Spiez, Switzerland
Planning

7 day Switzerland Itinerary (Plus 3, 5, 10 and 14-day options)

October 22, 2019
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Deciding which places to include in your Switzerland itinerary can be one of the hardest parts of the whole trip planning process.  Which towns and cities you visit will largely depend on how much time you can spend in Switzerland as well as your particular interests. 

Many visitors can only spend 5 or 7 days in Switzerland, so I thought I’d share my best Switzerland itinerary ideas for both of these durations as well as longer and shorter stays.

All these Swiss itinerary options are suitable for both train travellers and those who would prefer to rent a car and enjoy a Switzerland road trip.

To help you visualise where the Switzerland itineraries mentioned in this article will take you, use the map below as a guide.

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Switzerland Itinerary – 7 days

In a perfect world, a week in Switzerland is not enough as there is just so much to see and do, however it is long enough for you to experience some of the most popular places to visit in Switzerland.

No doubt Switzerland’s famous Alps are on your must-visit list and this 7 days in Switzerland itinerary gives you the opportunity to visit some real beauties. It also includes the picturesque city of Lucerne with its medieval covered wooden bridge and pretty Old Town.

This is my recommended Switzerland itinerary for 7 days.

1 week Switzerland itinerary overview

  • Lucerne – 2 nights
  • Interlaken – 3 nights
  • Zermatt – 1 night

Day 1 – Arrive into Zurich and travel to Lucerne

By train: 1 hour / By car: 45 minutes

Sightseeing in Lucerne (depending on time of arrival)

Overnight: Lucerne

Click here to browse hotels in Lucerne | Click here to browse Lucerne sightseeing options

Day 2 – Full day in/around Lucerne 

Spend your day exploring the Old Town and Lake Lucerne and/or enjoy a mountain excursion to Mt. Titlis, Mt. Pilatus or Mt. Rigi.

Overnight: Lucerne

Day 3 – Travel to Interlaken

By train: 1 hour 50 minutes / By car: 1 hour

Sightseeing in Interlaken, Harder Kulm funicular, lake cruise

Overnight: Interlaken

Click here to browse hotels in Interlaken | Click here to browse Interlaken sightseeing options

If the weather isn’t kind during your stay in Interlaken there is still plenty to do. In this article you’ll find lots of things to do in Interlaken on a rainy day.

Day 4 – Sightseeing in Jungfrau Region

Suggested: Jungfraujoch excursion (option to stop at Wengen and/or Lauterbrunnen in either direction)

Overnight: Interlaken

Day 5 – Sightseeing in Jungfrau Region

Suggested: Grindelwald-First or Schilthorn excursion (option to stop at Murren and/or Birg in either direction) or get your adrenaline pumping with a tandem paragliding flight.

Overnight: Interlaken

Day 6 – Travel to Zermatt

By train: 2 hours 40 minutes / By car: 2 hours 55 minutes*

*This route travels via the Lotschberg Tunnel.  You are required to drive your car onto a special car-train to go through the tunnel.  The cost is around CHF25 per vehicle for the 10-minute journey through the tunnel.

TIP: Arrive in Zermatt by midday so you have time to enjoy an excursion on the Gornergrat train or the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise cableway to see the Matterhorn up close.

Overnight: Zermatt

Click here to browse hotels in Zermatt | Click here to browse sightseeing options in Zermatt

Day 7 – Return to Zurich

By train: 4 hours / By car: 4 hours

Note: Whilst I refer to Interlaken in this Switzerland one week itinerary above, you could opt to stay at Lauterbrunnen, Grindelwald or another nearby village should you prefer.

You could start and/or finish this Switzerland 7 day itinerary in Geneva or Basel.  Travel times and distances should be amended accordingly.

Jungfraubahn
Enjoy a day trip to Jungfraujoch from Interlaken.

Switzerland Itinerary – 3 days

Only have three days to enjoy the best places in Switzerland? May I suggest quality over quantity?  I recommend you choose just one place as your base on your Switzerland trip and see it properly rather than squeeze too much in.

Although you’d probably like to fit in as much in three days as you would if you had one week in Switzerland, you’re not going to fully appreciate the places you visit if you overdo it. Sometimes – and definitely in this case – less is more!

What is your ‘must see’ in Switzerland?  If it’s the Alps, you have plenty of options.  Spend your three days in Switzerland in either Lucerne, Interlaken or Zermatt.

Interested in learning more about using the Swiss Rail System to travel around Switzerland? Read our comprehensive guide here.

If it’s the charm of Switzerland’s elegant medieval cities that you’ve always wanted to experience, Zurich, Bern and Lucerne all offer plenty to see and do. 

Basing yourself in one destination doesn’t mean you can’t visit other places. One benefit of having a single base is that you will save valuable time by not having to change accommodation each night.  A day trip from Interlaken to Lucerne (or vice versa) is definitely possible so you can still combine the best of both worlds from one convenient base.


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Switzerland Itinerary – 5 days

If you don’t have a full week available for your visit and you can only spend 5 days in Switzerland, I suggest you follow days one to four of the 7 day itinerary above and return to Zurich on day five.

5 day Switzerland itinerary overview

  • Lucerne – 2 nights
  • Interlaken – 2 nights

This Switzerland 5-day itinerary still gives you the chance to explore two of Switzerland’s highlights, Lucerne and the Jungfrau region, without being too rushed.

Chapel Bridge, Lucerne
Lucerne’s Chapel Bridge is a must-see when visiting the city.

Switzerland Itinerary – 10 days

If you do have a few more days available to add to your Switzerland itinerary, 10 days in total gives you the option to add another destination or two. I’d include a couple of nights in Zurich and an overnight stay at lovely Montreux on the Swiss Riviera.

Here’s my recommended itinerary for 10 days in Switzerland

10 day Switzerland itinerary overview

  • Zurich – 2 nights
  • Lucerne – 2 nights
  • Interlaken – 3 nights
  • Montreux – 1 night
  • Zermatt – 1 night

Day 1 – Arrive into Zurich 

Sightseeing in Zurich (depending on time of arrival)

Overnight: Zurich

Click here to browse hotels in Zurich | Click here to browse Zurich sightseeing options

Day 2 – Full day in/around Zurich

Explore the Old Town and Lake Zurich and/or enjoy a day trip to Stein am Rhein and the Rhine Falls.

Overnight: Zurich

Read more suggestions for things to do in Zurich in this article.

Day 3 – Travel to Lucerne

By train: 1 hour / By car: 45 minutes

Sightseeing in Lucerne (depending on time of arrival)

Overnight: Lucerne

Click here to browse hotels in Lucerne | Click here to browse Lucerne sightseeing options

Day 4 – Full day in/around Lucerne

Explore the Old Town and Lake Lucerne and/or enjoy a mountain excursion to Mt. Titlis, Mt. Pilatus or Mt. Rigi.

Overnight: Lucerne

Day 5 – Travel to Interlaken

By train: 1 hour 50 minutes / By car: 1 hour

Sightseeing in Interlaken town, Harder Kulm funicular, lake cruise

Overnight: Interlaken

Click here to browse hotels in Interlaken | Click here to browse Interlaken sightseeing options

Day 6 – Sightseeing in Jungfrau Region

Suggested: Jungfraujoch excursion (option to stop at Wengen and/or Lauterbrunnen in either direction)

Overnight: Interlaken

Montreux, Switzerland
The beautiful city of Montreux sits on the shores of Lake Geneva on the Swiss Riviera.

Day 7 – Sightseeing in Jungfrau Region

Suggested: Grindelwald-First or Schilthorn excursion (option to stop at Murren and/or Birg in either direction)

Overnight: Interlaken

Day 8 – Travel to Montreux

By train: 2 hours 45 minutes+ / By car: 1 hour 40 minutes

Suggested: Sightseeing in Montreux, Chillon Castle, Vevey, lake cruise, ½ day trip to Gruyeres

Overnight: Montreux

Click here to browse hotels in Montreux | Click here to browse Montreux sightseeing options

+This route goes via Visp. You can also take the GoldenPass Line from Interlaken to Montreux via Zweisimmen – journey time 3 hours 45 minutes.

Day 9 – Travel to Zermatt

By train: 2 hours 35 minutes / By car: 2 hours^

Arrive by midday so you have time to enjoy an excursion on the Gornergrat train or the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise cableway to see the Matterhorn up close.

Overnight: Zermatt

Click here to browse hotels in Zermatt | Click here to browse sightseeing options in Zermatt

^Zermatt is a car-free town.  All vehicles must be parked in a parking station at Tasch and visitors can transfer to Zermatt by shuttle train.

Day 10 – Return to Zurich

By train: 4 hours / By car: 4 hours

Cable car in Zermatt
Enjoy great views of the Matterhorn and surrounding Alps on an excursion to Matterhorn Glacier Paradise.

Switzerland Itinerary 14 days

If, when planning your Switzerland itinerary, two weeks is the amount of time you have available, you’re going to see a great deal of the country and variety of landscapes.

From the attractive cities of Zurich and Lucerne, to the stunning scenery of the Swiss Alps, and the picturesque lakeside towns of Montreux and Lugano, you’ll enjoy a varied and scenic Switzerland vacation.

2 weeks in Switzerland itinerary overview

  • Zurich – 2 nights
  • Lucerne – 2 nights
  • Interlaken – 3 nights
  • Montreux – 1 night
  • Zermatt – 1 night
  • Lugano – 2 nights
  • St Moritz – 2 nights

Use the first nine days of the 10-day Switzerland travel itinerary above for the first part of your trip and then add the following days:

Day 10 – Travel Zermatt to Lugano

By train: 5 hours 20 minutes / By car: 3 hours 10 minutes (from Tasch)

Sightseeing late afternoon (depending on time of arrival)

Overnight: Lugano

Click here to browse hotels in Lugano | Click here to browse sightseeing options in Lugano

Day 11 – Full day sightseeing in Lugano

Explore the city and lakefront promenade, ride the funicular to Monte Bre for spectacular views over Lake Lugano or visit Swissminiatur Open-Air Museum.

Overnight: Lugano

Not sure which month you should travel. This article will help you to decide the best time to visit Switzerland.

Day 12 – Travel Lugano to St. Moritz

By train: 3 hours 50 minutes / By car: 2 hours 40 minutes

Sightseeing in St. Moritz

Overnight: St. Moritz

Click here to browse hotels in St. Moritz | Click here to browse sightseeing options in St. Moritz

Day 13 – Full day in St. Moritz

Enjoy a mountain excursion, have a picnic by the lake or take a scenic ride aboard the Bernina Express.

Overnight: St. Moritz

Day 14 – Travel St. Moritz to Zurich

By train: 3 hours 10 minutes / By car: 2 hours 50 minutes


So, there you have my suggested itineraries for 3, 4, 7, 10 and 14 days in Switzerland. Of course you can amend the itineraries to suit your personal interests but they should be a good starting point to help get your Switzerland trip planning off on the right foot.

Choosing your transport

Travelling around Switzerland by train

Now you have an idea of which places you’ll be visiting, it’s time to decide on your method of transport. Switzerland’s rail network is one of the best in the world and trains, and connecting buses, take you all over the country with ease.

If you do plan to travel by train, it’s definitely worth considering purchasing a Swiss Travel Pass as this covers all public transport within Switzerland, free entry to over 500 museums, and 50% off most cable cars and funiculars.

Find out more about the Swiss Travel Pass here.

Most trains in Switzerland don’t require reservations – you just hop aboard the next available train that suits you. The Swiss Railways SBB app is a handy tool to download to look up timetables.

Travelling around Switzerland by car

Renting a car can give you a bit more flexibility as well as the opportunity to stop where and when you like. You’ll need to consider parking and fuel costs but if you are someone who doesn’t like being committed to a timetable, driving in Switzerland could be the way to go for you.

Switzerland’s roads are excellent and the mountain passes, with their many hairpin bends, are a highlight for many drivers. If you’re not too keen on a white-knuckle drive, don’t panic! All of the destinations mentioned in our itineraries above can be reached without travelling on a super-twisty mountain pass.

To plan your exact driving route, take a look at the AA Route Planner. I find it really helpful as it allows you to include via points and see the latest traffic warnings for your chosen route.


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