With sky-soaring Swiss Alps that include such recognizable names at the Mattherhorn and the Jungfrau, and its high-country meadows dotted with grazing cows whose bells tinkle in the breeze, Switzerland is unapologetically beautiful. The country’s evocative landscapes, enchanting villages and timbered huts that recall a simpler time, and gushing, glacially fed waterfalls are the stuff of fairytales. Within this storybook setting, it’s almost too easy to find beautiful vistas.
To get you started, we offer our list of the most beautiful places in Switzerland that are not only accessible, but feel far enough off the beaten path to provide an authentic perspective on this beloved country, where protecting its nature and wildlife is always top of mind.
Swiss National Park
Within the Upper Engadin, above the elegant resort village of St. Moritz, you’ll find the Alps’ oldest national park. Within the 65-square-mile Swiss National Park, hike through protected forest, along steep-sided valleys and along craggy ridgelines to search for native ibex, chamois and bearded vultures. All this, and you’re within easy distance of St. Moritz’s authentic eateries and pubs for a hearty meal after an active day.
The Rhine Gorge
Known as the Grand Canyon of Switzerland, the Rhine Gorge does not disappoint. The best way to view it is aboard the renowned Glacier Express from St. Moritz to Zermatt. As you chug along this iconic railway in a first-class carriage, views of the gorge come into view through panoramic windows. If you prefer to hike in the region, there are several marked trails, from the Senda Ruinalta walk, to the loop from Reichenau through Trin, which includes a suspension bridge crossing on the Punt Ruinalta.
Breathtaking Grimsel Pass leads through the Bernese Oberland from the Hasli Valley to Valais via a sequence of exciting hairpin turns to reveal jaw-dropping views of Grimsel Lake, Murren and the Lauterbrunnen Valley. Picnic in full view of rugged peaks and glaciers, granite faces, cobalt-blue lakes and more in an easily reachable, yet still wild environment.
Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau
Speaking of iconic Swiss views, the triplets of the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau are not to be missed (and honestly, they’re hard not to). Learn the stories of the Alps’ earliest explorers, as they tackled this massive wall of rock and glacier that looms over the Bernese Oberland and Swiss Plateau. For the best views of all three massifs, hike on the various trails around Murren, on their own a pretty palette of wildflowers and waterfalls.
While you’re in the Murren area, don’t miss the view from one of the most famous cable cars in the Alps. You’ll glide up to the 9,744-foot summit (which you may recognize from the James Bond film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service). With 360-degree views, it’s one of the very best places to view the Jungfrau massif and the Bernese Oberland.
Ascend by cable to the highest point in the Vaudois Alps for a prime view of Glacier 3000, the surrounding Bernese Alps and Val Derborence in the Valais. From up here, you can see not only Glacier 3000, but 24 peaks rising higher than 13,000 feet. Even better, there’s a regionally inspired restaurant up here, allowing an alfresco lunch while savoring the views.
Lake Geneva and Lake Lucerne
While Switzerland offers mountain views for days, there are plenty of lower-elevation vistas to enjoy. Take a boat ride on Lake Geneva on a historic paddle steam for postcard-perfect panoramas of waterside villas and alpine backdrops.
For vividly blue water ringed by emerald hills and imposing peaks and glaciers, visit Lake Lucerne, the country’s fourth largest and one of its most beautiful. For the best views, take a boat ride to the funicular that carries you up Burgenstock Mountain, or ride the aerial cable car up Mt. Pilatus. Not high enough? Hike to the tallest outdoor elevator in Europe, the Hammetschwand Lift, for an even wider vista.
You can see many of these sublime spots on Natural Habitat Adventures’ Wild Switzerland itinerary. From the distinctive Matterhorn to the actively retreating Gorner Glacier, the most beautiful places in Switzerland are yours to treasure and protect. These areas of natural beauty that are not only a hallmark of this alpine country, but a stirring reminder of why we travel.