• Appenzell: Nowhere is folkloric Switzerland as well preserved as at the base of the green foothills of the Alpstein, where this old-fashioned country town still has cowmen in yellow breeches and scarlet waistcoats walking its streets. People in other parts of Switzerland tend to call the locals "hillbillies," and for many Americans attracted to the quirky and the quaint, it evokes the Ozarks. As you wander its centuries-old streets, sampling pear bread and honey cakes while in pursuit of local embroidery, you'll know why Appenzell is called the most authentic of Swiss villages.

  • Wengen: On a sheltered terrace high above the Lauterbrunnen Valley, this ski resort is one of the gems of the Bernese Oberland. No cars are allowed in this idyllic village, and from its streets (cleared of snow even in winter) and hotel windows, magnificent panoramic views greet you at every turn. The sunsets -- over crags and waterfalls -- are the most memorable we've ever seen in Switzerland. The village is best known for hosting the Ski World Cup, with the longest and one of the most dangerous downhill races in the world staged every January.

  • Sion: Although it's the small capital of the Valais, this old Roman town with a French-speaking population is often neglected by those rushing to sample the pleasures of Zermatt and Verbier. But sleepy Sion has its own rewards. The town is dominated by the castles of Valère and Tourbillon, and, in its greater days, Sion's bishops were big players on the medieval stage. The moody, melancholy look of the town has inspired such luminaries as Rilke, Goethe, and Rousseau.

  • Andermatt: At the crossroads of the Alps, in the Urseren Valley, this picture-postcard town lies at the junction of two alpine roads -- the St. Gotthard highway and the road to Oberalp and Furka. From the top of Gemstock, reached by cable car, you can see 600 alpine peaks. Hikers, cross-country skiers, and mountain bikers are attracted to this little village. The life of the town is centered on the main street, some sections of which are still paved with granite stones.

  • Morcote: At the southernmost tip of the Ceresio peninsula, 11km (7 miles) south of Lugano, stands Switzerland's most idyllic village. Built in the Lombard style familiar to those who have toured Milan, Morcote's arcaded houses, often clay-colored, open directly on the water, with everything set against a backdrop of vineyards and cypresses. For the best view of this cliché of Ticino charm, climb the 400 steps to the Chiesa di Madonna del Sasso, which dates from the 13th century.

  • Sils-Maria: On a pancake-flat plateau between Lake Sils, Lake Silvaplana, and the Corvatsch peak, this genteel Engadine village feels worlds away from its neighbor St. Moritz. Its most famous visitor was Nietzsche, who spent seven summers strolling around the lakes and through the forests, but everyone from Anne Frank to David Bowie has passed through. After a walk or carriage ride through car-free Val Fex, have coffee on the village square surrounded by traditional painted farmhouses. 

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.