The Top 10 Reasons To Visit Switzerland

Yes, this is Switzerland! Featured here, Lake Lugano

At least once in our lives, we all come across that person who is too perfect to be real. The one who has good looks, style and wealth, but who’s also incredibly sharp and infuriatingly kind. As I made my way through the Swiss countryside on an intercity train from Zürich to Lugano, I couldn’t help but think that, as far as countries are concerned, Switzerland is the effortless prom queen.

Equipped with a Swiss Travel Pass, granting me unlimited train journeys throughout the country, I set off to discover Zürich, Basel and Lugano over Easter Weekend.

This is the first of a 4-part blog series about my trip to Switzerland. The current post will focus on the Top 10 Reasons to Visit Switzerland. (Once again, like in the Top Reasons for Moving to Berlin, these highlights are in no particular order).

Serene Lake Zürich

So, why should you visit Switzerland?

10. Quality taken to heart

When you land in Switzerland, you pretty much walk into a world where 5 star experiences are the norm. If you go to a Thai restaurant, expect authentic noodles in your pad thai. If you buy cheese at the supermarket, you’ll instantly be hooked.

Quality extends well beyond the food. The streets are clean. Cars stop for pedestrians at unmanned intersections, something I hadn’t seen since Monaco. And everything works, flawlessly.

The winding, medieval streets of Basel

9. Every city and village has distinct character

This became exceedingly clear to me as I was riding the train, especially on my two-hour journey to Lugano from Zürich HB. Not only did the weather and landscape change dramatically, but so did the architecture.

We passed by endless little towns, from tidy hillside villages where goats were grazing to fortified bastions dominating the alpine scenery. We then went through the longest tunnel in the world – 57 km in 20 minutes – and came out in a different world. Tiled rooftops, colourful buildings and glistening lakes marked our entry into Svizzera Italiana (the Italian part of Switzerland).

A few hours later, I was sitting on a bench in Lugano, looking out at the most turquoise lake I had ever seen, and if I didn’t know better, I would have sworn I was back on the French Riviera. Just a short hop from Zürich!

In the hills of Ticino, overlooking Lugano

8. Locals are kind and friendly

From hotel staff who genuinely seemed to care about their guests to the lady who spontaneously offered me a croissant on the train, I quickly got the impression that most Swiss people want visitors to feel welcome.

I had a few chats with locals, both in Zürich and Lugano – people who approached me and were curious about where I was from. In most places, as a newcomer, I’ve usually felt that I had to make the first move. But not in Switzerland.

7. Four languages, many cultures

Born in Montreal, Canada, I’m quite used to people speaking both in French and English around me. In Switzerland, I was often in places where people were having conversations in French, Italian, German and English – and sometimes using two of these at the same time. (I tried to recognized Romansh, Switzerland’s fourth language.) It’s so exhilarating to be in that kind of environment!

Cafés and columns in Zürich

6. Everything runs on time

And when you are travelling (especially if you are a planner), this is crucial!

5. The whole country is Instagram worthy

Instagrammers, this one’s for you! I believe I took over 1000 shots of the cities and Swiss countryside. Everywhere you look, you’ll see a beautiful building, breathtaking landscape, or bustling street scene with just the right amount of Haussmann in it.

Even wandering through the quieter neighbourhoods, like Zürich’s Oerlikon, where I stayed, it was difficult to walk past a single house without wanting to snap away!

Streets of Oerlikon

4. Cheese and chocolate

Of course these deserve a mention! You won’t go very far into Switzerland without trying the country’s famous chocolate. In fact, even Swiss Air gives passengers a little taste at landing. Since I was visiting at Easter, each restaurant, shop and hotel was giving away chocolate eggs, made in Switzerland.

The same goes for Swiss cheese. And, surprisingly, you won’t have to spend a fortune on locally produced brie or camembert. At the grocery store, most varieties of cheese run from 2 or 3 to 5 Swiss francs (and, to put things in perspective, a black coffee to go easily creeps up to 5 francs).

Zürich in bloom – and this is just a train station!

3. Springtime blossoms

If you’ve been following me on Instagram and Facebook, you’ll know I’m obsessed with the blossoms in Berlin. When I got to Switzerland, the blossom game was up a notch. The Swiss love lilacs, which add a touch of colour and spring scent to the streets. And they’re everywhere! Judging by the flower displays around each square, church or lake, I’m sure other seasons have their own colours in bloom.

A clock decorated with flowerbeds, on the shores of Lake Zürich

2. There’s always more to discover!

For my first trip, I focused on the Zürich area and nearby cities. I didn’t get a chance to venture into the Alps, as it was raining in Interlaken, which was my original plan for a day trip. But just looking at the map, there are endless destinations to discover – and that just means I’ll be coming back a lot – until I get my Swiss citizenship and settle there!

In Basel’s Old Town

1. And it’s all within reach.

Switzerland is a small enough country that, no matter where you decide to stay, you will have dozens of destinations just a short train ride away.

Have you been to Switzerland? Where are your favourite places to visit? Let me know in the comments and stay tuned for my next posts and city guides to Zürich, Lugano and Basel!

36 comments Add yours
  1. I have loved in Switzerland for almost 6 months and I can only agree with you. I was staying in Lausanne but because everything was so within reach by train we also got to do some sightseeing. Still miss the cheese and the hot chocolate we had there. I need to go back 🙂

  2. Beautiful post and pictures. I would go crazy here. Not just for the IG pics but for their chocolate as well. Thanks for sharing and virtually taking me to Switzerland 😀

  3. Thank you for the great read, my friend is from Switzerland and I absolutely love visiting her there.
    Hope to do it in 2018.

  4. Wow, consider me sold on Switzerland! I’ve heard it’s a beautiful country but was always put off by how expensive things are said to be. But you’ve definitely convinced me that I need to visit soon. If anything, then for the good quality cheese and chocolate 😉 haha x

  5. I remember visiting a few years back, and I agree, the whole country is Instagram worthy! Sad that Instagram wasn’t a thing yet during that time lol

    Thanks for sharing this informative post!

  6. Your photos are stunning. Some day I hope to get to Europe and Switzerland would be on my list of destinations.

  7. I am so in love with this post! It’s my dream to visit switzerland and this makes me want to go so much more!! Thanks for posting this and inspiring me to visit soon!

  8. Love this post! And totally agree – especially the point about the languages spoken (I’m also from Montreal and grew up speaking English, French, and Italian – so I had plenty of languages to choose from when I visited 🙂

  9. I could live in Switzerland. I learnt to ski there and fell in love at first sight. Not sure if I still have status in there since England is leaving the E.U. I’m hoping I will.

  10. Switzerland has been on my bucket list for a while now. And I agree, the whole country does seem instagram worthy. I also love that the people are nice and that everything is of high quality. I will definitely have to visit sooner rather than later. Also love the variety of cultures present there. Thanks for a lovely tour through Switzerland.

  11. Sounds lovely! I have visited Switzerland but only Bern! I have a good friend living there who has been trying to talk me into visiting! This made me think I need to make that happen sooner than latter! =) Thanks for the inspiration!

  12. “Switzerland is the effortless prom queen.” spot on! I remember the first time I visited Switzerland and I felt like I had landed in civilization the minute I got off the plane. I was traveling for work with a group of colleagues and I remember feeling that vibe that everything is super organized! And the lakes? Wow. We were staying at Lausanne and I remember just gazing at the lake for what felt like hours and not feel bored. I remember being amazed that there was no litter (compared to Lisbon, which is not even one of the dirtiest cities, that was the first thing I noticed). I have to plan a trip there soon 🙂

  13. I’ve only been to Switzerland for skiing before, I’d never thought about the culture etc. Definitely a great place to go back to in the Spring!

  14. Switzerland is on my “maybe” list for this summer- depending on time and prices and logistics- and this post definitely pushed it up a bit! Cheese and Chocolate I knew about, but I hadn’t actually realized how pretty all the little towns were, and how easy it is to get between them. Thank you

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