The major Swiss cities have a lot to offer to every kind of tourist – from children to elderly, from party ravers to fine food lovers, from history delighted to shopping lovers. Let’s take Genève for example – during the city tour you can visit all the places that made history, how the Swiss townsman got rid of all the bandits during the reformation. This is much more interesting than learning history from a book! A different sort of sightseeing is available in Zurich, Bern, Luzern and St.Gallen, where children can join interesting scavenger hunting or simply joining the children university (Zurich, Basel) if they’re hungry for more knowledge.
One of the best guides I personally use for Switzerland is http://www.myswitzerland.com, where you can download information about every city, event and activity in Switzerland. If you’re inpatient with looking up for info, you can also chat with “Heidi” directly, who will give you all the tips you need 🙂
So, let’s have a go at Switzerland’s most important cities:
Population: > 141’000
Bern is the capital of Switzerland and lies on both banks of the river Aare. It’s seat of Swiss Federal Council and Federal Assembly and therefore significant in politics. Personally, I find that Bern has a very romantic side too – especially when it comes to the old town. All you want to do here is holding hands with your beloved, while walking down the narrow streets. Don’t miss the lovely “Ziebelemärit” on the 28th of November this year, where you can buy a lot of tasty traditional onion snacks and Swiss foods. By the way – did you know that the beautiful city center has been declared as UNESCO world heritage?
Population: > 81.000
At the northwestern end of Lake Lucerne lies the picturesque Lucerne. The Chapel Bridge over the Reuss is Lucerne’s trademark and connects the new and old town together. It is also the oldest covered wooden bridge in the world. Take time to sit down at the shore and enjoy the spectacle view on the lake surrounded by mountains from all sides. Many Swiss people I spoke to tell me that Lucerne is according to them the most beautiful of all Swiss cities.
Population: > 198’000
Geneva on the banks of the Rhone is home to the famous reformer John Calvin and after Zurich the second largest city in Switzerland. It is the seat to numerous banks and international organizations. With more than 50 % of foreigners it is the most international city in Switzerland. At the top of my “to-do-list” is also visiting CERN located in Geneva, which is the world’s most prestigious research centers and where internet has it’s beginning.
Population: > 175’000
Sure. Museums can be quite boring. But who can claim to have ever looked in the eyes of a skeleton from the 16th century? Or have you ever stand on a typical medieval market square? Basel, is the 3rd largest city of Switzerland and it’s the fantastic museums here that will stimulate your imagination and teleport you back in time. The former “factory town” on the Rhine and in the heart of the triangle borders (France, Germany, Switzerland) is today one of the most significant cultural centers of Europe. Not borng !
Population: < 400’000
Zürich is the great metropolis on the banks of the Limmat river and it is also the largest city of Switzerland. Here live almost 400 thousand people from 160 various countries. According to yearly surveys Zürich is one of the cities with the highest life quality in the world. Many people think that Zurich is the capital of Switzerland, which is not correct… however it is the main headquarter for most significant financial institutions.
Population: < 134’000
Lausanne is a city on the norther shores of Lac Leman and headquarter of the Federal Court, the Supreme Bourt of the Swiss Confederation. In addition here is also the International Olympic Committee and the Olympic Museum. Apart from that Lausanne has one of the prettiest Saturday markets that I have seen – on a early morning you can enjoy fresh fruits and vegitables, heavenly scented pastry and coffee while listening to the classing music played by the street artists.
Population: < 64’000
“Cita verde” means green city and is the term used by locals for Lugano and it’s surroundings like Monte San Salvatore or Monte Bre. Even more stunning is the view when you arrive at the Lago di Lugano. Some people are sure to be in Italy already, where palm treets along the streets and spirited locals, should’t fit into a typical picture of Switzerland. Not only that… Lugano is also a student city with lots of prestigious universities and after Zurich and Geneva the most important financial spot in the country.
8. St. Gallen
Population. > 75’000
St. Gallen is home to the famous rock band Piggnigg and the football club FC St.Gallen. Also it is plays a significant role on the cultural and economic area. The old town is a wonderful Baroque spectacle with the pretty Stifts church and the UNESCO library that you can see on the picture below, tiny old houses with turrets and bay windows and romantic art noveau bathhouses. If you like music you should join the yearly Open Air St. Gallen.