Between the lush green valleys, pristine alpine lakes and breathtaking views of the Alps, there’s no better time than summer to visit Switzerland. Whether you prefer swimming in clear water, hiking to the summit of incredible peaks or enjoying the culture that only a European city can provide, Switzerland has got you covered. Here are 10 pictures that prove Switzerland is the perfect spot for your summer vacation.
The lore behind Mount Pilatus adds to the already mesmerizing peak. Whether or not you believe that the mountain was created from the rock where a dragon lived or that a petrified man serves as a guardian to the mountain’s caves, arriving at the summit of Mount Pilatus will make your jaw drop. Offering a commanding view of 73 peaks in the Alps and accessible by train, cable car and, of course, hiking trails, there’s no doubt that Mount Pilatus is a must-visit on your summer tour of Switzerland.
After summiting Mount Pilatus, it’s essential to visit the nearby town of Lucerne. Situated on the Reuss, a waterway that divides the town in two, the city’s architecture is reminiscent of its medieval origins. Footbridges cross over the Reuss, including the Chapel Bridge, one of the oldest wooden bridges in the country. The Reuss feeds into nearby Lake Lucerne, a beautiful alpine lake that can be explored via steamboat.
The small village of Lauterbrunnen is located in a narrow green valley, with the Alps rising on either side. With several day hikes in the area and the magnificence of the Jungfrau region only a train ride away, Lauterbrunnen is an ideal starting point for any type of adventure. In addition, Lauterbrunnen translates to “many fountains,” a nod to the region’s abundant and impressive waterfalls, including the 900-foot Staubbach Falls.
Interlaken’s local mountain, Harder Kulm, is easy to reach with a short ride on the funicular, or cable train. The eight-minute ride carries passengers to a viewing platform over 4,000-feet above sea level. From here, the panoramic views are simply stunning, offering glimpses of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau — the famed “Big Three” peaks in the Bernese Alps.
From the top of Harder Kulm, one can also see Lake Brienz, a pristine Alpine lake widely known for its arresting turquoise color. Besides swimming in the clear water, or picnicking beside the shore, visitors can take scenic boat cruises around the lake. The popular Giessbach Falls also has a footpath that leads hikers under the majestic waterfall that cascades into the lake.
Located along the beautiful shores of Lake Geneva, the small resort town of Montreux has much more to offer than its bucolic setting. Every July, the town hosts the Montreux Jazz Festival, an event which welcomes talented musicians from around the world. The region is also known for its wineries, and a day touring the idyllic Swiss countryside, tasting wine, is not to be missed.
Located on the Rhine, the city of Basel resembles a European fairy tale. From visiting the richly decorated buildings in Old Town to touring the city’s modern architecture, it is clear that this historic city is very much based on aesthetics. With over 40 art museums, including the world-famous Kunstmuseum, Basel serves as a Swiss epicenter for culture and the arts.
Adventure sports enthusiasts flock to the mountains of Switzerland from all over the world and summertime is the season for mountain bikers. Poschiavo, a small town near the Italian border, is a mecca for athletes on two wheels. The Bernina Express Mountain Bike Trail ends in Poschiavo and the surrounding mountains have several single track trails that challenge riders and boast stunning views of mountains, valleys and the occasional farm animal.
Gornergrat, a mountain located within the Pennine Alps, stands at an elevation of 10,285 feet. Accessible by a cog rail from the alpine town of Zermatt, the Gornergrat railway takes its passengers on a high altitude ride to one of the most incredible vistas in Switzerland. Not only does the ride offer impressive views of the surrounding mountains, including the famed Matterhorn, but the train also has multiple stops along the way for exploring the Alps by foot.
There is no site in Switzerland more iconic than the Matterhorn. This craggy, snow-covered spire rises over 14,000 feet above sea level and towers over the aforementioned town of Zermatt. Whether you choose to witness the Matterhorn’s reflection in Lake Stellisee or ride up in the Matterhorn Gondola, this peak will leave you in awe. If you choose the latter, you can also explore the mountain from within by touring the Glacier Palace, a journey that takes you 50 feet below the surface into a mountainous world of ice.