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The Perfect Week in Switzerland

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See the best of Switzerland in a week: Explore vibrant Zurich (the country's largest city), get a crash course in art and design in Basel, wander the medieval streets of Old Town Berne, stroll an art-covered bridge in Lucerne, and behold the Swiss Alps – and the Matterhorn  – from Zermatt.
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Münsterbrücke, 8001 Zürich, Switzerland
I love the bicycle, and cycling is an activity I try to do in every single place that I visit. There is nothing like exploring a city on a bike, although in some places this can be a challenge. Zurich, Switzerland, has made it incredibly easy to...
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Mythenquai 9, 8002 Zürich, Switzerland
The most centrally-located mixed badi boasts a prime spot on Lake Zurich, though not too much swimming actually goes on here—it’s more about sunbathing, people-watching, and the occasional dip. There’s also a sauna, massage treatments and outdoor...
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Limmatquai 144, 8001 Zürich, Switzerland
The terrace at ETH Zurich—where Einstein was an alum—lords high above the city for catch-your-breath views beyond to the lake and the Alps. A number of trams will take you to the terrace, but the most fun way to get there is on the fire-engine red...
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Grossmünsterplatz, 8001 Zürich, Switzerland
The Grössmunster is one of Zurich's famous four historic churches, and easily its most recognizable with its twin towers a distinguishing feature of the city skyline. (They haven't, however, been universally loved. Richard Wagner famously compared...
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Mühlebach, 8008 Zürich, Switzerland
Locals are fanatic about the lake. They boast the water is clean enough to drink; boating is a favorite pastime, whether it’s on a sailboat, paddleboat, yacht or public boat from the ZSG network (included in the cost of a daily tram card); and...
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Schanzengraben, Zürich, Switzerland
The Limmat River and Lake Zurich might be the showstoppers, but it would be a pity to overlook the charming Schanzengraben Canal. Built as a city fortification system in the 17th century, the canal is now lined with wooden boardwalks and sandstone...
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Vorder Brüglingen 5, 4052 Basel, Switzerland
The botanical gardens at Brüglingen are a year-round treat, home to a variety of plants from around the world. The park is also an occasional venue for various concerts and events, such as classical music on Sundays, June through August. A ramble...
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Baselstrasse 101, 4125 Basel, Switzerland
Expect to see Alexander Calder mobiles mixed into a Peter Fischli and David Weiss display, or pieces by Paul Klee and Claude Monet side by side with contemporary artworks from Wolfgang Tillmans. There’s no one set theme at the Fondation...
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Charles-Eames-Straße 2, 79576 Weil am Rhein, Germany
Just across the border from Basel, Switzerland, sits the Vitra Design Museum. Housing one of the finest collections of modern design and architecture, the main museum building was designed by Frank Gehry, and the collection includes more than...
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Marktpl. 9, 4001 Basel, Switzerland
The Town Hall in Basel is over 500 years old, prominently located at the town center. Its red walls and murals covering almost its entire building made the building a 'must' stop when in Basel.
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Bim Zytglogge 3, 3011 Bern, Switzerland
Switzerland has 12 UNESCO World Heritage sites, and the Old Town of Bern was among the first to receive that recognition. You'll understand why when you stroll along the postcard-perfect Kramgasse, the main axis of the area. At the end of it...
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Bern, Switzerland
First opened as a public park in 1913, Bern's Rose Garden now features 223 varieties of roses, 200 varieties of irises, and 28 varieties of rhododendrons. The park, perched at the top of a hill overlooking the Old Town (a UNESCO World Heritage...
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Bern, Switzerland
Switzerland's capital city of Bern is not without its badi (outdoor swimming areas). The crystal-blue Aare River snakes through the city in a giant S formation, and it’s not unusual to see fit, shirtless men (locals claim that Bern is home...
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Lucerne, Switzerland
Lucerne's well-preserved Medieval city walls date from the 13th century. The historic fortifications are accessible to the public and provide a broad view of Lake Lucerne, the old town, and the Swiss Alps in the distance. There are nine towers,...
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Nationalquai, 6006 Luzern, Switzerland
Lucerne is no stranger to mass tourism: The otherwise lovely medieval city swells each summer with list-checking visitors en route to central Switzerland's famed Pilatus and Titlis mountains. Surprisingly, few of them make the 15-minute trek from...
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Denkmalstrasse 4, 6002 Luzern, Switzerland
I was forewarned that this monument to the slain Swiss soldiers killed in France was deeply moving, and that Mark Twain had called it "the saddest and most moving piece of rock in the world." I still wasn't prepared for how heartwrenching it was....
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Kapellbrücke, 6002 Luzern, Switzerland
Chapel Bridge, Lucerne Spanning across the River Reuss in Lucerne is the wooden covered footbridge, the Chapel bridge, named after St. Peter's Chapel. The inside of the bridge has historical paintings ating back to the 17th century, telling the...
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Alps
As dawn breaks in the Swiss Alps, you’re savoring fresh pastries, local cheeses, and views that give a preview of the day’s plan: wandering along mountain paths and through high green meadows. The seven-day village-to-village Alpinehikers trek...
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3920 Zermatt, Switzerland
Just as Rome has the Colosseum and Paris the Eiffel Tower, so Switzerland has the Matterhorn. Located above Zermatt, this 48,195-foot wonder attracts hordes of visitors, eager to see the morning sunlight beam off its four faces, ski its...
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Gornergrat, 3920 Zermatt, Switzerland
A trip up to the Gornergrat provides the best view of the Matterhorn without ripping a huge hole in your wallet. For less than 10 Francs, we were able to ride the lift up to Gornergrat and see one of the most spectacular views. At the top there is...