Switzerland is a mountainous Central European country that is home to four languages. A stop by Switzerland will be a trip of a lifetime as you view the high peaks of the Alps, medieval Old Towns, and taste some of the world's most renowned chocolate. But, like any European holiday, it can run high on expenses, so we have compiled a list eight amazing free attractions for you to visit to help you stay within your travel budget.
Switzerland is known for some of the finest quality of cheese. Visit the cheesery in Affoltern, in the heart of Emmental, for a free experience anyone would enjoy. You can watch their famous cheese being made along with the help of an audio guide. Not only do you get to learn how some of the best cheese is made, but you can even taste it—all for free. In the shop at the end of the tour, this cheese factory has tons of different samples for you to try. A free day at the cheese factory is an incredible way experience Switzerland's culture.
Switzerland is well known for its neutral stance in both world wars. Their absence definitely paid off, as their historic towns are incredibly intact and have been well preserved. Almost every Swiss urban area has a beautiful medieval old town as its core, and a walk through these traditional neighbourhoods is rewarding in itself. Spend a day wandering through the rustic streets of Murten or Stein am Rhein for a transformative experience that will bring you back to medieval times.
The Maison Tavel—meaning Tavel house—is located in the old town near Geneva's famous St. Pierre Cathedral. Entrance into this history museum comes at no cost and it is located in a 14th century house, the oldest in the entire city of Geneva. The building itself is an outstanding example of medieval architecture in Switzerland. The museum is particularly known for the Magnin Relief map model, the largest model in Switzerland that gives visitors an overview of Geneva before the destruction of its fortifications and battle walls in 1850. The Maison Tavel has exhibits, artefacts and historical objects that display Geneva's history.
Saint Pierre Cathedral is more than 850 years old and is Geneva's main church. It is located in the centre of Geneva's Old Town, slightly on the hill overseeing the city. There are two towers, one in the north and one in the south, which you can climb up for the ultimate panoramic view of Lake Geneva. The combination of various architectural styles from Gothic to Ancient, and the unbelievable display of Geneva's Old Town make a trip to this historical church priceless.
Located on the High Rhine near the town of Schaffhausen, the Rhine Falls are 150m wide, 23m high and this waterfall dumps nearly 700,000 litres of water per second. . The waterfall formed in the last ice age and still surges on today. As you stand on a viewing platform that are built on both sides of the Rhine, you will be in awe that such spectacular views come free of charge.
Possibly one of Europe's most famous mountains, the Eiger Mountain is no joke. This 3970 metre-high mountain is the easternmost peak and it is one of the most emblematic sights in the Swiss Alps. The northern side of this monstrosity overlooks beautiful open, green valleys while the southern side faces the most glaciated region in the Alps. No matter where you stand, any view you have of the Eiger will take your breath away. This massive mountain is undoubtedly a natural wonder of Switzerland, and even if you are not up for the climb, just seeing this landmark is worth the journey.
Take a trip to Basel to experience Three Countries' Corner. This city is where the Swiss, French and German borders meet and Basel actually has suburbs in France and Germany even though it is a Swiss city. Three Countries' Corner is where the borders connect and you can stand in all three places at once. The monument marking this meeting point juts out into the Rhine, and if you walk across you will have crossed from Switzerland into Germany and then into France, in very few steps and with no passport required. This free attraction is very popular for visitors also because the bridge that connects all three countries is the world's longest bridge for only pedestrians. With Three Countries' Corner, a visit to Switzerland quickly becomes a Euro tour and while standing on the bridge, you will enjoy spectacular views of the Rhine.
Bärengraben–or Bear Park–is a well-known tourist attraction in the Swiss capital of Bern. Bärengraben is exactly as it sounds; it is an enclosure housing bears. While it may not appear very interesting at first, this Bear pit is a Swiss heritage site of national significance. It is of particular importance in Bern because the bear is a symbol of the city and surrounding county, and the bear is featured on their coat of arms. Located on the bank of the River Aar, Bärengraben is a free tourist destination and a central component of Bern culture. A stop by this free attraction is definitely an essential part of any holiday to Switzerland.
A trip to Switzerland does not have to break the banks. With these free destinations that will make your money last longer, and still allow you to get a full Swiss experience, there is no reason why you should not be able to stay on budget during your European adventure. Cover-More travel insurance will keep costs low by allowing you to tailor your coverage to your needs and your budget.
Image courtesy of Flickr user Davery Photography; cropped from original