UNESCO sites

Switzerland is fortunate to have many UNESCO World Heritage sites. We’ll
explore culturally significant destinations in the western and southern
part of the country in this story. To see destinations in the eastern
and central part of the country, see our previous story.

  • A. Bern

    Moving west, you’ll find Bern, the capital of Switzerland, which was founded in the 12th century and is a very well-planned city. Its charming Old City is framed by the Aare river and offers spectacular views of the Alps. Limestone buildings, medieval arcades, Renaissance fountains and a beautiful cathedral combine to make this a gem of medieval architecture in Europe. Most of the medieval town was restored in the 18th century but it has retained its original character.
  • B. La Chaux-de-Fonds and Le Locle

    Leaving the urban metropolis, the towns of La Chaux-de-Fonds and Le Locle present outstanding examples of mono-industrial manufacturing towns that are well planned and still active. The towns’ planning and buildings reflect watchmakers’ need of rational organization. Starting out as small mountain villages 1,000 meters above sea level in the Swiss Jura mountains, La Chaux-de-Fonds and Le Locle were shaped over a few decades by the watch industry that dates back to the 17th century.
  • C. Lavaux region on Lake Geneva

    The Lavaux region on Lake Geneva forms Switzerland's largest contiguous vineyard area — 800 hectares. St-Saphorin, Dézaley, Epesses are names that are familiar to many wine lovers. The views from the vineyard terraces, set high above the lake, provide the perfect setting for sipping fine wines.
  • D. Jungfrau-Aletsch region (Naters)

    The Jungfrau-Aletsch region (Naters) is in southwestern Switzerland and known for its beautiful landscapes. Most notable are the Eiger (3,970 meters), Mönch (4,107 meters) and Jungfrau (4,158 meters) mountains, which form an impressive sight.
  • E. The Castles of Bellinzona

    Castello Montebello
    Finally, arrive in the southernmost area of Switzerland — the Tessin. The Castles of Bellinzona have walls, towers, battlements and gates that form a fortress around the city. Castelgrande, Castello Montebello and Castello Sasso Corbaro once protected the city they now adorn. Bellinzona was a very important line of defense for the ancient Romans.
  • F. The Monte San Giorgio

    Lake Lugano
    The Monte San Giorgio overlooks Lake Lugano and rises just under 1,100 meters. The area has been a mecca for fossil scientists since the 19th century. Thousands of fossilized fish and marine saurians of up to six meters have been unearthed by paleontologists. And for good reason: 230 to 245 million years ago, this was the site of a 100-meter-deep ocean basin.