21 beautiful fairytale towns in Switzerland to visit


Switzerland is a country of breathtaking scenery and epic natural beauty. Every time I visit, I am blown away by the beauty of this country – and it keeps me coming back time and time again.

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, the best towns in Switzerland offer a compelling mix of cultural diversity and influence. With a storybook quality, I love that 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.

Over the years, I have made it my mission to visit as many Swiss towns and villages as possible. In this guide, I share my absolute favourites and why I think you should visit each.

So let’s get into my pick of 21 fairytale towns in Switzerland to add to your Europe bucket list for when you visit this picturesque country. There may be a lot featured in my guide, but once you see them, you’ll understand why I couldn’t miss them off!

Author Bio: Jessie Moore

Jessie Moore is a luxury travel expert with years of experience travelling the world to find the best destinations, hotels and adventures.

1. Grindelwald

Best for: Charm meets adventure

Nearest airport: Bern

Where to stay:

Top tours to book: 

Grindelwald Switzerland

Grindelwald is one of the larger resort towns in the Jungfrau region, but I love that 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, I’d recommend it as 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.

Browse hotels in Grindelwald or read my guide to visiting Grindelwald.

2. Andermatt

Best for: Winter sports

Nearest airport: Zurich

Where to stay: 


Located in the heart of the Swiss Alps, Andermatt is a rustic, traditional ski village that encompasses the authentic alpine lifestyle.

I’d recommend this 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. Although I would warn that it’s not particularly suitable for beginner skiers.

Sports aside, the village itself is an unbeatably picturesque setting. There are plenty of classic Swiss eateries to enjoy, with a seriously impressive number of fondue options (I practically live of fondue when in Switzerland!).

3. Bern

Best for: History and culture

Nearest airport: Bern

Where to stay:

Top tours to book: 


The capital of Switzerland, Bern is the political centre of the country. But as Europe’s smallest capital, I love that 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 I can assure you that it’s very clean with an inviting bright blue colour.

Read my guide to the top hotels in Bern or discover my pick of the best things to do in Bern.

4. Spiez

Best for: Breathtaking scenery

Nearest airport: Bern

Where to stay:

Spiez Travel Guide

Located on the pristine Lake Thun, Spiez is a spectacular lakeside destination that sits in a beautiful bay.

I was completely blown away by the beauty of this Swiss town – and I couldn’t believe how quiet it was, it really felt as though I’d stumbled on a hidden gem.

Spiez 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 mediaeval tower with its Romanesque church, Spiez offers a magical setting and the perfect European getaway.

Read my guide to visiting Spiez or watch my Spiez vlog:

5. Lauterbrunnen

Best for: Epic waterfalls

Nearest airport: Zurich

Where to stay:

Top tours to book: 

Lauterbrunnen in Switzerland

Located between towering rock faces and tall mountain peaks, Lauterbrunnen is a quintessential village in Switzerland – and another of my personal favourites.

‘Lauter Brunnen’ translates to ‘many fountains’, which hints at the staggering 72 waterfalls which can be found in the Lauterbrunnen Valley. As I’m sure you can imagine, there are plenty of stunning hikes and trails. 

The village itself comprises traditional chalet-style buildings within extraordinarily picturesque surroundings.

With colourful alpine meadows, I’d recommend this Swiss village as a haven for nature lovers. Believe me when I say that it’s 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.

Browse hotels in Lauterbrunnen or read my guide to visiting Lauterbrunnen.

6. Gimmelwald

Best for: A hidden gem

Nearest airport: Bern

Where to stay:


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 in Switzerland 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. But I think that’s all part of its appeal!

Gimmelwald is a good base for accessing challenging hiking trails with spectacular scenery.

7. Zermatt

Best for: Skiing

Nearest airport: Sion & Geneva

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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 – indeed it’s one of my favourite ski resorts in Switzerland. As one of the highest ski resorts in Europe, I love that you can actually ski in Zermatt all year round.

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.

Read my guide to the best luxury hotels and chalets in Zermatt.

8. Montreux

Best for: Jazz fans

Nearest airport: Geneva

Where to stay:

Top tours to book: 

Located on the beautiful shores of Lake Geneva, I think Montreux epitomises tranquillity and natural beauty.

It is an incredibly pretty town that is often referred to as the ‘Swiss Riviera’. I’m not surprised 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. Browse hotels in Montreux or have a read of my guide to visiting Montreux.

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9. Grimentz

Best for: A traditional alpine village

Nearest airport: Geneva

Where to stay:


Grimentz is a charming alpine village with a rich cultural heritage. I love that 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.

10. Gruyères

Best for: Cheese lovers

Nearest airport: Sion and Geneva

Where to stay:

Top tours to book: 


A mediaeval town in Switzerland that looks as though it’s been lifted from the pages of a storybook, Gruyères is characterised by charming cobblestone streets and picturesque buildings.

All this is surrounded by beautiful rolling hills and undulating countryside. Believe me when I say that this village does not feel real!

Famous for its cheese and chocolate, Gruyères is home to both chocolate and cheese factories, as well as several museums.

I’d recommend visiting the mediaeval Gruyères Castle and exploring the various collections from a the medieval era.

Browse hotels in Gruyeres or discover my ultimate Gruyères travel guide.

11. Gstaad

Best for: Glitz and glamour

Nearest airport: Bern

Where to stay:


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; but as I’m sure you can imagine, 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. That’s where you’ll find me!

For more ski inspiration, discover my guide to the best luxury ski resorts in Europe or browse hotels in Gstaad.

12. Interlaken

Best for: Adrenaline junkies

Nearest airport: Zurich

Where to stay:

Top tours to book: 

Situated between two sparkling lakes and framed by snow-capped peaks, I can see why Interlaken is such a popular Swiss town.

You’ll find flower-lined streets, big open meadows and beautiful mountain vistas. Due to its beauty and location, I would say that 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.

Have a read of my Interlaken travel guide or discover my guide to the best hotels in Interlaken.

13. Locarno

Best for: Sunshine

Nearest airport: Lugano

Where to stay:

Locarno Swiss Town

The Renaissance Old Town is home to narrow lanes and a beautiful 12th century castle. Located on the northern shore of Lago Maggiore, I think 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.

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, I’d recommend heading to the nearby valleys of Val Maggia and Val Verzasca for a wide range of outdoor sporting activities.

14. Lucerne

Best for: Mountains and lakes

Nearest airport: Zurich

Where to stay:

Top tours to book: 


Lucerne is 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.

I love that Lucerne has a cosy fairytale feel, with its traffic-free Old Town complete with charming buildings and inviting eateries.

The town offers beautiful mediaeval architecture and must-see attractions, such as the Chapel Bridge and Glacier Gardens.

I’d recommend spending 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. It’s also one of the best day trips from Zurich, especially if you’re after both city culture and epic scenery.

15. Lutry

Best for: Winter sports

Nearest airport: Geneva

Where to stay:


Lutry is a mediaeval 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.

For me, the highlight of this town is its 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. I think this is a great time to visit the town, as you can attend tastings to sample the local wine. Perfect for wine lovers like me!

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16. Chur

Best for: Oldest city in Switzerland

Nearest airport: Zurich

Where to stay:


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 lovely place to amble around on foot and take in the fairytale surroundings.

Being situated at the head of the Rhine Valley, it is encompassed by picturesque mountains and magnificent wilderness which are definitely worth exploring.

For those looking for a ski holiday, nearby ski resorts are St. Mortiz, Davos, Lenzerheide, and Arosa.

Read my guide to the best things to do in Chur or browse hotels in Chur.

Good to know: Chur is a small city and there is not a huge amount to do here. So I wouldn’t recommend staying overnight, but it’s worth exploring if you’re passing through.

17. Morcote

Best for: Photographers

Nearest airport: Lugano

Where to stay:

Top tours to book: 


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.

I’d recommend ambling along the winding cobblestone lanes and exploring the various cafes, restaurants, and shops.

I think this place is a photographer’s dream! In fact, Morcote has previously been voted the most beautiful village in Switzerland – which is no mean feat considering how many beautiful villages there are in Switzerland!

18. Saint-Ursanne

Best for: Peace & tranquillity

Nearest airport: Basel

Where to stay:

Saint Ursanne

Located in the Jura Mountains and on the banks of the River Doubs, Saint-Ursanne is a small, untouched mediaeval town. Inhabited by only a few hundred people, I love that it is a place of inviting peace and tranquillity.

Wonderfully picturesque, Saint-Ursanne features narrow winding streets and beautiful bridges. A 12th century Romanesque-Gothic church contributes to the mediaeval architecture which adorns the town.

Outside of the village, I’d recommend exploring the surrounding wilderness via a number of stunning hikes. Or, take to the river by canoe or kayak.

19. Sion

Best for: Castles

Nearest airport: Sion

Where to stay:

Sion town in Switzerland

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 too.

Its fairytale charm comes from the various historical monuments scattered around the Old Town. Recognisable sites include Castle Tourbillon and the Castle of Valeria.

I’d recommend Sion as 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.

In my opinion, Sion brings historical charm with a modern twist, which makes it well worth a visit.

20. Stein am Rhein

Best for: Historic buildings

Nearest airport: Zurich

Where to stay:

Top tours to book: 

Stein am Rhein village in Switzerland

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 mediaeval 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.

I consider this to be 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.

21. Wengen

Best for: Car-free alpine town

Nearest airport: Bern

Where to stay:

Top tours to book: 


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.

I’d recommend exploring the various scenic walks around the village and finding 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.

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. If you have any personal favourite Swiss towns, do let me know in the comments!

Planning a trip to Switzerland? You may also like:

Read my guides to Montreux, Grindelwald and Zermatt, or discover my Switzerland YouTube vlogs

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Jessie Moore
Jessie Moore

Jessie is a luxury travel expert with years of experience travelling the world to find the best destinations, hotels and adventures.

Find me on: Web | Instagram



  1. Mike Clemann
    27th March 2021 / 1:01 pm

    Pls add me to your newsletter list

  2. Mouhamadou Ndiaye
    2nd July 2021 / 10:57 am

    I have visited only a few of these but you have just added a lot more to my list. Thanks a lot for this

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