Landlocked Switzerland is a dream destination for many travellers from all over the world, its neighbouring countries are France to the west, Italy to the south, Germany to the north, Austria and Lichtenstein to the east spanning an area of 41,285 km2. Though a small country there is much to see, do and experience. We recommend one or more of the following cities as your base for your visit here and if you would like to add your own special visit local to our suggested destination bases which are not listed here, we are open to your suggestions.
The town of Montreux nestles in a sheltered Lake Geneva bay against the backdrop of snow-covered Alps surrounded by its vineyards covering about 800 hectares. Lavaux is the largest contiguous vineyard region in Switzerland and its daringly constructed hillside terraces have been protected by UNESCO since 2007. The Montreux Jazz Festival, which takes place in June and July and features concerts on a variety of stages and parks in the town is famous for its eclectic and revered music agenda for around 2 weeks every year.
Castello di Montebello, Bellinzona - on clear days, you can see Lago Maggiore from this 13th-century hilltop fortification in Bellinzona. The fortress is one of Bellinzona’s most impressive with its drawbridges, ramparts and small museum catapulting you back to medieval times.
Swiss Miniatur (Minature Switzerland) - there are 120 models of houses, castles and monuments in the open air, distributed throughout the 14,000 square meter park. The models have been recreated authentically with great attention to detail and are surrounded by thousands of plants and flowers.
Locarno & Lake Maggiore - Locarno is a city in southern Switzerland on Lake Maggiore at the base of the Alps. Founded in the 12th century, the old town's Castello Visconteo houses the Museo Civico, which showcases Roman antiquities. The 15th-century Santuario della Madonna del Sasso, an art-filled pilgrimage site overlooking the city, can be reached by funicular railway.
Lake of Lugano and Gandria Cruise - Lake Lugano has a surface area of 50 square kilometers though is very narrow (1km) but also quite deep (up to 288 meters). For centuries some villages, like the picturesque Gandria and Morcote, were reachable only by lake. The boat cruise can therefore be combined with some walks: the Sentiero di Gandria (Gandria Trail), the itinerary of the Caprino cellars, the walks around the Monte Caslano or descending from San Salvatore towards Carona and Morcote.
Lucerne region lies at the heart of Switzerland and its lake is officially the beginning of the wonderful Swiss Alps and has it all, lakes, mountains and a stunning backdrop to the most impressive scenery in central Switzerland. Although it is a vibrant area, it can also be a quiet and a relaxing destination in every season too.
Lucerne City and Lion Monument - with murals and historic buildings there is no place so quaint. The stunning Lion Monument (a lion carved into vertical rock) is just behind the old wall and within walking distance of the city centre. Shop in an incredibly special atmosphere with every kind of boutique, department store and specialist retail outlet with cafes and great restaurants in a medieval setting.
Engelberg and Mount Titlis - Engelberg is an alpine town in central Switzerland. In the center is Kloster Engelberg, a 12th-century monastery. Trails weave up Mt. Titlis, and ski runs zigzag down. At 3,238m Mount Titlis is a must-do excursion that will take up the best part of a day. The ice-flyer (similar to a ski-lift but at a very high altitude) is an option not for the faint-hearted and with snow on the peak all year round, Mount Titlis is great for the family with Its idyllic ascension by traditional cable car above the cow fields (with ringing cowbells!).
The Lake of Lucerne Cruise including Mount Pilatus - up by cable-car and down by cog-wheel train the 'dragon' mountain is a pleasure combined with a 1.5 hour boat cruise back to Lucerne. With numerous caves at the very top (2,128m) and an uninhibited view across Lucerne region, this mythical mountain revered by the locals will give you an experience you will remember forever.
Mount Rigi - the Queen of the Mountains, Rigi is surrounded by water and has everything including great hotels, hiking trails, ice skating and skiing served by Europe's oldest mountain railways. These two cog railways from Vitznau (Europe’s first cog railway back in 1871) and Goldau, together with the panorama cable car from Weggis, make the journey up the mountain alone a great experience
Nidwalden including Buochs, Beckenreid, Stans, Hergiswil - on an AtelierSwiss tour we can take you deep into the Swiss cultural way of life where only a local can give you an insight into the fascinating side of the Swiss. We therefore like to find out what really makes you tick, whether you want to see how cheese is made and what types there are, visit a cow-bell maker, visit an alpabzug, join the locals at a festival, you tell us and we make it happen in Nidwalden.
Lindenhof and the Old City - this spot provides a glorious view of the Old Town, Grossmünster Church, City Hall, the Limmat river, the university and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. In the 4th century a Roman fort stood on Lindenhof and in the 9th century the grandson of Charlemagne built a regal palace as place of residence on the very same site. This area continued to be a place for gatherings for Zurich’s inhabitants right up to the beginning of the modern era. For example, the oath sealing the Helvetic Constitution was taken on the Lindenhof in 1798.
Jucker Farm - Jucker Farm offers an oasis of relaxation with a wonderful view of Lake Pfäffiker and the mountains. Various attactions enable visitors to experience agriculture up close. In the atmospheric farm store, locally grown products are the basis of the meals. Switzerland’s largest pumpkin exhibition takes place from the beginning of September to the beginning of November.
Rhine Falls - across a width of 150 meters (492 feet) and a height of 23 meters (75.5 feet), 600 m³ (21,189 cubic feet) of water plunge over the falls in the summer. An adventure path with elevator from Laufen Castle to the outlook platforms enable unobstructed views of this spectacle of nature. The Rhina Falls are approximately a 40 minute drive from Zurich and just along the river from Stein am Rhein.
Jungfrau - Top of Europe - for more than 100 years, the Jungfrau railway has been making its journey to Europe’s highest-altitude railway station at 3454 metres (above sea level) – right at the heart of the UNESCO heritage site "Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch". All through the year, the cog railway runs steeply up through a tunnel to the Jungfraujoch from Kleine Scheidegg with two stops for the fantastic view of the historic Eiger (North Face).
Bern, Thunsee and Briensee - Visit Bern whilst in Interlaken, Bern is the capital of Switzerland and you can take a glance at the wonderful blue lakes of Brienz and Thunsee on the way. The old town of Bern is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and thanks to its 6 kilometres of arcades, the locals refer to them as 'Lauben' and they are one of the longest weather-sheltered shopping promenades in Europe. The famous Clock Tower (Zytglogge) is a definite attraction worth seeing, the ornate astronomical clock with its moving figures was built in 1530. It served as the city's main clock and thus had an authoritative function in Bern.
Susten, Furka and Grimsel mountain passes (summer only) - enjoy a trip over some of the most spectacular mountain passes and witness the capturing beauty of the surrounding mountain world. The pass roads open up views of breathtakingly beautiful mountain landscapes, quaint villages and deep valleys.
Schilthorn (Piz Gloria) and Lauterbrunnen - at 2970 metres, the Schilthorn attracts visitors with a magnificent 360-degree panoramic view of the “Swiss skyline” including Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau and a delicious meal in the revolving restaurant Piz Gloria. Lauterbrunnen boasts over 70 waterfalls and includes the Bollywood-famous Trummelbach Falls.
Lausanne or Montreux
Maison Cailler Chocolate Factory - the visitor trail at the Broc factory provides a complete immersion into the brand, history and products of Cailler of Switzerland. Retrace the factory's history from its humble origins in 1898 right up to the 1960s, with Cailler producing the very first milk chocolate among the fascinating facts. A chocolate experience well worth the visit.
Gruyéres and Cheese Factory - the historical town of Gruyères has preserved its Medieval character up until today. The old comital residence lies on a hill above the river Saane. The castle, which dates back to the 13th century, is today a museum depicting 800 years of regional architecture, history and culture. Take a tour of the local cheese factory, famed for producing its Gruyère cheese which is sweet but slightly salty, with a flavour that varies widely with age.
Lavaux Vineyards - the Lavaux Vineyard Terraces, stretch for about 30 km along the south-facing northern shores of Lake Geneva from the Chateau de Chillon and Montreux to the eastern outskirts of Lausanne in the Vaud region, covering the lower slopes of the mountainside between the villages and the lake. The Vineyard has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2007 and produces wine which is sold throughout the world.
Chateu de Chillon - Chillon Castle is located on a rock on the banks of Lake Geneva. The water castle is the most visited historic building in Switzerland. For nearly four centuries Chillon was the residence of the Counts of Savoy and the important land route to the St. Bernhard Pass was controlled from this island.
Zermatt is 1,620m above sea level and is a vibrant place worthy of at least a full day trip with plenty of shops, cafés, bars and great places to eat. Zermatt, a Walser village with houses dating back more than 500 years when German migrants had settled, is car-free. Everything is within a walk, even romantic neighbourhoods and quiet corners. And all paths eventually lead directly to the peaceful and yet wild mountain world at the foot of the Matterhorn
The Matterhorn at 4,478 m is considered to be the epitome of a mountain. There is no better-known mountain in the world that has a natural shape that is so close to the shape of a pyramid. 100 million years ago, enormous forces brought Africa closer to Europe. 50 million years later, as the rock masses folded and deformed, the Matterhorn emerged from the rock thrusting upwards. The Matterhorn has a magic attraction, both for day-trippers who love the view and for Alpinists who love a challenge and dream of climbing the peak of the Matterhorn at least once in their lives. The most popular ascent route is the Hörnligrat.
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