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Swiss Cities and Towns

Basel

  • Basel (Stadt)
    Switzerland's most patrician city sits on the Rhine, facing Germany and France.

Bern

  • 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.

  • Bern Airport (Flughafen Bern-Belp)
    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 investigating.

  • 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, Bern
    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.

  • Marzili
    When the weather turns hot in Bern, grab your bathing suit and catch the funicular to a riverside swimming area below Switzerland's Parliament.

  • Swiss Parliament
    When it's raining outside, the Federal Assembly chamber offers the best alpine view in Switzerland.

  • Bern Onion Market
    Come for the onions, stay for the confetti battle at the Zibile-Märit on the fourth Monday of November.

Biel/Bienne

Geneva

  • Geneva Airport
    French Switzerland's largest airport is only six minutes from downtown Geneva, with direct railway connections to Lausanne, the Rhône Valley, and Italy.

  • Geneva's Escalade
    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.

  • Jet d'eau
    With a height of 130m (425 feet), this is still Europe's tallest fountain after 107 years.

  • 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.

La Chaux-de-Fonds

Lausanne

  • Lausanne
    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.

Lucerne

  • 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.

  • Lion Monument
    Before Louis XVI lost his head, 726 Swiss Guards lost their lives on his acount.

  • Pilatus Kulm
    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.

Montreux

  • Montreux
    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.

Neuchâtel

  • Neuchâtel
    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.)

St. Gallen

  • St. Gallen
    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.

  • Bleicheli "Stadtlounge"
    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.

Schaffhausen

  • Rhine Falls
    The Rheinfall at Schaffhausen is Europe's biggest waterfall.

Sion

  • Sion
    "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.

Thun

  • Thun
    This medieval city is a gateway to the Bernese Oberland. It's also worth visiting for its castle and other attractions.

Vevey

  • Vevey
    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 winegrowing district.

Zürich

  • Affordable Zürich Hotels
    A guide to three Zürich hotels in the medium price range: the Franziskaner, the Du Théâtre, and the Limmathof.

  • Bahnhofstrasse
    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.

  • Grossmünster
    Zürich's greatest church was founded 900 years ago--possibly by the Emperor Charlemagne

  • 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.

  • UBS Polybahn
    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.

  • Zürich Airport
    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 Trams
    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 music fans.

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