I have been to Switzerland twice and Austria once. Switzerland is my FAVORITE! My husband and I love hiking and the outdoors and Switzerland is basically our paradise. It is incredibly safe; you can walk anywhere at any time of day or night and never feel unsafe. Zurich is beautiful. It is a big city with big city amenities, but also gorgeous views of the lake. The national museum in Zurich is absolutely worth a visit. The “Bahnhofstrasse” (translates to Train Station Street”) in Zurich is home to one of the most expensive shopping districts in the world, if shopping is your thing.
It is incredibly easy to get around Switzerland by train. Both times, we flew into Zurich, stayed one night, and then headed out by train. We spend most of our time in smaller towns with better hiking access. St. Moritz is a lovely lovely town with incredibly accessible hiking. You don’t need to be a super “outdoorsy” person to appreciate the hiking. You can take gondolas up into the mountains so you can start your hikes up high so the views are great the whole time. There are restaurants up on top of the mountains so it’s easy to stop for lunch. We went here for our honeymoon because it was kind of like cushy hiking 😉 The best hiking/view spots were the Diavolezza and Muottas Muragl.
Zermatt is smaller, more crowded, and more bustling. Also incredible access to hiking, which is a bit more rustic than St. Moritz (although you can still buy lunch up on the mountain… no need to carry heavy packs). The Matterhorn stands above Zermatt and it’s really a sight to behold.
Interlaken is very touristy and worth skipping in my opinion, however, the Jungfrau train line runs out of Interlaken and that is ABSOLUTELY worth the hype. It’s a few hour train ride up to the highest train station in Europe. You can walk around on the glacier when you get up there. Just amazing. Bring a warm coat, hat, gloves, etc.
On one of our trips we did a two day through-hike from Murren (a small town in the mountains above Interlaken) to Kandersteg. It was about 8 hours of hiking each day, but because we stayed in inns each night, we didn’t need to carry heavy packs. We just carried clothes and emergency supplies, and packed food each morning from the inn. If you like to hike at all, I highly recommend this. If you want more info on it, let me know and I’m happy to share.
Bern is my favorite true city in Switzerland. There is a lovely zoo and a cute little Einstein museum (in one of his old apartments). There is fantastic dining and a big beautiful university and several museums. We’ve been to Bern twice and I would go back again. I really feel like I could live there.
On top of the Diavolezza outside st moritz.
Bern on a rainy day
Hiking up to the Matterhorn base camp
Zurich at sunset
On top of the jungfrau