Bern is a picturesque medieval city with a history that dates back to the 12th century, though it did not become a part of the Swiss Confederacy until the 16th century. Its most famous attraction is the Zytglogge, an ancient clock tower with moving puppets. Other popular sites in Bern include the Munster, a Gothic cathedral that rises from the old town, and its town hall. The bear is the symbol of Bern, with several being kept in an open-air pit. Shoppers will appreciate the old town that boasts four miles of arcades, making it one of the longest covered shopping areas in Europe.
2.Swiss National Park, Zernez
Switzerland’s only national park is a spectacle not to be overlooked. A throwback to how the Alps was before it was touched by tourism, the Schweizerischer Nationalpark features 172 square kilometres of unspoilt scenery from snow-encrusted glaciers, verdant pastures, waterfalls and lush woodlands, making it a top place to see in Switzerland. A total of 21 hiking routes crawl through the park, giving visitors a chance to glimpse its magnificent flora and, if luck is on your side, perhaps even sight the rare golden eagles, chamois, ibexes and marmots that call it home. The park is easily accesible from Zernez, S-chanf and Scuol.
One of the largest lakes in Europe, Lake Geneva lies on the course of the Rhone river on the frontier between France and Switzerland. Aside from the city Geneva most destinations in the Lake Geneva region are in either the Swiss canton of Vaud or the French department of Haute Savoie. The geography is varied, with the Jura mountains in the north, a hilly plain in the center and in the southwest the Alps. The main attractions here are the elegant cities and towns surrounding the lake, the opportunities for skiing and hiking in both mountain ranges, and of course the lake itself.
4.Lake Geneva and surrounding cities
Hugged by Geneva on the west and Lausanne on the east is Lake Geneva, a giant liquid basin that has been aptly called by the Celts ‘Lem an’ or ‘Large Water’. It’s now referred to as Lac Léman by the French-speaking Swiss who reside in the area, and the 582 square kilometre-lake is dotted with luxurious fairy-tale chateaus on its shores and stretches of hillside vineyards rise from the lake, giving a rare glimpse into the world of Swiss wines. Ferries, paddle streamers and boats paddle through its topaz waters daily.
Lugano has been nicknamed the “Monte Carlo of Switzerland,” because of its growing popularity with celebrities. The city is located on Lake Lugano, in the Italian speaking section of this alpine country. Lugano, which is blessed with warm summers, dates back to the 9th century. The city is home to a large number of Swiss heritage sites, including three cathedrals, two libraries and several museums. Home to numerous financial institutions, the city also hosts an annual classical music festival, the Lugano Festival, in the summer.
While the city has kept some of its historical roots – evident in the emblematic guild houses, Grossmünster church, Swiss National Museum and Lindenhof square – regeneration is supreme in wealthy Zurich. Old heritage sites and factories have been repurposed and now serve as cultural spaces, joining more than 50 museums and 100 art galleries to see in Zurich. Known as one of the world’s most livable cities, Zurich offers everything you’d want for an urban escape, yet also the chance to reach rural, idyllic towns just a stone’s throw away. Read about the prettiest Swiss towns within two hours of Zurich.
Zermatt is a small town that is famous for skiing and mountaineering due to its proximity to the Matterhorn, one of Switzerland’s highest mountains. Cable cars whisk skiers up surrounding mountains in the winter and hikers in the summer. Zermatt is a good town for walking to various sites, since gasoline-driven vehicles are not permitted; any vehicles within the city limits must be battery-operated. Fortunately, for visitors, it takes 30 minutes or less to walk between sites. The town is accessible via scenic train routes that connect it with the outside world.
Switzerland’s largest city, Zurich, will appeal to travelers with an interest in culture since it boasts more than 50 museums and over 100 art galleries. When visitors get tired of shopping for internationally famous Swiss brand-name goods, they can take a boat ride on Lake Zurich or go hiking in the nearby mountains. The city also boasts an impressive number of clubs for travelers who enjoy going out at night. Not to be missed is the Swiss National Museum, located in a fairytale castle, it is dedicated to Switzerland’s cultural history.
Geneva is a city where international influences reign supreme. It is home to the International Red Cross Committee and the European headquarters of the United Nations, as well as 20 other international organizations. Environmental travelers will enjoy the fact that Geneva is a “green” city, with 20 percent of its land devoted to parks, earning it the nickname of “city of parks.” Top sights include the Cathedral of St. Pierre where John Calvin gave famous sermons, and the United Nations headquarters. Geneva also is a good city explore by bike or rest weary feet by taking a boat ride on Lake Geneva.
Athletes with Olympic aspirations may enjoy a visit to Lausanne, a scenic city that is the second largest on Lake Geneva, as it is home to the International Olympic Committee. Lausanne also is the gateway to some of the world’s best ski slopes. A part of the Swiss Riviera, Lausanne has been popular with writers over the centuries, include Lord Byron, the Shelleys and Ernest Hemingway. Located in the French-speaking sector of Switzerland, Lausanne boasts an impressive cathedral and wonderful outdoor markets.