EXPLORE THE HIGHLIGHTS OF SWITZERLAND IN LUXURY
Switzerland is famous for its magnificent mountainous terrain and breathtaking alpine views. It’s easily one of the most picturesque countries that you could ever dream of exploring!
As a member of the United Nations, Switzerland is considered to be one of the most prosperous and stable countries in the world. On top of that, it’s known for its neutrality policy, which has kept the country out of war since 1505.
The national dishes of Switzerland, such as fondue and rosti, make it even more enticing and help draw in around 15 million visitors a year.
SWITZERLAND ITINERARY OVERVIEW
This 8 Day Switzerland Itinerary includes the exact journey I took, which provides a logical route that minimises backtracking and allows you to experience the diverse landscapes and attractions of Switzerland.
Please note that if you are looking to have a relaxing Swiss holiday, this itinerary is not for you! However, you can always make it less full on by adding a few extra nights at each of the incredible locations explored below.
Here is a quick overview of this amazing Switzerland itinerary, which starts and ends in Zurich:
🗺️ Day 1: Zurich – Start your trip in Zurich, the largest city in Switzerland. Explore the city’s vibrant culture and beautiful waterfront.
🗺️ Day 2: St. Moritz – Travel southeast towards St. Moritz, a renowned Alpine resort offering stunning mountain scenery and awesome outdoor activities.
🗺️ Day 3: Interlaken – Head to Interlaken. This picturesque town is the gateway to breathtaking landscapes and outdoor adventures.
🗺️ Day 4: Jungfrau – Explore the stunning Jungfrau region, which is known as the ‘Top of Europe’.
🗺️ Day 5: Bern – Travel to Bern, the capital city of Switzerland. Discover its well-preserved medieval old town, UNESCO World Heritage sites, and welcoming atmosphere.
🗺️ Day 6: Geneva – Make your way to Geneva and spend the day exploring all this beautiful city has to offer.
🗺️ Day 7: Zurich – Take the scenic route back to Zurich, making some incredible stops en route. Continue checking out the top things to do in this delightful city.
🗺️ Day 8: Depart Zurich – Finish exploring the highlights of Zurich and say goodbye (for now) to Switzerland! 😭
This is the exact Switzerland itinerary I did, and although it was fast-paced and involved a lot of time on the road, I found it to be a sufficient amount of time in each place to see the top highlights.
However, if you have more time, I thoroughly recommend adding an extra day or so in each location or perhaps venturing to some other destinations not mentioned in this guide, such as Zermatt via the Glacier Express, which is one of the world’s most scenic train journeys.
HOW TO BEGIN YOUR TRIP TO SWITZERLAND
Arriving in Switzerland by plane is the easiest and most convenient way to start your adventure in this awe-inspiring country. If you plan on following this exact itinerary, then I recommend flying into Zurich International Airport (ZRH) and beginning your trip around Switzerland from here.
I have put together this 8 Day Switzerland Itinerary based on my trip around the country by car, as we love the flexibility and convenience that hiring a car provides.
For all our road trips, we tend to use Discover Cars, which is an award winning car rental comparison website where you can find, compare and rent a car globally.
However, it’s also possible to do this Switzerland trip using the Swiss Travel Pass. This is Switzerland’s all-in-one pass for tourists, where you’ll get unlimited trips by train, bus and boat, discounted mountain rides and free museum entrances, for 3, 4, 6, 8 or 15 consecutive days.
BEST TIME TO VISIT SWITZERLAND
The best time to travel Switzerland depends on what you plan to do.
I personally prefer the Summer months in Switzerland (June – August) when temperatures are warm, there’s longer daylight hours, and the landscapes are vividly green.
However, visiting Switzerland in Winter (December – March) is absolutely magical as everywhere is enveloped in glistening white snow. You’ll also be able to go skiing in the Swiss Alps.
All in all, it’s a year-round destination suitable for all types of travellers, which makes planning the adventure all the more enjoyable
THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO TO SWITZERLAND
CURRENCY AND EXPENSES
The currency in Switzerland is the Swiss Francs (CHF) and the exchange rate is approximately $1 USD = $0.9 CHF.
In generl, Switzerland can be considered to be a relatively expensive destination to visit. The country’s high standard of living, strong currency (Swiss Franc), and overall high cost of goods and services contribute to its reputation for being pricey.
However, it’s important to note that there are always ways to manage costs and enjoy Switzerland on a budget. Opting for local eateries, exploring free attractions like natural landscapes and walking tours, and staying in budget accommodations or hostels can help mitigate the costs.
Although Switzerland might require careful budgeting, its breathtaking scenery and unique experiences make it all worthwhile!
When you arrive in Switzerland, you’ll probably want to get online. I recommend forgetting plastic sims and downloading an eSIM in advance, so you can get online as soon as you land and stay connected on your Switzerland trip. You can do this with Airalo, which is an incredible app, available in 200+ countries and regions. It gives you a variety of data packages to choose from to make your travels as easy as possible. This is what I personally use on all of my travels.
DAY 1: ZURICH
The first leg of this Switzerland itinerary begins in Zurich, which is an incredible city that somehow perfectly blends tradition, modernity, and natural beauty.
In terms of Zurich tourist attractions, one of the most amazing things you can do in the city is visiting Switzerland’s new chocolate museum – LINDT HOME OF CHOCOLATE! It’s got the biggest Lindt Chocolate Shop in the world, a HUGE chocolate fountain, and an amazing interactive chocolate tour (spoiler: there’s lots of free Lindt involved!) We literally spent hours here and even went to the Lindt cafe afterwards for more sweet treats…
Other highlights of Zurich include exploring Altstadt (the Old Town), which has narrow winding streets, medieval buildings, and picturesque squares.
To fully immerse yourself in this well-preserved historic district make sure you check out major landmarks like Grossmünster, Fraumünster, and St. Peter’s Church, which are all totally gorgeous.
While you’re in town it would be crazy to leave out the scenic beauty of Lake Zurich, which is surrounded by charming parks and promenades. You can also take a boat ride on the lake to enjoy the views and visit nearby towns.
For panoramic views of the entire city of Zürich and the Lake, head to Uetliberg. Take a short hike to the summit or hop on a train for a quick ride to enjoy the stunning views from the observation tower.
WHERE TO STAY IN ZURICH
Luxury: Park Hyatt Zurich
I stayed here with my partner, as it’s perfect for couples wanting a luxurious and unforgettable stay in Zurich. This boujee 5-star hotel is right in the heart of the commercial district and within easy walking distance of the Bahnhofstrasse shopping street.
However, Zurich has so many other amazing options. To find the best places to stay in Switzerland for your budget, use Hotellook to find and compare hotel prices. There’s more than 250,000 hotels in 205 countries on this platform, which works with data from more than 10 online booking systems, such as Booking.com, Agoda.com, Hotels.com, Expedia, and others ೃ⁀➷
DAY 2: ZURICH TO ST MORITZ
Today, on this whistle-stop tour of Switzerland, travel southeast towards the renowned Alpine resort of St. Moritz.
If you’re driving, the journey should take around 3 hours so long as you don’t make any stops. However, this may be hard to resist as you’ll pass through some of the most incredible landmarks in Switzerland, including quintessential Swiss villages and picturesque mountain passes.
I certainly recommend leaving a bit of time in your Switzerland itinerary to stop at some of the highlights en route, including:
- Walensee: As you leave Zurich, you’ll pass by Walensee, a beautiful lake surrounded by mountains. The winding road along its shores provides some truly gorgeous views.
- Flims/Laax: This region is known for its scenic beauty and you can catch glimpses of the imposing Rhine Gorge, also known as the “Swiss Grand Canyon.”
- Julier Pass: This iconic mountain pass offers sweeping views of the Alps, with the road winding through alpine meadows and revealing snow-capped peaks.
- Silvaplana and Silsersee: As you approach St. Moritz, you’ll drive alongside Lake Silvaplana and Lake Silsersee, surrounded by majestic mountains.
If you’re travelling on the Swiss Travel Pass, the journey will be a bit longer (around 4 hours) but it’s worth it, as the train journey from Zurich to St. Moritz is renowned for its scenic beauty.
Once you arrive in St. Moritz, you’ll fall in love with this dreamy alpine city – after all, this is where the whole idea of a winter holiday was born. The landscape of St. Moritz is honestly jaw dropping, combining crystal-clear lakes, glaciers and enchanting pine forests.
There’s no time to relax though – St. Moritz is a place where the adventure never stops. It’s made for hiking, biking, hang gliding, skiing, snowboarding, and sailing on the lake. The choices seem endless here, which made it one of our favourite stops on this Switzerland itinerary.
Another amazing thing you can do in St. Moritz is to ride the famous Bernina Express train through the snowy mountains to a place called Alp Grum, which takes about an hour. The journey is actually included in the Swiss Travel Pass (though you’ll need to reserve your seat in advance). Once you get to the top the views of the nearby glaciers and mountains are out of this world.
WHERE TO STAY IN ST. MORITZ
Luxury: Badrutt’s Palace Hotel
For a taste of pure luxury, we stayed at Badrutt’s Palace Hotel, which is a 5-star resort located in the centre of St. Moritz, featuring six restaurants and a gorgeous indoor pool. The coolest thing about this hotel is that in the Summer there’s a tennis court for guests to enjoy, which turns into an ice skating rink in the Winter! As you’d expect, the rooms are seriously elegant and overlook the surrounding mountains. You can even have your own butler (upon request!)
St Moritz does tend to be on the more expensive side hotel wise, but if there’s a bargain to be had, you’ll find it on Hotellook!
DAY 3: ST MORITZ TO INTERLAKEN
Today prepare for another long journey on the road – but trust me the scenery makes it all worthwhile.
By car, you’ll be travelling for around 4.5 hours, and by Swiss Travel Pass around 6 hours. Once you get to Interlaken, you’ll understand why you can’t leave this gorgeous part of Switzerland off your itinerary under any circumstances!
Once you’re here and have had a quick break to refuel ☕ I suggest heading to Lauterbrunnen Valley, which is referred to as The Valley Of 72 Waterfalls. You can get here by car or train in about 15 minutes from Interlaken.
When you arrive in the Valley, it’s an easy walk through the village to a number of scenic viewpoints of Staubbach Falls and the upper Lauterbrunnen Valley.
Staubbach Falls is actually one of the most impressive waterfalls I’ve ever seen! Cascading down from towering peaks that reach a staggering 300 meters in height, the falls gracefully merge with the river that runs through the heart of Lauterbrunnen.
After taking some amazing shots of the falls from Lauterbrunnen Village, follow the road leading down to the base of Staubbach Falls. You can walk up the stairs and step into a man-made grotto that takes you behind the waterfall itself.
What awaits you is a view of the distant Valley, filled with glaciers, that will leave you in awe. The beauty is so captivating, you’ll feel as though you’ve stepped into a real-life postcard.
On clear days, keep your eyes peeled for paragliders and base jumpers soaring high above, which adds an extra bit of magic to an already stunning backdrop.
If you have the energy, next up, I’d head to Murren Village just in time for dinner! This delightful car-free area is at the very end of the Lauterbrunnen Valley and accessible by cable car (which takes around 20 minutes).
Mürren has a truly peaceful atmosphere with quaint restaurants offering traditional Swiss dining, making it the perfect place to relax after a long travel day. Just don’t get too relaxed and miss the last cable car down! This is usually at 23.45pm (but do verify for yourself for the current season).
In Mürren, we had a delightful meal at Hotel Edelweiss, which has panoramic views of the surrounding Swiss Alps and Lauterbrunnen Valley. It’s well worth going for a post dinner stroll to experience the charming chalets, gorgeous views, and idyllic way of life in this little village..
DAY 4: INTERLAKEN
You can’t drive directly to Jungfrau, so start the trip from the Interlaken Ost station. Board the Bernese Oberland Railway to Lauterbrunnen or Grindelwald. From there, change to the Wengernalp railway, which leads you to Kleine Scheidegg. Finally, hop aboard the Jungfrau railway for the final leg of your journey. This cogwheel train takes you through the heart of the Eiger and Mönch mountains before reaching Jungfraujoch, the highest railway station in Europe. In total, this scenic journey takes about 2 hours and beautifully showcases the eternal ice and snow landscape of the Swiss Alps.
Once you reach Jungfrau, the grandeur of the surroundings is seriously overwhelming. At an altitude of 3,454 meters, Jungfrau offers a spectacular view of the Aletsch Glacier, the longest glacier in the Alps. The Ice Palace, a labyrinth of glacial ice, is another must-visit here. It’s an ethereal world of icy sculptures and chambers that feel like they’ve been borrowed from a fairytale.
For adventure seekers, there are various activities like skiing, snowboarding, and sledding. The winter months, particularly December to March, are perfect for these snow sports.
If you’re more inclined towards tranquil experiences, the Sphinx Observatory offers a fascinating insight into astronomical observations and research, along with panoramic views of the snow-covered peaks.
Overall, Jungfrau is a heavenly place that is indeed the epitome of the Swiss Alps’ unrivalled beauty.
When you get back to your base in Interlaken, you can either spend the day having a well deserved break, or check out more of the amazing sights in the area. Some of the top highlights that may appeal to you include:
- Trümmelbach Falls in the heart of Lauterbrunnen, which are the world’s only glacier waterfalls that are accessible underground by lifts, tunnels, paths, and platforms.
- For the truly adventurous, why not go Paragliding in Interlaken. This is one of the best experiences you can have during your visit to Switzerland and I guarantee you will remember it for a lifetime!
- Wengen Village, which is one of the best places to see in Lauterbrunnen. Here, there is an old church that makes a great vantage point to get some photos of the village and surrounding mountains.
WHERE TO STAY IN INTERLAKEN
Mid-Range: Hotel Interlaken
Hotel Interlaken is where I based myself, as it’s got gorgeous mountain views and is only a 15 minute drive from Lauterbrunnen Valley (or a twenty-minute train ride). It also offers an amazing buffet spread! But as always, to find hotels that best match your personal budget be sure to browse Hotellook.
DAY 5: INTERLAKEN TO BERN
Today, head northwest of Interlaken to Bern, the capital city of Switzerland, which is built around the Aare River. Fortunately, whether you’re travelling by car or train, this charming city is only around 45 minutes away from Interlaken.
Bern is truly the embodiment of a timeless European city that will no doubt enthral you – it’s got a really unique blend of historical grandeur and contemporary chic.
The city’s Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and for a good reason. Walking along the cobblestone streets and admiring the well-preserved medieval architecture is like stepping back in time. You can’t help but be impressed by the sandstone buildings, ornate fountains, and the iconic Zytglogge, a medieval clock tower that has been keeping time since the early 13th century. For an in depth insight, I highly recommend doing a guided tour of Bern.
For nature enthusiasts, Bern doesn’t disappoint. The city is home to the enchanting Rosengarten, an idyllic rose garden with over 200 varieties of roses, offering a tranquil retreat right in the heart of the city. The Bear Park is another must-visit, which pays homage to Bern’s emblematic animal. Here you can see these magnificent creatures wandering around their well-designed habitat.
And let’s not forget the River Aare. In the Summer, one of Bern’s unique experiences is floating down this beautiful turquoise river, surrounded by lush vegetation and views of the gorgeous Old Town.
No visit to Bern would be complete without experiencing its vibrant gastronomy. I recommend heading to the city’s farmers markets, which offer fresh, locally sourced produce, and Swiss specialties. While you’re here, you can also sample the traditional Bernese platter, which is a hearty meal typically consisting of roast beef, sausages, bacon, and potatoes.
WHERE TO STAY IN BERN
Luxury: Hotel Schweizerhof Bern & Spa
We stayed at Hotel Schweizerhof Bern & Spa, which is a 5-star luxury hotel located in the heart of Bern, well known for its elegant interiors, and world-class dining facilities. Their spa and wellness centre offers a serene retreat from the bustling city.
But do note that Bern has a range of accommodations to suit all budgets, so as always, to find hotels that best match yours, be sure to browse on Hotellook!
DAY 6: BERN TO GENEVA
In the morning, head to Geneva, which typically takes about 2 hours from Bern, whether you’re travelling by car or using the Swiss Travel Pass.
Once you leave the cityscape, you’ll find yourself winding through lush fields, charming villages, and alongside the shimmering Lake Neuchatel. This route also allows you to pass through Lausanne, another lovely Swiss city resting on the northern shore of Lake Geneva. If you have the time, stop for a stroll around Lausanne’s Old Town, known for its vibrant cultural scene and gorgeous lakeside setting.
As you draw closer to Geneva, the beautiful vineyards of the Lavaux Wine Region begin to unfold. UNESCO-listed, these terraced vineyards straddle the main road, making for an incredibly scenic drive.
Traveling by train also gives you the chance to make easy pit-stops. You could disembark in Fribourg, a medieval town boasting beautiful Gothic architecture, or in Lausanne.
Whether you choose to drive or take the train, the journey from Bern to Geneva offers an unforgettable ride and amazing glimpse of Switzerland’s heartland.
Geneva is nestled on the westernmost fringe of Switzerland and is a place that always captivates the hearts and minds of those lucky enough to visit.
As soon as you step foot in this vibrant city, you’ll be struck by its unmistakable fusion of cultures, which reflects in its food, people, and lifestyle. It’s no surprise that it is known as one of Europe’s most cosmopolitan cities and hosts the European headquarters of the United Nations, drawing people from all corners of the world. Yet, amid this international buzz, Geneva’s Swiss charm never fades.
Begin your exploration of Geneva in the heart of the city, the charming Old Town, or Vieille Ville. Wander through its narrow, winding streets, and marvel at the beautiful blend of medieval and Renaissance architecture. Don’t forget to visit St. Peter’s Cathedral, a historical gem that dates back to the 12th century, where you can climb the tower for a panoramic view of the city.
Next, stroll down to the lakeshore and you’ll be met by Geneva’s most iconic landmark: the Jet d’Eau. This towering water fountain is a spectacle to behold, propelling water 140 meters into the sky.
For nature enthusiasts Geneva is equally captivating. The city is full of beautiful parks like the English Garden with its colourful L’Horloge Fleurie, a flower clock, and the Parc des Bastions, which houses the monumental Reformation Wall.
As the sun sets, enjoy a serene boat ride on Lake Geneva, basking in the stunning view of the cityscape backed by snow-capped mountains.
When it comes to dining, Geneva offers a culinary journey around the world. However, for a local experience, try the fondue at Café du Soleil, known to serve some of the best in town. Or relish a lakeside lunch at Bains des Pâquis, a popular spot among locals.
Overall, Geneva is a city that somehow manages to feel personal and global all at once. Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, a nature lover, or a luxury aficionado, Geneva promises a unique experience that you’ll no doubt cherish.
WHERE TO STAY IN GENEVA
We stayed at the Fairmont Grand Hotel Geneva, which is truly an embodiment of luxury, sophistication, and world-class hospitality, right in the middle of Geneva. Each room offers stunning views of the lake or the cityscape, combined with elegant décor and all the modern comforts you could wish for. With a renowned spa, a state-of-the-art fitness centre, and a heated indoor pool, it’s a haven for relaxation.
But what’s great about Geneva is that it caters to all budgets, so be sure to check out the best deals on Hotellook.
DAY 7: GENEVA TO ZURICH
Today, embark on the picturesque journey from Geneva to Zurich. By car this will take around 3 hours non-stop via the A1. However, the beauty of any road trip lies in the freedom to stop and explore at your own pace.
As you leave Geneva, you’ll first pass Lausanne. With its majestic Gothic cathedral and Olympic Museum, it’s worth a detour. Further along the route lies the medieval city of Fribourg, where you can take a break and wander through its enchanting old town, with narrow, cobblestone streets and medieval architecture.
Next you’ll see Bern again 🙋♀️ .The final stretch of the drive treats you with the stunning views of Lake Zurich as you approach the city.
If you prefer to travel by Swiss Travel Pass, this will be a comfortable and scenic journey. The direct train usually takes around 2 hours 45 minutes, with departures roughly every half hour and plenty of opportunities for easy stops.
Once you arrive in Zurich, check out all the spots you didn’t get chance to see at the start of your trip.
For inspiration, why not visit the Freitag Tower in Zürich-West, an urban district known for its trendy vibes. This quirky shop is housed in stacked shipping containers and offers a broad range of products made from recycled materials, like the iconic Freitag bags.
Foodies listen up – I highly recommend visiting the Kronenhalle Restaurant for a unique gastronomic experience. It serves classic Swiss dishes amidst original artwork by Picasso and Matisse. For the best Swiss chocolate experience, make your way to Confiserie Sprüngli and try their Luxemburgerli macarons – they’re a local favourite and delish!
Day 8: DEPART ZURICH
Enjoy your final hours in Zurich before heading to the airport! 😭
From strolling along the vibrant Bahnhofstrasse, one of the world’s most exclusive shopping avenues, to having lunch at Viadukt market hall, a former railway viaduct turned culinary paradise, there’s truly no shortage of cool things to do in Zurich before you leave!
An 8 day journey through the breathtaking landscapes of Switzerland is undoubtedly one of life’s great adventures. This Swiss itinerary provides a diverse tapestry of experiences, intertwining natural grandeur, rich cultural heritage, and contemporary elegance. It’s a journey of discovery, amazement, and unparalleled beauty that truly encapsulates the heart and soul of Switzerland. If there’s a road trip that belongs on every traveler’s bucket list, this is it!
I hope you enjoyed my Switzerland itinerary and if you have any questions at all feel free to leave me a comment below this post and I will get back to you as soon as I can!
Safe travels ✌️
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