Best Places to Visit in Switzerland

MOST BEAUTIFUL PLACES IN SWITZERLAND

Are you looking for inspiration and wondering about the best places to visit in Switzerland? Then this post is for you. 

Switzerland has so many beautiful places, and I could have easily filled this post with 100 places I genuinely recommend. Instead, I focus on the very, very best places in Switzerland only for your vacation.

So, when you have a limited time in Switzerland, these are places you have to add to your Switzerland bucket list.

Here are my top places in Switzerland:

  • Best Lakes in Switzerland
  • Best Cities to Visit in Switzerland
  • Best Waterfalls to Chase in Switzerland
  • Best Towns and Villages in Switzerland
  • More Beautiful Places to Visit in Switzerland

Find out about the best areas and places to stay in Switzerland – for all budgets.

Most Beautiful Lakes in Switzerland

Okay, here are my favorite lakes to visit in Switzerland (because the lakes are some of the most beautiful places in Switzerland and so I start here).

OESCHINENSEE

Canton: Bernese Oberland

Oeschinensee is often considered the most beautiful lake in Switzerland and is located in Kandersteg, and if you want to spend time in nature, it is one of the best places to visit in Switzerland.

Oeschinensee hike, Heuberg a top thing to do in Interlaken, Arzo Travels
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It isn’t that easy to get to as mountains surround it, so if you would like to enjoy the best views, you have to do some hiking, but it is worth it. You can take a cable car to get up and then walk some parts around the lake. This will give you views as you see in the picture – it will take about 3 hours hiking in total. It is definitely worth seeing since the lake has the most intense color!

However, you can also take the cable car and do an easy 20-minute hike straight to the lake – it is beautiful, too, but the best views if you do one of the longer hikes.

It reminds me a little bit, with its color and surroundings, of one of the Canadian lakes and if people say it is one of the most beautiful places in Switzerland, you won’t find me disagreeing with them! Check out my detailed post on Lake Oeschinen.

Read more: 50 best things to do in the region of Interlaken and Jungfrau.

BLAUSEE

Canton: Bernese Oberland

Blausee is another gorgeous lake in Kandersteg close to Oeschinensee that is just astonishing.

Bucket list places in Switzerland Blausee
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 It is a VERY tiny lake located in a national park. Though it is called a blue lake, I personally see more of a greenish color, but this is no bad thing.

The myth says that the lake has this unique color, as a maiden actually died by drowning in the water, and thus, the color of the lake is actually the color of her eyes.

Though it’s tiny, you can row boats there, and once when I visited, there was even a big screen showing movies in the evening. Also, it’s a popular place for couples who have just gotten married to have their pictures taken.

There is an entrance fee (during high season) of about 9€ – I visited twice, but I am still not sure it is really worth the entrance fee – because there is not much more to do. But it is still beautiful, so I added it here. For more tips on Blausee, check out my detailed post about Blausee.

LAKE BRIENZ

Canton: Bernese Oberland

Lake Brienz is my personal favorite of Switzerland’s lakes. Simply because it has the most amazing color that I could imagine for a lake, it has extreme clarity and beautiful surroundings, so it isn’t surprising that I have added it to the list.

Best places to visit in Switzerland Lake Brienz
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It’s huge, too, so as a big boat fan, I loved cruising on Lake Brienz, and since it is located in one of the most beautiful regions in Switzerland, Interlaken, this lake never ceases to amaze me.

Whether you choose to stroll along the lakeside, cruise on its waters, swim in it, or you just want to take time to admire it from afar (by the way, the best view is from Brienzer Rothorn or Giessbach Waterfalls), this lake is definitely a beauty. Of course, I also have a detailed post on Lake Brienz as well.

Read more: Best places to stay in Interlaken

LAKE THUN

Canton: Bernese Oberland

Lake Thun is another top-notch lake in the region of Interlaken. Interestingly, Lake Brienz and Lake Thun were one lake once upon a time. Now, Lake Thun is a beauty in its own right, shimmering in gorgeous emerald color.

Best things to see at Lake Thun, boat tour Lake Thun
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 While it is a little bit warmer than Lake Brienz, making it a little better for swimming, its large size also makes it great for boat tours, and it is definitely a great place to see. To find out more about Lake Thun, read my post on the best activities around Lake Thun.

LAKE ZURICH

Cantons: Zurich, St. Gallen, and Schwyz

You cannot leave Switzerland without spending a day at Lake Zurich. It’s simply lovely during the day with great opportunities to dive into the water or spend time by the lakeside.

Switzerland Points of interest Lake Zurich
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 It is also a perfect place to end your day since there is so much going on at Lake Zurich, including lots of artists congregating by the lakeside in the evening on a warm day to keep you entertained. So really it is a perfect idea to spend the whole day at Lake Zurich.

Read more: Best things to do in Zurich

LAKE GENEVA

Cantons: Vaud

Long before I heard of other beautiful places in Switzerland, I knew I wanted to visit Switzerland just because I wanted to visit Lake Geneva. And all I can say is that when I finally did visit Lake Geneva, it did not disappoint.

Colorful Montreux- it is all about flowers, the promenade and Lake Geneva
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 It is one of the biggest lakes in Europe, and it amazes with its size, color, and range of activities.

Whether you like sailing, SUP, or swimming, there are tons to do at Lake Geneva, and it is definitely one of the best places to see in Switzerland. Not only is Lake Geneva great to visit in its own right, but you can also visit Montreux from there to have the best of Lake Geneva.

LAKE CAUMA

Canton: Graubünden

If you are looking for a lesser-known place to visit in Switzerland, add Lake Cauma to your Switzerland itinerary. Standing at the mountain summit looking down at this lake is a feast for the eyes. This little mountain lake in Flims blew me away, and with its amazing color, it proves that size isn’t everything.

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If you are not convinced yet, make sure to visit Switzerland’s lesser-known area and hike around the area. You can, of course, swim in it or if you prefer you can take a little row boat out onto the water.

Bring your rubber ring and grab some food and drink and you can spend your whole day at Lake Cauma and have a great time. It costs a little bit to stay around that area so you will have to pay some entry fees.

LAKE LUNGERN

Canton: Obwalden

Lake Lungern is located on the shores of the little village Lungern and is often overlooked. Passing this area by train is one of the most scenic routes, but it is worth it to stop and enjoy the beauty of the place.

Brüning Pass, Lake Lungern Switzerland Arzo Travels
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 While Lake Lungern makes a great place to have a picnic or walk around, this view can be enjoyed when driving up the mountain (for most people from Lucerne to Interlaken) – a popular place when road tripping Switzerland.

It does not surprise that the viewing station there is quite popular, and people stop by and take trillions of pictures. Well, it certainly does not surprise me as I am one of those who stops by every single time (yes, I stop here every single time) I am driving this road.

LAKE LUCERNE

Canton: Lucerne

Without a doubt, Lake Lucerne is one of Switzerland´s gems. Its size, colors, and setting make Lake Lucerne (or in German “Vierwaldstättersee”) one of Switzerland’s most beautiful places.

Getting up Mount Rigi - a must-do activity in Lucerne
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 It does not matter whether you are strolling along Lake Lucerne in Lucerne, relax in Weggis, head to Mount Rigi or Mount Pilatus to enjoy the view from above, or drive the scenic Grand Tour around Lake Lucerne = this lake knows how to impress, and thus it should not come as a surprise that you have to add this place to your Switzerland bucket list.

LAGI DI SAOSEO

Canton: Graubünden

If you prefer smaller, lesser-known places and lakes – but still stunning ones, then Lago di Saoseo is the perfect lake for you.

Lago di Saosea - underrated places in Switzerland
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 I had never expected to see such a beautiful lake in the region of Valposchiavo – it surely is one of the five prettiest lakes in the country, and I can promise you that no pictures do the lake any justice.

I would even suggest visiting the mountain lake if you are short in time – because then you really have seen a hidden gem of Switzerland. As you have probably never heard of it, you might wonder how to get to this unique lake – and you will find out in this detailed post of mine.

BACHALPSEE

One of Switzerland’s most beautiful lakes is the Bachalpsee (Bachalp Lake). Hiking or strolling around the Bachalpsee should be on your list.

I visited on a very grey day, so I did not get to see it perfectly. However, it is one of the best lakes to see. First, get to Grindelwald First by gondola, then you will have to do some easy hike to get there.

Bachalpsee in Grindelwald - not too far from Hotel Caprice
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It is not one of the places you can just get around via cable cars or funiculars. However, as far as I have understood, skipping cable cars completely will be very difficult and is not recommended unless you are an experienced hiker.

After using the cable car, it will include some hiking. But it is well worth it and makes a perfect day tour that you will not forget so easily.

Best Cities in Switzerland to Visit

You can find beautiful lakes are everywhere in Switzerland – cities are not that numerous in Switzerland and there are actually not many big cities. Actually, there are just very few, and most of them are actually towns. However, here are the best cities to visit in Switzerland.

ZURICH

Canton: Zurich

Switzerland’s biggest city, located close to the German border, is one of my favorite cities and one of the best places to visit in Switzerland.

Zurich @shutterstock best places to stay in Zurich
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The city is full of beautiful nature, mountains, Lake Zurich, and it is home to one of the most expensive streets in the world: the Bahnhofstrasse, which in my opinion it is a must-see place in Switzerland.

Read more: Check out my Zurich accommodation guide to find the perfect accommodation for your Zurich.

GENEVA

Canton: Vaud

If you want to visit a place in Switzerland that doesn’t feel Swiss, then visit Geneva. Geneva is the only city in Switzerland with a cosmopolitan feeling, making it a great place to visit.

View of Lake Geneva in one day
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 While there, you can head to Lake Geneva, one of the biggest lakes in Europe, or do some sightseeing, visit the UN headquarters or the International Committee of the Red Cross or just watch shopping.

Also, you can see Mont Blanc from Geneva – the white peak only shows on clear days, but it is quite impressive.

By the way, Geneva is THE place for luxury watches. You should set aside at least one day to visit Geneva when you visit Switzerland. Check out my Geneva guide to find out more.

LUCERNE

Canton: Lucerne

Lucerne is considered by many as the most beautiful city in Switzerland. I am all into Zurich, but without a doubt, this place is a beauty whatsoever.

Chapel Bridge 2016 in Lucerne - Can you spot me and Puppygak on th bridge?
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 It is way smaller than Zurich and has fewer activities on offer.

However, walking the world-famous wooden Chapel Bridge or strolling through the old town, then doing a boat trip on Lake Lucerne, or getting on top of Mount Pilatus or Mount Rigi are definitely some of the best things to do in Switzerland.

Read more: Check out my Lucerne winter guide and my Lucerne accommodation guide.

BERN

Canton: Bernese Oberland

Bern is the capital of Switzerland and one of the best places to go in Switzerland.

Best cities to visit in Switzerland Bern Aare river view in bern
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 Whether you head to the Rosengarten for great views of the city, visit the bear family in the Bärenpark, or stroll along the Aare river.

Bern is not short of nice attractions. Interestingly, Bern’s whole old town is a UNESCO World Heritage – so getting lost in those streets of Bern is another fun and free thing to do.

BASEL

Another good place to visit in Switzerland is Basel. The art capital is located in the most northern part – very close to Germany. If you are an art lover, you have probably heard of Basel. It is worldwide known for its many important museums.

Basel best view from Münster
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 But Basel also has a beautiful old town (what a surprise… not really), and it is also very well-known for the Christmas markets in December for a few weeks.

It took me years to visit, but I was surely not disappointed when I finally went to Basel. To find out more about Basel, check out my Basel travel guide.

Best Waterfalls in Switzerland to Chase

I know waterfalls are not the first thing that comes to our mind when we think about the best places to visit in Switzerland – but there are some gorgeous waterfalls to visit.

GIESSBACH WATERFALL

Canton: Bernese Oberland

Waterfalls in Switzerland can be pretty amazing. One of the best places to see waterfalls is Interlaken and its Giessbach Waterfalls. These stunning falls have a total length of around 500 meters over 14 stages.

Balcony - Waterfall view room
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If you are fine to admire the waterfalls from far, you can just do a boat tour to pass the waterfalls. Alternatively, you can hike up to get to the top of Giessbach Waterfalls, or if you are at the Hotel Giessbach, you can enjoy the most beautiful view from there.

RHINE FALLS

Canton: Schaffhausen and Zurich

Talking about waterfalls, the most powerful waterfalls in Europe are the Rhine Falls. Several hundred cubic meters of water thunder through these impressive falls each second.

Rhine Falls Switzerland Best places to see in Switzerland
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 The Rhine Falls are located close to the German border, or, more precisely, between Schaffhausen and Zurich.

To experience this powerful waterfall, you can go to a platform where, if you stretch out your hand out far enough, you can almost touch the waterfall! Or, if you prefer, you can get very close if you do a boat tour. My tip would be to visit on a sunny day, but after a hefty rainfall if possible.

STAUBBACH WATERFALL

Canton: Bernese Oberland

With 300 meters in height, Staubbach Falls is not the highest waterfall in Switzerland, but it is still unique and one of the most interesting waterfalls.

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Located in the beautiful village of Lauterbrunnen, the water looks look very fine dust which explains the origin of the name (Staub=dust). Supposedly, it inspired Johann Wolfgang Goethe for one of his poems, so wandering around this area with the waterfalls in eyesight might be an inspiration for all those who are looking for stunning places to visit in Switzerland.

Most Beautiful Towns in Switzerland

Switzerland has some gorgeous towns to see- and here are my favorites that have made it on my list.

STEIN AM RHEIN

Canton: Schaffhausen

Stein am Rhein is so exquisitely pretty I couldn’t believe it was real. Despite its small size, it is one of the places to visit in Switzerland.

Places to visit in Switzerland
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 Stein am Rhein will leave you speechless, and after strolling the old town, it is time to enjoy the scenery while walking along the Rhine River – it is lesser-known that towns like Interlaken or Lucerne but one of the best places to visit in Switzerland – for sure.

Read more: Switzerland´s cutest towns and villages to visit

THUN

Canton: Bern

Thun was a great surprise, I drove through it many times, but I fell in love immediately when I finally decided to visit. 

Best of Switzerland - why visit Switzerland so you can see Thun
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The castles there (Thun is home to several beautiful romantic castles), the old town, Lake Thun…There are many reasons why you should see this place.

INTERLAKEN

Canton: Bernese Oberland

Interlaken is not only a beautiful town in between two lakes- Lake Thun, Lake Brienz – it is also surrounded by stunning nature and one of the best places to visit as an adventurous outdoor fan. I cannot name any spot in Switzerland more beautiful than this area.

Switzerland Interlaken at Lake Thun
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 The old town is a bit unspectacular, but the scenery makes up for that.

Whether you get up Harder Kulm (Interlaken´ house mountain) or stroll along one of the lakes, you will not be disappointed by this pretty piece of land.

Read more: Find the best accommodation in Interlaken

MONTREUX

Canton: Vaud

If you are looking for a beautiful little town located on Lake Geneva’s shores, Montreux is the place to visit.

Chateau de Chillion_A must see place in Montreux
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 Montreux is just stunning and owes its beauty because it mostly consists of flowers and Lake Geneva.

These two facts make it one of Switzerland’s most beautiful places, but you should not miss seeing the vineyards or Chateau de Chillon or the beautiful vineyards that come with the best views of Lake Geneva.

GRINDELWALD

Canton: Bernese Oberland

Grindelwald is one of the most popular towns in Switzerland – it is indeed wonderful, and it is located in the Jungfrau/Interlaken region with great views of the Swiss Skyline. The town itself is so popular because it is one of the most visited regions for skiing in. In summer, it is a great base for people who like to hike – so whether visiting Grindelwald First or hiking to Bachalpsee Lake – there is no shortage of activities.

Cannot get enough? Here are more answers to your question. Where to visit in Switzerland.

ASCONA

Canton: Ticino

Ascona, located on Lake Maggiore’s northern shore and just 30 minutes away from the Italian border, is most colorful in Switzerland.

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 The Old Town and its lively piazza make Ascona one of my top places to visit, and the proximity to another absolute gem is another plus (more on this beautiful spot is about to come).

ZERMATT

Canton: Valais

Zermatt is probably one of the hottest destinations in Switzerland – while this is not mean literally, this beautiful picturesque village nestled at the foot of the world-famous Matterhorn is just really….pretty!

Bets holiday places in Switzerland Zermatt
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Whether you head to Matterhorn Glacier paradise by cable car or still Vispa River, you will not be disappointed. Also, it is a top destination to visit in the summer and the winter months.

Read more: Find out more about the best places to stay in Zermatt

SPIEZ

Canton: Bernese Oberland

Seriously, Spiez is one of the prettiest places though there is not so much to do and see.

Spiez best of Switzerland
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 Picture perfect Spiez sits on a promontory jutting out into Lake Thun, above which the Niederhorn mountain range stretches out to the Bernese Alps, creating wonderful views.

You can’t miss Castle Spiez, which looms, with its imposing size and huge tower, over the village with the best view of Niesen Mountain.

LAUTERBRUNNEN

Canton: Bernese Oberland

Lauterbrunnen, which translates as ‘many fountains,’ is just wow…

Lauterbrunnen Staubbach waterfall a top activity in Interlaken with Arzo Travels
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Surrounded by the magnificent Alps and boastings as many as 72 thundering waterfalls amongst alpine meadows and mountain inns, and is, in fact, one of the biggest nature conservation areas in Switzerland.

The town itself is filled with beautiful timber facades and lies right alongside the beautiful crystal-clear river of the glacier-fed Lutschine, making it one of the most beautiful places in Switzerland.

More Unique Places in Switzerland to Visit

Here are a few impressive places in Switzerland that did not really fit in one of the categories, so this is my miscellaneous section.

VALLE VERZASCA

Canton: Ticino

If you are looking for a special place in Switzerland among the stunning mountains and lakes, the place to visit is Valley Verzasca.

Where to go in Switzerland on holidays
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 You will hardly find a nicer shade of green anywhere, and – since it is not a lake – this beautiful Verzasca River is one of the most unique places in the country. The Lavertezzo Bridge adds additional beauty to this gorgeous region of Ticino.

Read more: Best things to do in Locarno/Ascona

GRABENMUHLE

Canton: Bernese Oberland

Grabenmuhle has blown me away, and I think it is one of the cutest and prettiest places in Sigriswil, in the region of Interlaken.

Grabenmühle best place to visit in Switzerland
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 Though I can’t say what it is about it that I love so much, it is a natural park with some cute flower arrangements and a great view of Niesen Mountain.

You can also fish there, or you can see the old houses so seriously, don’t ask me what it is, but it is a lovely place!

It is just a few minutes walk from the Sigriswil Suspension bridge, too, so definitely plan in half a day to see this place and the suspension bridge – so, this is one of the best places to visit if you are more into the hidden gems of the country.

AESCHER

Canton: Appenzellerland

The Aescher is also known as the most beautiful restaurant.

unique things to do in Switzerland Aescher Guest House
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 Sitting at the Ebenalp Mountain foot, this cliff restaurant (and former hotel) amazes guests from all over the world. The food there is also quite affordable for Swiss standards, so try out their vegetarian Rösti.

If you want to have the best wow effect, I recommend going up by cable car, getting off there and then hiking down for about 10 or 15 minutes, and all of a sudden, you will see this beautiful cliff guesthouse where you can take a rest.

From there, I would recommend hiking down to see the Seealpsee – another beautiful place that you can easily combine with a trip to Appenzell.

JUNGFRAUJOCH 

Canton: Bernese Oberland

Getting up to Jungfraujoch is probably one of the highlights for many Switzerland visitors.

top of europe Jungfraujoch - things to know.
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 The impressive saddle in the Bernese Alps (connecting the two mountain peaks, Jungfrau and Mönch, at about 3,500 meters) is a popular day-trip destination in the region of Jungfrau/Interlaken. Book a train ticket in advance to get up the mountain.

The views along the way are often gorgeous, though you also spend a lot of time in tunnels before arriving at the highest train station in Europe.

At the top, you´ll find a lot of attractions like the Ice Palace, Alpine Sensation. But most of all, you have a lot of fun outdoors (p.s. snow is guaranteed throughout the year, so you can imagine how much fun it is for people of all ages – even my dog had the time of his life in the snow).

It is one of those places you have to visit (even if the trip is not a cheap one).

BRIENZER ROTHORN

Canton: Bernese Oberland

Though I have had countless experiences that took my breath away in Switzerland, my day trip to Brienzer Rothorn was a one-of-a-kind experience. 

View from Brienzer Rothorn
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The ride up, in a historic locomotive, was my personal favorite. While going up, you´ll have amazing views of Lake Brienz (the stunning turquoise lake in the region of Interlaken) and the mountain range in front of you.

You pass short tunnels and meet cows and other animals along the way (the ride up takes about one hour). It is indeed a memory that I will always cherish, and it is my personal top tip when it comes to mountain views.

SCHYNIGE PLATTE

Canton: Bernese Oberland

What makes Schynige Platte unique is the fantastic view you get.

Visit the Schynige Platte with your Swiss Travel Pass
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 After a 40-minute ride in a cable car, you arrive at Schynige Platte and have a gorgeous view of the Swiss Skyline (which consists of three mountains, Jungfrau, Eigner, and Mönch).

And if you think it cannot get much better than that, just take a 10-minute hike through the Alpine Garden, and on the other side, you have an even better view!

This vantage point gives you the best view of Lake Brienz and Lake Thun (two of the most stunning sights ever) at the same time. 

It did not surprise me that this was so popular among visitors. Two completely different views from one summit! Now, that’s what I call efficiency.

MOUNT PILATUS

Canton: Lucerne

My trip to Mount Pilatus did not start well, and I was sure it was not worth it (yes, I can be quick in jumping to conclusions).

Switzerland what to visit
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 But, seriously, I have to admit (though I was determined to hate it) that Mount Pilatus is pretty great. Not only literally (it is about 2,500 meters high), but the views from there are just breathtaking.

It seems that there is a whole new mini-village on the summit, and if you want to do some paragliding, you can even do that up there.

Views of Lake Lucerne and the Alps make it one of Switzerland’s top places (avoid visiting on Sundays during these months and go very early, so you do not have to wait in line as I did, which almost ruined the trip for me).

SASSEL MASONE

Canton: Graubünden

Last but not least: This stunning mountain peak with one of the prettiest mountain views I have had. Sassal Masone in Valposchiavo.

Valposchiavo Palü Lake in heart shape
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The view of the stunning, turquoise-colored lake is just one amazing reason to visit. The stone houses at Sassal Masone, the Palü Glacier view are many reasons to visit this gorgeous place.

Getting here is just an experience by itself – and I promise you it is no less stunning than the other attractions and places in Switzerland.

FINAL THOUGHTS ON BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN SWITZERLAND

I hope you enjoy Switzerland as much as I do and these tips help you find the best places to visit in Switzerland. For visiting all the places above, you would need a while but maybe just pick a few that appeal the most to you so that you can create a perfect Switzerland itinerary for you.

Whether you road trip to Switzerland or discover the country by train and public transportation – I am sure you will not be disappointed!

MAP OF WHERE TO GO IN SWITZERLAND

Safe Travels, Arzo
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