Switzerland is one of the picturesque European destinations, one that is filled with medieval cities, cute towns and villages, mountains, and gorgeous lakes. In this post, we will discover the 15 most beautiful towns in Switzerland to add to your bucket list!
Our list includes some classic Swiss towns like Zermatt, Interlaken, Chur, and Montreaux as well as more off-the-beaten-track villages like Guarda, Andermatt, and Thusis. The choice is yours!
15 Most beautiful towns in Switzerland
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Travel Tips for Switzerland
Zurich is the largest city in the country. Their airport is the Swiss Air hub, which means you can find direct flights to Zurich, or connect to smaller towns from there. Because we live on the west coast in Canada, finding flights from Vancouver to Zurich is easy.
Zurich’s old town is pedestrian-friendly, and the city has a strong train network, so you can skip renting a car. You can explore any of the prettiest towns in Switzerland listed on this guide by doing on day trips from Zurich. Find where to stay in Zurich for your trip!
Bern is the capital city of Switzerland. The beautiful Aare River flows by the city, and it greets you with 12th-century medieval architecture at the Altstadt (Old Town), along with the Swiss Parliament.
To move around Switzerland, get a Swiss Travel Pass valid for 3, 4, 8, or 15 days. This is best to explore smaller towns, get on panoramic trains, and more. Check it out here.
For those staying for more than a month, or for a longer duration, try the Swiss half fare card.
Rapperswil, a historic town, located on the northern shore of Lake Zurich is a must add to your Switzerland bucket list. This town is perfect for a day trip from Zurich as it is only 30 minutes by car. You can visit Rapperswil by cruise/steamer, bike, or tour.
The town’s name was first mentioned back in 1045 AD which means it has been around for quite some time!
It has excellent youth hostel accommodations along with other affordable hotels, so it is a great place if you are on a budget.
Rapperswil literally means “the town of roses”, and this was a prominent settlement with a fortified castle that dates back to 1229. The Counts of Rapperswil controlled parts of Eastern and Central Switzerland.
In 2007, the towns of Rapperswil and Jona merged to form a new municipality, Rapperswil-Jona. Today it has a population of about 26,000, and it is the second-largest town in the canton of St. Gallen.
The primary attraction of Rapperswil is the Old Town or Altstadt. Located here is the Rapperswil Castle, which is a must-visit. This 13th century castle was built by the House of Rapperswil. You can spend an hour or so here, and then proceed to check out the rose gardens – after all, it is Rosenstadt or the “town of roses”.
There are about 600 different kinds of roses on display between June and October at the gardens. The Old Town is lovely for a walk – you will love the cute buildings, cafes, and of course the views of Lake Zurich from Rapperswil-Jona.
Accommodation: Stay at Sorell Hotel Speer in Rapperswil with lovely interiors!
Zermatt or Zermat in German is one of the prettiest and most visited towns in Switzerland, and it’s no wonder that this alpine village is deemed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Located here is the iconic Matterhorn which you should not miss seeing!
Originally named “Civitas de Zirme” by its founding Celts around the year 400 BC, Zermatt was purchased by a German-speaking family from the Sep Pays de Vaud in 1339 AD. The local language here is still German as it is one of those Swiss towns where you will see signs written in both French and German.
The first tourist arrived here in 1792, and this town has been on the map ever since. If you are planning to visit Zermatt, then expect that everything will be more expensive here compared to other towns in Switzerland.
Zermatt is best known for its connection with mountaineering due to the many hiking trails which allow hikers to up towards the high peaks of the nearby mountains such as Matterhorn and Dom.
It is also a very popular ski resort destination, with almost 15,000 beds to accommodate skiers and snowboarders!
This lovely little Swiss village is located within the Berner Oberland and it is a popular vacation spot for those who seek peace and tranquility.
The name Gimmelwald (also written as “Gimmelwald”) means “small mountain cabin”, and that goes to describe this quiet little village very well.
The nearby mountains are the famous Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau which can all be hiked up to via one of the nearby trails. There is an excellent restaurant here called “Gimmelen” where you can enjoy your Swiss delicacies while taking in the beautiful views of the Swiss Alps.
Gimmelwald is a traffic-free village in Switzerland and it is also located at an elevation. The Schilthorn cable car stops in Gimmelwald and allows you to connect to Mürren, and others in the Lauterbrunnen Valley.
If you are looking for a quiet mountain retreat close to some gorgeous mountains, then head down to Gimmelwald.
Accommodation: Stay in the cozy Pension Gimmelwald
This is a municipality in the Bernese Alps, and it was first mentioned as “in claro fonte” (all words mean “clear springs”) in 1240 AD. It was later known as Liuterbrunnon.
Lauterbrunnen is situated between huge mountains, is known as the valley of 72 waterfalls, and its backdrop is gorgeous!
It’s most famous mountains are Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau. These three mountains are part of the Berner Oberland region in the Bernese Alps which has some gorgeous hikes here for hikers to enjoy.
If you would like to see some waterfalls while you are in town, then you can check out Trümmelbach Falls which is a complex of 10 waterfalls.
You can also head on up to Winteregg where there is an aerial tramway that will take you up to Weissen Glacier (White Glacier). This glacier itself has some cool ice caves which you can visit.
Of course, soak every ounce of Staubbach Falls in the heart of Lauterbrunnen. This is the main falls that you will see flowing down in the valley.
You can visit Lauterbrunnen from Interlaken on a day trip, or extended stay.
Accommodation: Stay at Hotel Silberhorn that has free parking, and is pet friendly
Located in the southern part of Switzerland, Lugano is a Swiss town that sits at the edge of Lake Lugano and offers wonderful views of Monte San Salvatore and Monte Brè.
The name “Lugano” comes from Latin and it means “quiet lake”. Like Zermatt, Lugano is also a popular ski resort destination due to the many skiing trails leading up to Monte San Salvatore.
The local language here is Italian as this town was once ruled by the Duchy of Milan with parts of it bordering Italy. You can find some excellent restaurants around the lakefront area which serve great authentic Italian delicacies.
Lugano was also known as the “Capital of Italian Switzerland” during the rule of the Helvetic Republic, and this means it has some very interesting architectural styles here.
Accommodation: Opt for a lovely suite at the Villa Sassa Hotel with spa
Stein am Rhein
Located near Lake Constance, Stein am Rhein is a little town that has some excellent examples of Medieval architecture as this town was once home to the Bishopric of Konstanz.
The name “Stein am Rhein” means “stone by the Rhine”, and there were some stone buildings created here from 1049 AD all the way until the late 14th century.
You can visit the Rathaus (town hall) and see some of the historic wooden structures (such as staircases) that are still intact, or you can check out Rheinfall which is the largest plain-water rockfall in Europe. This rockfall reaches a height of about 15 meters, and it is 120 meters wide.
Visit Stein am Rhein or stay here overnight to see the historic beauty of this little Swiss town for yourself.
Accommodation: Consider staying at Hotel Rheinfels, which has a stunning riverfront restaurant!
Located at the base of the Aare Gorge, Interlaken is a tourist hot-spot that can get quite busy due to its location near so many great hikes, and lakes.
This town is built in between two gorgeous lakes – Lake Thun and Lake Brienz and is filled with cute buildings, and cobbled streets, with access to mountains and trails nearby.
You can find some incredible views around Interlaken such as Murren and Lauterbrunnen which will leave you breathless, but if you are seeking something for the kids then you can visit the Mini-Golf Park which features 30 courses.
Interlaken is also known for its many old wooden hotels, and these were built by the English in the 19th century where they would stay while taking on some of the great hikes in this area.
You can take a day trip to Interlaken from Lucerne, but if you would like to stay here overnight then there are lots of hotels and inns that can accommodate you.
Where to stay in Interlaken? Choose a room at this family owned modest Stella Swiss Quality Hotel
Located in the Grisons Canton, Chur is a historic town that was founded by the Romans around 15 BC. This town is located at the base of some very steep mountains which are along its northern side, and you can find great views across Lake Chur on the southern side.
The name “Chur” means “the oldest settlement at a place”, and this is because it was already in existence even before the Romans came here (it was also once called Curia Rhaetorum).
You can visit the 13th century Cathedral of the Assumption located in the courtyard of the Bishop’s Palace. There are also museums and cultural centres in Chur that are worth visiting.
The Brambrüesch aerial cableway is also an amazing attraction in this town that takes you to a plateau with trails, panoramic views, and winter ski slopes.
During the summer months, you can find some great outdoor activities such as cycling, hiking, or just relaxing around one of the many lakes that are located in this area.
You can wander around some of the historic towns in Chur such as Gaschurn and Schlein.
From Chur, the panoramic Bernina Express train crosses the Alps into Italy.
Read more about scenic trains in Switzerland here.
Where to stay in Chur? Stay at Hotel Stern Chur with a vintage vibe
Located on Lake Geneva, Montreux is a popular Swiss town to both live and visit. This is because it has its very own microclimate (meaning that this area often enjoys sunnier days than other areas of Switzerland), and the highest temperature here was 28°C (this happened in July 2015).
During the winter months in Switzerland, you can also find some great skiing around Montreux, and this includes some runs that lead to the town of Villeneuve.
The Château de Chillon is a Medieval castle that can be found on Lake Geneva; this castle was built in the 11th century by the Savoy family who also then lived here until 1268 AD. The castle has changed hands many times since then, and it is now owned by the Canton of Vaud.
There are more castles in this area such as the Châtelard Castle which was once a fortress and is now a Swiss Cultural Property of National Significance. Montreux Museum is worth visiting here to learn more about this municipality.
Other interesting towns that can be found near Montreux include Blonay, Haut-Intyamon, La Tour-de-Peilz, Noville, and Veytaux.
Accommodation: Book a room at Hotel Eurotel with lake facing views
Located in the Jungfrau region, Grindelwald is a popular town to visit due to its location near the Eiger mountain.
This area gets quite busy during the summer months as there are lots of hikers that take on this impressive mountain (the train station platform even has an archway which is dedicated to those who have lost their lives whilst climbing this mountain).
There are many other mountains around Grindelwald, but the Monch is probably the most popular one to visit. This mountain has three peaks, and when you reach the very top of all three you will find an old wooden hut which was built in 1858 (it also has some great views across this area).
Grindelwald is also home to one of Europe’s highest cable car which runs up to the summit of First, and it has some great views across the Wetterhorn mountain. It is called the First Railway, located at an elevation of 2,168 metres or 7112.86 feet, and riding the cable car is one of the highlights of Grindelwald.
Where to stay? Book a room at the Hotel Grindelwalderhof
Located in the Bernese Oberland region, Gstaad is a town that is popular for its skiing and luxurious hotels. This area has great skiing during both winter and summer (although they are usually shorter in length than most other ski resorts), and some of the runs lead straight up to many of the expensive hotels which provide overwintering opportunities for many birds and animals.
Gstaad is also a very popular place to visit during the summer months as it has so much to offer including some great outdoor activities such as cycling or hiking, or you can even take a boat trip across Lake Arnensee Saanen which operates from the town’s pier.
Another attraction that often surprises people is that Gstaad is famous for its chocolate production. And how about relishing some in style!
Well, the Gstaad Palace Hotel is home to some extravagant chalets, and in the summer months you can enjoy finest Swiss chocolates here along with pampering at the spa, and indulging in festivals.
Other interesting towns that can be found near Gstaad include Saanen, Lenk, and Saanenmöser.
Where to stay? Gstaad Palace Hotel for an epic getaway
The town of Pura is located in the Ticino Canton (Italian-speaking part of Switzerland), and it was first mentioned back in 1335 during the rule of Count Luchino Visconti.
Pura is a quiet little town that has some excellent views of the Swiss Alps, and one of its local attractions here is the parish church of San Martino which was mentioned in the 14th century, and later re-built from 1642 to 1648. This church reflects the design and architectural styles of many other buildings around Lugano and Milan.
The town of Pura is close to Lake Lugano which makes it a great location to go for a swim or boat ride. Or if you want something more strenuous then take on one of the nearby hiking trails that will lead up to Monte Generoso.
Pura also offers amazing views of the mountains Monte Bre, and Monte San Salvatore.
If you would like to see some historic buildings (and perhaps get some great views of the Swiss Alps), head over to Pura, Ticino.
Accommodation: Stay at the cute Casa Al Portico. It is an apartment with a kitchenette, and is located only a few minutes away from Lugano
Another great town to visit near Bern is Lenk which is known for winter sports and snow related activities. This village lies in the Simmental valley of the Bernese Oberland.
There are a number of waterfalls in the area that can be visited, and one of them is the Siebenbrunnen Falls (‘Seven Springs’) which is one of the prettiest and tallest in Europe. This waterfall flows directly out of the mountain over a wide of 30 meter, and in the summer months it flows at its maximum volume of up to 2,800 liter per second!!
Other interesting towns that can be found near Lenk include Leuk, Gutenbrunnen, Ober- and Pöschenried.
The town of Saas-Fee can be found in the northwestern region of Switzerland near the entrance to the Saastal valley. This is another popular resort that has a good selection of hotels, restaurants, shops, and even its own casino.
During winter this area provides some great skiing opportunities which include a large selection of runs for various levels of abilities, and some of the more experienced skiers can even try out a number of off-piste routes that have been cut into the vast expanse of snow.
Find all the amazing places to visit in Switzerland in the winter.
In summer this resort becomes very popular as it has so many activities to offer including paragliding, hiking, climbing, mountain biking, or even a gondola ride which takes you from the town’s station right up to some of the best walking trails.
Where to stay in Saas-Fee? Walliserhof Grand-Hotel & Spa Saas-Fee
Andermatt is a town that many people have not heard about – this is probably because it is relatively new by Swiss (tourism) standards.
There are written records of Andermatt tracing back to early 13th century with reference to the Benedictine Disentis Abbey.
Andermatt, later became an important railway hub for the Gotthard tunnel route in the late 19th century. It was a large part of this railway route runs through some very hard rock which means that it is not susceptible to the same problems as other rail tunnels.
Andermatt has a number of interesting attractions including the charming Old Town area and museum, and there are also several hikes and mountain walks in the surrounding hills where you can gain spectacular views across this part of Switzerland.
Attractions also include a sports centre which offers almost all of the popular Swiss skiing, snowboarding, walking, and cycling activities including glacier tours.
Other interesting towns that can be found near Andermatt include Göschenen, Realp, Gurtnellen, Oberalp Pass, Hospental, Sedrun, Amsteg, Bergün/Bravuogn, and Furka Pass in the canton of Uri.
Accommodation: Stay at the beautiful Radisson Blu Hotel Reussen – this property has a spa and indoor pool on-site
Guarda is a town, located in the largest and the eastern most canton of Grisons or Graubünden. It sits at an altitude of 1,653 m (5,423 ft).
The main attraction in Guarda is its old town, which is home to some of the well preserved architecture. For this very reason, it was awarded the Wakker Prize in 1975 by the Swiss Heritage Society.
There are also some great hiking trails with beautiful views that lead into the scenic countryside.
In recent years Guarda has become a very popular skiing resort, and it has an outdoor ice rink that is open through the winter, plus it also has its own toboggan run.
Other interesting small towns that can be found near Guarda include Olen, Glis, Aedermannsdorf, Obersaxen, and Brienz.
Accommodation: Book a room at the Meisser Hotel, with a lovely restaurant and bar on-site
Thusis is another small town near Chur in the canton of Graubünden. It is found beside the Albulapass which connects Switzerland to Italy.
Nearby attractions include the largest and most impressive gorge in the canton, called the Vimala, where you will find some spectacular views over this area of Switzerland.
The rock walls here rise up to 300 metres high above the gorge. There are several other walks that can be enjoyed in this region including one that goes to the summit of this mountain.
In Thusis you will find a historic town centre with some lovely buildings, and there is also a very interesting Rosenroll house which dates back to the 17th century.
Attractions also include a late-Gothic parish church from 1506, a small baroque castle from 1727 and the ruins of Obertagstein Castle that rise high above the town.
Other interesting towns and villages that can be found near Thusis include Trin, Filisur, Klosters, Bergün/Bravuogn, Scuol-Tarasp Flims Dorf-Laax Falera.
Accommodation: Stay at the modest Gyger AG Bed & Breakfast
Which town in Switzerland is on your bucketlist?
Switzerland is a country that has it all, from beautiful mountain landscapes to lakeside getaways. As you can see in our top 15 list of the prettiest towns in Switzerland, there are plenty of options for anyone looking to explore this nation’s natural beauty and enjoy some relaxation time.
The next trip you take should include one of these destinations!
Which town would be your next favorite?
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