Located along the Blue Ridge Parkway at an elevation of 3,468, charming Little Switzerland might just inspire you to do your best impression of Maria Von Trapp singing “The hills are alive with the sound of music…”
The alpine-like setting is said to have inspired the name of Little Switzerland, founded as a seasonal village in 1909. Over the years, the inns and businesses that sprang up around this popular summer escape kept with the theme, incorporating traditional Old World-style Swiss chalet architecture that gives the community the feel of a gingerbread village.
Things to Do in Little Switzerland
Today, Little Switzerland is still a popular stop for visitors to the Blue Ridge Mountains. And there’s plenty to explore from arts and crafts to historic gem mines to thrilling motorcycle routes. Here are some of our favorite things to do.
1. Grab a bite to eat. Pull up a chair at the Switzerland Cafe, adjacent to the General Store, for mouthwatering barbecue, sandwiches and salads. Or enjoy an evening of fine dining at the Switzerland Inn’s Chalet Restaurant overlooking the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains.
2. Tap your toes — or try your hand at a square dance — as you enjoy authentic mountain music. Geneva Hall hosts live music and dancing on Saturdays in July and August.
3. Take an unforgettable motorcycle ride along the Diamondback, a route that packs 190 steep hairpin curves into just 12 miles.
4. Search for buried treasure at Emerald Village, a collection of historic mines open for tours and family-friendly gem mining.
5. Shop for a unique souvenir of your time in the Blue Ridge. Visit the General Store to find food and specialty items, and enjoy thumbing through the sprawling collection of books at Little Switzerland Books & Beans. Head upstairs anova the bookshop to peruse the gallery of the Artisan League of Little Switzerland — a destination for locally handmade items and an official stop on the Blue Ridge Craft Trails.
7. Set out on a scenic drive to experience the best of the Blue Ridge. We recommend this loop drive route to get a great introduction to many of the top spots in the region.
8. Stay a while. Whether you prefer the simple luxury of the Switzerland Inn, the cozy rooms and spectacular views from the decks of the Alpine Inn or the laid-back feel of Big Lynn Lodge, there’s a perfect place here to kick back after a day of adventure.
Plan Your Trip to Little Switzerland
Little Switzerland is located at milepost 334 on the Blue Ridge Parkway, about 10 miles northbound from NC Hwy 80 or about 17 miles southbound from Linville Falls.
From Marion, take NC Hwy 22 north about 17 miles.
Many area businesses operate seasonally, opening in the spring around April or May and closing for the winter in October or November. Be sure to call ahead before visiting.