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Things to Do in Switzerland - page 2

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Maienfeld
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Maienfeld is the picturesque town, in which the best-selling Heidi story by Johanna Spyri takes place. The famous novel tells of the life and adventures of a cheerful young girl growing up in the alps in her grandfather’s, the Alm-Uncle’s, care. The town of Maienfeld, which can be found in the canton of Graubünden in eastern Switzerland, embodies this image of a romantic and nature-oriented Switzerland and transports visitors back in time. Experience an emotional journey to the Swiss mountain world of the 19th century and visit the Heidi Village and Trail detailed in Spyri’s novels. The venue makes history come alive and displays everything from the goat barn, to Heidi’s house as well as a museum dedicated to the author and shows nothing but pure dedication to the story that has inspired children around the world.

Heidi made the little town famous, but Maienfeld would have probably done just fine without her too. The village has become well known for producing the Maienfelder Beerliwein, a fruity red wine, in the vineyards surrounding the village. The excellent quality of the wine is based not only on the favorable climate, warm winds and a lot of sun, but also on the quality conscious work of the vintners. In the midst of these wineyards lies Salenegg Castle, a feudal mansion dating back to the year 950. The big estate has been producing wine since 1068, making it the oldest winery in all of Europe.

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Jungfraujoch Sphinx Observatory (Sphinx-Observatorium)
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Perched on a rocky precipice 11,716 feet (3,571 meters) above sea level, the Sphinx Observatory is a working lab with a large telescope. The landmark sits on Jungfraujoch peak, (known as the Top of Europe), and offers stunning views of the Bernese Alps and beyond from its observation deck, one of the highest in Switzerland.

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Lucerne Old Town
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Set on the left bank of the River Reuss, the Lucerne Old Town is encircled by medieval walls and watchtowers and connected to the right bank by two covered wooden bridges: Chapel Bridge (Kapellbrücke) and Spreuer Bridge (Spreuerbrücke). The narrow streets of this UNESCO World Heritage Site are lined with half-timbered houses and 15th-century buildings.

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Bernina Express
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Soaring over the Bernina Pass and climbing to a dizzying 7,392 feet (2,253 meters) above sea level, the famous Bernina Express is one of Europe’s most beautiful railway routes. Running for 75 miles (122 kilometers) from Chur in Switzerland to Tirano in Italy, it’s the only railway that connects the North and South Alps, and offers dramatic mountain views.

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Chapel Bridge (Kapellbrucke)
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The oldest covered bridge in Europe, Chapel Bridge (Kapellbrucke) has spanned the river Reuss in Lucerne since the Middle Ages. Decorated with paintings along the interior, it is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Switzerland.

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Mt. Titlis
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Reaching 10,626 feet (3,239 meters) above sea level, Mt. Titlis is Central Switzerland’s highest peak and probably its finest vantage point. The mountain has a cutting-edge transportation system—including, most famously a revolving cable car that turns 360 degrees during the ride to the top station at 9,908 feet (3,020 meters). Those lucky enough to be inside the car are graced with stunning panoramic views of Alpine peaks, sheer rock faces, and an icy crevasse-cracked glacier.

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Mount Rigi
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Nicknamed the “Queen of the Mountains,” Mount Rigi has long captured the hearts of writers like Mark Twain and painters like JMW Turner. Encircled by a trio of lakes—Lake Lucerne, Lake Zug, and Lake Lauerz—and adjacent to the neighboring peaks of Mount Pilatus and Brunnistock, Mount Rigi is the enduring postcard star of Central Switzerland.

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Rhine Falls (Rheinfall)
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At Rhine Falls (Rheinfall), sheets of white water tumble from a height of 75 feet (23 meters) across a 492-foot-wide (150-meter-wide) rock ledge. Created by the movement of the Earth’s crust about 15,000 years ago, this natural wonder is among Europe’s biggest waterfalls. The riverbanks near it are laced with walking and biking trails.

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Chaplin's World by Grévin
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Opened in spring 2016, Chaplin’s World by Grévin in Corsier-Sur-Vevey, Switzerland, is the first museum dedicated to the life of actor Charlie Chaplin. Set in a neoclassical mansion where Chaplin lived for some 25 years, the museum features many of the home’s original furnishings, as well as family photographs, personal belongings, mementos and more than 30 wax figures of individuals who crossed paths with Chaplin or who were inspired by his work.

Chaplin’s World also includes a separate, Hollywood-style studio where visitors can immerse themselves in the world of silent film and try out the art of pantomime. The studio also includes recreated sets from some of Chaplin’s most famous movies. The surrounding park is also open to the public and offers panoramic views of Lake Geneva and the Swiss Alps.

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Pilatus Railways (Pilatus Bahnen)
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With its network of cable cars and cogwheel railways traversing the snow-clad slopes of the mighty Mount Pilatus, Pilatus Railways (Pilatus Bahnen) provides the link between the lakeside resort of Lucerne and the 7,000-foot (2,133-meter) summit.

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More Things to Do in Switzerland

Fraumünster Church

Fraumünster Church

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One of Zurich’s most distinctive and popular sights, Fraumünster Church is the green copper-spired building that is easily visible in Zurich’s skyline. The church itself dates back to the 9th century, but the building’s famous stained-glass windows are 20th-century additions.

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Brunswick Monument

Brunswick Monument

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The Brunswick Monument in Geneva, Switzerland is a mausoleum for Charles II, the Duke of Brunswick. The Duke was an eccentric linguist, musician and horseman who came to Geneva after being driven out of his duchy of Braunsweig in 1830 and then building a fortune in Paris. He bequeathed his entire fortune to the city in exchange for such a monument being constructed in his honor. Never before had such a mausoleum been constructed in Geneva, so the monument’s construction was subject to great debate. While the Duke died in 1873, the monument was eventually built in 1879. Meant to be a replica of the Scaliger Tombs in Verona, Italy, it was designed in a neo-Gothic style and faces Lake Leman.

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Lindt & Sprüngli Chocolate Shop

Lindt & Sprüngli Chocolate Shop

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Switzerland is famous for many things, including mountains, clocks, and, of course, chocolate. Legendary Swiss chocolatier Lindt & Sprungli has been churning out smooth and delicious confections since 1845. Today, visiting the Lindt & Sprungli Chocolate Shop, just outside of Zurich, is a must for any chocolate lover.

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Grossmünster Church

Grossmünster Church

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Sometimes called theGross Monster by English-speaking locals, Grossmünster is a Romanesque-style Protestant church in Zurich. According to legend, Charlemagne discovered the graves of the city’s patron saints, Felix and Regula, and ordered a church to be constructed on the spot. Construction of Grossmunster began in 1100 and was finished around 1220, with the core of the building built on the site where Charlemagne’s church stood. The only original decorations that remain today are some faded frescoes in a side chapel and a depictions of battle scenes and Charlemagne’s discovery of Felix’s and Regula’s graves. The church’s crypt is the largest in Switzerland and dates to the 11th and 13th centuries. Modern stained glass windows were added to the church in 1932 and bronze doors were added in 1935 and 1950.

Also known as the starting point of the Reformation in Switzerland in the 16th century, Grossmunster’s twin towers make it one of the most recognized landmarks in Zurich. Visitors can climb the nearly 200 stairs up the north tower for sweeping views of the city. The cloister features a museum about the Reformation and the annex to the cloister is home to the theological school of the University of Zurich.

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Old Town of Montreux (Vieille-Ville de Montreux)

Old Town of Montreux (Vieille-Ville de Montreux)

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Montreux, on the eastern shore of Lake Geneva, has been a popular hangout among artistic types since the 19th century. The Old Town of Montreux (Vieille-Ville de Montreux) is an often overlooked part of the city, due to its location on a steep hill high above the town, but the views and relaxed atmosphere are worth the climb.

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Lindenhof

Lindenhof

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Lindenhof is both a district in Zürich and a square of the same name and looks back on an eventful history. The district is the oldest part of the city and once, a Roman fort stood in its place on the hill. At Lindenhof Square, a Roman tombstone was found containing the oldest mention of the city, back then a customs post with the name Turicum. Even after the fall of the Roman Empire, the Lindenhof kept playing an important role in the city’s history. In the 13th century for example, Zürich was in a war against Winterthur and ran out of warriors. It was then that the women of the city dressed up as soldiers and stood on the raised Lindenhof, giving the impression that a strong army had come to the city’s rescue and thus, breaking the siege. A fountain in the center of the square still pays homage to this heroic deed, showing Hedwig, the leader of these women. In the following centuries, the square kept serving as a place of assembly and in 1798 it was here, that the citizens of Zürich swore their oath to the Helvetic Constitution.

Today, the Lindenhof is a green oasis in the heart of Zürich, from where one can enjoy a wonderful view over the old town, the Minster, the River Limmat and the University. But not only tourists come here to enjoy the perfect overview over historic Zürich. It is also a popular place with the locals, who often can be seen sitting on the many benches beneath the linden trees and taking a break from everyday life. Passionate chess players meet here to play long matches against each other amidst the tranquility of the trees and old buildings and regular theatre productions are held under the open sky.

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National Museum Zurich (Landesmuseum Zürich)

National Museum Zurich (Landesmuseum Zürich)

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In a city with almost 150 museums and galleries, the Swiss National Museum (Landesmuseum) beats off some pretty stiff competition to take its place as one of Zurich’s top museums. The largest of its kind in the country, the museum is devoted to preserving the cultural heritage and history of Switzerland, chronicling the birth and evolution of the nation.

Almost 1 million artifacts make up the permanent collection, which takes the visitor on a journey from ancient Switzerland, through the Middle Ages and into the 20th century. Personal items, handicrafts, artworks, furnishings and household items are among the many relics, bringing the past back to life through a series of evocative displays. Highlights include artifacts from as far back as the 4th millennium B.C; a significant collection of 9th century Carolingian art; a Swiss warfare exhibit of weaponry and armor; and an exhibit devoted to the traditional art of Swiss clock making. A regular series of temporary exhibitions supplement the permanent galleries, with recent showcases including themes like Swiss fashion and design and Roman history.

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Harder Kulm

Harder Kulm

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High above the Swiss town of Interlaken stands Harder Kulm, a viewpoint with panoramic views of the mountains and valleys of the Berner Oberland region. Visitors can hike to the spot from town, or take a funicular railway. Once at the top, you can enjoy the views, have a refreshment, and enjoy a variety of attractions.

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Felsenegg

Felsenegg

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A cable car takes nature lovers in five minutes from Adliswil to Felsenegg, a view point on the Albis mountain range. It is one of Zürich’s most popular recreation areas and at 800 meters, you have a breathtaking view over Lake Zürich, the small towns lining the shores and the towering, snow-capped mountains in the distance. Numerous walking and hiking trails as well as a restaurant on the summit serve as an escape from the hectic everyday life. From Uetliberg for example, the Planetenweg, a planet trail that reflects the distances in the solar system, leads to Felsenegg. Every meter of the path corresponds with one million kilometers in space and the two-hour walk takes hikers from the sun past planets – little metal spheres embedded in boulders - all the way to Pluto.

Just 20 meters from where Pluto can be found, the bright red Restaurant Felsenegg awaits, where you can get a drink on the patio and enjoy the view over the Sihl Valley, Türler Lake and the Säuliamt district. While the views are spectacular during the day, don’t hesitate to visit at night either, when the sprawling city of Zürich can be seen spreading out as a sea of light in the darkness.

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Prangins Castle (Chateau de Prangins)

Prangins Castle (Chateau de Prangins)

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Home to part of the Swiss National Museum, Prangins Castle (Château de Prangins)is a history lesson in and of itself. Built in 1732, the grand building was a seat of power in Switzerland for centuries, serving as home to Voltaire, Joseph Bonaparte (brother of Napoleon), and a Protestant school, before opening to the public as a museum in 1998. Today, the castle is extensively restored and furnished in its original style.

The main museum exhibition, Switzerland on the Move, covers three floors and traces Swiss history from the Enlightenment to the beginning of the 20th century. Outside, the sunken kitchen garden has been replanted to resemble its 18th century layout, and includes a wide variety of fruits and vegetables that were consumed in the region at that time.

Visit Prangins Castle for free with the Geneva Pass, which includes admission to over 30 Geneva attractions, including the towers of St. Peter's Basilica and the Art and History Museum.

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Palais des Nations

Palais des Nations

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The United Nations has its European headquarters in Geneva, in the Palace of United Nations (Palais des Nations Unis). Guided tours of the offices offer a behind-the-scenes look at rooms like the Human Rights and Alliance of Civilizations Room, which was decorated by famous artist Miquel Barcelò, and the Assembly Hall.

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International Museum of the Reformation (Musée International de la Réforme)

International Museum of the Reformation (Musée International de la Réforme)

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Come learn everything there is to know about Switzerland’s famous 16th century reformation, where theologians like Martin Luther and John Calvin (a Geneva resident) broke off from the Roman Catholic church, effectively eroding the people’s faith in the Papacy and in many of the Catholic doctrines. The International Museum of the Reformation (Musée International de la Réforme) presents the history of Protestantism from its very humble beginnings right here in Geneva, explaining its conception of mankind and the world it lives in through diverse iconography and detailed chronicles, and addresses issues like polemics and various interpretations of the Bible; in fact, the museum is home to over 500 artefacts pertaining to the history of reformation in Geneva, including original scripts penned by Calvin and Luther themselves. An underground passageway even connects the IMR to the archaeological site under Saint-Pierre Cathedral next door, where the vote was taken for the Reformation in Geneva in 1536.

As the Reformation museum is located in the heart of Geneva’s most historic quarter, manycity tours will at the very least whizz past it, like this Geneva City Tour or this exhilaratingSegway tour of the Old Town.

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Flower Clock (Horloge Fleurie)

Flower Clock (Horloge Fleurie)

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The Flower Clock in Geneva is hard to miss. It's adorned with seasonal flowers, and known as the largest flower clock in the world, making this centrally-located attraction a tourist hot spot. Located in Geneva's lakefront English Garden (Jardin Anglais), the horticultural timepiece is one of the most photographed sights in the city.

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Lake Thun (Thunersee)

Lake Thun (Thunersee)

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Lake Thun—or Thunersee as it’s known locally—is a glacial lake near Interlaken. Its bright turquoise water and the surrounding mountains and valleys are pure picture-postcard Switzerland.

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