Things to do in Switzerland

If your trip takes you to the cultural capitals of Zürich or Geneva, there’s no really shortage of things to do. Zürich, which has been most influenced by neighboring Germany, is home to the country’s quirky and artsy crowd. It serves as the birthplace of the famed Dada movement and the site of Streetparade, a massive techno festival that takes place every August, spreading to the city’s many nightclubs later in the evening. Other times of the year, visitors looking for things to do in Switzerland are encouraged to take the Polybahn railway to one of Zurich’s highest points for a wonderful view of the city below, spend an afternoon at the Jacob Coffee Museum or the Landesmuseum History Museum and then go shopping along the Bahnhofstrasse.

Meanwhile, those staying in Geneva, located in the French-speaking region of the country, will find that it is Switzerland’s heart. Many internationally recognized organizations like the Red Cross and the United Nations have headquarters there, and the city is no stranger to visiting dignitaries and diplomats. Still, there are plenty of great things to do in Switzerland for the average person visiting this beautiful city. Those interested in religious history will be excited to learn that Geneva is one of the birthplaces of Protestantism and home to the International Museum of the Reformation, which abuts the famous Saint-Pierre Cathedral. Meanwhile, those looking for a taste of local life should wander the Old Town, stopping by the home of famed philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau, as well as Carouge, a popular Genevan neighborhood with a wonderful Italian flare. Don’t leave Geneva without visiting the Palais des Nations, built to house the League of Nations in 1938 and host to some of the most important international discussions in human history.

As for the rest of Switzerland, the best way to explore this truly beautiful country is by train, weaving through the Alps and taking in the hills and dells that define the Alpine region. Disembark to explore great places like the mountainous Jungfrau region; Lucerne, a lovely lakeside city in central Switzerland; and Ticino, the heart of Switzerland’s Italian-speaking region.

Owner Ursula Weber sells beaded necklaces, gold-threaded scarves, embroidered pillows, and other treasures from northern Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.

Head to this tiny cheese and tchotchke shop for souvenirs, such as a Swiss-flag coffee mug and schnapps.

The department store carries a plethora of cool Swiss flag–branded tote bags, diaries, and other paraphernalia.

The lift up to this 3,000-meter-high (hence the name) mountain takes a mere 45 minutes but the ride is not for the faint of heart. At the summit, fabulous Swiss and German thirtysomethings lounge on the observation deck sipping wine, while skiers take to

The museum features a cutting-edge collection of photography, paintings, and design

For a truly otherworldly trip down the slopes, nothing beats full-moon skiing at Diavolezza, the most spectacular of St. Moritz’s five ski areas.

Rent your skis and poles here before heading for the slopes.

This gallery, which has satellites in London and New York, represents everyone from sculptor Louise Bourgeois to Swiss video artist Pipilotti Rist.

Shop for ski gear (not to mention clothing from designers like Escada).