Switzerland has a wonderful mix of natural and historical attractions with cities that offer a combination of world-class museums, historical sites and modern appeal. The countryside's fresh air and breathtaking views are surpassed only by the snow-capped peaks of the Swiss Alps, wonderful to explore on foot and home to many extreme outdoor activities.
The Matterhorn is one of the highest peaks in the Swiss Alps, reaching up to 14,690 feet. Located on the border with Italy, the craggily peak is a symbol of Switzerland. It is popular with mountain climbers, but non-athletes can also enjoy the scenery without breaking a sweat. The Gornergrat Railway takes visitors up to 10,170 feet, and there are also cable cars that provide access. There are also plenty of hiking trails that even novices can enjoy.
Address: Zermatt Tourism, Bahnhofplatz 5, Postfach 247, 3920 Zermatt, Switzerland
Vals, located in the Canton of Graubuenden, is a small Alpine town, known for its hot springs and sparkly granite. The thermal baths have a long history, with archeologists dating back their usage to the Bronze Age. The best season to enjoy the steamy bath waters is from June to April and tickets should be purchased in advance (children under five are not permitted). Make sure to try the Valser mineral water, which can be sipped from the source at the Valser Wasserwelt.
Address: Therme, 7132 Vals, Switzerland
The Jungfraujoch is part of the Bernese Alps and although not a major peak, it is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts. The Jungfraujoch Railway takes visitors up to the Jungraufjoch station, the highest in Europe at an altitude of 11,332 feet, a scenic train ride not to be missed. The famous Aletsch Glacier found here is part of a larger UNESCO World Natural Heritage site which covers this whole region. Visitors can take a helicopter tour to the glacier or enjoy hiking, skiing or snowboarding in this premier winter sports destination.
Address: Jungfraubahnen, Harderstrasse 14, 3800 Interlaken, Switzerland
St. Leonard’s Subterranean Lake
Another amazing natural wonder in Switzerland is the subterranean lake at St Leonard, which is considered to be the largest underground lake in Europe. Explored by tour boat, the water here is crystal clear which gives way to a trout habitat. Some believe that the caves have special healing powers, which becomes more believable when you consider that more than 80,000 visitors come here every year. This picturesque attraction is open from March through November.
Address: Lac Souterrain de St. Leonard, Rue du Lac 21, 1958 St. Leonard, Switzerland
Chateau de Chillon
Nothing epitomizes the serenity of Swiss waterways like the beautiful Chateau de Chillon, nestled on the banks of Lake Geneva. The castle, which dates back to the 11th century, is considered to be one of the most beautiful in Switzerland and where Lord Byron wrote The Prisoner of Chillon. Home to the Counts of Savoy, it is actually made up of 100 different buildings that were eventually joined to create the edifice as it stand today. It is not just the exterior and location that are stunning - the interior and courtyards are beautiful, as well.
Address: Avenue de Chillon 21, 1820 Veytaux, Switzerland
The largest waterfall in Europe, the Rhine is located in Schaffhausen on the border between Switzerland and Germany. These powerful waters can be experienced from the incredible observation deck or by a boat at the bottom, but either way, be ready to get wet! Visitors can also enjoy a cup of coffee and pastry at one of the little cafés that line the bank.
Address: Stokarbergstrasse 125, 8204 Schaffhausen, Switzerland
Historical Museum of Berne
One of the premier museums in Switzerland, the Historical Museum of Berne showcases the country's heritage from the Stone Age to modern day. With more than 500,000 pieces in the permanent collection, there is plenty to see besides the rotating special exhibits.
Address: Einstein Museum, Helvetiaplatz 5, 3005 Bern, Switzerland
Lake Geneva has attracted famous residents over the years, including Charlie Chaplin, Lord Byron, Mary Shelley, and David Bowie, to name but a few. One of the largest lakes in Europe, the watery wonderland is fed by glaciers, giving it the deep blue color it is known for. A good place to start is by visiting the Lake Geneva Museum in Nyon, which showcases the history of this beautiful area. A cruise or boat trip is also a must.
Address: Office due Tourisme du Canton de Vaud, Avenue d’Ouchy 60, Case Postale 164, 1000 Lausanne 6, Switzerland