From the capital city of Bern to Geneva with the iconic Lac Leman, Switzerland offers no end of things to see and do. Test your skills on the powder white ski slopes or rejuvenate and relax at a spa. Get a dose of culture at one of the many festivals and events and sample the local produce, including delicious Swiss chocolate. However you spend your time here, hiring a car is a top choice.
Switzerland Tourist Board: The official website for the Switzerland National Tourist Office – a useful resource for planning your trip to Switzerland.
Know Before You Go: Travel advice for Switzerland from the FCO.
Things to see and do
- Framed by a mountainous backdrop, take in the beauty of Lac Leman on board a steamboat and afterwards explore the delights within the city of Geneva.
- As a country famous for its delicious chocolate, be sure to visit one of the chocolate factories, the most famous being Callier, a chocolate company founded in 1819. Head to Broc for a tour of the museum and sample the delights! If you have a particularly sweet though, don’t stop there as there are many more to visit!
- Travel around and visit some of Switzerland’s natural sights such as the many stunning waterfalls. The Rhine Falls, the largest in Europe, should definitely feature on such an itinerary.
- Afterwards, head to the impressive Laufen Castle, a Swiss heritage site of national significance which overlooks the falls, therefore affording fabulous views.
- Whatever time of year you happen to be visiting Switzerland, be sure to visit St Moritz. In the winter it's a fabulous playground with great skiing and snowboarding and in the summer, it’s a haven for relaxation with sports and a renowned health spa centre to enjoy.
- Switzerland is a country of panoramas and some extra special views can be appreciated at Zernez National Park which flows into northern Italy. With mountains complemented by alpine forests and meadows, it’s an ideal location for walking and hiking.
- Dedicate a day to visit Lucerne, a German speaking city in the north of the country. Built on the shore of Lake Lucerne under the watchful view of surrounding mountains, it’s idyllic indeed. Make sure you see Chapel Bridge which was built in the 14th century.
- Spend some time at Canton Valais, an area that boasts wide open spaces and a multitude of ski resorts in place of cities. Awe at the Aletsch Glacier, the longest in Europe and make the most of the snow. No matter where you go in this region, you won’t be disappointed!
- Venture to the stunning Lauterbrunnen Valley; undoubtedly one of Switzerland’s most impressive sights filled with gushing waterfalls, meadows and mammoth mountains. There is so much to see and do here that you may find one day isn’t long enough.
- The city of Zurich is certainly worthy of a visit. Uncover the gems on offer here from the beautiful Old Town including the Grossmünster church to the Lake promenade and a multitude of museums.
Festivals and events
- The World Snow Festival is hosted every year in January in the glacier village of Grindelwald. Launched in 1983, this wonderful festival sees the village filled with artistic snow sculptures! (January)
- St Moritz hosts its Gourmet Festival for one week at the end of January and welcomes thousands of visitors every year. With international gourmet chefs and a gourmet festival village too, it’s definitely the place to be for foodies. (January)
- During the month of February some of the country’s most popular cities, including Bern, Zurich and Geneva host their Annual Carnivals with music, streets parties, costumes and folklore events. (February)
- Visit Lausanne during June for the European Beer Festival. You will find over 200 different types of beer ready and waiting to be sampled as well as a happy, summer atmosphere! (June)
- Grindelwald plays host to the Alpine Spring Festival during the month of June where you will traditional costumes, musical performances and dances and all manner of different activities such as flag throwing! (June)
- Live at Sunset Festival comes to Zurich during July and features national and international musicians who take to the open air stages. Renowned as one of Europe’s best festivals, this is definitely one to consider. (July)
- October sees Lausanne play host to the aptly named Underground Film & Music Festival. Many of the films shown are often experimental and unknown to the mainstream public. (October)
- The Magic Comedy Festival comes to Lucerne during November, welcoming comedians from all over the world that will be sure to have your sides splitting. (November)
- December sees the arrival of traditional Christmas Markets in anticipation of the big day. Visit the stalls in towns and cities across the country from Basel to Montreux and everywhere inbetween. (December)