BEST CITIES IN SWITZERLAND TO VISIT

TOP SWISS CITIES – WHERE TO GO AND WHAT TO SEE

The stunning Alps and the gorgeous mountain views, the incredible lakes, the fun outdoor activities like winter sports and hiking, its medieval towns and villages – there are many reasons to visit Switzerland. But Switzerland is also home to beautiful, lively cities that should be on your Switzerland bucket list

Switzerland has become my favorite country for all the reasons mentioned above –  I have spent so much time in this quite small country and yet I never tire of its beauty, and I never miss spending some time in the cities.

BEST CITIES IN SWITZERLAND TO VISIT

And today, I am sharing my favorite Swiss cities with you. So, buckle up, here are the best cities in Switzerland to add to your Switzerland itinerary

ZUG 

Zug is one of the prettiest cities in SwitzerlandThese days, Zug is actually well known as tax heaveneven by Swiss standards taxes are low and so it is home to many income-rich people. However, Zug is worth a visit even if you just want to do some sightseeingLocated on the shores of stunning Lake Zug, between Lucerne and Zurich, it is one of the places that often get neglected though it has a beautiful old town and more to offer to its visitors

Colorful buildings along Lake Zug promenade
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Zug was founded in the early 13th century by the counts of Kyburgsome attractions date back to that time, like the 52-meterhigh Zytturm. In the old town are some beautiful sightslike the form of the late gothic town hall built in the early 16th century or the St. Oswald´s church from the same period. And if you want to take a break, just head to the lakeside and enjoy some quiet time in one of the parks or take a walk along the shores.

BELLINZONA

In the Italianspeaking part of Switzerland, you will find Bellinzonathe southernmost capital of Switzerland. It has had and still has a strategic position at the crossroads of the alpine routes connecting the North to the South and that is why, around the year 400, an important defensive project was built

View,At,The,Castello,Di,Montebello,,Bellinzona,,Switzerland
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These fortifications, comprising three of the bestpreserved medieval castles in Switzerland, are now listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. They are located around the town of Bellinzona, which makes Bellinzona well worth a visit. Castelgrande, Bellinzonas oldest and mightiest castle right, offers beautiful views over the Old Town and the surrounding area. In the museum, you will find information on the history of Bellinzonas castles and the town center

FRIBOURG 

Fribourg, the capital of the canton Fribourg, is one of the cities to see in SwitzerlandIt is known for its cultural plurality linking the Frenchspeaking part of the country to the Germanspeaking part.

Fribourg in Switzerland best city
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Fribourg is recognized as one of the largest ensembles of medieval architecture in Europewhich you can find in the old city above the Sarine River. In the Gothic Fribourg Cathedral with art nouveau stained glassyou´ll also find the Espace Jean Tinguely–Niki de Saint Phalle that displays the namesake 20thcentury artistssculpture and in the Renaissance palace, you see some more medieval art in the Musée dArt et dHistoire.

With a limited time in Switzerland, I would not call it a mustsee city in Switzerland but if you are in the country for longer, it is well worth a visit.

SCHAFFHAUSEN 

Schaffhausen is a canton and its capital isSchaffhausen. Close to Zurich, it is another small city located north of the countryand it is mostly known for the Rhine Falls (Europe´s biggest waterfall) but it also attracts many tourists because of the medieval town center. It was mentioned in writing for the first time in the 11th century, and today Schaffhausen is one of the bestpreserved cities/towns dating back to the Middle Ages and one of the most charming towns in Switzerland. 

Schaffhausen attractions church
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Yes, Schaffhausen is a city and yet I also mentioned them in my list of thetop Swiss townsas it has a town atmosphere. It has one of the most colorful old towns in Switzerlandwith many beautiful, ancient buildings spread all over the city center. Especially the facades are really stunning! Schaffhausen is also known as the city of oriel bay windows, so keep your eyes on the impressive facades. Small vineyard fields right in the heart of Schaffhausen make it even more special.

So, whenever you visit the Rhine Falls, also make sure to add this medieval city to your list. 

NYON 

Nyon is a smaller city located on the northeastern shores of Lake Geneva between Geneva and Lausanne. The most famous sight might be the castleChâteau de Nyonwhich is located in the town center, with gorgeous views of Lake Geneva. The Romanesque fortress had been built in the 12th century and was transformed in the 16th centurynow it houses a famous exhibition of porcelain made in Nyon and traces over 2000 years of history in the region.

places to go in Switzerland
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Nyon is also home to the Lake Geneva museumbut also make sure to stroll the small cute old town before heading out and doing some fun outdoor activitieslike hotairballooningnearby.LuganoLugano in the southern part of Switzerland is pretty, lively, and funand the perfect getaway for a weekend or longer. Whether you are an outdoors lover, an art enthusiast, or just enjoy city life – Lugano has something for everyone.

Lugano in April is a must-see
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It is the biggest city in the canton of Ticino (with about 67,000 inhabitants) and Switzerland’s thirdlargest financial center. Its location with its mild climate in the winter months makes it extremely popular as a winter city getaway as well. Besides its colorful town center, you also have pretty Lake Lugano which is dotted with gorgeous villages along its shores, like Morcote

To escape the hustle, get on top of Monte Bre or San Salvatore either by funicular or hike and enjoy some fantastic panoramas from thereLugano has so many reasons to visit, that you would miss out if you do not put it on your Swiss Bucket List

SION

Sion might be lesser known outside the country, but it is well worth a visitIt is the economic center of the canton of Valais, with Switzerland’s largest bus stationthis makes getting to Sion quite easy to virtually every town in the canton.

Place Maurice Zermatten is one of the best things to do in Sion
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From afar you can see the two hilltop fortificationsmaking Sion even more recognizable. These sights are open to the publicand free to visitand you have also some fantastic views of the Sion and the surroundings from there. These and the beautiful old town, the proximity to some stunning lakeslike Lac Soutterain or Domaines des Ilesand the vineyards make Sion one of the best cities to visit in Switzerland.

THUN 

Thun is a smaller cityyet, full of attractions and sights. Amongst others, the stunning Thun Castle, from the 1100s, stands on a hill above the old town and also offers great views.

Surfing in Thun Arzo Travels
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Another castle is on the shores of stunning Lake Thun, Schloss Schadau which is located in Schadau Park. There is another main sightThun Panorama is a 19thcentury, 360-degree painting of the town with a length of 38 metersThe old town is splendidthe market square is home to several ancient buildings making Thun a perfect scenery for any Disney movieFrom Thun, you can do a boat cruise on Lake Thun to the famous destination of Interlaken

LAUSANNE

Lausanne is located on the northern shores of Lake Geneva and is home to the International Olympic Committee headquarters, as well as the Olympic Museum and lakeshore Olympic Park

Town Hall in Lausanne a must see in 1 day
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The hilly old city has medieval, shoplined streetsmaking it one of the prettiest and most unique old towns in the country. The 12thcentury Gothic cathedral with an ornate facade looks beautiful from the inside as well as from the outsideand if you want to enjoy gorgeous views from the top, head to the Cathedral towerOther gorgeous sights in Lausanne include, amongst others, the 19thcentury Palais de Rumine, which houses fine art and science museums, walking along the shores of Lake Geneva, or enjoying a boat cruiseGiven its location, Lausanne is also the perfect starting point for gorgeous, gorgeous walks/hikes in the Lauvaux vineyards

LUCERNE 

One of the most popular Swiss destinations is Lucerneoften referred to as the most beautiful city in Switzerland. It is mostly known for its preserved medieval architecture and its colorful Altstadt (Old Town) with unique buildings and their facades and historic fountains. You´ll also have the 870-meterlong Museggmauer (Musegg Wall), a 14-century rampart, which you can walk for some parts.

View from Mussegg Walls in Lucerne with Arzo Travels-3
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The most famous sight, however, is the wooden bridgethe Kapellbrücke (Chapel Bridge), which was built in 1333. From there, you also have a beautiful panorama including the Reuss River, Lake Lucerne (Vierwaldstättersee in German) medieval buildings, and the mountainsIts location also makes it one of the best places to stay in Switzerland as you can do some of the best day trips from Lucerne, this includes visiting Mount Rigi, Mount Pilatus, or Mount Titlis.

ZURICH 

No list of the top Swiss cities would be complete without mentioning Zurich. In the financial capital of Switzerland, you will find the perfect mix of cultural sights and outdoor activities. It is one of the most expensive cities in the worldand shopping, especially in the very expensive Bahnhofstrasse, is a popular thing to do. Some other mustdo attractions include the Museum of Art, the Lindt Museum, and the old town

Old town in Zurich in winter, Switzerland
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Lindenhof is an easily accessible hill in the old town offering beautiful views of the Limmat River and some famous landmarks of Zurich like the Grossmünster Church. Lake Zurich is one of the numerous beautiful lakes in Switzerland where you can do some water sports activities or relax. If you want to include some sightseeing while taking it easy, you can do a boat cruise on Lake Zurich. And to escape the bustle and hustle, get up to Uetliberg, the local mountain of Zurich from where you have a beautiful panorama of the city and Lake Zurich.

GENEVA

Geneva is another popular destination in Switzerland which lies at the southern tip of Lake Geneva (also known as Lac Léman). Its excellent location, surrounded by the Alps and Jura mountains, offers some beautiful views of the stunning and wellknown Mont Blanc.

Geneva view of the lake for your one day itinerary
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Lake Geneva, one of the largest lakes in Central Europe, adds to the beauty of the city. The Jet d’Eau, a 140-metertall fountain on Lake Geneva that dates back to the 19th century is one of the most iconic sights in Switzerland. Geneva is a diplomatic hub with many luxury shops, especially focusing on luxury watches.  The historical Old Town is worth a visit, yet not as charming as other old towns in Switzerland. The Geneva Saint Peter’s Cathedral and the Chapel of the Maccabees, Bastion Park, the Reformation Wall, the Museum of Art and History, and Tavel House are some more attractions in Geneva.

BERN 

The Swiss capital of Bern is a picturesque city filled with Medieval structures, cobblestone streets, limestone arcades, and lush greenery. With its eclectic mix of culture, history, nature, and breathtaking scenery.

Bern in spring where to go in Switzerland
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The old town is a mustsee and includes the Berner Münster (Cathedral of Bern) with its magnificent Gothicstyle building. But also attractions like the Bear Park, the Rose Garden, and the Aare River add more beauty to this Swiss city.Bern is definitely one of the best places to visit in Switzerland. I would actually even say, it is the most beautiful city in Switzerland. Not only is the old town a UNESCO World Heritage, but Bern is also a great base for day trips because it is near some of Switzerland’s most iconic and stunning destinationsthe Bernese Oberland, which includes areas like Interlaken and Jungfrau.

BASEL

In the very northwest of Switzerland, just at the German and France border, you will find Basel. It is considered the art capital of Switzerland, with plenty of art museumsthe most famous and popular are probably the Kunstmuseum and Foundation Beyeler. Art Baselan annual international art fair staged in Baselis known all over the world, and yet there is more than art and museums to see.

Basel most beautiful places in Basel
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Basel is located on the Rhine Riverthe river bank is a popular place to chill and spend time in the summer days. Locals also go ahead andfloatin the river. The beautiful old town (Altstadt) is a great place to explorebesides old buildings, you will also find the medieval Basel Minister. You can tour the inside of this cathedral and marvel at the interesting architectureFor the best views of the city, head to the tower and enjoy Bern from a different perspective

The town hall is one of a kindeven though I have seen many medieval town halls the one in Basel – with its red color – is one of the most unique ones. And if you visit Basel in December, make sure to visit the Christmas Markets which are some of the most beautiful in all of Europe.

CHUR 

Chur, located northeast of the country, is the oldest city in Switzerland and dates back 5,000 years. While the old town is not that old, you will find several historical buildings there, including the clock tower, the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption, and Saint Martin’s Church.

Chur town center
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It is a rather small city, so strolling the old town will not take long. Thus, you can also visit the Rätisches Museum, which includes archaeological, cultural, and folk art objects from all over Graubünden (Grison) from prehistoric times, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and Baroque periods through to the 19th and early 20th centuries. Chur also makes a great base for day trips, e.g. to the Rhine Gorge. In addition, Chur is also the starting point of the Bernina Express, one of the most scenic train rides in the world! So, while the city is not in my top 10, its location makes me add Chur to the list of the top Swiss cities

ST. GALLEN

St.Gallen is a city south of Lake Constance (Bodensee), in northeastern Switzerland.It is not the most famous tourist destination, yet it is worth a visit. St. Gallen is mostly known for the stunning Abbey of St. Gall, a monastery housing “one of the most beautiful libraries in the world.“ But the convent includes several other highlights: Its cathedral and monastery archives were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1983.

St.Gallen abbey library
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In the old town, you will also find several gorgeous oriel bay windowsActually, St. Gallen is second only to Schaffhausen in terms of oriel bay windows. Thus, keep looking up and admiring these unique houses and windows. Home to several museums, it is also mostly known as a lively city that is especially popular amongst the younger generation. Given the tremendous amount of stunning places in the country, I would not spend several days in St.Gallen, but I think, one day in St.Gallen is a good amount to see its pretty sights and attraction

MONTREUX

With Montreux, we have another gorgeous small destination on the shores of Lake Geneva that is a mustsee Swiss cityIt is nestled between steep hills and the largest Swiss lakeLake Geneva also known as Lac Leman. Its promenade is probably one of the most beautiful ones in the countrylined with flowers, sculptures, Mediterranean trees, and grand Belle Époque buildings.

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The medieval castle, Château de Chillon, with ramparts, formal halls, and a chapel with 14thcentury murals is one of the main sights along the shores as is the Freddie Mercury statue. The Queen singer spent several years in the city and recorded six albums here. Montreux is also worldwide known for the Montreux Jazz Festival – the second-largest Jazz festival in the world – which is held each year in July.  And if you want to spend time in the mountains,  Roche de Naye is a perfect mountain excursion that is easily accessible from Montreux via funicular

NEUCHATAL

 The city of Neuchâtel, the Frenchspeaking capital of the canton Neuchâtel, lies on the northern shore of Lake NeuchâtelIt is mostly known for its medieval old town and the two main sights of the city: the Château de Neuchâtel, and the Collegiate Church which were built in the Gothic style dating back to the 12th century.

Neuchatal one of best Swiss cities to go
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Lake Neuchatel is the second biggest lake in Switzerlandand perfect for hopping aboard the paddle steamer and enjoying a nice cruise. Outdoor lovers go on day trips to the Jura Mountains west of the city or see the Creux du Vaa – an amphitheater-like canyon.

BIEL

Nestled between two hills in the Jura Mountains and surrounded by some of the best Swiss lakes, Biel is perfect for breaking the monotony of everyday life. The little city charms visitors with rolling vineyards, breathtaking mountain views, and Swiss architecture. 

Biel one of most beautiful cities in Switzerland
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Alongside this charm, Biel is brimming with activities and things to do. Whether it’s exploring the cobblestone streets of Old Town, enjoying a splash in Lake Biel, or exploring the city’s artistic side, there’s something for everyone. Most of all, it might be renowned for its watchmaking exploits. While Rolex doe not has its own museum, most Rolex watches are actually produced here… Here in this small and pretty town of Biel. However, there are some other museums where it is all about watches like the Omega Museum, Neues Museum Biel, and Cimer Watch Academy.

So, Biel is a perfect destination with a mix of indoor- and outdoor activities.

SWITZERLAND – BEST CITIES TO SEE

Switzerland might be mostly known for its mountains, lakes, rivers,  chocolate, or watchesbut there are more than a handful of beautiful cities in Switzerland that are well worth a visit. Some are easily explored in one day,  for some others you might need days to see the main attractions. Above mentioned places are my favorite and thus my recommendations for the best cities to visit in Switzerland.

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