Cities in Switzerland

An Insider’s Guide to Discovering the Cities in Switzerland

Switzerland is renowned for its natural beauty, with jagged mountain peaks, crystal clear lakes, and lush green valleys that inspire awe. However, it also boasts some of the most beautiful and culturally rich cities in Europe. From the financial hub of Zurich to the historic cities of Bern and Basel, Cities in Switzerland seamlessly blend old world charm with modern amenities.

Lucerne – Cities in Switzerland

  • Known for: Chapel Bridge, Old Town, Lion Monument
  • Best time to visit: Throughout the year

Lucerne sits serenely on the shores of Lake Lucerne, with verdant green hills rising up on three sides and the snowcapped Swiss Alps providing a dramatic backdrop. The city has a well-preserved medieval Old Town dotted with colorful buildings, fountain-lined squares, and cobblestone lanes perfect for aimless wandering. Some top attractions include:

Chapel Bridge (Kapellbrücke): This iconic covered bridge spanning the Reuss River dates back to the 14th century and features paintings depicting local legends.

Lion Monument: Carved into rock in memory of Swiss guards killed during the French Revolution, this is one of Switzerland’s most recognizable monuments.

Jesuit Church: This ornate baroque church boasts an impressive interior decorated with stucco and gold leaf.

Swiss Museum of Transport: Delve into Switzerland’s rich transport history at this engaging museum housed in a historic postal station.

Day trips: Take a scenic boat ride on Lake Lucerne or the Mount Pilatus cable car for panoramic views of the Alpine foothills.

Plan at least 2-3 days in Lucerne to fully soak up its natural and architectural beauty. Stroll leisurely along its riverfront and through its charming Old Town lanes.


  • Known for: Basel Münster, Marktplatz, Gate of Spalen
  • Best time to visit: June to September

Nestled in a bend of the Rhine River where the borders of Germany, France, and Switzerland meet, Basel is a cultural powerhouse. Home to over 40 museums, it has one of the highest concentrations of art institutions in the world. Some top attractions include:

Basel Münster: This towering Gothic cathedral boasts ornate interiors and a climbable tower offering panoramic city views.

Marktplatz: Basel’s central market square is lined with ornate Renaissance buildings like the spectacular Town Hall.

Art museums: World-class institutions include the Fondation Beyeler, showcasing Impressionist masterworks, and the Museum Tinguely featuring kinetic sculptures.

Old Town: Wander the narrow lanes of the Altstadt district to admire medieval architecture and half-timbered houses.

Rhine promenade: Stroll along the riverfront and take in views of the Old Town skyline and the German and French hills beyond.

Plan 3-4 days in Basel to fully immerse yourself in its cultural riches, leaving time to explore the scenic countryside on day trips. Be sure to visit on a weekend to experience its bustling markets.

Zurich – Cities in Switzerland

  • Known for: Bahnhofstrasse, Lake Zurich, Old Town
  • Best time to visit: May to September

Cities in Switzerland and financial center, Zurich is situated serenely on the northern shores of Lake Zurich. It seamlessly blends sophistication with natural beauty, making it one of the most appealing destinations in the country. Top attractions include:

Lake Zurich: Take a stroll along the lakefront promenade with views of the city skyline and Alps. Rent a pedalo boat for scenic rides.

Old Town: Wander the winding lanes lined with historic buildings, stopping at St. Peter’s Church for fine stained glass.

Bahnhofstrasse: Window shop or people watch along this iconic mile-long boulevard lined with luxury brands.

Swiss National Museum: Delve into Swiss history, art, and culture at this renowned museum housed in a grand building.

Uetliberg Mountain: Take the cog railway up for panoramic 360-degree views stretching as far as the Black Forest.

Plan at least 3 days to fully experience Zurich and its natural and cultural offerings. Be sure to visit on a Wednesday or Saturday to explore its lively markets. Day trips can include Rapperswil or Winterthur.


  • Known for: Jet d’Eau, Old Town, Lake Geneva
  • Best time to visit: June to August

With its cosmopolitan flair and scenic location on the shores of Lake Geneva, Geneva is a cultural highlight of any Switzerland itinerary. Some top attractions include:

Jet d’Eau: This iconic tall plume of water, one of the city’s most photographed sites, erupts from the lake every day.

Old Town: Wander the cobblestone streets lined with ornate buildings, stopping in St. Peter’s Cathedral.

Lake Geneva: Take a boat cruise to admire Alpine views or relax along the flower-lined quays.

International organizations: Tour the UN or Red Cross headquarters to learn about their humanitarian work.

Art & history museums: Excellent institutions include the Art & History Museum in the former arsenal.

Mont Salève: Take a scenic cable car ride up this mountain for panoramic views stretching to Mont Blanc.

Plan 3-4 days to fully experience Geneva. Be sure to visit on a weekend to experience its lively markets and cultural events. Day trips can include Lausanne or Chamonix in France.


Bern Cities in Switzerland
  • Known for: Zytglogge, Bears, Old Town
  • Best time to visit: May to September

With its well-preserved medieval architecture, Bern rightly serves as Switzerland’s capital. Some top attractions include:

Zytglogge: This ornate clock tower in the Old Town chimes its figures daily at the top of the hour.

Bears: Watch these furry residents roam and play at the Bear Pit, a symbol of the city.

Old Town: Explore the UNESCO-listed cobbled lanes lined with ornate fountains and sandstone buildings.

Museum of Fine Arts: Admire works from the likes of Monet, Van Gogh and Picasso in this prestigious museum.

Rose Gardens: Stroll through these fragrant blooms nestled below the Gothic cathedral.

Day trips: Visit the medieval towns of Murten or Gruyères for charming ambience.

Plan 2-3 days in Bern to experience its history and charm at a relaxed pace. Be sure to visit on a weekend when you can explore its bustling markets.


Interlaken Cities in Switzerland
  • Known for: Jungfrau Region, Lakes, Adventure Sports
  • Best time to visit: May to October

Nestled between crystal clear Lakes Thun and Brienz, Interlaken serves as an ideal gateway to explore the Bernese Oberland region. Some top attractions include:

Jungfrau Region: Take the train up to Jungfraujoch for Alpine vistas or Grindelwald for hiking.

Adventure sports: Try paragliding, rock climbing, canyoning or whitewater rafting straight from town.

Lakes: Relax along the lakefront or take a scenic cruise to admire Alpine scenery.

Swiss Open Air Museum: Explore traditional farmhouses and experience Swiss country life.

Walking trails: Hike along the easy trails winding through forests and meadows.

Plan 3-4 days with excursions to fully experience Interlaken’s natural beauty and adventure activities. Visit in summer and fall for the best weather without ski crowds.


  • Known for: Matterhorn, Gornergrat, Hiking
  • Best time to visit: June to September

Nestled at the foot of the iconic Matterhorn mountain, car-free Zermatt is a scenic Alpine village beloved for its postcard-perfect setting. Some top attractions include:

Matterhorn: Admire this jagged peak from around town or hike its surrounding trails.

Gornergrat Bahn: Take the cogwheel train up for breathtaking panoramas of 14 summits over 4,000m.

Hiking: Explore over 350km of well-marked trails through meadows and forests.

Skiing: Shred world-class slopes during winter, with lifts operating year-round.

Mountaineering museum: Learn about Alpine climbing history in this engaging museum.

Plan 3-4 days to unwind in Zermatt’s picturesque ambience, leaving time for hiking or just admiring the scenery.

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Cities in Switzerland offer a delightful combination of natural beauty, cultural riches and high-quality amenities for rest and recreation. From the cosmopolitan hubs of Zurich and Geneva to the picturesque lake towns of Lucerne, Montreux and Lugano, each destination has a distinctive character and history well worth exploring. Whether you seek outdoor adventures amongst the soaring Alps, world-class art in Basel’s museums or simply want to unwind on a boat cruise, Switzerland provides the perfect stage.

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