As one of the most beautiful countries in the world, it’s pretty tough to nail down a list of Switzerland’s best places. With snow peaked mountains, world-class skiing, and incredible views, it’s a winter paradise for travelers. However, the warmer summer months should not be overlooked! Between the crystal blue lakes, rolling green hills, and exquisite hiking trails, this country has so much to offer for each and every day in the summer sun.
Although it’s the largest city in Switzerland, don’t let that fool you; it’s one of the easiest cities to navigate. You can enjoy a summer dip in Lake Zurich, walk the luxurious shopping streets of Bahnhofstrasse and enjoy one of over 1,500 different restaurants and cafes all in a single day. If you are looking for a place to stay, you won’t want to miss out on a night at the privately owned Bar Au Lac Hotel.
Calling all art lovers! Get ready to indulge in this town’s countless exhibits, events and galleries. Basel is a quaint, little city located in the most northern part of Switzerland bordering Germany and France. With the airport in close proximity, many skip over Basel and move onto the next bucket list destination. What they don’t know, is that they are missing out on the vibrant history at Art Basel, stunning views along the Rhine River and the elaborate architecture in Old Town. Don’t worry, the rich history doesn’t have to end when you leave the exhibits; Basel’s Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois is one of the oldest city hotels in Europe. Built in 1861, this hotel is full of rich history and now is a five-star grand hotel. See more about this hotel’s historic charm here.
Lugano, located in the heart of Europe, joins together the best of both Switzerland and Italy. Known as one of the sunniest places in Switzerland because of its own micro-climate, it makes for one of the best summer destinations in Europe. Lake Lugano is the largest summer attraction, but with this town’s Italian influences the shopping scene is a close second. Escape the city and explore the divine Parco Civico-Ciani. With over 63,000 square acres of greenery you will find and abundance of blooming summer flowers and trickling fountains. Find a different view of the Mediterranean scenery, and settle in at Villa Principe Leopaldo. This lavish hotel was a private home turned luxury villa and offers stunning 360 degree views of the city below.
The city of Lucerne, home to the famous landmark Chapel Bridge, is situated near the base of this mountain. Making it one of the reasons why Mount Burgenstock is one of the lesser known destinations. However, this mountain town is definitely deserving of a spot on Switzerland’s best places list. The views are unbelievable looking down over the magnificent Lake Lucerne and sweeping green meadows that are peppered with sweet little family farms and vibrant summer wildflowers. Mount Burgenstock is also home to Europe’s tallest outdoor lift; Hammetschwand. This one-of-a-kind landmark that offers amazing panoramic views of Switzerland. Whether you are traveling to Mount Burgenstock for a night or a week, a stay at Hotel Villa Honegg is a must! A full day in the heated outdoor infinity pool will be first on your to-do list.
Famed with the gateway to the top of Europe, this is one of the most visited regions in Switzerland. However, there are so many unique towns outside the tourist attractions, making this one of Switzerland’s best places to visit for all travelers. There is plenty to explore with cable cars and railways connecting you the the footsteps of the picturesque villages of Grindelwald, Murren, Lauterbrunnen and Wengen. Murren is a scenic, traffic-less town nestled into the side of a mountain and the perfect picnic getaway. Trummelbach Falls is a must-do summer activity with 72 barreling waterfalls, corkscrew turns and scenic overlooks. Only a short drive away from the town of Interlaken, this region can offer months of activities for the whole family.
Another village close to Interlaken’s glistening lakes is Lungern; worthy enough for its own spot on Switzerland’s best places list. Lungern is an incredibly beautiful little village with amazing turquoise lakes and rolling green pastures. During the summer, you can enjoy some of the most unique hiking and biking trails. The magical Butterfly Trail through lush flowery meadows is home to over 115 different butterfly species making this an obvious pick for one of Switzerland’s best places. The bike ride around Lake Lungern is another exceptional trail; be prepared to stop and get a closer look at the two-level Dundelsbach Falls. Take a break for lunch at the charming Hotel & Restaurant Kaiserstuhl. Never stop exploring this gorgeous town as every road and corner offers amazing views of the country.
Well-known for its appearance in James Bond’s Goldfinger, it’s no surprise that driving this high mountain pass is an adventure in its own. Perched on top of a mountain with narrow roads, S-like curves and views for miles, this is one of the most scenic drives in the world. While snaking your way through Furka Pass, be sure to allow time to stop and awe at the rare beauty of the area. Plus, there are many great spots for hiking, climbing, picnicking and snapping photos. And while you’re venturing into new territory, consider staying at The Chedi Andermatt Hotel for the ultimate Swiss pampering. You’ll also find a delicious lunch at Restaurant Hotel Tiefenbach. Don’t forget to drive safe and plan accordingly, as the Furka Pass is only accessible when the weather cooperates!
As you are leaving Furka Pass, you will not want to miss the 100-meter long blue ice tunnel. What could be better on a hot summer day than to walk through a massive glacier! This stunning glacier melts into a light turquoise glacial lake with a waterfall cascading down the massive mountainside. Sadly, the Rhone Glacier is slowly revealing a path of naked stone as it shrinks in size. So, don’t miss out on one of Switzerland’s most awe-inspiring glaciers. Be sure to bring a nice pair of tunnel-walking shoes to swap with your summer sandals.
EBENALP & APPENZELL VILLAGE
Located just outside of the Appenzell village is a high plateau called Ebenalp. Take the cable car up the mountain, embedded into the steep cliff side, you will find Aescher Cliff Hotel & Restaurant. The dramatic views from this spot will blow you away, making this hotel an obvious choice for lodging. This is the perfect home base for exploring the charming village of Appenzell. If you listen closely you may even hear the faint echo of a yoddle or get a glimpse of a Swiss folk dance! You won’t want to miss one of the most unique experiences at the 400-year-old Wildkirchli cave church, which was once frequented by reclusive monks. Another must-see spot is St. Mauritius Church with it’s intricate murals and old world architecture. The unique cultural experience in this village is enough reason as to why it’s one of Switzerland’s best places to visit.