The appeal of car-free places stems from the fact that most societies in the world are dependent on cars, and car-free places are an exception. There are a lot of car-free villages in Switzerland, mostly in the Swiss Alps, where access to villages is often by cable cars, funiculars, or trains.
Car-free villages in Switzerland have a certain magic about them, especially since many of them still have traditional houses. Often, these are mountain getaways where you are surrounded by the beauty of the mountains, the peace and quiet, and the true essence of the Swiss Alps.
Below is a list of car-free villages in Switzerland, should you wish to visit one.
Melchsee-Frutt is a picturesque, car-free region in Kerns, Obwalden with 142 residents, mostly in the tourism industry. In this mountain resort, you’ll find hotels, holiday apartments, and restaurants. Tannalp, Stöckalp, Bonistock, and Erzegg surround Frutt Village. There are also three lakes – Lake Melch, Lake Tannen, and Blue Lake. Mountain resort activities include hiking, fishing, biking, paragliding, and climbing.
Melchsee-Frutt is accessible via the A2 Highway (Lucerne – Gotthard). The address is Fruttstrasse 53, Melchtal. Free parking is available at the Stöckalp Valley Station. If you arrive by train, you can head to Sarnen before going to Stöckalp.
You can take the cable car from Stöckalp to Melchsee-Frutt. It is also possible to park directly at Melchsee-Frutt in the summer. Please confirm the exact schedule, as it is every two hours per way. Despite this, the region is car-free, and you must park in the Dempfelsmatt lot.
If you would like to read more about Melchsee-Frutt, check out our article 10 Things To Love About Melchsee-Frutt, Switzerland.
The car-free village of Braunwald is located in canton Glarus, Switzerland. This is a perfect place to discover waterfalls, lakes, and alpine flowers. Braunwald is a small village with less than 400 permanent residents.
The village can be reached by funicular from the Linthal Braunwaldbahn‘s valley station. If you plan to arrive by car, you can park in the valley station parking lot. The address is Stachelbergstrasse 2, 8783 Linthal.
You can hike to Lake Oberblegi, go on a panoramic tour around Grotzenbüel, take part in the dwarf trail for kids, or take a bike ride in Braunwald. Skiing and winter hiking are available in the winter.
Schuler Transporte in Braunwald offers horse-drawn carriages and e-carriages as options for getting around.
If you would like to read more about Braunwald, check out our article: Visiting Braunwald Mountain in Summer.
Zermatt – this car-free mountain resort lies in the Matter Valley of Switzerland’s Valais canton. Zermatt is at the foot of the world-famous mountain Matterhorn. The region has one of the largest skiing areas in the country. Located at 1,600 feet above sea level, the town itself does not permit cars. However, hotels can use small electric vehicles to transport their guests’ luggage. Due to its pedestrian-only rule, boutique shops, souvenir shops, hotels, and restaurants, its main street is quite beautiful.
Since cars are not permitted at this location, guests can park their cars at Matterhorn Terminal Täsch. The address is Bahnhofstrasse 1, 3929 Täsch. Another alternative is to take the train from Visp to Zermatt.
Among the many things that you can do in Zermatt are visiting Rothorn, Sunnega, Gornergrat, Riffelalp, Riffelberg, and Matterhorn Glacier Paradise.
Belalp is a car-free village in Valais at a height of around 2,100 meters. Belalp offers views of the Dom and Fletschhorn mountains, as well as other mountains in the Pennine and Lepontine Alps.
Belalp can be reached either by train or by car from Brig. It is possible to park in Blatten itself. Cable cars link Blatten with the car-free Belalp.
Belalp offers many highlights, including the Aletsch Glacier, Canyoning in Massa Gorge, the Hanging Bridge of Belalp-Riederalp, and Lake Lüsger.
Bettmeralp is a car-free village located 1,907 meters above sea level in Aletsch Arena. It is situated in the canton of Valais and offers great views of the Pennine Alps, particularly the Weissmies, Dom, Matterhorn, and Weisshorn peaks.
Bettmeralp can be reached either by train or by car from Brig. It is possible to park in Betten itself. Getting to Bettmeralp requires a cable car ride from Betten station. Another cable car takes you to the summit of Bettmerhorn above Aletsch Glacier.
Bettmeralp is not only the perfect place for hiking and biking in summer. It also has absolutely breathtaking views for sledding and skiing in winter. The village has these charming wooden chalets that are characteristic of the canton of Valais. There’s also a scenic lake nearby called Lake Bettmer.
Riederalp is a car-free village in Aletsch Arena consisting of Goppisberg, Greich, and Ried-Mörel. Greich and Goppisberg are part of the Inventory of Swiss Heritage Sites. It is located 1,925 meters above sea level and offers fantastic views of the Pennine Alps, such as Fletschhorn, Dom, and Matterhorn.
Riederalp can be reached either by train or by car from Brig. It is possible to park in Mörel itself. Getting to Riederalp requires a cable car ride from Mörel (Riederalpbahn) station.
During summer, you can enjoy paragliding, mountain carts, hiking, and biking on Riederalp. In addition, it is home to Golf Riederalp, Europe’s highest-altitude course at 2,000 meters above sea level. In the winter, they have ski touring, skiing, and winter hiking.
Car-free Saas-Fee offers excellent skiing and a picturesque landscape. The area is surrounded by tall mountains and glaciers.
Saas-Fee can be reached either by bus or car from Brig. There is a parking lot right near the village (Dorfplatz, 3906 Saas-Fee).
Compared to other ski resorts in Switzerland, Saas-Fee opens its ski season in November. Also, there is plenty to do for people of all interests such as brewing beer, trails, bobsleigh runs, glacier trails, gorges, visiting the Mittelallalin station and the Ice Pavilion, rafting, and swimming at Aqua Allalin.
Mürren is a car-free mountain village in the Bernese Oberland. This resort is situated at the foot of the Schilthorn peak, the mountain made famous by the James Bond film.
Mürren is an hour’s train ride from Interlaken Ost. You will go to Lauterbrunnen first, then take the cable car to Grütschalp. After you arrive there, you can take the small train that takes you to Mürren. It is also possible to go via Stechelberg and Gimmelwald before reaching Mürren. If you come by car, you can park either in Lauterbrunnen or Stechelberg.
Mürren has many beautiful hiking trails, including the Allmendhubel Flower Trail and the North Face Trail. You can also climb the Via ferrata Mürren, a climbing route where it is advisable to go with a guide and bring mandatory equipment such as a climbing harness, climbing helmets, latching slings, climbing backpacks, and sturdy shoes.
In the Bernese Oberland region, Wengen is an idyllic, car-free alpine village. Ski enthusiasts such as myself are familiar with it due to the annual Wengen Lauberhorn Race in January.
Wengen is 44 minutes away from Interlaken Ost by train. You will go to Lauterbrunnen first. After you arrive there, you can take the train that takes you to Wengen. If you come by car, you can park in Lauterbrunnen, and take the train from there.
In addition to that, Wengen is known for its timber chalets and belle époque hotels. You can reach Männlichen by cable car from Wengen. And on the other side, the Jungfraubahn takes you to the Jungfrau summit. In addition, you can also see the Trümmelbach glacier waterfalls.
If you would like to read more about Wengen, check out our article Wengen, Switzerland: 8 Reasons To Love It.
1443 meters above sea level is the car-free mountain resort of Rigi Kaltbad in Central Switzerland. This village is part of the Weggis municipality and has an excellent view of Lake Lucerne.
Before arriving at Rigi, you can park your car in many locations. It is possible to park in Vitznau, Weggis, Küssnacht, Goldau, Kräbel, Obergschwend, and Brunnen. Trains and cable cars are also options for getting there. You can find out more by visiting the website here.
Rigi Kaltbad is also a popular destination due to its mineral bath (Mineralbad). The new bath was designed by famed architect Mario Botta whose works include the San Fransisco Museum of Modern Art, National Bank of Greece in Athens, and Santa Maria degli Angeli in Monte Tamaro.
The car-free village of Stoos lies in Morschach, Schwyz. It is located 1,300 meters above sea level and has a population of approximately 100 people. Like most Swiss mountain villages, Stoos is known for its hiking trails. The ski area has 35 kilometers of slopes.
To get to Stoos with public transport, you can take the bus to Schwyz, Stoosbahn. if you take the car, you can park directly next to the valley station. The address is Grundstrasse 234, 6430 Schwyz. From the Stoosbahn Valley Station, Schwyz Stoosbahn (Talstation), you can take the funicular going to Stoos.
Stoosbahn is the steepest funicular in the world. It has a maximum incline of 110 percent.
Rasa, a car-free village perched on a sunny terrace at an altitude of 900 meters, is located in the canton of Ticino. Located in Centovalli, Rasa is a romantic place characterized by stone houses, natural scenery, and a stunning view of the mountains. You can get there by hiking or riding a cable car from Verdasio.
Those who come by car can park in Verdasio. It is also easy to get there by train, which stops at Verdasio. The cable car in Verdasio will take you up to Rasa.
Among all the villages in Ticino, Rasa is the only one with no access to roads. Before the cable cars were built, the only way to get here was on foot.
- 10 Things To Love About Melchsee-Frutt, Switzerland
- Best Zermatt Alternatives to Choose From
- St. Moritz or Zermatt: Which One Is More Impressive?
- Wengen, Switzerland: 8 Reasons To Love It
- Visiting Braunwald Mountain in Summer
- Winter Hiking and Skiing in Braunwald
- Closest Mountains To Visit From Zurich
- Wengen or Mürren: Which Is the Better Base?