Abdul Muqeet Waheed
Switzerland is an attractive tourist attraction because of its fusion of the cultures of Italy, France, and Germany yet maintaining a distinct personality all of its own. Switzerland is hard to beat with breathtaking Alpine landscapes and small towns brimming with fairytale charm. This landlocked country has a fairy-tale beauty thanks to the Alps’ towering snowcapped peaks, sparkling blue lakes, green valleys, glaciers, and charming lakeside hamlets.
World-class resorts with a wide range of activities, such as hiking, bicycling, climbing, paragliding, skiing, and tobogganing, are tucked in the mountain valleys and lakes.
I traveled by train for eight days while using my Swiss Travel Pass to see some of Switzerland’s top attractions.
To assist you in choosing the finest stops for rail viewing in Switzerland, I’ve put together a list of some of the country’s most stunning locations.
Instead of merely listing the typical tourist sites in Switzerland, I’ve attempted to emphasize a few small-town gems as well as well-known cities like Zürich and Geneva.
Zürich is the biggest city in Switzerland, a vital hub for business, culture, and transportation in central Europe, and a popular place for tourists to begin their journeys. The city is situated alongside the Limmat River near Lake Zurich’s northwesterly tip. This wealthy financial center has a wide array of cultural attractions hidden under its buttoned-up façade.
Here you’ll find the biggest clock tower in the world. River Zurich divides the city into the Old Town and New Town areas. The Old Town is studded with Renaissance-era buildings, cobblestone streets, and centuries-old churches. You will see lovely examples of these civilizations’ influences on architecture here because of their proximity to France, Germany, Italy, and Liechtenstein.
It also contains more than 50 museums, art galleries, theaters, and a library regarded as the most beautiful in the world, which has expertly blended its rich cultural past with modernity. The Swiss National Museum is a must-see, it is devoted to the cultural heritage of Switzerland and is situated in a castle straight out of a fairy tale.
The mile-long Bahnofstrassee is home to one of Europe’s most lovely shopping districts, enticing with superb boutique designer boutiques selling jewelry, clothing, and watches. Zurich is Switzerland’s capital of chocolate and is famous for producing some of the world’s finest chocolates. Boating on the lake, walking along its unspoiled shores, and taking a short hike up Utliberg Mountain are some of the city of Zurich’s most well-liked activities.
Although I didn’t spend a lot of time in Zürich, what I did was beautiful! And I’ll tell you one thing: Zurich is by far my favorite travel destination. You have the option of taking a walking tour of the Old Town, visiting the stunning cathedrals of Grossmünster and Fraumünster, leisurely strolling Bahnhofstrasse, or visiting some of the nation’s top museums at a reduced rate with a Zürich Pass.
Some Beautiful Glimpses from my Trip
Without exploring Bern, the nation’s capital, no journey to Switzerland will be complete. The Swiss capital of Bern, which is set on a peninsula of the River Aare and oozes old-world beauty, is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its medieval old town. Visitors can explore the tallest cathedral in Switzerland, which offers panoramic views from its tower, as well as 16th-century fountains, the Zytglogge medieval clock tower with moving puppets, and six kilometers of shopping arcades, known to the locals as “Lauben,” while strolling along the cobblestone streets. The ancient town center can be seen well from the Rose Garden (Rosengarten).
You can also view Albert Einstein’s residence from here. Excellent museums are among the many tourist attractions in Bern that are just waiting to be explored. The outstanding galleries, which include the Bern Museum of Art (Kunstmuseum) and the Zentrum Paul Klee, which contains the biggest collection of artists’ works in the whole world, will attract art lovers.
Bern has a medieval vibe to it with its tucked-away cobblestone roads and elegant architecture.
Bern offers a variety of activities, from touring the city’s museums and art galleries to waddling around its lovely parks. Visitors may also take advantage of the city’s exciting eating and nightlife scenes.
Don’t miss the markets that are hosted at Bundesplatz including some memorable Christmas markets during Advent, which feature vistas of the elegant parliament building in Renaissance style (Bundeshaus). Family outings to Bear Park are also fun. Also try the Restaurant Rosengarten, which surrounds the well-known rose garden, and the wonderfully designed Kornhauskeller, with its huge chandeliers and fresco ceiling, both serve classic Swiss cuisine.
Make space for sweets while you’re in Bern and learn why Bern is known as the ice cream capital of Switzerland!
With a dazzling blue lake encircled by mountains, a car-free medieval old town, covered bridges, waterfront promenades, frescoed ancient buildings, and sun-dappled plazas with bubbling fountains the Lucerne (in German, Luzern) 14th-century city is a popular tourist destination Situated in the country’s center on the banks of the Reuss River.
This classic Swiss town, known for its musical performances, attracts renowned soloists, conductors, and orchestras every year to its International Music Festival. One of the top concert halls in the world is located inside the Culture and Convention Center.
The Chapel Bridge, a covered wooden bridge built in the 14th century with flower-covered walls, sidewalks evocative of an art gallery, and breathtaking vistas of the setting sun behind the Water Tower, is one of the city’s most well-known monuments. The iconic Lion Monument, a moving sculpture of a dying lion in a tiny park, honors the brave deaths of Swiss Guards during the French Revolutionary attack on the Tuileries. The Swiss Transport Museum, which features vast displays on all modes of transportation, including air and space travel, train engines, and a planetarium, will attract history fans.
The city is also renowned for running the world’s steepest cogwheel railway up to Mount Pilatus, which is referred to as “cloud-capped” and is known for mysterious stories about its resident dragons and ghosts.
Additionally, Mount Rigi and Mount Pilatus, which both provide breathtaking vistas and hiking possibilities, are also nearby.
Although I wish I had enough for Rigi as well, I decided on Mount Pilatus. If you own a Swiss Travel Pass, these are already covered, but if you don’t, you may buy tickets individually.
Interlaken is one of Switzerland’s most famous summer holiday resorts, lying between Lake Thun to the west and Lake Brienz to the east. It is best known as a nature resort or a type of theme park that takes place in the natural universe. Höhematte, located in the heart of town, is an urban design miracle with 35 acres of open space. The Höheweg, the major avenue through here with beautiful mountain views, is surrounded by flower gardens, hotels, and cafés.
The Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau, which rise above the town, offer fantastic options for ski adventures. The main activities include hiking, climbing, abseiling, and kayaking. Over 45 picturesque mountain railroads, cable cars, chairlifts, and ski lifts carry visitors into the surrounding area and provide several options for sky-sightseeing. While skiing, snowboarding, and paragliding are popular activities, they aren’t the only ones. You may also view the scenery from underneath by boarding a paddle boat and cruising around the lakes.
Switzerland’s center for adventure sports is Interlaken, according to popular belief. Sports like paragliding and skydiving are readily available here, but it’s of course the costs are expensive because this is Switzerland.
You should absolutely strive to set aside money in your budget for at least one risky splurge because Interlaken is a hotspot for adventure seekers.
I’ll say that I was just enough bold to witness it from the top of Schynige Platte since I’m afraid of heights.
After a day of natural exploration, you may enjoy the local specialty of raclette, which is filled with lots of melted cheese, if you’re feeling frisky.
The coastlines of several of Switzerland’s well cities are lapped by Lake Geneva, Europe’s biggest Alpine Lake that covers the Swiss/French border. At the point where the Rhône falls into Lake Geneva, the city of Geneva (in French Genève; in German Genf) is situated amid lovely snow-capped peaks. There is a lot to do in the area, from the worldwide bustle of Geneva to the many vineyards that clamber up the adjacent slopes. More athletic visitors to the region can go windsurfing, water skiing, or kayaking.
The European headquarters of the United Nations is located in this French-speaking “city of peace,” which emits a charming fusion of French joie de vivre and Swiss architecture. The lake is surrounded by boardwalks, parks, and gardens, and the old town is a great place to walk amid the historical structures. Another good sight is the Jet d’Eau, a fountain on Lake Geneva that shoots water 150 meters into the air. The Grand Théâtre, which hosts international performers, and the Opera House are also cultural landmarks.
Lausanne, another lakeside city, is 62 kilometers from Geneva and offers stunning views of the area, the lake, and the nearby Alps. Visit the charming cafés, shops, and majestic Gothic cathedral in the ancient old town. The famous Montreux Jazz Festival is held in June and July in Montreux, which is located on Lake Geneva at the base of the Alps.
Geneva is best experienced on foot. Take a stroll through the old city and take in all the stunning architecture and timepieces that you will never be able to purchase.
Visit several chocolate shops and try some of Switzerland’s best chocolate!
Geneva is renowned for having a huge number of distinctive museums. Glass and ceramics enthusiasts will like the Musée Ariana, while history buffs will value the Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum.
Jungfraujoch is known as “The Top of Europe”. The train ride to Jungfraujoch, with its viewing deck and scientific observatory positioned at 3,454 meters the world-famous Jungfrau railway beginning from Kleine Scheidegg and stopping at several locations along the way, is one of the most well-liked activities in the picturesque Bernese Oberland. The Great Aletsch Glacier, which starts at Jungfraujoch and is considered the longest glacier in Europe, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. At the base of the north face, the famed Eiger Trail makes its way from the Eiger glacier station to Alpiglen. By way of Grindelwald station, the best route to the peak of Jungfrau.
Several good hikes are the Gletscherschlucht (Glacier Gorge), Panorama Way to the sunny, south-facing First Slope, and pfelchüechliwäg, a high-altitude path that passes through flower-filled meadows, alpine pastures, and forests on its way from Holenstein to Brandegg. Gondolas and cable cars may take inactive people to beautiful Lauterbrunnen Valley views.
The tiara-shaped Wetterhorn and the Eiger’s steep north face, one of the world’s most spectacular and challenging climbs, tower over this alpine valley. The two gleaming glaciers of Grindelwald are located between the Alps. With its 2,681 meters, the Faulhorn provides the finest views of the towering Alps.
Great observation places, an ice palace you can hang out in (even in the summer), and amazing scenery of the Jungfrau region and its famed mountains are all features of this spectacular marvel.
The Top of Europe building, which houses a research center, cafés, and exhibition space, is attached to the station. You then ascend to the Sphinx observatory using an elevator. The most stunning sights may be found here.
Zermatt is the place to go if you want to ski or snowboard in the Swiss Alps. The Matterhorn, a mountain so famous that it served as the inspiration for a Disneyland ride, and Switzerland’s highest ski resort are located in this little town in the center of the Alps. It is a car-free village where visitors may enjoy its splendor gradually on foot, in horse-drawn carriages, electric vehicles, and gondolas.
Up to 30 historic structures, including granaries, can be found in the old village area, all of which represent the traditional way of life of mountain people. A stunning old church, a mountaineer’s graveyard, and a climbing museum are all nearby. Numerous cafés with distinctive Swiss flower-lined walls dot the town streets.
Visitors from all over the globe go to Gornergrat, the sun-drenched observation deck that provides one of the best views of more than 38 thirteen-thousand and 14 glaciers, including Monte Rosa, the Matterhorn, and the Gorner Glacier. Even more thrilling than the final goal is the journey to this deck, which is traveled in a glass cable car. Kulmhotel Gornergrat, the tallest hotel in Europe, is situated here.
It is deservedly well-known for the brief view of the Matterhorn’s iconic silhouette that may be caught from particular vantage points inside the town. When it’s bright, the top may be seen plainly, but on other days, the Matterhorn hides behind clouds, making it all the more impressive when you do see her.
It is absolutely worthwhile to ride the picturesque train up to the Gornergrat station on a day with good weather. While visiting Switzerland, I rode three mountain trains, but the Gornergrat was unquestionably the most breathtaking.
In other words, on my last day in Zermatt, I nearly started crying when I saw the Matterhorn peaking out from beneath the clouds!
The Matterhorn, Switzerland’s famous peaked point, is one of the most photographed mountains in the Alps. This iconic hill rises to 4,478 meters on the border with Italy, and its four steep slopes face the compass points. Because of its nearly perfect pyramid form, it is frequently said to resemble a jagged fang. By car, train, or bus, you can get to the Matterhorn. Italy’s Cervinia, which is connected by tunnel to Switzerland’s Zermatt, is the town closest point to the peak.
Many movies, like “The Great Escape” and “Where Eagles Dare,” include The Matterhorn as a set. With more than 350,000 visitors a year, it is also one of the most popular tourist locations in Europe. Skiers have access to more than 300 kilometers of slopes in the winter. Tennis, swimming, and mountain climbing in the nearby mountains are all popular summertime activities. There is also summer glacier skiing accessible.
You could even want to try climbing, although even if you are competent, it is advised to do so with a guide. Compared to other peaks, the Matterhorn is not seen to be particularly challenging to climb, but it is nevertheless physically taxing and can be challenging to identify a path if you are unfamiliar with the mountain.
Over 300 kilometers of slopes are accessible for skiing in the winter, while outdoor activities such as bicycling, swimming, and tennis are popular in the summer. Although the Alps and the Canadian Rockies are somewhat similar, the Matterhorn is genuinely distinct.
I decided to ride the Gornergrat Railway across Matterhorn Glacier Paradise. Though it was a difficult choice, I don’t believe there is any wrong answer!
I selected it in part because I wanted to see the Matterhorn reflected in Riffelsee Lake, which is only a quick hike (15–20 minutes) from one of the railway stops. You may avoid crowds and have ideal weather by arriving as near to daybreak as you can.
Read More To Know about my all-day adventure on Matterhorn – A Day Spend at the Matterhorn
St. Moritz is one of the top mountain destinations in the world and the birthplace of Alpine winter tourism because of its crystal lakes, glaciers, craggy hills, alpine forests, and abundant sunshine. In this upscale resort town, which hosted two Winter Olympics and the Skiing World Championships in 2003, opulent hotels and expensive restaurants are standard fares. It is surrounded by beautiful towns and has cobblestone streets covered in sheets of sparkling snow.
The town, 1,800 meters above sea level, is divided into two sections: St. Moritz Dorf is located on a sunny terrace with views of the Lake of St. Moritz. The second area of the city, lakeshore St. Moritz Bad on the valley bottom, is a health resort with more affordable lodging. Skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, bobsledding, and tobogganing down the famous Cresta Run’s 1.2 kilometers are just a few of the many winter activities available.
In the 1800s, St. Moritz’s mineral springs helped to increase tourism, and now it is one of the most well-liked ski resorts in the world, famous for its constantly snow-capped Alps. St. Moritz is a junction of cultures, which adds to the beauty of the surrounding mountains. Romansch, German, Italian, French, and English are all spoken in the neighborhood, in addition to the several languages spoken by the various well-off ex-pats and visitors from across the world.
Château de Chillon (Chillon Castle)
The Château de Chillon (Chillon Castle), located close to Montreux on the banks of Lake Geneva, has long served as a source of inspiration for painters and authors. Among the creative geniuses who have written on this architectural gem are Lord Byron, Jean Jacques Rousseau, and Victor Hugo. The castle was first used as a tactical water fort in the 10th century.
In addition to being placed to control movement from the north to the south of Europe, the oval-shaped fortress is protected by nature. The three major eras that make up the history of the castle are those of the Savoy family, the Bernese bailiffs, and the Canton of Vaud.
The Castle which consists of roughly 25 buildings arranged around 3 courtyards, was formerly the residence of the Counts and Dukes of Savoy beginning in the 12th century. Highlights include the Great Halls, which offer stunning views of Lake Geneva, the Gothic underground chambers, the Chapel, which is filled with paintings from the 14th century, and the Camera Domini, the Duke of Savoy’s bedroom with medieval frescoes.
Rhine Falls (Rheinfall)
The Rhine Falls (Rheinfall) in Schaffhausen is the biggest falls in Central Europe, spanning 150 meters. It is frequently referred to as the Niagra Falls of Europe and is situated directly on the border between Switzerland and Germany. When the mountain snow melts in June and July, the falls grow in volume and spill over a 23-meter-high ledge of Jurassic limestone. This is the finest time to come.
You may choose to either walk up to the rock structure or take a boat trip along the Rhine River. The Känzeli observation platform is one such well-liked viewpoint from where you can see the majesty of the falls and often even feel the refreshing spray on your face.
It is placed between the villages of Neuhausen am Rheinfall and Laufen-Uhwiesen/Dachien, where the magnificent Wörth Castle can be seen. If you want to enjoy some local cuisine while you watch the rising mist, there are also picnic areas and restaurants spread around.
To experience the sensation of being above the falls itself, walk out onto one of the observation platforms. Alternatively, you might go on a boat excursion, which will also allow you to explore the neighboring riverfront castles and the surrounding area.
The finest months to see the Rhine Falls are June and July when the snow has melted. The 21-meter waterfall’s volume of falling water is at its maximum, and the scene is more stunning than ever.
Swiss National Park
The Engadine Valley’s Swiss National Park, the oldest reserve in the Alps and a certified UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, was established in 1914. The park, which covers more than 170 square kilometers of limestone crags, fast-flowing rivers, and hollows covered with flowers, is located close to the Italian border. The environment is most striking in winter when the wooded mountains are wrapped in a covering of snow, and the views from the cross-country ski routes are breathtaking.
80 km of hiking trails and nature paths within the park allow the visitors to lay their eyes on some of the most beautiful landscapes of the country from up close. Wildlife enthusiasts can keep an eye out for exotic fauna and avifauna species like marmots, chamois, golden eagles, red deer, and ibex.