DISCOVER THE BEST SWISS LANDMARKS
Ready to explore one of the world’s most beautiful countries? Switzerland might be tiny, but don’t let its size fool you! It packs a punch when it comes to amazing destinations and attractions.
Adding all the stunning landmarks in Switzerland to your 5-day itinerary will be impossible – there are just too many. I have been traveling Switzerland for many months – it has taken me about 18 months to really say, I have seen “all” of Switzerland.
The country has a variety of iconic landmarks with centuries-old histories, providing visitors with an incredible experience. From the breathtaking Matterhorn to the picturesque cultural sights like the Chapel Bridge, Switzerland is filled with unforgettable landmarks that are sure to capture the imagination of any traveler.
Here is a look at some of the most iconic landmarks in Switzerland that you should not miss.
BEST LANDMARKS IN SWITZERLAND TO VISIT
Just a little disclaimer: I am a lake addict – I really do chase lakes and I am all about Swiss lakes. Some of my friends and family openly make fun of my addiction. So, naturally, I could add all lakes here, but I am able to restrain myself and add not all the beauties here.
If you are a lake addict as well and want to find out about those stunning, stunning lakes, check out my post with the top Swiss lakes. They’re the perfect spots to feed your addiction! Plus, don’t worry if you find razzing from friends and family… no one will judge here.
The Matterhorn is a huge mountain in the Alps (standing at 4.478 meters), straddling the border between Switzerland and Italy. It’s an iconic peak, famous for its near-perfectly symmetrical pyramid shape and its jagged ridges that sparkle with glaciers
The Matterhorn was first climbed in 1865 by Edward Whymper and his party, who faced terrible conditions and many dangers to reach the summit. If you’re feeling daring, you can follow in their footsteps and attempt your own climb – but make sure to bring an experienced guide!
Most of us regular people (I do consider myself a regular, too, so no insult) just admire it from afar though since it is hard to get up. The mighty Matterhorn can be seen from many places, but Zermatt is the place for the best views. Check out my guide on Matterhorn Mountain and/or my Zermatt guide for more info on the majestic mountain.
P.S.: Yes, it is also the mountain you see on Toblerone chocolate!
Jungfraujoch – also known as the Top of Europe – is a must-see if you’re looking for an unforgettable journey through the Swiss Alps. Perched atop Jungfrau Mountain at 11,300 feet, it’s Europe‘s highest railway station – and one of its most spectacular sights!
Here you’ll find stunning views of snow-capped mountains, glaciers, and valleys. There’s plenty to explore, including an Ice Palace, Observation Decks, the Alpine Sensation, and more. Also, you have some of the best views of the stunning Aletsch Glacier.
Whether you’re looking for adventure or just want to enjoy some fresh air, Jungfraujoch is sure to be an unforgettable experience!
This is one of the most family-friendly activities in Switzerland, though I should mention that the tickets up there are high. To find out more about this stunning Swiss sight, click here.
Located near the town of Schaffhausen, the Rhine Falls are one of Europe’s largest waterfalls. Spanning 150 meters in width and reaching heights of 23 meters, it impresses with its massive flow, especially in summer.
Formed during the last Ice Age, approximately 15,000 years ago, the falls are a natural wonder, attracting numerous visitors annually. Situated near the town of Schaffhausen, it’s easily accessible for tourists.
The Rhine Falls offers spectacular views from various platforms and boat trips, allowing you to experience the power of nature up close. It’s not just a natural attraction but also a symbol of the stunning Swiss landscape.
Located on the shores of Lake Geneva, Chillon Castle (Chateau de Chillon) is one of Switzerland’s most iconic landmarks. Perched on the shores of Lake Geneva in Switzerland, is an architectural jewel dating back to the 11th century.
This 12th-century fortress was once home to the Counts of Savoy and has been featured in several popular films and books, such as The Prisoner of Chillon by Lord Byron.
The castle, comprising 25 buildings and three courtyards, is remarkably well-preserved, offering a glimpse into medieval life. Its location provides breathtaking views of the surrounding Alps and lake, making it a popular tourist attraction and a testament to Switzerland’s rich historical heritage.
Its scenic location makes it a must-see if you are ever in/ near Montreux.
Old Town of Bern
Situated in the Swiss capital, the Old Town of Bern is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Yes, as it seems UNESCO could not decide on a single landmark, so they have declared the whole town center a World Heritage Site.
And let me tell you, this charming medieval quarter boasts plenty of historic sites and attractions, including the Zytglogge clock tower.
Founded in the 12th century, it features narrow cobblestone streets and historic sandstone buildings. Its unique features include six kilometers of arcades, offering sheltered shopping and walking experiences.
The 15th-century Gothic cathedral, Bern Münster, dominates the skyline. The Aare River encircles the town, enhancing its picturesque beauty. Bern’s Old Town is not just a tourist attraction but also a vibrant center of Swiss culture, history, and daily life.
To explore the old town of Bern you need at least a couple of hours. Better to stay a full day in Bern or longer, to enjoy this beauty!
Abbey Library of Saint Gall
Founded in 719 by the Irish monk Gallus, the Abbey Library of Saint Gall is one of the oldest and most important libraries in Europe. And most likely, the most beautiful one! It houses around 170,000 books and manuscripts, including some of the earliest known texts written in Switzerland.
There is one catch – you cannot take pictures of this stunning Swiss sight. To have a memory, the very clever marketing team displayed a big poster of the library which you – you guessed it – can take a photo of! Do not tell me, that the Swiss do not know how to market their attractions.
Constructed over the River Reuss in Lucerne in 1333, Chapel Bridge is one of Switzerland’s most famous landmarks. Originally built in the 14th century, it spans the Reuss River and is famous for its unique design and historical significance.
It is the oldest wooden covered bridge in Europe and features a range of impressive frescoes that depict scenes from Lucerne’s history.
Though it has – partly – burnt down a couple of times, it has been rebuilt and is now the jewel of Lucerne. With its convenient location, near the train station and Lake Lucerne, this bridge is one of the first Lucerne sights you will see in the city.
The Grossmünster is a Romanesque-style church located in the Old Town of Zurich. It was built in 1100 and is one of the four main churches in Zurich. Its two towers tower above the city, giving it a unique skyline.
The church features an impressive interior that includes stained glass windows and intricate carvings. It is also home to a wide variety of religious and cultural artifacts, including an interesting collection of sculptures.
The Grossmünster is a must-see when visiting Zurich, as it provides visitors with a unique glimpse into the city’s past and present. You can attend services or simply admire its stunning architecture from afar.
Schilthorn + Piz Gloria
The Schilthorn + Piz Gloria experience is truly unique. From the moment you step foot into the cable car station, the views of the surrounding mountains and valleys are breathtaking.
Once you reach Piz Gloria, you can take in more incredible views from Europe’s first revolving restaurant as it slowly rotates around giving you a 360-degree panorama of the Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau mountains.
You can also explore some of the movie sets from the iconic James Bond film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service while you’re there – including the museum and more! And since we are talking about Swiss marketing skills, you can even have a 007-burger (for me it was the vegetarian option).
Reichenbach Falls is a breathtaking natural wonder in the Bernese Oberland region. This majestic waterfall cascades dramatically for over 300 feet, creating a stunning sight to behold.
The falls were made famous by the Sherlock Holmes stories written by Arthur Conan Doyle, as it was where Sherlock Holmes and Professor Moriarty faced off in their epic battle.
Today, you can explore the area and even take a train ride to the top of the falls for stunning panoramic views. Whether you’re visiting for adventure or just sightseeing, Reichenbach Falls is an awe-inspiring famous Swiss landmark that’s sure to leave you in absolute wonder.
Check out more Swiss waterfalls here.
Mount Rigi, the “Queen of the Mountains” is a popular tourist destination located in Central Switzerland. It’s known for its spectacular views of the surrounding mountain peaks and picturesque landscape, making it an ideal spot for outdoor activities such as hiking, mountain biking, skiing, and sledding (in winter).
The Rigi Railway takes you to the summit and it is an impressive feat of engineering, and the area is also home to some of Europe’s best spa resorts. Its breathtaking views have made it a popular spot for travelers from all over the world. Whether you’re looking for an outdoor adventure or simply want to relax in nature, Mount Rigi is the place!
Mount Pilatus is one of Switzerland’s most popular landmarks and a must-see. Located just outside Lucerne, it towers over the lake on a picturesque backdrop with breathtaking views from the summit.
The mountain offers plenty of activities such as hiking trails, cable cars, restaurants, and even an alpine coaster ride! All of these activities make Mount Pilatus a great destination for adventurers, families, or anyone looking for a memorable experience in the heart of Switzerland.
With its stunning scenery, rich history, and thrilling activities, it’s no wonder that Mount Pilatus is one of the most popular landmarks in Switzerland.
This iconic landmark is located in Valle Versasca in the region of Ticino and spans across two separate valleys, creating a breathtaking view for visitors. Constructed out of stone, this bridge is thought to have been originally built in the 16th century and remains one of Switzerland’s most beautiful landmarks.
In summer, this place is filled with people who swim here, even though the water can be quite cold. And the very brave ones, even jump from the Lavertezzo Bridge into the crystal-clear cold water which makes it one of the best places to see in the region of Locarno.
Madonna del Sasso
The Madonna del Sasso in Orselina is an iconic landmark in Switzerland and one of the most beautiful sights around. Located atop a hill overlooking Lake Maggiore, it was built in honor of Our Lady of the Rock between 1658 and 1698 by Nicodemus Tessin the Elder.
The Neo-Classical building features a white marble statue of the Virgin Mary and a chapel with multiple frescoes depicting scenes from the life of Jesus. Visitors can also explore the many shrines and terraces located on the grounds, as well as enjoy incredible views across Lake Maggiore to the Swiss Alps in the distance.
The Madonna del Sasso is truly a historic landmark of Switzerland! In my Locarno guide, you´ll find more info on this beautiful Swiss sight!
Make sure to check out the opening hours before your arrival – while you could always look at it from afar, it is not open to visitors all day long.
The Landwasser Viaduct is one of the most unique – man-made landmarks in Switzerland and is renowned for its spectacular location. The viaduct is a six-arch railway bridge that crosses between two hills, creating an impressive sight as it spans across a deep valley.
Not only is it remarkable for its sheer size, but also for its aesthetic beauty and the various materials used in its construction.
The bridge is made up of a combination of limestone, sandstone, and brick masonry that creates an intricate pattern unique to this landmark. This marvel of engineering has become a symbol of Switzerland’s industrial heritage and continues to draw visitors from around the world with its breathtaking sights.
It serves as a reminder of the ingenuity and perseverance of its builders, who created something truly remarkable that stands to this day.
The largest glacier in Europe is made up of two connected glaciers that make up part of the Swiss Alps and cover a staggering 120 square kilometers in area. It has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site due to its importance as an integral part of Europe’s Alpine landscape and is an important landmark in Switzerland.
Unfortunately, its future is uncertain. This stunning ice formation has been shrinking due to climate change over the past 30 years. During that time, it has lost a whopping 13% of its total area – an incredibly alarming rate of loss. It’s believed this glacier is now at its smallest size since the 1500s, and if nothing changes soon it could be gone for good.
This is a stark reminder that climate change is real and is already having devastating consequences in the world. We must act now to protect Aletsch Glacier and other priceless natural landmarks in Switzerland and everywhere else.
The Bernina Glacier is an impressive glacier near the Italian border, where it forms an impressive vista with its jagged peaks and winding crevices. Part of the Bernina Range, this glacier is a source of fascination for both scientists and tourists.
The glacier is known for its unique blue-tinged ice that can be seen in the summer months and has become a popular landmark for visitors.
The glacier feeds into various rivers, contributing to the area’s ecosystem. As climate change impacts glaciers worldwide, the Bernina Glacier also faces challenges, with noticeable retreat over the years.
You can even see it from the comfort of a train – the world-famous Bernina Express passes the glacier, which makes one of the best window views.
Jet d’Eau Fountain
The Jet d’Eau Fountain in Geneva is one of the most remarkable Swiss landmarks. Located at the point where Lake Geneva empties into the Rhone River, this fountain jets out water 140 meters (460 feet) high and can be seen from miles away.
Originally a simple pressure release for a hydraulic power network in the 19th century, it has evolved into a stunning symbol of Geneva.
It’s been a symbol of Geneva since 1891 when it was first put in place – and it’s still going strong today. Plus, you can even get a selfie with the fountain if you’re brave enough to get close because you most likely will get wet!
It operates year-round, weather permitting, and is particularly captivating at night when illuminated. It’ll definitely be worth your time!
Broken Chair in Geneva is a sculpture that stands in the middle of the Place des Nations Square as a symbol of protest against landmines and cluster bombs. The chair has only one leg, to demonstrate the injury and suffering caused by these weapons. It stands tall at over 12 meters high, creating an unforgettable image for visitors to the city.
The sculpture was created by the Swiss artist Daniel Berset and was first installed in 1997. Its presence will remain a stark reminder of the destruction caused by landmines and cluster bombs – and a call to action for us all. By striving for peace, we can strive to make sure that no one will ever have to suffer such consequences again.
The Broken Chair in Geneva is a powerful symbol of this commitment and stands tall as a beacon of hope for future generations.
United Nations in Geneva
The United Nations / Palais des Nations in Geneva is the second largest UN center in the world, and it houses a number of international organizations. It’s home to more than 4,000 people from all over the world, making it a true melting pot of cultures and ideas.
The impressive building was constructed between 1929-1938 and boasts unique art deco architecture. Inside you’ll find a variety of interesting and historic artifacts, including sculptures, murals, archives, and the world’s largest library devoted to international law. Plus, there are plenty of opportunities to tour the facility as well as attend lectures and conferences.
So if you’re ever in Geneva and want to learn more about the international community, the United Nations / Palais des Nations is definitely worth a visit!
As someone, originally from Afghanistan, I know how useless the UN often is, but the idea behind it makes it an interesting place to visit.
Fraumünster is one of the most famous landmarks in Zurich. Located near the Limmat River, this former abbey has retained its medieval structure and still contains gothic elements such as ribbed vaults and stained glass windows.
It was built in the mid-9th century and has been a landmark since then. Its landmark status is attributed to its stunning Romanesque architecture, stained glass windows, and beautiful interior paintings from the 15th century.
You can witness an impressive collection of religious artworks, including a set of Promethean figures by Augusto Giacometti. The church also houses the world’s largest organ with 8,000 pipes! While exploring Fraumünster, you’ll definitely feel like you’re stepping back in time and getting to experience the beauty that Zurich has to offer.
INFO: There is an entrance fee of 5 CHF for seeing the interior.
Oberhofen Castle is situated on the shores of Lake Thun and is one of the most spectacular historic landmarks to behold. This remarkable structure dates back to the 13th century, offering visitors a glimpse into its storied past.
The castle features a large courtyard, surrounded by stunningly designed buildings that house an impressive collection of art and artifacts. Within the castle walls, visitors can find a fascinating array of items, including musical instruments, furniture, and various other objects that reflect the lifestyle of its occupants over the centuries.
From high above the lake, you can enjoy breathtaking views of Oberhofen Castle and its surrounding countryside.
- If you have a Swiss Travel Pass, you have free entry!
Mount Titlis is an iconic natural Swiss mountain peak located in the Central Alps. It stands 3,238 meters tall and can be accessed via gondola lifts from Engelberg.
It’s famous for the world’s first revolving cable car, the Titlis Rotair, which provides a 360-degree view of steep rock faces, deep crevasses, and distant snow-covered peaks. On a clear day, the panoramic views of the surrounding mountains are absolutely spectacular.
The area around Mount Titlis has something for everyone. The mountain is a hub for skiing and snowboarding in winter, and hiking and climbing in summer. Attractions include the Cliff Walk, Europe’s highest suspension bridge, and the Ice Flyer chairlift, it’ll take you up to an altitude of 3028 meters and give you unparalleled views of the Swiss Alps!
Mount Titlis’ Glacier Park and Ice Cave offer unique experiences,
The majestic Basel Cathedral is one of the most beautiful Landmarks of Switzerland. Built between the 11th and 16th centuries, it has become a symbol of the city’s cultural heritage.
Its distinctive green-tiled dome stands out against the skyline, and its interior features intricate stained glass, marble sculptures, and ornate frescos. Visitors can also explore the surrounding grounds, which include a peaceful park and a small churchyard.
TIP: Make sure, to also get up to the top of the cathedral, the views from there are top!
Basel Town Hall
This building is situated in Basel and dates back to the 15th century. Its imposing façade features sculptures of Zeus from Greek mythology as well as a clock tower with four figures representing the seasons.
Built in the 15th century, it has served as a symbol of local government for centuries. The town hall is ornately decorated with intricate architectural details including several coats of arms adorning its walls. Inside, you can view the original council chamber and even walk the same floors as previous city leaders. Additionally, there are artifacts related to Basel’s history on display.
I have seen a large number of town halls in Switzerland, but that one stood out the most.
Staubbach Falls is a waterfall located near Lauterbrunnen. It cascades nearly 1000 feet before reaching the valley floor below and is one of the highest waterfalls in Europe. The landscape surrounding this waterfall features lush green meadows, picturesque wooden bridges, and captivating cliffs which make it an unforgettable sight to behold.
Like so many other waterfalls, the amount of water depends on the season. After rainy days or in spring, this waterfall is even more impressive. To enjoy a unique angel, make sure to walk behind the waterfall- The path that leads up there is only open in the summer months but the uphill hike is surely worth it. Read more on Lauterbrunnen here.
Gruyeres Castle is a majestic medieval fortress that towers over the small Swiss village of Gruyeres. Built in 1270, this picturesque castle has towered over the surrounding landscape for centuries, providing a brilliant backdrop to the quaint cobblestone streets below.
The castle’s architecture and design tell a story of its long history, from the defensive walls, arrow slits, and watch towers to the grand halls and chambers. Today, you can explore the castle grounds and its many attractions, including a cheese factory and museum, a brewery, and even an interactive medieval dungeon. It’s truly a magical place to visit!
The castle is also home to a variety of events throughout the year, from concerts and markets to re-enactments of historic battles. No matter what brings you to Gruyeres, it’s sure to be a memorable experience!
TIP: Free entry with a Swiss Travel Pass.
Engstligenalp Fall is located in the Bernese Alps of Switzerland, it’s one of the country’s most breathtaking waterfalls. It has a drop of 166 meters and can easily be admired from different angles – whether you get up to Engstligenalp mountain, look at it from the cable car or admire it from below.
The roar of this powerful waterfall can be heard from miles away, and when you’re finally standing in front of it, the experience is awe-inspiring. With its crisp, clear water cascading over the rocks and lush foliage surrounding it, Engstligenalp Fall leaves you with an unforgettable memory.
And not to mention some amazing photos! So if you’re ever in the area, be sure to check out this incredible natural wonder.
TIP: There is a 50& discount for the cable car ride with the Swiss Travel Pass.
Brusio Circular Viaduct
The Brusio Circular Viaduct is a real treat to the eyes. Built in 1908, it’s considered an engineering and architectural marvel. The viaduct has a total length of 300 meters and consists of 10 arches that create a complete circle.
Each arch is 20 meters in height and spans across 11 meters, making for quite an impressive sight. When traveling by train, the viaduct is quite a spectacle – it’s as if time stands still for just a few moments as the train meanders around its curves.
All in all, this incredible piece of engineering and architecture should definitely be on your list of must-sees when visiting Switzerland!
You can enjoy it while riding the Bernina Express, one of the most scenic train rides in the world. While I have done the ride several times, this bridge is so unique and long, that it is not even possible to get it all into one picture!
The Lion Monument in Lucerne is a tribute to the Swiss Guards who lost their lives defending King Louis XVI during the French Revolution.
This iconic monument was carved in 1820 and features an enormous lion being pierced with a spear. It’s one of the most popular tourist attractions in Switzerland, drawing visitors from around the world. The powerful imagery of the lion, facing death with dignity and courage, is a reminder of the bravery and loyalty of these brave Swiss soldiers. It’s certainly worth a visit for anyone in Lucerne and a main stop at any Lucerne walking tour.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON MUST-SEE SWISS LANDMARKS
Switzerland, known for its stunning landscapes and rich history, is home to a myriad of landmarks that capture the essence of its natural beauty and cultural heritage. From the majestic peaks of the Alps, including the iconic Matterhorn, to the historic and architectural marvels like the Chapel Bridge in Lucerne and Chillon Castle, each site tells a unique story.
The country’s landmarks also include engineering feats like the Jet d’Eau in Geneva. These landmarks not only draw visitors from around the world but also reflect Switzerland’s commitment to preserving its environment and celebrating its diverse history.
These are just a few of the many famous Swiss landmarks. Whether you’re looking for breathtaking views or outdoor adventure, Switzerland has something for everyone.
Enjoy the best landmarks in Switzerland.