Insider tips Switzerland: Hidden gems off the beaten track

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Insider tips Switzerland off the beaten track: Here are our recommendations for hidden gems and special places that can’t be found in travel guides. These places offer a unique perspective on Switzerland and allow visitors to travel off the beaten track and discover the true essence of the country.

Our top 10 insider tips for Switzerland:

Morcote and Church Santa Maria Del Sasso © Ticino Turismo

Morcote and Church Santa Maria Del Sasso © Ticino Turismo

1. Morcote – fishing village on Lake Lugano

Morcote was voted the most beautiful village in Switzerland in 2016, and for good reason. It lies on the picturesque shores of Lake Lugano and delights visitors with its inviting charm.

Known as the “Pearl of Ceresio”, Morcote enchants locals and visitors alike with its winding alleyways, picturesque views and historic buildings. The arcades of the patrician houses, impressive architectural treasures and the lush subtropical vegetation invite you to explore.

Morcote has developed into a lively cultural and artistic center. Fascinating sights such as the pilgrimage church of Santa Maria del Sasso, the majestic Scala Monumentale and the impressive Torre del Capitano await visitors here. These historical sites lend the village a unique cultural richness and offer insights into its rich past.

Äscher Inn - Wildkirchli

Äscher Inn – Wildkirchli

2. Wildkirchli – mystical time travel

The Wildkirchli, consisting of three caves, lies below the Ebenalp in the Alpstein, in the canton of Appenzell Innerrhoden. One of these caves, the Wildkirchli Cave with the St. Michael Chapel, is classified as a nationally significant cultural heritage site.

In 1904, prehistoric finds were made here, including worked stones, tools and bones dating back to 50,000 to 30,000 BC. These discoveries prove the presence of Neanderthals in the Alpstein mountains and contributed to the worldwide fame of the Wildkirchli.

Traces of cave bears that lived in the caves from 90,000 BC were also discovered. These finds are exhibited both in the hermit’s hut in the Wildkirchli, which was rebuilt in 1972, and in the Appenzell Museum.

Creux du Van / Photo Brigitte Heller

Creux du Van / Photo Brigitte Heller

3. Creux du Van – Grand Canion of Switzerland

In the Swiss Jura, on the border between the cantons of Neuchâtel and Vaud in the Val de Travers, lies the impressive Creux du Van cauldron.

The vertical rock faces of the basin stretch for around four kilometers and reach a width of around 1200 meters and a depth of 500 meters. This fascinating landscape, close to Mont Soliat, lies between 1200 and 1450 meters above sea level and has been protected since 1972.

The formation of the basin is attributed to slow erosion, while the surface is covered with moraine and landslide material and overgrown with fir and beech trees. At the center of the basin is the Fontaine Froide, a spring of constantly cool water that maintains a temperature of 4°C all year round.

Ponte dei Salti - Verzasca Valley Ticino

Ponte dei Salti – Verzasca Valley Ticino

4. Ponte dei Salti – Verzasca Valley Ticino

The Verzasca Valley in Ticino is one of the most fascinating valleys in the region and attracts romantics and adventurers alike. As a protected natural area, it impresses with its breathtaking landscapes. The historic 17th century Ponte dei Salti stone bridge spans the turquoise Verzasca River in two arches.

The term “Roman bridge” used by German-speaking tourists for the Ponte dei Salti is misleading, as the bridge was neither built nor used by the Romans. Beneath the bridge is a basin up to 9 meters deep and around 120 meters long, which is popular with water sports enthusiasts. The granite rocks formed by the river, both below and above the surface of the water, offer an impressive visual experience.

Saint-Saphorin / Foto Brigitte Heller

Saint-Saphorin / Foto Brigitte Heller

5. St. Saphorin – charming wine-growing village

The picturesque winegrowing village of Saint-Saphorin, bathed in sunshine and situated on the shores of Lake Geneva, is nestled in the terraced vineyards of Lavaux, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

In the middle of the Lavaux vineyards, at the foot of Mont Pèlerin, the idyllic winegrowing village of Saint-Saphorin transports its visitors into an enchanting world. The history of the village is marked by landslides, which once posed a threat. As a protective measure, the authorities erected arcades on which the facades of the houses were built. For this reason, Saint-Saphorin is also known as a fortified village.

The characteristic winegrowers’ houses and simple residential buildings are lined up along the narrow alleyways and cobbled paths in the village center, creating a picturesque atmosphere.

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