For the second year running, Switzerland has held onto its position as the number one country in the world.

According to the 2018 Best Countries report, it surpassed 80 other countries in a survey completed by more than 21,000 ‘informed elites’, business leaders, and members of the general public.

The win was based on attributes deemed relevant ‘to the success of a modern nation’ such as economic openness, quality of life and influence.

Switzerland stands out for its low unemployment rate, skilled labour force, and stable and prosperous economy. It is recognised worldwide as one of the best countries for building a business with high levels of entrepreneurship and good ‘global citizenship’.

Its breathtaking mountain ranges, icy blue lakes, quaint villages and lush undulating hills all add to the charm.

Whether you’re in the country for business or pleasure, here’s a list of things you might want to put on your itinerary.

What to do

Experience 11 UNESCO World Heritage sites

The country is renowned for its cultural heritage. From Bern’s beautifully preserved medieval Old Town and the three castles of Bellinzona, to the incredible Jungfrau-Aletsch region and the 240-million-year-old fossils of Monte San Giorgio – Switzerland is full of natural beauties.

Jungfrau-Aletsch
The incredible Jungfrau-Aletsch region

Say cheese

With more than 450 varieties of cheese produced in Switzerland, it’s no wonder the country is a mecca for fromage.

Cheese fondue on mountain-top
Why not enjoy a hot cheese fondue with a view? Source: Switzerland Tourism: Ivo Scholz

A trip to the medieval town of Gruyères (which gave its name to Gruyère cheese) is a must-do for cheese-lovers.

But if chocolate is more your thing, a decadent dip into the Maison Cailler factory in Broc comes highly recommended.

See some of the world’s most beautiful lakes

Switzerland has a landscape full of breathtaking lakes. Its most famous is Lake Geneva which is the largest in Western Europe. It’s best seen by kayak or boat, trail-hike, stand-up paddle board or even hot air balloon.

Others worth a visit include Oeschinen Lake, Lake Constance, Seebergsee, Lake Lucerne and Lake Lugano.

Get your adrenaline pumping

Switzerland is full of extreme activities such as skydiving, white-water rafting, ice climbing, rappelling, bungee jumping, glacier trekking and canyon jumping.

Stoosbahn, Switzerland
If you dare, ride the 1,720 metre track all the way up to the village of Stoos.

Our tips? Cross the world’s longest suspension bridge, hop on the famous Red Mountain Railway from Jungfraujoch, or ride Stoosbahn – the world’s steepest funicular at a gradient of 110 per cent.

Hike to your heart’s content

Whether you want to ascend a peak, explore alpine meadows or venture into the forest – with more than 60,000 kilometres of waymarked trails and gorgeous scenery, Switzerland is perhaps the best supported hiking destination in the world.

Wildkirchli on Ebenalp, Schwende, Appenzell Innerrhoden
Hiking at Wildkirchli on Ebenalp, Schwende, Appenzell Innerrhoden. Copyright Switzerland Tourism

Crowd favourites include The Swiss Glacier Trail, the heavenly chocolate and cheese Jaunbach Gorge trail, the Albula Railway Adventure Trail and the historic Water Route.

Planning to travel to Switzerland in the summer? Find out what we thought of the Gstaad–Saanenland holiday region.