Best Books to Read When Traveling in Switzerland


If you’ve read my latest destination dispatch from Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland, you know I’m in beautiful Switzerland for the next week or so.

I’m hiking through meadows, fields of cows, and snow-capped peaks every morning. In the evenings, I’m recuperating and reading in the garden of my hostel. 

If you have plans to visit Switzerland someday, or just want to armchair travel alongside me, give these best books set in Switzerland a look for yourself.

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Best Non-Fiction Books Set in Switzerland

Bewes paints a picture of the Switzerland that is more than just cheese and knives (though those things are great too). If you're interested in seeing the Switzerland beyond fondue, give this one a read.

If I could ride trains through Switzerland and hike around the Swiss alps for every, I absolutely would. This book captures exactly why. In 1863, an English woman set off by train on the first organized tour of Switzerland. More than a century later, the author of this book uses her journal a a guide. 

Twain humorously recounts his walking tour through the Swiss Alps. This was originally written as part of a series of five non-fiction travel books documenting his journey through Europe. If you like this one, pick up The Innocents Abroad that's considered a prequel to my recommendation.

Best Fiction Books Set in Switzerland

There are a few classic fiction books set in Switzerland that shouldn't be missed before traveling there either.

This is a children's classic for a reason. The book follows Heidi as she is sent to live in the Swiss Alps with her grandfather. It's a heartwarming choice for a trip to Switzerland, particularly if you're going to appreciate the scenic mountainscapes. It makes me want to braid my hair and run through slopes of wildflowers.

When thirteen-year-old Dinnie's aunt and uncle take her to Switzerland in search of opportunity, she isn't so sure about their judgment. Enrolled in an international school in Switzerland, she sheds her old skin and discovers the beauty of nature and her place in the world.

This isn't exactly a heartwarming tale like Heidi is, but it is partly set in Geneva in the eastern part of Switzerland. There is a little debate whether or not Frankenstein should be considered a Swiss classic as the book is set before Geneva technically became a part of Switzerland, but we'll roll with it for the sake of the gothic novel fans. 

This one earns a place on my list for sentimentality. Growing up, I was simply obsessed with this tale of a Swiss family shipwrecked in the East Indies on their way to Australia. It's an adventurous, lighthearted read to pair with your own adventure in Switzerland, even if it isn't set in Switzerland per se. 

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  1. Amanda | Sushi and Gelato
    March 30, 2019 at 3:08 pm

    This website is just what I’ve been looking for! I love to travel and love to read about the destination before heading out–fiction in addition to guidebooks. Great suggestions here on Switzerland, and I look forward to reading these before our family trip to Switzerland. I had planned on reading Heidi to my daughter before we go and had read that Shelley wrote Frankenstein while in Switzerland, but I hadn’t heard about the Mark Twain book. Thanks for the great suggestions.

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