Switzerland Itinerary 7 10 14 21 Days

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.

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.

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 article about Jungfraujoch.

Jungfraujoch Switzerland 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

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

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

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 might be best to purchase the 8-day pass (418 CHF per person in 2020). Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a 6 or 7-day pass. The 4-day pass (281 CHF) 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.

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 Zurich. 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 Bernese Oberland and get settled into your hotel.

Days 3, 4 & 5: Bernese Oberland

As in the itinerary above, you will spend three days in the Bernese Oberland. For a full list of things to do, click here.

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 article about 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

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 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 here.

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.


14 Days in Switzerland: Our 10 Day Itinerary with Lugano

This is similar to the 10-day itinerary, 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

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.

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, it takes approximately 8 hours and prices start at CHF 108. 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.

Switzerland Itinerary Hike

Hiking the Eiger Trail in the Bernese Oberland

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 Days in Switzerland: Our 10 Day Itinerary with Lausanne and Lake Geneva

This is similar to the 10-day itinerary, 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

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.

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, Chateau de Chillon, and Vevey.

Chateau Chillon

Chateau de Chillon

Lake Geneva

View of Lake Geneva from Chateau 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 (in the near future I plan to write about this).

Gastlosen

Gastlosen

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

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. In 2020, this train will be operating from April 18 to October 18. 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.

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 Chateau 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

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 (CHF 563 in 2020). 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

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:

  • For the official website for the Swiss Travel Pass, click here.
  • MySwissAlps.com has a lot of great information about the Swiss Travel Pass.
  • Seat61.com has a great guide to the Swiss passes.

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. Click here to go to our Switzerland Destination Guide, where you can see all of our articles about Switzerland (I have a lot more to write, so if you don’t see something, keep checking back, or ask your question in the comment section below).

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.

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