Traveling to Switzerland and wondering what the top sights in the country are? Then you are in the right place because this detailed guide features all the best and most famous landmarks in Switzerland!
Our guide covers everything, from the country’s most impressive mountain peaks to the best historic monuments. We’ve also included a variety of landmarks in Switzerland, so there’s something interesting for you regardless of the part of Switzerland you are visiting!
Table of Contents
Natural & Historical Landmarks in Switzerland
Switzerland has a huge range of famous historical and natural landmarks. Many of which you probably know.
Chillon Castle is the most visited historical landmark in Switzerland, so it’s easily one of the best tourist attractions in the entire country. Situated on the eastern end of Lake Geneva in the Vaud Canton, the medieval castle is easily one of the most impressive sights in this part of the country, especially since it is a man-made landmark.
There are indications that the site of the castle has been occupied since the Bronze Age. First, it was occupied by the House of Savoy, then by the Bernese, and now it is owned by the State of Vaud. The castle’s various collections tell the story of its past with objects that were discovered at the castle site.
More than 50 castle rooms are open to visitors and each houses a unique collection. There’s everything from medieval furniture to charcoal drawings on the former prison site. Chillon Castle’s underground rooms are a highlight of the tour, but so are the courtyards and most of the rooms.
The Matterhorn is the most famous mountain in Switzerland. Part of its fame is due to the fact that its iconic pyramid-shaped peak is featured on the Toblerone chocolates, but that’s certainly not the only reason why this mountain is famous.
This is one of the tallest mountain peaks in the Swiss Alps, so it’s extremely popular with Alpine adventurers. Most adventurers who want to attempt an ascent of the Matterhorn will travel to Zermatt. The resort village is the ideal base for the exploration of this majestic mountain, and it even has a museum that’s entirely dedicated to the fascinating peak.
It’s worth noting that it’s possible to explore parts of the mountain without doing any hiking or climbing. Ski lifts can take you to the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, which is a truly breathtaking sight. Europe’s tallest viewing platform is also located in the area, and it offers unimaginably stunning alpine views.
Related: Discover the highest peak in Eastern Switzerland – Säntis!
Chapel Bridge in Lucerne
The Chapel Bridge is situated in Lucerne and it is easily one of the most famous Switzerland landmarks in this beautiful city. Constructed in the early 14th century, the wooden bridge over the river Reuss is best known for its winding design. It’s the oldest wooden bridge in Europe and it’s definitely one of Switzerland’s landmarks that you must go see if you get the opportunity.
The covered footbridge is unique for the numerous paintings that can be seen inside it. It’s worth noting that many of the paintings were destroyed in a 1993 fire and not all of them were restored. In fact, traces of fire damage can still be seen on this bridge, but they only add to the landmark’s character.
Lucerne’s Chapel Bridge is 205 meters long, which makes it the second longest wooden bridge on the European continent. It takes about 5 minutes to cross the bridge, but that doesn’t account for any time you spend admiring the paintings and taking in the panoramic views of Lucerne.
Fraumünster is one of the two landmark churches in Zurich, as well as one of the four main churches in the city. The church and its convent were founded in 853 by King Louis the German, on the grounds of a former abbey for aristocratic women of Europe.
Fraumünster church and the convent enjoyed great political power until the Reformation when the ownership of the church was transferred to the city of Zurich. Nowadays, the church is a popular tourist attraction for its impressive architectural elements, the most notable of which are the nave, the high vaulted transept, and the Romanesque chancel.
The stained glass windows of Fraumünster church are its most famous feature. They were created by Marc Chagall, Paul Bodmer, and Augusto Giacometti. If you get the opportunity to see the interior of this Zurich church, definitely do it or you will miss out!
Lake Lucerne is the fourth largest in Switzerland, a country that boasts more than 1,500 lakes throughout its territory. It’s situated in central Switzerland and the namesake city is the largest settlement on this lake.
There are many reasons why Lake Lucerne is an iconic Switzerland landmark. The lake is famous for its complicated shape, which boasts four arms and multiple sharp bends. Lake Lucerne stretches into four different Swiss cantons, so there are plenty of places on its shore you can visit.
Boat tours of Lake Lucerne are extremely popular, especially for visitors who want to experience the magical views of Swiss nature. But getting on a boat isn’t the only way to experience the lake and there are plenty of other ways you can have fun while discovering this Swiss gem, including some romantic hotels above the town!
Jungfraujoch is a mountain saddle connecting two major mountains in the Bernese Alps – the Mönch and the Jungfrau. The saddle is located at an altitude of 3,463 meters and it can be easily accessed by a railway from Grindelwald.
The saddle is home to Top of Europe, which is the highest altitude railway station on the continent. But Top of Europe isn’t just a train station – it’s a visitor’s center with a restaurant, gift shop, a fabulous observation deck, an ice palace, and more!
The Sphinx Observation deck is easily a highlight of this unique place. It offers spectacular panoramic views of four mountain peaks that are more than 4,000 meters tall. The ice palace is equally impressive with its unique ice sculptures and it can be visited any day of the year. Even the train ride to Jungfraujoch is stunning, boasting mesmerizing mountainous landscape that showcases the best of Switzerland’s natural landmarks.
The Lion Monument is a rock relief in the city of Lucerne and it is one of the most famous man-made landmarks in the country. It gets around 1.4 million visitors every year, so expect large crowds near the Lion Monument whenever you visit.
The Lion Monument was created in the early 19th century. It was designed by Bertel Thorvaldsen but hewn in by the stonemason Lukas Ahorn. The monument is 10 meters long and 6 meters tall, but the size is not even the most impressive thing about it.
What’s so special about a piece of stone? It depicts a mortally wounded lion to honor all the Swiss guards that died during the storming of the Tuileries Palace in the city of Paris. It’s impressive just how emotional a piece of stone can make you, and the Lucerne monument is proof that anything can be moving as long as it manages to convey the right message.
Lake Zurich is one of the most spectacular lakes in Switzerland and an excellent excuse to spend some time in Zurich city, whether you love to shop, or not. It stretches into three cantons and there are several cities on the coast of the lake, so you don’t necessarily have to visit Zurich if you don’t want to.
But it is one of the best cities in Switzerland, especially for tourists. If you travel to Zurich in the warmer months, you’ll be able to enjoy a variety of fun activities on the lake, from swimming to stand-up paddleboarding!
Boat cruises on Lake Zurich are also a popular way to discover this beautiful lake. Opt for an evening dinner cruise, to enjoy a romantic night out on the lake while indulging in some of the best delicacies the Swiss cuisine has to offer.
Situated in northern Switzerland near the German border, Rhine Falls is a vast waterfall on the High Rhine. This is Europe’s most powerful waterfall, so it’s definitely a unique Swiss attraction worth visiting when you get the chance.
The waterfall is 23 meters tall and 150 meters wide. The sheer size of this unique fall is an astounding and truly mesmerizing sight. Add to that the huge amount of water that flows down the rocks, and it becomes evident why this waterfall is so famous.
The best thing about a visit to these falls is that there are plenty of things to do and see in the area. Boat rides on the River Rhine are extremely popular, as is Smilestones – a park boasting miniature replicas of all the best-known Swiss landmarks.
Ruinaulta (Rhine Gorge)
Ruinaulta (or Rhine Gorge in English) is a canyon in eastern Switzerland and one of the most beautiful natural landmarks in the country. It’s also known as the Rhine Gorge or the Swiss Grand Canyon, although the latter is more of an ironic nickname.
Exploring this captivating scenic site is very easy. The area is easily accessible by public transport and the Rhine Gorge Experience Train is the best option for travelers who just want to admire the stunning views. It’s also possible to take the bus to the gorge, which might be the better option for travelers who want to explore the area.
Ruinaulta is popular for hiking, rafting, canoeing, mountain biking, and spectacular views. There are plenty of things to do in the area to keep you occupied in this magical Swiss gorge and nature lovers could easily spend an entire day just exploring the mesmerizing canyon. There are multiple viewing platforms in the area that are accessible by hiking trails and each offers a unique perspective on this famous Swiss landmark.
Situated in the Oberhofen municipality on the shoreline of Lake Thun, the Oberhofen Castle is one of the most spectacular man made landmarks in the entire canton of Bern. You can travel directly to Oberhofen by public transport, or you can visit the place on a boat tour from Interlaken, which is one of the most popular tourist destinations in this part of Switzerland.
Touring the Oberhofen Castle is undoubtedly the best way to discover its history and significance. There’s a museum within the castle that tells the story of its previous owners, plus it’s possible for visitors to tour the kitchen and servants’ quarters. The smoking parlor in one of the castle towers is also a must-see attraction, especially if you want to enjoy some stunning panoramic views of Lake Thun.
Don’t miss out on the Oberhofen Castle park either, especially if you’re visiting in the spring or early summer. See the exotic trees and the beautiful flower beds, but also the 19th-century orangery, the gardener’s house, and the children’s chalet!
Widely known as the birthplace of Alpine tourism in Switzerland, St. Moritz is more than just a popular resort for the rich and famous. It has been the host of the winter Olympics twice, and it’s home to the Cresta Run – a world-championship bobsled run that is entirely made from natural ice.
The fabulous resort town is the ideal Swiss destination for travelers who are into winter sports, whether you prefer to spend your time skiing or you’d like to try playing cricket on a frozen lake. The town is also home to a variety of high-end resorts and hotels, where you can enjoy world-class service and admire the snowy slopes while sipping champagne in the hot tub on your hotel room balcony.
St. Moritz is very popular for the White Turf horse racing event, which attracts more than 35,000 visitors annually. The event consists of horses racing on a frozen lake, and it’s as impressive as it sounds.
Situated on the Swiss border with northern Italy, the glacial Lake Lugano is another popular destination with locals and foreigners traveling in Switzerland. With plenty of mountains, beautiful towns on the shore, and world heritage sites, travelers who make it to Lake Lugano will not be disappointed!
The lake is named after the town of Lugano, which is the most popular destination on the lake. It’s a great place to visit on a day trip from southern Switzerland or even northern Italy – Lugano is well connected to other destinations with trains, and there are plenty of interesting things to do in the town.
It’s home to the Swissminiature Park, which will allow you to discover all of the country’s most famous landmarks in one quick visit! Lugano also boasts beautiful parks, art museums, excellent dining, and fabulous lake views wherever you look!
The spectacular Mt. Titlis is best known for being the home of the first revolving cable car in the world. As you ascend to the top of this majestic summit, the cable car rotates, offering incredible 360° views of the Swiss mountainous landscape. The ride is only five minutes long, so you’ll want to keep your eyes wide open to really take in the mesmerizing vista.
To reach the rotating cable car, you will first need to take a gondola from Engleberg to Stand. Although this journey isn’t quite as unique as the ride to the top of Mt. Titlis, it offers some equally beautiful panoramic views.
Palais des Nations
No trip to Geneva is complete without a tour of the grounds of Palais des Nations. It is the home of the United Nations Office in Geneva and it is open to the public for guided tours. Situated in Parc de l’Ariana, the UN office complex is impressively big and offers tours for visitors in several different languages.
While you’re already in the area, take the opportunity to explore at least Parc de l’Ariana, if you don’t have enough time to walk through Geneva. The park is massive and in addition to Palais des Nations, it also houses several museums, sculptures, landscaped gardens, and even a few shops.
Grossmünster is perhaps the most famous church in Zurich and an iconic man made landmark. Best known for its twin Romanesque towers which have led to it being known as “salt and pepper” locally. This church dates back to the 12th century and legend has it that it was built atop the graves of Zurich’s patron saints – Regula and Felix.
The church is open to the public and it’s definitely worth going inside to see its fabulous interior. The beautiful stained glass windows were created by Sigmar Polke, a famous German painter. The Swiss painter Augusto Giacometti created the choir windows, while Otto Münch was responsible for the impressive bronze doors. In many ways, it is a living museum in the heart of Zurich.
Those are just a few of the several highlights of this beautiful church. It’s also worth noting that visitors can climb the clock tower for panoramic views of Lake Zurich. This is definitely worth doing, especially if you want to see the skyline of Zurich!
Lake Geneva Water Fountain (Jet D’Eau)
Jet d’Eau is the water fountain on Lake Geneva and it’s easily one of the most recognizable landmarks in this Swiss city. The iconic fountain pumps half a cubic meter of water every second, projecting it 140 meters in the air. As you can imagine, this creates quite a bit of a splash, and it’s recommended to wear a raincoat if you’re going to admire the fountain up close.
You definitely should get as close to the fountain on Lake Geneva as you can, especially on a sunny day. As the drops of water fall back into the lake, you can often see a rainbow form.
On the other hand, Jet d’Eau is even more impressive at night than during the day. The fountain lights up in bright colors, and it’s truly one of the best things you can see in the city of Geneva.
Bern Old Town
Can an entire part of a city be considered a landmark? It can if it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is exactly why you need to visit the old town of Bern! The city was founded in the 12th century and expanded slowly over the next several centuries. In 1405, a fire broke out in the area of today’s Brunngasse alley and spread rapidly through the city, destroying more than 650 wooden houses.
Since then, only stone would be used for the construction of buildings in Bern’s old town, which is why sandstone structures are so dominant here. Many of the iconic landmarks were rebuilt in sandstone and they’ve been preserved ever since.
The old town of Bern is truly an astonishing sight full of famous Swiss landmarks. Clock towers, fountains, statues, and gorgeous buildings are all reasons why Bern is a place you shouldn’t skip in Switzerland.
Pilatus is the home mountain of Lucerne and dominates it from afar. You certainly can’t miss it as you approach Lucerne, or look at the city from the northern shorn of the lake. It’s composed of multiple mountain peaks. Tomlishorn is the tallest peak with an elevation of 2,128.5 m – it’s practically a hill compared to the Matterhorn and the other 4,000+ peaks in the Swiss Alps!
It’s possible to reach the top of the mountain with the Pilatus Railway, so this spectacular natural landmark is accessible to people who aren’t very experienced in hiking and alpine climbing. This is the steepest cogwheel railway in the world, so the ride to the mountaintop is a unique experience in its own right.
Mount Pilatus overlooks Lucerne and offers some beautiful panoramic views from the top. But enjoying the vista is certainly not the only way to experience Pilatus! The more adventurous travelers will be glad to know that Mount Pilatus offers several ropes courses on both stations and an exciting toboggan run of more than 1350 meters!
Glacier Garden of Lucerne
Lucerne Glacier Garden is a unique attraction that you absolutely need to visit if you’re ever in the city. It’s like a museum with multiple exhibits, but it’s as far from a traditional museum as it can be.
The highlight of the place are remnants of the last Ice Age. Petrified mussels and fronds of palm trees were discovered at the site of the Glacier Garden, and they are proof that millions of years ago, Lucerne used to be lined with palm trees! It’s a fascinating exhibit and definitely worth checking out, especially if you’re interested in geology and history.
The mirror maze is also a popular attraction here since it never fails to amaze visitors. There’s also the viewing tower – you’ll need to climb quite a few steps to get to the top, but it’s absolutely worth it if you want to experience a mesmerizing panoramic vista of the city of Lucerne!
Swiss National Park
One of my favorite places to hike is the Swiss National Park. Although it is the only national park in Switzerland it was founded way back in 1914. It contains a whopping 170 square kilometers, which may not sound much, but is a lot for such a small country.
The park contains a huge range of habitats and some of the rarest animals in Switzerland including the Bearded Vulture, which I was lucky enough to see there a few years ago.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is The Most Famous Landmark in Switzerland?
The Matterhorn is probably the most famous landmark in Switzerland. This towering mountain peak is recognisable almost anywhere thanks to its presence on the Toberlone chocolate bar. It also features in almost any Swiss promotion and lots of screensavers worldwide!
What are some natural features in Switzerland?
The most famous natural features in Switzerland are:
The Rhine Falls
The Eiger North Face
The Aletsch Glacier