People flock to the promenade in Lake Zurich’s Seefeld district, known as the Zurich Horn, to stroll, cycle, skate or show off their street art skills. Take it all in by sitting on a bench and watching the world go by – with an ice cream, of course.
Take an early morning stroll across the vast grounds or just sit and relax on a sunny afternoon. The botanical garden is rarely crowded and can deliver instant peace and happiness when you stumble upon some fine flora.
Get your finger firmly on the pulse by exploring the alternative heart of Zurich. These days, the ‘Industriequartier’ is filled to the brim with buzzy bars, restaurants, cafés and shops, particularly those in the Viadukt and the cool, cute Frau Gerolds Garten.
Overlooking the Old Town, Limmat river and cathedral, this elevated spot is full of history, but people now come here to relax rather than ruminate on the past. It’s a great place to head for a picnic or just with a good book to while away an afternoon.
Arguably Zurich’s best flea market, this weekly event is a paradise for those who love a good rummage. Sift through jewellery, antiques, clothes and more until you find some old-school gold.
Hop on a ferry and explore the towns that sit on the vast shore of this ever-endearing lake, including Montreux, the medieval French village of Yvoire and famous spa town Évian-les-Bains.
It doesn’t have to be summer to take advantage of this public swimming bath, as there’s a sauna, Turkish bath, hammam and massage service to enjoy year-round, plus all manner of cultural happenings.
This long-running oasis of bric-a-brac appears every Wednesday and Saturday, and the first Sunday of the month, offering punters the chance to sift through everything from books to clothes to vinyl, in hope of finding a gem.
This leafy idyll in the heart of Geneva is perfect for a lazy sit in the sun or to spectate on people playing chess and go on giant boards. Reward your strenuous efforts with a coffee at the old bandstand-turned-café.
If you feel the need for some serious retail therapy, Lausanne’s hip boutiques, gift shops and quirky independent stores will set you right. Start off at shopping hub Place St François and just start wandering.
You can find all sorts at Lausanne’s twice-weekly market, but the foodie side is really where it’s at, whether you’re after fresh fruit and veg, cheese, charcuterie, local booze or premium snacks like empanadas and macaroons.
Explore this garden's 6,000 plants spread over terraces and in hothouses, with a splendid view from the top. Once you’re at the peak, find your own spot of greenery and gaze out at the mountains to feel at one with the world.
This fascinating museum showcases Jean Dubuffet’s collection, created by untrained artists on the fringes of society. The work here is offbeat, imaginative and thoroughly eye-opening.
Warmer weather means it’s time to head back to Ouchy, Lausanne’s lakefront district. The best tactic is to go there with absolutely zero plans and just see what’s going on. Grab an ice cream and go for a stroll, café-hop to your heart’s content or just sit outside a bar and watch the world go by.
Bern’s Old Town isn’t just a feast for the eyes – it’s also full of endearing, classy stores, such as über-cool stationery shops, ludicrously beautiful flower boutiques and a packaging-free concept store.
No matter how many times you’ve been, Bern’s Rose Garden is still a winner. Home to over 220 rose varieties, it also offers a splendid water lily pond and grand views of the River Aare and Old Town.
Even if you’re a local and you’ve done it before, visiting the gothic wonder that is Bern Cathedral is always a lovely distraction, offering amazing architecture and incredible views across the city – as long as you have a good head for heights.
Clearer spring days mean it’s the perfect time to soak up jaw-dropping views from this mountain, just a short hop from Bern city centre. There’s a funicular if you don’t feel like the walk, plus restaurants at the top and a viewing tower to really make the most of those views.
Spring means it’s time for Art Basel, the oldest and most important contemporary art fair in the world. Even if you don’t have the hefty cash reserves needed to purchase, it’s a great place to browse – and to get a look at the art scene’s movers and shakers.
One of the best ways to experience the free-flowing heart and soul of Basel is in an environmentally friendly boat. Powered by the river current, these vessels ferry passengers along the Rhine from four different locations, all without noise or pollution.
On the other side of the Rhine to Basel old town, Kleinbasel is bubbling with small independent businesses, including art galleries, eateries and boutiques that knock the socks off the city’s tourist traps. Great for shopping or a culture fix, and as a great bonus, the south-facing riverbank also enjoys a serious amount of sun.
Basel’s popular Saturday fleamarket is a fine place to uncover choice knick-knacks for a bargain price. You’ll find anything from vintage handbags to old manual cameras to silverware to clothes and toys.