Whether you want to escape the summer heats or plan perfect winter holidays, the Alps are the ultimate destination in Europe. Switzerland is a unique land of different nations and home to mountain villages, lakes, ski resorts, cheese and chocolate! We present to you our top 10 of the best small towns and villages in Switzerland for the most perfect vacation!
Interlaken is a well-known tourist resort located between the lakes Brienz and Thun, in the heart of Switzerland. The rural area of the town is actually an idyllic blend of mountains and lakes. Visitors can enjoy numerous activities in Interlaken, from the relaxing cruises across the lakes to hiking to the top of Jungfrau, Eiger and Mönch peaks. Of course, those who want the ultimate relaxation can reach the mountain tops by the funicular. Summers offer kayaks and paddleboats while winters are for skiing and ice skating. In the end, discovering the beautiful natural surroundings and amazing views while on the Alpine fresh air seems to be just enough!
Literally translated to “many fountains”, Lauterbrunnen is home to a truly stunning landscape located in the valley in the Bernese Alps. It consists of mountain peaks, Alpine meadows and more than 70 waterfalls! Summers call for a refreshing stay in nature. Hiking or biking is a great way to explore the area, but you can also reach the tops by train. Winters are perfect for winter sports and adrenaline lovers can try paragliding or base jumping throughout the year. The area is also home to a famous filming location. Schilthorn is famous for the James Bond movie On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. A short cable car ride will take you on top where you can dine in the restaurant that offers the most spectacular view.
Lugano is a town on the Lake Lugano, bordering Italy. Therefore, no wonder this place is the perfect combination of the Alpine and Mediterranean features. Lugano is surrounded by intertwined lakes and mountains and the whole area is car-free. The area offers numerous adventures such as paragliding and water activities in Splash & Spa. The favourite hiking trail is the ancient Olive Trail that goes through the beautiful area of hundreds of years old olive groves. Lugano is more than a holiday resort thanks to its rich historical background. Discover the Cathedral of San Lorenzo, Church of Santa Maria degli Angeli or visit museums such as Museo d’Arte della Svizzera Italiana and Swissminiatur.
On the shores of Lake Geneva lies Montreux, a popular Swiss resort bordering the steep Alpine hills. The town offers an incredible cultural experience combined with countless outdoor activities. Many artists found peace and inspiration in this small town throughout history including Charlie Chaplin and Freddy Mercury. The most famous statue of the legendary Queen frontman is located here. Museums such as Chaplin’s World and Chillon Castle are the top-visited ones as they give a break from the active holiday in nature. In the end, visit the Montreux Jazz Festival if you get the chance and attend concerts of the biggest names in the music industry.
Celebrities have recognized Gstaad a long time ago, so everyone seeking a luxurious vacation, this is a place to be. As a famous skiing resort, Gstaad is a paradise for winter sports lovers that goes beyond skiing. Try curling, ice skating, snow biking or horse-drawn sleighing, the options are endless. On the other hand, summer offers a wide selection of activities including hiking, paragliding and mountain biking. Besides, those seeking the ultimate relaxation can join some of the wellness programs offered by most of the hotels in the area. Together with the serene and stunning nature, the overall experience guarantees a perfect holiday.
Sion or Sitten is a sunny town in the canton of Valais. The town is culturally and historically rich, so get to know it through its most remarkable sights. The two most recognizable ones are Castle Tourbillon and Castle of Valeria and its basilica, standing on a hill, facing each other. The old town hides several more churches, museums and plenty of interesting shops that will easily keep you busy all day. During the winter, Sion is another great skiing destination, while summers let you explore the medieval architecture and the Valais vineyards surrounding the town. All in all, Sion is a great family destination in all seasons offering countless activities.
Wengen is a mountain village located in Bernese Oberland and at an altitude of more than 1200 m above the sea. No wonder this place hosts several skiing events including the FIS Alpine Ski World Cup. Obviously, Wengen is a winter wonderland and a perfect winter destination. But this charming village is a delight in all seasons. Escape the summer heats and recharge in the pristine Alpine nature. Hiking is the most common activity, but dare to try more adventurous activities such as zip-lining. The entire area is car-free and getting to the mountain tops is easy by cable car.
The idyllic mountain village of Andermatt is located in the valley, at an altitude of more than 1400 m above sea level. Moreover, Andermatt lies in the heart of Switzerland’s Alpine passes, from east to west and from north to south. Therefore skiing in winter, as well as hiking and climbing in summer are the most common activities. Discover the rivers, springs, mountain lakes, glaciers and more. One of the most interesting sights in Andermatt is the Devil’s Bridge, an old bridge dating back sometimes between the 11th and 16th century, looking like it’s been carved out of a single stone block.
Chur is among the oldest towns in Switzerland with a history of more than 5000 years. The car-free old town is one of the best-preserved ones in Switzerland, keeping the authentic atmosphere combined with modern features. Therefore, the town perfectly combines notable sights with plenty of shops, cafes and restaurants. The most remarkable sight is Martinskirche, a church with a spire and a clock. Among other interesting sights are Malteserturm, Kathedrale St Maria Himmelfahrt, Rätisches Museum and Sennhofturm, the remains of the old defensive walls.
This small settlement counts a population of less than 200 people. Still, the village is breathtaking and it was awarded the Wakker Prize for preserving the architectural heritage. Guarda is the synonym of the idyllic village with scenic landscape. Therefore, hiking is a true delight in this area. The village is an ideal escape from the city hustle for families who want to enjoy the pristine nature and small-town charm.