The fairytale land of Switzerland has plenty of surreal and scenic landscapes to offer to the tourists and travelers. But if you really want to experience quintessential Switzerland then you need to visit the small picturesque villages. These villages with flower-adorned chalets, green meadows with grazing cows, car-free centers, and traditional customs followed even to this day offer a unique and enchanting experience. Every village in Switzerland is overflowing with beauty and charm. Here are the most beautiful villages in Switzerland, which you must add to your must-visit list for a trip to Switzerland.
Iseltwald and Giessbach Falls
Iseltwald is a small pretty village located on the shores of Lake Brienz in the Bernese Oberland region of Switzerland. The village of Iseltwald can be reached by a 20 minutes bus ride from the Interlaken Ost train station. The route offers breathtaking views of the blue Brienz Lake. The picturesque village has numerous chocolate colored chalets and is located under the foot of massive mountains. The bright colored doors and windows of the chalets decorated with flower boxes look like it has been taken straight out of a fairytale.
We spend some time wandering the quiet streets and back alleys of the village and boarded a boat to Brienz. The boat stop from the Iseltwald village to Brienz village stops at the Giessbach See funicular station. You can easily combine your visit to Iseltwald with a visit to the magnificent Giessbach Falls.
There is also a beautiful 19th-century Grand Hotel Giessbach on the summit. The funicular takes you to the summit from where you can hike to the falls or just enjoy the views of the lake and the falls from the terrace of the hotel. The village of Iseltwald is part of the Inventory of Swiss Heritage Sites is a must visit on your trip to Interlaken in Switzerland
There are a couple of hotels in the village if you are looking to spend a night – Hotel Chalet du Lac and Strand Hotel. We did not stay in the village but had a delicious breakfast at the Strand Hotel. The staff was very friendly and helpful.
Grindelwald is a small pretty village in the Bernese Oberland region of Switzerland. The charming village is surrounded by the massive Alps and plenty of attractions to offer. Visit the Gletscherschlucht (Glacier Gorge) and wonder at the roaring Lutschine River making way through the huge rocky cliffs. Visitors can walk through the wooden walkways, tunnels and a unique spiderweb net, which lets you walk over the gushing waters of the river. Grindelwald museum is must visit if you are interested in Alpine history in Grindelwald, Mountaineering, alpine farming and traditional handicrafts.
One of the top points of interest in Grindelwald is the summit of Grindelwald-First. Take a gondola ride up to the summit of First and take a thrilling walk on First Cliff Walk for astounding views of the surrounding mountains and the valleys with a sheer drop. From First summit hike to the Bachalpsee at an altitude of 7431 ft which offers awe-inspiring views of the Eiger, Monch, and Jungfrau mountains.
Traditional Village of Appenzell
Appenzell is a charming historic village located at the foot of the Alpstein mountains. The major draw for the tourists to the village of Appenzell is the colorfully painted houses. Most of the houses are located in the main street Hauptgasse. Cafes, restaurants, and shops selling local handicrafts, cheese, and chocolates occupy these houses and buildings. The traditional village of Appenzell is just around a couple hours train ride from Zurich which makes it one of the popular day trips from Zurich.
Wander along the narrow alleys taking in the views of the surrounding lush green rolling hills or enjoy the majestic views devouring on the local cheese specialties in one of the open-air restaurants, Appenzell is sure to lure you with its charm.
The Appenzell village is also a perfect village to experience the culture and heritage of Switzerland. The traditional customs like the ceremonial return of the cattle from the mountains after summer, which is accompanied by parade and folklore, can be seen in Appenzell village. Landsgemeinden system where democratic assemblies are held in the open air and members are voted by the public show of hands is very much followed even to this day in the village of Appenzell.
One of the best ways to learn about the cultural heritage of the village of Appenzell is to visit the Museum Appenzell. The museum located in the main street of Hauptgasse displays an interesting collection consisting of traditional costumes, folk artwork, and paintings with lots of information on local customs. If you are looking to stay in Appenzell Village then Hotel Appenzell and Hotel Landgasthof Eischen are two hotels located in the heart of the village.
About 10 minutes ride from Appenzell is the small village of Wasserauen, which is the location of cable car station to reach Ebenalp. Wildkirchli is a popular tourist destination, From Wasserauen you can take a 7-minute cable car ride to Ebenalp and thereafter a 15 minutes hike down to reach historic caves of Wildkirchli.
Wildkirchli consists of 3 historic caves which are said to be inhabited by Neanderthals 40,000 years ago. There is also a small chapel here but the most popular point of interest here is the mountain restaurant of Wildkirchli the Aescher guesthouse that sits on the cliffside with a backdrop of massive snow mountains and deep valley below. Ebenalp is also a popular starting point for several other hiking trails more information can be found here.
Lauterbrunnen is a quintessential Swiss alpine village with lush green meadows dotted with chalets and surrounded by dramatic rocky cliffs and snow-capped mountains. Lauterbrunnen is only 20 minutes train ride from Interlaken Ost station.
The picturesque village is located in the Lauterbrunnen Valley and is popularly known as the ‘Valley of 72 waterfalls’. The valley is dotted with 72 waterfalls gushing down the steep cliffs of the valley. About 10 minutes walk from the Lauterbrunnen train station is the popular Staubbach Falls cascading from the cliff forming the backdrop for the chalets of the village.
Also must visit in Lauterbrunnen is the Trummelbach Waterfalls which is about 7-10 minutes bus ride from the train station. Trummelbach Waterfalls are Europe’s largest subterranean waterfalls. One can walk the wooden bridges, tunnels, and various platforms and experience the roaring falls gushing through the rocks.
The Medieval Village Gruyeres
The medieval village of Gruyeres is one of the top things to do on your Gruyeres visit and a popular day trip from Geneva. The main cobblestone square of the village is surrounded by beautiful buildings most of which are from medieval times. The buildings balconies and windows are decorated with colorful flowers. The magnificent medieval Gruyeres Castle overlooks the village. A tour of the castle walks you through the history of Gruyeres and offers breathtaking views of the lush green valleys below from its terrace.
Also must visit when in Gruyeres Village are the HR Giger Museum and the Tibet Museum. While HR Giger Museum displays a permanent collection of important works by popular Swiss artist Hans Ruedi Giger, the Tibet Museum houses a wonderful collection of over 300 Buddhist sculptures and paintings.
Other major points of interest in Gruyeres are Cailler Chocolate Factory where you can walk through the chocolate making process from cocoa beans to final product chocolates and enjoy an unlimited tasting of delicious chocolates at the end of the tour. The other must visit Gruyeres attraction is the Gruyeres Cheese Factory. Take a tour of the factory and learn about the cheese making process, get free samples of Gruyeres cheese and enjoy some delicious Gruyeres Cheese specialties in the factory restaurant.
If you are planning to stay in Gruyeres Village then check Hotel de Ville Gruyeres and Hotel De Gruyeres, which are located in the main square of the medieval village.
Wengen is a car-free Alpine village in the Jungfrau region. Wengen is about 15 minutes train ride from Lauterbrunnen. There are plenty of scenic hiking trails around the village, which makes Wengen a haven for hikers and trekkers. Visitors can enjoy magnificent panoramic views of the Lauterbrunnen Valley, and the mountains like the Jungfrau and Schilthorn.
Mannlichen mountain summit at 7,687 ft. can be reached from Wengen by Wengen–Mannlichen aerial cableway and then 15 minutes to walk to the summit. The summit offers breathtaking views of Lauterbrunnen valley and is a starting point for several hiking trails.
The charming village of Wengen has beautiful chalets and houses decorated with colorful flower boxes sprinkled on the green meadows. From Wengen, the trains continue further up the mountain to Kleine Scheidegg and Jungfraujoch.
Murren is a beautiful mountain village in the Bernese Oberland region of Switzerland. To reach Murren, we took a 20 minutes train from Interlaken Ost to Lauterbrunnen, then a yellow post bus to Stechelberg and then Schilthornbahn cableway to Gimmelwald, and then up to Murren. An alternative way to get to Murren is to take an aerial cableway from Lauterbrunnen to Grutschalp and then a train to Murren. The village sits an altitude of 5,374 ft and offers great views of the Lauterbrunnen Valley and the magnificent mountains of Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau range.
The village is Murren is small and car-free you can just wander along the streets and enjoy the tranquil atmosphere occasionally interrupted by the ringing of the church bell. Several hiking trails start from Murren and the village also organizes adventure activities like paragliding and Mountain biking. There is plenitude of accommodation options in the village making it a perfect holiday resort. The popular ones are the Hotel Alpenruh Murren, Hotel Edelweiss Murren, and Hotel Jungfrau Murren.
Kandersteg is a beautiful resort village in the Bernese Oberland region of Switzerland set along the Kander Valley. The village of Kandersteg surrounded by snow-capped mountains draws visitors for its breathtaking mountain scenery and beautiful alpine landscapes. There are several hiking trails and adventure activities organized in the village like mountain climbing, paragliding, skiing in winter and toboggan run in Oeschinen.
One of the most beautiful lakes in Switzerland, the Oeschinen is the largest lake in the in the Oeschinen valley. The lake can be reached by Kandersteg-Oeschinen cablecar and then 10 min shuttle ride or around 30 minutes walk. There are restaurants next to the lake and you can go row boating in the Oeschinensee.
Blausee is another gorgeous lake in the Kander valley and can be reached by a 15 minutes bus ride from Kandersteg. The Blausee Lake is known for the trout fish farm, which is found in abundance in the lake. One can take a boat ride on the crystal clear blue waters of Blausee. The surrounding lush green forest area had several barbeque points, which make for a great picnic spot with family.
Brienz is a charming village located on the shores of Lake Brienz in the Bernese Oberland region of Switzerland. The village is known for its traditional wood carving which dates back to the 18th-century. There are numerous wooden sculptures can be found dotting the streets of the village of Brienz. The chocolate colored chalets along the shores of the village are decorated with colorful flowers and flower gardens and small vineyards in their backyard.
One of the top things to do during your visit to Brienz is a ride on the steam train to the summit of Brienzer Rothorn Mountain. The chugging train to Brienzer Rothorn mountains offers some of the great views and is one of the popular mountain rides in Switzerland.
The summit offers wonderful views over the Bernese Alps, Lake Brienz, and the Grimsel area. There are two restaurants and a Mountain Lodge Rothorn Kulm if you are planning for a stay. The other popular attraction in Brienz is the Ballenberg Open-air museum. The Ballenberg Open Air Museum displays over 100 traditional buildings representing different Swiss regions providing information on the rural life of the country.
Saint-Saphorin is a fortified village from medieval times located on the shores of the Lake Geneva. The village is a part of the UNESCO World Heritage site of Vineyard terrace of Lavaux region, the famous Swiss wine region. The entire village of Saint-Saphorin is part of the Inventory of Swiss Heritage Sites.
Saint-Saphorin is a picturesque village with the cobblestone alleys and windows and balconies of the houses decorated with colorful flowers. The major attraction in the village is the medieval church of Saint-Saphorin which dates back to the 16th-century. The basement of the church consists of the archaeological findings from excavation and is open to the public to explore. There are numerous shops in the village which sell the famous Saint-Saphorin wines named after the village and which is made from famous Chasselas grapes.
Other villages which are worth a stroll and can be combined with one of the top Switzerland attraction located close to the village.
Meiringen is a pretty village set along the Aare River with a backdrop of rocky mountains. The village base to explore the Aare Gorge and the Reichenbach Falls. Aare Gorge is a gorgeous gorge cut by the Aare River which can be explored through 1.4km boardwalk along the canal. Reichenbach Falls is the mighty falls, one can take a funicular to the viewing platform for a closer look at the falls. The viewing platform is the place where Sherlock Holmes fought his foe Professor Moriarty in ‘The Final Problem’.
The village of Beatenberg offers majestic views of blue Thun Lake and Alpine peaks Eiger, Monch, and Jungfrau. From the village, visitors can take a cable car to the summit of Niederhorn which is popular for the paragliding. Combine your visit to Beatenberg with a visit to astounding limestone caves of St Beatus Caves. There are numerous hiking trails or take a bus from Interlaken West.
Gstaad is a resort village home to one of the largest ski areas in the Alps. In the center of the village is a picturesque street lined by beautiful chalets decorated with colorful flowers. The chalets are occupied by shops, restaurants, luxury hotels and boutique shops.
Gstaad is a stop on the Golden Pass Train route which is a scenic train route running from Montreux to Lucerne. About 30 minutes from Gstaad by bus is the mountain of Glacier 3000 which offers panoramic views of the Alps. Take a walk on the Tissot Cliff Walk and enjoy the snow activities like skiing, snowboarding, sledding and winter hiking.
We have compiled a list of some more photos of charming villages in Switzerland on Trover to inspire your travels. We have embedded the list below.
If you’d like to contribute to the list with more pictures of Switzerland villages upload and tag your images #beautifulswissvillages.
How many have you already visited? How many have you added to your bucket list? Do share with us in comments.
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