Car-Free Villages in Switzerland (Beautiful & Inspiring)

Car-free Zermatt

Switzerland is a country packed full of stunning scenery. It is one of my favorite places in the world to be outdoors as there is nothing quite like being in the mountains away from the humdrum of daily life. 

Now imagine being in a Switzerland village, with no cars around, and being able to enjoy a mountain resort in complete peace. It really does take things to another level staying in a car-free alpine village but which is the best car-free village for you? 

Switzerland is home to lots of different car-free villages so there are quite a few car-free destinations to choose from. Below we run through the best of them so you can pick the right one for your future car-free mountain getaways. 

Zermatt

Zermatt - car-free village in Switzerland
Zermatt – car-free village in Switzerland

Zermatt is one of the most famous car-free villages in Switzerland but due to its size, it isn’t quite a car-free village anymore, it’s more of a large car-free mountain town. 

Sitting in southern Switzerland in the Valais Canton, close to the Italian border, it is in the heart of the Swiss alps. The iconic Matterhorn peak lies above Zermatt offering some of the best views of this famous mountain one can get from a resort. 

Zermatt sits at 1,600 meters above sea level, and during ski season is home to one of the biggest skiing areas in the alps. When you are not skiing, the car-free town is home to lots of restaurants, great shops, spas, and luxury hotels all with views of the Matterhorn. 

In summer you have excellent access to some wonderful hiking trails too and you can take a cable car to some awesome spots close by. These include the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, Gornergrat, and lots more where you can get even better views of the Matterhorn. And, if you buy a Peak Pass while in Zermatt, you can travel to these places a lot cheaper too.

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Blatten-Belalp

Belalp - car-free village
Belalp – car-free village

Blatten-Belalp, also known simply as Belalp, is one of the most wonderful car-free villages in Switzerland. You will find it at the northern end of the Valais Canton at 2,100 meters above sea level just above the Rhone Valley. 

What makes Belalp one of the most unique car-free resorts is that it is a part of the UNESCO World Heritage site – Jungfrau- Aletsch. This area is home to the stunning Aletsch Glacier and unique local traditions. 

Visiting the Aletsch Glacier is a must while you are here. In winter skiing and other winter activities are excellent. In summer it is an incredible palace for hiking, canyoning, mountain biking, and more

It is a charming village and you can enjoy the sunny terrace of one of the many great restaurants, browse the boutiques and take in the awesome view. 

Saas-Fee

Saas Fee Village in summer
Saas Fee Village in summer

Saas-Fee is another of the top car-free villages in Switzerland and its location could not be better. When standing in car-free Saas-Fee you will be surrounded by more than 18 mountain peaks and glaciers too, it truly is a mountain paradise! 

For winter mountain getaways, Saas-Fee is hard to beat, and with cable cars, trains, and gondolas taking you to high altitudes, it is one of the first car-free resorts to start skiing in November. And as a neighbor of Zermatt, that comes as no surprise! 

There are more than 100 km of slopes to ride around Saas-Fee in the winter and the views of Switzerland’s highest mountain, Dom at 4,545 meters above sea level, dominate your views. 

In Summer, this car-free zone gives you access to over 300 km of hiking trails, so you can explore one of the most dramatic areas of the alps with ease.  I have hiked here many times over the years and in summer they often even give you a free Saas Fee pass if you stay in a local hotel – the Saastal Card. It’s a great deal for sure, as it includes all transport, including almost all cable cars, and Post Bus rides in the region!

Wengen

Wengen
Wengen in summer

Wengen is one of my favorite car-free resorts in Switzerland as it offers such a diverse range of activities and landscapes. It is perched above the Lauterbrunnen Valley, which is home to over 70 waterfalls, one of which is subterranean – the Trummelbach falls

Although Wengen can be busy, its charming chalets and hotels will win your hearts quickly, as will the views that stretch across the valley. 

In winter, the skiing around Wengen is excellent and in summer it is a wonderful place to explore the Bernese Oberland from.

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Wengen in winter1
Wengen in winter

You can take the train up to Jungfraujoch, the cable car up to Schilthorn from the opposite side of the valley, or head up to Männlichen for some stunning views. The train that passes through Wengen actually continues to Kleine Scheidegg and then all the way up to the Jungfraujoch. So, not only is it a great location, it is convenient for visiting all the must-sees in the region too.

Hiking from the Lauterbrunnen Valley Station is also a must as you can see all the wonderful waterfalls the valley has to offer too! 

Bettmeralp

Car-free Bettmeralp
Bettmeralp – Image via wikimedia

Bettmeralp is one of the more unique car-free resorts in Switzerland as it provides you with access to natural surroundings that aren’t so easy to find. 

Sitting high above the Rhone Valley in canton Valais, the view from the cable car on the way up is stunning and on a clear day, you can see all the way to the Matterhorn and Dom. 

It is a charming little village with stunning chalets and great restaurants. You can visit the Aletsch Glacier from here and you must visit the Aletsch forest, home to the oldest trees in Switzerland that are over 900 years old! 

In the winter, skiing is awesome and in the summer, hiking and biking trails are plentiful. It is safe to say, this is one of the most interesting car-free resorts in Switzerland. 

Mürren

Hiking around Mürren
Hiking around Mürren

Mürren is a little car-free village on the other side of the Lauterbrunnen Valley from Wengen. It is much smaller and more peaceful than Wengen and it lies on the foot of the iconic Schilthorn mountain. 

You can take one cable car after another to experience the insane views at the top of Schilthorn, or grab the train to Jungfraujoch, the highest train station in Europe, and experience that winter wonderland. 

The skiing in Mürren is great in winter, in summer the trails are stunning, and you can see the waterfalls of the Lauterbrunnen Valley too. 

Car-free Mürren is a stunning little village to spend time in too with great restaurants, souvenir shops, and awesome views of Eiger, Monch, and Jungfrau. 

This is one of the few car-free resorts that has remained small so be sure to book ahead to get a slot! 

Rigi Kaltbad

Hiking up Rigi
Hiking up Rigi

Car-Free Rigi Kaltbad is located on Mount Rigi 1443 meters above sea level. Its location is second to none as it sits above the shores of Lake Lucerne and the views are quite simply magical. 

From Rigi you can see more than 13 lakes on a clear day with some of the most famous peaks in the alps in the background, it is spellbinding, to say the least. On the Northern side you can also see the entire “flat lands” towards Germany with Lake Zug, and the town of Zug in the distance.

There are so many hikes on Rigi you will struggle to do them all. I have been there probably five times or more and never done them all. From the Rigi Panoramaweg to hiking all the way up from Vitznau, Weggis, Kusnacht or Art, the options seem to be endless.

In the winter, you can enjoy numerous winter sports from snowshoeing to snowboarding, skiing, and tobogganing. The mountain is not covered in snow as early as other peaks in the Alps, but for someone so close to Lucerne and Zurich, it’s a great place for families on the weekend.

Rigi Kaltbad is one of the best car-free resorts to visit with the family as access is very easy and the trails and slopes aren’t so intense so everyone from the kids to grandparents can enjoy them. 

Melchsee-Frutt

Riding behind a snowmobile in Melchsee-Frutt
Riding behind a snowmobile in Melchsee-Frutt

Melchsee-Frutt is one of the few car-free resorts that has everything you could want from a Swiss village. There are mountain peaks, and rivers, and it is on the shore of a lake, with two more just down the valley. 

In summer, Melchsee-Frutt is a stunning place for hiking, fishing, paragliding, biking, and climbing too. While in winter you have access to numerous ski areas, awesome cross-country skiing, and some great winter snowshoe trails too. 

Be sure to check out the three lakes, Blue Lake, Lake Melch, and Lake Tannen. If you love fishing, these are teaming with trout but are also great for a dip and other water sports. You can even do the Four Lakes Hike, which takes you all the way to Engelberg. It is something I did when I first arrived in Switzerland it I can still remember it.

Part of the charm of Melchsee-Frutt is how small it is, with just 142 residents. You can find it in just off the main road from Lucerne to the Brunigpass. It makes a great detour on your way to Interlaken

Stoos

Stoos
Stoos

Stoos is one of the smaller car-free resorts in Switzerland and it lies on the eastern end of Lake Lucerne at 1300 meters above sea level on the Fronalpstock mountain plateau. 

Getting up to Stoos is pretty awesome as you will ride the steepest funicular in the world from the valley station. It only takes 7 minutes to go up over 700 meters in altitude which is pretty epic. 

This small village is charming and perfect for families in both winter and summer. You can ski in winter, explore the Fronalpstock via hike or cable car, and take in a view of 10 lakes, the alps, and even the Jura mountains. 

Hiking is a major activity here in the summer, and the Stoos ridge hike is a famous trail that showcases some of the best of Switzerland.

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Braunwald

Braunwald in winter
Braunwald in winter

Braunwald is a beautiful car-free town in the Glarus Canton of central Switzerland. It is a wonderful place for families to visit and is home to everything from ski slopes to flower-filled meadows, lakes, and waterfalls. It really does tick all the Swiss scenery boxes! 

In the summer, hiking to see  Lake Oberblegi is a must and there are many bike trails and even trails for kids. The climbing in the area is also excellent. 

In the winter, the slopes open up and are great for all levels of skiers. Everything from beginner runs to free-ride areas and snowboarding slopes are available. 

This is one of the best car-free resorts to visit if you want to avoid crowds and be in nature. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Interlaken car free?

No, Interlaken is freely open to cars just like any other town or city in Switzerland. It is also handy to have a car to get around the area and visit places like Grindelwald, Lauterbrunnen and the Bernese Oberland in general.

Is Zermatt Switzerland car free?

Yes, Zermatt is one of the many car-free villages in Switzerland. You can only drive to nearby Täsch where you must park your car and then catch the train for 12 minutes to Zermatt. Once in Zermatt, you can walk or catch and electric taxi to your destination.

What is a car free glacier village in Switzerland?

Two villages with glaciers that are car-free in Switzerland are Zermatt and Saas Fee, which is in the neighboring valley.

Is Grindelwald Switzerland car-free?

No, you can bring your car to Grindelwald, just like any other town in Switzerland. Although, to reach the surrounding attractions like First, Eiger and Jungfraujoch you will have to catch a mountain train or take a gondola.

Written by Ashley Faulkes
As a twenty-year resident of Switzerland, I am passionate about exploring every nook and cranny of this beautiful country, I spend my days deep in the great Swiss outdoors, and love to share these experiences and insights with fellow travel enthusiasts.

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