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BlogDestinationsFrom Lucerne to Zermatt, these are the most enchanting cities in Switzerland you can visit on one trip
Destinations

From Lucerne to Zermatt, these are the most enchanting cities in Switzerland you can visit on one trip

Oct 13, 2023 by The Go Ahead Tours Team

From soaring, snow-capped peaks to icy Alpine lakes and lush, rolling hills, there are plenty of ways in which the scenery of Switzerland will take your breath away. However, we think that one of the brightest highlights of our Switzerland tours is getting immersed in the culture and warmth of Switzerland’s charming, friendly cities. We’re giving you an insider breakdown of the best cities in Switzerland—along with this expert tip: When you join us on our Switzerland by Train: Lucerne to Zurich tour, you can visit them all on one trip. “We had a wonderful time, and the entire country was as beautiful as a postcard,” said traveler John after returning from the tour. “Really felt like we were exposed to almost the entire country. The train rides were the highlights of the tour.”

Lucerne

Cradled between snow-capped mountains and an icy-blue lake, Lucerne is one of the best cities to visit in Switzerland (and one of the most breathtaking cities in the European Alps, if you ask us). The city’s covered Chapel Bridge and turreted Water Tower look like something out of a storybook. The covered bridge is considered to be Europe’s oldest, and the 13th-century tower may be up to a hundred years older. Depending on when you visit Lucerne you may catch a glimpse of the migratory colony of black and white Alpine Swifts that have been roosting in the tower for decades during the warmer months. If you’d rather visit in the winter, join us on our New Year’s Eve in Lucerne: Germany, Switzerland & Austria tour to ring in the new year on the shores of Lake Lucerne. “Lucerne has fireworks on New Year’s Eve, but their larger exhibition is on New Year’s Day evening, an extravaganza set to music right in the bay of Lake Lucerne that was very spectacular and made the visit special,” said traveler Nancy after returning from the tour. 

Join us on the optional Mount Pilatus excursion offered on our Switzerland by Train: Lucerne to Zurich tour to take a cruise on Lake Lucerne and ride the world’s steepest cogwheel railway up the 7,000-foot mountain. The view from the top will leave you breathless. “My group selected all of the optional excursions, and they were each spectacular and made the trip even more memorable,” said traveler Judith of our Switzerland, Alsace & the Black Forest tour. “Mt. Pilatus and Jungfraujoch were amazing.” 

Check out Lucerne tours

Interlaken

Interlaken is a quaint Alpine town nestled between two lakes (Interlaken means “between lakes” in German). It may not be one of the biggest cities in Switzerland, but what the small village lacks in population it makes up for in charm, which is why it’s one of our favorite cities in the mountains. Whether you choose to wander the city’s time-worn streets or head out of town for an Alpine adventure, there’s plenty to do when you join us on one of our Interlaken tours. “I went zip lining in Interlaken (also on my bucket list!), and that was a wonderful experience in the scenic Swiss woods!” said traveler Jane after returning from our Switzerland by Train: Lucerne to Zurich tour

Join us on the Jungfraujoch: The Top of Europe excursion offered on our tours of Interlaken to take a train up to the UNESCO-listed Jungfraujoch mountain pass, known as “the top of Europe.” Take in panoramic views of the largest glaciated region in the Alps, enjoy some lunch, or visit the Ice Palace—a glacial cavern filled with intricate ice sculptures. “The Jungfrau was also amazing,” said traveler Linda, who visited on our Switzerland, Alsace & the Black Forest tour. “Perfect weather to see forever at the top of the Alps. Again, I had been here many times but never on a clear day. It was spectacular!” 

Visit Interlaken

Bern

Switzerland’s capital city is a picture-perfect town built around a bend in the Aare River. The city’s UNESCO-recognized, medieval Old Town is made up of warm, red-roofed sandstone buildings, charming bridges, and covered walkways. Here, you’ll find the imposing Gothic Bern Cathedral and the 13th-century Zytglogge Clock Tower, which welcomes each new hour with a parade of mechanical bears. 

But if mechanical bears don’t satisfy your wildlife wanderlust, don’t worry—when you visit Bern on one of our Switzerland tours, you’ll pay a visit to the Bern Bear Park, where a community of brown bears lives along the banks of the Aare. Watch the bears nap in the shade, bathe in the river, and forage for food just like they would in the wild. It’s a responsible wildlife experience and a lovely way to get to know Bern’s heraldic beast. 

See Bern on tour

Lake Geneva Region

Crescent-shaped Lake Geneva isn’t a city itself, but it’s a stunning natural landmark and home to major cities in Switzerland like Geneva and Lausanne. It’s the largest lake in the country and first on our list of charming lakes to visit in Switzerland. On the shores of the lake, with sweeping views of the water and the Alps, lie the terraced Lavaux vineyards. When you visit these UNESCO-protected vineyards on our Switzerland by Train: Lucerne to Zurich tour, you’ll taste some of the region’s crisp, mineral-forward wines, many of which you won’t find anywhere else in the world. 

Next, pay a visit to Chillon Castle, the fairytale-like, medieval edifice perched right on the edge of a rocky island in Lake Geneva. Explore the castle’s courtyard, museum, and underground passageways—there’s even a dungeon partly submerged in the lake, which provided a harrowing experience for prisoners. 

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Visp

The charming town of Visp is more than just the gateway to Zermatt—it’s one of the must-see cities in Switzerland. Visp is a sunny, pedestrian-friendly town that lies at the foot of some of Europe’s highest vineyards. Nestled in a valley where the Rhone River meets the Vispa River, Visp enjoys more than 300 days of sunshine a year (we told you it was one of the best cities to visit in Switzerland!). The town is known for its cozy Old Town and scenic Chapel Trail, a winding trail up a sacred mountain that’s dotted with 10 tiny, historic chapels. Traditionally, worshippers would make the short pilgrimage, walking from one chapel to the next, stopping at each one to pray. 

When you visit Visp on one of our Switzerland tours, stroll down the pedestrian-only Bahnhofstrasse to shop for souvenirs, or pop into a wine shop to taste the area’s local wines. We recommend the Heida, a nutty, full-bodied white, or the Cornalin du Valais, a rich, aromatic red—both wines can be difficult to find outside of the region. If your Switzerland by Train: Lucerne to Zurich tour takes you through Visp on a Friday, be sure to check out Pürumärt, the weekly farmers market that’s as much a social event as it is a place to shop. 

Visit Visp

Zermatt

Zermatt is an idyllic Alpine village that lies at the foot of Switzerland’s iconic pyramid-shaped mountain, the Matterhorn. The resort town is completely car-free and features cozy wooden chalets, quaint shops, and near-constant views of the famous mountain. Traveler Richard took in the spectacular scenery on our Switzerland by Train: Lucerne to Zurich tour.  “[It was] such an incredible trip!” he said. “Waking up in Zermatt, walking out on our balcony to see the Matterhorn gleaming in the sunlight. It was 6am, but I woke up my wife, and off we went to see more views and take more photos. This was the highlight of the trip for me, but there were so many more incredible moments.” 

Join the Gornergrat Railway & Matterhorn Museum excursion offered on our Switzerland by Train: Lucerne to Zurich tour to board Europe’s highest open-air cog railway and ride to the summit of Gornergrat, a ridge overlooking the Gorner Glacier. You’ll be treated to breathtaking panoramic views of the Matterhorn before descending back to Zermatt to visit the Matterhorn Museum, located in a historic building in the heart of the city. Or, spend your free afternoon exploring, hiking, or adventuring in and around the city. “I booked a helicopter tour around the Matterhorn that was astounding!” said traveler Lydia on our Switzerland by Train: Lucerne to Zurich tour

Discover Zermatt on tour

St. Moritz

St. Moritz is a glamorous Alpine city and a winter sports lover’s dream. Not only is it one of the best cities in Switzerland for skiing and tobogganing, having hosted the Winter Olympics twice, but it’s also one of the best cities to visit in Switzerland if you’re seeking luxury. St. Moritz is a favorite among celebrities and royalty, who flock to the town’s elegant chalets to bathe in the area’s thermal hot springs, shop in luxury boutiques, and dine in the town’s more than 100 restaurants.  

Join us on one of our St. Moritz tours, during which you’ll hop aboard the Bernina Express and enjoy breathtaking mountain and lake views as you travel through St. Moritz en route to Tirano, Italy. “The Bernina Express and St. Moritz were highlights of the trip,” said traveler David after taking the tour. The candy-apple-red train is a huge reason why Switzerland by Train: Lucerne to Zurich is one of our top scenic train ride tours. 

Explore our tours to St. Moritz

Zurich

One of the major cities in Switzerland, Zurich is home to a seamless blend of historic and modern architecture. You’ll find medieval streets, classic churches, and modern museums in this cosmopolitan city—just one reason why it’s among the Switzerland cities we recommend visiting in our Switzerland travel guide. Wander through Altstadt, the city’s Old Town, and see Fraumünster Church, a Gothic-Romanesque church with expressive stained glass windows designed by artist Marc Chagall. “I lived on Lake Zurich for three years, and it is truly the most magical place,” said staffer Gabriela. “Whether snow-covered in the winter or crystal clear in the summer, there is always something to enjoy.”

When you join us on one of our Zurich tours, head to Lindenhof—a park built on the former site of a fourth-century Roman fort. Today, it serves as a peaceful oasis and gathering place in the heart of Zurich, full of stunning views of Altstadt, the Limmat River, and Lake Zurich. Take in the scenery or enjoy watching locals play chess on giant, outdoor boards. 

Book your Zurich tour

Lugano

We often think of mountain villages and snow-covered, half-timber houses when we picture Switzerland cities, but Lugano’s Mediterranean climate sets it apart. Located in the southern, Italian-speaking part of the country, Lugano is one of the biggest cities in Switzerland, and like many Switzerland cities, it sits on the shores of a sparkling azure lake. Join us on the Lugano extension offered on our Switzerland by Train: Lucerne to Zurich tour to explore this lush Swiss paradise.

Stroll through the botanical gardens of Ciani Park, a lakeside park with spectacular views, marvel at the Renaissance frescoes in the church of Santa Maria degli Angioli, or simply spend some free time wandering through the city and noticing the Italian influence in the cuisine and culture.

Ready to visit these captivating cities in Switzerland all in one trip? Join us on our Switzerland by Train: Lucerne to Zurich tour.


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About the author | The Go Ahead Tours Team
We’re a team of passionate travel experts, dedicated to helping people explore the world. From inspiring stories to tips for an amazing trip, the topics we cover are all about getting you out there and making discoveries.

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