December 4, 2023

Vacation in Switzerland – these are the 10 most beautiful ancient cities

Switzerland is famous for its natural landscapes and mountain views. The ancient cities of the Alpine Republic are also impressive. Historic towns with castles, fortresses and bridges are an integral part of the landscape in the various cantons. Discover here the cities that invite you to take a journey through time.

Shore – Graubünden

Chur, the oldest city in Switzerland, is located in a mountain panorama. | Photo: Marcel Kessler/Pixabay

The city on the Rhine River is the oldest in Switzerland. With a history of settlement of over 5,000 years, it can’t just boast of its history. With winding streets, steep streets and medieval cityscapes, the city also invites you to visit churches such as St. Martin and St. Lucius. Above all, it is the episcopal castle, built 800 years ago, that characterizes the cityscape. The Cathedral of Saint Mary the Virgin is considered one of the most important cultural landmarks in Switzerland.

Sion / Seten – Valais

The Tourbillon and Valeria castles in Sion/Sietin.

The Tourbillon and Valeria castles in Sion/Sietin. | Photo: Serge Krynitsia (Haydamac)/Adobe Stock

In French-speaking Switzerland is the city of Sion, known in German as Sion, with a population of 130,000. Here, the Tourbillon and Valyrian castles link the city’s steep hills. The region is also one of the most important wine regions in Switzerland. The region is particularly famous for its white Vidant wines.

Bellinzona/Bellinze – Ticino

Bellinzona Military Castle.

Bellinzona Military Castle. | Image: Kitma/Adobe Stock

Ticino’s capital Bellinzona is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The old town is surrounded by castles and a wall that surrounds the entire valley. Through winding streets, squares and courtyards, you pass restored houses that lead to a medieval castle.

The special strategic importance of the city, where conflicts extended from Roman times until 1516, contributed to the presence of the castle in Bellinzona. When the weather is good, the city’s mountains also offer views all the way to Lake Maggiore.

Stein am Rhein – Schaffhausen

The place where Lake Constance becomes the Rhine River again - the city of Stein am Rhein.

The place where Lake Constance becomes the Rhine River again – the city of Stein am Rhein. | Image: Manuel Schoenfeld/Adobe Stock

Not far from Lake Constance is the old town of Stein am Rhein, which is small but well worth seeing. Here Lake Constance returns to the Rhine River. The city’s historical roots go back to the 3rd century. It is still possible to visit the remains of the Roman fort wall of Tasgitium that was built at that time. Hohenklingen Castle was built in 1225 and overlooks the city.

In addition to its well-preserved medieval monastery complexes, the city also offers a museum of living middle-class culture and agriculture, dating back to the 19th century.

Bremgarten – Bern

The ancient city of Bremgarten on the River Reuss.

The ancient city of Bremgarten on the River Reuss. | Image: Sven Rudinski/Adobe Stock

The old town of Bremgarten, which extends along the course of the River Reuss, is divided into an upper town and a lower town. A 16th-century wooden bridge defines the cityscape. From the leaning church to the Straw Museum, which displays, among other things, hats and trimmings, the city has a lot to offer. By the way: The name Bremgarten comes from the Middle German word “Breme”, which means riverbank.

He trains

Old city of Zug with Zeitturm from 1574.

Old city of Zug with Zeitturm from 1574. | Image: Bogdan Lazar/Adobe Stock

In addition to the beautiful old town buildings, Zug also boasts views of the Rigi and Pilatus mountains. The Zytturm dating from 1574 adorns the city with its blue and white striped roof. Painted houses, a town hall and late Gothic churches lead to Lake Zug. As the sun sets, the setting sun envelops the old town in a panorama of mountains, lakes and cobblestones.

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Zurich Grossmünster is a city landmark.

Zurich Grossmünster is a city landmark. | Image: Markus Thonen/Adobe Stock

The famous city of Zurich is located at the northern end of Lake Zurich. In addition to cultural and festive activities, it also has a beautiful old town. The Grossmünster Twin Towers are one of the city’s landmarks. The Hotel Karlsturm offers a wonderful view of Lake Zurich, and the Fraumünster Church combines ancient buildings with modern art. The church windows were installed in 1960 by artist Marc Chagall. St. Peter’s Church in Zurich also has the largest clock face in Europe.


Rooftops of the Old Town of Bern.

Rooftops of the Old Town of Bern. | Image: Photography/Pixabay

The capital of Switzerland, founded in 1191, lives in its Old Town. In 1983, the Bern cityscape was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List. With its well-preserved arcades, Renaissance anthropomorphic fountains and Bern’s unique roof landscape, the medieval picture forms a stunning overall composition.


Lucerne is located on Lake Lucerne and has the oldest covered wooden bridge in Europe.

Lucerne is located on Lake Lucerne and has the oldest wooden covered bridge in Europe. | Photo: Emmanuel Ammon/ORA

Lake Lucerne is famous for the literary figure Wilhelm Tell. In this lake, nature and the history of the city are closely linked. Lucerne combines a mountain panorama with the oldest covered wooden bridge in Europe. Historic houses decorated with frescoes surround the city. From steamboat trips across Lake Lucerne to the famous Gotthard Panorama Express, the city is also home to one of the oldest Baroque churches in Switzerland, the Jesuit Church.


Schaffhausen: Munot Castle watches over the city.

Schaffhausen: Munot Castle watches over the city. | Photo: Thomas Guntert

The city is located in the Lake Constance region, and is famous for its waterfall, the Rhine Falls. In order to ensure the movement of goods and overcome the challenge of the impassable rapids of the waterfall, the city of Schaffhausen served as a reloading and stacking point for ships. Munot Castle towers above Schaffhausen and was built based on a concept by Albrecht Dürer. The cathedral and the monastery complex of All Saints adorn the city with the largest monastery in Switzerland.

There are also some historical treasures to discover in Baden-Württemberg. Here you will find the most beautiful old towns in Baden-Württemberg.

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