Switzerland is the most beautiful and picturesque country I have ever been to. So much so, I have been back to visit on two separate occasions, once during summer and the other in winter! Switzerland is most famous for its cheese and chocolate but also the verdant landscapes and the enormity of the Swiss Alps are just some of the reasons why I love this country so much.
I have put together this 8 Day Switzerland Itinerary based around my recent trip around the country using the all-in-one Swiss Travel Pass which includes trains, buses and boats throughout the whole of Switzerland. Click Here to find out everything you need to know about the Swiss Travel Pass and book online.
Once you have purchased the Swiss Travel Pass I highly recommend downloading the SBB Mobile app from the App Store. You can use this app to check all train, bus and boat timetables when you’re on the move.
Here is an overview of my 8 Day Switzerland Itinerary:
Zurich → Luzern → Interlaken → Montreux → Zermatt → St. Moritz → Zurich
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DAY 1: ZURICH TO LUCERNE
The first leg of my Switzerland itinerary began in Zurich, where I boarded a morning train at the Zurich Train Station bound for Luzern, which is a short one-hour journey. When the ticket inspector comes around he will ask to see your Swiss Travel Pass as well as your passport, so make sure to have these handy on the train.
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BEST PLACES TO STAY IN LUCERNE
Luxury: Lucerne Lake View Apartments
- Offering stunning lake views, free wifi and just walking distance to centre of the city, this 5-star accommodation is hard to beat! Each apartment is fitted with a balcony, fully-equipped kitchen, dishwasher, sofa, tv, dining room, washing machine, private bathroom with a bath, fridge and freezer, microwave and coffee machine. Convinced yet?
Mid Range: Hotel De la Paix
- This 3-star hotel is located right in the heart of town, just 200m walk to the old quarter in Lucerne. Various restaurants, cafes, bars and shops are all located in the vicinity of Hotel De la Paix. There are single, double and triple rooms available and breakfast is included.
Budget: Barabas Hostel
- I personally stayed at the Barabas Hostel in Lucerne City, located just ten minutes walk from the Lucerne Train Station. The Barabas Hostel is one of the coolest and most unique hostels I have stayed in, the reason being that it was once an old prison. The dorms and private rooms are the same rooms where prison inmates used to sleep back in the day (much cleaner and refurbished of course) and it gives you a real sense of what it would be like to be a prisoner. A buffet breakfast is also included with the room and the staff are overly helpful with their knowledge of the best things to do in Luzern.
3 THINGS TO DO IN LUCERNE
#1 CHAPEL BRIDGE
Chapel Bridge is the most iconic attraction in Lucerne and the oldest wooden bridge in Switzerland, dating back to the 14th century. The Chapel Bridge Lucerne stretches 200 meters across the Reuss River and attached to the bridge is an old water tower that served as a dungeon, an archive and a treasury vault in medieval times.
It’s free to walk over Chapel Bridge and remember to look up to discover the colourful old paintings on the underside of the roof.
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Chapel Bridge Luzern – Switzerland Itinerary 7 Days
Chapel Bridge Lucerne
#2 BOAT TRIP ON LAKE LUCERNE
A boat trip on Lake Lucerne is a must on your Switzerland Itinerary. With the Swiss Travel Pass, you can take a round-trip boat ride on Lake Lucerne which is the best way to see the region at a slow pace! There are daily departures on Lake Lucerne, usually every hour during the day. Just head down to the ferry terminal and jump on board when a boat arrives and you’ll be asked to show your Swiss Travel Pass.
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A beautiful day for it! – Switzerland Itinerary
Cruising on Lake Lucerne – Switzerland Travel Itinerary
#3 MOUNT RIGI
Mt Rigi, also known as the queen of the mountains, is a large mountain range in the Lucerne region. The best way to get to Mt Rigi using the Swiss Travel Pass is to take the one-hour boat ride from Lucerne Ferry Terminal and get off at Vitznau. From here there is a special cog-wheel train that will take you up to the summit of Mount Rigi. This was my favourite part of the adventure as I was able to hang outside the windows of the train to take photos!
Panoramic views await at the summit of Mt Rigi, overlooking three lakes and phenomenal alpine peaks in the distance. If you want to grab lunch or a beer you can simply pop into a hotel restaurant and most have outdoor terraces with stunning views.
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Cog-wheel train to Mount Rigi
At the summit of Mt Rigi – Switzerland Itinerary
DAY 2: LUCERNE TO INTERLAKEN
My 8 Day Switzerland Itinerary continued from Lucerne to Interlaken on the Swiss Travel Pass. Interlaken is the gateway to the Jungfrau Region and a good location to base yourself when visiting Lauterbrunnen Valley, which is also known as The Valley Of 72 Waterfalls.
WHERE TO STAY IN INTERLAKEN
The majority of people visiting Lauterbrunnen choose to stay in Interlaken, a small city located just twenty minutes drive or twenty minutes on the train from The Valley Of 72 Waterfalls.
- This 5-star hotel is centrally located in between two beautiful lakes in the picturesque town of Interlaken. Victoria Jungfrau Hotel features a spa, swimming pool, sauna and steam room. The spacious rooms have elegant interiors and marble bathrooms, boasting views of the snowcapped mountains in the Jungfrau region. Wifi is free and breakfast is included.
Mid Range: Hotel Interlaken
- Hotel Interlaken is where I based myself for one-night because it is conveniently located just five minutes walk from Interlaken East Train Station and a twenty-minute train ride to Lauterbrunnen Valley. Hotel Interlaken is the perfect accommodation for couples, families, solo travellers and friends. Fetauring large rooms, mountain views and a delicious buffet breakfast.
Budget: Valley Hostel
- If you are travelling solo the Valley Hostel is your best option for cheap accommodation. Located in the heart of Lauterbrunnen Valley. This hostel is walking distance to nearby waterfalls, retail shops, restaurants and the main train station. Valley Hostel offers dorms and private rooms for every sort of traveller!
HOW TO GET TO LAUTERBRUNNEN
From Interlaken East Train Station, using the Swiss Travel Pass you can take a train to Lauterbrunnen Station. The train takes only twenty-minutes and you can disembark right in the centre of Lauterbrunnen ViIlage.
3 THINGS TO DO IN LAUTERBRUNNEN
#1 VISIT STAUBBACH FALLS
Take a morning train from Interlaken East Station to Lauterbrunnen Train Station and from here it is an easy walk through the village to a number of different scenic viewpoints of Staubbach Falls and Lauterbrunnen Valley. This impressive waterfall thunders down from the high peaks and flows down into a river that cuts through the centre of the town.
After taking some photos of the falls from the village, follow the road down to the base of Staubbach Falls. I walked up the stairs and into a man-made grotto that leads behind the powerful falls. It looked like a scene out of Jurassic Park, without the dinosaurs, unfortunately! The view of the distant glacier-filled valley was mesmerising and looked far too good to be true.
I spotted several paragliders and base jumpers soaring around above and countless waterfalls flowing heavily off the towering cliffs into the wooden villages below. I actually felt like I was standing in the picture of a postcard! There is also an easy walking trail between each village that will take you past numerous waterfalls and vast meadows.
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View of Staubbach Falls from Lauterbrunnen Village in Summer
Lauterbrunnen in Winter – Switzerland Travel Itinerary
#2 MOUNT SCHILTHORN
Once you have visited Staubbach Falls, you can jump on the public bus 141 that runs in and out of Lauterbrunnen Valley every thirty minutes. You can ride the bus for twenty minutes to the Stechelberg Gondola Station at the base of Mount Schilthorn and with the Swiss Travel Pass, you can take the gondola up to the summit. Mount Schilthorn is a popular ski field if you wish to spend a day on the slopes but you can also head to the top viewpoint whether you are skiing or not.
If you are a fan of James Bond 007, Piz Gloria on the top of Mount Schilthorn is where they filmed one of the original 007 movies back in 1969. Expect to see James Bond memorabilia galore at Piz Gloria.
Aside from this, there is a 360-degree viewpoint and restaurant at Piz Gloria offering phenomenal views of the Swiss Alps in the Jungfrau Region. Also, if you are not afraid of heights, I dare you to take the knee-jittering thrill walk around the front face of Mount Schilthorn!
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Gondola to Piz Gloria at Mt Schilthorn
The thrill walk at Mount Schilthorn
Views of the incredible mountain peaks from the summit of Mt Schilthorn
#3 WENGEN VILLAGE
Before the day is out, take the gondola back down to the Stechelberg Gondola Station and jump on the public bus 141 bound for Lauterbrunnen Station. From here you can ride the iconic yellow train up and over the mountainside to Wengen Village which is located in the opposite valley. There is another ski field in this valley and phenomenal views of the surrounding monolithic peaks.
There is an old church in Wengen Village that makes for some good photos and it’s just nice to wander around seeing how the locals live their lives up here on the mountainside.
Getting back to Interlaken is very easy, just take the yellow train from Wengen Village back down to Lauterbrunnen Station, change trains here and take the twenty-minute journey back to Interlaken East Station.
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The iconic yellow train to Wengen Village
Epic views from the church in Wengen Village
DAY 3: INTERLAKEN TO MONTREUX
On day 3 of my Switzerland Itinerary, I checked out of the hotel in the morning and walked five-minutes to Interlaken East Station to take the next train bound for Montreux.
I highly recommend taking the Belle Epoque train on the Golden Line for an unforgettable experience. The Belle Epoque is an absolute charm that will take you on a timeless journey between Zweisimenn and Montreux.
WHERE TO STAY IN MONTREUX
Luxury: Montreux Apartment On The Lake
- These 5-star apartments are equipped with two bedrooms, flat screen TV’s, fully equipped kitchens with a dishwasher, fridge and microwave. If you are wanting to splurge a little in Montreux this is the perfect accommodation for you!
Mid Range: La Rouvenaz Hotel
- If you are looking for a mid-range accommodation I highly recommend staying at La Rouvenaz Hotel for its incredible lakeside views, central location, reputable restaurant and comfortable rooms.
Budget: Montreux Youth Hostel
- Only a few steps away from the lakeside promenade and a few hundred meters from the train station. There are dorms, private double rooms and family sized rooms available with wifi and breakfast is included. Montreux Youth Hostel is your best bang for buck!
WHAT TO EXPECT IN MONTREUX
Montreux is a beautiful little town located at the eastern end of Lake Geneva. There is a strong French influence in Montreux, from the architecture to the people and a pleasant vibe fills the air.
One of the most relaxing things to do in Montreux is to take a stroll along the promenade that lines the water’s edge of Lake Geneva and enjoy the calmness of the lake and the impressive mountainous hills that surround it. Dozens of bars and restaurants are dotted along the promenade, perfect for lunch or dinner with a view.
If you are up for a small adventure, take the local bus south to Chateau De Chillon, just fifteen minutes ride from Montreux. Chateau De Chillon is an island castle located on the waters of Lake Geneva, an old medieval fortress that is now a museum. The Swiss Travel Pass also gives you access to 500 museums in Switzerland and Chateau De Chillon is one of them. There is the option of an audio headset tour when you visit Chillon Castle or you can just simply explore inside the walls at your own pace.
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The Belle Epoque scenic train ride to Montreux
Chateau De Chillon – Switzerland Itinerary
Inside the Chillon Castle Montreux
Sunset on Lake Geneva – Switzerland Travel Itinerary
DAY 4 & 5: MONTREUX TO ZERMATT
My Switzerland Itinerary continued from Montreux to Zermatt and the train journey takes approximately two hours and thirty minutes, passing by beautiful farmlands, vast mountains and deep valleys.
WHERE TO STAY IN ZERMATT
As Zermatt is one of the most popular destinations in Switzerland there are hundreds of hotels, resorts, chalets and lodges to choose from. However, I have narrowed it down to a few of my favourite places to stay in Zermatt.
Luxury: Grand Hotel Zermatterhof
- Absolute luxury can be found at the Grand Hotel, boasting three restaurants, a spa, swimming pool and sauna. The perfect way to warm up after a day on the slopes! The rooms and suites are beautifully furnished and most have a phenomenal view of the Matterhorn. The best part is the free wine and fruits upon arrival!
Mid Range: Schlosshotel Life & Style Zermatt
- One accommodation I can highly recommend in Zermatt is the Schlosshotel, a short two-minute walk from Zermatt Train Station. I spent two nights at the Schlosshotel and it was honestly one of the best places I have ever stayed. The staff members were super lovely and genuine throughout my stay, the room was very cozy and had an incredible view of the Matterhorn. The hotel also features a sauna, spa and heated swimming pool and the buffet breakfast is to die for!
Budget: The Matterhorn Hostel Zermatt
- Enjoy easy access to the ski slopes and hiking when you stay at The Matterhorn Hostel. A fun and friendly hostel with clean, comfortable rooms and a bar/restaurant to enjoy a nice meal and something to drink. This is one of the best hostels in Zermatt.
WHAT TO EXPECT IN ZERMATT
Zermatt is home to the iconic Matterhorn mountain which stands a dominating 4,478 meters at its highest peak! The Matterhorn is known all around the world for its unique pyramid shape and the famous Toblerone chocolate takes inspiration from the Matterhorn.
Apart from the incredible Matterhorn, Zermatt is renowned for skiing, climbing and hiking all year round.
If you love skiing or snowboarding, Zermatt it the place to do it! If not, you can still ride the world’s highest gondola to the Glacier Paradise Station at the top. On a clear day, the panoramic views of Zermatt and surrounding mountains are absolutely insane! Unfortunately, it was cloudy and snowing on the day I visited but it was still an awesome experience seeing the Matterhorn up close! The Swiss Travel Pass does not cover this gondola ride so you’ll have to purchase a ticket at the gondola lift station upon arrival or book online in advance at www.matterhornparadise.ch/en.
I recommend spending one day on the mountain and the second day exploring Zermatt’s main street, Bahnhofstrasse, which is filled with retial shops, cafes, bars, restaurants and an awesome apres-ski scene!
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The beautiful town of Zermatt – Switzerland Itinerary
The Glacier Paradise Gondola to the Matterhorn
The iconic Matterhorn mountain up close!
DAY 6: ZERMATT TO ST. MORITZ
This leg of my Switzerland Travel Itinerary was an experience I will never forget. The Glacier Express is an unforgettable 8-hour journey through the Swiss Alps, connecting Zermatt to St. Moritz and it is by far one of the most scenic train rides in the world. Top to bottom glass windows offer panoramic views, lunch is served to you in your seat and there is also a bar for refreshments on board the Glacier Express.
You’ll most likely arrive late into St. Moritz and there won’t be much daylight left to explore so my recommendation is to head straight to a hotel and rest up for the following day.
If you are up for an adventurous detour, disembark the Glacier Express at Filisur Station, which is before St. Moritz and head over to the famous limestone bridge known as the Landwasser Viaduct. This impressive 6-arch curved bridge boasts 65-meter tall pillars and a freshwater stream runs right beneath it. From Filisur station it is approximately a 30-minute walk to get to the Landwasser Viaduct and there are a few good viewpoints to take photos. One is down by the freshwater stream directly beneath the bridge and the other is up a dirt trail to the very top of the mountain to get a birds-eye view of the bridge! The top viewpoint is by far the best spot to take photos of the train as it passes over the Landwasser Viaduct!
WHERE TO STAY IN ST. MORITZ
Luxury: Badrutt’s Palace Hotel
- A luxurious 5-star resort located in the centre of St. Moritz, featuring six restaurants, an indoor pool and free shuttle services. Elegant rooms overlook the surrounding mountains, each with its own flat screen TV, private bathroom, comfortable beds and even a butler upon request! In summer there is a tennis court for guests to enjoy that funnily enough turns into an ice skating rink in the winter. How freaking cool is that?!
Mid Range: Hotel Piz St. Moritz
- Both stylish and elegant, Hotel Piz is a 3-star hotel located close to the city centre that features a pizzeria, free wifi, sauna and steam room. The rooms are spacious, each with their own TV, lock safe and private bathroom. Guests staying longer than two nights at Hotel Piz in summer will receive free tickets for the cable car, cog railway and funicular!
Budget: St. Moritz Youth Hostel
- Offering panoramic views of St. Moritz, the best features of this hostel is the games room offering billiards and table tennis. There are dorm rooms and private double rooms available that are bright and modernly furnished. This is the best place to stay in St. Moritz on a budget!
Beer with a view on the Glacier Express
On board the Glacier Express – Switzerland Itinerary
The famous Landwasser Viaduct – Switzerland Tour
DAY 7: ST. MORITZ
St. Moritz is a dreamy city located on the far eastern end of Switzerland. It is here where the notion of winter holidays was born and its stunning imagery is jaw-dropping. This place is as good as it gets!! I am impressed by how active all the locals are here, mountain bike riding, hang gliding, skiing, snowboarding, kite surfing and sailing on the lake. It seems St. Moritz is a place where adventures never stop!
One of my favourite things to do in St. Moritz was taking the famous Bernina Express train through the snowy mountains to a place called Alp Grum. The journey takes approximately one-hour until it reaches the top of the Bernina Pass at Alp Grum. There is not much more than a restaurant and bar here at Alp Grum but the views of nearby glaciers on the mountains are stunning!
Take the Bernina Express back down to St. Moritz to spend the second last day of your Switzerland Itinerary exploring the beautiful city.
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St. Moritz to Alp Grum on the Bernina Express
Viewpoint at Alp Grum – Switzerland Itinerary
The Bernina Express – Switzerland Tour
DAY 8: ST. MORITZ TO ZURICH
The last leg of the journey is taking the train from St. Moritz back to Zurich, which takes approximately three to four hours depending on which connection you take.
Zurich offers a great street scene in the old town with dozens of shops, cafes and small cobblestone laneways and there are also a number of historical sites to visit if you have the time on the last day of your Switzerland Itinerary.
If you are interested in seeing all the sites in one day, Click Here to book a guided 4-hour Zurich City Tour.
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN ZURICH
Luxury: Park Hyatt Zurich
- A contemporary 5-star hotel located in the heart of Zurich’s commercial district and walking distance to the Bahnhofstrasse shopping street. The rooms are very spacious with high speed internet and there are restaurants, bars and lounges inside the Park Hyatt. Perfect for couples wanting an unforgettable experience in Zurich.
Mid Range: Motel One Zurich
- An excellent 3-star hotel located in one of the best areas of the city. There is free wifi, private rooms with bathroom ensuites, flat screen TV’s and all of this is just walking distance to Zurich’s main attractions.
Budget: Budget Youth Hostel
- The name says it all! Budget but also one of the best hostels in Zurich for solo travellers. The rooms are air-conditioned, the wifi is free and there is a garden terrace for guests to enjoy. There are 4-bed and 8-bed dorms available to choose from at Budget Youth Hostel.
Zurich city tour – Switzerland Itinerary
BEST TIME TO VISIT SWITZERLAND
The best time to visit Switzerland depends on what you plan to do. I personally prefer the Spring and Summer months in Switzerland, April – September, when temperatures are warm and the landscapes are green.
However, visiting Switzerland during the Winter months, December – March, is absolutely magical to see everything covered in white snow and to go skiing in the Swiss Alps.
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HOW TO GET TO SWITZERLAND
Arriving in Switzerland by plane is the easiest and most convenient way to begin your adventures in this wonderful country. If you plan on following this exact itinerary, then your best bet is to fly into Zurich International Airport.
SWITZERLAND – THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
The currency in Switzerland is Swiss Francs (CHF) and the exchange rate is approximately $1 USD = $1 CHF.
Purchasing a sim card in Switzerland is very simple. You can do this at the airport on arrival or find a phone store close to your accommodation. For approximately $40 USD, you can get a local sim card that comes with 10GB of data.
I hope you enjoyed reading this article and if you have any questions at all about this 8 Day Switzerland Itinerary, please leave me a comment below!
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