Dreaming of a vacation with breathtaking natural beauty, exhilarating outdoor activities, and a rich cultural heritage? Look no further than the Swiss Alps. This majestic mountain range offers a unique blend of stunning landscapes and vibrant traditions that promise an unforgettable travel experience. Here are some of the most fun and unique things to do in the Swiss Alps.
Renowned for its world-class skiing, the Swiss Alps also boasts a wealth of summer activities that make it a year-round destination. From hiking on scenic trails to exploring charming mountain villages, there’s no shortage of options for travelers when it comes to amazing things to do in the Swiss Alps. But what truly sets the Swiss Alps apart is its blend of natural splendor and cultural richness. Here, you can spend your day on the slopes and your evening enjoying a traditional Swiss fondue in a cozy mountain chalet.
I’ve visited Switzerland more than 5 times, and I keep coming back for more. The nature, the architecture, the food, and the people truly make Switzerland an irresistible place to visit. And what better way to experience it all than in the Swiss Alps?
From the iconic Matterhorn to the serene beauty of Lake Geneva, from the bustling city of Zurich to the tranquil charm of Lucerne, there’s something for everyone in the Swiss Alps. To help you plan your trip, I’ve compiled a list of the top things to do in the Swiss Alps, based on my personal experiences and recommendations. Here’s everything you need to know about these fun things to do in the Swiss Alps.
Ready to dive into all the coolest things to do in the Swiss Alps? As noted above, there’s something for everyone at this majestic vacation spot to make for a truly memorable experience. So keep reading to find out all these unique Swiss Alps places to visit.
Are you into exploring diverse landscapes and engaging in exhilarating outdoor adventures? Or maybe you’re into immersing yourself in the city’s rich history and vibrant local culture? Or perhaps you prefer a tranquil getaway in nature? Whatever you’re planning, these must-sees in the Swiss Alps can satisfy your needs. Here’s all the best attractions in the Swiss Alps that you should know about.
Yearning for a getaway like no other? One of the coolest activities in the Swiss Alps is traversing the historic Gemmi Pass on foot. This alpine route, established centuries ago by traders, pilgrims, and farmers, is among the most accessible and offers an incredible journey through the Swiss Alps’ stunning landscapes.
The Gemmi Pass became a tourist draw in the 19th century, attracting famous visitors such as Jules Verne, Pablo Picasso, and Mark Twain. Today, you can follow in their footsteps by hiking up from Leukerbad to the start of the pass. If you prefer a less strenuous route, take the Gemmibahn cable car to the start of the pass. From there, it’s a three-hour hike to Sünnbuel, where another cable car whisks you down to the Kandersteg Valley.
Along the way, you’ll pass barren peaks, turquoise lakes, flower-laden meadows, and the historic Hotel Schwarenbach, dating from 1742, where you can stop for a restorative drink. This journey is a walk through history. Is this one of the coolest things to do in the Swiss Alps? You bet!
Experience Switzerland in style at this unique place to visit in the Swiss Alps. Zermatt, a picturesque village nestled at the foot of the mighty Matterhorn, is a must-visit. This charming village is a top international resort that offers a unique blend of quaint chalets, world-class restaurants, and hotels.
The Matterhorn, standing tall at 4,478 meters, is one of the highest mountains in the Alps. Its iconic pointed peak is a sight to behold for mountain enthusiasts. During the summer, thousands of experienced climbers flock here to conquer its summit.
But Zermatt isn’t just about the Matterhorn. The village itself is a gem waiting to be explored. With motorized vehicles banned in the village, you can enjoy peaceful horse-drawn carriage rides and leisurely strolls through the streets.
In winter, the area transforms into a ski paradise with more than 300 kilometers of slopes. But even in summer, Zermatt doesn’t lose its charm. Activities like hiking, biking, and climbing in the surrounding mountains keep the adventure going. And if you’re looking for a unique experience, summer glacier skiing is available.
So, if you’re wondering about the top things to do in the Swiss Alps, make sure to put Zermatt and the Matterhorn on your list. The combination of natural beauty, outdoor activities, and the tranquil charm of the village will make your visit unforgettable.
Looking for the best things to do in the Swiss Alps? The vibrant city of Zürich should be high on your list. As the largest city in Switzerland, Zürich is a cultural treasure trove nestled amidst the stunning Swiss Alps. The city is renowned for its charming Old Town, the tranquil River Limmat, and breathtaking views of Lake Zurich and the Alps.
Zürich offers a comprehensive city tour that includes exploring the Old Town, strolling along the River Limmat, and taking an aerial cable car ride for panoramic views of Lake Zurich and the Alps. The tour also includes a ferry ride across the lake and a drive along the ‘Gold Coast’, concluding with a visit to the Felsenegg lookout point.
Zürich is also a haven for art enthusiasts, housing over 100 galleries and 50 museums. This includes the Swiss National Museum. For those seeking a unique blend of nature and urban life, the Zurich Zoo and a train ride through the city and countryside to Uetliberg Mountain are must-see Swiss Alps attractions.
Attractions in the Swiss Alps come in all shapes and sizes, but this one is among the best! Lake Geneva, Europe’s largest Alpine lake, is a must-see. Straddling the Swiss/French border, it laps at the shores of some of Switzerland’s most popular cities. The city of Geneva, nestled between picturesque snow-capped peaks where the Rhône spills into Lake Geneva, is a hub of multicultural sophistication. The city’s promenades, parks, and gardens surround the lake, offering breathtaking vistas and a blend of French joie de vivre and Swiss structure.
Also on the lake, about 62 kilometers from Geneva, Lausanne boasts stunning views over the surrounding region and the lake, with the Alps rising in the distance. The city’s medieval old town, cute cafés, boutiques, and stunning Gothic cathedral are worth exploring. At the foot of the Alps, on Lake Geneva, Montreux hosts the world-famous Montreux Jazz Festival in June/July.
Lake Geneva is a hub of activities. From sailing, windsurfing, and swimming in the summer to ice-skating in the winter, it’s a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. The lake’s surrounding vineyards, part of the Lavaux Vineyard Terraces, a UNESCO World Heritage site, offer wine tasting tours and stunning hiking trails. It’s easy to see why this is one of the best things to do in the Swiss Alps!
One of the coolest things to do in the Swiss Alps is to step back in time at the Chateau de Chillon. Located near Montreux on the shores of Lake Geneva, this architectural gem has been inspiring artists and writers for centuries. Lord Byron, Jean Jacques Rousseau, and Victor Hugo are among the luminaries who have penned words about this historic stronghold.
The Chateau de Chillon was once the stronghold of the Counts and Dukes of Savoy from the 12th century. The complex encompasses about 25 buildings clustered around three courtyards. Highlights include the Great Halls, with magnificent views of Lake Geneva; the Gothic underground rooms; the Chapel, adorned with 14th-century paintings; and the Camera Domini, a bedroom occupied by the Duke of Savoy decorated with medieval murals.
This castle is a window into the past. As you wander through its halls and courtyards, you can almost hear the echoes of history. As such, I recommend this thing to do in the Swiss Alps to everyone I meet.
This is one of the best things to do in the Swiss Alps, hands down. If you’re longing for a taste of luxury, look no further than St. Moritz. This glamorous resort town, nestled in an alpine valley 1,800 meters above sea level, is a playground for the rich and famous. It’s one of the world’s top mountain destinations and a must-visit for anyone seeking a blend of natural beauty and high-end amenities.
St. Moritz is divided into two parts: St. Moritz Dorf, perched on a sunny terrace overlooking the Lake of St. Moritz, and St. Moritz Bad, a health resort on the valley floor. Both offer a wealth of activities and attractions. In winter, you can ski, snowboard, skate, or try your hand at bobsledding on the famous 1.2-kilometer-long Cresta Run. Summer brings opportunities for hiking, biking, and water sports. And don’t forget about glacier skiing, which is available year-round!
But St. Moritz isn’t just about outdoor pursuits. It’s also a cultural crossroads where Romansch, German, Italian, French, and English are all spoken. This linguistic diversity reflects the international clientele that flocks to St. Moritz for its luxury hotels, gourmet restaurants, and high-end shopping. No wonder this is one of the top things to do in the Swiss Alps for tourists with discriminating taste.
For an experience like no other, you’ll want to check out this top place to visit in the Swiss Alps. Jungfraujoch, often referred to as the “Top of Europe,” is an awe-inspiring destination. It is perched at an altitude of 3,454 meters and is accessible via a scenic train journey through the beautiful Bernese Oberland. The journey itself is a spectacle, but the real magic begins once you reach the top.
At Jungfraujoch, you’ll find an observation terrace and a scientific observatory, both offering panoramic views that will leave you speechless. The longest glacier in Europe, the Great Aletsch Glacier, begins at Jungfraujoch and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s a sight that truly encapsulates the majesty of the Swiss Alps.
Popular walks include the Panorama Way, which leads to the sunny, south-facing First slope, and the Gletscherschlucht (Glacier Gorge). For those who prefer a more relaxed experience, gondolas and cable cars are available to take you to scenic viewpoints over the Lauterbrunnen Valley.
Jungfraujoch is an experience that encapsulates the beauty, majesty, and awe-inspiring natural wonder of this incredible region, making it one of the most unique things to do in the Swiss Alps that you won’t soon forget.
Looking to visit one of the best places in the Swiss Alps? Add this to your bucket list! The Rhine Falls, located at Schaffhausen, are a spectacle of nature that you simply can’t miss. Spanning 150 meters, they are the largest falls in Central Europe. The best time to visit is during June and July when the mountain snow melts, and the falls swell in volume to spill over a 21-meter-high ledge of Jurassic limestone.
Boat trips up the Rhine provide excellent views of the falls, as do the viewing platforms on both sides of the river. The roar of the water, the spray on your face, and the sheer power of the falls are an experience that will stay with you for a lifetime.
The Rhine Falls are a testament to the raw power and beauty of nature. For nature lovers and photography enthusiasts, the Rhine Falls is one of the best places in the Swiss Alps you should know about.
Looking for what to do in the Swiss Alps? Look no further than Lake Lugano, a gem nestled on the Swiss/Italian border in Ticino, Switzerland’s only official Italian-speaking canton. This region offers a tantalizing taste of the Mediterranean, with citrus, figs, palms, and pomegranates flourishing in the mild climate, even as snow-capped peaks beckon in the distance.
The towns around Lake Lugano and Lake Maggiore to the west exude an unmistakable Italian feel in the architecture, the piazzas, and the passion for fine food. Visitors can explore the area by touring the lake on one of the white steamers or renting a boat. For a panoramic overview, Monte San Salvatore offers one of the most spectacular vistas of the surrounding countryside, lake, and snow-capped peaks.
Lugano, a financial center and the largest and most significant town in Ticino, is a popular summer resort. Northwest of Lugano, in sun-drenched Locarno on Lake Maggiore, Swiss lakeside living takes on a subtropical touch with warm days, blossoming gardens, and palm-studded estates. In Bellinzona, capital of the canton, three magnificent castles are UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Visiting the awe-inspiring Lake Lugano and Ticino is one of the top things to do in the Swiss Alps for you if you like to immerse yourself in the beauty of nature, enjoy the Mediterranean vibe, and explore historical sites, all in one go.
As far as things to do in the Swiss Alps, this activity is among the best! Nestled in the heart of Switzerland, Gruyères is a small medieval town renowned for its hard yellow cheese, which has gained worldwide fame. As a visitor, you can tour a cheese factory, sample the local specialties, and even wave to the cows that graze on the surrounding green hills. But the allure of Gruyères doesn’t stop at cheese. The Maison Cailler Chocolate Factory also operates in town, offering a sweet treat for chocolate lovers.
The town itself is a picturesque gem, covering an area of just 28.4 square kilometers and home to around 2,000 permanent residents. Despite its size, Gruyères is packed with attractions. The 13th-century Castle of Gruyères and its two small arts and regional museums are worth exploring. There’s also the Saint-Germain Castle, which houses a museum dedicated to the work of Swiss surrealist painter and sculptor H. R. Giger.
Gruyères is surrounded by stunning landscapes. This includes the Gorges de la Jogne, a favorite among hikers, and the nearby Mont Moléson, popular with climbers in the warmer months and home to ski and snowshoe trails during winter. This unique place in the Swiss Alps offers a blend of history, culture, and natural beauty that’s hard to match.
One of the most unique things to do in the Swiss Alps is to embark on a journey along the Albula/Bernina Railway Line. This isn’t just any railway line; it’s one of the few in the world that’s been designated as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site. The Albula/Bernina line on the Rhaetian Railways offers a majestic ride that’s not to be missed.
The route extends throughout the Albula and Bernina landscapes, covering 122 kilometers and winding through almost 200 bridges. It takes you through the Graubünden mountains, and a number of tunnels and viaducts along the way. A ride on this train means panoramic seats that overlook unspoiled mountain landscapes. This includes the Piz Bernina, the highest mountain in the Eastern Alps at just over 4,000 meters tall.
The train operates all year long, and the views are just as magical in summer as they are in winter. This is truly one of the coolest Swiss Alps things to do. Imagine sitting back in comfort as you journey through some of the most breathtaking landscapes in the world, all from the unique perspective of a train. It’s an experience that’s sure to leave you with lasting memories of your visit to the Swiss Alps.
12. Grindelwald First
Grindelwald First is undeniably one of the coolest things to do in the Swiss Alps. It’s situated in the Bernese Oberland region of Switzerland, surrounded by dramatic peaks and lush meadows. The town, Grindelwald, is a great home base to explore from. And from there, the mountain above, Grindelwald First, offers a blend of natural beauty and thrilling activities that make it a must-visit destination for travelers and adventure enthusiasts.
Walk along the First Cliff Walk, a suspension bridge that clings to the cliff’s edge. Feel the rush of the wild as you zip down the mountain on a zipline or mountain scooter. There’s so much to see and do in the Swiss Alps, but this is definitely among the best!
Grindelwald First encapsulates everything that’s enchanting about the Swiss Alps. From adrenaline-pumping activities to peaceful hikes amongst some of the world’s most stunning alpine scenery, it’s a place where memories are made.
Go to Grindelwald First and you’ll leave with a sense of awe and a newfound appreciation for the majestic beauty of the Swiss Alps. Whether you’re seeking adventure or tranquility, Grindelwald First has something special to offer. Don’t miss it on your Swiss itinerary!
13. Lake Constance
It would be a crime to write an article on the top things to do in the Swiss Alps without mentioning Lake Constance, a true gem nestled in the heart of Europe, straddling the borders of Switzerland, Germany, and Austria. This expansive lake, one of the largest in the world, is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. Indulge in a variety of activities, from trekking and roller-skating to cycling and water sports. The lake’s azure waters beckon travelers from all corners of the globe, promising a journey of exploration and adventure that’s hard to resist.
But the allure of Lake Constance extends beyond its shimmering surface. The surrounding landscapes are a tapestry of lush greenery, stretching as far as the eye can see. The lake’s shores are peppered with charming towns and villages, each radiating a unique charm and character. These quaint settlements offer a window into the region’s rich cultural heritage, inviting visitors to immerse themselves in local customs and traditions.
For those seeking a tranquil retreat, Lake Constance delivers in spades. The serene environment, punctuated by stunning natural scenery, offers an idyllic backdrop for meditation and introspection. Marveling at a sunset painting the sky in hues of orange and pink, or simply soaking in the soothing sounds of lapping waves? Lake Constance provides a sense of peace that’s truly unparalleled.
With so much charm and personality, Lake Constance is one of the top places to visit in the Swiss Alps.
Looking for more content on the top things to do in the Swiss Alps? Here are some popular questions (and answers) I get that will help you plan your trip to the Swiss Alps:
The best time to visit the Swiss Alps depends on the activities you’re interested in. For skiing and snowboarding, the winter months from December to April are ideal. For hiking and sightseeing, the summer months from June to September offer pleasant weather and stunning scenery.
What activity do people do in the Alps?
The Alps offer many fun activities for outdoor enthusiasts, nature lovers, and adventure seekers. Here’s an overview of some of the popular activities that people engage in while visiting the Alps:
- Skiing and Snowboarding: The Alps are world-renowned for their skiing and snowboarding opportunities. With a vast range of slopes catering to all skill levels, it’s a winter sports paradise.
- Hiking and Trekking: During the warmer months, the Alps provide endless hiking opportunities. Trails vary in difficulty and offer stunning vistas, alpine meadows, and breathtaking mountain landscapes.
- Climbing and Mountaineering: For those seeking a challenge, the Alps offer some of the best climbing and mountaineering experiences in the world, from beginner-friendly climbs to challenging ascents on iconic peaks like Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn.
- Mountain Biking: Mountain biking trails crisscross the Alps, providing thrilling rides for bikers of all levels. The terrain varies from smooth paths to challenging rocky trails.
- Paragliding and Hang Gliding: Take to the skies and experience the Alps from a bird’s-eye view. Paragliding and hang gliding are popular in many alpine regions, offering unparalleled views of the mountainous landscape.
Switzerland is known for being on the pricier side, but it’s possible to visit the Swiss Alps on a budget. Planning ahead, staying in budget accommodations, and cooking your own meals can help save money.
Switzerland has an efficient and reliable public transportation system. Trains, buses, and boats can take you to most tourist destinations. For more remote areas, a car might be necessary.
The Swiss Alps are home to numerous attractions. Some must-see places include the charming village of Zermatt, the majestic Matterhorn, the historic Chateau de Chillon, and the breathtaking Lake Geneva.
What is Swiss Alps known for?
The Swiss Alps are renowned for a multitude of reasons, drawing tourists from all over the world for various activities and experiences. Here’s what the Swiss Alps are particularly known for:
- Spectacular Mountain Scenery: With iconic peaks like the Matterhorn, Eiger, and Jungfrau, the Swiss Alps are synonymous with breathtaking mountain landscapes.
- Skiing and Snowboarding: Some of the world’s most famous ski resorts are located in the Swiss Alps, including Zermatt, St. Moritz, and Verbier, offering unparalleled skiing and snowboarding experiences.
- Hiking Trails: The Swiss Alps provide a vast network of hiking trails, ranging from easy walks to challenging treks. Trails such as the Haute Route provide unforgettable hiking experiences.
- Glaciers: The region is home to numerous glaciers, including the Aletsch Glacier, the largest in the Alps, offering opportunities for tours and exploration.
- Alpine Culture and Tradition: The Swiss Alps are rich in local traditions and culture. From yodeling to cheese-making, visitors can immerse themselves in unique cultural experiences.
- Luxury Resorts and Spas: Known for luxury and elegance, the Swiss Alps host some of the world’s most prestigious hotels and spa resorts, offering top-notch service and relaxation.
- Swiss Watches and Chocolate: Switzerland’s reputation for quality extends to its watches and chocolate, and the Swiss Alps region is no exception. Visitors often indulge in chocolate tasting and shopping for renowned Swiss watches.
Yes, Switzerland is considered one of the safest countries in the world. However, like any tourist destination, it’s important to stay aware of your surroundings and keep your belongings secure.
People visit the Swiss Alps for its breathtaking natural beauty, from towering snow-capped peaks to serene alpine lakes, and for the wealth of outdoor activities it offers, including skiing, hiking, and mountain biking. Additionally, the region’s rich cultural heritage, charming mountain villages, and world-class Swiss cuisine make it a destination that captivates all senses and leaves a lasting impression.
What is the best way to see the Swiss Alps?
The Swiss Alps are a breathtaking spectacle, offering a myriad of ways to be explored and appreciated. Here are some of the best ways to see and experience the Swiss Alps:
- Scenic Train Rides:
- The Glacier Express: Often dubbed the “world’s slowest express train,” it offers panoramic views as it travels between Zermatt and St. Moritz.
- Bernina Express: This route takes you from Chur to Tirano, passing through the Bernina Range and offering views of glaciers, alpine lakes, and high mountain passes.
- Mountain Cable Cars & Gondolas:
- Head to places like Jungfraujoch (the “Top of Europe”), Schilthorn, or Titlis to take cable cars or gondolas that whisk you to high mountain viewpoints.
- The Swiss Alps offer countless hiking trails for all levels. Popular routes include the Haute Route from Chamonix to Zermatt and the trails around the Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau mountains.
- Skiing & Snowboarding:
- Resorts like Zermatt, St. Moritz, and Verbier offer world-class skiing and snowboarding opportunities against the backdrop of majestic alpine peaks.
- The Great St. Bernard Pass, Furka Pass, and Julier Pass are just a few of the scenic drives that offer spectacular views of the Alps.
Absolutely, the Swiss Alps are more than worth visiting. With its stunning natural landscapes, a plethora of outdoor activities, charming villages, and rich cultural heritage, it’s a destination that offers something for everyone, making it a must-visit for any travel enthusiast.
The Swiss Alps are a treasure trove of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and outdoor adventures. From the charming village of Zermatt to the majestic Matterhorn, from the historic Chateau de Chillon to the breathtaking Lake Geneva, there’s something for everyone in this stunning region. An adrenaline junkie, a nature lover, or a history lover? You’re sure to find something that piques your interest in the Swiss Alps. So why wait? Start planning your Swiss Alps adventure today!