This country in Central Europe is for the most part dominated by the largest mountain range in the European Union, the Alps. This also means that most of the tourist attractions in Switzerland are natural landmarks situated within this majestic mountainous area.
The largest cities in the country, Zürich, Geneva, Basel, and the capital Bern, are located on the Swiss Plateau. This is one of the 3 geographic regions that make up the country, situated in between the Alps and the Jura Mountains.
With a population of just 8.5 million inhabitants, it’s one of the smaller countries in Europe as well. Regardless, Switzerland is home to some of the most important international organizations, including the WTO, the WHO, the ILO, the headquarters of FIFA, and the UN’s second-largest office.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the best things to do in Switzerland, attractions that you must put on your bucket list when you visit this fascinating country.
1. Aletsch Glacier
Many of Europe’s most amazing glaciers are located in Switzerland, and the epitome of these fascinating bodies of ice is the Aletsch Glacier. This diminishing feat of nature covers an area of 81.7 square kilometers (31.5 square miles) and is located in the Eastern Bernese Alps, a subrange of the Alps located in the western part of the country.
Just as with any other glacier in the world, This one situated in the Swiss canton of Valais gradually losing ground as it has lost about 3.2 kilometers (2 miles) of its length since 1870. Unfortunately, this process is speeding up as well due to the effects of global warming. The Aletsch Glacier is part of the Jungfrau-Aletsch Protected Area which was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2001.
Read more on Listerious: 10 facts about the Aletsch Glacier
Official website: Aletsch Arena
2. Chillon Castle
If you would have to choose a castle in Europe with the most picturesque location, then Chillon Castle would definitely on top of the list. This island castle is actually located on the eastern tip of Lake Geneva, one of the most famous lakes in Europe, in the Swiss canton of Vaud. It has a rich history as the original version of the castle dates back to at least the 11th century.
This magnificent castle became the summer residence of the Counts of Savoy in the 12th century and changed hands between the House of Savoy and the Bernese a couple of times throughout its history. Today, it’s one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country and has been dedicated as a Swiss Cultural Property of National Significance.
Read more on Listerious: 12 facts about Chillon Castle
Official website: Chillon Castle
3. The Geneva Water Fountain
On the other side of Lake Geneva, we can found the city of Geneva, The second-most populous city in Switzerland after Zürich. This city encircles the western tip of Lake Geneva and one of the most fascinating landmarks in the city can be found right inside this amazing lake called the “Geneva Water Fountain.”
This iconic landmark is locally known as the “Jet d’Eau” and it has become one of Geneva’s main attractions since its installation in 1951. This was actually the second fountain here as it replaced an older one that was installed in 1886, just a bit further than where we can see the immense fountain today. The jet of the fountain is able to shoot water in the air to an altitude of 140 meters (460 feet). This means it can be seen from all throughout the city.
Official website: Geneva Water Fountain
4. Mount Pilatus
Mount Pilatus is the name referencing a massif of mountain peaks that overlook the city of Lucerne in central Switzerland. The highest peak stands 2,128.5 meters (6,983 feet) above sea level and overlooks the city of Lucerne and Lake Lucerne as well, making it an amazing spot to get astounding views.
During the summertime, there’s a special roundtrip for tourists who want to explore Mount Pilatus. This tour is referred to as the “Golden Round Trip” and starts with a boat ride on Lake Lucerne, followed by a trip up the mountain using the cogwheel railway, going back down using the aerial cableways and panorama gondolas, and heading back to the city by bus. This is most definitely one of the best tours in Switzerland you can add to your itinerary.
Official website: Mount Pilatus
5. Rhine Falls
The Rhine Falls is the most powerful and fascinating waterfall in Europe. They are located right on the border of the cantons of Schaffhausen and Zürich, right next to the town of Neuhausen am Rheinfall. With a height of just 23 meters (75 feet), it’s far from being the highest waterfall in the world, but it has a width of 150 meters (490 feet) as well which is huge.
Remarkably, the waterfall is most powerful during the summer months due to the melting ice water that flows into the High Rhine. The average flow rate during the summer months is 600 cubic meters per second (21,000 cubic feet per second). The town of Neuhausen am Rheinfall is also the location of a historic castle named Wörth Castle, and viewing platforms near the waterfall provide a great view of both the natural landmark and the amazing castle.
Official website: Rhine Falls
6. Bernina Express
The Bernina Express is the name of a railway that connects the town of Chur in Switzerland with the town of Tirano in Italy. In order to travel between these two towns, it has to pass by the Swiss Engadin Alps. This region is renowned for its natural beauty and features a long high Alpine valley referred to as the “Engadine.”
The trains on this connection are specialized for sightseeing as they pass by lakes, mountains, viaducts, tunnels, bridges, and other amazing sights in this part of Switzerland. It also features an audio guide in 3 different languages, English, Italian, and German, so you can learn all about the fascinating things along the way. The Albula and Bernina lines were declared a World Heritage site in 2008 and this is without question one of the most amazing trains you’ll ever take.
Official website: Bernina Express