Spiez, Switzerland
Planning Itineraries

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

December 9, 2021 Last Updated on August 25, 2022

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 7 day Switzerland itinerary ideas or for both of these duration as well as longer and shorter stays.

All these Swiss itinerary options are suitable for both train travelers 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 and go on best of Switzerland tour. 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 itinerary for Switzerland overview

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

This itinerary in Switzerland is ideal for travellers who only have one week in Switzerland and would like to do a round-trip itinerary starting and finishing in Zurich.

Day 1 – Arrive into Zurich and travel to Lucerne

By train: 1 hour / By car: 45 minutes

Overnight: Lucerne

Lucerne Switzerland
Lucerne is one of Switzerland’s most beautiful cities.

Sightseeing in Lucerne (depending on time of arrival). Our suggestions include:

Stroll through the Old Town

A wander through the Old Town is for many the highlight of a visit to Lucerne. This is not an ordinary city centre; it’s a place lined with charming cobblestoned streets, medieval squares and ancient bridges.

In the Weinmarkt area, pay close attention to make sure you spot the painted facades and original oriel windows Lucerne is famous for.

Lucerne’s Old Town is also great for shopping and dining out. Whether you want to buy fresh local produce, Swiss items like watches, chocolates and army knives or clothing and accessories by international fashion brands, there are lots of department stores, smaller shops and boutiques to browse.

Many of the best cafes and restaurants are also found here, so whether it’s a coffee and cake break or a three course dinner you will have no trouble in finding a fabulous eatery in which to while away the hours. 

Visit the Chapel Bridge

Incredibly, Chapel Bridge dates back to 1333 and visitors from all over the world flock to see this medieval wooden footbridge at close quarters – and of course to snap themselves standing by it for posterity. 

In 1993 fire caused severe damage to the structure. Fortunately it remains, but the evidence can be clearly seen on the decorative panels beneath the eaves.  

The Water Tower dates back even further to the turn of the century. Although it doesn’t store water, it has been used at various times as a treasury, a prison and an archive.

See the ‘Dying Lion’

This is one of the most famous monuments in the world, let alone Switzerland or even Lucerne. Mark Twain described the big cat carved from stone as one of the most emotive sculptures to be found anywhere.

The ailing lion is said to represent Swiss heroes who died while trying to protect Louis XVI during the late 18th century. Its latin inscription roughly translates as ‘to the loyalty and bravery of the Swiss’.

Take a cruise on Lake Lucerne

With clear blue waters set against a backdrop of snow-topped peaks, Lake Lucerne is a picture perfect body of water and taking a lake cruise is a must for many visitors. 

The lake is 38 kilometres long and bordered by four Swiss cantons, and you can cruise its famous waters by paddle steamer, luxury yacht or modern motorboat. Some options include morning tea or lunch, served as you glide over the surface of the water.  > Click here to check cruise options and buy your tickets.

Day 2 – Full day in/around Lucerne 

Overnight: Lucerne

Titlis Rotair cable car
Mt. Titlis is a popular day trip destination from Lucerne.

If you have another day to spend in the Lucerne area and would like to explore the surrounding area, taking a trip to one of the following peaks is highly recommended.

Mount Titlis 

A train to Engleberg followed by a cable car ride will take you to the summit of Mount Titlis. From here there are panoramic views over the majestic Swiss alps, as well as range of activities to get involved in.

Snow tubing and sledding area ideal for thrill seekers, while the Cliff Walk, revolving cable car and Glacier Cave are simply waiting to be explored.  > Click here to buy your Mt. Titlis tickets.

Mount Pilatus 

The first stage in reaching Mount Pilatus is a bus ride to Zentrum Pilatus, where you can board the cable car for the trip up the mountain. The journey is just as memorable as any other part of the day.

Once you arrive there’s a whole smorgasbord of delights to discover including restaurants, walking trails, a rope play park, sledding and an adventure playground. > Click here to buy your Mt. Pilatus tickets.

Mt. Rigi

The journey to Mount Rigi begins with a cruise across Lake Lucerne to Vitznau. From there the charming cogwheel railway will transport you to the top, where sweeping views over the alps are yours to savour.

A leisurely trip back down the mountain is recommended, so you can stop at each station to explore.

Alternatively, take the cable car to Weggis, where you can cruise the lake once more while en route to Lucerne. > Click here to buy your Mt. Rigi tickets.

Day 3 – Travel to Interlaken

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

Overnight: Interlaken

Two Lakes Bridge at Harder Kulm, Interlaken
Harder Kulm’s Two Lakes Bridge is the perfect spot to admire the surrounding scenery.

There are plenty of great choices when in comes to sightseeing in Interlaken. Our recommendations for an enjoyable one day Interlaken itinerary include:

Harder Kulm

Harder Kulm is Interlaken’s own mountain and one of the most popular attractions in the area. It can also be accessed directly via the funicular railway, which can be reached from Interlaken Ost station via just five minutes’ walk.

Services run half hourly each day from mid April to early December and the scenic trip takes only ten minutes. 

From the summit there are stunning views over lakes Brienz and Thun, as well as the Bernese Alps. At the top you will also find a restaurant, walking trails, a kids’ playground and the Two Lakes Bridge.

Don’t miss seeing the views from the latter, which are breathtaking.

Lake cruise on Lake Brienz to Brienz, or on Lake Thun to Thun and Spiez

Lake Thun is the largest lake and is known to the Swiss as Thunersee. You can sail on the lake, or try your hand at various water sports. Several villages are dotted around the shores of the lake, including Oberhofen, Faulensee, Thun and Spiez.

Taking a boat trip on Lake Thun is one of the most popular things to do in Interlaken, and among our favourites is the sunset cruise with wine and a Swiss cheese fondue. 

Known locally as Brienzersee, Lake Brienz is the smaller of the two lakes, but is more peaceful and just as pretty as Lake Thun. The active minded can try stand up paddle boarding, or you can sit back and relax on a modern boat for a cruise around the lake.

At the edge of the water you can see small villages, waterfalls and tree-clad hillsides. Of these Brienz is the most attractive, and you can take a cruise over the lake from Interlaken to Brienz. > Click here for cruise details.  

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

Overnight: Interlaken

Jungfraubahn
The Jungfraubahn takes passengers to Europe’s highest railway station at Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe.

Often referred to as the ‘Top of Europe’, taking a day trip to Jungfraujoch is a must for many visitors to the region. A series of shorter train trips spread over a two hour period culminates in the scenic ascent via the Jungfraubahn. Trains operate every day of the year.  

(Alternatively, you can take a cable car for part of the journey which reduces the travel time by around 45 minutes each way.)

The summit is almost 3,500 metres above sea level and offers incredible views over the surrounding peaks. There is also lots to do at the top, with a range of shops and restaurants and a snow sports park to keep visitors happily occupied. > Click here to book your Jungfraujoch train ticket.

If time permits, why not stop at the pretty villages of Wengen or Lauterbrunnen on the return journey?

Day 5 – Sightseeing in Jungfrau Region

Overnight: Interlaken

Schilthorn-Piz-Gloria-at-sunset
The views from the summit of Schilthorn are breathtaking.

There’s still so much to see in the Jungfrau region – today we recommend you visit either Grindelwald-First or Schilthorn.

Grindelwald and Grindelwald-First

You can drive from Interlaken to Grindelwald in around 30 minutes, with the train trip taking around the same amount of time.

The town itself offers a range of attractions including shops, cafes, bars and restaurants, spas and wellness centres and winter sports. There is also an indoor rope park, and at Grindelwald Glacier you can take a canyon walk or ride on the swing. 

Also popular is a trip to Grindelwald First, widely regarded as one of the best things to do from Interlaken. From the town of Grindelwald, a cable car service operates during all seasons and there is lots to do once you arrive at the mountain summit.

A great restaurant, the First Flyer Zipline, Trottibike scooter rides, the First Cliff Walk and mountain carts await those who make the trip to the top. 

Schilthorn

Another excursion well worth considering is to Schilthorn, famous as a film location for the Bond movie On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. The summit is around 3,000 metres above sea level and can be reached via train and cableway from Interlaken. 

As well as the superb mountain views from the observation deck with a glass floor, there are various Bond themed attractions at the summit. You can also take a thrilling circular walk around the cliff face.

The authentic Swiss village of Mürren is well worth exploring either on your way to or from Schilthorn.

The Schilthorn can be reached by cable car from Stechelberg which is easily reached from Interlaken. Simply take a train to Lauterbrunnen and then a local bus to the Schilthorn cable car station. > Click here to buy your Schilthorn tickets.

Tandem Paragliding

If neither or those excursions appeal, or you are a bit of a thrill seeker, why not book a tandem paragliding flight and see the beauty of the Swiss Alps from above? > Click here for further details and to book your flight.

Day 6 – Travel to Zermatt

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

Overnight: Zermatt

*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.

Gornergrat bahn with Matterhorn view
The Gornergrat excursion offers one of the best views of the Matterhorn.

We suggest you arrive in Zermatt by midday so that you have time to enjoy an excursion to see the Matterhorn up close and stroll around the picturesque village.

Gornergrat 

An original rack railway can take visitors from Zermatt to Gorner Ridge. The trip takes around half an hour and services depart frequently throughout the day.

Once you arrive, favourite things to do at Gornergrat include wildlife spotting, hiking, dining and souvenir shopping – and of course simply admiring the magnificent views. Ibex, chamois and marmots may be spotted in the area. > Click here to buy your tickets.

Matterhorn Glacier Paradise

Matterhorn Glacier Paradise is very aptly named, as it’s the highest European cable car station in terms of altitude. The 360 degree viewing platform here offers incredible views over 14 glaciers and 38 mountain peaks.

From car-free Zermatt, you can take a trip to the gondola station on the electric bus before the three-section trip to Matterhorn Glacier Paradise.

As well as soaking up the scenery, you can ski, take an ice toboggan ride or a trip into the Glacier Palace, or even watch a movie at the cinema. There is also a souvenir store and a restaurant. > Click here to buy your tickets.

Day 7 – Return to Zurich

By train: 4 hours / By car: 4 hours

Departure from Zurich

Zurich and the River Limmat
Zurich is an attractive city with plenty to see and do.

Although the city is often seen as a transport hub rather than a destination in itself, we highly recommend getting to know Zurich a little if time permits. The Old Town and Lindenhof in particular are delightful places in which to spend some time.

Zurich Old Town 

The Old Town straddles the Limmat River, and there are wonderful views over the water from the quay – Limmatquai.

This part of the city is both the most central and the most picturesque. Several bridges span the river, but don’t miss crossing the Muhlesteg Footbridge, which is decorated with numerous love locks.

Lindenhof

Once you’ve had your fill of wandering around the Old Town, stopping in cafes and browsing in the boutiques, Lindenhof offers a welcome change of pace. This peaceful green space overlooks the Old Town and was formerly the site of a Roman fort.

Picnicking here is popular, and you may hear live music or see the giant outdoor chess set being played during your visit. 

Depart Zurich after one week in Switzerland full of highlights and breathtaking scenery!

Note: Whilst I refer to Interlaken in this Switzerland one week itinerary above, you could opt to stay at Lauterbrunnen, Grindelwald, Wengen, Mürren 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.


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 days 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

If you’re keen to step outside your comfort zone, why not try one of these things to do in Interlaken for adrenaline junkies?

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 trip 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

For an alternative two-week Swiss itinerary by car, click here.


Final Thoughts

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. Ready to buy your Swiss Travel Pass? Get it 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.

Our guide to driving in Switzerland has lots of useful info and tips to help make your road trip go smoothly.


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