The cities of Switzerland
Fascinating cities to include in your holiday itinerary
There is no doubt that Switzerland offers resorts in areas of oustanding natural beauty - majestic mountains, azure blue lakes and lush green meadows. Yet Switzerland is also a land of high culture, fascinating history, inventive gourmet food and international commerce, as reflected in its larger towns and cities. A short stay in one of the cities before exploring deeper into the Swiss countryside is highly recommended. Even the journey between resorts can be an unforgettable experience on one of the classic scenic rail routes. Call the Swiss Holiday Company on 0800 619 1200 to tailor make your holiday itinerary.
Choosing your CITY
The capital of Switzerland, Bern is a must-see for its beautiful Old Town which UNESCO has recognised as a World Heritage Site. The distinctive red roofs cluster over medieval architecture, atmospheric arcades and Renaissance fountains. This is a city to explore on foot and there are delights around every corner, from the iconic Bern bears to the Swiss Parliament. Bern is the gateway to the Alps, so there are stunning views to be had towards the mountains. The city partners naturally with a longer stay in the resorts of the Bernese Oberland, such as Interlaken or Wengen, or perhaps historical Lucerne in the lakes and mountains of Central Switzerland.
Basel lies close to the 'border triangle', where Switzerland meets France and Germany. It played a major role in medieval trading and remains a city with an international flavour today. There is a fascinating Old Town, complemented by stunning modern architecture. There are plenty of museums to explore as well as cruises on the river Rhine which flows through the city. Basel is the arrival point in Switzerland for rail passengers; it is certainly worth tarrying here for a couple of nights. Others may like to consider making a detour to the city as part of a longer holiday, perhaps combining Basel with a picturesque mountain village such as Zermatt or a stay by Lake Lucerne.
Many Swiss holidays start in Zürich thanks to the airport's good connections with the UK. Instead of heading off directly to your main holiday destination, it is well worth spending a day or two in this cultural centre. You could acquaint yourself with the city on a relaxing river cruise or maybe a walking tour of the Old Town, whose narrow streets are full of atmospheric buildings. There are plenty of museums and galleries (including the Swiss National Museum), St. Peter's Church with the largest clock face in Europe, and some renowned restaurants to enjoy. A stay in Zürich can easily be combined with any resort in Switzerland, as well as the unforgettable scenic rail journeys.
Many UK flights connect with Geneva, so visitors often find this delightful city a great place to start their Swiss holiday. With a wonderful location by the lake of the same name, the river Rhone running through the middle and the iconic 'Jet d'Eau', Geneva is a city that lives on the water. It has a historical and charming Old Town, as well as being home to modern institutions such as the United Nations and CERN. The sights, shopping and restaurants are well worth stopping for, before continuing your journey into Switzerland. The mountain resorts of Villars or Saas-Fee and the scenic villages around Lake Lucerne are great places to head to for a relaxing week after the bustle of Geneva.
Lausanne perches on Lake Geneva and boasts the pretty waterfront area - Ouchy - with a host of cafés and shops, as well as the traffic-free Old Town with its atmospheric medieval buildings and impressive Gothic cathedral. The city is home to the International Olympic Commitee, which hosts a fascinating museum dedicated to the Olympics. This is a great place from which to enjoy a lake cruise or an excursion to the Lavaux vineyards. Lausanne can be combined with any Swiss resort to create a two or multi centre holiday - perhaps a quiet mountain village such as Mürren or Wengen would create a very interesting itinerary.
Solothurn is a beautiful Baroque town, located halfway between Basel and Bern. There are some magnificent buildings to admire here, such as the St. Ursus Cathedral, and a traffic-free Old Town which is a pleasure to explore. A cruise on the River Aare is a great way to view the city and there are numerous restaurants to enjoy. The town is a gateway to some wonderful walking trails in the nearby countryside, such as those in the Verena Gorge and Thal Nature Park. Solothurn's location makes it a natural partner to a longer stay in the resorts of the Bernese Oberland, with their huge range of stunning lakes and mountains excursions.
Visit Schaffhausen for its historic Old Town on the banks of the Rhine - where many of the old guild houses have been preserved - and the 16th century Munot fortress with great views. This town is situated in the north of Switzerland and is perfectly placed for visiting the dramatic Rhine Falls, the largest waterfall in Europe. This natural wonder has to be seen to be believed and is certainly worth the trip. Schaffhausen makes for a lovely two centre holiday with the beautiful lakes and mountains scenery of Central Switzerland - perhaps combined with a stay in historic Lucerne or peaceful Weggis.
Planning your holiday - Call 0800 619 1200
- Decide which resorts you would like to visit
- Do you want to include any scenic journeys?
- 1st or 2nd class rail travel in Switzerland
- Choose the number of nights in each resort
- 3 or 4 star hotel accommodation
We have a range of 3, 4 and 5 star hotels in all of our cities for stays of one night or longer which can be added to any of your arrangements throughout Switzerland.
Please call 0800 619 1200 for details and availability.