Panoramic view on Swiss Alps and blue sky, Switzerland

Things to do in  Swiss Alps

Quaint hamlets, glitzy ski resorts

Home to big and bold European peaks like the Matterhorn and the Eiger, the Swiss Alps comprise Switzerland’s largest geographical area, covering around two-thirds of the country. If you think of Switzerland, chances are you’re picturing the Swiss Alps. The area is a major tourist destination, tempting international snow sports lovers with varied terrain and rustic-luxe resorts and wooing fair-weather explorers, too. Hiking, fondue eating, and scouting out James Bond film locations are among the many things to do.

Top 15 attractions in Swiss Alps

Lucerne (Luzern)

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Situated on the shores of sparkling Lake Lucerne, at the base of Mount Pilatus, the city of Lucerne is one of Switzerland’s most scenic destinations and a popular basecamp for exploring the Swiss Alps. Visit to see the city’s historic medieval center, then head into the mountains for hiking, cycling, and winter sports adventures.More

Gornergrat Railway (Gornergrat Bahn)

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Dating back to 1898, Switzerland’s Gornergrat Railway (Gornergrat Bahn) continues today as Europe’s highest open-air railway. Its train whisks sightseers and skiers from the resort town of Zermatt to the mountain’s 10,135-foot (3,089-meter) station, while providing views of Alpine hamlets, colossal glaciers, and the iconic Matterhorn.More

Jungfraujoch Sphinx Observatory (Sphinx-Observatorium)

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Perched on a rocky precipice 11,716 feet (3,571 meters) above sea level, the Sphinx Observatory is a working lab with a large telescope. The landmark sits on Jungfraujoch peak—known as the "Top of Europe"—and offers stunning views of the Bernese Alps and beyond from its observation deck, one of the highest in Switzerland.More

Lake Thun (Thunersee)

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Lake Thun—or Thunersee as it’s known locally—is a glacial lake near Interlaken. Its bright turquoise water and the surrounding mountains and valleys are pure picture-postcard Switzerland.More

Kleine Scheidegg

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This mountain pass in the Bernese Oberland may be best known as the starting point for the scenic Jungfrau Railway, but it's also a hiking hub: several trails from here offer stunning mountain views. From an elevation of more than 2,000 meters (6,560 feet), you can marvel at the peaks of Jungfrau and Mönch, and the stark Eiger North Face.More

Harder Kulm

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High above the Swiss town of Interlaken stands Harder Kulm, a viewpoint with panoramic views of the mountains and valleys of the Berner Oberland region. Visitors can hike to the spot from town, or take a funicular railway. Once at the top, you can enjoy the views, have a refreshment, and enjoy a variety of attractions.More

Matterhorn

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Nicknamed the “Mountain of Mountains,” the Matterhorn is one of the highest peaks in Europe, reaching a mighty 14,692 feet (4,478 meters). Known for its jagged triangular shape, it’s one of Switzerland’s most famous peaks—not only for its views, but also for its appearance in the logo for Toblerone, the iconic Swiss chocolate brand.More

Lake Brienz (Brienzersee)

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Lake Brienz (Brienzersee) is one of the two lakes that flank the popular resort town of Interlaken. The village of Brienz, which sits on the opposite side of the lake (and from which the lake takes its name), is a picture-perfect Swiss spot made up of traditional wooden chalets with the snow-capped Alps rising behind them.More

Glacier Canyon

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Forces of nature are on full display in Glacier Canyon, which was formed as the Lower Grindelwald Glacier slowly carved its way through the rock in the area. As waterfalls and streams pour down into the Lütschine River, a walk through Glacier Canyon is a total sensory experience.More

Jungfrau

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The Jungfrau, a sky-high saddle in the Swiss Alps and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, offers jaw-dropping views of the Bernese Oberland’s massive glaciers and snowy peaks. Travel by narrow cog railway to Jungfraujoch and stand on “the Top of Europe” as you gaze out at the Aletsch Glacier, the longest glacier in Europe, and far, far beyond.More

Mt. Titlis

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Reaching 10,626 feet (3,239 meters) above sea level, Mt. Titlis is Central Switzerland’s highest peak and probably its finest vantage point. The mountain has a cutting-edge transportation system—including, most famously a revolving cable car that turns 360 degrees during the ride to the top station at 9,908 feet (3,020 meters). Those lucky enough to be inside the car are graced with stunning panoramic views of Alpine peaks, sheer rock faces, and an icy crevasse-cracked glacier.More

Maienfeld

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The Swiss mountain village of Maienfeld is best known as the setting of the classic children’s book Heidi—but the alpine beauty of Maienfeld would have attracted flocks of visitors even without the help of a bestseller. Mountain landscapes aside, the village, flanked by the Bündner Herrschaft vineyards, is a popular destination thanks to its robust and fruity red wines.More

Grindelwald First

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Located just north of Grindelwald, the 7,106-foot (2,166-meter) First Mountain is one of the region’s most accessible peaks. Affording spectacular views of the neighboring Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau mountains, it’s a scenic spot for hiking and skiing.More

Lake Staz (Lej da Staz)

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Encircled by the vast Staz forest, Lake Staz (Lej da Staz) takes on a mythical ambiance with its floating islands of marsh clover and towering reeds. An easy 30-minute walk from St.Moritz leads to the lake, passing through some incredible mountain scenery, or if you fancy an alternative, horse-drawn carriage rides are available along the pathways surrounding the lake.More

Aletsch Glacier

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Covering a total area of over 45 square miles (72 square kilometers, the Great Aletsch Glacier is the largest glacial landscape in Europe. It’s located in the eastern Swiss Alps flanked by the Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau mountains.More

Top activities in Swiss Alps

Alpine Majesty: From Interlaken to Jungfraujoch Private Tour
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Canyon Swing with OUTDOOR
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Canyon Swing with OUTDOOR

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Winter Kayak Tour of the Turquoise Lake Brienz
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Bungy Jump Stockhorn with OUTDOOR

Bungy Jump Stockhorn with OUTDOOR

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007 Elegance:Exclusive Private Tour to Schilthorn from Interlaken
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Interlaken Delight: Private City Tour & Harder Escape
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All about Swiss Alps

When to visit

The Swiss Alps are beautiful year-round but very different in winter and summer. For winter sports, the ski season starts in December and ends in early April, while some slopes stay open year-round in glacier resorts like Zermatt. And if you want to catch a major event, time your stay to see the Ski World Cup Lauberhorn, held each year in January in Wengen. In spring, the snow gives way to meadows peppered with wild blooms, offering scope for scenic hikes through to fall.

Getting around

While cars usually mean freedom, this isn’t the case in the Swiss Alps, where many popular villages (Zermatt, Wengen, Mürren, and Saas-Fee) are car-free. So, skip the car hire and take the train instead. Once there, cable cars, chair lifts, mountain railways, and buses take over. If you plan to explore the Swiss Alps or visit cities, the Swiss Travel Pass is a great option, covering journeys on most forms of transport around the country.

Traveler tips: Scenic train rides in the Swiss Alps

The Swiss rail network is known for its well-connected and efficient routes nationwide. And since the Swiss Alps cover so much of the country, these routes are scenic, too. Check out the Glacier Express or the Bernina Express trains that both cross the Swiss Engadin Alps, the Jungfrau Railway that takes you to Europe’s highest railway station, or one of the world’s steepest cogwheel railways to Mt. Pilatus.

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People Also Ask

What activities do people do in the Alps?

Snow sports like skiing, snowboarding, ice-skating, sledding, and snowshoeing are popular winter activities in the Alps, while summertime fun covers hiking, climbing, lake swimming, and mountain biking. Photography and mountaineering are popular year-round, while extreme adventurers can also find paragliding, rappelling, canyoning, and bungee jumping on offer in the Alps.

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What is famous about the Swiss Alps?

The Swiss Alps are famous for snow sports and scenery, boasting some of the highest and most iconic peaks in the more comprehensive Alps mountain range. Here, you can find the Matterhorn (aka the Toblerone mountain), the Eiger, and the Jungfrau, along with top-notch ski resorts that look like they’re trapped in time.

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How do you explore the Swiss Alps?

Geneva, Zurich, and Milan Malpensa are good gateway airports to the Swiss Alps for visitors arriving on international flights. Once there, the train network easily links the bigger cities to the mountain towns. And once you’re in the mountains, the gondolas, funiculars, cog-wheel trains, and chairlifts take center stage.

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Can you do a day trip to the Swiss Alps?

It depends on where you’re based. Guided day trips take the hassle out of the logistics to give you more time in the mountains when you arrive. Many Swiss Alps day trips depart from Milan, Bergamo, and Como in Italy or Zurich, Bern, Basel, Geneva, or Lausanne in Switzerland.

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Are the Swiss Alps expensive?

Yes, many things in the Swiss Alps are more expensive than other European countries—particularly food and accommodation. For example, if you pay for an espresso coffee in euros in Switzerland, it’s often around four euros; while the price of an espresso in Italy is closer to one euro.

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What month is best for the Swiss Alps?

For skiers, the most snow-sure month is February. However, the slopes are likely to be busy, and accommodation prices are even higher than usual, especially in the British school “half-term” vacation week. For visitors who don’t want snow, the summer months between June and August offer warmer days and (mostly) sunny weather.

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Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
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