Switzerland is a country of breathtaking scenery and epic natural beauty. Home to some of the most beautiful towns and villages in Europe, Swiss towns are the very definition of postcard-perfect. Being landlocked by four other countries, Switzerland’s towns offer a compelling mix of cultural diversity and influence.
With a storybook quality, it’s easy to feel lost in time when exploring the prettiest towns in Switzerland. From snow-capped mountains and pristine lakes to flower meadows and fairytale castles, there is so much to discover on your next Switzerland trip. Here are 21 fairytale towns in Switzerland to add to your Europe bucket list for when you visit this picturesque country.
Located in the heart of the Swiss Alps, Andermatt is a rustic, traditional ski village that encompasses the authentic alpine lifestyle. It’s a great destination for outdoor sports, especially in the winter. From winter hiking and cross-country skiing to snowshoeing and ice skating.
Andermatt attracts skiers seeking the freshest, fluffiest powder. There is plenty of off-piste skiing and the high altitude makes it a good snow sure destination. It’s not particularly suitable for beginner skiers. Sports aside, the village itself is a picturesque setting. There are plenty of classic Swiss eateries to enjoy, with a seriously impressive number of fondue options.
The capital of Switzerland, Bern is the political centre of the country. But as Europe’s smallest capital, it still retains a quaint charm and fairytale feel. The Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage site, comprising beautiful historic features and a medieval appearance.
Bern offers a rich cultural scene with various festivals, museums, galleries, and theatres. Discover excellent shopping provisions along the three miles of shopping arcades complete with sandstone facades. In the warmer months, many visitors and locals go swimming in the River Aare. The river is fed by water from the nearby Alps, so it’s very clean with an inviting bright blue colour.
As the oldest city in Switzerland, Chur has a settlement history of over 5,000 years. The historic Old Town is car-free and complete with a beautiful 800 year old cathedral. With winding streets and an inviting ambience, it’s a great place to amble around on foot and take in the fairytale surroundings.
Chur is a vibrant alpine city with an impressive range of cultural and culinary amenities. Situated at the head of the Rhine Valley, it is encompassed by picturesque mountains and magnificent wilderness. For those looking for a ski getaway, nearby ski resorts are St. Mortiz, Davos, Lenzerheide, and Arosa.
Often mistaken for the more well-known ‘Grindelwald’, Gimmelwald is a small mountain village. A lesser-known gem in the Swiss Alps, it occupies a remote location that is off the beaten track. Perched on a clifftop, this fairytale town offers unbeatable views across towering peaks, beautiful valleys, and alpine meadows.
As a traffic-free, sleepy village, Gimmelwald is a far cry from the wealth and glamour of some of the famous Swiss resorts. It feels somewhat stuck in the past with a quiet charm and quaint buildings – think cosy timber homes and creaky hotels. Gimmelwald is a good base for accessing challenging hiking trails with spectacular scenery.
Grimentz is a charming alpine village with a rich culture heritage. A wander through the traditional village can feel as though you’ve stepped back in time. Rustic centuries-old buildings lined with colourful flowers give Grimentz its fairytale appeal.
There are plenty of activities on offer, from skiing and tobogganing in winter to hiking and via ferrata in the summer. As a ski resort in the Valais Alps during the winter months, it is famed for its extensive off-piste and freeride skiing.
Grindelwald is one of the larger resort towns in the Jungfrau region, but it still retains its small-town charm and appeal. It is a beautifully scenic town that is also quite remote – no doubt part of its magical appeal. Grindelwald is a vibrant village that combines a classic fairytale look with a cosmopolitan twist.
One of the most popular holiday destinations in Switzerland all year round, it is an excellent base for scenic walks. Discover luscious green valleys with Alpine cows and colourful flowers in the summer months. While winter months are characterised by snow-covered mountainscapes and winter activities galore, with an impressive variety of ski trails to explore.
A medieval town that looks as though it’s been lifted from the pages of a storybook. Gruyeres is characterised by charming cobblestone streets and picturesque buildings. All this is surrounded by beautiful rolling hills and undulating countryside.
Famous for its cheese and chocolate, Gruyeres is home to both chocolate and cheese factories, as well as several museums. Visit the medieval Gruyeres Castle and explore the various collections from a bygone era.
Famed as being one of the most exclusive mountain resorts in the world, Gstaad is jam-packed with celebrities and glamorous guests. It is luxurious and upmarket; understandably, a stay comes with a hefty price tag.
Located in the Bernese Oberland region of the Swiss Alps, Gstaad is truly beautiful. It is a traditional fairytale village with charming timber buildings. There is an impressive offering of outdoor sports in the resort, including skiing, mountain biking, and hiking.
In the town itself, there is an unrivalled collection of designer boutiques, as well as a selection of art galleries and museums for a cultural hit. There are also a number of spas and wellness hotels for those looking for a more relaxing mountain retreat.
Situated between two sparkling lakes and framed by snow-capped peaks, Interlaken is a popular Swiss town. You’ll find flower-lined streets, big open meadows and beautiful mountain vistas. Due to its beauty and location, it is one of the more touristy Swiss towns.
Interlaken is a fantastic base for a whole variety of excursions and activities. These include popular watersports, such as sailing, parasailing, windsurfing, and kayaking. There are plenty of adrenaline-fuelled options too, such as waterfall abseiling, skiing, tobogganing, paragliding, and canyoning.
Located between towering rock faces and tall mountain peaks, Lauterbrunnen is a quintessential village. ‘Lauter Brunnen’ translates to ‘many fountains’, which hints at the 72 waterfalls which can be found in the Lauterbrunnen Valley. It therefore follows that there are plenty of stunning hikes and trails.
The village itself comprises traditional chalet-style buildings within extraordinarily picturesque surroundings. With colourful alpine meadows, it is a haven for nature lovers and a truly unforgettable place.
Lauterbrunnen is situated about an hour from Bern. Plus, the ski regions of Mürren-Schilthorn and Wengen-Kleine are easily accessible by mountain railway.
Located on the northern shore of Lago Maggiore, Locarno is a fascinating town. The fairytale Old Town is in sharp contrast to the palm trees which flourish in the town. With the warmest climate in Switzerland, visitors can enjoy plenty of sunshine and a Mediterranean feel.
The Renaissance Old Town is home to narrow lanes and a beautiful 12th century castle. Locarno is also home to a world-renowned International Film Festival – arguably the biggest cultural event in Switzerland. It’s the strong historical and cultural characteristics of the town which bring an indisputable charm.
For those seeking adventure, a wide range of outdoor sporting activities can be found in the nearby valleys of Val Maggia and Val Verzasca.
A historic Swiss city located on the banks of Lake Lucerne. Framed by the snowy peaks of Mount Pilatus and Mount Titlis, it is an extremely picturesque and romantic place. Lucerne has a cosy fairytale feel, with its traffic-free Old Town complete with charming buildings and inviting eateries.
The town offers beautiful medieval architecture and must-see attractions, such as the Chapel Bridge and Glacier Gardens. Spend time strolling through the streets and browsing authentic Swiss shops. Lucerne is easily accessible from Zurich, being only a 45 minute train ride away. Check out our one day in Lucerne itinerary if you’re planning a trip.
Lutry is a medieval market town that is home to an 11th century church and a 16th century castle. Wander through the cobbled streets and discover the various galleries, shops, cafes, and wine cellars. The town has a beautiful waterfront which adds to its picturesque setting.
There are a number of hiking routes to explore, where you can discover the stunning scenery of the area. A wine harvest festival known as Fête des Vendanges takes place at the end of September. It’s a great time to visit the town, as you can attend tastings to sample the local wine.
Located on the beautiful shores of Lake Geneva, Montreux epitomises tranquility and natural beauty. It is an incredibly pretty town that is often referred to as the ‘Swiss Riviera’. It’s no surprise that many famous artists, writers, and travellers have frequented this inviting lakeside town.
Montreux is home to stunning historic architecture, as well as various cultural attractions and events. This includes the annual Montreux Jazz Festival. There are plenty of activities all year round, from skiing and snowboarding in the winter to hiking and biking in the summer. Lake Geneva and the vineyards of Lavaux make for the perfect scenic routes. Montreux is situated about one hour from Geneva airport.
A former fishing village with a beautiful waterfront area, Morcote is located on the picturesque Lake Lugano. It is a place of significant architectural interest, from the church of Santa Maria del Sasso and the terraced cemetery, to the various noble homes and lakeside houses with their charming arcades.
Amble along the winding cobblestone lanes and explore the various cafes, restaurants, and shops. A photographer’s dream, Morcote has previously been voted the most beautiful Swiss village – which is no mean feat considering how many beautiful villages there are in Switzerland!
Located in the Jura Mountains and on the banks of the River Doubs, Saint-Ursanne is a small, untouched medieval town. Inhabited by only a few hundred people it is a place of inviting peace and tranquility.
Wonderfully picturesque, Saint-Ursanne features narrow winding streets and beautiful bridges. A 12th century Romanesque-Gothic church contributes to the medieval architecture which adorns the town. Outside of the village, visitors can explore the surrounding wilderness via a number of stunning hikes. Or, take to the river by canoe or kayak.
With a 7,000 year history, the sunny Swiss town of Sion features castles, ruins, and an abundance of culture. Plus, there are various museums and culinary delights to discover. Its fairytale charm comes from the various historical monuments scattered around the Old Town. Recognisable sites include Castle Tourbillon and the Castle of Valeria.
Sion is a good base for the summer and winter holiday resorts in the Valais area. It’s also a wine-producing region and you can explore the nearby terraced vineyards. Sion brings historical charm with a modern twist.
Located on the pristine Lake Thun, Spiez is a spectacular lakeside destination that sits in a beautiful bay. It has a mild climate that makes it the perfect base for water adventures and mountain explorations.
Framed by hillside vineyards and mountain peaks, it’s an inviting town with breathtaking natural beauty. There is also an impressive culinary offering, with good food and the opportunity to taste the local wine. Dominated by the medieval tower with its Romanesque church, Spiez offers a magical setting and the perfect European getaway.
19. Stein am Rhein
Stein am Rhien is a small but lively town situated where the Rhine River meets Lake Constance in the northern area of Switzerland. The charming Old Town features well-preserved medieval architecture and cobbled lanes. By far the most recognisable feature of this town is the historical buildings with intricately painted façades, which give Stein am Rhein its fairytale status.
Stroll along the welcoming waterfront and past picture-perfect houses, all while taking in the stunning views across the lake. It’s a true hidden gem that looks as though it has been lifted from a Swiss storybook. The town is small enough to explore on a day trip.
The ultimate mountain getaway, Wengen is a quintessential alpine town. It has the towering Jungfrau as a backdrop, and breathtaking mountain vistas across the Bernese Alps. Wengen is popular with tourists but still retains its charm and relaxing feel with its car-free status.
A year-round destination, there are various outdoor pursuits available in both the summer and winter months. Explore the various scenic walks around the village and find yourself winding through pine forests or discovering flower meadows.
In the winter months, skiing is good for beginners and intermediates. Or there’s snowshoeing, tobogganing and sledding. While in the summer months, you can go hiking, ziplining, or just relax on a terrace while taking in the views.
Zermatt is a recognisable Swiss town, with the iconic Matterhorn towering over this fairytale resort. It is especially magical at night, when the town lights up and the Matterhorn rises out of the shadows.
The resort is famed for its fantastic skiing. As one of the highest ski resorts in Europe, you can actually ski in Zermatt all year round. There is an expansive ski area with well-groomed pistes. Located on the border between Switzerland and Italy, the town has a wonderful international flair. Discover alpine culinary delights in the town and on the slopes.
Now if you’re not currently packing your bags and en route to Switzerland then I haven’t done my job well enough. These beautiful destinations will have me dreaming of fairytale towns for a long time to come. Have you visited any of these pretty Swiss towns?