Switzerland Travel Guide
Known around the world for its neutrality, chocolate, cheese, watches, army knives and the iconic Red Cross, Switzerland is a diverse country that is nestled between Italy, France and Austria and is home to some of the most majestic mountains in the world. Traveling to Switzerland takes you on a journey of discovery from ancient architecture to stunning mountain vistas and panoramic views.
The capital of Switzerland, Bern, is a city that is steeped in history and tradition, which is on display to the many Switzerland tourists that visit each year. Its clock tower is an ornate astronomical clock complete with moving figures that was built in the 1500’s and makes for a splendid photo opportunity. The Cathedral of Bern is Switzerland’s largest, while their Houses of Parliament built in the 1800’s are a beautiful ode to days gone by.
Albert Einstein called Bern home for 2 years and now his flat is a museum called Das Einstein Haus where visitors can see pictures and artifacts of one of the greatest minds the world has ever known.
Tourism in Switzerland centers around the stunning scenery, and nothing says natural beauty quite like The Matterhorn. Located on the Swiss/Italian border, this mountain is 4,478m high and features four soaring faces that reach up into the sky. The Swiss Alps are also full of tiny villages, pristine lakes, valleys and many bridges, which you can see when you take the Glacier Express train on a 7.5 hour journey from Zermatt to St. Moritz.
St. Moritz is known to locals and those traveling to Switzerland alike as a place to get out and enjoy the Alps, with railways, scenic hikes, mountain restaurants, and plenty of trails to bike and explore in the summer. Mountain lakes sitting amid the soaring peaks make for inviting ways to cool off or go boating and fishing in the summer months, while in winter, St. Moritz is a mecca for skiing, snowboarding and playing in the snow in the fresh mountain air.
Vacations in Switzerland will also bring you to the fabled Heidi’s Cottage, made famous in the Heidi book series, which is located near St. Moritz, where you can also find the Leaning Tower. This 12th Century piece of work was supposed to be a church tower, but the church was never built. This tower, although it does lean gives breathtaking views to the many tourists who visit it each year.
Located in Switzerland’s south region is the city of Lugano, famous for its public baths, Nordic walking trails, and water sports and for being the Swiss answer to the Mediterranean. The numerous open spaces, lakes and gorgeous vistas make Lugano a vacation within a vacation in Switzerland, and is a place to relax and soak up the sun, not to mention the mountain views.
For those traveling in the western region of Switzerland is the beautiful city of Geneva. Parked on the banks of Lake Geneva, this city is also home to the Place du Bourg-de-Four, in the heart of old town, this exquisite 16th century masterpiece features antiquated architecture, a fountain from the 18th century and a beautiful terrace with stunning views. For panoramic views, don’t miss Saint Peter’s Cathedral, with its 157 steps to the lookout point, a 6 ton bell and many other treasures. Tourists to Switzerland will also want to stop at the tourist attraction that may be the most unique in the area, the Flower Clock. Depending on the season and the flowers within, the clock is a beautiful display of color. Built in 1955, this clock is located in English Garden and boasts the longest second hand in the world.
Zurich, the financial giant is also known for the Fraumunster. Founded in 853, this church and convent was inhabited by female members of the aristocracy and features beautiful stained glass windows and the largest organ in the city, with an amazing 5,793 pipes. The Augustinergasse is one of the oldest streets in the city featuring oriole peepholes and colorful windows that still holds its old world charm in a bustling cosmopolitan city.
Tourism in Switzerland doesn’t get any better than the Aquabasilea in Basel, located in the north of the country. This park boasts 8 waterslides, health spas, sauna world, and a vitality bathing area. Once you are good and relaxed, you can treat yourself to a walking tour of the Basel Old Town, one of the prettiest little towns in all of Switzerland. This tour features 15th century architecture intermingled with contemporary designs for an interesting change of pace.
For a change of pace, the Gantrisch Panoramic Trail offers travelers to Switzerland a walking tour filled with breathtaking sights as you rise above the forested area on wooden footpaths allowing for spectacular views of Bern and the natural beauty that surrounds it.
Lying to the East of Bern is the city of Lucerne, where the Dying Lion of Lucerne calls home. This monument of a lion carved into rock is a memorial to the Swiss mercenaries who died at The Tuileries in 1792. Lucerne is also famous for its Chapel Bridge, built in the 14th century and its Water Tower, which was formerly part of the city wall, built in 1300 and was used in the past as an archive, treasury, prison and torture chamber. Today it is a tourist attraction that stands at 34 meters tall.
For its natural beauty, historical reverence and quaintness, Switzerland offers tourists a great vacation getaway into the past while keeping them rooted firmly in the present. And hey, don’t forget the chocolate!