Swiss Cities and Towns
- Basel (Stadt)
Switzerland's most patrician city sits on the Rhine, facing Germany and
Bear Pits of Bern
The Swiss capital is named after bears (Bären), and bears are featured
on the city's flag and coat of arms.
If you're headed for Bern or the Bernese Oberland from London, Amsterdam, or a
handful of other European cities, the Swiss capital's airport is worth
Bern's Münster (Cathedral)
After you've seen the remarkable carvings and stained-glass windows, climb the
tower for a panoramic view of Switzerland's capital city.
Hotel Restaurant Goldener Schlüssel,
For location and price, this hotel in the Swiss capital's medieval center is
hard to beat. Rooms are on the austere side, but you'll get an excellent
breakfast in the hotel's attractive restaurant.
When the weather turns hot in Bern, grab your bathing suit and catch the
funicular to a riverside swimming area below Switzerland's Parliament.
When it's raining outside, the Federal Assembly chamber offers the best alpine
view in Switzerland.
Come for the onions, stay for the confetti battle at the Zibile-Märit
on the fourth Monday of November.
French Switzerland's largest airport is only six minutes from downtown Geneva,
with direct railway connections to Lausanne, the Rhône Valley, and Italy.
Watch a 17th Century parade, smash chocolate soup pots,
and give coins to costumed children during Geneva's annual celebration of a
failed military invasion in early December.
With a height of 130m (425 feet), this is still Europe's tallest fountain after
Geneva and Zürich Restaurant Trams
In Switzerland, streetcars aren't just for transportation--you can also enjoy a
meal with beer or wine while touring by public transit.
Canton Vaud's capital has a picturesque old town, a lively waterfront, and a
wealth of museums and culture.
Olympic Museum Lausanne
You've seen the medals and torches on TV, and now you can see them in
person--along with sporting equipment, costumes, 3D movies, on-demand video
clips, and other items at the International Olympic Committee's modern museum.
Bridges of Lucerne
This lakeside city is famous for its medieval Kapellbrücke and Spreuerbrücke,
one of which was rebuilt after a 1993 fire.
Lake Lucerne by Steamer
Cruise 3-1/2 hours to Fluelen, or combine shorter segments with train
transportation as you explore Switzerland's most popular lake.
Before Louis XVI lost his head, 726 Swiss Guards lost their lives on his
Take a vintage steamboat to Alpnachstad, then ride the world's
steepest cogwheel railroad to the top of Mt. Pilatus. On the way down by
cablecar, you can sample an aerial rope course and Switzerland's longest summer
toboggan run before returning to Lucerne.
Swiss Transportation Museum
Lucerne's lakefront museum complex has it all: trains, planes, automobiles,
boats, a planetarium, a 360° panoramic movie tour of Switzerland, and more.
This sunny resort
town on Lac Léman has classic resort
hotels, a lakefront promenade, a casino, and other attractions that have drawn
royals and celebrity-watchers since the days of the Tsars.
Castle of Chillon
Lord Byron made this château famous with his poem,
The Prisoner of Chillon,
and its dungeons have been chilling the hearts of tourists ever since.
The capital of Canton Neuchâtel is also the gateway to "Watch Valley." Its
medieval old town overlooks the biggest lake within Switzerland's borders. (Also
see our article on the Hôtel Palafitte,
the only European luxury hotel built over water.)
Eastern Switzerland's biggest city is famous for its abbey library, cathedral,
and old town--but it's a lot hipper than you might think.
The banking quarter of St. Gallen has been turned into the city's living room,
with red carpeting on the streets and illuminated planetoids overhead.
- Rhine Falls
The Rheinfall at Schaffhausen is Europe's biggest waterfall.
"Twin Peaks" isn't just a TV show. It's also an apt nickname for this
2,000-year-old town, which has a pair of ancient fortresses--including a chapel with the
world's oldest playable organ.
This medieval city is a gateway to the Bernese Oberland. It's also worth
visiting for its castle and other attractions.
Henri Nestlé and Charlie Chaplin are among the
residents and visitors who have found happiness in this cosmopolitan lakeside
resort, which is also the gateway to the Lavaux
Affordable Zürich Hotels
A guide to three Zürich hotels in the medium price range: the Franziskaner, the Du
Théâtre, and the Limmathof.
Shop in some of Europe's finest stores, enjoy hot chocolate and pastries, or open a Swiss
bank account on the most elegant street in Switzerland.
Zürich's greatest church was founded 900 years ago--possibly by the Emperor
Lake Zürich by Steamer
Cruise two hours to Rapperswil, the historic "town of roses," or sample the Zürisee's
attractions aboard a breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner boat.
Layover in Zürich
If you have several hours between flights, here's what to do and see.
Zürich Beer Halls
Rub shoulders with the natives while enjoying Swiss-German comfort food at
Bierhalle Kropf, the Zeughauskeller, or the Rheinfelder Bierhaus.
The "little funicular that could" hauls 1.6 million passengers a year
from the Zürich riverfront to a hillside university campus with a great view of the city.
Where but in Switzerland would engineers have invented a baggage cart that goes
down escalators to an underground train station?
Zürich Trams and Buses
Zip around Switzerland's largest city with the VBZ Züri-Linie.
Zürich and Geneva Restaurant
In Switzerland, streetcars aren't just for transportation--you can also enjoy
a meal with beer or wine while touring by public transit.
Zürich's Street Parade
Since its modest beginnings in 1992, this annual summer event has grown into a
parade with 30 music floats that entertain 400,000 to 500,000 house and techno
"Best of the Web"
Forbes and The Washington Post
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