An 'Insider's Guide' To Switzerland: The 8 Best Places To Visit

by Travelling Peach

Switzerland is one of the most incredible places. Whether you enjoy energizing activities such as hiking and adrenalin fuelled sports; relaxing with a glass of wine and sampling some Swiss cuisine by one of its stunning lakes with breathtaking views of the mountains; or indulging in a spot of shopping and sightseeing, Switzerland literally has it all. Moreover, wherever you go – city or rural towns – you can’t help but be overwhelmed by how spacious, relaxing and beautiful it is. Everywhere you go, you can see a clear blue sky, stunning mountains and you’re never too far from the sparkling waters of their many lakes.

Here are our 8 favourite things to do in Switzerland:

1. Mountains
When in Switzerland, you can’t help but be awestruck by the many mountains that surround the valleys. Full of personality, in winter they’re iced with snow and in summer they’re covered by lush green trees, making them the perfect place to enjoy an adventure. Whether you’re looking for a gentle stroll to enjoy some of the natural beauty and cultural sights; to enjoy breathtaking views from the summit; to hike and mountain bike along one of their many trails; or something to get the adrenalin pumping; there’s something for everyone.

We love the mountains because the atmosphere is so peaceful and healthy, and the sense of freedom and many laughs make them a fantastic day out with friends. You can also find many grotti (little Swiss restaurants), where you can sample traditional Swiss cuisine, full of the freshest local produce and cheeses from the area. Delicious!

Each mountain has something different to offer so don’t forget to think about what you want to see and plan which mountain to visit accordingly in advance.


2. The Three Castles Of Bellinzona
The Swiss landscape is bejeweled by some incredible churches and architecture but, of them all, The Three Castles of Bellinzona are by far the most impressive. Steeped in history and surrounded by stunning views of the mountains and landscapes, you can’t help but be overcome by a sense of freedom. It really is an incredible feeling. 

Walking around, you can enjoy the beautiful architecture of each fortress’s original stone walls, turrets and open spaces, aged though time; and marvel at how each one has its own special personality. 

Each castle’s personality completely transforms at nighttime, when the fortresses are lit up in golden splendor against the dark night sky so it’s definitely worth visiting them at different times. Castello Sasso Corbaro is particularly beautiful at this time as, standing outside the entrance, you can look out at the twinkling lights of the town below, framed by the outlines of the trees and shadows of the castle. Perfect for a romantic nighttime picnic.

We love them all; however Castelgrande is our favourite. Standing on the top of the fortress, looking out over the views of the mountains, which are perfectly framed by the worn stone turrets is unmissable; and on the left side of the walls, there’s a quaint old staircase of around 6 tiny stone steps suspended out into mid-air from the wall. Definitely look out for it because it’s so enchanting, you can’t help but smile and climb up it. Then, after walking around, the castle boasts some beautiful narrow alleyways that spiral around the exterior. This in itself offers amazing views that you could never see from one spot alone but, if you continue to walk, they will lead you to the center of the town. Perfect for a spot of shopping and sampling some local Swiss cuisine at the market.
 


3. Chocolate
When in Switzerland, indulging in some of the delicious array of chocolates they offer is a must. Everybody goes to Sprüengli but, actually, we think they’re missing a trick. The best chocolate shop by far is Läderach. They offer a wide array of handmade chocolates, the atmosphere is friendly and they’re more than happy to discuss the different flavours with you. Mix and match whatever you like – caramels, coconut, strawberry crèmes, rum truffles…. Delicious!


4. Lakes
Scattered around the mountains are the glistening, clear waters of Switzerland’s many lakes. In the daytime, you can enjoy strolling along the waterside, indulging in a spot of shopping or lunch; even a boat ride to a nearby village. We particularly love the many hiking trails around the mountains to them, as you never know what cultural, architectural or natural wonders you’ll encounter along the way. Some are high up the mountains; some are in the valleys. Healthy, relaxing, exciting!

Each lake and its location has something different to offer so don’t forget to think about what you want to see and plan which one to visit accordingly in advance.

Take a romantic stroll along the lakeside at nighttime. It’s so peaceful and you can enjoy the spectacular views of the lake and its surrounding mountains, delicately lit up by the twinkling house lights against the night sky.
 

5. Spend The Day In Zurich 
Whether you enjoy shopping, hiking and walking through the woods; indulging in an artisan coffee and cake at one of the many independent coffee shops they have; or taking part in activities like curling or ice-skating, Zurich literally has everything. As one of the world’s major financial hubs, you’d imagine that Zurich would be overly built up and busy but that couldn’t be further from the truth. You can’t help but be overwhelmed. There are so many open spaces; the streets are wide and the buildings not too high. Plus, the people couldn’t be friendlier. Whatever you enjoy, Zurich literally has it all. An incredibly charming place.

 When in Zurich, visiting La Dolder Grand Hotel and the surrounding area is A MUST. The area is exclusive so is slightly hidden away but when you find it… one word: Breathtaking! There are golf courses, fabulous forest walks, delicious restaurants and, for those who fancy indulging in some winter sports, the area even has its own curling rink. No wonder Beyoncé loves staying there whilst on tour!


6. Exploring In Ticino & Bellinzona  
Ticino is an incredibly charming town in Bellinzona, full of greenery and spectacular panoramic mountain views. Depending on the seasons, you’ll see the mountains natural beauty change its wardrobe from snow-topped peaks in the winter to lush green capes in the summer when all of the trees become green and voluptuous. Surprisingly, as you drive around, you’ll notice that one of the most enchanting things about this area is actually the gorgeous historical churches and medieval castles that scatter the landscape. Whether you’re on high ground or low ground, you can’t help but be struck by how perfectly they fit into the landscape – especially at nighttime when they’re lit up in angelic white and golden spendour. Stunning!

 

7. Gabbani Gourmet Swiss Deli

Gabbani is one of the best delis in Switzerland. Founded in 1937, it has become an iconic street symbol of Lugano and it’s easy to see why. Despite what it might appear, Gabbani isn’t just any street market. Full of lots of fresh, seasonal local fruits and vegetables; traditional local cheeses fresh from the mountains; one of the best charcuteries in Switzerland; traditional tasting breads, pastries and wines; it’s a food lover’s paradise. If you’re looking for authentic Swiss ingredients and high quality fresh food from the region, Gabanni is THE place to be. Not only can you purchase the ingredients to enjoy at home but it’s definitely worth stopping for a bite to eat at one of the nearby restaurants. The food is tasty, the atmosphere is great and the chefs are more than happy to share some cooking tips with you too.


8. FoxTown Shopping Centre
For those of you who love to shop and love a bargain, visiting FoxTown is a must. The shopping center is home to over 160 stores and over 250 designer brands, making it the biggest factory outlet in Southern Europe. Love Armani, Valentino, Furla, Salvatore Ferragamo, Nike, Adidas….. ? Love saving 30-70%? You’ll love FoxTown.




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