Scenic view from Swiss train
Itineraries

The PERFECT 10 Day Switzerland Itinerary

May 16, 2024 Last Updated on May 16, 2024

In an ideal world, we’d all love to spend as much time as possible in Switzerland. In reality, though, where does an itinerary for Switzerland for 10 days fit in?

Though it’s possible to experience some Swiss highlights in a week, you could easily fill a fortnight in Switzerland – without seeing and doing everything you’d like to.

A Switzerland 10 day itinerary, then, lies somewhere between the two.

You can have sufficient quality time in several places to really enjoy them, while giving you scope to come back for more, at a later date. 

For me, this is the best Switzerland itinerary when you have around a week-and-a-half at your disposal. Follow this and you’ll spend time in historic Lucerne, active Interlaken, musical Montreux, and Zermatt, home of the famous Matterhorn.

And there are lots of glittering lakes, alpine meadows, and mountain peaks sandwiched in-between! 

This itinerary has been designed around the affordable, clean, and efficient Swiss rail system, but you can of course travel by car if you prefer.

Also included in this itinerary for 10 days in Switzerland are my top travel tips for planning your trip, travel times by train and car, and accommodation options. You’ll also discover things to do in each destination. 

Let’s get started on the best travel itinerary for Switzerland! We’ll start with things to think about before buying your train tickets, booking your accommodation, and considering package tours. 

[This post may contain compensated links. Please see my disclosure policy for more information.]

View over Thun and Lake Thun from Thun Castle
The beautiful town of Thun can be visited whilst you are in the Jungfrau Region.

What's in this Article

Useful tips for planning your itinerary for Switzerland

Swiss Travel Passes

If you decide to travel by train, then do consider buying a Swiss Travel Pass or Swiss Half Fare Card to save money on your transport costs.

> Click here to read the complete guide to Swiss rail passes

Location, Location

When booking your hotel rooms, look for accommodation close to the train station. Having the railway close by will save time when travelling between cities. Hotels located near the station also tend to be convenient for city centre attractions. 

If you arrive at the hotel before your room is ready, most properties will store your luggage until check in. That way you can start exploring your new location straightaway – without lugging your baggage around. 

Under each city, I’ve listed a recommended, highly rated hotel in the luxury, mid-range, and budget categories. 

Consider pre-packaged

If you would rather have a Swiss travel expert make all the required reservations on your behalf, then there is the option of booking a rail package. 

I recommend the rail packages offered by the reputable Switzerland Travel Centre. They offer various Grand Tours of Switzerland.

The nine day package, for example, is perfect for those wishing to see Switzerland in 10 days as you can customise the package by adding an additional day.

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Lake Lungern view from Luzern Interlaken Express
When travelling between Lucerne and Interlaken, either by car or train, you’ll pass by Lake Lungern.

The best 10 day Switzerland itinerary

A 10 day trip to Switzerland gives you enough time to spend several days in some of the country’s most sought-after destinations.

This suggested itinerary therefore includes stays in Lucerne, Interlaken, Montreux, and Zermatt. You can also add time in Zurich at the start or end of your trip, if you like. 

Lucerne offers a charming, historic Old Town, with a mediaeval bridge spanning the river running through the centre. Interlaken is a pretty, outdoorsy resort known for winter sports and hiking trails.

Montreux on the shores of Lake Geneva offers warm weather, a waterside promenade, Chillon Castle, and the Montreux Jazz Festival.

Zermatt is also known for skiing and hiking, plus ice skating, a vibrant après-ski scene, and smart shops.

Read on to find out what to do in each of these appealing destinations – as well as how to get there, where to stay, and more. 

10 day itinerary for Switzerland overview

  • Lucerne – 2 nights
  • Interlaken – 3 nights
  • Montreux – 2 nights 
  • Zermatt – 2 nights

🇨🇭 See all our Swiss destination guides > here.

Day 1 – Arrival and travel to Lucerne + sightseeing

View of Jesuit Church from Chapel Bridge in Lucerne
A stroll along Chapel Bridge and through the Old Town is a must when in Lucerne.

Travelling from Zurich to Lucerne

  • By train: 1 hour / Departure station: Zurich Main Station (Zurich HB), or Zurich Airport (Zurich Flughafen)
  • By car: 45 minutes

Overnight: Lucerne

Accommodation in Lucerne

Luxury: Hotel Schweizerhof | 5 stars | Spa & 2 restaurants | Click here to book

Mid-range: Hotel des Balances | 4 stars | Riverside restaurant | Click here to book

Budget: Hotel Anker | 3 stars | Central location & restaurant | Click here to book 

At around one hour from Zurich Airport, Lucerne makes the ideal first stop on a 10 day itinerary for Switzerland, by car or by train. Travel times are similar by either mode of transport. 

What makes life even easier is that you can travel from the train station at Zurich airport if you’d like to (the airport station is called Zurich Flughafen). There is also Zurich HB, the main train station in the city centre.

Regular connections will take you from the airport to the city, from which you can catch a train to Lucerne. 

Once you arrive in Lucerne, there is lots to see and do. Depending on what time you arrive, you can get started with sightseeing on day one. That would free up a full day to take a mountain excursion on your second day. 

Whether you see the sights on your first or second day, here’s what to do in the city of Lucerne. 

Water Tower and Chapel Bridge in Lucerne
Chapel Bridge is Lucerne’s most recognisable landmarks.

Explore the Old Town of Lucerne 

With its mediaeval squares, cobbled streets, and old bridges, Lucerne Old Town is one of the city’s main draws. Look out for the original oriel windows and painted facades in the Weinmarkt area.

Lucerne’s Old Town is also perfect for dining out, and retail therapy. You can shop here for fresh local produce, Swiss chocolate, army knives or watches, and clothing and accessories from both big brands and independent boutiques. 

You can also find many of the city’s best cafes and restaurants in the Old Town, whether you’re seeking a coffee break or a sumptuous dinner. 

Visit the ‘Dying Lion’ monument

This big, carved stone lion represents Swiss heroes who died during the late 18th century while trying to protect Louis XVI. The inscription, in Latin, dedicates the statue ‘to the loyalty and bravery of the Swiss’.

See Chapel Bridge

Dating back to 1333, Chapel Bridge is a favourite tourist and selfie spot. Sadly, it was damaged by fire in 1993. Though the bridge thankfully survives, you can see evidence of this on the decorative panels beneath the eaves.  

The Water Tower is even older, dating back to the turn of the 14th century. This has been used at various times as a prison, a treasury, and an archive.

Take a cruise on Lake Lucerne

Cruising picturesque Lake Lucerne is a must if you want to savour views of the crystal clear water, snow-capped mountain peaks, and four Swiss cantons. 

You can cruise on Lake Lucerne by luxury yacht, paddle steamer, or modern motorboat. 

> Check out a Lake Lucerne cruise option here

Day 2 – Full day in Lucerne + mountain excursion

Dragon Ride cable car at Mt. Pilatus, Switzerland
An excursion to Mt. Pilatus offers breathtaking views over Lake Lucerne.

Overnight: Lucerne

A 10 days in Switzerland itinerary gives you sufficient time to spend a day beyond Lucerne. 

Taking a mountain excursion to Mount Pilatus, Rigi, or Titlis is highly recommended.

Mount Pilatus

A bus ride to Kriens is the first step in getting to Mount Pilatus, and then you can take a cable car up the mountain. Once you reach the summit, a range of attractions awaits, including walking trails, restaurants, a rope play park, an adventure playground, and even sledding. 

> Click here to check prices and buy Mount Pilatus tickets

Mount Rigi

A serene cruise across Lake Lucerne to Vitznau is the first stage of the journey to Mount Rigi. From there, you can take a cogwheel train ride to the top.

When coming back down, you can also stop at Rigi Kaltbad station to spend time there, and perhaps, enjoy some time in the thermal baths. 

> Click here to check prices and buy Mount Rigi tickets

Mount Titlis 

Taking the train to Engelberg, then a cable car ride, is how to reach the summit of Mount Titlis from Lucerne. Once at the top, you can savour sweeping views over the Alps.

There’s also a range of activities and attractions, including sledding, a revolving cable car, snow tubing, the Cliff Walk, and the Glacier Cave.

> Click here to check prices and buy Mount Titlis tickets

Day 3 – Travel to Interlaken + lake cruise or Harder Kulm

Two Lakes bridge at Harder Kulm
There are fantastic views of Lakes Thun and Brienz and the Bernese Alps from Harder Kulm.

Travelling from Lucerne to Interlaken

  • By train: 2 hours / Departure station: Lucerne train station (Bahnhof Luzern)
  • By car: 1 hour 15 minutes

Overnight: Interlaken

Accommodation in Interlaken

Luxury: Victoria Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa | 5 stars | Spa, 3 restaurants & kids’ club | Click here to book

Mid-range: Hotel Interlaken | 4 stars | Restaurant & room service | Click here to book

Budget: Hotel Bernerhof | 3 stars | Central location & restaurant | Click here to book

Two hours on the Luzern – Interlaken Express – or a car journey of an hour and 15 minutes – is the next stage of your 10 day Swiss itinerary. 

The scenic resort of Interlaken is set among mountains and lakes and offers skiing and other winter sports, or summer hiking. There’s also lots to see and do in the surrounding area, including the following… 

Paddle steamer on Lake Thun
Lake cruises are a relaxing way to see the sights.

Join a Brienz or Thun lake cruise

Thunersee – or Lake Thun – is the biggest Swiss lake in the region. You can cruise, sail or sample various water sports here.

There are also pretty villages and towns dotted around the shoreline, including Faulensee, Oberhofen, Thun, and Spiez. 

Taking a Lake Thun boat trip is one of the best things to do in Interlaken. Our favourite is the sunset cruise, complete with Swiss cheese fondue and wine. 

Alternatively, take a trip on the waters of Brienzersee, aka Lake Brienz. You can visit villages such as Brienz, try stand-up paddle boarding, or look out for waterfalls from the boat.

Head to Harder Kulm

As Interlaken’s very own mountain, Harder Kulm is one of the most popular attractions in the area. It’s really easy to visit, too, thanks to the funicular railway running daily between mid April and early December.

Services run half hourly, and the trip takes just ten minutes. 

From Harder Kulm you can enjoy panoramic views of the Bernese Alps, plus lakes Brienz and Thun.

You can also find walking trails, a kids’ playground, a restaurant, and the Two Lakes Bridge at the summit.

Day 4 – Full day in Interlaken + Jungfraujoch

Jungfrau train in the Bernese Oberland
An excursion to Jungfraujoch is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Overnight: Interlaken

Once you’ve explored Harder Kulm and/or the local lakes, next up on your Switzerland itinerary in 10 days by train or car is the Jungfrau region.

A day trip to Jungfraujoch, aka the ‘Top of Europe’, is highly recommended. Trains operate all year round to the summit, or you can take a cable car ride for part of the way instead. 

The Top of Europe is almost 3,500 metres above sea level. As well as breathtaking views over the Swiss peaks and the Aletsch Glacier, there are shops, restaurants, and a snow sports park at the summit.

If you have time, you could also stop at Wengen or Lauterbrunnen on the way back to Interlaken.

 > Click here to book your Jungfraujoch train ticket

Day 5 – Full day in Interlaken + Grindelwald or Schilthorn

Panoramic view from Grindelwald First in Switzerland
Grindelwald First is well-known for its adventure activities and its stunning views.

Overnight: Interlaken

For your second full day in Interlaken, visiting either Schilthorn or Grindelwald-First is recommended.

Grindelwald and Grindelwald-First

You can drive, or travel by train, between Interlaken and Grindelwald in around half an hour. 

Grindelwald offers a range of shops, cafes, and restaurants, plus wellness centres, and winter sports facilities. There is also an indoor rope park, and swing and rope walk at Grindelwald Glacier. 

You can also take a cable car to Grindelwald First from the town of Grindelwald. This operates all year round.

At the summit, the First Flyer Zipline, a great restaurant, Trottibike scooter rides, mountain carts, and the First Cliff Walk await. 

Schilthorn

Schilthorn featured in the James Bond movie On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. You can take a train and cableway to get there from Interlaken. 

As well as sweeping views from the glass-floored observation deck, and a thrilling circular walk, there’s a number of Bond-themed attractions at the summit. 

You could also visit the charming, authentic Swiss village of Mürren en route.

> Click here to book your Schilthorn tickets

Day 6 – Travel to Montreux + sightseeing

Chillon Castle at Montreux, Switzerland
Chateau Chillon is Switzerland’s most-visited monument.

Travelling from Interlaken to Montreux

  • By train: Intercity – 2 hours 20 minutes or GoldenPass Express – 3 hours 10 minutes / Departure station: Interlaken Ost train station
  • By car: 1 hour 40 minutes

Overnight: Montreux

Accommodation in Montreux

Luxury: Fairmont Le Montreux Palace | 5 stars | Spa, 2 pools & 5 restaurants | Click here to book

Mid-range: Hotel Victoria Glion | 4 stars | Outdoor pool & restaurant | Click here to book

Budget: Swiss Historic Hotel Masson | 3 stars | Lakeside location & restaurant | Click here to book

There are two ways to travel by train from Interlaken to Montreux. The first is by intercity train via Visp, which takes about two hours and 20 minutes.

Alternatively, take a trip on the scenic GoldenPass Line. At over three hours, this is a longer journey, but it’s worth it for the panoramic views.

Whether you take the scenic route or not – or even go by car – Montreux certainly belongs on your 10 day Switzerland train itinerary.

The town is backed by the Swiss Alps and nestled on the shores of Lake Geneva, and a lovely lakefront promenade runs along by the water.   

There are plenty of sights to see in Montreux and the surrounding area. Or you could simply wander along the walking trails, or take a lake cruise. 

Seasonal activities in Montreux include the Christmas market, and the world famous Montreux Jazz Festival, held in July. 

View of Lake Geneva from St. Saphorin.
Near Montreux, pretty villages and vineyards line the hillside beside Lake Geneva.

Chillon Castle

Fairytale Château de Chillon occupies a small promontory at the eastern end of Lake Geneva.

The mediaeval structure is both historic and very photogenic. Not least as it’s surrounded by water, which adds to the ethereal feel. 

Lakeside Promenade

Running alongside the lake, Montreux’s Chemin Fleuri (or ‘Flower Path’) stretches for 13 kilometres from Vevey to Chateau Chillon. 

Lined with colourful flowers, palms, sculptures and stunning lake views, a stroll along the promenade is a must.

Queen: The Studio Experience

Queen: The Studio Experience can be found in the former Mountain Studios in the Casino Barrière de Montreux.

The music-themed museum is dedicated to the British rock group Queen, who used the studios between 1978 and 1995.

Lead singer Freddie Mercury recorded his last songs here, and the museum was opened by Brian May in 2013. 

Freddie Mercury statue

Music fans will also want to see the statue of Freddie Mercury in Montreux. It can be found in front of the covered market, close to the tourist office. 

Planning a trip to Switzerland?

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Day 7 – Full day in Montreux + Vevey or Gruyeres

Tourists stroll around the village centre in Gruyeres, Switzerland.
The pretty Medieval village of Gruyeres can be visited on a day trip from Montreux.

This suggested Switzerland in 10 days tour package gives you time to include a day trip to Vevey or Gruyeres from Montreux. 

Vevey

It’s really easy to visit neighbouring Vevey from Montreux. Just continue heading north from Montreux along the Flower Path (the lakeside promenade), and after a couple of miles – or a few kilometres – you’ll get there.

Vevey offers a pleasant central lakeside square, Grande Place; a Charlie Chaplin statue; and a network of streets lined with tempting shops, cafes, and restaurants.

There’s also the Läderach chocolatier, and several interesting museums.

Gruyeres

The name of Gruyeres is famous among cheese rather than chocolate fans, but does in fact offer both.

This beautiful hilltop Swiss village offers a 13th century castle, a cheese factory, the Maison Cailler Chocolate factory (a few kilometres away in Broc), hikes to Gorges de la Jogne, and more.

Day 8 – Travel to Zermatt + sightseeing

View of Matterhorn and Gornergrat train
A cogwheel train takes passengers to Gornergrat for incredible views of the Matterhorn.

Travelling from Montreux to Zermatt

  • By train: 2 hours 40 minutes / Departure station: Montreux train station (Gare de Montreux)
  • By car: 2 hours 40 minutes

Overnight: Zermatt

Accommodation in Zermatt

Luxury: The Omnia | 5 stars | Spa, indoor pools & restaurant | Click here to book

Mid-range: BEAUSiTE Zermatt | 4 stars | Spa, indoor pool & 2 restaurants | Click here to book

Budget: Hotel Bristol | 3 stars | Sauna & steam room, & bar | Click here to book

The last stop on your Switzerland itinerary for 10 days from Zurich is Zermatt.

This car-free resort lies in the shadow of the Matterhorn, and is in many ways the quintessential Alpine town. It’s popular with skiers, and for course anyone who wants to see the iconic mountain with its triangular peak. 

If you arrive in Zermatt by car, note that you need to leave your vehicle at the car park in Täsch, which is provided for this purpose.

You can then transfer to Zermatt via a shuttle train service which operates very frequently.

Depending on what time you arrive in Zermatt, you can spend the rest of the day wandering around the pretty, car-free town.

Day 9 – Full day in Zermatt

Matterhorn with reflection in Riffelsee lake
There are lots of hiking trails, including one to Riffelsee (pictured), around Zermatt.

If you’re following this 10 days Switzerland itinerary in winter, then you may well be tempted to spend the day skiing.

Otherwise, things to do during your one full day in Zermatt include visiting Gornergrat and the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise.

Gornergrat

You can take a trip on a rack railway to Gorner ridge. Gornergrat services depart daily, and the journey takes around half an hour.

There are fabulous views from the ridge, and you can also look out for local wildlife including chamois, ibex, and marmots.

You could also take a hike, do some gift or souvenir shopping, or dine out with a view. 

Matterhorn Glacier Paradise

The highest cable car station in Europe can be reached via a three-sector gondola trip. You can see 38 mountain peaks and 14 glaciers from here. 

Matterhorn Glacier Paradise offers skiing, dining, ice toboggan rides, a cinema, shopping, and the Glacier Palace. 

For a little taste of Italy, why not continue on to Cervinia from Matterhorn Glacier Paradise?  In just 90 minutes it is possible to travel from Zermatt all the way to Italy by cable car!

Day 10 – Travel to Zurich + sightseeing

Small boats moored on River Limmat in Zurich with Old Town buildings in the background
The vibrant city of Zurich offers plenty to see and do.

Travelling from Zermatt to Zurich

  • By train: 3 hours 20 minutes / Departure station: Zermatt Bahnhof
  • By car: 4 hours

Accommodation in Zurich

> Click here to find hotels in central Zurich

> Click here to find Zurich airport hotels 

The final journey of your trip involves travelling back to Zurich from Zermatt. As mentioned above, you can travel to the train station in the city centre, before taking a direct connection to Zurich airport if required. 

If you do have some time during the day – or even to spend the night – before departing Switzerland, then exploring Zurich is very worthwhile.

The Old Town and Lindenhof are worth discovering, and both are perfect for unwinding before your flight. 

Zurich Old Town 

Straddling the Limmat River in the centre, Zurich Old Town is the prettiest part of the city. You can also enjoy – and capture on camera – superb views over the water from Limmatquai. 

Of all the bridges across the river, the “love lock” Mühlesteg Footbridge is unmissable, as there are hundreds of love locks decorating it.

Lindenhof

The tranquil green space at Lindenhof offers Old Town views, and is a peaceful spot to spend time in before flying home – or onwards from Switzerland.

A Roman fort once stood on the site and the park is now popular for picnics, playing outdoor games, and live music.

SBB train in Switzerland
Whether you choose to travel by train or car, you’ll see a lot with this 10 day Switzerland itinerary.

Travel times from Geneva and Basel

This Swiss itinerary for 10 days assumes you’ll be arriving in Zurich, as that is Switzerland’s most popular international hub. However, a significant proportion of visitors do arrive in Basel or Geneva. 

Travelling from Geneva to Lucerne

  • By train: 3 hours / Departure station: Geneva Cornavin station (Gare de Genève)
  • By car: 3 hours 10 minutes

Travelling from Zermatt to Geneva

  • By train: 4 hours (via Visp) / Departure station: Zermatt Bahnhof
  • By car: 2 hours 50 minutes

Travelling from Basel to Lucerne

  • By train: 1 hour 5 minutes / Departure station: Basel SBB train station
  • By car: 1 hour 25 minutes

Travelling from Zermatt to Basel

  • By train: 3 hours 25 minutes (via Visp) / Departure station: Zermatt Bahnhof
  • By car: 3 hours 30 minutes
Wooden chalets line the main street of Lauterbrunnen with Staubbach Falls in the distance
Lauterbrunnen is one of the not-to-be-missed villages in the Jungfrau Region.

10 Day Switzerland Itinerary | Final Thoughts

A 10 day Swiss itinerary gives you enough time to explore this exceptional country without rushing around too much.

By spending two to three nights in Lucerne, Interlaken, Montreux, and Zermatt, you have time to discover not only the towns and cities themselves, but also the surrounding area. 

Whether you soak in the thermal baths at Mount Rigi, cruise on Lake Thun, stroll from Montreux to Vevey, or take the rack railway to Gornergrat, Switzerland has so much to offer.

Then there’s all that chocolate and cheese, plus the picturesque lakes, glaciers, meadows, gorges, and of course mountains. 

Follow this ten day itinerary and you can truly sample a slice of all that Switzerland has to offer – while whetting your appetite to come back for more in future, of course!

🇨🇭 Would you prefer a 7-day Switzerland itinerary, or are you planning two weeks in Switzerland? Read all our Swiss itineraries > here.


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