For a small country, Switzerland has a lot to offer active travelers. Between the gorgeous lakes, famous mountains, and classic cities, there's natural beauty everywhere you look. It was hard to do, but we narrowed down the list to 11 Swiss cities and towns you must visit.
The Swiss capital, Bern, makes the list for its medieval old town, which lures travelers with stunning architecture and fascinating history. Climb to the tower of the Bern Cathedral for unforgettable views of the city and the surrounding countryside. Other can't miss attractions in Bern include Einstein's house, the Fine Arts Museum, and the Federal Palace.
Geneva may be known as an international city with its NGO connections, but it's less well known as a gardener's delight! 25 percent of the city is a garden, including a lovely botanical garden and zoo. Geneva boasts 30 stunning museums as well.
We can't say what's more beautiful, the waterfront or the lovely old town. Take a boat or climb up Lindenhof hill to see a different side of the city skyline, bicycle through the town, or explore on foot taking in the charming Old Town.
Located on the shores of Lake Lucerne, the town of Lucerne delights the senses! Shopping the flea market, visiting Lake Lucerne, or getting out into the countryside around Lucerne, there is so much for travelers to do. If you've got the time, take the Pilatus Bahn up the mountain. It's the world's steepest cog railway, and it offers incredible views looking down on Lucerne.
Famous for its summer jazz festival, the town of Montreux delights travelers. Visit Chillon castle, nestled along the river, to feel like you're in a fairytale, or come in winter and head to the Alpine ski resorts just outside town. Year round, the hills outside Montreux offer some of the region's best wine. Travel from Montreux to Lucerne via the Golden Pass train route. You'll get incredible views of some of Switzerland's most stunning scenery around every corner.
Travelers to this resort town won't want for anything. Tucked between Thun Lake and Brienz Lake, Interlaken offers shopping, hiking, lake recreation, and historical attractions. The community makes a great base camp for travelers that want to explore scenic villages tucked alongside the lakes, which are best reached by cable car.
This Swiss town should be top of any skier's bucket list. It's located right by Matterhorn, one of the world's most famous mountains. From Zermatt, you can take a cable car, cog rail, or funicular to different ski resorts, each offering a unique experience -- we really could not pick a favorite! Come summer, hikers get a ride up the slopes to trek along the mountain from one stunning alpine lake to the next.
Art lovers must come to Basel. There are 40 stunning museums, not to mention the esteemed Art Basel festival. The Basel zoo and toy museum make this Swiss city a great place to go with kids, too. Stop off on a Rhine River cruise to see Basel along with top French and German river towns or come alone for the history, architecture, and art.
Close to the Italian border, Lugano brings an Italian influence to architecture and cuisine. Lake Lugano offers all the usual lakeside activities. Monte Bre and Monte San Salvatore, accessible via funicular, tempt hikers and photography buffs, who want the best views of the city. Lugano is a short train ride from both Bern and Zurich so it's easy to add this town to your Swiss vacation.
If fondue is your favorite, add Bulle to your bucket list. You can visit Gruyères Castle, enjoy some of the finest fondue in a country that's renowned for the cheesy dish, and explore terrain that served as the inspiration for Rivendell, the elvish homeland in Tolkein's hobbit books.
We may be biased, but we love Lausanne. Can't miss attractions include the Palais de Rumine, a museum complex housed in a 19th century palace, and the Olympic Museum. Indulge the senses with fine Swiss cuisine, then walk it off along Ouchy lake promenade.