The 10 Most Unique Cities to Visit in Switzerland

Switzerland might be the land of watches and chocolate, but there are hidden gems you don’t want to miss. The best cities to visit in Switzerland include Lugano and Lausanne, alongside Zurich and Bern.

The best part about visiting the country is its train system, which takes you nearly to every city within hours. Here are those worth visiting the most.

Table of Contents

1. Zurich

Zurich is the country’s financial district. It hosts multiple international companies, a large community of expats, and churches with an impressive history. It’s also a cultural hub and you will find it’s the place to be for festivals and museums alike.

The Swiss National Museum is located in Zurich. You can explore the country’s history from its early ages to the 20th century at this museum. If you want to explore the city outdoors, you can also head over to its old town in Altstadt. It hosts historic buildings and medieval churches often seen in Switzerland’s postcards. Some of the best restaurants in the country are also found in this old part of the city which is a UNESCO world heritage site.

2. Basel

Great museums and shops are found in Basel, an old French-German trade route. It’s also one of the wealthiest Swiss cities. It might just be the place where you find your next watch in if you’re a fan of horology.

From all of Basel’s museums, you can consider a visit to Spielzeug Welten, the local toy museum. It hosts around 6,000 toys and it can be both fun and educational. Kids can see how toys looked like decades ago.

3. Bern

The picture-perfect capital of Switzerland features impressive architecture. Rebuild after a great fire, the city is packed with shops and restaurants. Its kilometers of arcades also give it a distinct profile within the country.

If you’re interested in how the old meets the new, there’s no better stop in Bern than the Zentrum Paul Klee museum. Once here, you can admire most of Klee’s painting which has inspired a Bern generation. They have been thoughtfully donated to Bern municipality by the painter’s family and a wave-style building has been built as a location to host all of his painting.

4. Lausanne

Lausanne is a top destination for sports and museums. You can visit the local Olympic Museum, the Lausanne Cathedral, the Palais de Rumine, and the Olympic Committee’s headquarters in the city.

Lausanne is also at the forefront of Christianity in Switzerland. It’s Notre Dame de Lausanne Cathedral dates back to 1165, being one of the oldest in the country. You can’t miss it since its right in the heart of the city.

5. Lucerne

The Medieval architecture and the lake in the middle of the action make Lucerne the city you must visit on your Swiss trip. The most popular tourist location is the Medieval 14th century Chapel Bridge. However, if you want a good photo of the bridge, you need to wake up early as its one of the country’s most visited destinations.

If you’re into architecture and spirituality, you can visit Switzerland’s oldest Jesuit church in Lucerne. Built-in 1677, the church overlooks the Reuss River and it hosts frequent concerts for the locals. Nearby coffee shops are a practical attraction for a quick lunch or dinner after a long concert.

6. Zug

The Kantonales Museum für Urgeschichte or The Museum of Prehistory is found in the small city of Zug. It features a cultural glimpse into the early days of civilization from prehistoric times to the Early Middle Ages.

Lake Zug is another top magnet that attracts active people from around the country. Biking is popular around the lake but the surrounding hiking trails are always packed with tourists as well. For those who only want to see Lake Zug, the top-rated hotels on the lake’s shore offer the best views.

7. Bellinzona

Highly off the radar for many tourists, Bellinzona is the most surprising city in Switzerland. It hosts 3 fortresses making it an inspiring stop for renaissance architecture. Prices here are a bit lower than in other popular locations as well.

If you’re looking for a good photo spot, you can find several in Bellinzona. The Ponte Tibetano is one of the country’s tallest pedestrian bridges, situated at 130 meters above the ground. It’s a famous Instagram location in the city.

8. Fribourg

Dramatic sights can also be seen within city limits. Fribourg sits on 2 hills and it’s connected by some of the most spectacular tall bridges in the country. Great architecture and a few museums make the town a place to stop even if you’re not very excited about taking spectacular photos.

Since the city is split into French and German areas, you can easily swap local cultures just by crossing one of Fribourg’s famous bridges. Over 15 bridges are found here and you can admire their classic architecture while navigating the French and German neighborhoods.

9. Interlaken

If you love lakes and mountains, Interlaken is the place to visit. As its name suggests, it’s situated between lakes (Thun and Brienz). From here, you can appreciate high mountains, waterfalls, and some of the most photographed glacial lakes Switzerland has to offer.

An outdoor activity you can consider here which you can’t see anywhere else in the country is the St. Beautus Caves and Waterfalls formation. You can even tour small caverns in the area and admire a good range of stalactites (rock formations) right behind the main waterfall.

10. Lugano

Switzerland is a cultural melting pot. Lugano is an Italian town in the South of the country that attracts plenty of Italians from abroad. You can sail Lake Lugano for a mesmerizing outdoor adventure.

You can enjoy pleasurable walks around Lugano Lake. It features multiple green spaces and flower gardens around it and it’s the main place for locals to walk or cycle around. When you want to get indoors, hopping over to the close-by Villa Ciani is a good alternative as it’s packed with classic paintings.