Little, mountainous, efficient Switzerland is one of Europe's most appealing destinations. Wedged neatly between Germany, Austria, France, and Italy, Switzerland melds the best of all worlds — and adds a healthy dose of chocolate, cowbells, and cable cars. Fiercely independent and decidedly high-tech, the Swiss stubbornly hold on to their quaint traditions, too. Join cheesemakers in a high valley, try to call the shepherds on an alphorn, and hike through some of the world's most stunning mountain scenery.
At a Glance
▲▲▲ Lauterbrunnen Valley Spectacularly beautiful region in the heart of the Berner Oberland, popular for its cliffside towns and scenic hikes, lifts, and train rides.
▲▲▲ Bern Cozy capital of Switzerland tucked in a sharp river bend, with arcaded shopping promenades, medieval clock towers, and museums devoted to Albert Einstein and artist Paul Klee.
▲▲ Zermatt Glitzy ski resort that sports some traditional old-fashioned touches and glorious hiking options, in a valley at the foot of the famous Matterhorn.
▲▲ Luzern and Central Switzerland Touristy yet worthwhile town of historic wooden bridges, picturesque streets, and vintage steamships that ply lovely Lake Lucerne, ringed by mountains with stunning vistas accessible by high-altitude lifts.
▲▲ Zürich Bustling cosmopolitan city — Switzerland's largest by far — with upscale shops and an appealing riverside old-town quarter full of pointy church spires and pealing bells.
▲▲ Murten Quaint, small walled town sitting right next to the German/French linguistic fault line, with nearby Roman ruins and museum in Avenches.
▲▲ Lake Geneva and French Switzerland Small-but-sophisticated lakeside city of Lausanne, Switzerland's best castle experience at Château de Chillon, the cute cheesemaking center of Gruyères, and pleasant scenery in the surrounding countryside.
▲▲ Appenzell The most traditional Swiss region, known for pastoral scenery, small towns, cows, folk museums, and, just a cable-car ride away, a rustic cliffside retreat at Ebenalp.
▲ Ticino Switzerland's Italian-speaking region, featuring the lakeside city of Lugano, with enough charm to merit a short visit, plus access to scenic boat trips on Lake Lugano and lifts to lakeside peaks.
▲ Upper Engadine Romansh-speaking, exotically remote alpine valley with unique townscapes and great hikes, connecting several especially scenic roadways and train journeys.