10. Zermatt, Switzerland
Switzerland is not just all about the yodeling, cuckoo clocks, and chocolates. The land with 4 languages is about urban culture, journeys that you experience once in a lifetime, and heart-racing pursuits in the Alpine.
The ravishing landscapes of Switzerland require immediate action on your part. You can grab your boots, toot a bike bell, leap on board, and let your spirits rip. During the winter, you can go snowboarding and skiing in Central Switzerland, Bernese Oberland, Graubünden. Once the pastures turn green, you can explore biking and hiking trails along with mountain areas encrusted with glaciers. You can go down glittering lake shores, lost valleys, and pea-green vineyards. You can view all the grandeur afloat a white-water raft or a parachute or hot-air balloon. You also have one of the things that you can tick off your bucket list before you die and that is exploring reaching the crevassed ice on Jungfraujoch or the chiseled north face of Eiger up close. The best part of them all is that you don’t need to be a professional mountaineer to enjoy doing all of these activities.
You can take a look at the urban edge of Switzerland as the perfect antidote to the rural beauty that the city offers. You can check the capital Bern and its world-class modern art in a medieval old town. You can also check the bold architecture it has and deeply Germanic Basel. You may explore its tycoon magnet Zug, party-loving Lausanne, chic Geneva along the largest lake of Europe, and uber-cool Zürich along with its atypical street grit, industrial west district, and riverside bars. All Swiss cities offer you new-wave restaurants, gigs, craft beer, and castles. And the best part is that you can find the urban area very close to the outdoors. In a few minutes, you will reach nearby peaks and enjoy invigorating dips in Limmat, Aare, and Rhine or chill at waterfront bars with amazing Alpine views.
What makes the rural life of the country earthy and rich will be its variety. Alpine tradition is deeply rooted in the agricultural calendar. You will find unique soaring mountains. Villages are mapped accordingly, and you will find granaries on stilts to keep rats out of the way. The chalet farmsteads are also brightened using red geranium blossoms. The passing of season is characterized by its alp-horn concerts, flag waiving, folkloric fairs, and ancient markets. Of course, you also have the best food to enjoy here. You will get the richest and most flavorsome gastronomical experience with gooey cheese you so want to dip in along with autumnal air-dried meat and velvety chocolate.
The Swiss are innovative individuals too with a unique embrace of something experimental and new. Up and down the country, you will find plenty of attention-grabbing architecture, cultural venues, and avant-garde galleries. To name a few cultural treasures, you have the thought-provoking Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain found in the revamped 1950s factory in Geneva, Mario Botta–splashed center and state-of-the-art MASI gallery in Lugano, Frank Gehry–designed Vitra Design Museum and astounding Foundation Beyeler in Basel, and wavy Zentrum Paul Klee bearing architect Renzo Piano’s hallmark in Bern. Even at the corners of the Alps, you will come across some of the best sites when it comes to contemporary art, modern aesthetics, and fresh-faced designs.