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15 Magical Towns in Switzerland to Spend a Holiday

By: Cityseeker
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Switzerland is known for its majestic alpine vistas and vibrant scenery. Whether you're on a drive across the country or looking for a place to spend a holiday, these fairy tale destinations reveal all the magic and splendor Switzerland has to offer.


Gimmelwald

Nestled at the foot of the Jungfrau-Aletsch Protected Area, Gimmelwald occupies a space 1363 meters (4472 feet) above sea level. Unlike its ritzy neighbor Grindelwald, this quaint village enjoys a tranquil life, away from the chaos of winter sports and adventuresome jaunts. Gimmelwald is a car-free area, and can be accessed by the Schilthorn cable car that makes a stop here. Stay here if your only aim is to be swept up in the miraculous beauty of the mountains, and revel in the simple pleasures of life that this sleepy village is seemingly privy to. Stays here are far from luxurious, although they carry a charm of their own, with a small handful of B&Bs, inns, and local pensions opening up their homes and hearts to offbeat travelers throughout the year. The Hotel Mittaghorn is one such rustic chalet that offers pleasant stays with soothing alpine views. If you crave civilization and life's modern luxuries, ride the aerial gondola and dine at Piz Gloria, Swiss' famous revolving restaurant that hangs high above the Schilthorn.

Gimmelwald, Switzerland
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Guarda

A recipient of the Wakker Prize that rewards architectural heritage and preservation, this dreamy village in the Lower Engadine is a wonderful Swiss gem packed with fairy-tale legends, natural landscapes, rustic charm and history. It is most renowned for the custom of the 'Chalandamarz' (first day of March), where the evil spirits of winter are driven out; a concept that became widely known through the popular illustrated book 'Schellen-Ursli' (A Bell for Ursli). Such is the connection with Alois Carigiet classic children's book, that the village even has a hiking path dedicated to its central character. The small village is a pleasant starting point for lengthy hikes in the landscape of the Lower Engadine. Ramblers in the village are absolutely enraptured by the typical Engadine houses decorated with sgraffito.

Guarda, Switzerland
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Lauterbrunnen

Nestled among the mighty Swiss alps, the beautiful mountainside village of Lauterbrunnen is a sight to behold with its picturesque cottages and stunning natural surroundings. With its origins dating back to the 13th Century, the village is home to a number of historic buildings and the Swiss heritage sites of the Trachsellauenen Silver Mine and the Stechelberg – Schilthorn Cable Car. Visited by J. R. R. Tolkien in his childhood, the village and its nearby valley is believed to have been an inspiration for the fictitious Elvish town of Rivendell from his epic saga- the 'Lord Of The Rings'. And looking at this small valley village, surrounded by the glorious mountains with the white peaks gleaming in the distance, it is clear that the claim is not far from the truth.

Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland
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Andermatt

An utterly scenic village in the Ursern valley, Andermatt was famously extolled by poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe after he visited the area in the 18th Century. Over the years, Andermatt has not only enraptured Goethe, but numerous tourists who visit Switzerland's Gotthard area. Located in the heart of the country, Andermatt's key position, surrounded by numerous alpine passes, makes it an exciting outdoor destination, inviting tourists to hike, cycle, ski and even golf in its spellbinding beauty. Summers herald hikes around its many mountain lakes, whereas winters call for tobogganing fun, deeming Andermatt a wonderful, round-the-year vacation destination for your family.

Andermatt, Switzerland
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Interlaken

With its paradisaical location between Lake Brienz and Lake Thun, Interlaken numbers among the most renowned and oldest spas resorts in Switzerland. Celtic tribes settled in the fertile ground of this region early on. The site received its name from the Augustine monastery founded in the 12th century, which was also situated between the lakes, that is, 'inter lacus', as the Latin-speaking monks used to say. Today Interlaken offers splendid historical attractions, including the castle and the cloister of the monastery, which was dissolved in 1528. A collection of idyllic villages with rustic, wooden houses dot the landscape, with the majestic Jungfrau alps looming in the distance. Traditional natural beauty aside, the region is also a hot spot for adrenaline junkies, as the conditions are ideal for various adventure sports such as para gliding, kayaking, skydiving, hang gliding and skiing. For families, the mesmerizing Jungfrau Park, with its astonishing assortment of rides adds enough commercial and modern value to make it one of the most visited destinations in the entire country.

Interlaken, Switzerland
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Zermatt

The picturesque town of Zermatt is one of the most popular Swiss skiing destinations. Nestled in Southern Switzerland, near the Italian border, this town lies at a height of 1620 meters (5315 feet) and is surrounded by some of the highest Alpine peaks in the country. The steep and snowy slopes, glaciers, rivers, tarns and dense, woody areas have made it a favored spot for skiing, mountain biking, sledding and other mountain sports. Most of the businesses here consist of ski resorts, a significant percent of the houses are chalets and vacation homes, and a majority of the population at any given time comprises of expatriates and tourists. This town is automobile-free and the buses operate on battery or other electrical power sources. Enjoy walking down the quaint streets, try exhilarating adventure sports, then rest in a cabin with a cup of hot cocoa and watch the town come alive at night with hundreds of tiny, sparkling lights that reflect from the water and snow.

Zermatt, Switzerland
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Mürren

Lying at the foot of the popular and cinematic Schilthorn, Mürren is a cozy mountain village, considered to the highest, continually inhabited village settlement in the canton of Bern. It is the simple beauty and charm of the village that attracts tourists here and it lies on a terrace, high above the Lauterbrunnen valley. There may be other mountain villages that are equally pretty, but none of them enjoys views like those from the village across the deep valley to the rock faces and glaciers of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau. This authentic, traffic free and stress less mountain village, with its sun-dried chalets and friendly people is the ideal holiday spot.

Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland
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Morcote

Discover the bucolic tranquility and resplendence of nature by making Morcote your next holiday destination. Often hailed as the 'Pearl of Ceresio', this town is defined by its quaint architecture, the splendid lakefront and old-world Patrician establishments. The nucleus of art and culture, this place is particularly noted for its handicraft industry and wine production. Several heritage structures and tourist hotspots are scattered throughout the vast expanse of this town, with the most noteworthy ones being the Parish Church of Santa Maria del Sasso, Chapel Sant' Antonio do Padova and Scherrer Gardens. This place is an absolute must-see, and is perfect for a getaway trip.

Morcote, Switzerland
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Sion

The charming capital of Switzerland's Valais canton, Sion is both a financial center and a rewarding tourist destination. A gem located in the heart of the country, Sion's sweeping alpine skyline is further enhanced by its most notable landmarks-the castles of Tourbillon and Valeria. Its centuries-old history can be discovered through its preserved medieval Old Town, dotted with local museums, heritage buildings and numerous churches, one of which is home to the oldest playable organ in the world. A sun-dappled destination, Sion also enjoys its location in one of the nation's most notable wine-growing regions.

Sion, Switzerland
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Soglio

Nudging Italy's border, Soglio sits on a mountainside ledge, surrounded by Switzerland's iconic alpine scenery. On clear days, one is rewarded with enchanting vistas of the Bregaglia valley and its rolling chestnut plantations. While Soglio is home to several historic landmarks, the Church of St. Lorenzo towers as its most notable building. Its old town is dotted with characteristic Salis houses, of which the Casa Battista is the most prominent; it has been converted into a hotel known as Palazzo Salis. Besides its history, charm and quaint atmosphere, Soglio also welcomes visitors to drink in its beauty through a number of round-the-year activities- from hiking through sun-drenched trails in the summer, to cross-country adventures come winter.

Bregaglia, Switzerland
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Spiez

Straddling the shores of the Thunersee, this picturesque town is a vivid tapestry of historic structures and scenic locales. Spiez's ideal location renders it a popular destination for both reposeful retreats and exciting activities. Immerse yourself in the town's history and heritage by visiting landmarks such as the Spiez Castle, Swiss Reformed Castle Church and sites of archaeological importance, or familiarize yourself with its landscape by cycling through green pastures and verdant fields. You can also canoe down the tranquil waters of the lake or simply choose to stroll along its peaceful banks. With a plethora of activities and options available to you, Spiez is a serene destination which will revive your spirits with its soul-stirring environs.

Spiez, Switzerland
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Stein am Rhein

In the idyllic municipality of Stein am Rhein, you can explore a historic medieval center, settlements and vestiges which offer a glimpse of the area's past. Stein am Rhein possesses an agriculturally rich economy, its rural landscape dotted with traditional homes and time-honored structures which exemplify its history. Stroll through quaint alleys and cobblestone streets flanked by noteworthy buildings, or bask in the cultural and traditional heritage of Stein am Rhein by visiting landmarks such as the Monastery of St. Georg, Hohenklingen Castle, the Town Hall and the Marktbrunnen among others.

Stein am Rhein, Switzerland
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