Whether planning a trip to Switzerland or just looking for an idea of what you can do there, you’ll find plenty of famous landmarks to enjoy in the Swiss Alps.
The country is home to numerous lakes and mountain peaks, and its cities are filled with medieval quarters. It’s also known for its ski resorts and hiking trails.
Famous Landmarks in Switzerland
1. Chillon Castle
Located on a small island near Montreux, Chillon Castle is a medieval castle that is one of the most well-known and visited castles in Europe.
The castle was built on an oval limestone rock that guards the lake-shore passage between the Vaud Riviera and the Rhone valley.
The first records of Chillon Castle date back to 1150. It was likely that the castle’s first building was a chapel.
A Roman military outpost was also established at Chillon. Later, the Savoy family erected a fortress at the site.
The noble family used the resulting outpost as a summer residence. The Savoys made significant renovations to the castle and expanded their territory. Aside from being a fortress, the Chillon Castle was also used as an armory.
During excavations, Roman objects were discovered, including weapons and utensils.
2. Rhine Falls
Among the many famous landmarks in Switzerland, the Rhine Falls is one of the most impressive landmarks.
The waterfall is located on the High Rhine, near Neuhausen am Rheinfall. This waterfall is Europe’s largest plain waterfall, with waters flowing at about 23 meters (75 feet) per second and an average of 13 meters (43 feet) deep.
There are several things to do in the area, including boating, biking, and hiking. The site is also home to an adventure park. There are many activities to choose from, including climbing, abseiling, and cable car rides.
One of the more exciting activities is a boat ride to the castles of Worth and Laufen. Moreover, a panoramic lift is also available to take you to the observation platform.
The best time to visit is in the summer months. The water flow is significantly higher during the hotter months, and the falls are illuminated at night, making them a natural spectacle.
3. Chapel Bridge
Lucerne’s Chapel Bridge is a must-see tourist attraction. It is the most photographed monument in Switzerland and the second longest-covered wooden footbridge in Europe.
In addition to being a tourist attraction, it is a famous local landmark. The bridge links the old town with the new one. It is located next to the octagonal water Tower standing 40 meters (131 feet) high, built around the 13th century.
Initially, the Water Tower was part of Lucerne’s medieval fortifications. The building was used for many purposes, including a lookout post for boats in the bay and a prison.
Chapel Bridge is one of the oldest wooden footbridges in the world. It crosses over the Reuss River diagonally. While it is 204 meters (669 feet) long, a significant portion had to be rebuilt after a fire in 1993.
4. The Geneva Water Fountain
Located on Lake Geneva, the Geneva Water Fountain (also known as Jet d’Eau) is one of the most famous landmarks in the city. It is a large fountain that shoots water into the air at 140 meters (459 feet).
The fountain was initially constructed in the 19th century as a hydraulic pumping station. It is now a symbol of the city’s ambition and vitality.
Jet d’Eau is an imposing fountain that is visible from all over Switzerland. The water that shoots into the air is a stark white color and can be seen from a distance of up to 30 miles away.
Services Industriels de Geneve, an organization responsible for the safety of the jet, operates the fountain. In addition, there are two pumps, the Saleve and Jura, that can pump up to 185 and 132 gallons of water per second.
The fountain is illuminated at night and can be viewed from various vantage points throughout the city. It is also located near boat tour operators and cafes.
5. Lion Monument
Located in Lucerne, Switzerland, the Lion Monument is a rock relief that has become a significant tourist attraction. The monument consists of a giant dying lion set above a pond in a garden in a medieval town.
The lion is carved into the cliff face of a former sandstone quarry. The carving depicts a regal beast stricken with spear wounds and is covered by a shield with the fleur-de-lys of the French monarchy and the Swiss coat of arms.
The ten meters (33 feet) long, six-meter (20 feet) vast lion monument was built to honor the loyalty of the Swiss Guards who protected the King of France during the French Revolution. There is a list of 26 names engraved below the lion.
A tribute to the Swiss Guards killed in Paris during the French Revolution, the stone lion is considered one of the world’s most mournful art pieces, symbolizing the soldiers’ courage and willingness to die.
Carl Pfyffer von Altishofen, a descendant of an influential patrician family, commissioned it. His family owned the land that the monument stands on, which is visited by 1.4 million people each year.
Among the most iconic landmarks in Zurich, the Grossmünster Tower is a must-visit.
The two neo-Gothic towers are one of the main sights of the city’s skyline. The church has been home to some of Switzerland’s most important historical figures. Huldrych Zwingli, who led the Swiss-German Reformation, strongly influenced the church.
The church’s interiors were refurbished in the 19th century by Gustav Gull and Hermann Fietz, and it is also the site of the University of Zurich.
This church has a rich artistic history with wall paintings depicting legends about the patron saint Regula and Felix. The cathedral is Romanesque, and the carved portal features medieval columns.
Whether you’re a traveler interested in the Alps, a nature lover, or an adrenaline junkie, you’ll be in for a treat when you visit the Matterhorn tourist attraction in Switzerland.
Standing on the border of Switzerland and Italy, this iconic mountain is the tallest in the world, towering 4,478 meters (14,692 feet) above sea level. It is a pyramid-shaped giant and a scenic delight.
The Matterhorn is an iconic symbol of Switzerland, attracting trekkers from all over the world. However, the ascent of the peak requires good equipment and an experienced guide.
If you’re visiting Zermatt, you should check out the Matterhorn Museum located under the village square. Here you’ll find artifacts from the first ascent of the Matterhorn in 1865.
8. Oberhofen Castle
Oberhofen Castle is a popular tourist attraction located on Lake Thun’s shores.
The castle dates back to the 13th century and features a museum. In addition, this historic location has a medieval keep and landscaped gardens.
The castle is open for visitors from mid-May to October from 11 am to 5 pm every Tuesday to Sunday. Furthermore, the court has a museum with various artifacts from various periods.
The castle is an excellent destination for family outings. There is a living museum inside the court, a restaurant, and several historical buildings dating back to the 14th century.
9. Gruyères Castle
Located in the Swiss city of Gruyères, the Castle of Gruyères is an architectural masterpiece. It is the oldest building in the region, a popular tourist attraction, and the most visited local attraction.
The Castle of Gruyères is located on the peninsula of Ile d’Ogoz. It was built between 1272 and 1280 and was used by several noble families throughout the centuries. It includes defensive walls, a medieval garden, turrets, and a Knights’ Hall.
The castle is a great place to learn about the area’s history. It is free to tour and is open daily from 9 am to 6 pm.
Additionally, visitors can take an enhanced reality audioguide in English or German. It is easy to navigate through the castle and learn about its architecture.
10. Palais des Nations
Located in Geneva, Switzerland, Palais des Nations is one of the most famous tourist attractions in the country. In addition, this massive complex is home to the European office of the United Nations.
Designed in the early twentieth century, the Palais is an excellent example of Swiss architecture. It is surrounded by manicured gardens, providing a clear view of the French Alps.
There is also a museum at the site. The Musee Ariana displays ceramics and glasswork from around the world, which includes pieces from the Middle East and Asia. Swiss artist Daniel Berset created it.
The area is also home to a monument that protests the use of landmines. The Broken Chair is a 12-meter sculpture. It stands in front of the building, symbolizing the ongoing battle against landmines.
The Palais des Nations is a significant tourist attraction in Geneva and is open daily for visitors. Guided tours are available, and you can get free tickets for children under 18.