Switzerland is an absolute DREAM to travel through. So here’s our easy to follow 10 day itinerary of the top places to visit in winter. This has been at the top of our list for as long as we can remember so to be able to have spent a full 10 days was absolutely unreal!
The best part about our trip was that we had a taste of everything – from cities, to skiing/snowboarding and wandering through the Alps. It may be the most expensive country in the world, but we had the trip of our lives. We hope this Switzerland itinerary inspires you to travel to this stunning country and experience this amazing adventure.
3 KEY TIPS
Before we get started there are 3 key things that should be noted prior to planning and arriving, along with other helpful tips and tricks along the way, but these 3 are essential:
- This itinerary is based on flying into Geneva and out of Zurich. You could also fly in and out of one city and it would be super easy to catch the train back for your flight. This would involving a little some reshuffling of the itinerary but shouldn’t change it too much.
- The transportation service in Switzerland BLEW OUR MINDS. The buses, trains, trams, boats and funiculars make getting around this country SO easy. The schedules and frequency ensure you will arrive at your destinations on time. We highly recommend getting a Swiss Travel Pass, but we’ll talk about that more later on.
- Do not expect everything to go to plan. Swiss weather can be unpredictable which means some days you may have to rearrange your plans, so make sure you’re aware of other activities that you could do instead.
ITINERARY IN SHORT
- Day 1: Geneva
- Day 2: Montreux & train to Zermatt
- Days 3 – 5: Zermatt
- Days 6 – 8: Interlaken/Jungfrau Region
- Day 9: Lucerne
- Day 10: Zurich
THE SWISS TRAVEL PASS
We didn’t bother looking into hiring a car as the under 25 age fee stings big time, so the Swiss Travel Pass was our best way to get around Switzerland.
Not only does it include all trains around the country, the pass also covers buses, boats, entry to 500 museums and discounts on some of the popular mountains (Jungfrau, Grindelwald etc). Cable cars, funiculars and gondolas are all part of the STP too. This is ideal when you get into the Jungfrau region as funiculars are the main form of transport to get up to the key sights.
For this itinerary, you’ll need to buy the 8-day pass and when you look at the price it may take your breath away slightly… but we promise it’s A LOT cheaper than paying for train ride and buses individually.
The Swiss Travel Pass also offers 3, 5 and 15 day passes. We flew into Geneva and paid for the bus from the airport to our accommodation as we didn’t activate our passes until the Saturday.
Catch a morning flight into Geneva. We arrived early Friday morning, around 10:00am which allowed for the whole of Friday to explore Geneva. Geneva is a beautiful city that hasa lot of key attractions to offer. It’s an easy city to walk around or you can catch the bus if you prefer. These were our key attractions:
- Old Town
- Treille Promenade
- Jet d’Eau Fountain
- St Pierre Cathedral
- World’s Longest Bench
- City Center
- Broken Chair
- United Nations
- Flower clock
After you spend the day exploring Geneva, head back to your accommodation and rest up before an early train ride in the morning to Montreux. In Montreux you’ll find a beautiful castle backdropped by snowcapped mountain peaks and late afternoon jump back on the train for a ride to Zermatt.
So today is the day where you’ll activate your Swiss Travel Pass. Head to the station and jump on the scenic train to Montreux. In Montreux you’ll find the picturesque Chateau de Chillion. You’ll be able to catch a bus not too far from the train station (you could also walk, but we had our luggage as this was just a stopover before heading to Zermatt). We spent quite a bit of time here admiring the beautiful scenery before heading back into the center of Montreux. We had lunch and head back towards the station.
SIDE NOTE: Originally, we had planned to also do the Glacier 3000 walk which I believe was a 40-50 min bus ride away so if you have some time, I would recommend it as it looked amazing. Instead we jumped on the train and headed to Zermatt to begin the adventurous leg of our trip. Make sure you get a window seat as the ride from Montreux to Zermatt is incredible.
We fell in love as soon as arrived in Zermatt. The car-free ski village is packed with the seasonal ski holders and tourists, but it doesn’t have that touristy busy feel. Zermatt is home of the Matterhorn, which you might know from the famous mountain on the Toblerone chocolate bar.
Once you arrive in Zermatt, check into your hotel and set off to catch the train up to the Gornergrat. In all honestly the Gornergrat wasn’t that amazing but we got off on the 3rd stop up the mountain and walked around in the snow amongst the huge glaciers. It really was breathtaking, and the views of the Matterhorn are just impeccable.
Side note: Every year Zermatt host a festival called Unplugged (image above). We arrived on the last day so it wasn’t worth getting a ticket, but it runs for 4 days and has some pretty big acts! I believe the festival is usually mid-way through April.
Originally, we had planned to do some pretty amazing hikes whilst being in the south of Switzerland, but we soon found out the hikes were closed as it was still classified as ‘winter season’. We’ll still list them below for you in case you’re visiting in summer:
- 5 lakes hike
- Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge Hike
Instead we decided to buy a 2-day pass for the slopes, hired some ski’s and a snowboard and it was one of the highlights of our trip. Nothing compares to being up in those Swiss Mountains. One thing to note is that supermarkets in Zermatt close around 5 o’clock so ensure you do your shop before you head out on the slopes (if you plan to cook).
Today wake up early, have some breakfast and hit the slopes before the crowds beat you. We hired our gear from one of the snow shops prior to heading up the mountain and went up the same mountain as the day before to see the Gornergrat but there are plenty of other slopes around.
We bought the 2-day pass to ski and spent this whole day on the slopes too. It was one of the highlights of our trip and hope it will be for you too!
DAY 5 – Leaving Zermatt & Interlaken/Jungfrau
On your last morning in Zermatt, check-out of your accommodation and head off to town to explore the quaint mountainside town. Midday or mid-afternoon take the train to Interlaken/Jungfrau Region. This train ride will take about 2.5 to 3 hours.
Once you are in the Interlaken area, check into your accommodation and head into the city centre of Interlaken for a stroll around before an early night and big couple days.
Again, here some of our planned some hikes were closed so we had to make alternate plans. Our days were still jam packed full of hikes that were open and sightseeing through the Swiss Alps.
The logistics on getting to the Schilthorn can be quite different, depending on where you’re staying. We stayed just outside Interlaken and Wilderswil and that was such a perfect, central location.
You need to make your way to the town of Murren, generally a train is the best option but there is a bus route too. From Murren you’ll need to take two cable cars to the top of Schilthorn. Once you reach the top, prepare to be utterly gob smacked by the panoramic views of the Swiss skyline. You’ll be able to see all 3 mountains: Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau.
We spent about an hour or two roaming around the viewing platforms and checking out the 007 themed rotating restaurant.
Once you spend some time taking in the views, ride the cable car down to Birg (one stop down) where you can partake in the Thrill Walk – this is a platform around the side of the mountain with a cage you can crawl through and other pretty scary parts throughout (see images below).
Next, head back down to Murren and find a spot for some lunch. We always pre-pack our lunch as there is nothing better than finding a beautiful spot for a Swiss picnic with the most magical backdrop.
After lunch it’s time for a walk through one of the prettiest valleys in the world. You’ll need to take a cable car from Murren down to Grimmelwald and from here you can hike 45 minutes down to Stetchelberg (highly recommend), or you can also take the cable down to Stetchelberg.
Once you reach the bottom, begin your walk through the valley towards Trummbelbach Falls. After about another 45-minute walk you’ll reach the entrance to the falls. We didn’t pay the fee to go in and look at the waterfalls, we just caught the bus back to the train station and then to our accommodation but we did hear the waterfalls are beautiful.
Schilthorn or Jungfrau?
If you’re heading to Switzerland you probably had a trip to the Top of Europe planned, and yes it quite literally is the highest point in Europe – this is known as Jungfrau. But this also comes at quite a price and ISN’T included in the Swiss Travel Pass (I believe it was 25% off), whereas Schilthorn was included and all transportation up to the summit of Schilthorn was included also. If you have the time and money, of course you can do both, that’s definitely possible!
DAY 7 – Exploring First & Iseltwald Castle
Make your way to the town of Wengen, once arrived, head towards the Mannlichen cable car which will take you up the mountain. There will be one stop along the way where you’ll have to jump on another cable car to make it completely to the top.
Once you arrive at the top there are so many different adventure options. There’s the thrill walk and suspension bridge on the side of the cliff or you can paraglide off the mountain. There’s a flying fox and a glider that reaches up to 80km an hour and multiple hiking options from here which unfortunately were all closed when we arrived.
Once you’ve been on the thrill walk, catch the flying fox down (we caught the gondola down and did the glider afterwards).
From here, we decided not to catch the gondola back down but instead hiked down to the first stop of the cable car (see hike images below), stopped at a cabin along the way and had some lunch, and then took the cable car from there back to Wengen.
We highly recommend this walk instead of the cable car as views are just unreal! Just ensure, probably throughout this whole trip that you wear hiking boots most days as even though it may not be snowing, there is still snow around and particularly ice too.
Grab some lunch and then catch a bus to Iseltwald to view one of the prettiest castles in Switzerland!
You can find more information on how to get to this Castle here.
DAY 8 – Day trip to Bern
We had a leisurely morning, enjoyed a nice breakfast and caught a mid-morning train to Bern and spent the day roaming around. Here you could grab some lunch, play some chess in the city center and visit in the Bears in the middle of town.
It’s time to head out of the Jungfrau region and head up North for a city break to end the trip. The first stop for the last two days of the whole trip will be in Lucerne, this is just a stopover before heading to Zurich. So, jump on a morning train and head out of the mountains into the city.
Since we had our luggage with us and it was only a stopover we hired a huge locker for the day at the train station so we could roam around luggage free.
We didn’t have anything in particular in mind to see in Lucerne so this was the perfect opportunity to stroll around and enjoy whatever we stumbled across.
From the train station, you could go for a walk over the bridge along the promenade. Grab an ice-cream and just take in the beautiful views with the mountains in the background. The key feature of the city is Kapellbrücke Bridge & Water Tower.
After you finish for the day in Lucerne, head back to the train station, pick up your bags and jump on the next train to Zurich. Check into your accommodation, head out for a nice meal in Zurich and wander the beautiful streets.
Note: If you bought the 8-day Swiss Travel Pass it will no longer be valid for your day in Zurich. Most of the city is walkable, and we only caught a bus once in our day exploring here. We then caught a train at the end of the day to head back to the airport.
Zurich is a beautiful city and is such a great way to end the trip. Similar to Lucerne we spent the day roaming the streets, sat along the waterfront while taking in the last day of an incredible trip.
And that, ladies and gentlemen is the 10 day Switzerland itinerary that made Switzerland one of our favorite countries in the world.
A jam packed 10 days! We hope you’ve found this super helpful and love Switzerland as much as we do 🙂
If you have any queries or questions, do not hesitate to leave a comment and we’ll get back to you ASAP! Or, just simply let us know if this guide came in handy!
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