Julie Itinerary, Switzerland 114 Comments

If you are planning a trip to Switzerland, this is a great place to start. There are many different ways to plan your “perfect Switzerland itinerary,” depending on your interests and how much time you have.

In this article, we list five sample itineraries for Switzerland. These range from 7 to 21 days, with suggestions on how to use the Swiss Travel Pass and public transportation.


7 Day Switzerland Itinerary

The Highlights of Switzerland

If you only have one week in Switzerland, you have just enough time to visit two beautiful cities and spend several days in the amazing Bernese Oberland. For this itinerary, you will get around by train, so there is no need to rent a car.

Day 1: Arrive in Zürich, Travel to the Bernese Oberland
Days 2, 3, & 4: Bernese Oberland
Day 5: Lucerne
Day 6: Zürich
Day 7: Fly Home

Switzerland Itinerary 7 Day Map

Day 1: Arrive in Zürich, Travel to the Bernese Oberland

Today is a low-key day without much sightseeing, since many people will be arriving on overnight flights from other parts of the world. On this itinerary, we save Zürich for the end of the week, when you have more energy.

Today, travel right to the Bernese Oberland, by train, from Zürich. On average, it takes 2.5 hours to travel by train from Zürich to Lauterbrunnen.

Where to Stay in the Bernese Oberland

In the Bernese Oberland, there are several towns where we recommend staying. We stayed in Mürren, a quiet, charming village that sits on the cliffs over the Lauterbrunnen Valley. From here, you have jaw-dropping views of the Jungfrau massif. Lauterbrunnen, which sits in the valley, and Wengen, which sits on the cliffs at the base of the Jungfrau massif, also make great places to stay.

Some people like to stay in Grindelwald. This town is relatively large, has many hotels and restaurants, and also has handy public transportation connections to the destinations in the Jungfrau region. However, if you want to stay in a place with charm, we recommend Mürren, Lauterbrunnen, or Wengen.

Where We Stayed: We spent 6 wonderful nights at Hotel Alpenblick in Mürren. This small hotel is located near the Mürren train station on the edge of town. We stayed in the family room so we had two bedrooms, one bathroom, and a balcony with a view of the Alps. The rooms are basic but they are comfortable, quiet, and cozy. The wifi works well and the views are amazing. Hotel Alpenblick is a great value for the money you spend and we chose it since it’s a highly rated hotel that was cheaper than many in Mürren. We would not hesitate to stay here again.

For more recommendations on where to stay, read our guide to Where to Stay in the Jungfrau Region. Learn where to stay for great views of the Swiss Alps and get recommendations whether you are looking for a budget hotel, luxury hotel, or if you are traveling as a family.

Days 2, 3 & 4: The Bernese Oberland

For many visitors, the Bernese Oberland is the highlight of a trip to Switzerland. Towering mountains, alpine meadows, soaring cable cars, historic cogwheel trains, scenic walking trails, quaint villages and hamlets…this is what most people think of, when they think of Switzerland.

Jungfrau Switzerland Itinerary

Three days is just enough time to visit the highlights and get a nice taste of the Bernese Oberland. For ideas on how to plan your time, refer to our Jungfrau Itinerary Planner.

Jungfraujoch, one of the highest points in the Swiss Alps, makes it onto the list of many first-time visitors to Switzerland. However, it has a big price tag and it may not be worth the expense for everyone. Learn more if it is worth it in our guide about how to visit Jungfraujoch.

Jungfraujoch Switzerland Itinerary

Jungfraujoch

If you do choose to go to Jungfraujoch, you can add on the Eiger Trail in the afternoon. Learn how in our One Day in the Jungfrau Region Itinerary.

A cheaper, (and just as spectacular) high alpine experience is the trip up to Schilthorn and Piz Gloria.

Schilthorn View Switzerland Itinerary

View from Schilthorn | Switzerland Itinerary

Ride the cable cars, walk through Lauterbrunnen Valley, eat fondue while enjoying views of the Alps, go hiking, tour the small villages, and if you are looking for a big thrill, hike the Mürren via ferrata.

Murren Via Ferrata Switzerland Itinerary

Kara on the Mürren via ferrata

For a full list of things to do, check out our article 20 Amazing Things to do in the Jungfrau region of Switzerland. Learn how to plan your time in our Jungfrau Itinerary.

Day 5: Lucerne

In the morning, take an early train to Lucerne and spend the day in town. You also have the option to visit Mt. Pilatus or Mt. Titlis. Spend the night in Lucerne.

Lucerne Switzerland Itinerary

Day 6: Zürich

In the morning, take an early train to Zürich and spend the day in town. Sleep in Zürich.

Zurich Switzerland Itinerary

Zürich | Switzerland Itinerary

Day 7: Fly Home

Today, fly home from Zürich, or continue your travels.

If you happen to have an extra day, I recommend adding it to the Bernese Oberland. Yes, there really is that much to do here (we spent 6 full days in the Bernese Oberland and could have used more time).

How to Get Around Switzerland on This Itinerary: We recommend using the trains. You cannot get around the Jungfrau region of the Bernese Oberland by car, and Lucerne and Zürich are easily walkable with a great public transportation network, so there is no need for a car on this itinerary.

You can purchase your train and cable car tickets separately, or, save some money with the Swiss Travel Pass. For this itinerary, it is best to purchase the 6-day pass. The 4-day pass is an option, and you can add on additional tickets as you need them. However, the best option really depends on how much you plan to do in the Bernese Oberland.

Learn more about the Swiss Travel Pass here. 


10 Day Switzerland Itinerary

Zürich, Lucerne, Bernese Oberland & Zermatt

This itinerary is very similar to the 7-day Switzerland itinerary above, however, I added Zermatt and some extra time in Lucerne. For more details on days one through five, refer to the 7 day itinerary above.

Day 1: Arrive in Zürich
Day 2: Zürich, Travel to the Bernese Oberland
Day 3, 4, & 5: Bernese Oberland
Day 6 & 7: Zermatt
Day 8 & 9: Lucerne
Day 10: Fly Home

Switzerland Itinerary Map

Day 1: Arrive in Zürich

Get settled into your hotel. Spend the afternoon sightseeing. A scenic walk through the Old Town is the perfect, low-key thing to do if you are recovering from an overnight flight to Switzerland.

Read more about Zürich, including our walking route through the Old Town and recommendations on where to stay in our article One Perfect Day in Zürich.

Day 2: Zurich, Travel to the Bernese Oberland

Spend the morning in Zürich. This is a good time to visit one or two museums. The Museum of Art (Kunsthaus Zurich) and the Swiss National Museum are popular choices.

In the afternoon, take the train to the Jungfrau region of the Bernese Oberland and get settled into your hotel.

Days 3, 4 & 5: Bernese Oberland

As in the first itinerary above, you will spend three days in the Bernese Oberland. For a full list of things to do, read our article about the Best Things to Do in the Jungfrau Region. Learn how to plan your time with our Jungfrau Itinerary.

Day 6: Travel to Zermatt

In the morning, take an early train to Zermatt. From Lauterbrunnen, it takes approximately 3 hours and two transfers to get to Zermatt by train.

Once in Zermatt, ride the cable cars up to Rothorn for one of the best views of the Matterhorn. Have dinner in town.

Matterhorn View

View of the Matterhorn from Stellisee

For a full list of things to do in Zermatt, including recommendations on where to stay, read our Guide to Zermatt.

Day 7: Zermatt

There are three great places to get high-alpine views of the Matterhorn. Yesterday, you visited Rothorn. Today, since you have a full day in Zermatt, you can combine Gornergrat and Glacier Paradise into one epic day.

Start at Gornergrat. This was our favorite experience in Zermatt and we highly recommend the short but stunning walk from Gornergrat to Riffelberg.

Zermatt Switzerland Itinerary

Zermatt | Switzerland Itinerary

 

Matterhorn Switzerland Itinerary

Hiking from Gornergrat to Riffelberg

Once in Riffelberg, ride the cable car to Furi and then continue on the series of cable cars to Matterhorn Glacier Paradise. This is the location of the highest cable car station in Europe, and it is even higher than Jungfraujoch in the Bernese Oberland. You can simply enjoy the panoramic views, or you can go skiing, even in the summer months.

Day 8: Travel to Lucerne

Take the train to Lucerne and spend the afternoon exploring Lucerne. Sleep in Lucerne.

Day 9: Lucerne and Mt. Pilatus

In the morning, if the weather is clear, consider the trip up Mt. Pilatus for one last look at the Alps before you fly home. Titlis is another nearby peak that you can also visit. For more information on your options for visiting Mt. Pilatus, read our article about how to visit Lucerne and Mt. Pilatus.

Spend tonight in Lucerne and travel to the Zürich airport tomorrow morning. However, if you have an early flight, consider staying near the airport tonight.

Day 10: Fly Home

Fly home from Zürich airport or continue your travels.

How to Get Around Switzerland on This Itinerary: For this Switzerland itinerary, we recommend using the train. The 8-day Swiss Travel Pass works great. Start the pass on day 2 of this itinerary, when you use the train to travel from Zürich to the Bernese Oberland. The pass with expire on day 9, when you are in Lucerne. To get to the airport on day 10 (if you don’t spend the night of day 9 near the airport), you will have to pay for an additional train ticket.

Switzerland Travel Guide


14 Days in Switzerland

The 10 Day Itinerary Plus Lugano

This is similar to the 10-day itinerary above, with the addition of Lugano, an extra day in the Bernese Oberland, and the option to take the Bernina Express train.

Day 1: Arrive in Zürich, Travel to Lugano
Day 2 & 3: Lugano
Day 4: Travel to Zürich (Bernina Express is optional)
Day 5: Zürich
Day 6: Lucerne
Day 7, 8, 9 & 10: Bernese Oberland
Day 11 & 12: Zermatt
Day 13: Travel to Zurich or Geneva
Day 14: Fly Home

Switzerland Itinerary 10 Day Map

Day 1: Arrive in Zürich, Travel to Lugano

Arrive at the Zürich International Airport and travel directly to Lugano. There are several ways to do this.

You can travel by train to Lugano (this takes approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes) and use public transportation while in Lugano and for any day trips that you will take.

You also have the option to rent a car. You can rent it in Zürich, drive to Lugano, and drop it off either in Lugano (if you decide to take the Bernina Express train) or return it to Zürich on day 5 of this itinerary. Alternatively, you can take the train to Lugano, rent a car for the two days you will be in Lugano, and return it in Lugano before traveling back to Zürich.

Lugano is one of the few places in Switzerland that we recommend having a car. Yes, you can do everything using public transportation, but a car adds a little more convenience and flexibility to any day trips you decide to take. If you plan to rent a car, make sure you reserve a hotel in Lugano that offers parking.

For recommendations on what to do and where to stay in Lugano, read our Lugano Guide.

Day 2: Lugano

Spend the day in Lugano. For great views of the city, ride the funicular to the top of Monte Brè or Monte San Salvatore. Cruise Lake Lugano, explore the city center, and visit the Herman Hesse Museum.

Lugano Switzerland Itinerary

View from Monte San Salvatore

 Walking through Lugano

Walking through Lugano

Sleep in Lugano.

Day 3: Day Trip from Lugano

There are numerous day trips that you can take from Lugano. Bellagio and Lake Como is a wonderful day trip, if you haven’t done this on a previous trip to Europe.

Bellagio Italy

Bellagio

Ponte dei Salti is a medieval-style bridge that is located in the Verzasca Valley. It looks like something right out of a fairytale and this makes a great swimming spot in the hot, summer months.

Ponte dei Salti

Ponte dei Salti | Switzerland Itinerary

You can also combine a trip up Monte Tamaro with a visit to the beautiful, lakeside town of Ascona.

Monte Tamaro Switzerland Itinerary

Cappella Santa Maria degli Angeli on Monte Tamaro

Sleep in Lugano.

For a full list of day trip ideas, read our article 10 Best Day Trips from Lugano

Day 4: Travel to Zürich (Optional: Bernina Express)

Bernina Express

The Bernina Express is one of the most scenic train rides in Europe and it is often labeled as the most beautiful train ride in Switzerland. This is a 4-hour train ride that travels between Tirano and Chur. With Switzerland’s handy public transportation network, it’s easy to travel from Lugano to Zürich, including the Bernina Express on the journey.

This is a long day. From Lugano, you will take the Bernina Express Bus to Tirano. From Tirano, ride the Bernina Express Train to Chur. Once in Chur, take the train to Zürich.

To get from Lugano to Chur, travel time is approximately 8 hours. From Chur to Zürich, it takes another hour and a half by train, so you will arrive in Zürich at around 9 pm.

Learn more here. 

Train to Zürich

If you have no desire to spend most of the day on the train, there are direct trains from Lugano. It takes approximately 2.25 hours to travel from Lugano to Zürich. Traveling by direct train gives you extra time in either Zürich or Lugano. So, if there was another Lugano day trip that caught your eye, you can do it in the morning and then travel by train to Zürich in the evening.

Drive to Zürich

By car, it takes about 3 hours to drive to Zürich. We have done this twice. On high volume days (weekends and holidays), there can be delays at the Gotthard Tunnel. We sat in a one-hour delay when driving from Zürich to Lugano on a Saturday afternoon in June.

If you have plans to drive, you can do another day trip from Lugano in the morning or spend the extra time today in Zürich.

Day 5: Zürich

Spend the day in Zürich and sleep in Zürich. For ideas on what to do and where to stay, take a look at our Zürich Guide.

Day 6: Lucerne

In the morning, take the train to Lucerne. Spend the day in Lucerne with the option to visit Mt. Pilatus. Sleep in Lucerne.

Days 7, 8, 9 & 10: Bernese Oberland

On this itinerary, you get an extra day in the Bernese Oberland. For ideas on what to do and where to stay, read our article about the Jungfrau region. Learn how to plan your time with our Jungfrau Itinerary.

Switzerland Itinerary Hike

Hiking the Eiger Trail in the Bernese Oberland | Switzerland Itinerary

Day 11 & 12: Zermatt

The morning of day 11, travel by train to Zermatt. Spend two days here, with visits to Rothorn, Gornergrat, Glacier Paradise, and the lovely town of Zermatt.

Switzerland Hiking Trail Sign

Hiking trail in Zermatt

Day 13: Travel to Geneva or Zürich

Travel by train to Geneva or Zürich. The choice is yours. It might be cheaper to get round-trip tickets from Zürich airport. But if you want to spend a few hours in a different city, you can spend the afternoon in Geneva before flying home from the Geneva airport.

Day 14: Fly Home

Fly home or continue your travels.

Swiss Travel Pass: For this Switzerland itinerary, we recommend purchasing the 15-day Swiss Travel Pass. Even if you plan to rent a car for the first 4 days of this itinerary, there still might be savings in purchasing the 15-day pass. There is not a huge price difference between the 8-day and 15-day pass. It’s tricky to know which one to purchase, since you really will need a 9-day pass if you have a rental car (and a 9-day pass does not exist). Click here for more information on pricing. 


14 Day Switzerland Itinerary

10 Day Itinerary Plus Lausanne and Lake Geneva

This is similar to the 10-day itinerary above, with the addition of Lausanne and two extra days in the Bernese Oberland.

Day 1: Arrive in Zürich
Day 2: Lucerne
Days 3 to 7: Bernese Oberland
Days 8 & 9: Zermatt
Day 10: Travel to Lausanne
Days 11 & 12: Day Trips from Lausanne
Day 13: Travel to Zürich or Geneva
Day 14: Fly Home

Switzerland Itinerary 14 Day Map Lausanne

Day 1: Arrive in Zürich

Check into your hotel in Zürich and spend the afternoon/evening in town.

Zurich Old Town

Zürich Old Town | Switzerland Itinerary

Day 2: Lucerne

In the morning, travel to Lucerne by train and spend the day in Lucerne with the option to visit Mt. Pilatus. Sleep in Lucerne.

Days 3, 4, 5, 6 & 7: Bernese Oberland

Five days might sound like too much time in the Bernese Oberland, but trust, me, it is not. We spent six days here and could have used more time. Plus, the extra days give you some contingency time, if there is bad weather. To visit places like Jungfraujoch and Schilthorn, you want to have crystal clear days, if possible, and the extra time makes this more likely.

Five days in the Bernese Oberland gives you enough time to visit all of the popular places, hike some trails, and visit the mountain peaks. It will be a more leisurely experience than the other itineraries in this article.

Learn how to plan your time with our Jungfrau Itinerary.

Gimmelwald Switzerland Itinerary

Gimmelwald

Days 8 & 9: Zermatt

The morning of day 8, travel by train to Zermatt. Spend two days here, with visits to Rothorn, Gornergrat, Glacier Paradise, and the lovely town of Zermatt.

Day 10: Travel to Lausanne

In the morning, travel by train to Lausanne. Spend the afternoon exploring the city of Lausanne. Visit the Lausanne Cathedral, tour the Olympic Museum and the Collection de l’Art Brut, and walk through the Old Town. Sleep in Lausanne.

Lausanne Switzerland Itinerary

Days 11 & 12: Day Trips from Lausanne

Similar to Lugano, Lausanne makes a great home base for exploring the region.

A popular day trip from Lausanne is a boat ride on Lake Geneva to Montreux, Château de Chillon, and Vevey.

Chateau Chillon

Château de Chillon | Switzerland Itinerary

 

Lake Geneva

View of Lake Geneva from Château de Chillon

If you rent a car, it is a beautiful day trip to the town of Gruyères. If you like hiking, you can combine a day trip to Gruyères with a great hike around the Gastlosen.

Gastlosen

Gastlosen

For a full list of day trip ideas, read our post 10 Best Day Trips from Lausanne.

Day 13: Travel to Geneva or Zürich

Travel by train to Geneva or Zürich. Geneva is very close to Lausanne, so geographically, this makes the most sense. Plus, you will have most of the day to do a little more sightseeing. However, if it is cheaper to purchase round trip tickets from Zürich, you can travel back to Zürich today for your flight home tomorrow.

Day 14: Fly Home

Today, fly home or continue your travels.

Swiss Travel Pass: For this itinerary, we recommend purchasing the 15-day Swiss Travel Pass. Yes, this itinerary is longer than 15 days, but there is not a huge price difference between the 8-day and 15-day pass. I think that is worth paying a little extra for 15-day pass, so you can use public transportation for your entire time in Switzerland. Click here for more information on pricing. 


17 to 21 Days in Switzerland

The Best of Switzerland

This itinerary combines everything above into one epic trip through Switzerland. Visit Zürich, Lucerne, the Bernese Oberland, Zermatt, Lausanne, Lugano, and ride the scenic Bernina Express train.

Seventeen days might seem like an odd number of days for a trip, but this itinerary maximizes the use of the 15-day Swiss Travel Pass. Start the pass on day 2 and it will end on the day you travel to Geneva.

Day 1: Arrive in Zürich
Day 2: Bernina Express
Day 3: Lugano
Day 4: Lugano Day Trip
Day 5: Travel to Lucerne
Day 6: Lucerne
Days 7, 8, 9 & 10: Bernese Oberland
Days 11 & 12: Zermatt
Day 13: Travel to Lausanne
Days 14 & 15: Lausanne Day Trip
Day 16: Geneva
Day 17: Fly Home

Switzerland Itinerary 21 Day Map

Map of places to visit on this Switzerland itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Zürich

Check into your hotel in Zürich and spend the afternoon/evening in town.

Day 2: Bernina Express

From Zürich, travel to Lugano on the Bernina Express. It is a long travel day but it is well worth it for those who want to take one of the most scenic train rides in Europe. Travel to Chur by train. Once in Chur, ride the Bernina Express Train to Tirano. From Tirano, ride the Bernina Express Bus to Lugano.

To do this, you will have to start early. From Zürich, take the 7:07 am train to Chur in order to catch the 8:32 Bernina Express from Chur. You will arrive in Lugano around 5:30 pm.

You can learn more and book your tickets on the Rhaetian Railway website. The Man in Seat 61 has an excellent article about how to plan this trip.

Alternatively, if you do not want to take a scenic train, you can take a direct train from Zürich to Lugano. This takes approximately 2.25 hours and gives you more time in Zürich and/or Lugano.

Sleep in Lugano.

Days 3 & 4: Lugano

Spend one day in Lugano. On day 2, take a day trip to Lake Como, Ponte dei Salti, Monte Tamaro, or Ascona. Sleep in Lugano.

Gandria Switzerland Itinerary

Gandria makes a great day trip from Lugano

Day 5: Travel to Lucerne

To get from Lugano to Lucerne, you have two options by train.

There are frequent, daily trains between Lugano and Lucerne. On average, travel times are 2.5 hours with one transfer (in Arth Goldau).

Gotthard Panorama Express Train. This is a scenic train ride plus a boat ride across Lake Lucerne. Travel times average 5.5 hours. By train, you will travel along the same lines as the regular train listed above, but the Gotthard Panorama Express is a first-class train with panoramic windows and reserved seats. This is a more leisurely, first-class experience than taking a regular train. The train operates from early May to mid-October. Learn more here. 

Spend the afternoon in Lucerne.

Day 6: Lucerne

In the morning, make the trip up Mt. Pilatus or Mt. Titlis, if the weather is clear. Spend the afternoon and evening in Lucerne.

Days 7, 8, 9 & 10: Bernese Oberland

Travel by train from Lucerne the morning of day 7 and spend four wonderful days in the Bernese Oberland. For ideas on what to do and where to stay, read our article about the Jungfrau region. Learn how to plan your time with our Jungfrau Itinerary.

Bernese Oberland Switzerland Itinerary

View of Kleine Scheidegg in the Jungfrau region

Days 11 & 12: Zermatt

The morning of day 11, travel by train to Zermatt. Spend two days here, with visits to Rothorn, Gornergrat, Glacier Paradise, and the lovely town of Zermatt.

Day 13: Travel to Lausanne

In the morning, travel by train to Lausanne. Spend the afternoon exploring the city of Lausanne. Visit the Lausanne Cathedral, tour the Olympic Museum and the Collection de l’Art Brut, and walk through the Old Town. Sleep in Lausanne.

Days 14 & 15: Day Trips from Lausanne

Spend one day visiting the small towns that dot the edge of Lake Geneva: Montreux, Vevey, and beautiful Château de Chillon. You can do this by public transportation (train + scenic boat ride) or by car.

Spend your second day on a day trip to lovely Gruyères. If you like hiking, add on the stunning hike around the Gastlosen. This is best done with a rental car.

Gruyere Switzerland Itinerary

Gruyères | Switzerland Itinerary

 

Swiss Countryside

Swiss countryside near Gruyères

Day 16: Geneva

Travel by train to Geneva and spend the afternoon in Geneva.

If it is cheaper to purchase round trip tickets from Zürich, you can travel back to Zürich today for your flight home tomorrow.

Day 17: Fly Home

Fly home from Geneva or Zürich airport or continue your travels.

Adding More Time to this Switzerland Itinerary

To make this a 21-day Switzerland itinerary, here is what I recommend adding.

Add one day in Zürich. On this itinerary, you have very limited time in Zürich, so the additional day will give you more time to explore the city.

Add one day in Lugano. This gives you time for a second day trip from Lugano.

Add one day in the Bernese Oberland. One more day gives you a total of five days in the Bernese Oberland, a very nice stretch of time here. Honestly, if you love hiking and mountains and exploring charming villages, you could even spend an entire week here. This is one of my favorite places in Europe, so I might be biased, but the Bernese Oberland really is spectacular.

Add one day in Zermatt. A third day gives you some contingency time if you get bad weather.

With this 21-day itinerary, I recommend getting the Swiss Travel Pass Flex 15 days in 1 month. This allows you to use public transportation for 15 non-consecutive days during a 30-day visit to Switzerland. If you rented a car for day trips in Lugano and Lausanne, and started the pass on the day you take the Bernina Express to Lugano, you will use all 15 days of the pass.

One More Itinerary Recommendation: Adding St. Moritz

It is possible to visit St. Moritz on this 21-day itinerary. You can split up the journey on the Bernina Express, spending the night in St. Moritz.

To do this, take the train from Zürich to Chur and then ride the Bernina Express Train to St. Moritz. Spend the afternoon and evening in St. Moritz. The next day, complete the journey, taking the Bernina Express Train to Tirano and the Bernina Express Bus to Lugano. This adds one day to this itinerary, but you could eliminate one of the extra days above to keep this as a 21-day itinerary.

Swiss Train Switzerland Itinerary

Jungfraubahn | Switzerland Itinerary

About the Swiss Travel Pass and Other Discount Rail Passes

In Switzerland, there are several travel passes that can save you money: the Swiss Travel Pass, the Jungfrau Pass, the Peak to Peak Pass in Zermatt, and so on. Trying to determine which pass to buy, if any, is complicated.

It’s time consuming, but I recommend adding up your days of travel, what you plan to do on these days (including prices for cable cars, trains, etc…we have train and cable car costs and links to pricing in our more detailed Switzerland articles), and comparing that to the price of the travel passes.

Since rules and prices are always changing, and everyone’s itinerary will be slightly different, we do not have enough experience and knowledge to answer questions specifically related to which pass to purchase. Below I list several articles where you can get a lot more information.

For more information, here are several helpful websites:

If you need information on pricing, cable car costs, advice on where to stay and where to eat, you can find all of this information in our more specific posts about Zürich, Lucerne, Lugano, Zermatt, etc. in our Switzerland Travel Guide, where you can see all of our articles about Switzerland.

We Love Switzerland


If you have any questions about how to modify these itineraries, or how to customize your own Switzerland itinerary, let us know in the comment section below.

More Information for Your Trip to Switzerland

JUNGFRAUJOCH: Jungfraujoch is one of the top experiences in Switzerland. Learn more in our article about How to Visit Jungfraujoch. For an epic day in the Jungfrau region, learn how to combine Jungfraujoch with the Eiger Trail.

ZERMATT: For ideas on what to do, read our article Best Things to Do in Zermatt and the best hikes in Zermatt. Plan your visit with our Zermatt Itinerary Guide. And don’t miss our articles about how to visit Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, how to visit Gornergrat, and how to hike the Matterhorn Glacier Trail.

GREAT HIKES IN SWITZERLAND: The Bernese Oberland is one of Switzerland’s top hiking destinations. Hike the short, incredibly scenic trail from Männlichen to Kleine Scheidegg, walk the Northface Trail from Mürren, or hike from Schynige Platte to Faulhorn to First, a longer, more challenging, but awesome hike in this region. We also recommend hiking the Hörnlihütte Trail and Gornergrat to Riffelberg in Zermatt and hiking the Gastlosen Tour near Gruyères.

EUROPE TRAVEL INSPIRATION: Get more travel ideas in our article 10 Days in Europe itinerary, which has 10 itineraries for your next trip to Europe. If you have less time, we also have an article that lists 25 different ways to spend one week in Europe.

We have TONS more information about Switzerland in our Switzerland Travel Guide, including Zürich, Lucerne, the Bernese Oberland, Zermatt, Lugano, and Lausanne.

 
Switzerland Itinerary 7 10 14 21 Days

Switzerland Itinerary with Bernese Oberland Zermatt

 

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Comments 114

  1. Avatar for Ivana
    Ivana

    Hi Julie!
    I was wondering if you knew whether it would be too cold to do the 10 day ittinerary at the begining of May? And whether the hiking trails would be closed at that time?

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
      Author
      Julie

      Hello Ivana. In May, hiking can be challenging for several reasons. Normally that time of year the trails are still snow covered (many trails open between the end of May and late June). May is also a time in Switzerland when many cable cars close for maintenance, so if you are thinking about visiting Zermatt or the Jungfrau region, check the cable car timetables because some of them may not be open. Cheers, Julie

  2. Avatar for Seema Shastri
    Seema Shastri

    Hi
    We are flying into Zurich and flying out from Milan. We have total of 9 nights. Last 3 nights will be in Milan so that leaves us with 6 nights in Switzerland. We are planning to do 1st 2 nts in Lucerne and 4 nts Interlaken. What would be the best pass also what would be the transport option from Interlaken to Milan. Below is my rough itinenary.
    Day 1 Arrive Zurich, Zurich to Lucerne
    Day 2 Mt titlus or Pilatus
    Day 3 Travel to Interlaken-Mannlichen to Klein Scheidegg Hike, Harder klum, Jungraujoch?
    Day 4 Jungfraujoch or Schilthorn
    Day 5
    Day 6
    Day 7 Travel to Milan
    Day 8 Day trip to lake como
    Day 9 Milan

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
      Author
      Julie

      Since you will have train travel in several different areas of Switzerland, the Swiss Travel Pass is probably your best option (rather than getting a regional pass). For the train route, I recommend using RailEurope.com, since you will be riding trains in both Switzerland and Italy. On that website, you can look at the train timetables and also book your tickets, or use the official train websites for Switzerland (sbb.ch) and Italy (trenitalia.com) to book your tickets. If you plan on using the Swiss Travel Pass, booking your tickets on sbb.ch for the Switzerland portion of day 7 is recommended. Cheers, Julie

  3. Avatar for Niur Hernandez
    Niur Hernandez

    Hi Julie,
    So far we have followed your Amsterdam, Paris, London and Northern Italy guides and loved your recommendations. We are visiting Switzerland from June 9-21(taking our boys, 12 and 15 years old) and would love your input on our itinerary
    Day 1- arrive at Zurich, spend the night
    Day 2, 3, 4,5- Bernese Oberland (staying in Wengen)
    Day 6,7- Zermatt
    Day 8,9,10,11-
    Day 12- Flight back to Miami

    After Zermatt, we were planning to go to Luzern and rent a car to visit Lugano. However, we read that some people take the Glacier Express from Zermatt and then combine it with the Bernina Express by St. Moritz. Not sure what to do since it seems like a lot of time spent on a train.
    Another option could be that from Zermatt we visit the French part of Switzerland, although we lean towards Lugano area (we have been in Lake Como before and loved it).
    We plan on getting the Swiss Travel Pass for 8 days.
    Love to hear your thoughts,
    Thank you,
    Niur

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
      Author
      Julie

      Hello Niur. We have not done the train journeys either because it would be a lot of time on the train. The Lugano area is wonderful but I think 2 days is enough (you could add a day to Zermatt, spend 2 days in Lugano, and then use a day to get to Geneva or Milan for your flight home). We visited Lausanne after Zermatt and it sets you up nicely to get to Geneva for a flight home. Both are good options and I can’t really say one was better than another. I recommend looking our our articles about day trips from Lugano and day trips from Lausanne to help decide where to go. I love Zermatt, so I think it is worthwhile to add an additional day here, especially if you like hiking. Cheers, Julie

      1. Avatar for Niurvict Hernandez
        Niurvict Hernandez

        Hi Julie!
        After reading your suggestions, we decided to go from Zermatt to Montreux-Lausanne area. Debating between including a day trip to Chamonix to visit Mont Blanc cable car. We flight back from Zurich so in our way back from Montreux we plan to stop by Gruyeres and maybe Bern. Leaving the day before our flight to Luzern.
        Do you think a day trip to Chamonix might be worth it? Or just stick to Lausanne area?
        Thanks again!
        Niur

        1. Avatar for Julie Post
          Author
          Julie

          If you stayed in Lausanne, it would roughly be a 2 hour and 45 minute train ride to get to Chamonix, one-way. So that’s 6 hours of travel time that day. In my opinion, it is not worth taking all that time to day trip to Chamonix. There is a lot you can do in Chamonix so I think it is better to save it for a future trip to Europe, when you can spend 3 to 5 days here. Plus, you don’t know what the weather will do, and if you have that one day and make the trip to Chamonix and Mont Blanc is clouded it, it would be a big waste of your time and money. There are plenty of great things you can do using Lausanne as your home base so I think it’s better to do something else in Switzerland. Cheers, Julie

  4. Avatar for Maureen
    Maureen

    Hi Julie,
    I’m back for more input.

    Here’s what I have for 11 days in Sept for Switzerland which is firm.

    Coming from Austria after dropping off the car rental.
    Day 1&2 – Luzern
    Day 3-5 – Zermatt
    Day 6-10 – Murren
    Day 11 – Zurich – fly home

    I’m looking for advice on booking the trains to each base. Is it too early for me to do so for Sept travel dates?
    We want to book paragliding in Murren and wondered if you have any recommendations for that.

    Thanks for ALL your help so far! 🙂

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
      Author
      Julie

      Hello Maureen. I believe it is too early to book train tickets in advance. Train tickets generally open up 2 to 3 months in advance, depending on the railway line. The Man in Seat 61 is a great resource for train travel and I refer to this website quite a bit. I recommend looking at that website or the MySwissAlps website, as both are very useful for train travel in Switzerland and they know a lot more about the details and ins and outs of booking your tickets than I do. We have purchased our tickets in advance, roughly one month in advance for the trains in Switzerland to travel from city to city and haven’t had any issues with tickets selling out. We have not gone paragliding in Murren (but have done it in other spots around the world and it is incredible). A little bit of Google searching should hopefully get you the info you need. I hope all this helps! Cheers, Julie

      1. Avatar for Maureen
        Maureen

        Thanks Julie. I do a lot of trip planning but I’m struggling with Switzerland due to the overwhelming amount of information (trains/cable cars/gondolas/schedules/passes) to consider. I have the cantons and hotels established but now I’m challenged with planning the days out. I’m curious what your planning method is for a place such as this. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
        Maureen

        1. Avatar for Julie Post
          Author
          Julie

          When we planned our trip, we picked out the things we wanted to do, determined how much time that would take, with the best home base (or bases in this case). We then worked out how to get from city to city and, in areas like the Jungfrau region and Zermatt, how the cable cars and trains worked to get up into the mountains. It can be confusing and overwhelming, but hopefully our guides to the Jungfrau region (and our Jungfrau itinerary) and Zermatt are helpful. Cheers, Julie

  5. Avatar for INDRANI KAPOOR
    INDRANI KAPOOR

    Hi dear,

    I am planning a 19 day trip to Switzerland & it will be a first time for us. We are a family of 4 & want to see the best of Switzerland including the panorama train rides like Bernina Express, Glacier Express, Golden pass Line, Bell Epoque, Mount Rigi Cogwheel Railway.

    I am planning this itinerary. Request your inputs to make this worth the 19 days that we will stay here. Reaching on 31st May & will depart on 18th June.

    1. Land in Zuruch. Leave for Lucerne.
    2. 2 nights in Lucerne (mount Rigi cogwheel railway)
    3. 2 nights in Lugano reaching by Gothard Panorama Express
    4. 3 nights in Pontresina reaching by taking Bernina Express
    5. 2 nights in Zermatt reaching by Glacier Express
    6. 3 nights in Montreux
    7. 5 nights in Murren reaching by Golden pass line
    8. 1 night in Zurich & fly back next day.

    Few questions in my mind,

    1. Is the plan too ambitious?
    2. Is it worth all the panorama trains or can we skip a few?
    3. Can this itinerary be worked better – like if i need to increase a night here or there & reduce from somewhere.
    4. Am i having too many bases? which also means some time lost in transit.

    Our primary motive is to take in the beauty of Switzerland, do hikes & create a memorable experience.

    Would appreciate your valuable guidance

    Regards
    Indrani

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
      Author
      Julie

      Hello Indrani. I think your itinerary looks wonderful! You have a lot of bases but that’s really the only way to do Switzerland and I think you have given yourself enough time in each place that you aren’t moving too quickly. We haven’t done all of those train rides so I really can’t speak from experience if doing all of them is too many. But from looking at pictures online, they are all beautiful journeys and I think they are worthwhile. We love the train and cable car rides in Switzerland and it’s a place where the journey is just as good as the destination (a bit cliche but it is true). The only change I would make is to add a night in Zermatt, taking it from Montreux. I think there is more to do in Zermatt and the extra time will make it more likely that you will see the Matterhorn on more than one occasion (sometimes it gets clouded in). And it is so nice you are ending with Murren (my favorite place in Switzerland). I hope you have a wonderful trip and please let me know if you have more questions. Cheers, Julie

  6. Avatar for Amy
    Amy

    Hi Julie,
    I think I left a comment on one of your Switzerland itineraries last week, but I’m not sure if it sent, so sending again.

    Thank you for your marvelous itineraries of Switzerland. They are so thorough and helpful in planning. I am poring over all that you have written, and much appreciate your doing this for the online community of travelers!

    Our family of 5 (all adults – 2 in our early 60s, 3 in their 20s) will be traveling to Switzerland from the U.S. in late June to hike in the gorgeous Swiss Alps. We will have 8-9 days there. I have planned the first night in Zurich, 3 nights in Murren, 3 in Zermatt, and possibly the last 2 nights in Lucerne. (However, I’m now trying to tweak the reservations so as to spend 4 nights in Murren and 3 in Zermatt; if so, we’d just spend a night in Lucerne – or we could add that on to Murren or Zermatt if you’d recommend that instead).

    We have one unique issue that I would love your thoughts on: I am not sure I’ll be comfortable riding the cable cars and gondolas, unless it’s a very short ride. I’ve resolved to ride the 4 minute cable car from Lautenbrunnen to Grutschalp, and I’m hoping that ride may make me more comfortable so as to take other cable car or gondolas. But if in fact I don’t want to ride cable cars or gondolas over ~5 minutes (I should be fine with the cog railways), is spending 3-4 days in Murren, 3 days in Zermatt, and 1 day in Lucerne (or not, if we add that day to either Murren or Zermatt) reasonable time periods? (I need to review all the hikes in each area, together with the length of each cable car/gondola ride, if I can find that info).

    Thank you very much for your thoughts on this, Julie. Wishing you a good weekend.

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
      Author
      Julie

      Hello Amy. Sorry we didn’t see your comment. Sometimes comments get sent to our spam folder and this might be what happened. I do my best to answer everything within 24 hours, ideally every 12 hours. Anyway, you ask a great question. There are longer cable car rides to Schilthorn, Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, and Rothorn (in Zermatt). You can take the trains all the way to Jungfraujoch and Gornergrat. I think it is worth taking a day from Lucerne and putting it into Murren. The Jungfrau area is absolutely gorgeous and every extra day you can spend here is worth it. If you get comfortable riding the cable car between Lauterbrunnen and Grutschalp, you could try the cable car to First, if you feel up for it, since that one is rather short, too. And then the next one to try would be the cable car to Schilthorn. It is a gorgeous ride and the views from Schilhorn are beautiful. I haven’t looked recently for updates, but last year they were adding a new cable car system, so I don’t know what the new set up is yet. But even if you don’t feel comfortable riding the cable cars, you can still visit Jungfraujoch, Wengen, Kleine Scheidegg, and Schynige Platte in the Jungfrau region without riding a cable car. Zermatt has more cable cars that travel longer distances but there is still plenty you can do there without riding the cable cars (but if you start to feel more comfortable with them, it opens you up to a lot more to do in Zermatt). Let me know if you have any other questions! Cheers, Julie

      1. Avatar for Amy
        Amy

        Thanks so much, Julie! This is very helpful. One follow-up question/comment – do you think a day in Lucerne is a must? I’m thinking of trading it for an extra night in Murren (which could be 5 nights Murren, 3 nights Zermatt), and skipping Lucerne entirely. Thank you!

        1. Avatar for Julie Post
          Author
          Julie

          Lucerne is a very pretty city. Our favorite thing to do here was to visit Mt. Pilatus (which is a similar experience to the Jungfrau region). However, I think what you will see in the Jungfrau region is better, so you don’t lose much by eliminating Lucerne, in my opinion. Cheers, Julie

          1. Avatar for Amy
  7. Avatar for Maureen
    Maureen

    Hi Julie,

    I believe I left a comment but can’t find which blog I left it in on your website. lol

    We are coming from Austria and need a bit of guidance.

    We have 11 days for Switzerland.

    Day 1 – coming from Austria – where should we head for in Switzerland?
    Day 2
    Day 3
    Day 4
    Day 5
    Days 6 – 10 Murren – booked already but I think I can change it if I’m quick about it.
    Day 11
    Day 12 – fly home from Zurich at 1pm

    Where should aim for when coming from Austria? We’d like to go to Zermatt.
    We are considering to visit Lugano, Lucerne, Bern? What do you think would work.
    Thanks so much.
    Maureen

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
      Author
      Julie

      Hello Maureen. I remember your other comment but am not sure where it is either. If you want to see Zermatt and have dates for Murren, then travel to Lucerne on day 1. On day 2, travel to Zermatt and spend days 2 through 4 in Zermatt. Day 5 go to and sleep in Bern. Day 6 travel to Murren and stay here through day 10. On day 11, travel to and visit Lucerne, sleeping in Lucerne or Zurich. Then fly home. I think this should work well. Let me know if you have more questions. Cheers, Julie

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