Switzerland Itinerary: Most Scenic Places in the Swiss Alps

Do you need a Switzerland Itinerary that efficiently visits the most beautiful places in the Swiss Alps? You are at the right post. Here you will find:

  1. The map of the places to visit in the itinerary.
  2. A list of best places to visit in Switzerland (arranged close to the previous and next destination).
  3. The highlights of each town/city and how much time do you need.
  4. Detailed discussion of the main destinations in the Swiss Alps.
  5. Sample itineraries (3, 7, 10, 14 days in Switzerland)

You will like this itinerary if you desire to visit nature and see the most scenic places in the entire world. The main goal of this Switzerland Itinerary is to bring you to the two ultimate destinations in the country:

  1. Bernese Oberland. The part of the Swiss Alps where we can find the valley that most travelers call “heaven on earth.”
  2. Zermatt. The town in the Swiss Alps where the most famous mountain called Matterhorn is.

However, these two aren’t the only places worth visiting in Switzerland. In my three months of researching and learning about Switzerland, reading thousands of reviews, tens and tens of guides — I found 15 towns and 5 cities in the Swiss Alps that are all compelling to visit. I included the best few in this Switzerland itinerary.

3-day Switzerland Itinerary, 7-day Switzerland Itinerary, 10-day Switzerland Itinerary, 14-day Switzerland Itinerary,

Affiliate Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. It means I recommend products and services which I think can help you make a successful and memorable trip. I may receive a tiny commission if you purchase them with no additional cost to you. These will support me to maintain, create more articles and fulfill the mission of this blog.

Note: This post is a comprehensive Switzerland Itinerary. Quite lengthy. Feel free to use the table of contents (click a line to navigate) to proceed to the content you want to see.

Building a memorable journey is the goal of this blog. In this itinerary, I can assure you that each destination listed below will give you unique and unforgettable experiences you can cherish all your life!

This post is focused on the Swiss Alps because it is where awe and adventure await us. I believe we have spent almost all the days of our lives in the cities, so it’s just right that we now spend time with nature instead. Awe is beneficial to our health, did you know?

Ultimately, the Swiss Alps is undoubtedly the main attraction in Switzerland. Going to Switzerland and skipping the Swiss Alps means almost not visiting Switzerland at all!

Lastly, I want you to know that I picked these destinations not because they looked good in the pictures. Every one of them was given extensive research to see if they were really worth visiting or not. Feel free to check the articles linked to each destination.

Here is the summary of the Switzerland itinerary on this post:

DestinationTown / City / RegionUniquenessSuggested length of stay (days)
1Zurich (Arrival to Switzerland)Museums1
2LucerneAdventure and Medieval encounters1
3InterlakenLake Thun and Lake Brienz2
4GrindelwaldFirst and Eiger2(note: A)
5LauterbrunnenHeaven on earth valley3(note: B)
6Rhone ValleyGlaciers and Passes1
7ZermattMatterhorn2
8MontreuxMusic culture and Chillon Castle1
9GruyeresGruyeres Cheese and chocolates1(note: C)
10Geneva (Departure from Switzerland)International Institutions1
Switzerland Itinerary

Notes:

  • A: 2 days if you plan to hike Schynige Platte – First, 1 day if you plan to visit Grindelwald-First and Bachalpsee only.
  • B: 3 days if you plan to visit all the villages in Lauterbrunnen valley. 2 days of stay is suggested too.
  • C: Gruyeres can be visited on a day trip from Montreux.

The Swiss Alps is one of the most beautiful places on Earth! See what awaits you in the Swiss Alps with my articles: Inspiring Photos of Swiss Countryside and Things That Make The Swiss Alps Famous and Special. There I have listed all the things that will make you visit the Swiss Alps – they shall give you ideas of what to visit when visiting Switzerland.

Switzerland Itinerary Map

Switzerland Itinerary Map

Sample Switzerland Itineraries

Using the list of the most beautiful places to visit in the Swiss Alps, I created sample 3-day, 7-day, 10-day, and 14-day itineraries you can use as your guide in visiting Switzerland. These itineraries are optimized for mid-spring to mid-Autumn Switzerland trips when most activities and attractions are open to the public.

These Switzerland itineraries will start in Zurich. Basel is optional, but Zurich is much preferable because of its proximity to the main attractions and the availability of public transportation (including flights).

Do not forget to check the details of each destination in the section after the itineraries. There I enumerated and discussed all the details (e.g., the time needed for each attraction) of these itineraries. You can also find tips and links to posts having a more in-depth discussion of each destination/attraction.

3-day Switzerland Itinerary

For a three-day trip to Switzerland, you can only visit a maximum of two destinations. I suggest that you skip the city and proceed to the main attractions in the Swiss Alps for a quick but awe-filled trip to Switzerland.

3-day Switzerland Itinerary: Lucerne-Jungfrau Region

DayDestinationThings to doNotes
0ZurichGo directly to Lucerne
or spend a night in Zurich to recover from jetlag
1LucerneLucerne Old Town,
Mount Pilatus
Spend a night in Lucerne before going to Jungfrau Region
2Jungfrau Region (Interlaken)Oberhofen Castle,
Harder Kulm,
Saint Beatus Caves
3Jungfrau Region (Interlaken)A quick stop in Lauterbrunnen,
Jungfraujoch
Head back to Zurich for the flight home.
(night flight)
3-day Switzerland Itinerary: Zurich-Lucerne-Jungfrau Region

3-day Switzerland Itinerary: Lucerne-Zermatt

DayDestinationThings to doNotes
0ZurichGo directly to Lucerne
or spend a night in Zurich to recover from jetlag
1LucerneLucerne Old Town,
Mount Pilatus
Spend a night in Lucerne before going to Zermatt
2ZermattHinterdorf Street,
Klein Matterhorn
Travel time between Lucerne and Zermatt may take half a day.
3ZermattSunrise at Riffelsee
Gornergrat
Head back to Zurich for the flight home.
3-day Switzerland Itinerary: Zurich-Lucerne-Jungfrau Region

3-day Switzerland Itinerary: Jungfrau Region

DayDestinationThings to doNotes
0ZurichGo directly to Interlaken
or spend a night in Zurich to recover from jetlag
1Jungfrau Region (Interlaken)Oberhofen Castle,
Harder Kulm,
Saint Beatus Caves
Homebase: Interlaken
2Jungfrau Region (Grindelwald)Grindelwald-First,
Bachalpsee
3Jungfrau Region (Lauterbrunnen)Lauterbrunnen (photo ops),
Mannlichen,
Jungfraujoch
Head back to Zurich for the flight home.
(night flight)
3-day Switzerland Itinerary: Zurich-Jungfrau Region

7-day Switzerland Itinerary

In staying in Switzerland for a week (7 days), you can already see the bests of the two ultimate destinations in the Swiss Alps (Zermatt-Jungfrau region), not in a hectic schedule. In this duration, you allow yourself to do more hiking without missing Switzerland’s top destinations.  

7-day Switzerland Itinerary: Lucerne-Jungfrau Region-Zermatt (Best Sights Itinerary)

DayDestinationThings to doNotes
0Zurich Go directly to Lucerne
or spend a night in Zurich to recover from jetlag
1Lucerne Lucerne Old Town,
Mount Pilatus
Spend a night in Lucerne before going to Interlaken
2 Jungfrau Region (Interlaken) Oberhofen Castle,
Harder Kulm,
Saint Beatus Caves
Homebase: Interlaken / Lauterbrunnen
3Jungfrau Region (Grindelwald)Scynige Platte hikeAllocate an entire day for this hike
4Jungfrau Region (Lauterbrunnen)Visit the Villages: Lauterbrunnen,
Murren (Piz Gloria)
Gimmelwald
Wake-up late. LOL.
Chill day after hiking! Visit the villages,
eat, stroll, photograph sceneries
5 Jungfrau Region (Lauterbrunnen) Mannlichen,
Jungfraujoch
Proceed to Zermatt after Jungfraujoch.
Spend the night in Zermatt
6ZermattHinterdorf street,
Klein Matterhorn
Wake up early to see the sunrise in the village
7ZermattSunrise in Riffelsee,
Gornergrat
Head back to Zurich for the flight home.
7-day Switzerland Itinerary: Lucerne-Jungfrau Region-Zermatt (Best Sceneries)

7-day Switzerland Itinerary: Jungfrau Region-Zermatt (Adventure Itinerary)

DayDestinationThings to doNotes
0Zurich Go directly to Interlaken/Lauterbrunnen
or spend a night in Zurich to recover from jetlag
1Jungfrau Region (Interlaken)Harder Kulm,
Oberhofen,
Niesen
Accommodation: Interlaken
Do not forget to go to mount Niesen during the afternoon/sunset
2 Jungfrau Region (Interlaken) Iseltwald or Giessbachfalls,
Brienz,
Nostalgic Train to Rothorn
3Jungfrau Region (Grindelwald)Grindelwald First: Trottibike scooters,
Glider, Flieger, Cliff walk,
Mountain Cart
or
Grindelwald Glacier Canyon:
Hike / Canyon Swing
Accommodation: Grindelwald
4 Jungfrau Region (Grindelwald) Scynige Platte hike
5Jungfrau Region (Lauterbrunnen) Lauterbrunnen Village (quick stop),
Mannlichen,
Jungfraujoch
Wake-up late. LOL.
Chill day after hiking! Visit the villages,
eat, stroll, photograph sceneries.

Transfer and store your luggage in
Lauterbrunnen Train Station.
Spend the night in Zermatt after Jungfraujoch
6Zermatt Hinterdorf street,
Klein Matterhorn
Wake up early to see the sunrise in the village
7Zermatt Sunrise at Riffelsee
Gornergrat
Head back to Zurich for the flight home.
7-day Switzerland Itinerary: Jungfrau Region-Zermatt (Adventure Itinerary)

10-day Switzerland Itinerary

For a 10-day trip to Switzerland, you can visit not only the top destinations in the Swiss Alps but also other beautiful towns/cities near them. For me, the 10-day trip to Switzerland is ideal. In this duration, you can already experience both the natural beauty and culture of Switzerland.

DayDestinationThings to doNotes
1ZurichMuseum and city tours
2Lucerne Lucerne Old Town,
Mount Pilatus
3Jungfrau Region (Interlaken)Harder Kulm,
Oberhofen Castle,
Saint Beatus Caves
Home base for Jungfrau Region: Interlaken
4Jungfrau Region (Grindelwald) Grindelwald-First,
Bachalpsee
5Jungfrau Region (Lauterbrunnen)Quick stop at Lauterbrunnen,
Mannlichen
Jungfraujoch
6Zermatt Hinterdorf street,
Klein Matterhorn
Wake up early to see Sunrise in the village
7Zermatt Sunrise at Riffelsee
Gornergrat
Move to Montreux after Gornergrat
8MontreuxChillon Castle
Lavaux Vineyard
Queen Band Studio
9GruyeresPreserved Medieval City,
Chocolate Factory,
Cheese Factory
Stay in Montreux, visit Gruyeres on a day trip
10GenevaMuseum and city tours
10-day Switzerland Itinerary

14-day Switzerland Itinerary

A 14-day trip to Switzerland is the ultimate goal. In this duration, you have time to explore more parts of Switzerland, discover hidden gems, do more hikes. You will also have the most relaxing time on your journey as you can spread out the destinations in your itinerary.

DayDestinationThings to doNotes
1Zurich Museum and city tours
2LucerneLucerne Old Town,
Mount Pilatus
3Jungfrau Region (Interlaken) Harder Kulm,
Oberhofen,
Niesen
Accommodation: Interlaken
Do not forget to go to mount Niesen during the afternoon/sunset
4 Jungfrau Region (Interlaken) Iseltwald or Giessbachfalls,
Brienz,
Nostalgic Train to Rothorn
5 Jungfrau Region (Grindelwald) Grindelwald First: Trottibike scooters,
Glider, Flieger, Cliff walk,
Mountain Cart
or
Grindelwald Glacier Canyon:
Hike / Canyon Swing
Accommodation: Grindelwald
6 Jungfrau Region (Grindelwald) Scynige Platte hike Allocate one whole day
7 Jungfrau Region (Lauterbrunnen) Visit the Villages: Lauterbrunnen,
Murren (Piz Gloria)
Gimmelwald,
Trummelbachfalls
Accommodation: Lauterbrunnen
Wake-up late. LOL.
Chill day after hiking! Visit the villages,
eat, stroll, photograph sceneries
8 Jungfrau Region (Lauterbrunnen) Mannlichen,
Jungfraujoch
9Rhone ValleyBrig, Sion, Leukerbad, BettmeralpChoose only one. Spend a night here
10ZermattHinterdorf street,
Klein Matterhorn
11 Zermatt Sunrise in Riffelsee,
Gornergrat
Move to Montreux after Gornergrat
12Montreux Chillon Castle
Lavaux Vineyard
Queen Band Studio
13Gruyeres Preserved Medieval City,
Chocolate Factory,
Cheese Factory
Stay in Montreux, visit Gruyeres on a day trip
14Geneva Museum and city tours
14-day Switzerland Itinerary

Itinerary Destinations: Best Places to Visit in Switzerland

There are 7 airports in Switzerland; 4 serve many to few international flights: Geneva, Basel, Bern, Zurich. I selected Zurich and Geneva as the entry/exit or start/end locations in this itinerary because they have airports that cater more international inbound and outbound flights.

Now, let’s discuss first the destinations in the itinerary, the best places to visit in Switzerland:

1st Destination: Zurich

Zurich is the most populous city in Switzerland and the financial capital of Switzerland. Here you can find fancy bars & nightclubs, world-class restaurants, high-end boutiques & shopping, and more!

We can find Zurich in north-central Switzerland, 30 kilometers (19 miles) north of the Alps. This city was founded at the northern tip of Lake Zurich, which is also the spot where the River Limmat starts.

You may want to consider the Street Parade (held every second Saturday of August), one of Zurich’s most popular events, in selecting the dates when to visit Switzerland. It is the world’s largest techno and dance music festival attended by more than one million people during the pre-pandemic years. You can watch or join a sea of people dancing and partying in the streets during this festival, a fun experience indeed!

Zurich, Switzerland Itinerary Destination
Zurich, Switzerland Itinerary Destination
Zurich, Switzerland Itinerary Destination

Navigate to Itinerary List: 3 days | 7 days | 10 days | 14 days

Zurich Airport

Since Zurich is where we can start our journey in Switzerland, it’s better to know something about its airport.

Where is Zurich Airport? Zurich Airport (ZRH) is Switzerland’s largest international airport, located 13 kilometers (8 miles) north of downtown Zurich. It has more than 350 rail connections which can let you go straight to other cities and towns right away after you arrive in Switzerland.

The railway station of the Zurich Airport is located in the Check-in 3 area. You can buy any public transport tickets (tram, train, buses) at the booths and vending machines located in Zurich Airport’s public area:

  1. SBB ticket machines in Arrival 1 and 2, in the area of Check-in 3
  2. SBB travel center beneath the Airport Shopping in the Check-in 3 area.
  3. SBB ticket counter in Airport Shopping (open daily from 06:30 a.m. to 09:00 p.m.
  4. Service Center in Airport Shopping (open daily from 06:00 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.)
  5. Switzerlandinfo+ information desks in Arrival 1 and 2.

Like most airports, Zurich airport is located outside the city. If you want to visit downtown Zurich for a day, you will still need to take a 10-15 minute train ride from the airport to Zurich Hauptbahnhof, the central train station of Zurich. 

Traveling for a week or more in Switzerland? Save a lot of money using the Swiss Travel Pass (click here to learn more). With it, you can have an unlimited ride on public transportation (Bus, Trains, and Boats) and free entry to more than 500+ museums in the country. Cable car, funicular, and cogwheel train rides are discounted 50%. IMPORTANT: before you buy a Swiss Travel Pass, check first where it is valid or where it applies 50% on STP official website.

How long to stay in Zurich?

If your plan is mainly to visit the Swiss Alps, I suggest spending a maximum of one day in Zurich or going straight to the Swiss Alps right away. It’s not that I do not like traveling in the cities, but there’s just a lot of beautiful things and experiences that await you in the Swiss Alps. 

However, it will still depend on you if you will skip Zurich or not. You will be arriving in Zurich no matter what, so why miss the opportunity to see this beautiful city? 

Things to do in Zurich

Here are three best things you do in Zurich in one day:

  1. Bahnhofstrasse
  2. Swiss National Museum
  3. The Old Town
Zurich’s Bahnhofstrasse
Zurich, Switzerland Itinerary Destination

Have a glimpse of Zurich’s luxurious lifestyle in Bahnhofstrasse, the shopping mecca of the city. Starting from the central railway station to Lake Zurich, this 1.4-kilometer (0.87 miles) kilometer-long shopping district will introduce you to how rich Switzerland is. Stroll past by the most lavish shops, stylish clothes, and glittering accessories you could ever find in your entire life.

Swiss National Museum in Zurich
Zurich, Switzerland Itinerary Destination

One reason why you should start your journey in Zurich is because of the plethora of museums and art galleries you can visit in the city. It does not only have 10, 20, or 30 museums but 50! Aside from that, Zurich also houses 100 art galleries scattered around the city. 

The Swiss National Museum is the one you must visit if you want to have a profound insight into Switzerland before you actually start your journey. The museum has 14 categories of collection, summing up to more than 860,000 objects you can discover! 

For me, visiting the Swiss National Museum is a must-do thing before visiting the rest of the country, especially if time permits. Somehow, the items in the museum will give you ideas of what awaits you in Switzerland – sparking your wanderlust even more. The museum houses different objects relating to archeology, ceramics, paintings, sculptures, technology, tradition, fashion, and more!

Swiss National Museum is located just north of the Zurich central train station. Here’s the museum’s location in Google Maps. Learn more about the Swiss National Museum from their official website

The Old Town of Zurich
Zurich, Switzerland Itinerary Destination

What makes European cities so compelling to visit is their old town that gives people a time-travel-like experience. Travelers who are from young countries will relate. The pastel-colored tile-roofed houses, centuries-old buildings, and the absence of towering skyscrapers just feel so unreal, especially during our time.

In the case of Zurich, it also has its old town. Within Zurich’s old town, on the western side of Limmat River, we can find a place called Lindenhof – a public park registered as a Swiss Heritage Site.

Lindenhof is a place for a good stroll. But most importantly, if you’re looking for the most Instagrammable spot in Zurich, this is the place to be. There you’ll get one of the best views of the city, perfect for creating your photo souvenir in Zurich.

2nd Destination: Lucerne

Lucerne is one of the cities in the Swiss Alps and one of the most beautiful in Switzerland. Here are the three solid reasons why:

  1. Location.
  2. History.
  3. Mount Pilatus.

First, location. Not only is Lucerne very accessible, but it is situated on a stunning site, beside a lake surrounded by breathtaking mountains. It even has a lake beach where you can swim while enjoying the view of the ice-capped mountains to the south. Lucerne is a perfect eye-appetizer for the more epic views awaiting you further on. 

Second, history. With the impressive intact city walls, the chapel bridge, the lion monument, and more, Lucerne will transport you back to different ages when you visit. Not to mention its ultimately picturesque old town, which lights at night illuminate River Reuss. The medieval vibe is just unreal.

Third, Mount Pilatus. From Lucerne, you can spot and visit one of the most beautiful mountains in Switzerland – Mount Pilatus. It is a mystic mountain, also said to be the final resting place of Pontius Pilate, who was searching for the path to heaven. Regardless of the legend, when you witness the sea of clouds that occurs below its peak, you’ll definitely feel that you’re in heaven already.

Lucerne, Switzerland Itinerary Destination
Lucerne, Switzerland Itinerary Destination
Lucerne, Switzerland Itinerary Destination

See all the reasons Lucerne is so much worthy of visiting here in my article about Lucerne.

Navigate to Itinerary List: 3 days | 7 days | 10 days | 14 days

Best things to do in Lucerne

From my three reasons above (and if you read my article about Lucerne), I am sure you already have an idea of what to do in Lucerne. But for this Switzerland Itinerary, here are the activities I recommend doing:

  1. Explore the Old Town of Lucerne (Old Town, Chapel Bridge, and medieval wall)
  2. See the Dying Lion
  3. Visit Mount Pilatus

These three attractions are the most unique in Lucerne. There are a lot more things to do in Lucerne, however. But I suggest that you allocate more of your time to the main destinations in Switzerland, which are Bernese Oberland or Zermatt.

Lucerne Old Town
Lucerne, Switzerland Itinerary Destination
Lucerne, Switzerland Itinerary Destination
Lucerne, Switzerland Itinerary Destination

Have you fantasized yourself being in one of the scenes of your favorite medieval fantasy movie or TV series? Well, it’s time to realize those fantasies by visiting the Old Town of Lucerne. 

You can do that by visiting the intact city walls and walking along the ramparts. There you can just imagine yourself that you’re a guard patroling, watching out for enemies, and so on. It’s magical and will definitely make you feel that you’re back in the middle ages.

After the wall, wander around the town! 

Some parts of the Old Town Lucerne are like an open storybook. In the places like Sternenplatz SquareHirschenplatz, and around Ritterbrunnen in Weinmarkt, you can find beautiful buildings embellished with fascinating Lüftlmalerei (murals unique to Switzerland, Austria, and Germany). These colorful storybook-like paintings tell the stories of the locals or create a 3D-illusion effect that will surely amaze you.

Oh, the Rathaus Stadt Luzern (Lucerne city hall) is something you must see too. Moving to the next destination in the beautiful city of Lucerne: Chapel Bridge and Wasserturm.

Chapel Bridge is the highlight of any visit to Lucerne. It’s one of the bucket list attractions in Europe for being the continent’s oldest covered bridge (made in the 14th century) and the world’s oldest surviving truss bridge. 

The Chapel Bridge is another “storyteller” building you’ll find in Lucerne, though. When you enter the bridge, you’ll see paintings on its roof – showing the lives of the locals back in the 17th century. The stroll on the bridge will definitely be more than just a walk.

Actually, the Chapel Bridge is the best place where you can date your partner in Lucerne (let say you’re in a relationship or you’re already married). It is often embellished with lovely flowers, and the vibe gets really romantic.

Dying Lion of Lucerne
Lucerne, Switzerland Itinerary Destination

One more “storyteller” attraction in Lucerne is the monument of the Dying Lion. It is a striking colossal rock relief (a sculpture carved in a solid or “living rock”) that is 6 meters (20 feet) tall and 10 meters (33 feet) long, situated above a pond in Lucerne.

The Dying Lion shows the face of a mortally wounded lion, created by Bertel Thorvaldsen and Lukas Ahorn to commemorate the massacre of the Swiss soldiers during the French revolution. When Mark Twain visited the sculpture, he was so moved that he remarked it as “the most mournful and moving piece of stone in the world.”

Ever since it became known to the world, it has become a source of fascination and inspiration for many. Every year (before the pandemic), it is visited by more than a million visitors annually. Impressive numbers for impressive sculpture.

Mount Pilatus
Lucerne, Switzerland Itinerary Destination
Lucerne, Switzerland Itinerary Destination
Lucerne, Switzerland Itinerary Destination

Technically, Mount Pilatus is not located in Lucerne, but it’s one of the top day trips that most people do from Lucerne.

Mount Pilatus is a massif lying in the cantons of Nidwalden and Obwalden, 2128 meters (6983 feet) high overlooking Lucerne. In this mountain, most visitors of Lucerne get most of the action and adventure.

Definitely, you can hike Mount Pilatus. The hikes in Mount Pilatus range from very easy to difficult, which you can all finish within a day. However, there are better and really breathtaking hikes in other parts of Switzerland where you should allocate your time more. We’ll talk about it later. 

A trip to Mount Pilatus usually lasts for half a day. But you can always extend it, especially if you want to try different activities on Mount Pilatus, like adventures in Fräkmüntegg. You can also eat at the restaurant located on the top of Mount Pilatus.

You should not miss Mount Pilatus because visiting it means checking to accomplish two items on your bucket list in one trip. First, here you’ll find Switzerland’s longest summer toboggan run (Fräkmüntegg). Second and most importantly, here, you’ll get a chance to ride the world’s steepest cogwheel train (Pilatus Railway). Fantastic, right?

If you are lucky, and if the weather permits, you can witness a sea of clouds on the top of Mount Pilatus. It’s the phenomenon when overcast clouds form below the height of mount Pilatus. You will see the mountain peaks surrounding Lucerne turn into islands in a sea of clouds during that moment. It’s an unreal experience; it feels like heaven, seriously!

How to go to Mount Pilatus

Here’s a sample itinerary for visiting Mount Pilatus in Lucerne:

  1. From Lucerne, get a boat ride to Alpnachstad. Another option is to use the train, but for a different experience, use the boat. (Boat travel takes longer to reach Alpnachstad)
  2. In Alpnachstad, board Pilatus Railway to get to the top.
  3. Explore Mount Pilatus, visit different view decks.
  4. On the top of Mount Pilatus, hop on the cable car down to Fräkmüntegg and try Switzerland’s longest summer toboggan run. (This is optional. You can go straight from Mount Pilatus to Kriens)
  5. On Fräkmüntegg, get on the cable car down to Kriens.
  6. Finally, from Kriens, return to Lucern using bus #1 or bus #14.

Notes:

  • It takes 40 minutes to reach the top of Mount Pilatus from Alpnachstad and 30 minutes to go down from Mount Pilatus to Kriens. 
  • The route shown above is reversible.
  • If you are traveling for a week in Switzerland using public transportation, you should get a Swiss Travel Pass. You get unlimited public transit rides (boats included) and discounts for cogwheel trains and cable cars.
  • The Pilatus Railway only operates from May to November due to snow. Check the railway and cable car schedules from SBB.ch

Private & Guided Tours in Lucerne

I always prefer DIY travel; it’s just total freedom! However, It just takes a lot of time to prepare and do research. I make sure I do not miss a thing when I visit. But when I’m so busy with other important things, I just book a tour. It’s easy, convenient and I also do not miss the places I want to see.

If you do not have time to plan your visit to Lucerne (book individual entry passes and everything), you can use this list of tours to get an instant itinerary to your desired attractions in/from the city.

How long to stay in Lucerne?

One day is enough for Lucerne, especially when you are still going to other beautiful places in Switzerland. Within a day, you can already see the best attractions in Lucerne, like its old town, the Lion monument, and Mount Pilatus. You can allocate another day in Lucerne if you plan to visit museums and more.

See the activities in Lucerne and the time to spend for each:

Attractions in LucerneHours Needed
Entire Lucerne Old Town3 hours
Dying Lion Monument of Lucerne1 hour
Mount Pilatus4 hours
Things to do in Lucerne and how much time do you need

3rd Destination: Interlaken

By going further into the Swiss Alps, we find even more spectacular landscapes and idyllic towns. One of these beautiful towns in Switzerland is Interlaken, located in the Bernese Oberland and Jungfrau region. Interlaken is located 68 kilometers (42 miles) southwest of Lucerne and 63 kilometers (39 miles) southeast of Bern.

People call Interlaken Europe’s adventure capital because it is where the most thrilling fun and the best adventures start and are found. For me, Interlaken is the front door to heaven on earth. Later, when we discuss Lauterbrunnen, you will know why.

Interlaken has a magnificent landscape. Sandwiched between two lakes and two mountain ranges, you can expect to see incredible sceneries in all directions. At this point in Switzerland, numerous hiking spots are within your sight already.

Interlaken, Switzerland Itinerary Destination
Interlaken, Switzerland Itinerary Destination
Interlaken, Switzerland Itinerary Destination
Interlaken, Switzerland Itinerary Destination

Navigate to Itinerary List: 3 days | 7 days | 10 days | 14 days

Must Read: Jungfrau Region

It’s essential to be familiar with the Jungfrau region’s geography since three towns from this region are included in this Switzerland Itinerary. Knowing it, you can easily select which town you can choose as your home base and which tourist attraction you can visit immediately.

So, what is the Jungfrau Region? The Jungfrau region is a part of the Bernese Oberland, the mountainous area of the canton of Bern surrounding the Jungfrau massif. It consists of two valleys, Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen, that meet towards Interlaken. 

Map of itinerary in Jungfrau Region

You can find several hamlets and villages within the Jungfrau Region. But, among them, the three best towns you can start exploring are Interlaken, Grindelwald, and Lauterbrunnen (Wengen is an alternative). Here is a map showing their location and the attractions in the Jungfrau region:

Jungfrau Region Map
Jungfrau Region Map

The colors of the pins of each tourist attraction in the map suggest the preferred town of origin.

  • Orange – visit from Interlaken
  • Green – visit from Lauterbrunnen
  • Red – visit from Grindelwald
  • Red-orange – either from Interlaken or Grindelwald
  • Green-red – either from Lauterbrunnen or Grindelwald

Zoom in to Lauterbrunnen valley, and you’ll see more villages:

Lauterbrunnen Map
Lauterbrunnen Map
Should you make Interlaken your home base?

You can make Interlaken your home base for your entire trip to the Jungfrau region. In fact, you can already visit every tourist attraction straight from Interlaken. But in my opinion, it is better to transfer base at least once to either Grindelwald or Lauterbrunnen to save time traveling between towns.

The travel between towns just to get to your desired attraction can slightly consume hours of your day already. Note that between Interlaken and Grindelwald, the train ride already takes 40 minutes; 20 minutes between Interlaken and Lauterbrunnen (village).

Best Things to Do in Interlaken

As mentioned previously, it is possible to visit every tourist spot within the Jungfrau region, with Interlaken being your base throughout your stay. It’s the same with Lauterbrunnen and partly okay if you prefer Grindelwald considering the distances. 

In my opinion, we can’t just combine them into a single destination in our Switzerland itinerary as they’re totally different towns/villages. At the same time, there is so much to see in the Jungfrau region that it’s logical to separate these towns into three destinations.

While we are in Interlaken, we can focus on the beautiful destinations in the Jungfrau region close to the Interlaken and around the lakes to which Interlaken has direct access:

  1. Oberhofen Castle
  2. Saint Beatus Caves
  3. Harder Kulm
  4. Iseltwald
  5. Giessbachfalls
  6. Brienz and the nostalgic train
  7. Mount Niesen (optional)

I have a detailed explanation for each of these tourist attractions in my article about Interlaken. But, here are their summary:

Oberhofen Castle
Interlaken, Switzerland Itinerary Destination, Oberhofen Castle

One of the most picturesque castles you can ever find in Switzerland. It is famous for its tower that stands in Lake Thun’s turquoise blue water. Visiting this 13th-century castle is the fairytale part of your visit to the Bernese Oberland!

It is located in the municipality of Oberhofen, 5 kilometers southeast of Thun. Oberhofen Castle can be reached via bus #21 or boat ride from Interlaken. 

Oberhofen Castle is open from April to mid-December, 9:00 a.m. until evening (5:00 to 9:00 p.m. depending on the season). See my article about Thun, where I discussed all the details about Oberhofen Castle. Entry is 10 CHF for adults, but you can enter for free with a Swiss Travel Pass

Saint Beatus Caves
Interlaken, Switzerland Itinerary Destination, Saint Beatus Caves

A cave of legend and underground spectacle. Tales say that Saint Beatus expelled a fire-breathing dragon who lived in the cave during the 6th century. The story may be fictional, but the cave’s stalagmites, stalactites, and small underground lake are real, and they will amaze you!

Outside the cave is a structure that seems to have been built during the medieval ages. Waterfalls flow below it, reminiscent of the elves’ castle in Rivendell (Lord of the Rings movie).

Like Oberhofen Castle, you can also reach Saint Beatus Caves via bus #21 or a boat ride from Interlaken. If you choose to travel by bus from Interlaken, you can get to Saint Beatus Caves within 25 minutes.

Entry to the caves only is 18 CHF for adults and 10 CHF for 6 to 16 years old. It is open daily from the 13th of March until the 24th of October, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. It takes around 75 minutes to complete the visit to Saint Beatus Caves.

Harder Kulm
Interlaken, Switzerland Itinerary Destination, Harder Kulm

Harder Kulm is an observation deck above Interlaken – not to be missed when visiting Interlaken. Here you see the sweeping view of Lake Thun to Interlaken, until Lake Brienz. The three peak superstars of the Bernese Alps can also be seen from Harder Kulm during a clear sunny day.

It also has a charming restaurant where you can eat meals while enjoying the breathtaking view. Yet, of course, expect it to be a little bit pricey compared to the shops from the town.

You can reach Harder Kulm by hiking or by riding the funicular train. The Funicular train leaves the valley station every 30 minutes, starting from 9:10 a.m. until 5:10 p.m.

Iseltwald
Interlaken, Switzerland Itinerary Destination, Iseltwald

Iseltwald is one of the villages around Lake Brienz, located east of Interlaken. Peaceful, quiet, and picturesque: see chalets contrast the color of the glittering turquoise Brienz lake as you stroll around town.

On the corner end of the peninsula where Iseltwald is, you can find the Seeburg Castle – the Oberhofen Castle of Lake Brienz. At the village’s gulf, rent a kayak and see the castle reflect on the surface of Lake Brienz in a beautiful perspective.

There are two ways you can reach Iseltwald. The first is through a boat ride. The second is by hopping on bus #103 from Interlaken Ost, heading to Iseltwald. Land travel between Iseltwald and Interlaken lasts for 25 minutes.

Giessbachfalls
Interlaken, Switzerland Itinerary Destination, Giessbach

Giessbach waterfall is perhaps the most majestic waterfall you can find in the Jungfrau region, outside Lauterbrunnen Valley. It falls from a 400-meter (1312 feet) high cliff, cascading 14 steps down to Lake Brienz. Landscape photographers will be thrilled to capture it with a long exposure shot.

Near the waterfalls is the charming Geissbach Grandhotel, a structure built like a castle-manor that embodies the elements of the traditional chalets. It has witch-hat roofs from the medieval ages, which kinda makes it even more appealing.

You can reach Geissbach waterfall by car or train (train to Brienz from Interlaken, bus #155 to Geissbach waterfall). However, the best way to get to it is through a boat ride from Interlaken or Iseltwald.

Brienz and the Nostalgic Train to Rothorn
Interlaken, Switzerland Itinerary Destination, Rothorn

Located at the eastern end of Lake Brienz is the town where the lake acquired its name. Brienz is a beautiful alpine town, where almost all the houses are flower-decked chalets. If you love wandering, discovering little things, this is the place to be.

Brienz is also where the nostalgic, steam-puffing locomotive to Rothorn departs and arrives. The locomotive passes alpine meadows, verdant forest, and rugged ridges at a comfortable, just perfect for sightseeing speed of 9-10 kph (6-7 mph). When you reach the top of Rothorn, you get to see the spectacular view and color of Lake Brienz.

You can get to Brienz in just 22 minutes with a train ride from Interlaken Ost or a boat ride. The nostalgic train is only open from early June to October from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. see my post about Interlaken for more information.

Mount Niesen (Optional)
Interlaken, Switzerland Itinerary Destination, Niesen

Mount Niesen is the triangular mountain you’ll see as you pass by or cruise in Lake Thun. At the lakeshore west of Interlaken, you can spot Mount Niesen, which looks like a pyramid.

The true spectacle of Mount Niesen is witnessed at its peak during a sunny afternoon or sunset. It’s the time when the mountains create a perfect triangle shadow over Lake Thun.

Anyhow, without the shadow, the summit of Mount Niesen is still spectacular. At the top, you see a spectacular sweeping view that stretches from Bern to the snowy peaks of the Bernese Alps.

You can hike Mount Niesen from its foot, but I suggest that you instead use the funicular in Mülenen that can shorten the hike or bring you directly to the top. You can reach Mülenen from Interlaken via train, transfer in Spiez.

How long to stay in Interlaken

You will need at least two days in Interlaken to see all these attractions around Lake Thun and Lake Brienz. For the first day, visit Lake Thun and the attractions around it, Harder Kulm – Saint Beatus Caves – Oberhofen Castle – Mount Niesen. On the second day, explore Lake Brienz and the destinations around it, Iseltwald – Geissbach waterfall – Brienz and Rothorn.

DestinationDayPriority
(1-highest,
5-lowest)
Length (hours)Notes
Harder Kulm112The first thing to do in Interlaken!
Saint Beatus Caves132There is a restaurant in Saint Beatus Caves. Nice place to have lunch; you can see Mount Niesen and lake Thun in St. Beatus Caves restaurant.
Oberhofen Castle122Must not miss this.
Mount Niesen143Optional for day 1. Let this be the substitute if you don’t prefer Brienz and the Nostalgic Train. Only during the afternoon!
Iseltwald211To do: Stroll and photograph.
Geissbach Waterfall232This has the lowest priority because there are a lot more waterfalls to see in Lauterbrunnen. Skip, If you do not have enough time.
Brienz & Nostalgic Train225The 5 hours include the time needed for the entire round trip of the nostalgic train, strolling in the village, and staying on top of Rothorn.
Things to Do in Interlaken and How Much Time is Needed for Each

Notes:

  • Boat docks are located just beside the Interlaken Ost terminal.
  • The funicular train station to Harder Kulm is also located near Interlaken Ost Terminal, on the other side of the Aare River. You can book your tickets for the Harder Kulm funicular train ride here.
  • Check out this one-day hop-on-hop-off unlimited boat ride for Lake Thun and Lake Brienz. It’s nice to have if you plan to travel in Switzerland using a car and don’t intend to buy a Swiss Travel Pass, and still, you want to visit the attractions around the lakes of Interlaken by boat.

4th Destination: Grindelwald

Another beautiful place in Switzerland is Grindelwald, the town where the best views of the Legendary Eiger’s north face are found. This town is situated at the corner end of Grindelwald valley, northeast of the Jungfrau massif. Covered with lush meadows during summer and surrounded by 2000-meter (6561 feet) to 4000-meter (13123 feet) high mountains, Grindelwald is indeed a scenic town not to disappoint your mountain-loving soul.

Grindelwald is where most of the classic but incredibly scenic hikes in the Jungfrau region end and begin. Namely, Schynige-Platte to Grindelwald-First hike or the “six pearls in six hours” hike, Eiger Trail, and Mannlichen-Kleine Scheidegg.

If there is a hike that you must not skip when you are planning to visit Grindelwald, it is definitely the “Schynige-Platte to First.” A nostalgic experience, unreal views, and cool adventures await you here.

Grindelwald, Switzerland Itinerary Destination
Grindelwald, Switzerland Itinerary Destination
Grindelwald, Switzerland Itinerary Destination

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Things to do in Grindelwald

Schynige-Platte to Grindelwald-First (or vice versa) hike is the most scenic hike you’ll ever have in Switzerland. With the tremendous amount of testimonials I’ve read from months of research proving it, hiking Schynige-Platte – Grindelwald-First is perhaps the best thing to do in Grindelwald.

By the way, First is one of the peaks of the Schwarhorn massif located north of the town of Grindelwald. It is often called Grindelwald-First as there are other mountains in Switzerland also called First. 

On the otherhand, Schynige-Platte a mountain ridge of the Schwarzhorn massif that separates separates the valley of the Schwarze Lütschine from Lake Brienz. Its westernmost end near Interlaken is the most scenic. In that area, you’ll see the meeting of the Jungfrau region’s two valleys as well as its two lakes – a 360-view of absolutely awe-filling sceneries.

The thing is, the route “Schynige-Platte – First” route isn’t just breathtaking sceneries. Like I said a while ago, here you also get a nostalgic experience and fantastic adventures. In my opinion, these are the highlights (unique experiences) you can have from Grindelwald and from Schynige-Platte – First hike:

  • Grindelwald-First
  • Bachalpsee
  • Schynige-Platte

I have a separate post about Grindelwald. In that article, I comprehensively discussed each of these attractions and the other fun and nice things to do around the town. Check it out: Is Grindelwald Worth Visiting? 10 Worthy Things To Do

Hiking Information (Schynige-Platte – First trail)

“Schynige-Platte – First” hike is usually done with a route that passes Faulhorn, a peak with a 360-degree view of the Bernese Alps. This route is rated difficult, and you must have your hiking gear when you come. 

Schynige-Platte – First hiking trail is 15.5 kilometers (9.62 miles) long and usually takes 6 hours to finish (+1 hour for breaks/meals). The route is primarily Alpine (approx. 6.7 kilometers or 4.1 miles), gravel (approx. 4.5 kilometers or 2.8 miles), and unpaved (approx. 3.4 kilometers or 2.1 miles). Overall you will be climbing 760 meters (2493 feet) and descending 910 meters (2985 feet) in Schynige-Platte to First via Faulhorn hiking trail.

Here is the hiking route from Komoot:

Grindelwald-First
Grindelwald, Switzerland Itinerary Destination, First
Grindelwald, Switzerland Itinerary Destination, First

You can go straight to the start of the “Schynige-Platte – First” hike from Grindelwald through the cable cars that link the town to First. But before you do, make sure to at least try one of the adventures that await you at First’s three cable car stations:

Station #Station NameActivities
1Grindelwald Valley Station
2BortTrottibike
3SchreckfeldGlider, Mountain Cart
4FirstFlieger, Cliff Walk
Grindelwald-First Cable Car Stations

In my article about Grindelwald, I discussed each of these 5 activities in detail. I also stated the access fee for each activity, the eligible age and weight, and some other tips. 

Also, in that article, I showed how you can save money on the activities using the Grindelwald-First Adventure Package and Swiss Travel Pass. The rates start at 50 CHF, which includes unlimited cable car ride plus one activity. Videos for each activity are embedded in that post too!

Click this link to my article about Grindelwald to open it on a new tab to read later.

Tips in visiting Grindelwald First

The most efficient way to experience all the activities in Grindelwald-First is by making a round trip from Grindelwald to First and back to Grindelwald. You can do that through the activities on each station, which allows you to return to the town even without using the cable car. Here’s how:

  1. Grindelwald to First (cable car)
  2. First to Schreckfeld (First-Flieger)
  3. Schreckfeld to Bort (First-Mountain Cart)
  4. Bort to Grindelwald (Trottibike Scooter)

However, suppose you plan to complete the “Schynige-Platte – First” hike in a day, starting from Grindelwald. In that case, I suggest trying only one activity, especially during the peak season when the queue for some of the activities gets really lengthy.

Most importantly, the “Schynige-Platte -First” hike takes 6-7 hours to finish. You need to get to the end of the trail by 5 to 5:30 p.m. to catch the last train to Wilderswil unless you want to hike down from Schynige-Platte. You must start hiking by 10:30 a.m.

The first departure of the cable car to First from Grindelwald is 8:30 in the morning. It’s 20-30 minutes before you reach First from Grindelwald. Technically you have 2 hours to try the activities in Grindelwald First.

Trottibike Scooters

Ride on a hybrid of a scooter and of a bike from Bort station down to Grindelwald. Along the way, as you whoosh in the wind over the paved and graveled road, stunning alpine views await you.

Pass by Grindelwald countryside meadows dotted with barns and chalets, see views of the towering snowcapped mountains. It’s an activity to exhilarate you! However, it requires some maneuvering skills to try and really enjoy.

First-Glider

Feel like flying beneath an eagle with First-Glider. It is a zip-line-like activity in which, instead of sitting, you will be safely buckled facing down in First-Glider to simulate the experience of flying.

The entire activity only lasts for minutes. It goes like this: first, you will be pulled up into a higher ground from the embarking station while strapped to the eagle glider. Then you will be released back to the station at 83kph (52 mph) maximum speed.

First-Mountain Cart

First-Mountain Cart is the counterpart of sledding during winter. Inventors of this activity said that it is sledding on wheels! Like activity from Bort station, Mountain Cart is a fun and exhilarating activity going through beautiful sceneries in Grindelwald.

The difference between Mountain Cart and Trottibike Scooters is, of course, the vehicle you’ll be using. At the same time, the Mountain Cart is more adrenaline-pumping as you can get really fast, and the tracks for First Mountain Cart have steeper curves.

First-Flieger

First-Flieger is a typical zip line that starts from the First station and ends in Schreckfeld. The view from First Flieger is ultimately scenic, yet the experience only lasts for minutes like First-Glider.

Here, you will be traveling down on an 800-meter long rope that’s 50 meters above alpine meadows dotted with alpine farm-houses. It’ll also feel like flying, especially when you reach the top speed of 84 kph (52.2 mph), seeing the views of the Bernese Alps everywhere.

First-Cliff Walk

Lastly, at the summit of First, there is an observation deck called Cliff Walk. It has a protruding platform where you can see really breathtaking views, especially during clear sunny weather.

If you are afraid of heights, this is just the place that will help you conquer that fear! The absolutely jaw-dropping views of Eiger, Grindelwald, Wetterhorn, and more will help you divert your thoughts to awe from fright.

Bachalpsee
Grindelwald, Switzerland Itinerary Destination, Bachalpsee

After reaching First, Bachalpsee is the next destination to see, just an hour of hiking away from First. Located at 2,265 m (7,431 ft), Bachalpsee freezes during winter but turns into a really spectacular place during summer.

It is considered the most picturesque place during the “Schynige-Platte -First” hike because of its reflective surface, where people see the inverted frozen summit of the Jungfrau massif. Google even made Bachalpsee one of the background images of the themes in their email platform, Gmail.

Some travelers, especially those hiking to Schynige Platte from First, bring a packed lunch and eat here in Bachalpsee. The northern portion of Bachalpsee’s smaller lake is just the perfect spot to see the inverted image of the peaks on its surface.

Those who don’t want to hike up until Schynige-Platte usually makes Bachalpsee their last destination in the trail and head back to First after visiting the lake. It should be the case if you have kids who can’t hike for 6 hours straight and want to try the activities near the cable car stations of Grindelwald-First instead.

Schynige-Platte
Grindelwald, Switzerland Itinerary Destination, Schynige Platte
Grindelwald, Switzerland Itinerary Destination, Schynige Platte
Grindelwald, Switzerland Itinerary Destination, Schynige Platte

Hiking from Grindelwald-First to Schynige-Platte via Faulhorn requires almost a day to finish. That’s why other travelers prefer to spend a night in Grindelwald in Berggasthaus First (a hostel in Grindelwald-First) and extend their stay in Grindelwald for another day:

  • First day in Grindelwald: Fun activities in Grindelwald-First all-day
  • Second day in Grindelwald: Start hiking early to Schynige-Platte.

Besides the fact that it’s gonna feel hectic visiting Grindelwald-First and hiking to Schynige-Platte in one day, Schynige-Platte is a reason to stay in Grindelwald for two days. At the western corner end of Schynige-Platte, more hikes and attractions await for you to see:

  1. Panorama Trail
  2. Loucherhorn Panorama Trail
  3. Hiking/tour to Daube viewpoint
  4. Hiking/tour in Alpengarten (Alpine Garden)

And so much more!

You can download and print the brochure below about Schynige-Platte to guide you even more. It will let you know the hiking trails information, events in the area, and the picture spots.

There are two stations in Schynige Platte which you can use to return to the Grindelwald: Schynige Platte and Breitlauenen. Both of these stations have trains departing to Wilderswil. From Wilderswil, you can get a direct train ride back to Grindelwald.

How many days in Grindelwald?

One to two days is the recommended length of stay in Grindelwald. Within that duration, you can already visit the highlights of Grindelwald and do the best fun activities in the area (Grindelwald-First, Bachalpsee, and Schynige Platte). You can extend it further to 3 days if you plan to see the Grindelwald Glacier Canyon and more.

5th Destination: Lauterbrunnen

For me, Lauterbrunnen is the most spectacular place in all of Switzerland, and a visit to this beautiful country is not complete without seeing Lauterbrunnen’s dramatic landscape. It’s the place you should not miss to put in your Switzerland Itinerary.

Why? Lauterbrunnen is just the heaven on earth, and it is definitely clear if it’s these views you’ll see in person:

Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland Itinerary Destination
Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland Itinerary Destination
Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland Itinerary Destination

Lauterbrunnen is a town, a valley, and a municipality composed of 6 villages and hamlets, namely, Lauterbrunnen, Wengen, Murren, Gimmelwald, Isenfluh, and Stechelberg. In Lauterbrunnen valley, 72 waterfalls can be found; that’s why this place is called Lauterbrunnen, meaning “many springs.”

Comparing the towns/villages of Lauterbrunnen, Grindelwald, and Interlaken, Lauterbrunnen is definitely the most picturesque, spectacular, and inspirational. Here in Lauterbrunnen that J.R.R. Tolkien got the idea of Rivendell, the home of the elves in his book The Lord of The Rings. With that, it seems impossible to just imagine how awe-inspiring Lauterbrunnen could be in person.

Lauterbrunnen is also less busy compared to Grindelwald and Interlaken. In its valley, especially in the smaller villages, you’ll find more peace and quiet. Especially in Gimmelwald, all that you’ll hear are the sound of the ringing cowbells and the echoing sound of cascading waterfalls. Definitely, a perfect place to do some soul searching or healing.

I have created an article telling the 10 reasons why visit Lauterbrunnen. In that post, I’ve shown all the beautiful things I discovered about Lauterbrunnen. From “hidden gem” hikes to countryside sceneries and breathtaking tourist attractions – all you must discover too!

Navigate to Itinerary List: 3 days | 7 days | 10 days | 14 days

Things to do in Lauterbrunnen

The best thing to do in Lauterbrunnen is simple. To just wander around the town, watch the majestic Staubbach waterfall create a cloud of liquid dust above Lauterbrunnen village, and admire the village’s charm. The view alone is perfect; it is absolutely unreal!

However, the village of Lauterbrunnen isn’t the only wondrous thing you can see or visit in or from Lauterbrunnen. The other must-visit places are: 

  • Trummelbach Waterfall
  • Valley’s other villages
  • Mannlichen
  • Jungfraujoch
Trummelbach Waterfall
Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland Itinerary Destination, Trummelbach
Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland Itinerary Destination, Trummelbach

After wandering in Lauterbrunnen village, the next destination that you can easily visit after is Trummelbach Waterfall, Europe’s largest underground waterfall. Just a 10-minute bus ride (#141) from Lauterbrunnen, you can already enter Trummelbach cave and experience the immense power of nature it manifest.

It has 10 viewing platforms connected by tunnels, lifts, and stairs. Aside from the 20,000 liters of water that flows in Trummelbach, you can also see a dramatic view of the valley from one of its vantage points.

The waterfall is open from early April to November (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.). During summer, July to August, it has longer opening times, from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Do not forget to bring jackets when you visit!

Villages in Lauterbrunnen Valley

Lauterbrunnen Valley is home to picturesque villages, especially those that are perched above the valley. They have sceneries that are both quaint and breathtaking, perfect for some leisurely wanderings. These villages are the part of Switzerland that should make you feel refreshed and peaceful after visiting them. 

Aside from the village of Lauterbrunnen in the valley, the other three not to be missed during your visit are:

  • Murren
  • Gimmelwald
  • Wengen

All of them are car-free, and you can only visit them through cable cars or trains. Because there are no cars in Murren, Gimmelwald, and Wengen, you can see that they appear more idyllic compared to the other towns in the Jungfrau region.

I have an article on how you can plan your trip, navigate and discover the gems of Lauterbrunnen Valley. It will tell you the distances between each village in Lauterbrunnen to one another and how you can travel in between. Read: How To Get To Lauterbrunnen? Make An Itinerary and Visit

Let’s start with the village located southwest of Lauterbrunnen, Murren.

Murren
Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland Itinerary Destination, Murren

Murren is Lauterbrunnen’s most elevated village, home to ~500 residents. Perched on a balcony above the middle of the valley, Murren gives you a unique view of Lauterbrunnen Valley with the rocky wall of the Jungfrau massif in front of you.

Murren is also the gateway to Schilthorn, Piz Gloria, and Birg Thrill Walk – the places in Jungfrau Region popularized by James Bond’s movie, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Below are their very brief description, but you can learn more about them from my article about Lauterbrunnen.

  1. Schilthorn – a peak situated directly to the west of Jungfrau massif. Because of its location, Schilthorn lets you see Eiger, Monch, and Jungfrau from a totally unique angle. 
  2. Piz Gloria – a revolving restaurant that lets you see the entire Bernese Alps without leaving your chair, eating. It completes the rotation in less than an hour.
  3. Birg Thrill Walk – another way you can conquer your fear of heights! Walk along a tight rope while you see the dizzying view below you. Don’t worry; you will be at absolute safety with a harness and fall safety catch net.

Reserve your cable car round trip tickets to Schilthorn in advance and skip the line!

Gimmelwald
Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland Itinerary Destination, Gimmelwald

Gimmelwald is home to ~100 residents and is located at the farthest south of the valley. Because of its location, fewer tourists come to Gimmelwald. Thus, it turns out to be the most peaceful and idyllic village to visit.

For me, Gimmelwald is just the perfect spot to do introspection and soul searching. It is so rural that almost all of the time, all that you can hear are the ringing cowbells, wind in your ears, the dripping of water in a wooden fountain, and the echoing sound of the waterfalls below.

Imagine that tranquility! Heavenly.

Gimmelwald is also where people start the hike to Tanzbödeli, the hidden gem of the Jungfrau Region. Along the Tanzbödeli hiking trail, you can find ultimately quaint mountain cabins and numerous waterfalls. For me, it is one of the best reasons to visit Lauterbrunnen valley.

Wengen
Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland Itinerary Destination, Wengen

If you are looking for the best view of Lauterbrunnen valley, Wengen is the place to be. It is situated northwest of Lauterbrunnen village on a location that lets you clearly observe the gorgeous trough-shape of Lauterbrunnen valley.

Wengen is packed with quaint alpine timber chalets that just perfectly complement the view of the Lauterbrunnen Valley. Here you can also find Instagrammable hotels full of charm dating to the belle époque period.

Some people prefer to stay in Wengen than in Lauterbrunnen village because of a broader range of choices for restaurants and shops. Wengen is also closer to Mannlichen, which is also one of the unmissable things to do / places to visit in the Jungfrau Region.

Mannlichen
Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland Itinerary Destination, Mannlichen

Mannlichen is a 2,343-meter (7,687 feet) high peak located at the heart of the Jungfrau Region. It is both an excellent viewpoint of the entire Lauterbrunnen Valley and perhaps the whole Jungfrau region.

In my opinion, the views in Mannlichen are much better than that of Schynige Platte. All because of Lauterbrunnen Valley and a much closer view of Eiger, Monch, and Jungfrau.

If you are from Lauterbrunnen, you have to take the train first to Wengen and hop on a cable car to reach Mannlichen. If you have time, you can also hike the way up. The sceneries from the trail are epic, as you will be overlooking Lauterbrunnen Valley, yet it’s gonna be steep!

Mannlichen can also be visited from Grindelwald. Grindelwald has a direct cable car line to Mannlichen. During the cable car ride to Mannlichen from Grindelwald, you’ll see the north face of Eiger instead of the majestic Lauterbrunnen Valley.

Any route may do. It will depend on your preference.

After reaching Mannlichen, visitors then hike to Kleine Scheidegg, which is the gateway to the Jungfraujoch. Kleine Scheidegg is a famous ski resort during winter.

Jungfraujoch
Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland Itinerary Destination, Jungfraujoch

Jungfraujoch is a marvelous work of engineering, a testament to Swiss ingenuity. It is also called the Top of Europe of having the continent’s highest train station and one of the highest observatories in the world. Because of that, Jungfraujoch is considered by some as a bucket list activity to do.

The Swiss started to build Jungfraujoch by the late 19th century, which is truly impressive considering the harsh environment and the available technology during that time. Jungfraujoch’s engineering will just genuinely amaze you, and it is just one of the factors why it is worth visiting. Others are:

  1. Scenic Train – Jungfraujoch rail isn’t only a true marvel to admire. It’s also a scenic ride that goes through different shutter-presser alpine sceneries.
  2. Aletsch Glacier – The largest glacier in the entire Alps. It is considered a UNESCO site, a must-see thing to visit before the rising temperature melts it.
  3. Ice Palace – Get an experience of walking inside a glacier. See ice sculptures and different exhibitions.

You can learn more about Jungfraujoch from my articles about Grindelwald or Lauterbrunnen. By the way, Jungfraujoch is extremely popular, and the tickets sell out fast, especially during summer and peak seasons. Book your train tickets to Jungfraujoch (admission included) ahead of time. Train rides to Jungfraujoch are not included in the Swiss Travel Pass.

How long to stay in Lauterbrunnen

Two to three days of stay is recommended for Lauterbrunnen. In that duration, you can already visit every village in Lauterbrunnen Valley, as well as the highlights of this destination: Trummelbachfalls, Mannlichen, and Jungfraujoch. You can extend it to four to five days if you plan to hike.

ItineraryDay #Hours Needed
(Travel time included)
Comments
Lauterbrunnen, Gimmelwald & Murren18All-day. Leisure in Lauterbrunnen, hiking Gimmelwald to Murren, visit Schilthorn
Trummelbach23First thing in the morning.
Wengen21Stroll and lunch
Mannlichen to Kleine Scheidegg Hike24Admire the view of Lauterbrunnen and Eiger; hiking lasts 1.5 hours
Jungfraujoch Train (back and forth) and Jungfraujoch Visit38All-day. Visit every part of Jungfraujoch. Meal and travel time included.
Lauterbrunnen Itinerary and time needed for each attraction

6th Destination: Rhone Valley

South of the Jungfrau Region lies Switzerland’s Rhone Valley. It is where the mighty Rhone river flows, starting from the Rhone Glacier in Obergoms, ending in Lake Geneva, passing the towns and villages in the canton of Valais. 

I suggest including the Rhone Valley in your Switzerland Itinerary because the towns in this region will make your trip to Switzerland unique. They may not be as popular/spectacular as Zermatt/Jungfrau Region, but here, you can discover new places which can show you a different image of Switzerland.

There are four places in Rhone valley which I think are worthy of visiting:

  1. Brig
  2. Sion
  3. Leukerbad
  4. Bettmeralp

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Things to do in Rhone Valley

I think you can just pick one of these towns/cities and spend a day on it. I do not recommend visiting all of them unless you have the luxury and time to do so. Let’s discuss each of them:

Brig
Brig, Switzerland Itinerary Destination

Brig is a historical city in the heart of the Rhone Valley, which won the Alpine Town of the Year in 2008. If you look at the map, it is the city situated directly at the south of Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen, only separated by the Jungfrau Massif.

Here you can find the peculiar gothic Stockalper Castle, a testament to the prosperity of the trading empire that flourished in the Simplon Pass. The trading route may be gone now, but the castle, and the structures built along the Simplon pass, will re-narrate to you all the interesting events that happened in the city of Brig.

If you like to discover how the people did business back in the day and see historical monuments and buildings in the mountains, visit Brig and Simplon Pass. Learn more about Brig and the things to do in this city from my article about Brig. Click to open in a new tab and read later.

Sion
Sion, Switzerland Itinerary Destination

Sion is the capital city of the canton of Valais, famous for its wines. Though it is known for wines, Sion’s historical landmarks are the ones that make it enticing to visit. Sion has two castles, both perched on a hilltop, that dramatically transport people back into the past.

These castles, called Tourbillon and Valere, bear witness to the centuries-long stories of the people’s strife and reputation of the leaders of the city. By exploring them, you tap a major part of the canton’s intriguing history and see panoramic views as well.

Fun fact! It is in Sion you can find the oldest playable organ in the world.

If you want to both fascinate your imagination with historic castles and glitter your eyes with dramatic alpine sceneries at the same time, try visiting Sion. Check my article 5 Best Things to Do in Sion to see if Sion fits your likings.

Leukerbad
Leukerbad, Switzerland Itinerary Destination

If it’s a perfect relaxation that you need after hiking, Leukerbad is the place to be. Leukerbad is one of the best towns in the Swiss Alps to visit, famous for thermal baths. And nope, Leukerbad does not only have ordinary springs but therapeutic ones.

Impressively, the healing properties of Leukerbad’s thermal baths weren’t discovered just lately. They have been known since Roman times. Today, approximately 4 million liters (1 million gallons) of therapeutic water flow into the spring and pools in Leukerbad. 

Isn’t that perfect rest after all the adventures and tiring hikes?

Like Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen, Leukerbad is situated in a valley surrounded by a spectacular wall of rocks. The valley where it is located in between Brig and Sion. You can learn more about Leukerbad in my article: Towns in the Swiss Alps.

Bettmeralp
Bettmeralp, Switzerland Itinerary Destination

Aletsch Glacier is one of the most impressive things people look for when visiting the Swiss Alps. It starts in Jungfraujoch, but do you know where it ends? In Bettmeralp. It is from Bettmeralp you can see most of the length of Aletsch Glacier – and it’s better than what you can see from Jungfraujoch!

Like Murren, Wengen, and Gimmelwald, Bettmeralp is also an idyllic village free from cars. You can only come here via cable car. Learn more about Bettmeralp from my article: Towns in the Swiss Alps.

I believe Bettmeralp is the most spectacular part of Rhone Valley. Planning to go here? The nearest city to Bettmeralp is Brig/Visp. From Brig/Visp, get a train heading to Andermatt and alight in Betten Talstation. From Betten Talstation you can find cable cars going to Bettmeralp.

Below is the image of Aletsch Glacier seen from the viewpoint in Bettmeralp. You can have the same view from Bettmerhorn, which is accessed from Bettmeralp through a cable car.

Aletsch Glacier, Switzerland Itinerary Destination

How long to stay in Rhone Valley

Rhone Valley has several towns and villages excellent to visit during a trip to Switzerland. They give you unique experiences apart from the common and highly rated destinations in Switzerland. However, if you want to see the best of the Swiss Alps, I suggest staying longer in Zermatt/Jungfrau region and spending only 1 day visiting one of the destinations in the Rhone Valley.

7th Destination: Zermatt

Switzerland Itinerary is incomplete without seeing the iconic mountain, Matterhorn. It is located on the Swiss and Italian borders, best observed in Zermatt, one of the towns in the canton of Valais. Zermatt lies in a valley in the Pennine Alps, surrounded by 3000-meter (9800-feet) high peaks.

Sceneries blessed with the view of Matterhorn, Zermatt stays a beautiful destination all year round. It turns into a hiking mecca during summer and a skiing paradise during winter.

Zermatt is the photographers’ favorite too! Who would not be fascinated by the image of Matterhorn during sunrise when its peak turns golden? It’s just spectacular – you’ll be so lucky if you will see it in person.

Zermatt, Switzerland Itinerary Destination
Zermatt, Switzerland Itinerary Destination
Zermatt, Switzerland Itinerary Destination, Schwarzsee

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Things to do in Zermatt

Zermatt is more than hiking, skiing, and sightseeing. In my article about Zermatt, I showed the scenic spots, places where people hike and ski, and some activities that satisfy wanderlust. Among all of them, here are the four things to do that I think are most worth it:

  • Visit the old houses in Zermatt
  • Klein Matterhorn
  • Watch the sunrise in Riffelsee
  • Gornergrat 
Old Houses in Zermatt
Zermatt, Switzerland Itinerary Destination, Hinterdorf

Did you know that Zermatt wasn’t founded just a couple of centuries ago? Zermatt has a history that stretches back to the 13th century! And it is just fascinating to think that people have lived beside Matterhorn for more than half a millennium already.

The thing is, Zermatt can transport you back to the time when it was still young and a small thriving alpine farming village. That you can experience when you visit Hinterdorf street in the heart of Zermatt, where most of the traditional larch houses built in the 16th to 18th centuries are kept preserved. 

Have a stroll, wander around, and see the dark wooden houses. Feel the quaintness and the centuries of stories embedded in these houses. You can go to the Zermatt tourism office and ask to join the tours in Hinterdorf street to get more insights into these houses in Zermatt.

Actually, it is in Zermatt you can find the oldest bard in Europe. It is located in the Hamlet of Herbrigg, situated on the hills northwest of the town of Zermatt. I have the complete direction to the Hamlet of Herbrigg in my article about Zermatt

Klein Matterhorn
Zermatt, Switzerland Itinerary Destination, Klein Matterhorn

If Jungfrau region has Jungfraujoch, Zermatt has Klein Matterhorn. Klein Matterhorn or Little Matterhorn is the highest location in Europe that can be reached by any means of transport. It is where you can find the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, the highest cable car station on the entire continent.

Klein Matterhorn offers you the fastest and the easiest way to see the southern face of Matterhorn. When you visit Klein Matterhorn during clear weather, you can see not only Italy and Switzerland. But also France and its highest peak, Mont Blanc. 

Similar to Jungfraujoch, you can also come inside a glacier from Klein Matterhorn. That place is called Ice Palace, and it has ice tunnels, ice sculptures, and exhibits, which kids will love. The Ice Palace is located 15 meters below the surface of the glacier, and it has exit tunnels for other activities like glacier crevasse and an ice toboggan run.

You can go directly to Klein Matterhorn from Zermatt through a cable car. Follow this cable car route: (1) Zermatt to Furi, (2) Furi to Trockener Steg, and (3) Trockener Steg to Matterhorn glacier paradise.

Use your Swiss Travel Pass to get a 50% discount on the fares. Alternatively, if you do not have a Swiss Travel Pass, you can book in advance for a roundtrip gondola ride to Klein Matterhorn from Zermatt (all entrance fees included) from GetYourGuide.

Sunrise in Riffelsee
Zermatt, Switzerland Itinerary Destination, Riffelsee

The most captivating thing you can ever watch in Zermatt is the mirror image of Matterhorn and its golden peak in Stellisee during sunrise. It is every photographer’s dream that surely you will love to see as well. 

Riffelsee is one of the small alpine lakes you can find in Zermatt, considered the best spot in taking photographs of Matterhorn. In calm weather, it acts like a mirror where the inverted image of Matterhorn appears if viewed at an angle. 

This fantastic Riffelsee is located south of Zermatt, east of Matterhorn, near the Gornergrat peak. You can reach it by riding the funicular train going to Gornergrat from Zermatt valley station. Alight in Rotenboden, and hike for 10 minutes to reach the shores of Riffelsee.

There are three ways you can catch the sunrise in Riffelsee and see Matterhorn’s peak glow golden:

  1. Overnight stay in Gornergrat hotel
  2. Wild camping near Riffelsee 
  3. Gornerbanh sunrise trip to Riffelsee

Find tips and learn when and how you can visit Riffelsee from my post about Zermatt. Anyhow, this video will show you how you can spend a wild night camping in Riffelsee:

Gornergrat
Zermatt, Switzerland Itinerary Destination, Gornergrat

For more than a hundred years now, Gornergrat still serves as one of Switzerland’s most visited tourist destinations. It is an observation deck in the Pennine Alps awe-inspired people for two things: the views of Matterhorn to the west and Gorner Glacier below it.

What’s impressive about Gorner Glacier? It’s the second-largest next to Aletsch Glacier in the Jungfrau region. Because of this, visiting Gornergrat is still a win-situation even if the Matterhorn gets covered with clouds.

The fun experience of visiting Gornergrat starts as soon as you ride the train going to Gornergrat. Not only that you’ll see panoramic sceneries along the journey, but it is actually a marvel of engineering you will admire too!

Gornergrat Bahn is a modern open-air cog railway that only takes 33 minutes to bring passengers to Gornergrat. Throughout the climb, you riding the train will cover 1500 meters (4921 feet) elevation gain and see 9.4 kilometers (5.84 miles) of dramatic alpine sceneries and stunning landscapes.

Going to Gornergrat follows the same route as going to Riffelsee. Just don’t leave the train in Rotenboden but instead in the last station that the train will be (Gornergrat station). Check out my article about Zermatt to learn more about Gornergrat.

How long to stay in Zermatt

You need at least two days and one night to get a chance to see the spectacular views of Matterhorn and Zermatt during different hours of the day. Within that duration, you can already visit the three best spots in Zermatt: Hinterdorf, Gornergrat, and Klein Matterhorn. However, if you wish to hike, extend your stay for another day or two.

Activity/DestinationDayHours Needed
(travel time included)
Comments
Hinterdorf Street12
Klein Matterhorn / Matterhorn Glacier Paradise16You can already see everything in 3-4 hours. I made it 6 in case you want to watch a movie in the cinema lounge.
Sunrise at Riffelsee22
Gornergrat26This includes the meal, train ride, hiking down from Gornergrat, and returning back to Zermatt.
Best things to do in Zermatt and the hours needed for each attraction

8th Destination: Montreux

Montreux is a beautiful city in the Swiss Alps dubbed the “Jewel of the Swiss Riviera,” famous for its International Jazz Festival. It sits between Lake Geneva and the western Swiss Alps, where it experiences a pleasant climate similar to the Mediterranean.

Though it is already in the western end of the Swiss Alps, it does not mean that it has the least panoramic views from this list. From Montreux, you can visit a castle perched beside a lake (the French Alps in the background), a picturesque historic vineyard, and more!

The unique thing about this city in the Swiss Alps is its modern vibe (at least not medieval), best characterized by Hotel Fairmont Le Montreux Palace. Added to this is the music industry, which is highlighted by Freddie Mercury and Queen Band.

Check out my article about Montreux explaining why Montreux is worth visiting to see if you should include it in your itinerary.

Montreux, Switzerland Itinerary Destination
Montreux, Switzerland Itinerary Destination
Montreux, Switzerland Itinerary Destination

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Things to do in Montreux

In the article I wrote about Montreux, I have a list of activities you can do while you are in this city. For me, the Queen Studio Experience, Chillon Castle, and the Lavaux Vineyards are the most unique to try. 

Explore the city and visit Queen: The Studio Experience
Montreux, Switzerland Itinerary Destination, Freddie Mercury

Montreux has a beautiful promenade beside the lake with numerous sculptures and shops you’ll love to hang out to chill. One of the sculptures that you can find there is the statue of Freddie Mercury in his iconic concert pose. Take a selfie, and make it your free photo souvenir in Montreux!

Along the shores of Lake Geneva in Montreux still, you can find the Casino Barrière Montreux. It is where we can find the Queen Studio Experience. Inside are what they used in recording and playing music, promotional materials, singles, costumes worn during performances, and more.

It is an interactive museum, though. You can mix the songs which Freddie Mercury and Queen sang. It’s a fun experience, and you’ll totally love it if you’re a fan! You will learn so much about Freddie and Queen.

 The best part? You can enter the museum for free. It is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. 

Chillon Castle
Montreux, Switzerland Itinerary Destination, Chillon Castle

Not too far from the city is the Chillon Castle, the fairytale part of visiting Montreux. Chillon Castle is a 12th-century castle packed with artifacts and antiques used by the three ruling groups: Savoy, Bernese, and Vaudois. Feel the magic when you come!

Perched on the shores of Lake Geneva, Chillon Castle is another shutter presser destination you’ll not regret to visit. On a clear sunny day, if you go to the rocky banks north of the castle, you will be able to photograph Chillon Castle in front of the snowy peaks of the French Alps. The view will give you goosebumps, an unreal scenery straight out of a fairytale!

Chillon Castle is your opportunity to realize your fantasy about your favorite medieval movie or TV series! Come inside the castle and see many historical treasures like the nostalgic 14th-century paintings and painted barrels. The Gothic-style vaults, wooden bridges, castle courtyard, the great hall, and more shall help you imagine yourself in your own medieval story. 

You can reach Chillon Castle via bus #201 from Montreux. Alternatively, You can also come to Chillon Castle on a boat cruise. The boat cruise will let you see Chillon Castle from a different perspective. Boat rides are free with the Swiss Travel Pass. See available time slots or book your entry tickets online to Chillon Castle in GetYourGuide.com.

Lavaux Vineyard
Montreux, Switzerland Itinerary Destination, Lavaux Vineyard

One unique scenery to see in your Switzerland Trip and from Montreux is the historic Lavaux Vineyard, located on the northern shores of Lake Geneva. Lavaux Vineyard has existed for more than 600 years, and it’s considered a UNESCO heritage site now. So far, it is Switzerland’s largest vineyard covering 800 hectares of land.

The view in the Lavaux Vineyards is spectacular. On a sunny day, you can see them like a green carpet rolling down and ending at the shores of the lake. What makes it even more lovely are the snowcapped mountains in France on the other side of Lake Geneva.

Discover more than 300 kinds of wines in Lavaux, and drink it with your partner if you have one! Cheers with spectacular views in a lovely sunset. Imagine how romantic that moment could be. Learn more about Lavaux from their official website.

You can get to Lavaux Vineyards via train or boat from Montreux. You might want to use the train instead as it will pass a part of the vast vineyards. Rivaz is the train station nearest to the Lavaux Vineyards.

How many days in Montreux

One day is enough to get the best experiences from Montreux. Start your day visiting Chillon Castle, then take a boat ride to Lavaux Vineyards to drink some wine and watch the sunset. When evening comes, go back to Montreux and visit the Queen Studio Experience museum.

After Montreux, the next destination would be Gruyeres. Suppose you want to visit Gruyeres on a day trip from Montreux, I suggest that you extend your stay in your accommodation in Montreux for another day.

9th Destination: Gruyeres

Gruyeres is a preserved medieval city located in the canton of Fribourg, one hour away from Montreux. Though Gruyeres is situated only at the outskirts of the Swiss Alps (pre-alps), panoramic sceneries will still be present during your visit.

Gruyeres, Switzerland Itinerary Destination
Gruyeres, Switzerland Itinerary Destination
Gruyeres, Switzerland Itinerary Destination

In every Switzerland Itinerary, Gruyeres is the ultimate food destination to visit. Not only because of the Gruyeres cheese but also of the chocolates made from the region. Visiting Gruyeres is hitting two birds in one stone!

For me, what can get even more interesting about the Gruyeres are the peculiar and unexpected kind of museums located inside the preserved medieval city. Perhaps they could be the biggest twist in your trip to Gruyeres.

If you are undecided about visiting Gruyeres or not, you can check my post where I wrote the 10 reasons why Gruyeres is worth visiting. Discover the two strange museums in Gruyeres from that post too.

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Things to do in Gruyeres

Gruyeres has hikes, gorges, lakes, and so as most of the towns in the Swiss Alps. When visiting Gruyeres, we can focus on things that make it unique. Like, its preserved medieval city, the cheese, and chocolate factories. 

Medieval Gruyeres
Gruyeres, Switzerland Itinerary Destination, Gruyeres Castle
Gruyeres, Switzerland Itinerary Destination, HR Giger Museum

The main attraction in Gruyeres is its preserved medieval city, situated on top of a hill, overlooking the beautiful countryside all around. It has a picturesque city center, with streets covered with cobblestone and houses all looking quaint. At its farthest end, you can find a beautiful castle having Instagrammable gardens and breathtaking views of the nearby mountains.

Yes, Gruyeres will definitely give you that nostalgic feeling, transporting you back to the times when there were still kings and queens. However, the things you can discover from the medieval city aren’t just about history. Like, what’s said in the introduction, there will be more!

Three of the unique experiences that await you inside the Gruyeres’ preserved medieval city are:

  1. Chalet de Gruyeres – a quaint restaurant designed like an alpine chalet that offers what people say “best-tasting fondue and meringue.”
  2. HR Giger Museum – a museum that features sci-fi characters. It amazingly contrasts the medieval atmosphere of Gruyeres.
  3. HR Giger Bar – a really odd-looking bar with fascinatingly strange interiors. The ceiling, chairs, and other furniture were designed as if you come inside the body of an extraterrestrial.

See my article about Gruyeres to see what how they look like.

La Maison du Gruyere

If you are curious about how Gruyeres cheese is made, visiting La Maison du Gruyere cheese factory is the place to be. Inside, expert cheesemakers will reveal to you the secrets of the Gruyeres cheese. Kids will be entertained very much, and it is a must-do activity if you are traveling with your family.

During a tour, you will not only be able to learn things about the cheese, how they are prepared, and so on. You will be given a chance to taste the Gruyeres cheese at three different stages/ages too!

La Maison du Gruyere is located in Pringy, Gruyeres, just beside the train station. It’s very easy to visit, so there’s no reason to skip it on your trip to Gruyeres! 😉

Gruyeres, Switzerland Itinerary Destination, Cheese Factory
Cailler Chocolate Factory

Have you ever wondered why Swiss delicacies like Cailler chocolates are so delicious? If you want to know why then visit the place where they are made in the Cailler Chocolate Factory. Visiting this factory in the town next to Gruyeres is another must-do activity, especially if you have brought your kids to Switzerland.

Similar to La Maison du Gruyere, in Cailler Chocolate Factory, you will know how the delicacies, chocolates this time, are made. The process and raw ingredients will be shown to you during a tour of Cailler Chocolate Factory. What’s great? You will be allowed to eat unlimited chocolates after the tour!

Cailler Chocolate Factory is located in Broc, 9 minutes away from Gruyeres by car. If you plan to use public transit, ride a train to Bulle first. In Bulle, hop on bus #256 and alight in Broc (Broc Fabrique, Gare). The travel time to the Cailler Chocolate Factory from Gruyeres using public transit is about 30 minutes.

How long to stay in Gruyeres

One day or a day trip from Montreux is enough when visiting Gruyeres. You can already tour the cheese and chocolate factory and explore the medieval city and the castle within a day. However, consider staying for another day if you want to hike and see more of Gruyeres, like its gorge, lake, etc.

10th Destination: Geneva

Geneva is the westernmost city of Switzerland that is home to numerous international organizations, like the United Nations and the Red Cross. It is considered by some as the cultural melting pot of Switzerland because of different people meeting together and numerous languages that are spoken here. 

Geneva, Switzerland Itinerary Destination
Geneva, Switzerland Itinerary Destination
Geneva, Switzerland Itinerary Destination

Travel speaking, Geneva is indeed a beautiful destination too. In this city, you can find monuments reminiscent of the past, impressive landmarks that tell meaning and message, and museums centered on humanity. The Reformation Wall and the giant Broken Chair are just two of them and the most famous.

Geneva is where all the great minds meet too – and you can visit some of the places where they come together to do science and make humanity better. One of them is The European Organization for Nuclear Research or CERN, where the Large Hadron Collider (the world’s largest and highest-energy particle collider) is. Geneva is just full of interesting things, and curious minds should not miss this!

Because of the remarkable and exciting experiences, Geneva seems to be the place best to start a trip to Switzerland. It has an airport too and has more interesting things to do compared to Zurich. But because of Geneva’s location that’s very far from Switzerland’s best and main attractions, I suggest that you instead choose Zurich as your entry point.

However, Geneva can be your exit point if it happens that Montreux and Gruyeres are the two last destinations in your Switzerland Itinerary. Geneva is approximately one hour away from Montreux.

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Things to do in Geneva

Here are some of the things to do in Geneva:

  1. Explore the city
  2. CERN
  3. International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum
Explore the city
Geneva, Switzerland Itinerary Destination, Broken Chair

Similar to Zurich, Geneva is really expensive, food, hotels, shops and more. One way you can save money and enjoy the city at the same time is to see the famous landmarks in the city. Here are the three landmarks you can add to your checklist:

  1.  The Jet d’Eau – an impressive, enormous water jet located in the harbor of Lake Geneva. It shoots 500 liters of water to the sky at 200 kph (124 mph), creating a 140-meter (459 feet) tall fountain.
  2. The Reformation Wall – a wall with sculptures of people made to give tribute to the religious reformation movement in Switzerland that happened during the Middle Ages.
  3. The Broken Chair – a gigantic chair with 5.5 tons of wood and is 12 meters (39 feet) high. It was made to remember the people hurt by the landmines planted by the Swiss Government to protect the nation during the world wars.
CERN
Geneva, Switzerland Itinerary Destination, CERN

If you are interested in science and how scientists of today are searching for ways to make an unlimited source of energy and crazy scientific stuff, CERN is the place to be. CERN is the world’s most important center for science, where the most mind-bending physics experiments are conducted.

You can join a guided tour in CERN, in which you’ll meet an actual scientist who will explain everything they do in this giant laboratory. The best part? It is entirely free! But of course, don’t expect too much for a perfect tour. It’s the scientist who will accompany you, not tour guides.

After the tour, you can visit the permanent exhibition of CERN’s significant contributions to science in the Globe of Science and Innovation. There are interactive displays that will let you quickly understand all the nerdy stuff stored in the exhibit.

CERN is open from Monday to Saturday, 8:00 a.m. until 6 p.m. Check CERN’s website for special closing times and announcements.

International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum

International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum is the best museum that you can find in Geneva. It’s the most inspiring and advanced museum telling thousands of stories of humanitarian work done by the organization for the past 150 years. This museum will remind you how vital humanitarian efforts really are. 

This museum is literally modern, with interactive platforms and devices to immerse you further in the life-changing stories that the museum houses. People who visited the museum said that International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum is one of the greatest museums they have ever encountered.

Adults will appreciate the museum, but kids? Not so much, I think. Entry is 15 CHF for adults. Entry is free if you have a Swiss Travel Pass. Here are the opening hours.

  • From 10 am to 6 pm: from 1 April to 31 October
  • From 10 am to 5 pm: from 1 November to 31 March
  • Closed: Mondays, 24, 25 and 31 December and 1 January

How long to stay in Geneva

One day is enough to see the highlight activities in Geneva, such as city landmarks, CERN, International Red Cross, and Red Crescent Museum. However, suppose you plan to get accommodation in Geneva and join day trips to nearby destinations (Lavaux Vineyard, Gruyeres, and Montreux). Then, you might want to consider allocating more days to your stay in Geneva. 

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Switzerland Itinerary
Switzerland Itinerary

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