Swiss Perfection - Top places to visit in Switzerland
Written by Julia Tregaskis-Allen
13 July 2018
The iconic Swiss view of the Matterhorn.
As a destination for nature and culture lovers, Switzerland offers an impressive choice of landscapes and traditions to enjoy. Whether hiking in the shadow of the Matterhorn, swimming in Lac Léman, or running beneath the Eiger, there’s something for everyone in this outdoor paradise.
It’s hard to rival the globally iconic status of that chocolate box 'Toblerone' mountain, the Matterhorn. Dominating the head of the Zermatt valley, this dramatic peak remains a popular challenge for mountaineers. It’s also a fantastic mountain biking, trekking and trail running area, with a well-marked trail network and access to a train and cable cars to accelerate your access to the higher itineraries, including to the Klein Matterhorn (Little Matterhorn) at 3883m.
Although don’t miss out on seeing close-up the lower alpine meadows with their abundant flowers and curious cows quietly looking on as it's the perfect location for some first class day hikes. It’s also the end of the classic Haute Route trek which begins in Chamonix, France and crosses the canton Valais to reach this quintessential Swiss mountain town.
Zermatt also provides an ideal base to relax, indulge and shop for those classic Swiss souvenirs - chocolate and Swiss Army knives of various kinds are in abundance here! Catering for most budgets and tastes, and being unusually 'car free' offers a feeling of escape from the pace of everyday life. Find out more to plan your visit with Zermatt tourism office.
Many people fly into Geneva and hop straight on a transfer to their destination. Understandable if time is tight, yet there are some worthwhile places to visit either side of your trip. It's even possible with just 80 minutes to spare on your arrival to the airport to leave luggage and obtain a FREE travel card to make a quick visit.
With Lake Geneva (or Lac Lèman) the main feature, and the parallel panoramas of the Alps and the Jura either side of the city, it’s a prime spot to absorb the grandeur of the landscape and embark on further adventures in the mountains. A perfect place to enjoy all aspects is down at the Bains des Paquis: a community owned beach, restaurant and sauna (in the winter) located on a jetty stretching into the lake opposite the famous ‘jet d’eau’.
Geneva is spread out over several distinct districts, easily reached by public transport or using the free bikes (for up to 4 hours). The Paquis area near the main Cornavin train station offers department store shopping, quirky cafes and bars, hotels and the lake; Eaux-vives is the old town area with the Cathedral (great views from the top!) and narrow, cobbled streets lined with bars, cafes and restaurants; the student district of Plainpalais has the more reasonable and diverse range of eateries and bars and a large diamond shaped central area that hosts fares and has a flea-market most weekends; further out, Carouge retains a more traditional feel and has a lively outdoor scene in the summer, making it a pleasant place to stay.
Travelling by bike means you can enjoy getting a bit lost to discover some of the lesser known areas, or even head out to the vineyards and more rural areas in the vicinity. To help plan your visit to Geneva visit https://www.geneve.com/
For a glimpse into the heart of the Swiss Alps, look no further than bucolic Grindelwald. Set among the high alpine pastures of the Bernese Oberland mountain range and overlooked by the imposing North Face of the Eiger, it’s an impressive village to arrive in.
Trekking, running, climbing and mountain biking are all well-catered for here, with further itineraries possible using the cable cars or Jungfraujoch railway. While not cheap, the full train experience that takes you through the Eiger up to the pass (joch) at 3466m is an incredible experience.
Multiple cafes and restaurants in the area offer local cuisine of Rösti (grated and fried potato), Käseschnitte (grilled cheese) and much more, and there are plenty of accommodation options to choose from.
A short walk out of town soon immerses you in a picture-postcard setting of wild Alpine flowers, towering cliffs and immense views set to the soundtrack of the characteristic Swiss cow bell! Find out more on Grindelwald and visit My Switzerland.
What we offer ... check out our trekking and running guided tours to the Swiss Alps. Either based in or passing through Switzerland these trips all still have places available this summer.