Everyone has been asking for my Switzerland itinerary, so here it is! (Save this post for future reference)
Day 1- LAKE LUCERNE
Arrive to Zurich.
One hour train or private car transfer to Lucerne.
Every typical Swiss itinerary stops by Lucerne. It’s a beautiful city with plenty to see! No trip here is complete without seeing the cities most famous attraction, the Chapel Bridge. And secondly, walking around the old town.
If your feeling fancy, stay at a historical palace like Chateau Guetsch or the ultra luxe Hotel Villa Honegg. Both have stunning views of the lake and are dreamy high-end options.
Otherwise, Lucerne caters to all budgets and options are endless!
Day 2-4 – LAUTERBRUNNEN AREA/ GRINDELWALD
The area known as Canton of Bern and The Bernese Oberlands includes Interlaken, Grindelwald, Lauterbrunnen, Wengen, Mürren, Lake Brienz, and Lake Thun.
There is soo much to see in this area! You could spent the bulk of your time here. I would suggest finding a home base for at least 3 nights to see as much as possible.
Everything from The Top of Europe/Jangfraujouch , Grindelwald-First, The Gelmerbahn (now insta famous rollercoaster), Trummelbach Falls, Schilthorn, and Lake Oeschinen.
The outdoor actives include everything from epic hiking trails, biking, kayaking, paraglindng, snow activities (even in some places in the summer!), Grindelwald- First (cliff walk, zip lining), toboggan rides through the mountains, water activities/boating (including hot tub boating with Pirate Bay Nautical Center on Lake Brienz), and the list goes on!
Here’s an incredible hike to Lake Oeschinen.
Lauterbrunnen is the town of waterfalls at the bottom of the valley and the central starting point to get to either Mürren or Wengen. The town is out of postcard with gorgeous views of Staubbach Waterfall from just about every angle! But options here are very limited compared to bigger towns nearby such as Grindelwald and Interlaken. Check out this adorable airbnb I found in Lauterbrunnen!
For very small and extremely picturesque mountain towns check out Mürren or Wengen. As long as being remote doesn’t bother you these towns are incredibly beautiful and the perfect escape from busy city life.
For a little bit bigger of a mountain town with more hotel options, Grindelwald is on the other side of The Eiger mountain range, here you will be closer to Grindelwald-FIrst.
If you’d prefer to stay an even bigger town, Interlaken is a resort town right between Lake Thun and Lake Brienz. It’s not a remote mountain town like the others options, and is a central point to easily catch the train into the mountains.
I picked Wengen and would recommend staying at Maya Caprice for the unbelievable view or Sunstar Wengen for the amenities (pool + restaurant) and central location on the main street in the town. Sunstar also does an adorable fondue dinner in a stationary gondola on property (available to everyone not just guests).
My other favorite airbnb’s in this area include this incredible property on Lake Thun, this chalet in Grindelwald, and this apartment with a gorgeous river view in Interlaken.
Day 5-7 -ZERMATT AND THE MATTERHORN
There is so much to in and around Zermatt but the 3 biggest tourist attractions are separate excursions up the mountains:
1. SUNNEGGA – The funicular takes you up a tunnel through the mountain and from there you can hike down the hill to various different mountain huts for lunch or just continue hiking all the way back down to Zermatt.
These huts have incredible beautiful views of the Matterhorn. Our lunch at Finderhof was my favorite meal and view from my whole time in Switzerland. In the same general area on the hillside and equally beautiful are the huts: Finderhof, Chez Vrony, and Alder Hitta.
Other options besides hiking is mountain biking, mountain carting down the hill and kick biking.
2. GORNERGRAT – This is the highest point to view the Matterhorn and reached by the infamous Gornergrat Bahn, the open-air cog railway. Once at the top theres the restaurant, hotel, hiking trails, a museum, and the closest most of us will get to the Matterhorn (unless you plan on climbing it).
3. GLACIER PARADISE – Heading way up into the alps, this is a pararomc viewing deck, museum, glass bottomed cable car over glaciers, and Glacier Palace. This excursion is very similar to Top of Europe, so we chose to skip it.
There are also so many options to hike, bike, explore, climb, paraglide all around Zermatt. Or you can stick around town and go shopping on the main street, check out the Michelin star restaurants, visit the Matterhorn Museum (it’s actually really interesting!), check out the bar scene, stroll along the river and pass through the prettiest graveyard dating back hundreds of years.
There are so many adorable options in this car-less town, you really can’t go wrong.
We loved The Firefly Hotel & Suites, the reviews mentioned the family run hotel had great customer service and went above and beyond to help their guests have a great time. Of the places in Switzerland they were the friendliest and most helpful. It makes a difference when the front desk helps books reservations and gives great recommendations!
Unique Hotel Post is a really cute trendy hotel on the main street of town, they have great restaurants they get very busy!
Or if you want to stay somewhere truly unique check out these two remote hotels:
3100 Kulmhotel Gornergrat is at the top of the mountain and the highest hotel in the Swiss Alps. You must ride the Gornergrat Bahn railway 30 minutes up the moutain to get up to it.
Also on the same Gornergrat Bahn railway route up the mountain but a few stops below the top is Riffelhaus 1853. I would stay here just for the jacuzzi with unparalleled views of the Matterhorn!
Day 7-8 – APPENZELL REGION
This Northeastern region of Switzerland isn’t as popular to visit on most Swiss itineraries. But for me staying a night in Aescher Hut on the side of a massive cliff with an insanely beautiful view was a once in a lifetime experience. IF you can snag a night here, it is well worth the trek to this region of Switzerland. This website is super informative for getting to Aescher Hut and a few other cool huts in the same area.
Other things in this area are incredible hiking trails, beautiful lakes, really cool mountain huts, very scenic mountain ranges, and quintessential little towns. The train ride through this region of the North was the most picturesque of my whole trip in Switzerland.
Alternate Option: Visit BERN
Bern is the capitol of Switzerland and a very old medieval city now named a UNESCO World Heritage site. This city has so much history, culture, and of course things to do. If you’ve had your fill of small villages in the mountains, this would be a perfect alternative option.
Day 9-10 – ZURICH
Zurich is a beautiful bustling big city but for me a day or two here is plenty. If you’ve had your fill of Swiss & Italian food (the dining options in the smaller towns is limited) here you can find a variety of cuisines and a whole mix of cultures!
But…. if you aren’t yet sick of fondue (if that’s even possible), Chäsalp, a fondue restaurant is the quintessential place to go. It brings the alpine hut experience to the hills above Zurich, located in an old farmsted.
Visiting Atstadt the Old Town is among the most popular things to do. The streets are old, narrow, car-less, walkable, and made of cobblestone… making for a perfect photo backdrop! Here you’ll find shopping, some the cities best restaurants with lots of outdoor seating, medieval churches, historical monuments, and the popular nightlife spots. If you only do one thing in Zurich, I would visit this area.
Of course if your in a mood to do some high-end shopping the Bahnhofstrasse is famous for luxury retail and being one of the worlds expensive and exclusive shopping areas.
I chose to stay in the Atstadt area since that was the place I wanted to spent time. Hotel Wellenberg in right in the center of all the action with restaurants literally out the front door.
It is important to keep in mind not all of this area is accessible by car, so pick a place your comfortable getting your luggage to on foot.
The train system in Switzerland is so efficient! If you are traveling all over the country I suggest getting a Swiss Travel Pass. It makes traveling so easy and convenient. The official train app SBB displays train schedules and timetables, showing you exactly how to get practically anywhere in Switzerland.
I could hop on almost any train without purchasing a ticket or making a reservation in advance and just show my pass. It took the stress away of trying to coordinate and book trains in advance.
Having this pass also gets you discounted tickets for most of the tourist attractions and even the trains/cable cars to reach them. That included a huge discount to the very pricey Top Of Europe/Jungfraujoch and so many more!
Feel free to reach out to me with any questions, hope this is helpful! xx