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Switzerland is known as one of the most breathtakingly beautiful countries in Europe. It’s home to stunning mountains, dense green forests, crystalline lakes, and quaint towns. The country draws thousands of tourists each year and while many stick to the more well-trodden route visiting Jungfrau, Locarno, Lake Zurich, Interlaken, Zermatt, and Luzern, we think it’s better to get off the beaten track. We’ve rounded up some of the best places to visit in Switzerland. From epic military structures through to picturesque, near-deserted lakes, here are our top picks:
1. Trift Bridge, Gadmen
Trift Bridge is an impressive 557-foot long pedestrian suspension bridge that crosses the Trift Gorge in the Swiss Alps. It stands at a height of 328 feet and is well and truly located in the middle of nowhere, near a small town called Gadmen. It’s an incredible sight and definitely makes for a fun activity to cross the gorge at such a height. Warning: the bridge bounces with the wind, so if you’re afraid of heights, this isn’t the best option for you. The views from the bridge are amazing, and you can see a glacier alongside mountain peaks and green forests.
2. Caumasee, Films
If you love the idea of a turquoise lake surrounded by forest, Caumasee is a must-visit. The lake is located in Flims, in the Grisons, and it’s relatively off the beaten track. Locals say it’s one of the most tranquil and beautiful lakes in Switzerland. You can read a book beside the lake beach, take a dip in the crystal clear green water, hire a paddle boat, or hike around the surrounding mountains. There are plenty of hotels surrounding the lake, alongside international restaurants, and it makes a great place to stay for a few days of much needed R&R.
3. Öschinensee, Kandersteg
Another picturesque lake is Öschinen, located in the mountains in Kandersteg. It’s a stunning lake surrounded by dark grey mountains and dense trees. There’s a four-hour hike which will take you to a vantage point overlooking the lake and the surrounding mountains. The lake is a rich blue color, and while the water is very cold, it’s nonetheless incredibly rewarding to take a dip after a hike in the gorgeous area.
4. Verzasca Valley, Ticino
The Verzasca Valley lies at the southernmost point of Switzerland in the Italian-speaking region of Ticino. The valley is blessed with several turquoise rivers running through it and it’s a truly beautiful part of the country. You can snorkel and scuba dive in the rivers, go canyoning and even go bungee jumping.
5. Saint-Ursanne, Saint-Ursanne
Saint-Ursanne in Jura is one of the most beautiful Swiss towns. It lies nestled in the Doubs river valley and is a charming town that dates back to the 10th century. The town has preserved much of its Medieval architecture and feels like you’ve taken a step into the past. In Saint-Ursanne you can also find traditional Swiss colorful buildings and an ancient cathedral to explore.
6. Explore the Highest Village in Europe, Juf
Juf is known as the highest village in Europe and it sits at 6,975 feet above sea level. The village is located amongst incredible green mountains and there are plenty of hiking trails in the surrounding area. It has been described as the Swiss version of the Scottish Highlands and it’s well worth a visit if you’re looking to get off the traditional Swiss tourist trail.
7. Epic Fortress Furigen, Stansstad
Swiss military defenses are some of the most impressive in Europe. During tumultuous times in the 20th century, Switzerland wired many of its roads, bridges, and tunnels with explosives so they could be destroyed at the push of a button. The idea was to make the country impenetrable and to protect it from invasion. Many of these military installations are tourist attractions today, with Fortress Furigen being the most impressive.
8. Ride a Sky Train, Andermatt
In Switzerland, you can ride a topless sky-train or cable cars through its Alpine mountains. Some of the best places to ride the trains are in Graubunden, Andermatt, and around the beautiful Lake Brienz. It’s a relaxing activity with amazing views.
9. Lake Blausee, Kander Valley
Lake Blausee in Gasterntal is another stunning Swiss lake that’s relatively off the tourist trail. The lake has vibrant turquoise colors and it’s surrounded by a dark green forest and rugged mountains. It’s best seen on a sunny day, when the sun’s rays go all the way to the bottom of the lake, showcasing every type of blue on the color spectrum.
10. St. Beatus Cave, Beatenberg
St. Beatus Cave is best known from Swiss legends. As the story goes, a monk went to live in the cave in the year 100 CE. The monk chose to spend his pious hermitage in the cave, however, he soon discovered there was a dragon living there too. Using the Holy Trinity, the monk was able to banish the dragon from the cave. Now, whether you believe the tale or not, it’s an eerie cave with postcard-worthy mountain scenery.
We know that Switzerland can be expensive to travel through, so before you begin exploring, find out how to do it on a budget.