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7 Travel Experiences of Switzerland That You Don’t Want to Miss

Traditional local houses in Wengen village in the Interlaken district in the Bern canton of Switzerland SSUCv3H4sIAAAAAAAACpxSy26DMBC8V+o/IJ+DxCMm0F+JelgbB6w4NvKjVRTl37s2ELnqrTd2dnY8u8Pj/a0oCAMnOfkoHrHCWioVnLfgpdEIV4cNt0KPwuaIGKU3VoLKQQaezxpuAkEdlIrwMzWJ8+CDEy57jMnJecOvy2y8QbzO6By8mFD/98Dm9rzWxd5ITZzAFiGHDHOBJWyHVvF/Ta4fn/umMAnN79HbM3NthRKwLnleqeT67YW9pS02EoRRmmyrL8NBRUKbKS1WcqmnbMz4OSWwj3ETtLf33DlRxizAVDz/BTXFjs/gHNLHHc8PjXmbW/aONj4tsKmSEZOIZd02TdWe6r6t+25oad9shDXZWaJOsrMbDIsyMIr46OvafzOnJ9r3Az2l8Lc7v34ZJMoxv52MamjlOHBoeNm0lJbHputKxvpj2dLLUFVojfMOk3v+AAAA//8DAPMie+HkAgAA

Switzerland is a landlocked country in the heart of the European Alps. Known by many for its political neutrality, it is also renowned as an excellent skiing destination, and as the producer of some of the world’s finest cheese. Switzerland’s best travel experiences tap into the country’s plethora of natural wonders. Soaring mountain peaks, rolling hills and crystal-clear glacier lakes make it one of Europe’s most scenic destinations.

A classic way to travel in Switzerland is by rail, and a few years ago I wrote an article about the fabulous train journeys of Switzerland. This time around, let’s look at seven of the best experiences of Switzerland. Whether you’re looking to visit this alpine nation or just curious to find out more about a lesser-visited European destination, read on to find out more about visiting Switzerland.

The ’Golden Roundtrip’ to Mount Pilatus

A tall mountain peak towering over the pretty city of Lucerne, Mount Pilatus makes for a wonderful day trip from the city. The Golden Roundtrip is a full day excursion from Lucerne which can be booked as a package and includes all the best activities in and around the mountain.

Start with a boat ride from the city across the shimmering waters of Lake Lucerne to reach the foot of Mount Pilatus. Travelers can then ride the steepest cogwheel train in the world to the summit. Dating to the 1870s, this heritage railway offers sweeping views of the surrounding mountains from large windows and takes approximately 30 minutes to complete.

On arrival at the summit of Mount Pilatus, guests will want to visit the observation deck to sample the view and can grab a bite to eat at the restaurant. There are a couple of short hiking trails for those who wish to explore before heading back down the other side aboard a cable car, soaring over green pine forests and snow-capped mountains. A bus service then returns travelers to Lucerne. It’s an action-packed day trip and one that makes the most of Switzerland’s unrivalled natural scenery.


When it comes to food experiences during your Swiss travel, raclette is non-negotiable. This traditional Swiss meal is incredibly simply but much loved, and generally eaten during family get-togethers in the winter months. A special raclette machine is used to melt cheese (raclette cheese is available but any cheese will do!) which is then poured atop boiled potatoes and served alongside cold meats such as salami and prosciutto, salad, pickles and onion. They served raclette at our meeting last week and it was delicious!

Up in the mountains, it is served in all good authentic restaurants and is particularly enjoyable when there’s a blizzard blowing outside, and you’re wrapped up warm beside a log fire.

The Schilthorn Cableway

Another of Switzerland’s numerous mountain peaks, Schilthorn is one of the highest peaks in the Jungfrau region of the country, offering mesmerizing views of the Swiss Alps. Europe’s second highest mountain, Mont Blanc, can be seen from the summit on a clear day. It is possible to hike to Schilthorn, but the majority of guests choose to ride the cable car from Stechelberg or Gimmelwald, which is quicker and allows plenty of time for soaking up the view.

Schilthorn is also featured prominently in the 1969 James Bond film, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, starring George Lazenby. Visitors can dine in the restaurant featured in the movie, Piz Gloria, which rotates as you dine and boasts a stunning outdoor viewing deck. And spy fans can visit Spy World, an interactive exhibit dedicated to the movie, featuring key scenes and lots of Bond trivia.

Another of the cable stops is at Birg, and the ticket price allows you to hop off here if you so wish. The Birg Thrill Walk is a 650-foot metal and glass walkway that protrudes from the mountains. Not for the faint-hearted, it allows travelers to stand on a glass floor overlooking the mountain valley, walk through a mesh tunnel, and even tightrope walk! Also in this area is the Skyline Walk, a similarly gravity-defying attraction that sees visitors walk out onto an observation deck suspended over an abyss.

Glacier 3000

Located in Switzerland’s south-west and easily reachable from towns including Gstaad, Lausanne, and Vevey, Glacier 3000 is a diverse resort featuring all manner of activities for travelers to enjoy. Reached by cable car, visitors will first want to head to the Peak Walk by Tissot. This is the world’s first suspension footbridge to span two separate mountain summits, allowing visitors to make the death-defying 350-foot walk surrounded by views of Mont Blanc, the Matterhorn, Eiger and Jungfrau.

Other attractions at the resort are seasonal, such as Europe’s highest alpine coaster, which runs only during the summer months. In winter, you can hike on a glacier, using specialist equipment to cross crevasses, and hike on an ancient ice field. Other activities include dog sledding, cross-country skiing and scenic helicopter flights over a glacier. 

Car-free alpine villages

Where better to enjoy the crisp mountain air, stunning alpine scenery and general peace and tranquility than in one of the rural Swiss villages where cars are not permitted? There are many of these villages dotted across the country, and each makes for a delightful place to explore.

Shielded from the wind by the towering mountains of Jungfrau, the holiday resort village of Wengen offers perfect hiking territory in the Lauterbrunnen valley and is only reachable by cogwheel train. Murren is similarly reached by cable car or funicular railway and boasts panoramic views of the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau mountains. Located near the aforementioned Schilthorn summit, it’s also known for its summer mountain biking trails and is a great skiing destination in the winter months. And Zermatt, located in the shadow of the mighty Matterhorn, is perhaps the most upscale of the car-free villages. Boasting an array of high-end shops and restaurants, it’s the perfect luxury retreat. The Gornergrat Railway offers views of the Matterhorn, and the Matterhorn Museum delves into the history of mountaineering at this most famous of European peaks.

Other car-free villages to consider visiting during your Swiss soiree are ‘the Pearl of the Alps’, Saas-Fee and Bettmeralp, located adjacent to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Aletsch Glacier.

Lake Geneva & Chillon Castle

Marking the border between Switzerland and France, Lake Geneva is one of the largest freshwater lakes in Europe, at more than 225 square miles. Fed by melting snow from the Alps, the azure alpine blue makes for a scenic environment to discover, and this is best achieved on a boat cruise to take in some of the pretty lakeside cities, towns and villages.

At the far eastern shore of the lake, on a small island, lies Chillon Castle, one of the most-visited attractions in Switzerland. Visitors to this medieval fortress can take in the castle’s fortified ramparts, historic artwork-laden interior rooms and murky underground dungeons. The castle once made its owners very rich, as it was used to collect tolls from ships using the lake. And even today it can be hired out as a (very expensive) private venue. The 1000-year history of the site is told in an audio-visual format throughout the castle, with a series of short films on display across the main rooms and areas of the castle.

After a day of exploring Chillon Castle, guests can indulge in a bite to eat or a drink at Café Byron.

Lauterbrunnen Valley

We’ve referenced the Lauterbrunnen Valley a couple of times, as it is home to some of Switzerland’s prettiest car-free villages and most impressive scenery. In summer, this is one of the best places to visit in Switzerland, prime hiking territory for those looking to embrace the great outdoors. The area’s 72 waterfalls are swelled with snowmelt during the summer months, glacier lakes are crystal clear with fresh water and the hiking trails burst into bloom. Perhaps the most popular hiking trail is from Lauterbrunnen town to Stechelberg, passing the cascading Staubbach Falls and Trummelbach Falls, which is hidden inside the towering valley rock face. JRR Tolken drew inspiration for Middle Earth from the landscapes of Lauterbrunnen, and whichever hiking or cycling options you choose, you are sure to be overwhelmed with incredible scenery.


Switzerland is Europe’s jewel for outdoor travel experiences. The entire country is located within the Alps, boasting incredible mountain peaks, picturesque valleys, ancient glaciers and dazzling glacier lakes. Whether it’s hitting the ski slopes and hiking trails, exploring historic towns, villages and attractions, or making use of modern technology such as cable cars to scale dramatic clifftops, the best travel experiences of Switzerland involve wrapping up warm and heading outside – when rewarded with a steaming pot of melted raclette cheese and freshly cooked potatoes, you don’t need much more of an incentive!