cultural festivities featuring folk music and traditional dances, and captivating hiking excursions in the Alpstein area.

Appenzell, the car-free village entices visitors with its charming alleyways and a plethora of quaint shops and boutiques, ideal for both shopping and leisurely exploration. The facades of its buildings are adorned with captivating frescoes.

Located within the town hall, the Appenzell Museum provides a comprehensive insight into the history and culture of Appenzell, offering a captivating cross-section of the region’s heritage.

The colorful and unique houses with their exciting architecture make great Instagram pictures. So seriously, this is great social media material (of course, I am a bit dramatic, but it is adorable).

The German-speaking town of Appenzell is an excellent base from which to hop on a train and get to Wasserauen Station, where the hike to the Aescher starts. Make sure to plan an hour or two to stroll the streets, marvel at the colorful buildings, and have a drink or two before you start your hike.

Sassal Masone in Graubünden

This! This place is probably the most underrated in all of Switzerland. Sasal Masone!

Sassal Mason stands proudly within the Bernina Range of the Alps at almost 3,000 meters above sea level, commanding views over Lago Bianco and the Bernina Pass in the canton of Graubünden (Grison). Located at the eastern extremity of the Bernina Range, this mountain occupies a strategic position between the Engadin and the Val Poschiavo regions.

Valposchiavo Palü Lake in heart shape
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Sassel Mason in Valposchiavo
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Though the view is probably one of the most unique ones in the country, looking at the Palü Glacier and Palü Lake, it is somehow unknown outside Switzerland.

This is one of the easiest accessible mountain peaks at this height and a perfect place for those who like easy hikes without compromising on amazing panoramic 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 MORE: How to spend seven days in Switzerland

Places not on the List

Some places 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. Please 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 a hidden gem because they are nowadays well-known outside of Switzerland. 

I hope this post has inspired you to visit less famous 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.

Safe Travels, Arzo
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