It’s fair to say that when natural beauty was being assigned, this small country in the heart of Europe was given an extra sprinkle of glorious landscapes and alpine beauty. Legendary mountains, dramatic waterfalls, scenic hikes, and turquoise lakes, need we say more? Many travellers visit Switzerland for snow-capped alps and a peek at the peak, but aside from the iconic Matterhorn there are many more examples of awe-inspiring Switzerland nature just waiting to be discovered here.
GET INSPIRED: Experience the Best of Switzerland with Trafalgar
The Ruinaulta is, hands down, one of the most incredible natural wonders you can experience when you’re looking for Switzerland nature. Known by a few different names, including the Rhine Gorge and ‘The Swiss Grand Canyon’, this marvel was formed over 10,000 years ago when an intense rockslide occurred in the Anterior Rhine Valley. During the warmer months, eager adventurers looking for things to do in Switzerland head to the Ruinaulta for biking, hiking, and even kayaking or rafting along the gorge’s sapphire-coloured river.
To truly appreciate the scope of this landscape, hike through the Flims forest to the Il Spir observation platform, where you will be met with dizzying panoramic views over the canyon. The only view that could possibly compare to this is from a window seat on the Glacier Express. Travelling directly through the canyon, this rail journey is surely one of the world’s most beautiful, providing an opportunity for travellers to escape the elements and soak in the view of one of Switzerland’s most celebrated natural spaces in absolute comfort.
RELATED CONTENT: 5 jaw-dropping places to visit in contemporary Switzerland
The Rhine Falls
Surprise, surprise. Europe’s biggest waterfall is in Switzerland, and the sheer power of Rheinfall will take your breath away. Also known as The Rhine Falls, this impressive waterfall spans over 150 metres, spilling over a 21-metre-high ledge into the thundering Rhine River. Want to get a closer look at this breathtaking slice of Swiss nature? A boat ride along the Rhine will help you reach the mighty rock in the midst of the waterfall, or viewing platforms on both sides of the river are another option if you’d prefer to stay dry.
Speaking of waterfalls, here’s another 72 to add to your list of Switzerland nature to visit. Aptly nicknamed the ‘Valley of Waterfalls’, Lauterbrunnen Valley is incredibly picturesque, with its chalet-style houses and mountainous backdrop – you’d be forgiven for thinking you’ve been transported into a postcard. From the moment you set eyes on the town, the iconic Staubbach Falls captures (and holds) your attention. Looking for even more ways to witness the valley’s endless waterfalls? Take a trip on the Wengernalp railway up to the nearby town of Wengen for unbeatable views.
Swiss National Park
Located in eastern Switzerland, the Swiss National Park is the country’s only national park and should be a must on your list of places to visit in Switzerland. It is also a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, and the landscape is so ancient and unaltered that some of the best-preserved dinosaur footprints in the world have been found here. The park’s diverse range of terrains, from snow-capped high alpine landscapes to pine forests and meadows, is home to an equally diverse variety of wildlife. While exploring the Swiss National Park, keep an eye out for the resident ibexes, chamois, marmots, bearded vultures, and majestic golden eagles. Occasionally, the park is even known to be visited by brown bears from across the Italian border.
Lake Lucerne Region
Nestled within the serene, mountainous region of central Switzerland, Lake Lucerne may not be the country’s largest lake (Lake Geneva takes that title) but it certainly is one of the most unique examples of Switzerland nature. Visiting the Lake Lucerne Region is a highlight of Trafalgar’s Contrasts of Switzerland trip. During your visit, you could choose to enjoy a peaceful cruise across the lake from Lucerne to Stans, followed by a cable car ride up the nearby Mount Stanserhorn to admire the lake from a new perspective.
Of course you’ll want to make the most of your time lakeside, so take a dip at one of the popular bathing spots, stroll along the educational Swiss Path, or hop aboard a traditional paddle steamer to fit in some extra sightseeing. Don’t leave without stopping by the region’s most photographed destination, the Chapel Bridge and its iconic Water Tower.
Wow. Just wow. If Jungfraujoch doesn’t blow your mind, we don’t really know what will. It’s the ultimate Top of Europe experience, and while the viewing platform doesn’t exactly fit into the category of a ‘natural wonder’, the incredible surrounding landscape is the dictionary definition of an alpine wonderland.
There is plenty to keep you occupied during your visit to Jungfraujoch, from thrilling guided glacier hikes, to wandering through the sculptures of the Ice Palace, and all the action of the Snow Fun Park where you can even zipline over Europe’s longest glacier.
How would you like to discover Switzerland nature for yourself? We’d love to hear, so share your unmissable experiences in the comments below.