Switzerland Travel Guide

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.

All you need to assemble a delicious mountain picnic.

Bischofberger was Jean-Michel Basquiat's European dealer, so it's no surprise to find an exhibition of the artist's collages and paintings.

Years as Agent: 27. Specialties: Switzerland, winter sports. Fee: From $175.

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

Switzerland Rail's latest nicety: Fast Baggage lets you hop on and off without having to lug your suitcases and skis. It costs $15 and guarantees same-day delivery between depots at 45 Swiss holiday destinations.

Create a lunch to go at this specialty grocer with an excellent wine cellar, a vast gourmet deli, and artful displays of jams, honeys, and chocolates.

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

For a day trip, hop the Jungfrau Railway, whose tracks top out at a spectacular 11,000-foot vantage point.