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35 fun things to do in Switzerland

Our guide to the best things to do in Switzerland that will make you happy.

©Anna Nahabed

Switzerland is officially the second happiest country on the planet, according to the 2016 World Happiness Report, a survey which reveals the global ranking of happiness in 158 nations. So just what is making everyone so happy in Switzerland? Here's our list to just some of the unique sights, stunning scenery, great things to do, fun events and special experiences that might have a little something to do with why everyone is feeling the love.

Have we missed out your favourite happy place in Switzerland? What makes you happy in your Swiss city? Tell us what you think in the comments box below or tweet us at @TimeOutSwiss or leave a comment on our Facebook page.

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Pedalos • Zurich
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Pedalos • Zurich

Don't just stand there on the promenade admiring the lake, get out and enjoy it. 

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Kreis 2
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E-bike hire •  Basel
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E-bike hire • Basel

Switzerland's popular e-bikes or pedelecs have a bit of extra va-va-voom. 

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Basel
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Trekking with Llamas
©Lamatrek Jungfrauregion
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Trekking with Llamas

Enhance your hiking experience with the unusual additional of a Llama to your hiking party, who also acts as a mobile storage unit. From half-day excursions to tours lasting several days, the trek offers fun and adventure for all ages. 

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Jungfrau-Region
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Boat trip • Lausanne-Ouchy
© Christof Schuerpf
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Boat trip • Lausanne-Ouchy

Making the most of its position on one of Europe’s largest lakes, Lausanne’s ferry port at Ouchy offers cruises to many destinations around the lake in Switzerland. Enjoy the ride down to Montreux, or float further afield to Geneva and the medieval French village of Yvoire, a tourist’s favourite. 

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Ouchy
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Contra Dam bungee jump
©Switzerland Tourism
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Contra Dam bungee jump

Go bungee jumping off the 220 metre tall Contra Dam in Ticino, as seen in the Bond film GoldenEye. 

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Tenero-Contra
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Le Deck  • Puidoux-Chexbres
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Le Deck • Puidoux-Chexbres

Tucked within the steeply raked Lavaux vineyards between Lausanne and Montreux, Le Deck enjoys an impossibly scenic position overlooking Lake Geneva and the mountains on the French side opposite.

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Lavaux-Oron
7
SolarBob
©Switzerland Tourism
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SolarBob

Fun and ecology – what’s not to like? This no-snow-required bobsled in leafy Langenbruck outside Basel incorporates one kilometre of hair-raising slide, a 540-degree helter-skelter – and a solar-powered lift to carry visitors back to the top. 

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Bains des Pâquis  • Geneva
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Bains des Pâquis • Geneva

Recommended

In summer it’s a lovely place to swim, lounge about in the sun and have a cheapish lunch on the large terrace of the Buvette.

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Pâquis
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Seebad Enge  • Zurich
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Seebad Enge • Zurich

Recommended

On-site swim coaches, yoga classes, ving-tsun, SUP and relaxation techniques plus a beautician and a sauna which is open all year round - you get it all at Badi Enge. 

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Enge
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Thun-Bern float trip
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Thun-Bern float trip

Recommended

As a way to spend a hot summer’s day, drifting on the current down the River Aare with the sun on your face and water to cool off in is hard to beat. 

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Espace Mittelland (Jura & Three Lakes, Bernese Oberland)
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PubliBike station • Lausanne
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PubliBike station • Lausanne

Ouchy sports one of the many PubliBike hire points in Switzerland which allow you to rent a low-cost bicycle and drop it off at any other ‘velostation’ in the country. Though you’re unlikely to go far, it’s a cheap and accessible scheme that’s ideal for short hops along the Swiss Riviera.

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Ouchy
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El Mojito  • Lugano
El Mojito
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El Mojito • Lugano

A throbbing summertime cocktail bar-cum-beach shack on a lakeside jetty. Admire the view or the beautiful people, or both.

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Lugano
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Free bike hire • Zurich
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Free bike hire • Zurich

Leave a CHF 20 deposit at one of the Züri rollt containers and enjoy the city on two wheels. You might want to cycle down part of either side of the lake or just use the bike to get around Zurich a bit quicker. 

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City
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Morcote Route
©Post Auto
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Morcote Route

Discover Lugano's architectural masterpieces and beautiful scenery with this bus ride through Switzerland's Ticino region. 

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Lugano
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Gurten • Bern
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Gurten • Bern

At 858m, the Gurten sports fabulous views over Bern on a clear day, and makes for a welcome getaway from the city. 

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Bern
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Freestyle Academy • Laax
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Freestyle Academy • Laax

With a large 1,00sq m of space, this indoor freestyle base allows you to hone your skills in snowboarding, freeskiing, skating, climbing, freerunning and biking whatever the weather. 

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Jet d’eau •  Geneva
© Olivier Miche
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Jet d’eau • Geneva

Don’t fight it: as possibly the most recognisable image of Geneva (you can even see it from the plane), it’s practically the law to get your photo taken in front of the city’s giant water fountain. 

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Rive Droite / Right Bank
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Bellerive Plage • Lausanne
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Bellerive Plage • Lausanne

The place to hang out in summer, this 1930s outdoor leisure centre is eternally popular when the sun comes out. 

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Ouchy
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Marchés folkloriques  • Vevey
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Marchés folkloriques • Vevey

Featuring traditional crafts, alphorn players and dancers, artisan produce and – best of all – copious wine tasting stalls set up by local winegrowers, a visit to the folk market is a real experience. 

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Vevey
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Thermalbad & Spa  • Zurich
BlueWaterCom.ch
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Thermalbad & Spa • Zurich

The view over the city from its rooftop pool is simply amazing, and that alone would almost be worth the entrance. 

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Enge
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Aare outdoor baths  • Bern
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Aare outdoor baths • Bern

The outdoor baths at Marzili, in the shadow of the grand parliament building, are among the oldest in the country, and free to use. 

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Bern
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Rimini  • Zurich
Rimini
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Rimini • Zurich

When it comes to a pool-party venue, Rimini is a bar that excels in chilled-backed atmosphere. 

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Kreis 1
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Flussbad Oberer Letten  • Zurich
© Zuerich Tourismus
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Flussbad Oberer Letten • Zurich

Lounge around on the wooden panels of the right bank, play a game of beach volley or enjoy a glass of Spritz from the container bar.

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Industriequartier
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Paddleboard • Lake Geneva
Tropical Geneva
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Paddleboard • Lake Geneva

Hawaii's current craze for stand-up paddleboarding comes to Lake Geneva. The idea is to stand upright on a long surfboard and use a paddle to propel yourself across the water. It's a fun way to travel, as long as you're prepared to fall in once in a while, and a good upper-body workout. There are plenty of other watersports, such as windsurfing and wakeboarding, on the lake. Book lessons at Tropical Geneva and reward yourself afterwards with a drink on the palm-fringed beach, a more secluded location than the main yacht-crammed marina.

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Geneva
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Castles  • Bellinzona
hotel-paladina-tessin.ch
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Castles • Bellinzona

Among the most famous monuments of Ticino are the impressive collection of medieval castles at Bellinzona, the capital of the canton, just north of Lugano. 

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Bellinzona
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Rhine river cruises • Basel
Avalon Waterways
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Rhine river cruises • Basel

The mighty Rhine river is the heart of Basel, so why not enjoy a cruise as you glide along the picturesque Swiss scenery and treat yourself to some onboard entertainment. 

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Basel
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Zoo • Zurich
© Meinrad Schade
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Zoo • Zurich

Don’t miss the zoo’s newest attraction – the elephant park with its modern outside spaces and large indoor area. The on-site Thai food stall serves delicious snacks while you watch the elephants.

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Fluntern
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Wildnispark • Zurich
© MARCUS GYGER
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Wildnispark • Zurich

This park less than half an hour away from the city of Zurich consists of two parts: the Sihlwald forest and Langenberg, Switzerland’s oldest wildlife park. 

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Zurich
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Dolder sports •  Zurich
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Dolder sports • Zurich

During the summer season, the public pool and mini golf are a popular attraction for families. 

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Fluntern
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Lac de Joux • Jura
© Roland Gerth
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Lac de Joux • Jura

The huge Lac de Joux in the Jura valley of the same name is a draw for outdoor enthusiasts at any time of year. In summer it’s a magnet for swimmers, sailors and windsurfers.

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Jura
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Sky Bar • Zurich
©Eden au Lac
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Sky Bar • Zurich

It goes without saying: a grande dame on the Zurich hotel scene, Eden au Lac has created the swishest of the swish rooftop bars.

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Seefeld
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Restaurant Seerose • Zurich
©Restaurant Seerose
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Restaurant Seerose • Zurich

Seerose is Zurich’s answer to Saint Tropez. Suspended above Lake Zurich, its wooden terrace complete with pristine white lounge furniture mimics the deck of a luxurious yacht. 

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Wollishofen
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Bateau Lavoir • Geneva
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Bateau Lavoir • Geneva

A lovely spot to go for a drink, a light lunch or an apéro as the sun goes down. 

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Rive Gauche / Left Bank
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Limmat-Schifffahrt Boat Trip •  Zurich
© Christof Schuerpf
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Limmat-Schifffahrt Boat Trip • Zurich

The flat boats with their panoramic glass roofs offer a different view of the city - from the bottom up. 

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Wollishofen
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Walliser Alpentherme & Spa •  Leukerbad
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Walliser Alpentherme & Spa • Leukerbad

Located in the village centre, its outdoor pool has a gorgeous view of the mountains, making it easy to while away a few hours in the 36-40 degree water or on the deck chairs around the edge. 

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Leukerbad

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