Cities Near The Swiss Alps: Most Scenic Switzerland Cities

The Swiss Alps is full of stunning scenery and exciting activities, a paradise for nature lovers and mountaineers. It is the ultimate destination in Switzerland that everyone dreams of visiting.

However, it is expensive to travel to and within Switzerland. It is ranked as one of the most expensive countries to visit. Visiting Switzerland without a plan could be a cash-burning activity.

We must create an efficient itinerary to save money on transportation as much as possible. Avoiding out-of-the-way destinations is the first task that we must do.

Affiliate Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I recommend products and services to help you make a successful and memorable trip. I may receive a tiny commission if you purchase them at no additional cost. These will support me in maintaining, creating more articles, and fulfilling the mission of this blog.

In this blog post, I will show you the cities near the tourist attractions in the Swiss Alps. This is to help you decide what Swiss City you can explore before and/or after visiting the destinations in the Swiss Alps. Also, which city you can choose as your base.

In short, I want to help you avoid lengthy and expensive train rides. 😀

Cities near Swiss Alps, Switzerland
Cities near the Swiss Alps

Here are the five Switzerland cities near the Swiss Alps:

  1. Montreux 
  2. Thun
  3. Lucerne
  4. Sion
  5. Brig

And then below are five of the most visited towns/destinations in the Swiss Alps that we will use as the basis for determining which Swiss city we should be traveling to. Click the links to open the articles in a new tab and read them later.

Learn more about the different Villages and small towns in the Swiss Alps here.

Towns in Swiss Alps, Switzerland
Towns in the Swiss Alps

IMPORTANT

Each city listed below has a section: “Distance of [city] to The Towns in the Swiss Alps.” You will see how long (time) it is to reach a town in the Swiss Alps if you’re coming from the indicated city. You will also see how many bus/train/cable car rides you will have to get there.

I used Google Maps to know how many bus/train/cable car rides are needed to reach each destination and the total time you’ll be spending on the road/track/rope line. Going to these destinations in the Swiss Alps from a city and vice versa should have the same travel time and a total number of bus/train/cable car rides.

Google Maps, Schedule Explorer
Google Maps, Schedule Explorer

I will leave a link to Google Maps for each route so you can have a reference. That link should instantly show you the direction to the town in the Swiss Alps from the nearby city. Lastly, please note that these are only estimates, and the data should vary a little depending on the time of the day.

Here is a sample Switzerland Itinerary (3 to 14 days) to give you ideas of how you can visit these cities near the swiss alps and other attractions in Switzerland. You might need a Swiss Travel Pass to save money on transportation, especially if you will be visiting Switzerland for a week or longer. Learn about the Swiss Travel Pass here.

Alright! That would be all. Let’s now check the cities we’ll be visiting. 😀

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Montreux

Cities near Swiss Alps, Montreux, Switzerland
Montreux

Read the full article about Montreux: 10 Best Reasons Why Montreux Switzerland Is Worth Visiting

Montreux is a traditional resort town or a small city near the swiss alps, nestled between a lake and steep hills to the east. Its location creates a microclimate comparable to the Mediterranean – a perfect environment for gardens and vineyards, which Montreux is famous for.

Lavaux Vineyard Terraces is the renowned vineyard Montreux is proud of. It is a recognized UNESCO heritage site that stretches for about 30 kilometers starting from the eastern outskirts of Lausanne to Chateau de Chillon.

Chateau de Chillon is another impressive attraction accessible from Montreux. It is a castle sitting beautifully on the shores of Lake Geneva, an absolute eye-catcher and shutter button presser.

Montreux town center isn’t a place to be skipped. The town has promenades shaded by Mediterranean trees and lined by colorful flowers. Grand Belle Epoque buildings are there too. Back up and clean your camera’s storage because coming to Montreux is certainly an Instagrammable thing to do!

Montreux is within the Swiss Riviera. Thus, you can also expect to experience the best Swiss gastronomy, music, and nightlife here!

Geneva is the nearest city to Montreux (1 hour away using the train). May say Geneva is boring, but actually it is not! Geneva is home to many international organizations; it has futuristic museums and a lovely historic town center. Here are the reasons why you should visit Geneva.

I should mention that you can visit a town in France similar to Montreux from Geneva. This town is called Annecy, and it also sits scenically beside a lake. Annecy has historical landmarks, romantic spots, and more. Discover all the reasons to visit Annecy in this post.

Best Things To Do in Montreux

Many activities await you in Montreux. But here are the best 5 things that you can do for a day in Montreux:

Chateau de Chillon. Visit the centuries-old waterside castle with sights of the glorious Dents du Midi mountain. It is one of the most visited castles in Europe, featuring different architecture and murals dating from the 12th century. It is home to 300 artifacts ranging from weapons, pieces of furniture, and archeological objects.

Chateau de Chillon

Promenade sur les quais de Montreux. Have a relaxing time on the promenade beside the lake. It is where the Montreux Jazz Festival every July (summer). Don’t forget to take a selfie with the statue of energetic Freddie Mercury! There are also several plant sculptures to see in the park.

Montreux Promenade

Queen Studio Experience. See for free the museum of the famous “Queen” rock band. The place was once called Mountain Studios in the ’70s, where Freddie Mercury and his band members recorded their song albums. See the original studio used by the band, handwritten notes, and many memorabilia-like instruments.

Freddie Mercury Statue

Rochers-de-Naye. From Montreux station, you can take a train up to the Rochers-de-Naye (2042 meters above sea level). On top, you can see the panoramic views of Lake Geneva, the Bernese Alps, and Mont Blanc. When you’re in Rochers-de-Naye, you can access the marmot colonies, Grottoes de Naye (caves), and La Rambertia (Alpine garden).

Rochers-de-Naye

Lavaux Vinorama. Discover the impressive Swiss countryside from Montreux. See the UNESCO heritage site terraced vineyards and the 300+ wines on display. Every week in Lavaux Vinorama, you can taste a selection of wines at the tasting corner of the site. It’s definitely a good experience, especially for all wine lovers!

Lavaux Vinorama

Distance of Montreux to The Towns in the Swiss Alps

Below you will see a table showing the summary of the routes from Montreux to the most visited tourist spots in the Swiss Alps.

From Montreux to Transport (Minimum number of rides) Approximate Travel Time
Interlaken 3 train rides 2h 16m to 2hr 40m
Lauterbrunnen 4 train rides or 3 train rides plus 1 bus ride 2h 50m to 3h 15m
Grindelwald 4 train rides or 3 train rides plus 1 bus ride 3h 5m to 3h 35m
Zermatt 2 train rides 2h 31m
Kandersteg 2 train rides 2hr 28m to 3hr 2m
Travel Distance From Montreux to the towns in the Swiss

Find the best hotel deals in Montreux here.

Route references:

In Google Maps, select “Schedule Explorer” in the side panel to see all the routes and departure times.

By the way, Gruyeres is a preserved medieval city/village with picturesque landscapes close to Montreux. It’s one of the most liked destinations in Switzerland for its scenic, historical, and unique experiences. Learn more: 10 Best Reasons Why You Should Visit Gruyères Switzerland

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Thun

Thun

Read the full article about Thun: 7 Best Things To Do In Thun—Is Thun Worth Visiting?

Thun is the home of not more than 50,000 Swiss people, a small city near the Swiss Alps located southeast of Bern. On the map, Thun is easily found on the northern shores of Lake Thunersee. Here is where one of the longest river in Switzerland ends, River Aare.

By the way, here’s the link to the 22 Best Things To Do In Bern—this article will also give you ideas of how you can visit/explore the capital city of Switzerland. I think you’ll like the colorful and artistic fountains in Bern.

Its location is the reason why Thun is beautiful. Thun faces the Bernese Alps by its lakeshore, giving visitors absolute picture-perfect scenery.

Thun is known for its medieval town hall square and sky-scraping Thun castle. It houses two other two majestic structures, Schadau and Kunstmuseum Thun. Thun is also one of the starting locations for exploring Lake Thunersee and the attractions surrounding it.

Best Things To Do in Thun

Thun is a historic town too. It means there are things we can discover from Thun. Based on my resources, here are the 5 best things to do in Thun:

Thun-Panorama. Check out the oldest 360-painting panorama in the world! It is stored in a small building beside a park near the lakeshore. Inside, a 38-meter long and 7.5-meter tall painting shows Thun’s image back in the early 19th century. 

Schadau Castle. You can walk around, dine, and sleep in this multimillion castle. Its backyard has an epic view of the Bernese Alps, don’t forget to visit it, especially when you are with your special someone. It could be a romantic place to be during sunsets. If you have the luxury, you can avail a picnic meal where you will be served sumptuous food in the garden.

Thun Castle. Explore the multi-level 12th-century castle, which has different galleries for each. Now it is used as a museum of many artifacts used by the people of Thun. The castle’s tower is the best spot to see a very stunning view combining the sights of Thun, Lake Thunersee, and the Bernese Alps.

Thun Castle

Kunstmuseum Thun. Thun has history vibes. But it does not mean it has stayed that way until now. Thun is a mixture of old and new, and you can see the proof of its modernity, especially in the field of art, in Kunstmuseum. There you can see the exhibitions of modern artworks of Swiss artists.

Oberhofen Castle. It is not actually in Thun, but you can get a bus ride or cruise from Thun to explore other stunning sights in the area. One of these beautiful attractions is the Oberhofen Castle. It is a 13th-century-made-castle that’s absolutely photogenic. If you reach Oberhofen port after a cruise ride, you can see its tower stand in the lake in front of the Bernese Alps.

Oberhofen Castle

Distance of Thun to The Towns in the Swiss Alps

Below you will see a table showing the summary of the routes from Thun to the most visited tourist spots in the Swiss Alps.

From Thun to Transport (Minimum number of rides) Approximate Travel Time
Interlaken 1 train ride or 1 bus ride 33m
Lauterbrunnen 2 train rides 1h 9m
Grindelwald 2 train rides 1h 24m
Zermatt 2 train rides 1h 48m
Kandersteg 2 train rides 46m
Travel Distance From Thun to the towns in the Swiss Alps

Find the best hotel deals in Thun here.

Route references:

In Google Maps, select “Schedule Explorer” in the side panel to see all the routes and departure times.

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Lucerne

Lucerne, Switzerland

Read the full article about Lucerne: 15 Reasons Why You Should Visit Lucerne Switzerland

Lucerne is another city near the Swiss Alps in Switzerland beside Thun and Montreux. And like, Thun, it is sitting splendidly beside a lake, also on the northern shores facing the beautiful snow-capped alpine mountains in the south.

You can discover the city’s main marvels when exploring its center (Old Town). There are tons of preserved colorful and medieval-architectured structures in the city waiting for you to behold. But don’t skip exploring the lakeshore; you’ll see the 14th-century bridge, which Lucerne is best known for.

This centuries-old bridge is called Chapel Bridge, the oldest wooden covered bridge in Europe. It is also the world’s oldest surviving truss bridge, with art decorations painted inside way back to the 17th century. These paintings show the images representing the history of Lucerne.

Beside the bridge is the Water Tower. It is where the armors used by the guards and soldiers were kept. Now, it is used as a gift shop you can visit when you explore the bridge.

Zurich, Switzerland’s largest city, is the closest city to Lucerne which is one of the best day trips from Zurich. Zurich and Lucerne are only 52 kilometers apart (a 45-minute train ride). Here are the reasons why you should stay and visit Zurich.

Best Things To Do in Lucerne

Lucerne may be smaller than the neighboring cities to the north, but it sure offers you lots of things you can do for days. Here are the 5 best activities that you can do in Lucerne:

Mount Pilatus. Draw a slash to your bucket list by riding the world’s steepest cog railway to the summit of Mount Pilatus, accessible from Lucerne. This 2,128-meter will let you see the awe-inspiring scenery of Lake Lucerne and surrounding mountains. 

Mount Pilatus

Lucerne Old Town. Travel back to medieval times by exploring the Old Town of Lucerne. Walk along the cobbled streets nestled in between the houses and establishments structures with the preserved architecture of old Europe. The Old town of Lucerne is traffic-free, so prepare to experience an absolute throwback to the past!

Lucerne Old Town

Chapel Bridge. Enter the iconic emblem of Lucerne. There you can learn the history of Lucerne by looking up to the ceilings of the bridge. After the bridge, you can go to the nearby shops and stores to see, relax and admire the bridge from afar.

Chapel Bridge

Musegg Wall. Built during the 14th century, Musegg Wall stands as a wonder that has protected the citizens of Lucerne for centuries now. It’s a breathtaking sight that will quench your curiosity about life in Europe hundreds of years ago. Embedded to it is the oldest clock in the city, which has been there for 500 years now.

Musegg Wall

Swiss Museum of Transport. Like Thun, Lucerne isn’t stuck in the past with its cobblestone alleys. Lucerne houses the Swiss Museum of Transport, where the old to modern vehicles used in Switzerland are exhibited. See Switzerland’s first locomotive, cars from all eras, aircraft, and more!

Distance of Lucerne to The Towns in the Swiss Alps

Below you will see a table showing the summary of the routes from Lucerne to the most visited tourist spots in the Swiss Alps.

From Lucerne to Transport (Minimum number of rides) Approximate Travel Time
Interlaken 1 train ride 1h 48m
Lauterbrunnen 2 train rides 2h 27m
Grindelwald 2 train rides 2h 42m
Zermatt 3 train rides 3h 14m
Kandersteg 3 train rides 2h 40m
Travel Distance From Lucerne to the towns in the Swiss Alps

Find the best hotel deals in Lucerne here.

Route references:

In Google Maps, select “Schedule Explorer” in the side panel to see all the routes and departure times.

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Sion

View of Sion from Tourbillon Castle

Read the full article about Sion: 5 Best Things To Do In Sion—Is Sion Worth Visiting?

Sion, the capital of the Canton of Valais, is located in the Rhone Valley, surrounded by scenic mountains. This small city near the Swiss Alps is famous for the two hilltop fortifications found in the heart of the town.

From afar, in the plains, you will immediately see the two hilltop structures, Valere Basilica and Tourbillon Castle. They are the icon of Sion, scenic, and historical.

Tourbillon Castle is now in ruins, but the Valere Basilica remains intact. Valere Basilica is where we can find the “oldest playable organ in the world,” a musical instrument already turning 600 years by 2030.

Hiking to the top of Tourbillion hill, where the Tourbillion Castle is, will let you give a bird’s eye view of the whole town of Sion. You can enter the Tourbillion castle, by the way. Though most of its parts are in ruins now, some portions are still preserved and maintained.

Do you know that you can get to Chamonix from Sion in approximately 1 hour by car? Chamonix is an alpine town in France, closest to Mont Blanc—the highest peak in the Alps. Here are the 10 reasons why you should visit Chamonix.

Chamonix is only one of the most beautiful villages in France. See my list of the most beautiful villages in southern France here.

Best Things To Do in Sion

Sion isn’t a big city and could offer you only a few activities. But if you love history and seeing century-old murals and artifacts, Sion will satisfy you. Here are the 5 things that you can do in Sion:

Sion Cathedral. Check out the 15th-century church in the town. It is a church with a Romanesque bell tower and touches of Byzantine architecture. It’s a quick stop before you go to the hills where the Valere Basilica and Tourbillon castles are.

Sion Cathedral

Sorcerer’s Tower. A few minutes from the Sion Cathedral, you can reach a fortification tower – another historical landmark in Sion. It’s best to visit if you are a fan of literature like The Legend of King Arthur, and so on. It will help you visualize the persecution of the witches and other sorcerers centuries ago.

Sorcerer’s Tower

Chapelle de Tous-les-Saints. Before you reach the Valere Basilica, have a stop at a small chapel with scenic views. It is a perfect place to meditate, pray, or create dramatic photos for Instagram. This chapel, constructed in 1325, is already turning 700 years old in 2025!

Chapelle de Tous-les-Saints

Valere Basilica. Peek inside the early 12th-century structure at the top of Valere Hill. See gothic marble statues, 600-year-old murals, and the oldest playable organ in the world.

Valere Basilica

Tourbillon Castle. Explore the destroyed castle and its remains. It has different parts like a watchtower, chapel, sacristy, cistern, palace, and keep that you can visit. Proceed to the castle’s courtyard after, and you’ll see a stunning view of the town, river, and mountains.

Tourbillon Castle

Distance of Sion to The Towns in the Swiss Alps

Below you will see a table showing the summary of the routes going from Sion to the most visited tourist spots in the Swiss Alps.

From Sion to Transport (Minimum number of rides) Approximate Travel Time
Interlaken 3 train rides 1h 29m
Lauterbrunnen 4 train rides 2h 8m
Grindelwald 4 train rides 2h 21m
Zermatt 2 train rides 1h 49m
Kandersteg 2 train rides 1h 19m
Travel Distance From Sion to the towns in the Swiss Alps

Find the best hotel deals in Sion here.

Route references:

In Google Maps, select “Schedule Explorer” in the side panel to see all the routes and departure times.

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Brig

Brig

Read the full article about Brig: Things To Do In Brig Switzerland: Simplon, Stockalper & More

Brig is a settlement of not more than 15,000 people in the canton of Valais. This small city near the Swiss Alps is situated at an “important” junction in the upper Rhone Valley, lying on the route of the famous Glacier Express.

Many people find Brig a very strategic spot for exploring the tourist attractions in the Alps. It is near Zermatt, Aletsch Glacier, Goms, and other tourist attractions in the central Swiss Alps. Regardless, it is known for its thermal baths, Stockalper Castle, and San Sebastian Chapel.

Stockalper Castle was built by Stockalper, who was called “The King of Simplon.” He was a powerful man, an entrepreneur, a politician, and a military official. The castle he constructed was the largest project in Switzerland during his time.

Brig is also at the foot of the Simplon Pass, one of Switzerland’s most beautiful Alpine passes. The pass is historical as well since it was Napoleon who created it to move his armies across the mountains. Simplon Pass is the first man-made road in the Alps.

Did you know? Brig is the first city you can reach in Switzerland if you originate from Italy—Milan, specifically. Here are the reasons why you should visit Milan. To get to Brig from Milan, you can use the trains or drive along the Simplon Pass. The train ride lasts for almost 2 hours.

Best Things To Do in Brig

Brig’s strategic location allows visitors to easily access nearby attractions within more or less an hour. But if you want to stay here for a while, here are the 5 best things that you can do in Brig:

The beautiful courtyard of Stockalper Palace

Simplon Pass. Hike or drive to a 2000-meter high pass offering dramatic views of the Alps mountains, bridges, and watersheds.

Stockalper Palace. Explore the 17th-century palace in the heart of Brig. It has a garden where you can hang out, enjoying the fresh alpine breeze. You must enter the Stockalper Palace and visit its courtyard. It is a place where you can see 2 to 3 levels of arches and columns, which is perfect for creating a mesmerizing Instagram shot.

Thermalquellen Brigerbad AG. Try dipping your body in warm waters in an open-roof hot spring resort. This is probably the best activity to do after hiking.

World Nature Forum. Experience interactive exhibitions showing the thrilling and varying scenery of the Alps. There are films, infographics, and artifacts for you to discover. It is a good place for learning.

City Tour. Join a tour in Brig or explore it on your own. See the famous lifting bridge and Patrician townhouses in Brig.

View from Simplon Pass

Did you know? Brig is the first city you can reach in Switzerland if you originate from Italy—Milan, specifically. Here are the reasons why you should visit Milan. To get to Brig from Milan, you can use the trains or drive along the Simplon Pass. The train ride lasts for almost 2 hours.

As you can already reach Italy from Brig, you might also want to visit the beautiful places in northern Italy. A few that I can recommend are:

  1. Lake Como — an idyllic lake with lovely villas and scenic views. (2 train rides from Brig and travel time is approximately 2 hours and 40 minutes)
  2. Bergamo — a city with a medieval old town considered a UNESCO site. (2 train rides from Brig and travel time is 3 hours minimum)
  3. Cortina d’Ampezzo – the village in the Dolomites in the center of the best attractions in the region.

Distance of Brig to The Towns in the Swiss Alps

Below you will see a table showing the summary of the routes going from Brig to the most visited tourist spots in the Swiss Alps.

From Brig to Transport (Minimum number of rides) Approximate Travel Time
Interlaken 2 train rides 1h 8m
Lauterbrunnen 3 train rides 1h 45m
Grindelwald 3 train rides 2h
Zermatt 1 train ride 1h 15m
Kandersteg 1 train ride 38m
Travel Distance From Brig to the towns in the Swiss Alps

Find the best hotel deals in Brig here.

Route references:

In Google Maps, select “Schedule Explorer” in the side panel to see all the routes and departure times.

Do you need ideas of which places in Switzerland to visit? Read 14 Special Things About The Swiss Alps That Make It Famous and Swiss Countryside Photos to Inspire you to visit Switzerland.

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Discover more places!

Hello, before you go, I just want you to know that I have articles that can help you discover and visit different places worldwide. Mostly, they are about historical cities and scenic attractions. You may click the images below to find your next fantastic destination!

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cities in swiss alps
cities in swiss alps

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