Whether you are visiting Switzerland for the first time or not, you will always want to return to this wonderland to discover the hidden gems of this vibrant country. Switzerland is a vivid juxtaposition between fairy-like nature, impressive rail technology, towering mountain peaks, and historical cities that boast ancient museums, medieval and modern architecture. Explore the traditions that form the spirit of the people and Switzerland.
The “Great Mountain” is the most-photographed mountain in the world and the beacon that shines brightly over Switzerland. The Matterhorn is synonymous with the much-loved chocolate bar Toblerone. It has proudly established itself as the seventh summit in the majestically extended Monta Rosa area in the Valais Canton.
The Matterhorn is enveloped by some of Switzerland’s most breathtaking scenery, one of the many reasons why the Glacier Express arrives and departs from this point. The mountain formed millions of years ago when two pieces of land collided, making the ground ascend to fashion two distinct summits. Geologists have carried out various studies and conclude that the uppermost rock comes from the African Continental Plateau; isn’t that awesome?
This small town is at the top of any ‘must-see’ list when you travel through Switzerland. In the city’s centre, between the old and modern towns, lie the gorgeous turquoise lake and the famed Chapel Bridge (Kapellbrücke). The dreamy Mount Pilatus protectively overlooks Lucerne.
During your time in Lucerne, make your way to the Lion Monument. The statue is carved out of natural rock and situated in the old part of the town. It has a special place in Switzerland’s heritage; the monument was hewn in 1821 and formed tribute to the Swiss Guards killed during the 1792 French Revolution where civilians stormed the Tuileries Gardens in Paris. The Lion Monument is visited and admired by thousands of tourists every year and was placed under Swiss Monument Protection in 2006. American author Mark Twain described the Lion Monument as the saddest statue.
If you seek nature, then the mountains are a superb choice. The Swiss are pioneers in accessible transportations systems. It is possible to reach Mount Rigi, Mount Titlis, or Mount Pilatus from the city’s SBB train station in less than an hour.
Basel is a unique city located on the border with Germany and France. The city is worth visiting just for the beautiful Rhine river. You can enjoy a stroll at the Rhineweg or take a little wooden ferry across the river to explore the other side. Don’t forget your Wickelfisch if you want to take a swim in the Rhine.
Kunstmuseum is another gem of Basel’s city; it hosts the most extensive and exquisite public art collection in Switzerland. The name translates into ‘museum of the arts’ and is listed as a heritage site of national significance. The art gallery presents some extraordinary works of Picasso.
Hop onboard the tram to the three-country bridge and discover the beautiful cathedral and the town hall. Whether you are exploring Switzerland by cruise or on land, the city of Basel is a destination that you should definitely take time to explore.
The capital of the Canton of Neuchâtel is a sacred city famous for winemaking, watch manufacture, and blossoming gardens. The city surrounds itself with acres of vines with famous vineyards open for private and group visits with delicious tastings of their finest wines. The medieval architecture and vineyards have a spectacular view over the lake, which can quite simply take your breath away. Take a cruise on the lake or visit Château de Neuchâtel. Make sure to have your cameras ready for the perfect shot!
Another ideal spot to explore is the glorious medieval Château de Neuchâtel and Collegiate Church, another Swiss heritage site of national significance. It dates back to the 12th century; the lords and counts of Neuchâtel inhabited the territory before it was taken over in the 16th century by governors. The château sits up high and overlooks the old town of Neuchâtel. One of the highlights when visiting this fascinating monument is climbing up the Prison tower, where you will see the region’s breathtaking views unfold before you.
You’ve probably heard about Bahnhofstrasse in Zurich at least once in your life? This main downtown street was named one of the world’s most expensive and exclusive shopping avenues and connected with the old town, whose existence dates back to 1893.
For those who are interested in football – visit the FIFA World Football Museum. Inside, you can find not only exclusive artefacts but also take part in live football interactions.
Another highlight of your journey is that you could visit the Zurich Zoo, which meets the highest animal preservation standards. The zookeepers ensure that the animals have excellent care. If you are lucky enough, you can witness the feeding of koalas and penguins. The zoo has an impressive elephant park, where Asian elephants live close to their natural environment. Discover more than 4000 animals with over 380 animal species in nature-like habitats, take an educational and exciting journey while learning how to protect them.
With your travel advisor, plan a once-in-a-lifetime journey through the spectacular and beautiful lands of Switzerland. Explore Alpine nature and mountains, vineyards and lakes, churches, museums, and rivers. Switzerland will ensure that you have a relaxing and well-curated journey through this extraordinary country.
Wanhua Qiao is Managing Director of Venez Discover Switzerland. Venez Discover Switzerland by Tourismus Group crafts some of the finest private tours and multi-day journeys throughout Switzerland and has established itself as a leading tour operator in Switzerland.