Swiss Vacations
Swiss Mittelland

The Aare, the main river of the Swiss MittellandThe Swiss Mittelland or the Swiss Plateau (plateau suisse in French, Schweizer Mittelland in German) constitutes one of the three major landscapes in Switzerland alongside the Jura Mountains and the Swiss Alps. It covers about 30% of the Swiss surface. It comprises the regions between the Jura (in the west) and the Alps (in the south and southeast), partly flat but mostly hilly, and lies at an average height between 400 and 700 meters (1,300 - 2,300 ft) asl. In the southwest, the Swiss Mittelland further is confined by the Lake Geneva Region, in the north and northeast by the Rhine and Lake Constance. The Swiss Mittelland is by far the most densely populated region of Switzerland, and the most important with respect to economy, agriculture and transportation.

hilly EmmentalThe Swiss Mittelland Tourism region mainly consists of the Swiss Cantons of Aargau, Solothurn, Bern (without Bernese Oberland) and Fribourg. A majority is German-speaking, though the west is French-speaking. The language border has been stable for many centuries even though it falls neither on a geographical nor on a political delimitation. It passes from the officially bilingual cities of Biel/Bienne over Murten/Morat and Freiburg/Fribourg to the Fribourg Alps - localities along the language border have usually both a German and a French name. Other than the Swiss Alps, the Swiss Mittelland is not as much geared to tourism, but of course there are touristical attractions, such as the medieval old towns - especially the Old Town of Bern which is an UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the lakes also attract tourists. Further, there are several spa towns such as Baden, Schinznach-Bad, or Yverdon-les-Bains, and there also are pre-Alpine mountains and hills such as the Gurnigel-Gantrisch mountain range near Bern, the Napf region of the Emmental, or the Fribourg Pre-Alps.

Habsburg Castle located in the Aargau, SwitzerlandThe Canton Aargau prescribes itself to water, with its many rivers criss-crossing it. There is the Rhine, the Aare, the Limmat, the Reuss, and Lake Hallwil. The Aargau is home to some of Switzerland's most impressive fortresses and castles such as the Lenzburg Castle, the Hallwyl Water Castle and the Habsburg Castle - the main residence of the famous dynasty from the the 10th century onwards. The region also features thermal spas, and invites to a stroll through the local vineyards, quiet valleys and the lush forests of the Jura. The Aargau is known for its art and culture, for being attractive to natural scientists and families, for the Vindonissa Museum which offers an opportunity to discover traces of the Romans, and for Windisch which is home to the biggest and best-preserved amphitheatre in Switzerland. The Aargau with its capital Aarau, is an ideal gateway to various Swiss cities, such as Basel, Bern, Lucerne, and Zürich, and even to the southern part of Germany which all are easily reached within 30 - 45 minutes by car or train.

the city of Solothurn situated at the foot of the Jura Mountains on the River AareThe Canton Solothurn is best known for its capital, the town of Solothurn which is regarded as the finest Baroque town in Switzerland, where Italian grandeur is combined with French charm and German practicality. Situated at the southern end of the Jura mountain range by the River Aare, Solothurn also is called the “ambassador’s town” because from the 16th to the 18th centuries, this Catholic town was the residence of the French king’s ambassador. Solothurn features beautiful historic monuments, patrician buildings and sturdy fortifications, the St. Urs Cathedral - the most important Early Classical building in Switzerland, and the traffic-free Old Town with lots of small shops and inns is a pleasant place to wander. The town has a range of cultural attractions and children are made particularly welcome in Solothurn: the Toy and Puppet Museum is just one of the amenities specially for children. A little outside the town is the romantic Verena gorge with its chapel and hermitage, and hikers and cyclists will find an extensive network of footpaths and 600 km (370 miles) of cycle tracks in the town's surrounding area, along the Aare and in the other regions of the Canton of Solothurn. The Weissenstein – Solothurn’s local mountain (1,291 m / 4,234 ft) offers fine views of the Swiss Mittelland, Central Switzerland and the Alps, and is a popular area for walking, cycling, cross-country skiing and sledging.

The Canton of Bern is well known for its attractive Berner Oberland Tourism Region with popular mountain resorts and the majestic peaks of the Bernese Alps. However, also the other regions have plenty to offer:
the Lauben in Bern - one of Europe's longest weather-sheltered shopping promenadesBern (or Berne), the Swiss Capital is a medieval city with many fountains, sandstone facades, narrow streets and historic towers. Over the centuries, the townscape has been preserved virtually intact, and therefore, has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The elevated Rose Garden above the famous Bear Pits and the platform of the 101-meter-high (331 ft) cathedral tower offer the best views of the old town round which the River Aare flows. Thanks to its six kilometers (3.7 miles) of arcades - called "Lauben" by locals - Bern boasts one of the longest weather-sheltered shopping promenades in Europe.

pre-alpine Gantrisch region of the Schwarzenburgerland near Bern, Switzerland
The Schwarzenburgerland with the Gurnigel Pass and the Gantrisch (2,175 m / 7,134 ft asl) and Ochsen (2,188 m / 7,177 ft asl) mountains belongs to the most beautiful pre-alpine regions of Switzerland. Natural monuments and nature reserves enchant the landscape. Along some 200 km (125 miles) of marked hiking trails one can explore spectacular hills, mountain landscapes, solitary canyons, woods, pretty villages and hamlets from the scenery. The area is ideal for outdoor sports activities such as cycling, mountain biking, fishing, horseback riding, tennis, swimming, hiking and climbing, or paragliding, and cross-country skiing, alpine skiing, snowboarding and snow-show trekking during winter months.

picturesque Emmental Farmhouse

The Emmental - known around the world for its Emmental cheese (the "real" Swiss Cheese with the big holes), is a beautiful hilly landscape, characterised by lush meadows, quiet forests and breathtaking views of the tops of the Bernese Alps and the Jura mountains. The Emmental is a perfect destination for nature and culture lovers alike - whether you are interested in outdoor activities such as walking, cycling, horseback riding, canyoning, lama trekking, balloon trips, or gold panning, or wish to experience life on idyillic farms, or want to observe Alphorn making or cheese making (at the Cheese Factory Affoltern), you certainly won't be bored in the Emmental region.

Water Meadows of the Oberaargau, Swiss MittellandFurther regions of the Bernese Mittelland include the Oberaargau, in the northeast on the main routes between Basel, Bern and Zurich. This is a place with the water meadows in the Langetental and Rottal which both represent an old cultural landscape of national importance, and where tradition and modern life meet. And the Laupenamt which is nestled in the wooded area between Bern, the Seeland Plain region and the Schwarzenburgerland. From the high plateau at Allenlüften or Mauss, the view extends to Lakes Murten and Neuchâtel with the bright white of the Bernese Alps visible to the south. The medieval character of the historic town of Laupen, the Laupen Castle, the Flühlenmühle watermill and the Farm Museum Jerisberghof certainly are worth a visit. 

On the small territory of the Canton of Fribourg, two languages coexist and three very distinct holiday regions overlap: the city of Fribourg, the Three-Lakes Region, and the Pre-Alps.
the medieval city of Freiburg - Fribourg, SwitzerlandFribourg, the canton's capital and economic center, is a cultural treasure trove that goes back to the Middle Ages. The city is known for its cultural plurality, university, many gourmet restaurants and bridges over the River Sarine that links the French-speaking and German-speaking part of Switzerland. The beauty of Fribourg is best seen from up high, from either the tower of Saint Nicholas's Cathedral, or the Gate of Bourguillon. The view of this major European architectural ensemble, a part of the Middle Ages that has survived modernity, is unforgettable. Fribourg also is home to the Espace Jean Tinguely - Niki de Saint Phalle, and the Swiss Stained Glass Windows Museum in Romont is well worth a visit.

Three Lakes Tourism Region of the Swiss MittellandThanks to the Mediterranean mildness, the Three-Lakes Region with the Lakes of Biel, Murten and Neuchatel, was a favorite place for holidays even at the time of the Celts and the Romans. The region offers all kind of outdoor activities in, on and around the lakes, as well as medieval cities to discover. Avenches, the old Roman capital "Aventicum" with its amphitheatre and Roman Museum, Yverdon-les-Bains with its thermal springs, and the charming Estavayer-le-Lac with its 13th century castle located on Lake Neuchatel, or Murten, famous in history for the defeat of Charles the Bold (Duke of Burgundy) by the Swiss in the Battle of Murten (1476), which has well preserved its ramparts and towers. At the Papiliorama in Kerzers, visitors get close to more than 60 species of butterflies as well as other animals and plants which live together in a tropical climate under glass domes.

The Castle of Gruyere situated at the foot of the Fribourg Pre-Alps
In the Fribourg Pre-Alps with peaks as high as 2,000 m (6,560 ft), the resorts of Schwarzsee, Charmey, Bulle, Moléson and Les Paccots offer plenty of nature experiences and outdoor activities such as hiking and biking, and wintersports, especially snow-shoe trekking with more than 100 km (60 miles) of marked routes. Situated at the foot of the Pre-Alps is Gruyères, a picturesque medieval town which has given its name to the area and to its delicious cheese. Visitors walk the traffic-free cobblestone road up to the 13th century castle with its museum, and observe cheese making at the "Maison du Gruyère". Further special attractions include the Museum of HR Giger, the artist who created "Alien", and the Cailler Chocolate Factory in nearby Broc.

For more detailed descriptions of the destinations of the Swiss Mittelland, including a section with attractions and activities, and a list of recommended hotels, click on the respective destination: