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9 places in Switzerland to see in your lifetime

Switzerland offers countless amazing spots and beautiful places; visiting them all would take half a lifetime.

This claim becomes even more impressive considering the small size of the alpine country. To help first time visitors not to miss any highlights, here are nine places in Switzerland you have to see in your lifetime!

The Appenzell region and the Aescher Restaurant.

In the eastern part of Switzerland are beautiful rolling hills and several gorgeous peaks: the Alpstein Region of Appenzell.

The Berggasthaus Aescher is synonymous for this popular hiking destination. Perched between a vertical cliff and a steep slope, the restaurant has gained worldwide fame thanks to a feature in National Geographic.

Aescher Wildkirchli at Alpstein
Copyright Christian Langenegger

The building has a rich history dating back to 1658, when Pastor Ulmann became the first hermit to live in this location. Over the years, more than 20 other hermits followed in his footsteps, leaving a lasting legacy on the history of Wildkirchli.

The Aescher has been around in its current form since 1860. It is considered one of the oldest mountain inns in Switzerland. My grandmother worked there as a nanny in the 1940s.

And in recent years, a new management has taken over. Apart from popular Appenzell foods, the Berggasthaus Aescher now serves contemporary choices like mixed lettuce with optional edible insects.

The cheese dairy at the valley floor

The Rhine Falls in Schaffhausen.

The highest waterfalls in Europe are 150 meters wide and 23 meters wide – but these are just numbers. The water is particularly impressive in the colder months, when the temperature drops and the falls are surrounded by mist. The River Rhine carries the most water by early summer, when the snow in the Swiss Alps has melted.

Places in Switzerland to see in your lifetime - Rhine Falls in Schaffhausen
Copyright Kristine Henggeler

To feel the amazing force of the water descending the Rhine, hop on a boat and climb the rock in the center of the Rhine Falls. But if this experience seems too risky, at least step on the platform underneath the Laufen Castle and snap a selfie…

The Engadine Valley from inside the Bernina Express train.

Here’s a case where a picture is worth a thousand words. The iconic red trains of the Bernina Express are old-fashioned in that the windows can be lowered.

The stretch between Pontresina and Tirano is a photographer’s dream because there are scenic mountains, raging rivers and Lago Bianco, a stunning lake at the top of the pass. During the descent to Tirano, the Bernina Express will make several sharp curves that allow for Instagram worthy train pictures.

Switzerland Train Map - Lago Bianco with a Red Bernina Express Train

The vastness of the Albula Pass.

When we stopped at the top of the Albula Pass in eastern Switzerland, we could not believe the sight. Those high alpine slopes are like out of this world!

If you enjoy driving curvy roads, crossing the Albula from Thusis to La Punt and onto Bergün should be on your Swiss bucket list.

Indian Summer in Engadine, Switzerland

The Valley of Waterfalls: Lauterbrunnen Valley.

Switzerland’s valley of waterfalls has inspired Rivendell in Tolkien’s The Hobbit. As you reach the end of the valley, the valley floor narrows, and the majestic cliffs grow taller.

Depending on the season, you can view up to 72 waterfalls! A bucket list sight are the Trümmelbach Falls. No wonder they called this valley “Lauterbrunnen”! It translates to “many fountains”…

Lauterbrunnen Valley

Bern, the seat of Switzerland’s parliament.

Not to single out only one town, but Bern should be on your list for several reasons. You will quickly understand why the old town’s arched passageways are under UNESCO World Heritage protection.

The turquoise Aare river snakes around the old town, creating a sight of its own. And the countless museums and architectural gems are another reason to put Bern on your Swiss list.

Berne Old City - UNESCO World Heritage Site

Lake Geneva with the Lavaux vineyards.

Built centuries ago, the sweeping vineyards along Lake Geneva are unique in every sense of the word. Not only are they beautiful to look at, but the wine culture of this region is home to many traditions worth experiencing.

During harvest season, all the small towns will hold festivals. And during summer, you can hike the narrow paths between vineyards, stopping for wine tastings here and there.

Lavaux Vineyards at Lake Geneva, Switzerland

Zermatt and the mighty Matterhorn.

Here’s a highlight many Swiss have never seen: The Matterhorn. Located in the very south of Switzerland at the end of the Matter valley, this mighty peak has a special draw.

Zermatt Matterhorn

One way to travel there is by Glacier Express train from St. Moritz. Or you could fly into Geneva and make Zermatt your first stop. Book a few nights at a hotel because you might not always see the Matterhorn due to fog or clouds.

Carina Zermatt Boutique Hotel - Mattehorn Views

You can’t go wrong with Ticino! Pick Ascona, Lavertezzo, Locarno or Lugano…

Ready for an unmissable Ticino moment? To see the clear waters of the Verzasca river with your own eyes.

One place to do so is the town of Lavertezzo, with its Roman bridge. It can be reached by public transport from Locarno, but it pays to arrive early to beat the crowds…

Lavertezzo in Ticino

Did we miss any must-see Swiss places? Please let us know in the comments if there are more places in Switzerland to see in your lifetime!

Dimitri Burkhard

As the founder, editor, and community manager of Newly Swissed, Dimitri owns the strategic vision. He is passionate about storytelling and is a member of Swiss Travel Communicators. Dimitri loves discovering new trends and covers architecture, design, start-ups and tourism.


  • Hi Dimitri,

    Thank you for the tips above but I am still not clear where I should start and end if I traveled across Switzerland?

    Due to the pandemic I have shelved my trip to Switzerland (since last year) but I hope to visit it next year (May) and I am planning ahead now.

    I will be flying in from Dubai probably into Bern or Zurich. I will take your advise to use the train for the duration of my trip. I will have approximately 18 days for the trip and I have plans to visit as many sights as possible. I found that area around Interlaken has great viewing spot e.g. Jungfrau, Grindelwald. I hope to visit quaint little villages as well if that is possible by train.

    Would be grateful if you can advise me on the above trip. TQvm


  • Hi Dimitri, looking at planning a Switzerland vacation in September. We are from the US and have never been to Switzerland. Does this itinerary sound feasible for someone who has never navigated through Switzerland. Your recommendation are appreciated. Ron Pisano

    Flight to Milan take bus to Pointe Helbronner sleep at Rifugio Torino around 3 1/2 hours
    Courmayeur (1 night)

    Take the Monte Blanco skyway to Chamonix

    Chamonix (2 nights/3)

    Take a train to Montreux 2.5 hour ride
    visit Montreux, Chateau de Chillon, visit Lausanne

    Montreux (2 nights/5)

    Montreux (Golden pass) to Lauterbrunnen valley 3.5 hr

    Murren (5 nights/10)

    Murren to Wengen 54 min

    Murren to Appenzell 5hr
    (hike and Eben alp)

    Appenzell (2nights/12)

    Appenzell to Lucerne 3hr

    Lucerne (2 nights/14)

    Lucerne to Lugano take Gotthard xpress

    Lugano (2 nights/16)

    Lugano to Pontresina taking Bernini Express.

    Pontresina (2 nights/18)

    Pontresina to Zermatt (6 hr) taking the Glacier Xpress

    Zermatt (2 nights/20)

    Zermatt to Milan (4hrs)

    Milan (1 night/21)
    Leave out of Milan airport

Dimitri Burkhard

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