Switzerland is a relatively small country and best known for its larger cities: Geneva, Bern, and Zurich. However, the more rural towns of Switzerland, often overlooked, offer more authentic experiences. From traditions to landscapes, these 5 small Swiss towns come in at the top of the list for places not to be missed while visiting Switzerland.
Schwyz is a historic town in Switzerland located 60 kilometers south of Zurich. Besides its breathtaking location between lakes and mountains, it is home to the Museum of the Swiss Charters. Schwyz was one of three founding cantons of Switzerland and its museum features original documents of the early Swiss confederacy. Travelers can also enjoy the gorgeous town square of Schwyz and Kirsch Street. Kirsch is cherry liquor, popular in Switzerland and a key ingredient in Brunsli, a traditional Swiss Christmas cookie.
Charmey is a small town in the pre-Alpine mountains of Switzerland. It is located in one of the most naturally beautiful settings in the world! Hikes around Charmey offer breathtaking views of blue skies and green fields. Visitors can enjoy the Gruyere baths, modernized natural springs, which offer indoor and outdoor pools. Charmey annually hosts Des Alpes, a traditional Swiss festival that celebrates the descent of local cows from the mountains to graze in lower pastures during the colder months.
Zermatt is located in the southern region of Switzerland near the Italian border. It is best known for its famous Matterhorn Mountain! Visitors can take a cable car to the top of the 3,883 meter peak to enjoy views of the French, Italian, and Swiss Alps. There is an amazing hike beginning at the top of the mountain and there is even a restaurant on the peak. It is possible to ski and snowboard all year round in Zermatt!
Neuchatel is located in the Jura Mountains of Switzerland and a bit off the beaten path for most travelers. This small city resides on the shore of Lake Neuchatel in the French-speaking region and is best-known for its watch making. Tourists have the opportunity to experience watch making first-hand at two museums in the area. The Neuchatel landscape is ideal for outdoor sports of all kinds-hiking, skiing, and biking to name a few.
Thun is a small city located only 29 kilometers south of the Swiss capital, Bern. It resides at the top of Lake Thun and offers old-time charm alongside its natural beauty. In Thun, you will find preserved Swiss history in structures dating back to 1300, including a church, Chutziturm (cornerstone of original fortification of Thun city), and an original Thun city gate. Thun’s larger size allows for more gastronomical opportunities featuring Swiss culinary specialties.
Switzerland is a country of charm, history, and natural beauty and is best experienced through its smaller towns. Each of these unique towns listed will offer you an authentic look at Switzerland’s past and present.
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