If you are planning a trip to Switzerland, then you NEED to add these villages in Switzerland to your bucket list! From stunning mountain views to charming chalets, they are part of the quintessential Swiss experience. There are endless villages to visit, so it can be quite overwhelming to choose which ones to add to your travel itinerary.
In this blog, we’ll share which villages you must see, why, things to do, and even how to get there. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know before visiting one of these picturesque villages in Switzerland!
HOW TO GET AROUND
While you need a car in most countries to get to smaller villages, in Switzerland, you do not. In fact, most of these villages aren’t even accessible by car! Switzerland has one of the most diverse public transportation systems – from scenic trains and boats to gondolas and funiculars. We took transportation we hadn’t even heard of before! It was very normal to take multiple trains, a gondola, and another train to get to a destination.
All that being said, we highly recommend you get the Swiss Travel Pass for your trip. It’s basically unlimited public transportation for a set number of days. For example, for eight days it includes every train, bus, boat, cable car, and gondola ride you could possibly need. While there are some up charges for popular tourist destinations (like getting to Jungfrau/Top of Europe), most of your transportation is free once you pay the base price for the Swiss Travel Pass. In addition to public transportation, it also includes free entry into a variety of museums. Switzerland is an expensive place to visit and this is by far the most cost effective way to get around! Not only does it save you money, but it’s a lot easier to get around since you don’t have to constantly buy separate tickets. Please note the maximum amount of days you can purchase is 15 days.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by taking different modes of public transportation to get around, then you need to download the SBB mobile app. It has everything from timetables to telling you exactly which transportation to take to get to your destination. We found it to be more reliable than using Google or Apple maps.
We got the Swiss Travel Pass and used the SBB app, and it was perfect to get around to these charming villages in Switzerland!
MUST SEE VILLAGES IN SWITZERLAND
Lauterbrunnen is one of the most photographed and well-known villages in Switzerland. The iconic shot of the valley with Staubbach Falls and Kirche Lauterbrunnen off in the distance is one of the many reasons we have been dying to visit Switzerland to see it for ourselves.
Early in the morning is the most peaceful time to walk around the streets of Lauterbrunnen. The sun is just coming up into the valley, and most of the tourists are still sleeping. While this is a dreamy place to wander around, there are a few hikes you can do, too! The easiest and most popular hike is one that leads you behind Staubbach Falls. It can get very busy so go early to avoid the crowds.
Looking for this famous viewpoint? It’s right in front of Chalet Pironnet on Furhen. But just in case you can’t find it, here’s the pin coordinates: 46.594886, 7.908337.
While you’re in Lauterbrunnen, taking the train up to Wengen is the perfect way to continue seeing all these charming Swiss villages! Or, if you’re feeling more adventurous, you can take the short but very steep hike up to the village. Keep reading to learn all about Wengen and lots of other Swiss villages!
Grindelwald is a “glacier village” that is the largest and oldest in the Jungfrau region. It’s a very popular tourist destination year-round! After visiting ourselves, we can completely understand why – it’s absolutely stunning! This village is filled with many things to do and ways to explore! We wish we had more time to explore this area (we had less than a day).
While you’re in Grindelwald, you should definitely take the gondola up to Grindelwald First. Not only does it offer stunning views, but endless adventure activities. From zip-lining, paragliding, mountain biking, hiking, and more! One of the must-do hikes in the area is Lake Bachalpsee. It’s a relatively easy hike with stunning mountain views the entire way. If you aren’t convinced already to visit, then check out the photos below!
Mürren is a traditional Walser village that offers breathtaking views and some of the top attractions in the region. You may recognize one of its sites, Schilthorn Piz Gloria, from the 1969 James Bond movie. It’s also home to the famous Mürren Via Ferrata. While we did not climb it, it’s a popular tourist activity for experienced climbers or adventure seekers. But it’s not for the faint of heart or those terrified of heights like me, ha! But don’t worry; there are many other stunning hikes and things to do in the area.
This mountain town was one of our absolute favorites and is a definite MUST-SEE! The mountain views were absolutely unreal. We wished we had more time to go on all the hikes! Side note: we saw so many Swiss cows here grazing in the fields and loved it so much.
Thun is a beautiful town located on Lake Thun. This Swiss town has a rich history, including a 12th-century castle, a medieval town center, and much more! Thun Castle has been renovated into a well-designed museum (free with the Swiss Travel Pass!). Our favorite part was the views from inside the castle turrets. There’s lots of charming streets to wander, stores to go shopping, and delicious restaurants.
Depending on where you are coming from, you can take the steamboat across Lake Thun to get here. It’s a unique way to cross Lake Thun from Interlaken (and many other charming Swiss villages like Speiz). While the boat may be a slower mode of transportation than the train, it’s incredibly scenic. Lake Thun has the most stunning turquoise water.
Iseltwald is a quaint fishing village on the southern shore of Lake Brienz. It’s a small village filled with country roads to walk around and take in the views. Some of the best views are walking along the lakeshore. While this town is a short 10-minute drive or 20-minute bus ride away from Interlaken, there is a more scenic way to get there – by steamboat!
To be honest, we didn’t find there was a lot to “do” in this village. It was beautiful to walk around, but we didn’t need more than an hour or so to explore! We visited during the fall but in the peak of summer, this is a popular swimming area.
Zermatt is a mountain town known for its iconic mountain peak, The Matterhorn. Once a sleepy farm village, it has become one of the world’s most popular climbing and ski destinations. The main street is lined with traditional Swiss chalets, high-end shops, and boutique hotels. No matter the season of the year, Zermatt is an incredible Swiss village to visit and live out your après-ski dreams!
If you’re visiting Zermatt, then you need to take the scenic Gornergrat Railway to Gornergrat for incredible views of the Matterhorn. One of our favorite things we did was hike to Riffelsee Lake. There are a few different hiking trails varying in length, but if you aren’t a hiker, there is a “5-minute walk” option, too. On a clear day with no wind, there is an incredible reflection of Matterhorn!
Speiz is a town in a beautiful bay on the shore of Lake Thun. Its beautiful medieval castle and church were first mentioned in history in 762 A.D. Speiz Castle is now a museum where you can learn about life during that time period. Not to mention, there are 360 views of the lake and vineyard from the top!
In addition to a village rich in history, the bay offers plenty of water activities to enjoy! From stand-up paddle boarding, sailing, motor-boating, and more. It’s a great home base to enjoy all the activities Lake Thun has to offer!
Wengen is a small mountain town just above the valley where Lauterbrunnen is. Just like every one of these charming villages in Switzerland, it offers stunning mountain views! The main street is lined with quaint Swiss chalets, outdoorsy shops, and traditional Swiss restaurants. While people do visit year-round, it’s much busier in the winter months due to the incredible Wengen-Grindelwald ski area!
Still have questions about visiting one of these villages in Switzerland? Send us a message on Instagram. We’d love to help!
After you’ve read about each of these villages, we wanted to share our honest thoughts on each of these Swiss Villages. Please keep in mind that many of these villages are very close to each other! So if you look up “things to do,” it will list visiting other villages. We stayed in Interlaken as our home base to visit all these villages, except Zermatt (it’s about 2.5 hours away from all the other villages).
- Our favorites: Grindelwald, Mürren, and Zermatt
- Our least favorites: Iseltwald and Wengen *we felt there wasn’t a ton to actually do in the season we visited
- Lauterbrunnen: very dreamy village, has unique views since it’s in a valley, great place for a more “chill” day
- Grindelwald: amazing home base for adventures, lots to do, beautiful views
- Thun: very charming village, we loved visiting the castle and walking around the old town; lots of restaurants and shopping
- Iseltwald: very beautiful but not a lot to do *it was too cold to swim when we visited
- Spiez: visiting the castle alone made this one so worth it!
- Wengen: beautiful views down into Lauterbrunnen but not lots to do; if you don’t have a lot of time, we think you can skip this one
- Mürren: LOVED this village! Very charming, stunning views, lots to do
- Best for winter activities: Grindelwald and Zermatt *we haven’t visited in the winter, but based on our experience and learning about the area, the ski areas here seem unreal!