Requested by Brent Vatne

Best Places To Visit In 🇨🇭Switzerland. Vol. I (Abridged)

Switzerland, or the little, neutral hedgehog of Europe, is a menagerie of the old and new. She is European, but separate. She flaunts her majestic snow capped Alps and luxurious shopping while preferring the simplicity of farming life. These are some places you should visit if you have the time. Check SBB.ch for the rail schedule & travel time.
  1. •
    [ZĂĽrich]
    The largest city in Switzerland in the canton of the same name. A German speaking city, it's the cultural center of the country.
  2. •
    ~ZĂĽrich train station
    The main lobby is converted weekly to fairs, farmer's market, and whatever is trending. Always seems to amuse.
  3. •
    ~ Swiss National museum
    Next to the train station, this museum gives you a glimpse to the people who inhabit Switzerland. Worth a visit.
  4. •
    ~Bahnhofstrasse
    This street off the train station takes you to the center of the city. Chocolate shops and boutiques line this shopping street. Leads you to the Lindenhof.
  5. •
    ~Lindenhof
    The old city is lined with expensive shops, coffee bars, and lots of old world charm. Watch out for the occasional drumline. If you walk across the bridge to the opposite side of the Limmat, you come to the GrossmĂĽnster, the seat of Swiss religious reformation and even the Carolingian empire.
  6. •
    ~ Lake ZĂĽrich
    How can you not walk towards the lake. Stunning views , on a clear day you can see the snow covered mountains. Back to the train station, visit Niederdorf, the "more affordable" part of the city. Again, old world charm with bars and quick bites.
  7. •
    [Schaffhausen]
    Ever been up close to a waterfall? Ok, there are literally thousands of them in this country, but this is Europe's largest. Later, enjoy the medieval architecture. More like a day trip. City and canton are the same name.
  8. •
    [Ticino]
    The southern-most, officially Italian speaking canton, bordering Italy. I'm partial to this area since I lived here for 4 years. It's 3 hours from Zurich but if you want to feel like you've seen this country, you need to go here. The Vatican Swiss guards are trained here starting 2016.
  9. •
    ~Lugano
    Largest city in the canton with beautiful riviera. Take a boat, have a pizza at the main Plaza and enjoy the gelato. Then go shopping on Via Nassa and go up the San Salvatore funicular. There's also a chocolate factory you can tour and sample all their confectionary. 1/2 to 1 full day.
  10. •
    ~Bellinzona
    The capital of Ticino. Visit the castle forts. You can't miss them. There is a yearly wine festival that no one should ever avoid. 1/2 day.
  11. •
    ~ Valle Verzasca
    If you're good with maps, go to this valley where James Bond took the plunge off the dam. Then swim in the blue waters surrounding the Roman era bridge. Full day trip.
  12. •
    [Lucerne]
    Whether you say Lucerne, Lucerna,Luzern, or like the locals- Lozärn, this is one gorgeous city you need to visit. From the train station, cross the bridge directly into the old city and take a passage through time on the old 1300s wooden Kapellebrücke bridge.
  13. •
    [Bern]
    The city owes its name to the place the duke of Zaehringer (founder of Freiburg, Germany ) met his first hunting animal, The city and canton share the same name and they are both beautiful. See the capital all in 1/2 day.
  14. •
    ~What to see
    The House of Parliament- the Bundeshaus. Tours start behind the building. The city also hosts the longest series of architectural arcades. The Zytglogge, or medieval clock tower/guard tower. In the way to the bear pits check out the streaming water in the middle of the road- at one point you will see the water defy physics. Eat at the Altestramdepot for a full view of the Bernese alps. Visit the Einstein house before you leave.
  15. •
    [Fribourg/Freiburg]
    A bilingual canton whose largest city is of the same name. This is a university town and beer flows cheaply. You can see most of the city in 1/2 a day. Or live here 3 1/2 years like I did and believe there's so much more in the detail. There are nearly 20 active frats so don't freak out if you see some young guys wearing funny hats. Read my List on joining a fraternity. Also check out the Röstigraben- the Swiss line dividing the country between the German & French speaking population.
  16. •
    ~Eat at Café du Belvédère.
    From the train station walk down Rue des Alpes into the "new town", a 17th century block heading down to the Cathedral St. Nicholas( AKA Santa Claus and he holds a speech every year). When you get to the cafe, Go outside, the view is breathtaking!! Then head down to the old town and look up! Don't worry, there's a bus you can take back up or take the oldest water loading funicular back up if you have the time. Visit the Villars chocolate factory, the best, despite no tours.
  17. •
    ~ Visit the town of Gruyeres.
    Eat at the Gruyere cheese museum opposite the train station. Then hike up 10 minutes to the village and visit the castle, have some gelato, before enjoying drinks at the Giger Bar- the same Giger that designed the Alien films universe.
  18. •
    [Vaud]
    This French speaking canton host the Olympic committee's HQ and museum in Lausanne. Always sit facing the glass on the east side of the train wagon. The view is spectacular when you enter Vaud.
  19. •
    ~Lausanne
    From the train station take the metro up to the cathedral. Then stroll through down the old city. Take the metro down to Ouchy- the lake front municipality along the Geneva lake. Walk to the Olympic museum and keep an eye out for the Farmers market near the Ouchy park. If it's there- stroll around! Eat around the castle of Ouchy, where lord Byron wrote his famous Prisoner of Chillon. I lived in Lausanne for 1/2 year.
  20. •
    [Geneva]
    Switzerland's second largest city, this city often feel less Swiss due to the fact that so many international NGOs make their home here. I lived here for 1 1/2 years.
  21. •
    ~ Grab a quick bite.
    have a beer at Les Brasseurs, across from the train station and then have a burger at Holy Cow. They are soo good.
  22. •
    ~ Visit the UN HQ. Then go to CERN.
    The UN HQ is best to see in the morning or early afternoon. Send post from this location because it's only 1 of 2 locations where you can get a UN stamp. Then take the tram to CERN and visit the Globe of Innovations where holograms welcome you to the universe. Free entry. The Main CERN entrance has a special exhibition but 2 years ago it was still badly outdated. If you get a chance to eat at the restaurant, do it. Seriously good food subsidized by the French and Swiss governments.
  23. •
    ~Geneva Lake and old city
    So if you arrive to Geneva train station you might think this is an ugly city. But you need to cross the bridge, over the lake, to the old city and cathedral. Many philosophers like Voltaire and Swiss reformer Calvin made their home here.
  24. •
    ~ Hotel Cornavin and Manora at Manor
    This hotel next to the train station has a secret viewing area. Go inside, past the TinTin statue and go directly to the elevators. Concierge won't give you a hard time. Go to the viewing floor and enjoy the view of the water jet in the lake and of course Mont Blanc in France. The Manor department store nearby has a rooftop restaurant named Manora with even better views where you can serve yourself food in a cafeteria setting (but 1k times better quality).
  25. •
    [Annecy, France]
    Sure, this is in France, but if you have a spare day, take a bus trip to Annecy, the "Venice of the Alps". Visit the candy store, enjoy the parks along the water, and stroll through the old city. 45 mins from Geneva.