Switzerland Itinerary - 7 Days / 9 days
Who doesn’t dream of visiting Switzerland? Snow-capped mountains, emerald meadows, shimmering lakes, melting glaciers, fairytale castles, and lakeside towns – Switzerland lives up to the hype and will leave you spellbound with its incredible beauty. You can go for spectacular hikes, gorge on the luxurious Swiss chocolates, savor the hand-crafted cheese, buy quality watches and engage in some thrilling adventure activities – everything needed for a perfect vacation. Planning a 7-day or a 9-day itinerary in Switzerland should not be difficult as it is a small country. However, all attractions close at around 5 pm. leaving you with very limited time to explore. And when you have so much to see and do, deciding on a perfect itinerary can be tricky. The itinerary decided will depend on the season, starting point, and interests. Check this ultimate 7-day / 9-Day itinerary for an amazing vacation in Switzerland.
Suggested 7-Day Switzerland Itinerary
Switzerland Itinerary, Day 0-1:- Zurich & Rhine Falls
Most visitors start their trip to Switzerland from Geneva or Zurich as these two are big cosmopolitan cities and very well-connected to all parts of the world. Our itinerary starts in Zurich and ends in Geneva. If you arrive early in Zurich, spend the day exploring the city. Zurich is a picturesque historical town with a river running through it. Walk around the old town, do some window-shopping in Bahnhofstrasse (shopping street), visit the Lindt Home of Chocolate, or just relax in your hotel room. The 7-Day itinerary starts from the next day.
Today we are going to Schaffhausen, a small historic town in Northern Switzerland. You can reach Schaffhausen from Zurich in less than an hour, by road and by train. Schaffhausen has beautiful Renaissance buildings and a charming riverside location, but travelers visit the town primarily to explore Switzerland’s largest fall – Rhine Falls. The sheer power of the falls is really impressive, especially in summers when water flows in the Rhine Falls basin at the speed of 600,000 liters per second.
The quaint villages and the surrounding forested areas are gorgeous. You can explore the region and admire the Rhine falls from various viewing platforms, a cliff-top castle, and the pedestrian bridge. There are two sides in Rhine Falls – north and south. Another popular way to experience the falls (April-November) is by taking a Rhine Falls Cruise. Yellow Line Rock Cruise is undoubtedly the best way to experience the magnitude and power of the falls. Head back to Zurich and leave for Interlaken that day only. There is a lot to do in Interlaken and you would like to start early in the morning.
By Train: 2 hours / By Car: 1 hour 40 minutes
Switzerland Itinerary, Day 2:- Interlaken
Two places that manage to find a spot in every Switzerland itinerary are Interlaken and Jungfraujoch. Interlaken is nestled between two crystal-clear emerald lakes – Lake Thun and Lake Brienz. The popular Swiss resort town is surrounded by three majestic mountains (Eiger, Monch, and Jungfrau) making it an ideal location for countless adventure sports. The picturesque neighboring villages make the entire region look incredibly beautiful.
Our first stop is Mannlichen. Take a train from Interlaken to Grindelwald terminal and from there use a gondola to reach Mannlichen. Mannlichen is a mountain in the Swiss Alps at 2343 meters, and it offers beautiful views of Lauterbrunnen Valley. And if you can hike for 15 minutes upward towards the summit, you will be rewarded with gorgeous views of Lauterbrunnen Valley on one side and Grindelwald Valley on the other side. From Mannlichen embark on a 3-mile long(1.5 hours) downward hike to reach Kleine Scheidegg. It is a highly recommended trail called ‘panorama trail’ offering phenomenal views of Eiger, Monch, and Jungfrau.
From Klein Scheidegg station take a train to Lauterbrunnen and visit Trummelbach Falls – a series of 10-glacier waterfalls thundering down inside a mountain. They are Europe’s largest subterranean waterfalls that have been made accessible by tunnels, lifts, and illumination. You have the option to walk to the falls (35 minutes) or to take a bus (11 minutes). From the falls you can either come back to Lauterbrunnen station and catch a train back to Interlaken. Or, if you have the time and energy, you can take a gondola to Murren. Murren is a cute mountain village that offers beautiful views of the three peaks. Come back to Lauterbrunnen for your train to Interlaken.
Enjoy your evening by Lake Brienz or visit Harder Kulm – a must-visit for a perfect view of Interlaken and the two lakes. Other local attractions include Oberhofen Castle and Beatus Cave. Adventure junkies have lots of options – para-gliding, skydiving, bungee jumping, canyoning, hand gliding, mountain biking, etc. These activities will give you perfect vantage spots to admire the awe-inspiring vistas, Stay overnight at Interlaken.
Switzerland Itinerary, Day 3:- Jungfraujoch
Start early as we have a full day ahead. Home to the highest railway station in Europe, Jungfraujoch is located at 3454 meters above sea level. You can reach Jungfraujoch either by cable car or cogwheel train. The train cuts its way through the Jungfrau and Monch mountains, and the journey will leave you awe-struck. with stupendous views of the mountains and countryside. The sight that unfolds at the top will take your breath away as you stand surrounded by snow, mountains, and glaciers. Many snow activities like sledding, toboggan rides, skiing & snow tubing can be enjoyed in Jungfraujoch. There are multiple restaurants, chocolate shops, and Ice Palace exhibiting ice sculptures.
One can easily spend the day there but we have limited time so don’t linger and catch a train to Grindelwald. A 10-minutes short walk to Firstbahn gondola station and a gondola ride from there, and you will reach Grindelwald-First. The First is the perfect starting point for action-packed activities – First Flieger, First Glider, First Cliff Walk, Mountain Bikes, and Trottibike to name a few. You can also hike to the enchanting Lake Bachalpsee from First (50 minutes hike one way). Come back to Interlaken and stay overnight in the pretty town.
Switzerland Itinerary, Day 4:- Travel to Zermatt
By Train: 2 hours 40 minutes / By Car: 2 hours 15 minutes
Leave early morning for Zermatt via train. There is no point in traveling by private vehicle as no cars are allowed in the charming mountainside town. Zermatt is so small that you can walk almost anywhere. Skiing is the major attraction in Zermatt but the pretty town is worth visiting in all seasons. Zermatt is traversed by Matter Vispa River that will captivate you with its jade blue hues. Hiking trails, bustling town, gourmet restaurants, a touch of history, and lots more to keep you busy for 2-3 days.
Roam around the town from where you can get some of the best views of the Matterhorn. But if you want to have a closer look at the Alps, you have to reach higher altitudes. Take a cogwheel train ride to the top of the Gornergrat – a rocky ridge alongside the Matterhorn. The scenic 30-minute ride is stunning with tantalizing glimpses of the picturesque Matterhorn. On the way back from Gornegrat, you can get down at Rotenboden station for a short 15-minute hike to Rifflesee Lake. The lake is a photographer’s delight as you can see a perfect inverted mirror-image of Matterhorn reflected on the shining lake’s surface. You can enjoy a little picnic there, as the trains run at a gap of almost 50 minutes. Hop back on the train to Zermatt or walk down to the town (2 hours walk). If you are interested in hiking or skiing, there are multiple options and you can choose according to your skill-set. Stay overnight in Zermatt.
Switzerland Itinerary, Day 5:– Matterhorn Glacier
You cannot leave Zermatt without taking a cable car ride to Matterhorn Glacier Paradise (Klein Matterhorn) as some of the best sights of the area can be seen from there. The world’s highest 3S cableway takes you 3883 meters above sea level for some incredible 360° perspectives. You can see 14 glaciers and 38 four-thousand-meter peaks. The Alpine wonderland will leave you mesmerized with pretty ski slopes, ice carvings, and stunning views of Matterhorn & the Breithorn. Glacier Palace looks magical with its colorful frozen sculptures, ice slides, and photo points – a must-visit for kids of all ages. Walk around admiring the endless field of snow or enjoy a meal inside the restaurant with incredible views.
On the way back to Zermatt, stop at Schwarzsee to click few Instagram-worthy pictures with the majestic Matterhorn. If you have time left, take a train to Sunnegga from Zermatt station and then a gondola to reach Blauherd. This is your starting point for the popular Five-Lake Trail – three of these mountain lakes reflect the Matterhorn in all its glory. Those with limitations can stop at Stellisse – it is the best of the lot and you don’t need to make an extra effort to see the others. If you are interested in adventure activities, take a mountain cart from Blauherd to Sunnega. This is also your chance to spot Wolli sheep – the black-nosed sheep that happens to be Zermatt’s mascot. Catch the train back to Zermatt from Sunnegga and enjoy a leisurely evening in Zermatt. Stay in Zermatt for the night.
Switzerland Itinerary, Day 6:- Travel to Montreux
By Train: 2 hours 40 minutes / By Car: 2 hours
The lakeside town of Montreux near Geneva offers elegant views of Lake Geneva against the background of the iconic Chillon Castle and the unspoiled Alps. You will love the slow and peaceful vibes of the city as you roam around the charming town. The sleepy little town wakes up in the summers when the tourists and locals gather to take part in the yearly two-week-long Jazz Festival and other summer activities. After exploring the lake promenade and the town center, make your way to Chateau de Chillon – the 11th-century medieval castle that offers striking views of the elegant lake and majestic mountains. Hike to Rochers De Naye for some amazing vistas en-route. Spend the night in Montreux
Switzerland Itinerary, Day 7:– Travel to Geneva
By Train: 1 hour 5 minutes / By Car: 1 hour 15 minutes
Geneva is the capital of the UN and a globally recognized city. This is the last day of your vacation and you can spend the day exploring Geneva. Geneva is known for its beautiful lakes and taking a cruise on Lake Geneva is a good idea. Old Town, City Centre, St. Piere’s Cathedral, Flower Clock, Treille Promenade, Jet d’Eau, UN Building are some of the attractions worth visiting. Geneva is the best place to shop for fancy Swiss watches and delicious Swiss Chocolates, so you can indulge yourself in some last-minute shopping. Take a flight back to your next destination.
PS: Our itinerary starts in Zurich and ends in Geneva, but you can try this itinerary backward also. If you want to fly back from the same city, you can easily and quickly reach your port of arrival at the end of your trip. Whatever route you choose, it should take about the same amount of time.
Suggested 9-Day Switzerland Itinerary
If you can extend your visit to 9 days, you can also visit Lucerne and Mt. Titlis. Check the 9-day itinerary for Switzerland
Day 0-1: Zurich and Rhine Falls.
Day 2-3: Reach Lucerne. Train: 50 minutes / Car: 45 minutes
A picturesque town located on the banks of Lake Lucerne. Spent one day in Lucerne and take a day trip to Mt. Titlis the following day. Mt. Titlis is a popular mountain peak that can be reached by a revolving cable car.
Day 4: Reach Interlaken. Train 2 hours / Car: 1 hour
Day 5: Jungfraujoch
Day 6: Reach Zermatt. Train: 2 hours 40 minutes / Car: 2 hours 15 minutes
Day 7: Matterhorn Glacier
Day 8: Reach Montreux. Train: 2 hours 40 minutes / Car: 2 hours
Day 9: Reach Geneva. Train: 1 hour 5 minutes / Car: 1 hour 15 minutes.
Things to know before you travel to Switzerland:
- Switzerland is a very small country. It has an area of 15,940 sq mi extending 220 miles north to south and 216 miles East to West
- The official currency of Switzerland is the Swiss Franc. The currency is abbreviated as CHF. Merchants may accept Euros but the change given back will usually be CHF. One Euro = 1.1050 CHF and One USD = 0.9300 CHF
- Switzerland is one of the most expensive countries in the world. Food, hotels, trains, shopping everything is pricey.
- Switzerland has a very low crime rate and is considered one of the safest countries in the world. Swiss people are reserved but not unfriendly.
- It is very safe to drink tap water in Switzerland.
- Most people in Switzerland speak English. French, German, and Italian are also used in the country but they are confined to specific regions.
- Switzerland is a stunning destination that can be visited year-round. Each season has something unique and beautiful to offer. The best months are from April-August when the weather is warm and pleasant. During the winter months, thousands of people flock to Switzerland to enjoy skiing and water sports. Depending on what you want to see and do, you can decide the best time to visit Switzerland. The above-mentioned itinerary is best suited for summer travel.
- Weather in Switzerland can be unpredictable with frequent storms, so keep some alternative activities lined up.
- The country has a very efficient and widespread network of on-time high-speed trains that makes traveling around the country very easy and convenient. Download the SBB app if you plan to use the train network extensively. You can check the timetables of trains as well as boats, buses, and cable cars.
- It is a good idea to buy a Swiss Travel Pass. It is expensive but it covers not only inter-city travel but also some free scenic trains, boat cruises, cable cars, public transport, and museum access.
- It is easy to drive in Switzerland but they are very strict about the speed limit. Road trips in Switzerland are a lifetime experience as every turn will reveal more jaw-dropping views. It also gives you the flexibility to stop anywhere and take your fill of the lush landscapes.
- It makes sense to plan your inter-city journeys in the evenings. Everything, including the shops, closes around 5 pm, so it’s best to use that time for traveling and start sightseeing early in the morning.