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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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”…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…