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Switzerland is one of the top destinations of Europe for good reason. If you’re into skiing or snowboarding, the Swiss Alps are full of incredible resorts. Cities like Geneva, Zurich, and Bern are the perfect mix of historic landmarks and modern luxury.
And then there’s the scenery. Mountain views, clear blue lakes, verdant valleys, and snowy peaks make Switzerland one of the most picture-perfect places in the world. Not to mention all the endless adventure activities you can do there!
It helps to know what the best places to visit in Switzerland are with so much to see and do.
Is Switzerland Open for Tourism?
Switzerland opened to travelers from the U.S. as of June 26, 2021. You have to be fully vaccinated or show proof of recovery or a negative Covid-19 test. Fully vaccinated Canadians can also visit Switzerland as of June 26th without a quarantine or negative Covid-19 test.
If you’re planning a trip in the future, you might also be asking can Canadians travel to Switzerland without a visa? As of now, yes. But from May 2023, Canadians will be required to obtain an ETIAS visa waiver to travel to Switzerland and other countries in the Schengen Area!
The Best Places to Visit in Switzerland
This legendary mountain peak is a Swiss icon. Famously appearing as on Toblerone chocolate bars, it is fair to say that the logo has nothing on seeing the Matterhorn in person.
At 4,478 meters, this dramatic mountain sits on the border with Italy. Nearby villages, such as the charming resort of Zermatt, offer great views of the famous peak making it one of the best places to visit in Switzerland.
You may even fancy attempting a climb, although it is recommended to do so with a guide, even if you are experienced. The Matterhorn is not considered difficult to climb compared with other peaks, but it is still physically demanding and it can be hard to find a route if you don’t know the mountain.
In winter, you can get your skis on and enjoy more than 300 km of slopes, while in summer, outdoor sports like biking, swimming, and tennis are popular.
The Alps may share many similarities with the Canadian Rockies, but the Matterhorn is something truly unique.
Lake Geneva and Chateau de Chillon
You can’t talk about the top tourist attractions in Switzerland without mentioning Europe’s largest alpine lake.
Known for its natural beauty, Lake Geneva straddles the border with France. The cities of Geneva, Lausanne, and Montreux are all found on its shores. The sight of snow-capped mountains reflected in the blue water is unforgettable.
Lake Geneva also has musical connections. The Montreaux Jazz Festival is one of the biggest in the world. The lake was also famously immortalized in Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water.”
Also located on the shore of Lake Geneva is the Chateau de Chillon. The former stronghold of the Counts and Dukes of Savoy, its Great Halls, Chapel, and lavish bedrooms are kept in exquisite condition. This impressive castle is well worth a visit for its fascinating history and the perfect holiday photo.
Lake Geneva is easy to reach via Geneva Airport. This makes it the perfect place to spend a weekend in Switzerland.
The Rhine Falls
In case you were wondering where the biggest waterfall in Europe was, look no further! Switzerland holds that honor too! The Rhine Falls can be found near Schaffhausen, where there are plenty of ways to see this popular tourist attraction.
Walkout on one of the viewing platforms to feel like you are hovering over the falls themselves. Or take a boat tour, which will also let you see the nearby riverside castles and surrounding countryside.
The Rhine Falls are best to visit in June and July when the snow melts. The volume of water cascading down the 21-meter waterfall is at its highest, and the sight is more impressive than ever.
Dubbed “the Top of Europe,” Jungfraujoch features an observation terrace and scientific observatory perched atop the Alps at 3,463 meters above sea level. It offers stunning views of the Eiger, Jungfrau, and Monch mountains.
It also marks the beginning of the Great Aletsch Glacier, one of Switzerland’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites and the longest glacier in Europe.
Amazingly, you can take a train to Jungfraujoch — the station is the highest on the European continent at 3,454 m.
The station is connected to the Top of Europe building, where you can find exhibitions, restaurants, and a research station. An elevator then takes you up to the Sphinx observatory. This is the best place to enjoy the spectacular views.
Fans of the Harry Potter franchise may be familiar with Grindelwald as the name of a certain dark wizard. But, like many of her characters, JK Rowling took the name from a reallocation. In this case, a little place in Switzerland.
Nestled in a green valley between steep mountain crags, the village of Grindelwald is the perfect idyllic Alpine village. To call it “scenic” would be an understatement. The verdant fields and pine forests stand in stark contrast to the dramatic peaks of the Wetterhorn and the Eiger north face.
But it’s not just the scenery that will bring you to Grindelwald. The village is also the center of one of Switzerland’s best ski resorts.
With 100 miles of pistes, over 30 ski lifts, more than 37 miles of toboggan runs, and 50 miles of hiking trails, Grindelwald is a winter wonderland for half of the year.
It is also a paradise for outdoor activities like mountain biking, hiking, climbing, paragliding, canyon jumping, ziplining, and rafting in summer.
If you’ve ever wanted to try out paragliding, there’s no place more scenic than Lauterbrunnen. You can take to the skies here with experienced pilots on a tandem paragliding flight! No need to be worried if you don’t have experience, as the pilots will do all the work.
After the safety briefing, you’ll launch off from a gentle slope and soar over the gorgeous Swiss countryside. This amazing bird’s eye view is the best way to soak in the incredible Alpine landscape below. You’ll see cascading waterfalls, lush valleys, mountain ranges, and quaint alpine villages.
Best places to visit in Switzerland: Eiger Mountain
If you want to go even higher in the sky, take advantage of Switzerland’s many opportunities for sky diving. It’s home to one of the most extreme Skydives in the world – the Eiger North Face, as seen in many movies and documentaries.
You’ll take a scenic flight to the summit of the Eiger north face, where you’ll be almost 15,000 feet high! Hold on tight for an adrenaline-rushing experience as you free-fall to the earth at 120 miles per hour, landing at the gorgeous mountain town of Grindelwald. If you’re looking for epic adventures in Switzerland, it doesn’t get better than this.
So, Where Should I Visit in Switzerland?
At the end of the day, it’s completely up to you. If you are into winter sports, you’d be crazy to pass up the chance to spend some time at one of Switzerland’s many ski resorts. However, if you’re more interested in enjoying the scenery and sightseeing, Lake Geneva is perfect. It offers so much natural beauty and things to do, with cities like Montreaux and Geneva close by.
Whatever and wherever you choose, Switzerland is sure to be an unforgettable destination.
Looking for more city breaks in Europe? Check out these posts!
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