8 DAY SWITZERLAND ITINERARY – THE ULTIMATE GUIDE

8 DAY SWITZERLAND ITINERARY – THE ULTIMATE GUIDE

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.

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

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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WHERE TO STAY IN LUCERNE

I had pre-booked accommodation 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. Click Here to check rates and availability at the Barabas Hostel.

For all other accommodations in Lucerne, Click Here to search on booking.com.

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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switzerland itineraryChapel Bridge Luzern – Switzerland Itinerary 7 Days

switzerland itineraryChapel 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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switzerland itineraryA beautiful day for it! – Switzerland Itinerary

switzerland itineraryCruising 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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switzerland itineraryCog-wheel train to Mount Rigi

switzerland itineraryAt 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

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 with large rooms, mountain views and a delicious buffet breakfast. Click Here to check rates and availability at Hotel Interlaken.

For all other accommodations in Interlaken, Click Here to search on booking.com.

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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switzerland itinerary, lauterbrunnenView of Staubbach Falls from Lauterbrunnen Village in Summer

switzerland itinerary, lauterbrunnenLauterbrunnen 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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switzerland itinerary, mount schilthorn, mt schilthorn, swiss travel passGondola to Piz Gloria at Mt Schilthorn

switzerland itinerary, mount schilthorn, mt schilthorn, swiss travel passThe thrill walk at Mount Schilthorn

switzerland itinerary, mount schilthorn, mt schilthorn, swiss travel passViews 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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switzerland itinerary, swiss travel pass, wengen villageThe iconic yellow train to Wengen Village

switzerland itinerary, swiss travel pass, wengen villageEpic 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

Montreux has hundreds of accommodations to choose from, including hostels, hotels and AirBnb’s. 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. Click Here to check availability and rates at La Rouvenaz Hotel.

For all other accommodations in Montreux, Click Here to search on booking.com.

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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switzerland itinerary, montreux, things to do in montreux, swiss travel pass, switzerland travel itinerary, belle epoque, golden line passThe Belle Epoque scenic train ride to Montreux

switzerland itinerary, montreux, things to do in montreux, swiss travel pass, switzerland travel itineraryChateau De Chillon – Switzerland Itinerary

switzerland itinerary, montreux, things to do in montreux, swiss travel pass, switzerland travel itinerary, chateau de chillon, chillon castleInside the Chillon Castle Montreux

switzerland itinerary, montreux, things to do in montreux, swiss travel pass, switzerland travel itinerarySunset 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. 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 an had an incredible view of The Matterhorn, the hotel also offers a sauna, spa and swimming pool and the buffet breakfast each morning is to die for! Click Here to check rates and availability at Schlosshotel Zermatt.

For all other accommodations in Zermatt, Click Here to search on booking.com.

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 shops, restaurants and an awesome apres-ski scene!

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glacier express, switzerland itinerary, glacier express switzerland, landwasser viaduct, zermatt, matterhornThe beautiful town of Zermatt – Switzerland Itinerary

glacier express, switzerland itinerary, glacier express switzerland, landwasser viaduct, zermatt, matterhornZermatt Switzerland

glacier express, switzerland itinerary, glacier express switzerland, landwasser viaduct, zermatt, matterhornThe Glacier Paradise Gondola to the Matterhorn

glacier express, switzerland itinerary, glacier express switzerland, landwasser viaduct, zermatt, matterhornThe 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

St. Moritz has hundreds of accommodations to choose from, so I have narrowed it down to a few of my personal favourite places to stay in St. Moritz to suit budget backpackers and luxury travellers. See the list of accommodations below that I personally recommend:

Luxury: Badrutt’s Palace Hotel

Mid Range: Hotel Piz

Budget: St. Moritz Youth Hostel

For all other accommodations in St. Moritz, Click Here to search on booking.com.

glacier express, switzerland itinerary, glacier express switzerlandBeer with a view on the Glacier Express

glacier express, switzerland itinerary, glacier express switzerlandOn board the Glacier Express – Switzerland Itinerary

glacier express, switzerland itinerary, glacier express switzerland, landwasser viaductThe 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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glacier express, switzerland itinerary, glacier express switzerland, landwasser viaduct, bernina expressSt. Moritz to Alp Grum on the Bernina Express

glacier express, switzerland itinerary, glacier express switzerland, landwasser viaduct, bernina express, alp grumViewpoint at Alp Grum – Switzerland Itinerary

glacier express, switzerland itinerary, glacier express switzerland, landwasser viaduct, bernina expressThe 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 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

Entering by plane is the easiest and most convenient way to begin your adventures in Switzerland and I recommend flying into Zurich Airport.

Click Here to search all flights to Switzerland on SkyScanner.com

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 the 8 Day Switzerland Itinerary, please leave me a comment below!

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