Geneva is a city with plenty of options for those with time in hand. Well within walking distance from the city center is the International Red Cross Museum with its fascinating historical insights.The botanical gardens are beautiful and of course, the boat ride across the stunning lake makes for even more awe-inspiring scenery.
Away from the center are less touristy bars and restaurants where you can enjoy the good life for lesser spend. You can also cross over the border into France, where you can opt for a hike or ski lift up the mountain or simply a delicious lunch.
This central Swiss city combines a compact medieval old town with all the attributes of a modern city. The city walls still have a 13th-century watchtower with stunning views of the town and surrounding landscape. Equally remarkable are the lakeside setting, two covered bridges (one circa 1333) on the river and a promenade lined with cafes and bars. The Swiss Museum of Transportation is also deserving of a visit.
Recommended are trips on the world’s oldest cog railway alongside the lake with stops on the climb the 1,800-metre Rigi mountain or even the 2,100-metre Pilatus peak.
A 40-minute train journey will take you to Engelberg, popular for its scenic mountains. The three-stage cable car will take you to the 3,200-metre high ski spot on Titlis mountaintop all around the year.
The stunning Lugano sits on a glittering blue lake surrounded by towering mountain peaks. Visitors arriving by train can take the little funicular down into the city center and soak up the rarefied environs of the luxurious Italianate streets. Just 500 meters east is the Sentiero dell’olivo path that leads you through shoreline olive groves to Gandria, a pretty cluster of houses clinging to the hillside. It’s a short (3.5 km) and enchanting walk to village life in a time warp. There are several excellent lunch options and a relaxed, scenic ferry ride back to city life.
Not as famous as Geneva or Basel, but equally deserving of as much attention. 30 minutes away from the French border, Neuchâtel sits on the Jura mountainside by a lake surrounded by vineyards. Over 1,000 years old, its best-known sights are the 12th-century château and the Collegiate Church, who share a rocky promontory.
Around the city center, visitors can enjoy ancient buildings of yellow stone, and on 1st August, the Swiss National Day, thousands of fireworks are launched all over the place and reflect on the calm lake.
Schaffhausen and the Rhein
A mere hour’s drive north of Zurich takes you to this elegant medieval city with a stunning town center and the famous Rhein River Bath swimming area. In addition to exploring the castle and boat trips on the Rhein, a stroll along the river will take you to Europe’s widest waterfall (249 meters), the Rheinfall. If it’s December, you shouldn’t miss the unique Christmas tradition of a group of men leading Santa through the streets while clanging eerily giant cowbells.
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