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The cities of Switzerland

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Federal Palace Bern

The Federal Palace in Bern is the seat of the Swiss Parliament.

Why would you visit the cities in Switzerland?

The cities offer a lot of variety because of the many cultures and languages in Switzerland. Most Swiss cities have a well-preserved historical center and are small enough to explore on foot. Often, there are great views of the mountains, a lake or a river.

A city walk is the best way to explore

A city walk allows you to get to know a Swiss city within a few hours. Highly recommended self-guided walks:

Short walks in smaller towns:

You'll find guided city tours and packages here.

Our top historical Swiss town centers

Nearly all city centers in Switzerland are worth a visit. But if we had to choose, this would be our top 5 (in random order!):

  • Basel: a varied picturesque city center, plus great views from the river Rhine boulevard.
  • Bern: packed with history, and the river Aare winding around the center makes it very special.
  • Lucerne: a medieval city wall, a historical town center crossed by the river Reuss, plus a long lakefront with great views.
  • Geneva: a relatively small historical city center, beautifully located on a hill, and with Lake Geneva and it's famous fountain always nearby.
  • Zurich: river and lake views, a wonderful city center and various options for city views from the surrounding hills.

Other activities in the Swiss cities

  • Shopping for watches, chocolate and much more.
  • Museums (see our city pages for suggestions).
  • A lakeside stroll and boat trip.
  • Nearly all Swiss cities have one or more places with great views of the city, the mountains or a lake. This can be a terrace on a hill, a castle or a cable car up to a mountain top. Be sure not to miss the best views, and visit our city pages and city walk suggestions for tips.
  • In November and December you can visit Christmas markets in many cities in Switzerland.

Cities on the Swiss lakes

All of these cities have a boulevard for a relaxed stroll along the lake:

Cities on a river

A historical city center with river views can be found here:


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Lucerne is ideal for first-time visitors. It's compact and lively, and close to many attractions for both good and bad weather.



Plenty of museums, luxury shopping in the Bahnhofstrasse and a lively town center with a wide choice of restaurants.



Cosmopolitan lakeside city, base of the UN and CERN.



The city of Lugano is located on a lake in a very scenic area in southern Switzerland. Lugano is well connected to the entire region by trains, buses and boats.



Enjoy the Swiss Riviera, the best of gastronomy, music and nightlife.



The historical world heritage town center of Bern is well worth a visit.



Modern city with a historical town center and many interesting museums.



The Olympic city of Lausanne is one of the largest cities in Switzerland. The pretty historical town center sits on a hill, so there are lots of views on Lake Geneva and the mountains.



The Bernese Oberland begins in Thun. It's an atmospheric town on the lake and a perfect base for all kinds of day trips.

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