The old-fashioned cogwheel red and yellow train to schnyige platte in Switzerland's jungfrau region

17 Most Breathtaking Places to Visit in Switzerland

Switzerland just may be the most beautiful country in Europe, especially in summer.

There’s something about the way the mountains still glisten with snow even into the sunniest of summer days, the turquoise lakes, the fields of alpine flowers… it just goes on and on.

Whether you opt for a luxurious stay in Switzerland or try to experience the country on a budget, the best part is that many of the most stunning views in Switzerland are completely free!

[woman on a train] - best places to visit in Switzerland
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Planning your trip to Switzerland in a hurry? Here’s a quick overview.

🚞 Best Way to Get Around: Swiss Travel Pass (unlimited regular train, bus, & boat travel)
🏙️ Best Cities to Visit: Geneva, Zurich, Lucerne, Interlaken
🏡 Best Small Towns to Visit: Zermatt, Lauterbrunnen, Mürren
🛥️ Best Activities to Enjoy: Tandem paragliding in Interlaken, taking a boat cruise on Lake Geneva and/or Lake Lucerne, Matterhorn glacier cable car or scenic train from Zermatt

I used an 8-day Swiss Travel Pass to explore some of the best places to visit in Switzerland, all by train.

I’ve compiled a list of some of the most beautiful places in Switzerland to help you plan the best stops for sightseeing in Switzerland by train.

Rather than just give the usual Switzerland tourist spots, I’ve tried to show a handful of small town Switzerland highlights, plus popular cities like Zürich and Geneva.

Using my travel pass, I was able to take the Schynige Platte belle-époque railway, the steamboat across Lake Lucerne, the steepest cogwheel railway in the world up to Mt. Pilatus, and handfuls of scenic cable cars – all included in my ticket price.

train to schnyige platte

I also used the rail pass to get a discount on the Gornergrat in Zermatt to see the gorgeous Matterhorn up close.

The Swiss Travel Pass offers a variety of different passes for different budgets and trip durations. Check out pricing & details about the Swiss Travel Pass here!

Starting at around $239 USD for a 3 consecutive day 2nd class pass, there are also 4, 6, 8, and 15 day passes, offering more value the longer you stay. You can also upgrade to 1st class tickets if you want a slightly more luxe experience.

Traveling as a family? Kids under 16 travel for free with their parent or guardian, and youth aged 16-25 get to ride at a significant discount.

Check all the different options and prices for Swiss Travel Pass here!

[mountains and fields and blue sky] - off the beaten path Switzerland

This guide will cover a variety of the most beautiful places in Switzerland.

If you want to see how to organize all these places into a logical itinerary, I’ve done the work for you and created a 10-day Switzerland itinerary!

That itinerary incorporates as many of the places on this list as I could while still not traveling at a breakneck pace so you can still enjoy your vacation.

In that post, I include recommendations as well for what to do if you have more or fewer days.

Wondering where to go in Switzerland? I’ve got you covered below, with several recommended stops for your Switzerland itinerary plus accommodation and activity recommendations.

My Top Places to Visit in Switzerland

Montreux and Lac Leman

orange flowers and blue lake in Montreux with mountains in the distance on a sunny day in switzerland in summer

Montreux is a normally quiet town on Lac Leman near Geneva that pops off for two weeks each year when the Jazz Festival (and 200,000+ visitors!) come to town.

Try to line up your time in Montreux with the Jazz Festival, when tons of musical acts (not just jazz) come to town and street food is available all up and down the main lakeside promenade.

Or you can grab some food from the local Coop, take advantage of the open container laws, and have a lakeside picnic while buskers entertain you before the main acts at night.

While Montreux is at its liveliest during the Jazz Festival, its Christmas Market season is a close runner-up, as Montreux is a popular Swiss winter destination!

What to Do in Montreux

rainbow colored sign that reads montreux jazz fest

Montreux is at its best during its yearly Jazz Fest. But your timing doesn’t line up, there’s still plenty to do in Montreux to experience one of the most beautiful places in Switzerland to its fullest.

Montreux is home to the stunning island Chateau de Chillon, a castle that dates back to the 11th century and which has been marvelously kept up over the centuries.

It’s certainly one of the most scenic places in Switzerland with stunning lake and mountain views framing the turrets of the castle.

Entrance is 12.50 CHF (about $13) but the entrance fee is included with your Swiss Travel Pass if you have one.

If you aren’t using a Swiss Travel Pass, but paying for each train individually without a pass, you can pre-book your castle entrance ticket here and skip the line.

Of course, the Lake Promenade (which you can take to walk to the castle) is absolutely stunning and definitely worth dedicating some time to enjoying.

The nearby Chaplin’s World is also a popular Montreux attraction. Charlie Chaplin, like many other celebrities, spent many years of his life enjoying Montreux and as a result you can enjoy a museum in his former home.

Day Trips and Tours from Montreux

Glacier 3000: A tour to the Glacier 3000 is one of the most loved day trips from Montreux. You start in the cute mountain village of Les Diablerets, where you can take a cable car up to a glacier.

At the glacier, there is a cool suspension bridge that connects two mountains, giving you impressive views of 20+ peaks over 4,000 meters — including the Matterhorn on a clear day. You can see snow even in the middle of summer here!

This is the most popular day trip from Montreux, so be sure to book in advance! Check prices, ratings, and availability of the tour here

Rochers de Naye: If time (and weather) permits, you can also take the scenic train up to Rochers de Naye for an aerial lake view.

Normally 70 CHF, if you have a Swiss Travel Pass you can make the journey for a much better 26 CHF roundtrip, as the first leg of the trip is included and you get a 50% discount on the second part of the trip.

Lausanne: A side trip to nearby Lausanne is a popular option for travelers staying in Montreux.

Lausanne is famous for its excellent Olympic Museum, the historic Old Town centered around Place de la Palud, and its gorgeous traditional architecture.

You can take the train to Lausanne in just a few minutes from Montreux – it’s quite fast and inexpensive by Swiss standards.

[castle on a lake edge - one of the most scenic places to visit in Switzerland]

Where to Stay in Montreux

Budget: There’s only one hostel in town that I’m aware of, and that’s where I stayed (I was on a tight budget during my entire time in Switzerland).

I stayed at the Montreux Youthhostel. It includes breakfast– an excellent value in pricy Switzerland! Keep in mind their late 4 PM check in, which is common throughout Switzerland.

>> Check rates and current availability here.

Mid-Range: If you’re on a bit of a budget, Le Coucou Hotel has excellent prices, a breathtaking view, and a well-reviewed restaurant.

It is a bit from Montreux proper, though it is close to a different train station (Haut-de-Caux).

>> Check lowest rates and availability here.

Luxury: A favorite of celebrities like the late Freddie Mercury, it’s not surprising that Montreux offers no shortage of luxury options.

The best balance of luxury to price ration is Fairmont Le Montreux Palace. I mean, just look at that building façade — it’s basically the architectural equivalent of the heart-eyes emoji.

>> Check lowest rates and availability here.


Geneva is one of the most common arrival airports for travelers visiting Switzerland, so there’s a good chance that you’ll be at the very least transiting via Geneva at some point during your Switzerland itinerary.

Located right on Lac Leman, despite its large size, Geneva is still one of the most beautiful places in Switzerland!

Geneva is also great for chocolate lovers – you’ll find chocolatiers all over the city, as well as plenty of tours themed around sampling the best Swiss chocolate you can find.

Besides that, Geneva is known for its museums, its delicious fondue, and its stunning lake and mountain views.

Things to Do in Geneva

view of geneva and jet d'eau

The best way to explore Geneva is by foot. Walk around the historic city and marvel at all the beautiful buildings and all the watches you’ll never be able to afford.

Definitely stop into some of the different chocolate shops and sample some of Switzerland’s finest!

A common must-see on Geneva itineraries is the Jet D’Eau, a massive water fountain shooting water up a massive 140 meters in the air on Lake Geneva — it’s especially beautiful at night when it’s all lit up.

swiss flag on the lake with the jet in the water

The Palace of Nations, home to a huge branch of the United Nations, is also quite popular to visit when in Geneva.

Geneva is also famous for having a ton of unique museums. The Musée Ariana is great for glass and ceramics lovers, whereas those interested in history will appreciate the Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum

I recommend using Geneva Pass to save money if you plan on seeing a few museums and attractions as the savings will quickly add up.

If spending a few days in Geneva, the pass will be well-worth it, with admission to over 40 attractions plus included public transit. Click to prebook your Geneva Pass and pick it up when you arrive in Geneva.

Aside from museums, don’t miss a steamboat ride on Lake Geneva, or visiting some of the vineyards of Lavaux (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) nearby!

Day Trips and Tours from Geneva

Gruyeres: If you want the whole Swiss bucket list in one go — trains,  mountains, chocolate, and cheese — you can’t miss a full-day tour to Gruyères – yes, that Gruyères!

You’ll learn about chocolate making, meet Swiss cows, see how cheese is made in Switzerland, indulge in fondue, and get to ride the Golden Express, one of Switzerland’s most famous trains.

Want the full experience with a ride on the Golden Express? Be sure to book in advance – it’s #1 on many people’s Swiss bucket lists. Book in advance here to not miss your spot!

Money-Saving Tip: For a cheaper option that doesn’t include the train, you can book just a tour of the chocolate and cheese factories here.

Glacier 3000: This is far and away the most popular day trip from Geneva! Similar to the tour from Montreux, the tour takes you to the picturesque village of Les Diablerets.

It then sweeps you up a 3,000-meter high glacier where you can embark on the Peak Walk, a stunning suspension bridge that brings together two peaks, over 4,000 meters high.

If traveling in summer, there’s also a toboggan run which kids (and the young at heart!) will adore! It also includes a stop in Montreux on the way back.

Check prices, ratings, and availability of the tour here.

Steamboat on Lac Léman: A traditional steamboat ride on Lake Geneva (also called Lac Léman) is one of the most popular things to do in Geneva.

You can combine it with a city tour or if you have the Swiss Travel Pass it should be included on your ticket.

Book your steamboat ride on Lac Léman (plus a bonus city tour) today!

France! If you’re keen to visit a bit of France, Geneva is also extremely close to Chamonix which is at the foot of Mont Blanc as well as the fairytale town of Annecy (especially magical in winter!).

Both can be done as day trips from Geneva. There are very affordable half-day tours to Annecy (pictured below!) and slightly more expensive full-day trips to Chamonix (a great destination in summer as well as winter!) as well.

Check out affordable half-day tours to Annecy or full-day trips to Chamonix and Mont Blanc

flowers, like red and white poppies, in front of a building in the middle of a canal on a sunny day in annecy, france, a beautiful fairytale village

Lavaux: Love wine tasting? You’ll love Swiss wines and these UNESCO-listed vineyards. The Swiss like to say that Swiss wine is too delicious to export, and they drink it all at home in Switzerland!

I have to agree — Swiss wines are especially tasty, similar to German or Austrian wines but with a terroir all of their own. This affordable tour visits Lavaux — and several other sites around the lake — with a group.

Where to Stay in Geneva

Budget: I flew into in Geneva and made my way over to Montreux for the night, so I haven’t stayed in any Geneva hostels personally.

The best-reviewed hostel that several of my friends have stayed in is Geneva Hostel, which is no frills but quite affordable for pricy Switzerland.

It has spacious lockers, friendly staff, breakfast included, and best of all, it comes with a free travel card which will definitely help you save some money in pricy Geneva.

>> Check hostel availability and prices here.

Mid-range: Geneva has a decent selection of mid-range offerings. I’m a big fan of ibis hotels because they’re always clean, reliable, private, and inexpensive.

They don’t have the most personality, but sometimes you just want a clean, private room to rest your head in. There are several branches of ibis in Geneva, but ibis budget Petit-Lancy is the most affordable.

Like Geneva Hostel, it also includes a free travel card, which means that even though you’re located a bit outside the center you can get into the heart of the city easily without spending a dime.

>> Check lowest prices and availability here.

Luxury: The Mövenpick is one of my most trusted luxury hotel brands, and the one in Geneva is well-reviewed and not absurdly expensive (for a luxury option in Switzerland, that is)

>> Check best prices and availability here.

Another option, Hotel de la Cigogne is an excellent 5-star hotel, but it’s priced to match. Still, it may be worth it for the central location, luxury amenities, and artist-inspired décor.

>> Check availability and prices online.

Lauterbrunnen Valley and surrounding towns

[brown house with red shutters in a valley] Lauterbrunnen is one of the most scenic places in Switzerland

Lauterbrunnen is an adorable, typically Swiss town nestled in a mountain valley famed for being home to 72 waterfalls — two of which are prominently but casually hanging out in the center of town like it’s no big deal.

It’s definitely one of the top must-visit places in Switzerland with super traditional architecture and flower boxes.

Just 20 minutes from Interlaken, Lauterbrunnen is an oasis of calm with tons of opportunities for hiking if you’re feeling tame and all sorts of adventure activities if you’re keen to get your adrenaline pumping.

There’s tons of things to do in Switzerland in the summer and Lauterbrunnen is one of the best bases to experience it from!

It’s also one of the more affordable towns in Switzerland, with plenty of affordable accommodations choices, so it’s a popular choice for those backpacking Switzerland.

[pile of wood in a shed with flowers]

Things to Do in Lauterbrunnen

If you’re a fan of waterfalls, you’ll be in heaven here: Lauterbrunnen is the best place to go in Switzerland for waterfall chasing, as there are some 72 of them in Lauterbrunnen Valley alone.

There are countless hikes to embark on and other adventurous things to do in Lauterbrunnen to keep you busy for days.

Be sure to take the cable car and scenic train up to Mürren via Winteregg for stunning mountain and valley views — complete with lots of Swiss cows (and cowbells!).

Afterward, you can either hike down to Gimmelwald or take a cable car. When in Gimmelwald be sure to check out the Honesty Shop — Europe’s first village store based entirely on trust.

No shopkeepers or cameras — just trust, and it works perfectly. For this jaded New Yorker, it was actually a bit of an emotional experience to see this shop in action.

[storefront with wheelbarrow reading 'the honesty shop'] in Gimmelwald, one of the best places to visit in Switerland

Finally, be sure to check out the insanely powerful Trümmelbach Falls in between Lauterbrunnen and Stechelberg.

It’s a series of 10 glacial waterfalls which tumble INSIDE of a mountain, which has been carved out by both nature and man so you can see the insane power of the melting glacial water at work.

This is no dainty, Instagrammable waterfall — it’s sheer force and power, and an absolute sight to behold.

[waterfall from above]

If you’re keen to get your adrenaline pumping, there are several adventurous things you can do in Lauterbrunnen.

Common options include helicopter flights, paragliding, and skydiving, though of course — none of these activities come cheap!

If you’re on a budget, stick to hikes and exploring the cable cars and scenic trains in the region.

There are also more expensive scenic trains such as to Jungfraujoch (the “Top of Europe”) and Schilthorn (where James Bond was filmed) if you’re keen to get some height without the adrenaline rush, but it won’t come cheaply!

Where to Stay in Lauterbrunnen

[hotel with snowy mountains in the background] one of the most scenic parts of Switzerland

Budget: There are plenty of hostels in Lauterbrunnen. Even though Switzerland is expensive, I think Lauterbrunnen is one of the best towns to visit in Switzerland if you’re on a budget.

I stayed at Schutzenbach Backpackers and it was the cheapest hostel I stayed at during my entire time in Switzerland.

It had an amazing location and everything was comfortable, but there were some weird quirks (like you had to pay for hot water by the minute and pay for using the electric burners!) that I found annoying. It’s a short walk out of town (20 minutes) but you can also take a bus.

>> Check reviews and availability here.

Mid-range: If you have a medium budget, Hotel Staubbach is your best bet. It has great waterfall views and a super convenient location.

It’s cozy, but not ultra-luxurious. You could also stay in Mürren, Gimmelwald, or one of the other cute mountain towns in the area!

>> Check lowest prices and availability here.

Luxury: For those with money to spare, Hotel Silberhorn is one of the nicest hotels in town. They have a beautiful sun terrace with an amazing panoramic view of the Jungfrau mountains and an Alpine-style restaurant. Check prices, reviews, and availability here.


Interlaken is between two lakes (hence the name), Lake Brienz and Lake Thun. Both are stunning, but Lake Brienz is a particular charmer, the same color turquoise as Insta-famous Lake Louise.

Interlaken is commonly known as the adventure sports capital of Switzerland. Here, you’ll find activities such as paragliding and skydiving offered everywhere – though of course, being Switzerland, the prices are on the high side!

What to Do in Interlaken

As Interlaken is a mecca for adventure lovers, you really should try to save room in your budget for at least one adventurous splurge.

Whether that’s paragliding over the twin lakes of Thun and Brienz, taking a speedboat through one of the beautiful lakes, or even skydiving over one of the most beautiful parts of Switzerland, there’s a lot to do in Interlaken that will get your heart racing.

The bravest amongst us can try their hand at paragliding over the twin lakes – one of the best views of Switzerland, which I can attest.

Admittedly, I was only brave enough to see it on my own two feet at the peak of Schynige Platte (anxiety and heights don’t mix!)

If you’re going to paraglide, ensure you’re going with a reputable company that has a good track record. Flying over the mountains with only another person and a parachute is not a place to pinch a penny!

I would recommend this paragliding experience, which won the Best Adrenaline Rush from GetYourGuide in 2019!

Book your paragliding experience with a trusted, award-winning company here!

If you prefer a different kind of adrenaline rush, you can try river rafting down the nearby Lütschine River as well.

But if you keep your feet on the ground, or if you are working with a tight budget, don’t worry – there are still plenty of other worthwhile things to see in Interlaken.

Indulge your sweet tooth at the Funky Chocolate Club, take the funicular 10 minutes up to the top of Harder Kulm for an epic view, or rent a kayak or paddleboard on Lake Brienz (or Thun, for that matter, but in my opinion, Brienz is way prettier).

Friendly Reminder: Whether you are doing crazy things like skydiving or having a more low-adrenaline trip, don't forget to buy travel insurance! I actually got insanely sick with a terrible summer flu in Switzerland and almost needed to visit a hospital - something that, had I not had insurance, likely would have cost me a fortune. I use World Nomads to cover me from anything from everything from trip cancellation to illness to injury on the road.

Day Trips and Tours from Interlaken

person at the top of jungfraujoch celebrating with their arms in the air

Jungfraujoch: This is the most popular day trip from Interlaken and with good reason: it’s the highest train station in all of Europe and a UNESCO World Heritage Site!

Called “The Top of Europe,” this impressive superlative has great viewing areas, an ice palace that you can hang out in (even in the summer), and stunning views of the Jungfrau region and its famous mountains.

It’s not a cheap tour – check out prices here – but it’s on the top of many people’s Swiss bucket lists for good reason.

This tour is incredibly popular in summer, so book in advance here!

Castles: Interlaken is near several beautiful castles!

Check out the spectacular Thun Castle, or see the even more beautiful Oberhofen Castle on the edge of gorgeous Lake Thun.

red train making its way up the mountain with a view of one of interlaken's two lakes below

Schynige Platte: This is one of the best day trips in all of Switzerland and where you’ll get the most spectacular views of Interlaken. Better yet, if you have a Swiss Travel Pass then it is already included in your ticket price.

If you’re on a budget, I would recommend this over the Jungfraujoch train. The views are less impressive, but it’s entirely free with a pass! I’ll go into this in more detail below.

Where to Stay in Interlaken

Budget: Backpackers, rejoice! Interlaken is one of the most affordable cities in all of Switzerland. I’d recommend spending a little more time here if you’re on a budget.

There are several hostel options (unlike in other Swiss towns and cities, where the options are minimal). One of the cheapest and best-reviewed is Balmers Backpackers Hostel, and since it comes with free breakfast, it’s really a great deal for Switzerland!

>> Book in advance here as hostels in Switzerland often fill up early.

Mid-range: Switzerland doesn’t have a ton of boutique hotels – more often, you’ll choose between guesthouses and fancy chain hotels – but B3 Boutique Bed & Breakfast looks like a real charmer.

It’s a touch outside of central Interlaken in a town called Gsteigwiler, but for the great price and rave reviews, it’s a great choice in Interlaken.

>> Check availability and reviews here.

Luxury: The Royal St. James is a Sofitel property, a chain of hotels I trust.

It’s a gorgeous building with a great location, spa and sauna, and raved-over breakfasts. I think it’s one of the best luxury options in Interlaken.

>> Check prices and availability here.

Schynige Platte

allison with flowers in her hair, head tilted down, on the top of the mountains with snow-capped peaks visible covered in clouds in the distance

Wondering where to visit in Switzerland for the most sweepingly epic views? You can’t miss Schynige Platte and its views over the twin lakes of Interlaken.

When staying in Lauterbrunnen or nearby Interlaken, you simply must take a day trip using the scenic train up to Schynige Platte alpine garden departing from Wilderwil, one of the best train journeys in Europe.

The scenic railway will take you up a hill to incredible views of Lake Thun and the even more stunning turquoise Lake Brienz.

You end at the top of a mountain with views of the three of the tallest peaks in the Jungfrau region – Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau.

The three mountains on one side; the lakes on the other… is this any wonder it’s one of the most scenic places in Switzerland?

allison atop a mountain at schynigge platte with beautiful views of a lake behind her

Up at the top, you can enjoy a ton of different hiking trails of mild to moderate difficulty.

There’s a kiosk selling surprisingly affordably priced coffee, wine, and beer, as well as a restaurant if you really feel like splashing out and getting fancy.

But still, you’ll enjoy relative peace and quiet, as this scenic train in Switzerland is not super well known, making it one of off the beaten path Switzerland’s best-hidden gems.

The best part? A return trip to Schynige Platte is 100% included on your Swiss Travel Pass, making it one of the best places to visit in Switzerland in the summer.

Where to Stay for Schynige Platte

This is easy to do as a day trip from Lauterbrunnen, which I recommend, though you could also check out hostels and hotels in Interlaken if you want a bit more of a city feel than a small town vibe.

Check out check out hotel and hostel prices and availability in Interlaken if you prefer to stay in a hotel or guesthouse in one of the prettiest places in Switzerland.

Lucerne & Mt. Pilatus

view of lake lucerne from the top of mt pilatus

Lucerne is one of the best cities in Switzerland for proximity to mountain views!

Probably one of the most fun days I had in Switzerland was the day I took the steamer boat across Lake Lucerne to Alpnachstad, then the cogwheel railway up to Mount Pilatus at 2073 meters above sea level.

The cogwheel railway up to Mount Pilatus is literally the steepest in the world, with a staggering gradient of 48% incline!

The views at the top are spectacular, definitely one of the things you must see in Switzerland.

You can get some stunning views over Lake Lucerne from the top of Pilatus, do some hikes through alpine flowers, see the adorable mountain ibexes who call it home…. then go back down to Lucerne via cable car and bus.

Four distinctly different modes of transit in one day, all included on a travel pass — all running with insane efficiency.

Switzerland, you make my anxious heart very, very happy.

What to Do in Lucerne

covered bridge with red flowers in bloom on the outside of the bridge, with city behind it

Lucerne is a lovely, walkable town, and there’s plenty of things to see and do in Lucerne. You definitely have to enjoy a river cruise on one of the old-fashioned steamer.

It’s also quite close to Mount Rigi and Mount Pilatus, both of which offer excellent views and hiking opportunities.

I chose Mount Pilatus, but I wish I had time for Rigi, too! These are included if you have a Swiss Travel Pass, or you can purchase tickets a la carte if you’re not using a pass.

There is also the Lion Statue of Lucerne which is…. not very exciting, to be honest.

Kapellbrücke, however, is definitely worth the hype. This covered bridge dates back to the 14th century and it is absolutely gorgeous.

It’s usually crowded during the day so if you want the best photos I recommend getting an early start.

boat on lake lucerne with red flag with plus sign on in (swiss flag)

Finally, a cruise on Lake Lucerne is a must!

You can skip this if you are doing the trip to Mount Pilatus, as it’s included in the excursion.

But if you aren’t planning to go there, a panoramic yacht cruise is an essential (and surprisingly affordable) thing to do in Lucerne!

Book yours online here!

Day Trips and Tours from Lucerne

views from the top of mt pilatus with the lake in the background

Mount Pilatus: This is the classic day trip option from Lucerne. It’s included with a Swiss Travel Pass or you can purchase a day trip a la carte here.

This self-guided tour takes you across Lake Lucerne on a steamboat, ascends via the world’s steepest cogwheel railroad, then you descend using a cable car (and finish your trip back to Lucerne by a short bus ride).

You can experience the awesome efficiency of Swiss transport in 4 different forms on this tour, with gorgeous views on all of them (well, I guess the bus is less spectacular).

Book the self-guided day trip if you don’t have a travel pass!

Jungfraujoch: The highest point of Europe reachable by train, visiting the mountain station of Jungfraujoch is also available as a day trip from Lucerne if you don’t have plans to make it to Interlaken.

It is a little further, though, so I’d only pick visiting Jungfraujoch from Lucerne if my itinerary totally skipped Interlaken/Lauterbrunnen.

Book the day trip to Jungfraujoch here!

Titlis: For a nearer (and cheaper) day trip option if you’d like to see a glacier up close, Titlis is incredible!

The coolest thing about visiting Titlis is that you get to ascend to the glacier in a beautiful cable car, seeing a glacier from a totally different perspective than the typical train experience you’ll get used to after some time in Switzerland.

Check prices and tour reviews here!

Where to Stay in Lucerne

Budget: I stayed at Lion Lodge when in Lucerne. It’s okay and friendly to the wallet, but nothing that great. I’d stay somewhere else next time.

If you’re undeterred, you can check prices and availability here.

Mid-range: Had I not been traveling on such a strict budget, I likely would have opted for the ibis Lucerne. Ibis hotels are clean, affordable, and pretty inoffensive — but they’re not exactly luxurious.

Still, if you want privacy and cleanliness, ibis is reliable. Just be aware it’s about a kilometer’s walk from town, though Lucerne is pretty well connected when it comes to public transport.

>> Check prices and availability here.

Luxury: If you want the best of the best, Hotel Schweizerhof can’t be beaten. It’s beautiful — just look at the front of that building all lit up at night! — with an amazing lake view, a Finnish sauna, a bio sauna (whatever that is), and a spa.

One cool quirk about the hotel is that each room is furnished to represent the personal style of a famous person who has stayed at the hotel in the past, making it a super unique place to visit in Switzerland.

>> Check the prices and availability here.


the city of zurich with bridges, a beautiful river, and lots of gorgeous buildings and churches

I didn’t spend too much time in Zürich, but the little time I did spend there was gorgeous!

Zürich spans the beautiful Limmat River, which makes all the old architecture even more beautiful.

Zürich is also the most cosmopolitan city in Switzerland, so this is where you’ll find a lot of different international cuisines in case you’re starting to tire of fondue (yes, anything is possible!).

Zürich is also one of the major entry points to Switzerland, so if you find yourself transiting through the city, you’ll likely want to give yourself at least a day to explore the city before getting out and seeing more.

What to Do in Zürich

steeple and spire of a church in zurich on a sunny summer day

There’s plenty to do in Zürich proper!

You can choose from exploring the beautiful churches of Grossmünster and Fraumünster, taking a walking tour of the Old Town, strolling down the luxurious shopping street of Bahnhofstrasse, or perusing some of the country’s best museums at a discount using a Zürich Pass.

Note: The Zürich Pass is a good option if you have at least 24 hours in the city planned. It’s inexpensive, covers museums and other sights you’d want to see, and covers public transit as well. Pre-book yours here!

However, if you have limited time in Zürich, I recommend this 4-hour tour which includes a ferry ride, a cable car, and coach tour of the city: you will cover the most ground and get the best views this way!

It’s a quick and easy way to make the most of your time there.

Book the 4-hour tour here!

For something a bit different: foodies can taste traditional Swiss chocolate at Maestrani’s or take a culinary walking tour of the city.

Those who like to hang out with the locals should not miss Frau Gerolds Garten.

This urban gardening project features container bars with craft beers, small boutiques, and wall murals – it’s pretty cool!

As the biggest city in Switzerland and the entry point for many travelers, Zürich is a great place to base yourself while doing day trips to beautiful lakes and mountains in the Swiss countryside.

Bernese Oberland is nearby, as well as beautiful Lake Constanz.

Day Trips and Tours from Zürich

peaks covered in snow at mt titlis in switzerland, one of the best day trips you can take from zurich or lucerne

Mount Titlis: I mentioned it above for a day trip from Lucerne, but it is also a very popular option to do a day trip from Zürich to this beautiful glacier via cable car.

This trip is beloved by fellow travelers, with over 700 5-star reviews. Read the itinerary and book it here!

Jungfraujoch: Also available from Interlaken and Lucerne, you can also make this day trip from Zürich. Check it out here!

rhine falls - a large waterfall with a town in the background, one of the most beautiful places in switzerland

Rhine Falls: This is one of the most popular day trips from Zürich. It’s been called Europe’s biggest waterfall – but that’s more for the sheer power of its rushing water than more impressive factors like width or height.

It’s still incredibly beautiful and an absolute force of nature. You can also see the beautiful town of Stein am Rhein, one of Switzerland’s most gorgeous small towns

Shop tours to Rhine Falls here

Liechtenstein: You can take a day trip to Liechtenstein, one of Europe’s smallest countries, if you are a country counter or just want to see some more beautiful mountains!

Take the train from Zürich to the Swiss border town Sargans. From there, you can catch bus #11 to Vaduz, the tiny mountainous capital of Liechtenstein. No guided tours are available, but it’s easy enough to do independently.

Grindelwald & Interlaken: No time for a proper stop in Interlaken on your Switzerland trip?

Luckily, a day trip to beautiful Bernese Oberland is ultra-easy. Check out this tour here.

Where to Stay in Zürich

Budget: Zürich is one of the most expensive cities in the world, and the hostel prices match that.

City Backpacker Biber is the best combination of low-ish prices and good reviews, and with a central location, you’ll save on transport costs which are no small matter in Switzerland.

>> Check prices and availability here.

Mid-range: If you can afford to upgrade to mid-range, this is where Zürich really shines.

The Motel One Zürich, despite the humble name, is one of the most gorgeous and conveniently located hotels in the city.

The design is gorgeous and trendy, the staff friendly, impeccably clean, and it’s located only a 10-minute walk from the central train station.

>> Check prices and availability here.

Luxury: Of course, this being Switzerland, plenty of luxury options abound for travelers with deep pockets.

The Park Hyatt is probably the nicest hotel in the city, but costs approximately one kidney to book. I stayed at a Park Hyatt during a winter trip to Vienna with family once, and it was incredible!

A luxe but more affordable option would be the Hotel Schweizerhof Zürich, which certainly isn’t cheap but is about half the price of staying at the Park Hyatt.

>> Check lowest prices and availability here.

Zermatt and the Gornergrat

top of the matterhorn hidden behind treetops

There’s a reason why Zermatt is one of the best places to visit in Switzerland.

It’s rightfully famous for the glimpse of the Matterhorn’s famous silhouette which you can see from certain angles within the town.

On a sunny day, the peak is clearly visible – other days, the Matterhorn shrouds herself in clouds, which makes sighting her even more majestic when it finally happens.

What to Do in Zermatt

allison smiling atop a mountain

When you have a good weather day, it’s definitely worth it to go up to the Gornergrat station on the scenic railway.

I took three mountain railways while in Switzerland and the Gornergrat was definitely the most awe-inspiring.

As in, I almost wanted to weep when I saw the Matterhorn peeking from behind the clouds on my last day in Zermatt!

The Gornergat is not 100% included with the Swiss Travel Pass, but you’ll get a 50% reduction on the return ticket price of 94 CHF (for a total cost of 47 CHF, an insanely good deal for Switzerland).

[train at top of mountain] a beautiful place in Switzerland!

If you don’t have the Swiss Travel Pass, you’ll need to buy it individually. I strongly recommend buying online in advance to avoid the massive crowds at Gornergrat station.

After all, this is the picture-perfect Matterhorn viewpoint in the Instagram age, and it is crowded.

Be sure to stop at Rotenboden for stunning views of one of the many alpine lakes dotting the region — if you’re lucky, you may get a glimpse of the Matterhorn hanging out reflected in the Riffelsee.

lake in the mountains of switzerland with a few people, clouds sweeping int he mountains

Unfortunately, as you can see, it was rather cloudy when I went up to Gornergrat, so my views weren’t quite as good as they could be.

Check the forecast (or just look at the Matterhorn to see if you can see it!) before purchasing your tickets.

While looking at the Matterhorn from afar is great, hiking it is reserved only for serious alpinists.

Hike in the Gornergrat area instead if you are a casual hiker and not a serious mountaineer.

view of matterhorn glacier paradise in switzerland with stunning mountain views everywhere you look

Another option — a newer one that wasn’t available on my trip to Switzerland — is taking a cable car up to Matterhorn Glacier Paradise!

This experience includes a stunning cable car ride which will bring you to the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise area, where you can check out a glacier palace and admire stunning views at 3,883 meters (12,740 feet).

It’s the highest mountain station in Europe (Jungfraujoch is the highest mountain station by train).

Reserve your Matterhorn Glacier Paradise tickets here!

Where to Stay in Zermatt

Budget: As one of the more popular touristic places to visit in Switzerland, Zermatt has a wide range of options, but they go quickly.

I enjoyed my stay at Matterhorn Hostel and thought the price was really good for Switzerland!

>> Book in advance here.

Mid-range: A surprisingly good value is ARCA Solebad Wellness & Spa. It’s right by the center train station and, as the name suggests, is home to an excellent spa!

It also has a salted heated swimming pool, steam bath, and sauna for the full-on relaxation experience.

>> Check prices and availability here.

Luxury: One of the most romantic and beautiful hotels in all of Zermatt is Romantik Hotel Julen Superior.

The outside of the building couldn’t be any more adorably Swiss, with wood design and flower boxes everywhere. I also really loved the warm, wood interiors and amazing detailing.

Plus, the location can’t be beat — after all, Matterhorn views are never far away.

>> Check prices, ratings, and availability here.

Nendaz and the Valais region

[mountain biking]

The Valais region is famed for its wines, cheeses, and mountains — literally three of my favorite things.

Virtually everywhere in the Valais is stunning, but the beautiful mountain town of Nendaz is a fantastic place to enjoy scenic mountain views and traditional Valaisianne cuisine and culture.

What to Do in Nendaz

allison looking out the window as a cable car ascends the mountain

Nendaz is a ski resort town, but surprisingly, there is so much to do in the summer! I suggest trying to go when the summer alphorn festival is happening – it’s a great cultural experience and the music is lovely, especially with those Swiss Alp views!

Otherwise, you can swim in one of the world’s most beautiful public pools, take the cable car up to Tracouet for some beautiful hikes, relax in the spa at 4 Vallées with a day pass, taste lots of fondue, or even go mountain biking!

I spent an entire week in Nendaz and you’re welcome to read all about it here if you want more detailed recommendations!

Where to Stay in Nendaz

allison in front of a church in the nendaz region

Budget: Nendaz is super small and there’s really not much in the way of budget accommodation — certainly no hostels! I’d recommend doing an apartment rental if you’re on a budget.

Mid-range: Your best bet if you are trying not to spend too much is to try to find an apartmental rental on or to check out Airbnb.

Luxury: One of the best ways to enjoy the mountains is to book a luxury chalet rental in Switzerland.

If you prefer a hotel, I visited the spa at Nendaz 4 Vallées & Spa and holy heck guys it was AMAZING.

They have a ridiculous number of saunas and steam rooms, an ice room, indoor and outdoor pools, a salt/floating pool… and probably so much more that I’ve already forgotten.

Even if you don’t stay here, I recommend visiting their spa on a day pass!

>> Check out reviews, availability, and prices here.

More Beautiful Places to Visit in Switzerland

mountains of murren swtizerland in the jungfrau region

Above sums up my 11 favorite spots in Switzerland that I visited in my one week there… however, there is so much more to Switzerland than just that!

I tapped a few travel blogger colleagues to let me know their favorite parts of Switzerland, to share it with you. Here are a few of their top picks!


water of lake maggiore in switzerland where ascona a beautiful swiss village is located

Written by Zoe from Together In Switzerland

For a pretty village to visit in Switzerland, find yourself walking the cobblestoned streets of Ascona!

This picturesque Southern Switzerland village is perfect place for exploring in the warm sunshine.

It’s easy to reach with either a car or public transportation, with at least a day needed to enjoy the village best. 

Ascona is very scenic with lots to see and do, situated along the waterside of Lake Maggiore and close to the surrounding mountains.

The view along from the promenade is gorgeous to sit and relax with.

There are many restaurants here, all ideal for sitting outside under the summer parasols for a bite to eat or a fresh cold drink.

They all have an Italian style and dishes, being so close to the border of Italy.

While looking out to the lake, you can spot many local and touristic boats.

These boats often visit the Island of Brissago, a stunning botanical garden situated on the island not far from the shore. It’s open daily during the April to November season.  

a downtown scene in the lakeside village of ascona with pedestrian street and cafes along the street

When not eating, drinking or enjoying the lake side, find yourself walking the streets of the village.

There are lots of boutiques with clothing and local souvenirs to enjoy!

There is also a famously known ‘swing of the world’ that you can swing on at for photos with a pretty mountain and lake background. 

Ascona is small enough to explore easily in a day, but spending more time in Ascona will allow you to take in the summer social aspect of the village.

Where to Stay in Ascona

For a beautiful 5 star hotel recommendation, the Parkhotel Delta Wellbeing Resort is well worth a stay at for at least a night.

Alternately, for a more homely feeling at a 3 star hotel, Antica Posta is just as nice, just with fewer amenities.


people walking around the medieval village of gruyeres switzerland which is famous for its cheese

Contributed by Jolene from Wanderlust Storytellers

Gruyères is a medieval village located two and a half hours by train outside of Geneva.

Once you reach this charming village you will instantly fall in love with its charm and quaint architecture as you feel you have landed in a fairytale.

Although Gruyères is not known for its nightlife, it has so much to offer during the day which makes this small, cobblestone village a must see and great for a day trip from Geneva.

If you are a lover of cheese, then Gruyères is your heaven as this charming village is known for its cheese that is used in many delicious dishes around the world!

Make sure to try the village specialty dish, known as Moitie-Moitie (fondue), which is a dish made with the popular Gruyères and Vacherin cheeses – it is simply divine and to die for.

stretchy, pully, gooey fondue cheese with skewers, bread, and white wine

Not only can you enjoy eating the local cheese, but you can visit the Gruyères Cheese Factory to see exactly how they make the cheese.

Before indulging in the speciality dish, be sure to walk through the village along the cobblestone streets to do a little shopping.

The village boasts many boutiques with a variety of local village crafts, specialty dishes and unique souvenirs on sale.

Do not miss visiting the Medieval Gruyères Castle as the views of the surrounding hills from the castle are to die for!

When you are done visiting this gorgeous village, make a small detour to the town of Broc where you can visit the Cailler Chocolate factory.

Where to Stay in Gruyères

If you spend a day or two in Gruyères, book a room at the Boutique Hotel Alpenrose, a luxurious hotel with balconies giving you superb views of the mountains about 45 minutes outside of town.

Alternately, another good option is the Hotel de Ville which is located in the village center. This hotel is a chalet building with rooms that still retain traditional wooden features.


wildflowers with a view of the lake in the distance in southern switzerland italian canton of ticino

Contributed by Daria of the Discovery Nut

The largest city in the canton of Ticino, Lugano is a gateway to some of the best things art and culture.

Lugano is also a great starting point for your adventures, as you can take a drive or catch public transportation to many scenic places in the area.

While Lugano is a small city, it has plenty of things to do. 

Take a stroll in Parco Cívico along the shores of Lake Lugano; stop at Museo d’Arte della Svizzera that is home to artworks of Swiss-Italian artists or make your way to Piazza della Riforma, Lugano’s central square.

For the epic view of the area, make your way to the top of Monte Bre, the best spot in Lugano for enjoying the panorama of the city.

If you are in good shape, hike to the top of Monte Generoso that offers spectacular views of the entire area and even the snow-powdered Alps in the distance.

the beautiful lake lugano in southern switzerland with marina, city in background on lake shore

Some of the most popular day trips from Lugano are Valley Verzasca, home to Ponte dei Salti, a stone bridge that spans over the turquoise waters of the Verzasca River; and the famous Verzasca Dam, that was featured in one of the James Bond movies.

You can actually try bungee jumping, if you want to get a good dose of adrenaline and see what the movie stunt was all about. 

Another popular day trip from Lugano is Valley Maggia home to the only German-speaking village in the canton of Ticino – Bosco Gurin.

Carved by the glacier, Valley Maggia boasts impressive landscapes with many trails, waterfalls and alpine villages. It’s a great place to spend a day if you want to be in the nature. 

Where to Stay in Lugano

For a comfortable stay in the heart of Lugano, look into Hotel de la Paix, housed in a beautiful Italianate-style 18th century building with amenities like a pool and on-sit restaurants.

For a stylish yet budget friendly option, the Hotel&Hostel Montana offers simple accommodations in a stunning former villa right in the heart of Lugano.


the old town of bern with a tram, swiss flags, and tourists visiting the beautiful town cneter

Contributed by Kriszti of She Wanders Abroad

Bern, the capital of Switzerland, is a charming city with well-preserved architecture and a lively cultural scene.

Situated on the Aare River, Bern is a popular tourist destination thanks to its many attractions, including the Bear Pit, Bundeshaus (Federal Palace), Zytglogge Clock Tower, and numerous churches.

With its narrow cobblestone streets and medieval facades, Bern feels like it’s straight out of a storybook.

There are plenty of things to do in Bern, from exploring the city’s museums and art galleries to strolling through its picturesque parks. Travelers can also enjoy the city’s vibrant nightlife and dining scene.

view of the city of bern and its aare river that is brilliant turquoise running through it

Despite being the capital of Switzerland, Bern is actually pretty small so you can easily see the highlights by spending one day in Bern.

However, if you have longer, Bern is also an excellent base for exploring the rest of Switzerland, as it’s centrally located and well-connected by public transportation.

Some of the best day trips from Bern include excursions to the nearby towns of Interlaken and Grindelwald.

If you’re planning a trip to Switzerland, be sure to add Bern to your itinerary!

Where to Stay in Bern

For an elegant place to stay in Bern, Hotel Landaus has spacious and stylish rooms in an old house just a 5-minute walk from the Old Town, with views of the Aare River.

If you’re on a budget, Bern Backpackers Hotel Glocke is an excellently-priced, well-reviewed hostel in the heart of the Old Town, just 300 feet from the Zytglogge Tower.


a beautiful mountain chalet and outdoor tent in the town of champex-lac with mountains behind it

Contributed by Dean and Laynni at Routinely Nomadic

Nestled in the beautiful Val d’Arpette among the fabulous mountains of southwestern Switzerland, the sublime Champex-Lac is one of the top year-round locations in the country.

An outstanding ski resort in winter and popular hiking destination in summer, Champex-Lac has something to offer just about every type of visitor.

Probably best known as one of the nicest stops along the world-famous Tour du Mont Blanc long-distance trek, a spectacular 170-kilometre circuit of epic Mont Blanc itself.

However, even those who aren’t ready to commit to 10 days of strenuous hiking can enjoy a wide range of outstanding day hikes around Champex-Lac, the most impressive of which is the high-altitude Fenetre d’Arpette crossing.

Art lovers, on the other hand, should check out the excellent collection of wood carvings along the relatively easy Mushroom Route.

In winter, the skiing is fantastic (both downhill and cross-country) and the glassy surface of Champex-Lac becomes one of the most scenic ice skating spots in Switzerland.

Where to Stay in Champex-Lac

There are many good mountain chalets and comfortable apartments to choose from in Champex-Lac!

However, if you feel like splashing out, spending a few nights in the luxurious, lakefront Au Club Alpin will make for a truly memorable vacation!


the scenic old town of basel on the water with a bridge

Contributed by Paula of UK Every Day

With its unique architecture, historic streets, and Rhine River, Basel is one of the best places to visit in Switzerland!

During summer you can swim in the river which is an amazing activity to spend a day out in the city.

However, Basel is also abundant in many other attractions. One of the prettiest places is Spalentor – a fairytale city gate.

This medieval structure from 1400 looks like a little castle that will take you back in time.

If you love architecture, the Basel Exhibition Center is a must-see attraction. The huge hole in a roof, known as the “window to heaven” designed by Herzog & de Meuron, will take your breath away.

This famous architectural practice always impresses with modern designs which you can admire among others in Basel!

Where to Stay in Basel

One of the best hotels in the city is ART HOUSE Basel. It offers a contemporary interior and a great location!

This 4-star hotel is just a 10-minute walk from the Jewish Museum of Basel or a 7-minute walk to the Zoological Garden.  

If you are planning to travel on a budget, Community Hostel & Lounge by Hyve Basel SBB is a perfect choice.

It is next to the train station and getting to the city center from the hostel should not take more than 15 minutes walk.

3 Key Switzerland Experiences

5 Important Things to Pack for Switzerland

Allison with backpack in switzerland

I’ve actually written a whole all-season packing list for Switzerland (for men and women) but here are the 5 essentials in case you want the quick version.

  • An adaptor: Annoyingly, Switzerland uses a slightly different outlet (Type J) than the rest of continental Europe. While sometimes continental Europe adaptors will work in some outlets, some are more fussy, and I ended up needing to buy a Switzerland-specific adaptor. This Type J adaptor has several outlets so you can plug in multiple devices into one adaptor, which is handy.
  • A guidebook: While I use travel blogs for much of my travel research, I love a good old-fashioned guidebook as well. Lonely Planet Switzerland is recently updated and full of excellent travel inspiration and budget restaurant advice. Rick Steves’ Switzerland is also a winner. I typically download the Kindle version and bring it on my Kindle Paperwhite to minimize how much space it takes up in my bag
  • A rain jacket & packable down jacket: Switzerland can occasionally be quite rainy, so having a lightweight waterproof rain jacket is a must. I love my Marmot PreCip rain jacket and bring it with me everywhere – it’s lasted me years. If you plan on visiting any mountains, you’ll likely want to bring an extra layer with you – it’s cold up there even if it is sunny! I love having this packable down jacket that I can easily roll up and place in my bag.
  • A theft-proof bag: While Switzerland is generally pretty safe, there is a risk of pickpockets in the major cities like Geneva, Zürich, and Lucerne. I deter thieves by carrying a fashionable travel backpack with security features like locking zippers, RFID blockers, and slash-proof material. PacSafe is my favorite travel security item brand (this is the exact PacSafe backpack I love and bring on every city trip).
  • A reusable water bottle: Water in Switzerland is safe to drink everywhere and you will find public fountains in most cities spouting out pure, glacial water that is better than anything you can buy. Save some serious money and the environment by carrying your own reusable water bottle like this Klean Kanteen.

More Switzerland Travel Resources

Need help planning your perfect Switzerland trip? First, check out my guide to planning a trip to Switzerland.

I’ve written up this itinerary for 10 days in Switzerland, as well as suggestions for how to modify the itinerary if you have more or less time.

I have posts on all the best day trips from Interlaken as well as the best day trips from Geneva, including side trips to France!

Finally, be sure to check out this Switzerland packing list for all seasons and genders! It’s your one-stop shop for everything you need to bring to Switzerland.

Note: Swiss Travel Pass offered me an 8-day pass to test out their product. I can honestly say I loved it and wouldn’t travel Switzerland any way!


      1. Great article Allison, we are visiting Switzerland this summer with 2 boys 12 and 7, would like you to help with the Itinerary, prefer a luxury hotel and planning a 5 days stay. Can you please email me, your input is greatly appreciated.

        1. Hi Chaitanya, I’m sorry, I don’t have the time to email all my readers to help plan trips, but hopefully this guide is helpful! I would recommend basing yourself in 2 cities if you have only 5 days and doing day trips. I would suggest maybe Lucerne and Interlaken (there are extensive sections on both these places above including luxury hotel suggestions) – hope that helps!

      2. Dear Allison, such a great blog. Our family traveling to Switzerland in the summer. we will fly out of Zurich to USA. but can fly into other local airports if you recommend it. Arriving Monday morning and departing Friday afternoon. Looking into a relaxing, hiking and full of nature trip. We are traveling with two teens under 16. would love to hear your recommendation. Will for sure purchase the rail pass as you recommended.

        1. Thanks Kathy! I think Zurich, Lucerne, and Interlaken would make a perfect short trip. Lucerne and Interlaken will be great for hiking and nature. Check Mount Rigi, Mount Pilatus, Schynigge Platte, and Lauterbrunnen for hikes and nature!

  1. Enjoyed reading your blog. I have 4 days in Switzerland in December. Which of these attractions are worth concentarting on. I shall be using the Swiss Travel Pass for my travels there.

    1. Hi Daniel! If you only have 4 days I would personally concentrate on Lauterbrunnen, Luzern, and Zermatt. Check to see if the scenic trains run during the winter, though, as I think some might not (Schynige Platte, Pilatus, and Rigi are included in the pass, but they might not be year-round). The Gornergratbahn in Zermatt runs all year and you can get tickets for 50% off with a Swiss Travel Pass.

  2. One of the classical scenic routes is the “Golden Pass” between Montreux, Interlaken and Lucerne. On the stretch between Montreux and Zweisimmen, you’ll find various panorama coach express trains (well, still slow enough to join the scenery!). Look in the timetable for a connection with the “MOB Belle Epoque” train. This train consists of coaches that are built in belle epoque style, and you feel yourself travelling in the style of the 1920s. No supplement or reservation required (reservation is possible, when you want, for a small fee), just hopp on with your travel pass.

    1. Hi,

      I am going to Switzerland in July end for 4D4N. I have already visited Zurich, Geneva, Bern, Interlaken, Titlis and Jngfrau earlier. So what would you recommend me for these 4 days and also how should I travel or move around for your suggested itinerary( any rail passes? )

      Many thanks in advance.


  3. Hi Allison,
    I enjoy your blog! Got a recommendation from a friend of mine to check your blog to prepare for my travel to Switzerland 🙂
    Thought of doing the Lauterbrunnen, Interlaken, Schynige Platte area for 4 days. Just curious, does the Swiss Pass include cable car and scenic train tickets too by the way, for example the one that you mentioned to take to Muren via Winteregg? Since traveling in Switzerland is expensive, I am thinking whether it is worthwhile to get Swiss Pass for 3 days or not.
    Thanks for the input!

    1. Hi Yemima, thank you for your comment — glad your friend sent you my way! Yes, you can 100% use the Swiss Pass for the cable car, scenic trains to Murren, as well as all city buses 🙂 No added fees. You have to pay extra for Schilthorn or Jungfrau, though, if those are on your list!

  4. Hi Allison – your article here has inspired me and my wife to visit Switzerland for 8 days in early July 2018. In fact, if you think we could do it in 8 days, we may just follow the exact same route you took here, including checking out the Montreux Jazz Festival at the beginning of our adventure. This will be our first time visiting Europe, so we are sort of clueless about what the ideal itinerary could be, and we need some help with where to stay in each location. Can you recommend a really cool itinerary along with overnight accomodations? We certainly do not require luxury hotels everywhere, but we would like to have some privacy and a comfortable bed in each spot. Would love to hear your rcommendations for a “perfect 8 day journey” that takes in scenic Switzerland and NOT the big, crowded cities. The jazz festival is the only crowd we’re willing to endure over the 8 days. 🙂 Thanks, Allison, for any help you van give us. We are a little intimadated about doing this, but with your recommendations, we know we will have a blast.

    1. Hey Glenn & Pam! I’m so excited to hear that, and you will absolutely love it! I would be glad to help you. I’m in transit tomorrow, but I’ll shoot you an email with an itinerary idea and accommodation recommendations sometime in the next few days. You really will have a blast – Switzerland is one of my favorite countries on Earth, and Switzerland is probably one of the easiest countries to travel in all of Europe, especially with the trains, and it’s definitely best experienced outside the cities. Keep an eye on your inbox in the coming days.

      1. Hi Allison,

        My wife and I are planing to visit Switzerland in the 2nd week of July this year for 9 days. We’ll be flying into Zurich and flying out from Geneva. I would really appreciate if you could share the same or a similar itinerary.


  5. Hi Allison -just a friendly reminder re: our request for ideas for an itinerary and accommodations. We’re in our late 50s, so maybe we should stay in 2 locations and do all of our exploring from those spots? Trains are definitely our thing, so maybe stay near major train “hubs”? We’re also into lakes, waterfalls and relatively flat hikes of 5 miles or less.

    Thanks so much for your help, Allison! We cannot wait to visit Switzerland! We’re thinking of going in either June or July, but we’re completely flexible. If going in early June would “be the heavy tourism rush” then we could do it, but don’t want to freeze our rear ends off, either!

        1. Hi, great article! Any chance you could email me the same recommendations as Glenn and Pam? My husband and 18 year old son and I are doing 12 days beginning June 12th and just now planning our itinerary. Thanks!

          1. Hi Allison
            That’s a wonderful blog you have put up on Switzerland.
            We(husband, 14yr old daughter and me) are planning to do only Switzerland in May. We love hikes, would like to visit a vineyard, chocolate factory, cheese factory and the alps. We do not want to do all the mountains but just one – where we can do all mountain activities.
            We love villages and are not at all keen about the touristy places. We are flying in and pout of Zurich. Any recommendations are welcome please.
            Thank you

          1. Hi Khushi, unfortunately, I get far too many inquiries for itinerary planning by email and I am not really able to help people plan a trip to Switzerland. I recommend getting in touch with a local travel agent who specializes in Europe / Switzerland travel. Hopefully this post can help inspire your itinerary!

  6. Hi Allison,
    I love this post, just stumbled upon it while looking for scenic train routes through Switzerland. We will be disembarking from a river cruise on May 13 in Basel. We’d love to extend our trip by 3 or 4 days and fly back to the states from Zurich. Any suggestions for a quick trip on scenic trains that would include Bern, Lake Lugano and Zurich?

    1. Hi Brenda! Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to visit most of the regions you mentioned. I took a train from Lucerne to Zurich (the Pilatus railway on the boats of Lake Lucerne to Mount Pilatus is stunning), and then later from Zurich to Zermatt – both were beautiful. To be honest, I think you can’t go wrong with any train travel in Switzerland!!

  7. Hi Allison
    I loved your article. Wondering if I could get some advice on our upcoming trip. My son and I will be in Switzerland for 10 days May 1-11/18 , flying into Geneva and making our way to Zurich before flying home. Is it worth getting the 15 day continuous pass or should I get an 8 day in 1 month pass. Trying to decide how long to stay in each place or is there 2 or 3 places to set as a home base and take day trips from. Thinking of Geneva to Zermatt to Interlaken to Lucerne to Zurich. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Hi Pauline, thank you! I’d say that the 8 day in 1 month would probably be most cost-effective, as I’m sure you’ll find a day or two when you are not taking a train and just exploring the city. I’d spend 2 nights each of the 5 places you mentioned — none are really better as a ‘home base’ as all these destinations you’ve mentioned are 2-3 hours apart by train. I’d use your pass for Schynigge Platte on the same day you arrive to Interlaken, and your pass for Pilatus or Rigi on the same day you arrive in Lucerne, to maximize the value of it. But I’m sure you can find 2 days out of the 10 where you won’t need to use a train, so that’s probably better value.

  8. This blog was very helpful. Switzerland, the spectacular wonder that it is, and this does not get said enough. The extraordinary beauty of the colossal glaciers, placid lakes, picturesque mountains and medieval castles of Switzerland will take your breath away.

  9. Thank you Allison, we are planning a trip soon. The places you mentioned, can’t it be traced by riding on a car? That way you can stop mid-way, ride at your own leisure and soak in the natural beauty as it comes, Are these routes strictly for railways?

    1. Hi Avinash, it’s possible to rent a car but it is very expensive to do so (gas and tolls are crazy in Switzerland). You can’t get to Pilatus, Rigi, or Schynige Platte with a car – only railway. Zermatt is also a car-free city. So, this is best for trains, but you could make something similar work with a car. Up to you.

  10. Hi Allison
    Good Day. This is Vijay. It is an awesome guide with detailing. I would like to visit in the 2018/September middle, 6 ~ 7 days with my family kids who are 10 & 12 years. We would want to enjoy green grass scenic, lakes, rope cars across mountains, adventure parks and Train Trips especially Glacier Express.

    Would you please recommend cities and places to meet aforementioned with Hotels and travel pass details?

    I truly appreciate your great travel inputs and guidance to make our Swiss visit most memorable and superfluous happiness

    Well advance Thanks

    1. Hi Vijay, I’m glad you found the post helpful. That sounds like a great trip. I would recommend basing yourself in Lucerne, Lauterburunnen, Zermatt, and St. Moritz. I have information about the first three places in this article, as well as detailed hotel recommendations for all three cities. I don’t know anything about St. Moritz having not been yet. I recommend purchasing the Swiss Travel Pass online before your stay. If you have any other questions, let me know!

  11. Have been to most of the places you have mentioned- your article made me smile remembering amazing time I had there 🙂

    1. Thank you! For Switzerland… budget twice as much as you think! I’d say a minimum of $100 a day to cover everything (you can get away with less, but you’ll want the wiggle room). It’s so beautiful, but so damn expensive!

  12. Hi Alison,
    Loved your post. I will be traveling to Switzerland with my husband in September. We have 2 nights in Lucerne, 4nights in Wengen and 2 in Zurich.
    Will we be able to do some good day trips from Wengen? Can you help me a bit.
    Is my itenery ok? I really need your help.
    Thank you dear.

  13. We are just back from 7 days in Switzerland. The trainride and your itinerary looks amazing Thanks for the article, it gave us inspiration for our next travel plans!

  14. Hi Allison,
    I just ran into your blog and I am in love! Thank you so much for all you amazing recommendations!

    I would love to hear your recommendations about a trip I am planning in a couple of days (I know it’s last minute, but it just came about.) I am currently in Lugano on a conference and I am traveling back to New York from Geneva on September 4th.

    I have from August 27th to September 4th (8 days, excluding last day.)

    I don’t known anyone here and all I want is to explore mountains, lakes and waterfalls (but mountains on top of the list) I am also on a budget, and I am not prepared for advanced hiking/climbing as I don’t have my gear.

    I would like to have Zurich on my list.

    I would love love love your help and insight.

    1. Hi Rasha, thanks so much! I would recommend Zurich, Lauterbrunnen (good for budgets), Interlaken (good for budgets), and Lucerne (not quite as budget-friendly but very beautiful). Maybe Zermatt if you can fit it in also. You will find plenty of easy hikes where you don’t need advanced hiking or climbing gear around Lauterbrunnen, Lucerne, and Zermatt. Lauterbrunnen especially has lots of waterfalls! I hope that helps you plan. I’ve recommended the best budget options for accommodations for each of those cities. Unfortunately there is no getting around the fact that Switzerland is expensive but you can make it work for your budget with some planning!

  15. Hi Allison, my daughter is doing a study abroad and is located in Lugano. I am going over for a week to visit her and do some sight seeing. She is in a hostel for 9 yes I said 9 weeks and am hoping she can join me wherever I am staying and just uber to class during the week. She has off Friday-Sunday so we can go further from Lugano on the weekends. What do you suggest for us on a time line, like a base hotel, how many adn which places to see etc Keep in mind I am only interested in 5 star hotels. I’m spoiled and I know it. My sweet daughter will appreciate the luxury having been in the hostel for so long too! We are looking at the third week in October 2018 so soon. I looked up Hotel Schweizerhof Luzern and they have no availability. I think all the places you mentioned above sound fabulous! Thank you!

    1. Hi Julianne. Too bad about Hotel Schweizerhof, it looks amazing! There are two other 5* hotels in Lucerne with availability during the dates you mentioned – here’s one: and here’s the other: I think Lucerne is a great option for seeing all of the great sights around Lucerne (Mt. Rigi, Mt. Pilatus, the glacier tours I mentioned in the post, etc.) Plus it’s just one of the prettiest cities in Switzerland! For Lugano, I haven’t been, but the best-looking hotel options are these two: and

      Your daughter is definitely going to love the luxury after 9 weeks in a hostel – yikes!! 😀 That’s so nice of you!!

  16. hi Alisson….great post
    my husband and i are going to swizerland and then on to lake como area end aug 2019 for his 60th!
    Would greatly appreciate some tips as we will have 8 days in switzerland eg, where to start trip Geneva or Zurich……


    1. Thanks Bina! Since you are ending in Lake Como, I recommend adding Lugano (not on this post because I didn’t go) to your itinerary. I’d personally fly into Zurich, then go to Lucerne, then onwards to Lugano. That would be the most straightforward itinerary with easy trains and still seeing a lot of the Switzerland highlights. Lucerne is great for day trips to the mountains, etc. Hope that helps you plan!

  17. Dear Allison,

    My Name is Patrick from Malaysia & travelling this Saturday 20/10 – 27/10 to Interlaken region. I have many questions to ask you about my Swiss trip. Can you please help to assist some of my queries below :

    Itinenary to Interlaken :

    Saturday 20/10

    1. Arrive Geneva Airport at 2pm local time
    2. Buy Salt Sim card, buy Half Fare Card
    3. Take train to Interlaken
    4. Buy Jungfrau travel pass (6 days)
    5. Spend night in Interlaken hostel using Interlaken as base for next 2 days

    Sunday 21/10

    1. Start using Jungfrau travel pass
    2. Start in Lake Briens – take the lake cruise
    3. Take Brienzer Rothorn Railway
    4. Come down the railway & continue to Spietz castle & Romanesque church
    5. Visit Iseltwald village
    6. Across to Lake Thun, cover the medieval town
    7. Visit Oberhofen Castle & Thun Castle

    Monday 22/10

    1. Visit areas in Interlaken
    2. Visit Harder Klum
    3. Visit Schynigge Platte by cog wheel train
    4. Visit Interlaken Monastery & Castle
    5. Hohemate Park, Hohewegg,Unterseen

    Tuesday 23/10

    1. Use Wengen as base for next 2 days
    2. Take train all the way to Jungfrau Peak
    3. Come down Kleine Scheidegg
    4. Spend evening walking in Wengen town

    Wednesday 24/10

    1. Visit Schiltorn & Piz Gloria
    2. Come down to Birg, do the Skyline Walk
    3. Explore Wengen town

    Thursday 25/10

    1. Use Murren as base for next 3 days
    2. Visit LauterBrunnen , Gimmelwald

    Friday 26/10

    1. Spend time in Murren
    2. Hiking from Murren to Gimmelwald
    3. Winter sports
    4. Cover any other area that was missed out in earlier days

    Saturday 27/10

    1. End of Jungfrau 6 days travel pass & end of travel in Interlaken region
    2. Purchase golden pass from Interlaken to Montreux
    3. Train / lake Cruise from Montreaux to Geneva city or direct to airport
    4. Arrive to Geneva Airport
    6. Departure from Geneva airport at 5pm local time

    My Questions as follows :

    A. Transport
    1. Travel from Geneva to Interlaken by using Half fare card, do I need the 1 day travel pass on top of the HFC?
    2. Last day travel via Golden pass from Interlaken to Montreux. Similarly,do I need the 1 day travel pass on top of the HFC?

    B. Lodging
    1. Do I use Interlaken as base for 1st & 2nd day. Or stay in Thun / Briens for 1st 2 days ?
    2. Pls suggest where I should I base myself & how many days at each base to maximise my trip.
    3. I had intended to do 1 night in Lauterbrunen or Gimmelwald at least. Is it possible to sqeeze it in somewhere ?
    4. How do swiss hotels operate? Can I leave my bag in the morning 1st & then come later in the evening to check in ? Otherwise, how can I cut short my trip in the afternoon just to check in & go back to continue my travel ?

    C. Nightlife / activities
    1. What are the available activities in interlaken at night ?I am looking for night skiing / surfing / sledging activities
    2. Are the mountains open at night ?
    3. Can I come down from Murren to Interlaken & go back same night ? Do the cable car / trains operate at night as well ? What time is the last cable car from interlaken to Murren ?
    4. Are there snow activities when I visit during these dates? Can I go taboogan / snow sledge when I visit during this time of the year ?

    D. Itinerary
    1. Pls view my itienery for day 1 & 2. Is it cramming too much ? Should I skip some activities ?
    2. I love castles. Do I have sufficient time to visit all 3 castles on day 1? Are they beautiful or can be missed ?
    3. On the last day, do I have sufficient time to go from Interlaken to Montreux & then to airport if flight is 5pm
    4. Do I have time to do a lake cruise then ?
    5. What is best way to go from Montreux to Geneva Air port ?
    6. Will there be any train / cable car closure at the mountains when I visit on these dates ?

    Hope you can take some time to read my querries & assist in any way possible. Thanks in advance

    1. Hi Patrick, unfortunately I don’t have the time to answer your many questions – I have to suggest that you speak with a local travel agent who is skilled in Switzerland. Good luck!

  18. Hey Allison – love your blog! If you had just seven days and didn’t want to move cities everyday…which two or three places would you pick to see? We are getting old to be packing every day LOL
    Thanks a bunch! Cheers!

    1. I hear you on that, I hate moving too much! I’d pick Lucerne and Lauterbrunnen and whatever airport you fly in & out of 🙂 Or replace Lucerne with Zermatt if you really want to see the Matterhorn!

  19. Hi Allison! I really loved reading your blog! I was in Switzerland for 3 weeks and it was just really stunning! (especially for me who lives in the Philippines). Also had the chance to go to Italy in Treviso, Rome, France, and Germany for a week.
    Hope to see more of your blogs! God bless! 🙂

    1. Thanks Carl! Switzerland is really beautiful – definitely different than the Philippines I’m sure, which of course is beautiful in its own right! Treviso sounds lovely as well. Have a great day!

  20. Hi Allison,

    I plan to travel to Swiss with my family of four (2 adults n 2 teenagers) for about 8 days in mid April, 2019.

    Please advise on where should we go/ stay as our travel will be on medium range budget. Our passion are sceneries/mountains/lakes.

    (F. Ghazali)

  21. hi Allison, it was so knowledgeable and full of very important information. I must admire you writing and helping travelers. we a couple are coming after visiting venice , milan and lake como around mid june 2019. we have already seen jungfraugh and mount titlis plus little of lucerne and zurich. we can spend 4/6 days for viewing only scenic places in switzerland. please suggest us an itinerary for this period and places of mid level budget hotels for our stay. please also guide us that since we shall be covering partb of Italy also then should we buy swiss travel pass or Eurail pass for 2 countries. We shall be flying back to New York so please suggest us its Geneva or Zurich. Thanks and Regards. Kiran

    1. Hi Kiran, thank you! I would recommend 2 days in Lugano since you are coming from Italy, 2 days in Zermatt, and 2 days in Zurich on your way out, unless Geneva ends up being dramatically cheaper to fly to NYC from. I like Zurich more than Geneva but both are nice. I’ve already recommended hotels for Zermatt and Zurich (check links above) but have no recommendations for Lugano, sorry. Oh, and I’d opt for a Eurail pass since you span both Italy and Switzerland – I think it may be cheaper. Anyway, hope that helps! Have a fab trip!

  22. Allison, My name is Susheela and we are planning on a 8 day trip to Zurich and visiting Switzerland. Could you help me to select the most important places to visit in Switzerland ? We plan to make Zurich as our base. Is it better to go with a tour package or
    plan it ourselves ? Please let me know. Sincerely apprecaite your help

    1. Hi Susheela! From Zurich, I recommend visiting Lucerne and Interlaken, and I have a lot of detail about them here in this post. I don’t recommend to go with a tour package, but instead to buy independent day tours that cater to your interest. I’ve linked to a number of GetYourGuide day trips which are reasonably priced for Switzerland so you can look through those and mix and match to plan the perfect trip for your kind of travel. For example, you can pick between trains, mountain excursions, glacier excursions, chocolate and cheese tastings, etc. through the tours I’ve recommended above. Have a great trip!

  23. which month will be better May/June or September.? as we don’t want to visit during crowded month of July and August,

    1. I went in late June and it was lovely! Lots of beautiful alpine flowers around that time. That would be my recommendation. Late September or early October you might get some nice fall colors so that is an option as well.

  24. Hi Allison,

    Your blog is really awesomeeee!!

    I would be travelling to Switzerland on February 3rd. Since it would be really cold and snowy a bit confused. Which places would you recommend for a 5 day trip for the weather!!

    Thanks a tonneee for your answer:) Wishing you the best!!!


    1. A lot of the scenic trains may not be running as some are summer season only, so I would pick some scenic cities instead. I’d pick Lucerne, Interlaken, and Lauterbrunnen (you can do Interlaken as a day trip from Lauterbrunnen or vice versa).

      1. Hi Allison,

        Really appreciate your prompt response…..Idea taken and would surely do these cities.

        Thanks a tonneeeeee for your help dude:) Have an amazing journey!!


  25. Hi there! I just found out that I qualified for my company’s incentive trip this year which is 6 days in Montreux! We will be staying at the Fairmont which is the one you recommended. It’s the last week in April and I can’t wait. I was thinking of going out a few days early to check out another town. But I will be traveling with my mom so I want to also keep things somewhat simple for her sake. Would staying in Geneva be worth it or should we get out further to see something different, like Lucerne? What would you recommend? We are interested in shopping, eating, exploring cute towns and nice scenery. Also, I’m a runner so I would need a good place to run. Thanks for your help!

    1. That’s awesome! Congrats! Hmm, I think I would pick Lucerne over Geneva, and it’s not much harder to get to since the trains in Switzerland are so good. Geneva is nice as well, but I think Lucerne is much more beautiful. You can take the steam boat, train, and cable car combo up to Mount Pilatus which has beautiful views and is easy to walk around. Montreux has a nice lake walk that would be a great place for running, I’m sure there’s something similar in Lucerne but not sure off the top of my head as I was horribly ill while I was there and didn’t get to explore Lucerne as much as I’d like. I hope that helps!

  26. Geneva is the perfect city for the weekend. Beautiful, peaceful and with lots of attractions. I really liked the view from the top of Saleve and swimming in the lake.

  27. Hi I will be travelling for the first time in Switzerland and planning to visit the country for 7 days in April. Grateful if you could enlighten me on how to plan this holiday and where to stay and places to eat vegan. How will be the weather during that period or any tour guide you can refer.


    1. Hi Lavanya. I would pick 2 or 3 cities on this list at a maximum. I’d buy a 8-day train pass so you can do day trips as well. Then I’d pick one of the places to stay which are all mapped out on this post with links and everything sorted by budget category. I have no idea about eating vegan or the weather in April – I’d check online the historical information for your specific cities – and I didn’t work with any tour guides during my stay, sorry!

  28. Hi Alison

    i have about 5 days to spare in Switzerland and really wanted to see the Mattherhorn , Jungfrauch and Mt Titlis, is this doable?

    1. Yes I’d say so! I’d do Jungfraujoch and Mt. Titls as day trips from somewhere like Lucerne or Zurich (I have links to these day trips in my post) then independently go to Zermatt where you can see the Matterhorn via train and then take the Gornergrat up to see the Matterhorn from an even better view.

  29. HI Alison!we are planning our trip from India to Europe for the 1st time.Your article gave so much clarity to our confused soul to cover switzerland for sure.we got so much idea about the places to cover in the beautiful country.your comments and response to peoples queries are also equally enlightening.we would still need your help in planning our 7 days super cool itenary in switzerland.we will enter from paris to geneva and depart from zurich.we are looking for budget accomodations and yes we are travelling with our 3 year old kid.Awaiting your response.Thanks in advance.

    1. Hi Ruchi, I would go straight from Geneva to Lausanne or Montreux, then Interlaken, then Lucerne, then leaving Zurich. How much time you want to spend in each place is up to you but generally Geneva and Zurich are more expensive so maybe avoid the time there. I have budget accommodation suggestions for all of the above cities except Lausanne above, so that should help you get started! I’m afraid I can’t offer personalized itineraries due to time limitations but hopefully that will get you started off on the right foot. Have a great trip!

  30. Hi Allison,
    You are extremely helpful in assisting so many travellers. Can I get your help too?
    I am looking at 7 full days in Switzerland. Should i go from Geneva-zermatt-Lauterbrunnen-luzern -Geneva or should it be Geneva-Lauterbrunnen-luzern-zermatt-Geneva to accomodate the train rides as I am unsure if there are trains from each destination to another. Also to save time.
    Also How many days should I allocate for above places?
    Thank You.

  31. Hi Allison,
    Geneva-zermatt-Lauterbrunnen-luzern -Geneva or
    Geneva-Lauterbrunnen-luzern-zermatt-Geneva OR

    THanks again


    1. Hi Lili, my route was this exactly: Geneva-Montreux-Lauterbrunnen-Lucerne-Zurich-Zermatt-Nendaz (but Geneva back could be easy as well). Based on my route and your stops I’d recommend Geneva-Lauterbrunnen-Lucerne-Zermatt-Geneva. (Montreux optional but I’d skip it with only 7 days). There are trains between each destination although some may require a transfer. However, the transfers are timed so that you do not waste time waiting for trains. I prefer to allocate 2-3 days per destination but it doesn’t seem you have time for that so you will have to decide – do you want to see more and travel more quickly or see less and travel more leisurely? Unfortuantely that’s not something I have the answer to!

      1. Thank You Allison for replying so promptly!
        You recommended below route:

        Can I know the reason of going into lauterbrunnen first instead of going into lucern or zermatt to do a full loop?
        by doing your recommended route, i would be going to lauterbrunnen to north: lucerne and going south again to zermatt.
        is it because of the train timing or availability?

        Thank You again.

        1. Hi Lili, I advised it because it’s the most similar to what I did. If you think there is a better route feel free to research it on the train pass website but I can only speak from my own experience.

  32. We’re planning for a 7 days trip to Switzerland from India,which are the fascinating places we should cover?We’ve an accommodation booked in few of the places.What mode of travel would be economical to roam around?

    1. Hi Vishal, I would say Geneva-Interlaken/Lauterbrunnen-Lucerne-Zurich is great to start with but there are so many places you could choose so there’s no one best answer. The best way to get around is by train. A train pass or pre-booked tickets is more economical

  33. Hello Allison,
    I’m a solo female travel nurse and I’m considering booking a flight to Switzerland in July b/c great deal/bucket list trip. I love all your recommendations! How long max do you think I’d need to explore Switzerland to the fullest? I’m def a trip maximizer so I’d love to explore a lot of Switzerland but would also consider traveling to neighboring countries if time permits. I love to hike and I’m all for the epic views/photos/experiences. Though, any hikes that you don’t recommend going solo on? I was also wondering if I buy a flex pass, do I have to do the excursions the day I use my pass? Thanks for the blog/recs

    1. Hi Mackenzie! It’s a compact but large country that’s easy to get around so you could truly see a good bit of Switzerland in as little as a week or as much as months… It’s really up to you and your budget as well because Switzerland is so expensive to travel around! I’d recommend a side trip to Liechtenstein (didn’t get to do it but really want to) from Zurich area as it’s the easiest way to get there, and it’s easy to get between Switzerland and Italy (which is what I did) or Germany or Austria by train. I didn’t do much in terms of hiking on my trip but I think most hikes should be fine solo with obviously exceptions such as snowy mountain summits etc. And I had a consecutive day pass not flex pass so I’m not 100% sure on that either but I think you would.

      1. This is the best response ever! I loved your blog, while Switzerland was a casual thought for our trip, I am now sold and excited. Thank you.
        I am struggling with what two locations to base out of (everywhere seems beautiful ). We will be coming from Amsterdam, and will go to Paris. We have about 5 days max in Switzerland. If you could suggest two locations to base our travel there, I’d be so very grateful.

        1. That’s so great to hear! 🙂 I’m glad it was so helpful. Personally, I think Interlaken and Lucerne would be my two picks 🙂 They’re both extremely scenic and great for mountain day trips!

  34. Hey Allison!

    Thank you so much for such a detailed blog; it has really helped us in planning our trip! I am curious though, the Schynige Platte train, is that something we should reserve/book in advance because of popularity (we are going in July & expect things to be busy)? Also, did you buy your Swiss Travel Pass in advance? Does it matter which company you buy your pass through (i.e. Rail Europe vs. ACP Rail or whatever)?

    Thanks in advance! I really appreciate this information!

    1. Hi Jessica! I didn’t reserve the Schynige Platte train in advance. I was gifted my Swiss Travel Pass by the Swiss Travel System in exchange for some social media promotion, so I’m not sure of the best way to buy it but I’d imagine just from their own website (linked in this article) would be the best price.

  35. Hi Allison,
    Loved reading your blog, I am going with my family for 4 days to Switzerland, we will be stationed at Lucerne. Day 1 we will be visiting Zurich, any recommendations
    Day 2 we would like to go to titlis or jungfrau, whichever u suggest
    Day 3 visiting another city, if u could guide us, which ?
    Day 4 if we don’t go to jungfrau then we would go Interlaken? Any other suggestion is most welcome.
    Want to make the most , in our first and last trip to Switzerland…. plz guide

    1. Hello! From Lucerne I recommend Titlis as it’s a little closer. I would pick Bern perhaps as your other city, maybe Interlaken if that’s more interesting to you. You should save at least one day to explore Lucerne and check out Mt. Pilatus and do the steam boat ride across the lake.

  36. My wife and I are planing to visit Switzerland in the end of the month of August this year for 5 days. We’ll be flying into Zurich and flying out from Milan please advise.

    1. Hi Kabir please refer to my 10 day itinerary linked on this post and modify it for your needs. I would recommend Zurich – Lucerne – Lugano/Locarno – Milan.

  37. Hi Allison,
    I just ran into your blog and I am in love! Thank you so much for all you amazing recommendations.
    planning to visit the country Switzerland for 3 days only with my wife and 2 children, spending 1 week in Barcelona and there after we will flying 2 Zurich. its my wife dream trip 2 the Switzerland Please recommend where we can spend day 1 day 2 and day 3 with a limited Budget.

    1. That’s lovely! I’m so happy you enjoyed the article. I suggest staying in Lucerne or Interlaken if you are on a budget. Please refer to those sections of this guide if you want to see my budget hotel recommendations and activity recommendations. Enjoy!

      1. Hi,
        Thanks for your kind reply we are thinking stay in interlaken and looking forward your budget hotel recommendation,


          1. Hi,
            Thanks for your great help yes i see the post its amazing ! I truly appreciate your great travel recommendations making peoples life easier. stay blessed



  38. Hi Alison ,

    If I ever want to plan any trip , I would check your blog first . 🙂 Thanks for all the inputs and it really helps anyone too create a Good travel plan. Can you tell whether the Swiss travel pass would cover all the travel expense within Switzerland . If I need to travel from Geneva to Lucerene ( By Train) or From Zurich to Lucerene ( By train ) , Would I be able to use the Swiss travel pass for the same ?

    And If I would like to travel to other countries from Switzerland , ( Like Amsterdam , or Italy ) Is it possible by Swiss pass ? how do I make these travels without taking a Flight ? Can you please help me by clearing my queries .

    1. Hi Vishnu, thanks so much! Yes, the Swiss Travel Pass covers basically all travel expenses in Switzerland, including public transit in cities as well as many museums, etc. The only thing that is not included are some specialty scenic railways (such as Jungfraujoch and Schilthorn and Gornergrat) although often times it does give you a discount. Geneva to Lucerne or Zurich to Lucerne would be 100% covered.

      However, international trains are not included. You would have to book a regular cost ticket and then activate your Swiss Travel Pass while in Switzerland. You could use Omio to find the best and cheapest non-flying option to your next destination.

  39. Hi Allison,

    I went through your blog and got a very good idea regarding planning my itinerary in Switzerland.
    I am going to switzerland in the month of August for 6N/7N. The arrival and departure is at Zurich.
    Can you please suggest which all places should i cover during this duration.

  40. This post was extremely helpful, and I appreciate your writing style. Thanks so much for all of the recommendations! Planning our trip now.

  41. Hi Allison thanks a tonne for this wonderful blog. I was thinking of taking tour package, but after reading your blog am encouraged to do it and I am pretty sure many people wud have felt the same. I am planning to go with my wife in this December for four days. I am not sure if December is the best time to visit swiss. But what wub be best place to visit in December.

    1. You’re welcome Firoz! I think that you will be better off in the big cities in December so that you can enjoy the Christmas markets. Unfortunately a lot of the scenic trains like the Schynigge Platte will not be running in the off-season. So I would pick perhaps Zurich, Lucerne, Bern, Geneva (or whatever combination works best for where you are flying into) so you can enjoy the Christmas markets.

  42. Hi Allison,

    Can you please help me with planning a good itenerary for 4 days in Swiss.(18th oct to 21st oct)

    I am landing in Zurich on 18th Oct morning at 9 AM and I have a hotel booking for 18th night in Zurich itself
    Then I booked 2 nights accomodation(19th night and 20th night) in Interlaken.

    Can I cover lucerne in one day (12 hours day time on 21st Oct). I have a return flight on 21st Oct night from Zurich again at 7 PM.

    Please suggest what all places I should visit in this small timeframe and I am planning to but the Swiss travel pass for 3 days.

    1. Hi Praneeth, That seems like a good plan for your short trip. I wouldn’t suggest more than Zurich, Interlaken, and Lucerne, besides maybe a day trip to Lauterbrunnen from Interlaken. You could also visit Schynige Platte. I have information about both of these places on this post.

      1. Hey Allison,
        Me and my fionce are planning our honeymoon to Switzerland, could u please suggest us some good places for an approx 7 day trip, we want to enjoy the snow, the yummiest cheese and chocolates there, and the beautiful views with cable cars and the steam boat u mentioned and also we wish to do paragliding, please suggest good destinations for all of this and also the best month to enjoy everything of the above.. thank you! Lots of love♥️♥️

        1. Hi Gayatri, I suggest Interlaken for paragliding, Geneva for cheese and chocolates, and Jungfraujoch or Schilthorn for views and cable cars, and Lucerne for the steam boat. All this information is in the article above if you reread and find the things that most interest you 🙂 I’d suggest July or August for the best weather (and still snow on top of mountains and glaciers) but it will be a little more expensive. September would be a little cheaper but more potential for cold weather.

  43. Hi Allison
    I am coming to Switzerland for 6 days with my travel company … I have last 2 full day spare with me .. I will stay first 3 days in zurich and will cover lucerne and interlaken in 2 days … plz suggest me to spend remaining last 2 days in Switzerland… can i spend it in bern ??

  44. Allison,

    We are planning a trip to Switzerland and starting from scratch with ideas. Your blog is most helpful. Thank you! I think you should charge a fee for assisting people with planning beyond a few simple suggestions. It would be a full time job to give your time to every request on all your travels. Again, love the blog!

    1. You’re welcome William, thanks! I do charge for itinerary planning for my region of expertise [the Balkans] but itinerary planning is hard work and I couldn’t keep up with it if I tried, plus for regions I’ve only visited but am not an expert in, I don’t know how much help I’d be! I try to create resources for the most commonly asked questions and direct people there 🙂

  45. Hi
    The recommendations are really helpful. However, I wanted to know if I am visiting Matterhorn Glacier, should I keep Jungfrau(highest station) also in my Itinerary given that both are very expensive and if the experience are not too much different I would rather like to choose just one. What do you suggest?
    Thanks for your response.

  46. Hi Allison i want to visit Switzerland in this month (July) with my three friends for four days. can you please suggest me the beautiful places . we have limited budget.

  47. Hi Allison,

    Myself and my boyfriend (late 20s) are visiting Switzerland for the first time. We have three full days. I am confused between so many places. Could you recommend me some itinerary? We are not looking for luxury, some budget options will do. Thanks in advance!

  48. I am not acquainted with youth hostels. My husband and I are in our 60’s. Is it common for all ages to stay in these facilities? Would we have a private bathroom? I want to follow this plan!

  49. I came across this blog via pinterest and as a frequent traveler to central Switzerland, your tips are spot on and first time visitors should read this post. And your photos makes me want to get back into the Alps as soon as possible. I am at peace in that part of the world. You done a lot more of Luzern than I have and thats the area I want to hit up next, I been through it twice and only did the Chapel Bridge and the city walls. I can’t believe I missed the statue of the lion or not do a boat trip! Next time fingers crossed. 🙂

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