Are you someone who likes to venture a little off the regular tourist trail when you travel? Do you love to discover hidden gems that are far removed from mass tourism?
That’s something I love to do, and fortunately, Switzerland has plenty of relatively unknown, but magical, places to be explored.
In fact, Switzerland Tourism has just released a list of 50 exceptional villages that they have classified as Magical Places in Switzerland. These villages can be found across all cantons of Switzerland and they represent the cultural and architectural diversity of the country.
The magical places all belong to the Federal Inventory of Sites of National Importance and can be visited as part of your very own road trip – or Grand Tour – of Switzerland, but they can be reached by public transport, too.
Today I’m joined by Livio Goetz, Director of Switzerland Tourism Australia and New Zealand, who is going to share with us eight of his favourite villages from the Magical Places list.
You may remember Livio from episode 45 when he chatted about the Grand Tour of Switzerland, or episode 42 where he shared some of the wonderful Swiss customs and traditions with us as well as Switzerland’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Livio is going to take us on a virtual visit to villages that are characterised by castles, abbeys, beautiful village squares and attractive guild houses. And all have a fascinating history, too.
Are you ready to plan your own Grand Tour of Switzerland’s magical places? You need Switzerland!
[This post may contain compensated links. Please see my disclosure policy for more information.]
As always, I’d like to thank Livio and his colleagues from Switzerland Tourism for sponsoring the podcast. You can find out more about the 50 Magical Places and lots more Swiss travel information and inspiration on myswitzerland.com.
Click the green button below to listen:
In this episode, we discuss:
- Livio’s background
- The Federal Inventory of Swiss Historical Sites (ISOS)
- Switzerland Tourism’s 50 Magical Places list
- The Grand Tour of Switzerland
- 8 of Livio’s favourite towns and villages that are included in the list
Magical Places mentioned in this episode
Located just 16 kilometres from Lucerne in Central Switzerland, Stans lies at the foot of the Stanserhorn which can be reached by a cable car that has an open-air upper deck. Highlights of the town include a Capuchin Monastery and Convent and one of the most beautiful village squares in Switzerland.
Another ‘magical place’ close to Lucerne (it’s just 28 kilometres away), Beromünster is well-known to the Swiss thanks to its radio tower but it is also home to one of the oldest letter presses in Switzerland. Situated on a hill between two lakes, Beromünster’s buildings include a Baroque-style abbey district and attractive guild houses.
The medieval town of Bremgarten is built in a bend of the River Reuss and is just 22 kilometres from Zurich. Highlights of the town include a covered wooden bridge, similar to Lucerne’s Chapel Bridge, an upper and lower town which are mostly car-free and a castle.
This proudly traditional town is well known for its beautifully decorated buildings and rural landscape. Famous for its traditions and customs that are still practiced today, Appenzell is also home to Appenzeller cheese. It is a popular destination for hikers with Mt. Santis nearby. Appenzell is located 20 kilometres from St. Gallen in Eastern Switzerland.
Home to the oldest timber framed settlement in Switzerland, a castle and a small lake, Werdenberg offers fantastic views over the Rhine Valley. It can also be found in Eastern Switzerland, 60 kilometres from St. Gallen.
Thanks to its forebears who went to Italy to earn a living, Sent (which is located in the canton of Graubünden) features beautiful Italianate architecture as well as traditional farmhouses decorated using the sgraffito technique. Outdoor pursuits draw visitors to sent which is around 65 kilometres from St. Moritz.
Known as the gateway to the Emmental, Burgdorf is just 25 kilometres from the Swiss capital, Bern. It’s home to a well preserved castle on a hill in the upper town from where you get great views over the rooftops of the lower town. Attractive merchant houses and guild houses line the streets of Bremgarten.
In the French-speaking Canton of Vaud, Rougemont’s highlights include an 11th century monastery, a 16th century castle and a church with a hexagonal tower. The famous GoldenPass railway stops at Rougemont on its journey between Montreux and Zweisimmen. Rougemont is located 70 kilometres from Montreux.
For further details and the full list of 50 Magical Places visit the official website.
If you’d like to visit some of the magical places whilst on a road trip around Switzerland, the following Grand Tour of Switzerland links may be helpful:
Map information can be found at myswitzerland.com/grandtourmap
You can learn more about the Grand Tour of Switzerland app at myswitzerland.com/grandtourapp and find out where the Grand Tour Photo Spots are located at myswitzerland.com/photospots.
To purchase the Grand Tour of Switzerland travel guide (including map), click here or > here.
Holidays to Switzerland Resources:
You can read about some of the other towns included in Switzerland Tourism’s 50 Magical Places list by clicking the links below.
There are also podcast episodes featuring Saillon and Appenzell. You can also listen to previous episodes of the podcast featuring Livio – he chatted about Swiss traditions, customs and UNESCO World Heritage Sites > here and he spoke about the Grand Tour of Switzerland > in this episode.
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This episode is sponsored by Switzerland Tourism
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