Last Updated on January 22, 2024

After spending a week in Switzerland, I am already dreaming about my next visit. For any first-time or return visitors, this travel guide to Switzerland and itinerary will cover all of the must-see places that you won’t want to miss. I will also include how I utilized the Swiss Travel Pass and suggestions that will allow you to extend your trip longer if you have more time. There is plenty of this beautiful country to see that no matter how much time you have you might find yourself wishing you could squeeze in a few more days of exploring!

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Day 1 – Zurich

Taking a boat cruise on Lake Zurich

I flew into Zurich Airport, which is Switzerland’s largest international airport. I met my friend there and we spent the day walking around the city, taking a cruise along Lake Zurich, and enjoying a taste of the Lindt Home of Chocolate exhibit.

For transportation throughout Switzerland, I highly recommend taking the train when you can. Many rides are included in the Swiss Travel Pass, which I have more information about at the end of this post. It was the easiest way to get around without missing out on the beautiful scenery.

After Zurich, we took a regional train to Lucerne for our next adventure. 

Zurich Dining

Zunfthaus zur MeisenThis traditional guild house dates back to the 18th century and is known for its historic ambiance. The restaurant serves Swiss specialties, and its location along the Limmat River adds to the charm.

Dolder Grand Restaurant Located within the luxurious Dolder Grand Hotel, this restaurant offers fine dining with an emphasis on Swiss and international flavors. The setting is elegant, and the restaurant has been awarded Michelin stars.

Restaurant RigiblickWith its panoramic views of Zurich, Restaurant Rigiblick offers a combination of modern and traditional Swiss cuisine. The restaurant is located in a historic building and is known for its creative dishes.

Clouds Located in the Prime Tower, Clouds offers a modern and stylish setting with panoramic views of Zurich, you will feel like you are high in the clouds. The menu includes a diverse menu, including international and Swiss dishes.

Haus Hiltl Recognized as the oldest vegetarian restaurant in the world, Haus Hiltl has been serving vegetarian and vegan dishes since 1898. The menu is diverse, with a mix of international flair.

Zurich Accomodations

Renaissance Zurich Tower Hotel – Located in the Technopark area, this hotel offers modern amenities and easy access to Zurich West. The area is known for museums and a cool art scene. It is an up-and-coming area that is often compared to Berlin.

Eden au Lac Zurich – Situated on the shore of Lake Zurich, this elegant hotel combines historic charm with modern amenities.

Widder Hotel A stylish hotel located just off Bahnhofstrasse, known as the City and Lake Resort. Rooms are uniquely decorated so there is a style room to suit every guest.

Day 2 & 3 – Lucerne

A view of the Lucern Chapel Bridge in Switzerland. Photography by Asya Olson
How beautiful are all of those blooms on the Chapel Bridge

With two days in Lucerne, I spent time in Old Town, saw Chapel Bridge, took a day trip to Mt. Pilatus, boated on Lake Lucerne, and took the CabriO cableway to Stanserhorn.

Old Town is also known as Altstadt and is filled with colorful buildings, historic town squares, and the most iconic landmark, Chapel Bridge. I loved all the flowers in bloom on the bridge, it was beautiful just before sunset.

From Lucerne, we took Luzern-Interlaken Express to the Jungfrau Region. 

Lucerne Dining

Wirtshaus GallikerA cozy traditional Swiss tavern known for its welcoming atmosphere and menu with hearty Swiss favorites.

Jazzkantine LuzernA unique eatery venue combining international cuisine with live jazz performances.

BalancesLocated in the heart of Lucerne’s Old Town at Hotel des Balances, enjoy a diverse menu with a swanky lounge setting.

Château Gütsch Château Gütsch is a beautiful white castle hotel situated on Gütsch hill. Their restaurant offers elegant dining with panoramic views of Lucerne.

Mill’Feuille A French patisserie and boulangerie that also serves delicious savory dishes. This is a great breakfast and lunch spot with outdoor dining on the Reuss River.

Lucerne Accomodations

Hotel Sonnenberg Kriens Nestled in the hills above Lucerne, this hotel offers a tranquil setting and is close to the Pilatus cable car.

Hotel Montana Luzern Set on a hill overlooking the lake, this hotel provides a luxurious experience with Art Deco design and panoramic views.

Hotel Astoria Located close to the train station, this hotel provides convenient access to both the Old Town and Lake Lucerne.

Views of Lucern, Switzerland from the canal. Photography by Asya Olson.
A view of Lucern in Switzerland from Lake Lucern. Photography by Asya Olson.
View of Lucerne from Lake Lucerne

Mt. Pilatus Day Trip

VIew of the mountains in Mt. Pilatus Switzerland. Photography by Asya Olson.

I booked our day trip to Mt. Pilatus with GetYourGuide. This tour won’t take the whole day, it is about 5.5 hours so there will still be plenty of time to explore Lucerne before or after if you want. Get a peek into the day with my reel dedicated to Mt.Pilatus.

The tour included:

  • Transportation from Lucerne and back
  • A ride to the top of Mt. Pilatus by cable car with incredible views
  • Time to explore on the cable car ride. The car stops halfway and at the top. You can hike or walk around, ride the coaster, picnic, and take pictures
  • A ride on the world’s steepest cogwheel railway
  • Lake Lucerne 1-hour boat cruise
  • A knowledgeable guide

While the mountain coaster is not included with the tour, it is only €9, you will have time for it after the first cable car portion. I definitely recommend adding it because it is a lot of fun and the longest summer toboggan ride in Switzerland.

Stanserhorn Cabrio

This is a unique open double-deck aerial cableway with incredible valley and mountains views. It goes to the mountain peak Stanserhorn. It is just 20 min bus ride from Lucerne, open spring through fall, and offers sunrise rides on certain days!

When we arrived for the CabriO ride, it was a little after sunrise and us two had the cable car all to ourselves. The sky was still colorful and it made for a gorgeous ride. So even if you miss the sunrise ride, you still have a chance at a beautiful view! The people who work there are really friendly and helpful and made our experience great!

Gondola ride into the mountains on CabriO to Stanserhorn. Photography by Asya Olson.

The view from the Cabrio

View from Cabrio Stanserhorn in Switzerland

This is happy us on Cabrio! We forgot to take a selfie, so this is a screenshot from the Insta360 video

Landscape of mountains and hills in Stanserhorn Switzerland. Photography by Asya Olson.
Enjoying the views of Stanserhorn
Overlooking the green hills and mountains in Stanserhorn. Photography by Asya Olson.
The Stanserhorn mountains before they become snowcapped in the winter

Day 4 & 5 – Jungfrau Region

The Jungfrau region is at the bottom of the Bernese Alps. It is formed by two valleys, Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen.

Staubbach Falls in Lauterbrunnen is one of the most iconic views in Switzerland. The famous viewpoint is a bit hidden and we had to walk around for some time until we found it. Here are exact coordinates so you won’t spend as much time searching for it as we did: 46.59490° N, 7.90840° E

This is it:

Woman in red dress overlooking Lauterbrunnen Cemetery in Switzerland. Photography by Asya Olson.
Overlooking the village of Lauterbrunnen

Make sure to checkout the Lauterbrunnen cemetery nearby. It is full of flowers surrounded by expansive landscape views and it overlooks Switzerland’s tallest waterfall. I never knew a cemetery could be so beautiful!

Lauterbrunnen Cemetery in Switzerland. Photography by Asya Olson.
Lauterbrunnen Cemetery

About an hour away is Brienz. Brunngasse is the prettiest street in Brienz, some people say it is the most beautiful in Europe. It was raining while we were there but it was still stunning. I think the rain even added to the beauty.

Woman walking down Brunngasse street in Brienz, Switzerland. Photography by Asya Olson.
Walking Brunngasse Street in Brienz
Brunngasse street in Brienz, Switzerland. Photography by Asya Olson.

Jungfraujoch is known as the highest railway station in Europe and has the “Top of Europe” experience. Top of Europe is in the Bernese Alps and the ride will allow you to see all of the beautiful mountainside. This is the most picturesque village in the Jungfrau region. I spent hours walking around mesmerized by the sights. Everywhere you look, there is a good view! 

*Note for travelers*
Jungfraujoch is at a high altitude and you might experience lower oxygen levels. If you have any health concerns or conditions, it’s wise to consult with a healthcare professional before visiting to understand if you have any additional risks.

While in Grindelwald, try First Cliff Walk. This is an experience where you get to walk on a metal walkway and suspension bridge built along the cliffside of First Mountain. From here you will overlook the alpine forests and snowcapped mountains of the Bernese Oberland area. I recommend going early in the morning to avoid the crowds. The views are magnificent and it is a popular attraction!

Jungfrau Region Accomodations

We stayed at Hotel Glacier and booked a car for a day to get around the area faster.
Hotel Glacier is located in Grindelwald, which is a picturesque village with traditional Swiss chalets, charming streets, and a welcoming atmosphere. You can explore local shops, restaurants, and cafes.

This boutique hotel pays homage to Grindelwald’s ice workers, history, and tourism heritage.

On-site, Hotel Glacier offers a fine dining restaurant, breakfast, and a lounge. I recommend enjoying breakfast on the terrace for a scenic meal. You will be steps away from great skiing, hiking, and plenty of family activities. I really enjoyed our stay here and it is my top recommendation for the area!

Gorgeous Hotel Glacier – swipe for more views.

Jungfrau Region Dining

SchützenLocated in Lauterbrunnen, this restaurant offers a diverse menu with Swiss favorites and options for burgers, soups, salads, and wraps.

Restaurant EigernordwandLocated at Kleine Scheidegg, not far from Lauterbrunnen, Restaurant Eigernordwand offers breathtaking views of the Eiger North Face. This restaurant offers Swiss specialties and Asian-influenced cuisine.

Pizzeria Da SinaIf you’re in the mood for pizza, Pizzeria Da Sina in the scenic village of Wengen near Lauterbrunnen is known for its Italian-focused menu and atmosphere.

BebbisLocated in Grindelwald you can enjoy live entertainment, tavern-style favorites, and traditional fondue.

AdlerstubeLocated at Sunstar Hotel Grindelwald, Adlerstube is known for its unique twist on typical Swiss favorites and every Sunday they host a romantic candlelight raclette event.

Aspen – Contemporary chalet-style atmosphere with an upscale menu that changes seasonally, Aspen is known for quality dishes and even better views. Be sure to check out the terrace for great panoramic views of the mountains.

From here we took the GoldenPass Express from Interlaken to Montreux, our next destination.

Day 6 – Montreux

The town of Montreux like out of a storybook. It is located between Lake Geneva and the mountains making it the perfect spot for a small town escape. We spent time walking around the city and Lake Geneva and visiting the Chillon Castle.

Chillon Castle is on a small island not far from the shore of Lake Geneva. It is a medieval-style castle that even has a drawbridge and dungeons. You can visit the museum and walk the grounds to learn about the colorful past of this historic landmark.

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Beautiful Chillon Castle by @ilhan1077 and

I wish we had more time to explore it and to take more pictures. Add one more day here if you are following the same itinerary!

Montreux Accomodations

Whitepod Hotel in Montreux, Switzerland. Photography by Asya Olson.

If you are looking for a beautiful and unique place to stay near Montreux, Whitepod offers eco luxury accommodations and perfect for nature lovers.

It is located in Monthey and their signature half-transparent pods are equipped with the most luxurious amenities that made our stay adventurous yet so comfortable.

To get to our pod, we need to hike for 20 min from the parking lot or bus station! But don’t worry, not only they carry our luggage to the room, they also provide a survivor bag for us to carry during our stay.

On the top we had our cozy dome, a spa, a hot tub with the best view of Swiss Alps, hiking trails, beautiful breakfast place and much more.

Views of Whitepod and our pod – swipe for more

Montreux Dining

La Rouvenaz – A popular Italian restaurant in the heart of Montreux, known for its delicious pasta dishes and a cozy, welcoming ambiance.

Au Parc – Located in a park, Au Parc offers a relaxed atmosphere and a menu featuring a mix of Swiss and Italian cuisine.

Tralala Hotel – An eclectic restaurant at Tralala Hotel with a vibrant atmosphere, serving a diverse menu, including vegetarian and vegan options.

La Brasserie J5 – In the heart of Montreux, La Brasserie J5 serves a variety of dishes, including seafood and French-inspired cuisine. The terrace is a great outdoor dining experience to take in the sights of Montreux.

Montreux Jazz Cafe – Located in the Montreux Palace Hotel, the Montreux Jazz Café combines a stylish and sophitsticated setting with a menu inspired by the world of jazz.

Restaurant Les Cerniers – If you are staying at Whitepod you must try dinner at their restaurant! It offers you a unique culinary experience with their special “wild cuisine” concept.

From Montreux, you can take any train to the final city on the itinerary, Zermatt.

Day 7 – Zermatt

Zermatt is best known as the mountain resort town at the bottom of the iconic Matterhorn mountain.

The Matterhorn view from @zermatt.matterhorn

You can arrive by train and while the village is actually car-free there are some electric taxis. Otherwise, plan to explore via walking or by horse-drawn carriages. This enhances the overall charm of the alpine village.

Visiting Zermatt Village allows you to experience thrilling adventures or leisurely explore. For the thrill seekers, you can snowboard, heli-ski, paraglide, and mountain bike. If you are looking for a more relaxing visit, you can enjoy shopping on Bahnhofstrass Street, tour the Matterhorn museum,unwind with a Swiss spa experience and enjoy the many great restaurants. For our visit, we did a little leisurely exploring and some more thrilling activities.

Exploring in the colorful village of Zermatt, Switzerland. Photography by Asya Olson.

Streets of Zermatt

Views of the mountains and city in Zermatt, Switzerland. Photography by Asya Olson.

Take a ride aboard the Gornergrat Railway and you will get a chance to stop at Riffleberg. Gornergrat is one of the highest cogwheel railways in Europe and takes visitors on a scenic journey to the Gornergrat summit. From there, you can enjoy panoramic views of the Matterhorn and surrounding mountains. There is an observatory at the top that provides breathtaking vistas and is a great location for taking photos. If you love hiking you find some of the most beautiful trails there and will see Matterhorn from different angles including its reflections in the lakes.

Unfortunately, Matterhorn was behind the clouds most of the time we were there. I caught a glimpse of it on the first evening but I didn’t take photos since I thought I would see it again. Due to the weather it remained hidden the rest of the time we were there. So if you get a chance to see it, be sure to get a photo since you never know what the weather will bring. I want to go back to see it again.

Here is how it looks on a perfect day by @gornergrat:

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While in Zermatt, we also toured the Swiss Glacier Cave and the Ice Palace.  You are taken 15 meters below the surface into a glacier that turns into a palace with tunnels, sculptures, and a toboggan run.

From Zermatt, I took a train back to Zurich Airport for my return flight home.

Zermatt Dining

After Seven –  Located in the Backstage Boutique Hotel, After Seven is a gourmet restaurant serving a seasonal menu with creative and refined dishes.

Julen –A family-owned and run restaurant, Julen offers a blend of Swiss and international cuisine. The menu includes traditional Swiss dishes made with locally sourced ingredients.

Chez Heini –  Chez Heini is a cozy restaurant known for its Swiss specialties, including fondue and raclette. The ambiance is rustic and welcoming.

Potato – An upscale dining experience that includes a menu only made from ingredients within 50 km of the restaurant.

Spycher – Enjoy the flavors of Switzerland with Swiss classic dishes and extraordinary unique takes on favorite dishes, this rustic flambé restaurant will provide a unique feast for the eyes and tastebuds.

Zermatt Accomodations

The Omnia – A luxury hotel with a modern design, The Omnia offers panoramic views of the Matterhorn. It features spacious rooms, a wellness area, and a Michelin-starred restaurant.

CERVO Mountain Resort – Enjoy a stylish and contemporary mountain experience with chalet-style accommodations, a spa, and a restaurant with mountain views.

Mont Cervin Palace – This historic hotel is in the heart of Zermatt with elegant rooms, multiple restaurants, a spa, and an indoor pool.

Additional Switzerland Itinerary

Lush green landscape in Switzerland with a stone house in the distance. Photography by Asya Olson.

If you find yourself with more time to explore Switzerland, take advantage of it! These are some ideas of how I would spend additional days in Switzerland.

Take the Glacier Express train from Zermatt to St. Moritz for the most scenic ride in the country
You likely need to book this far in advance but it’s possible to get last-minute seats because that’s what our group did. I checked for tickets two months in advance but none were available, then while there we went to the train station where they were able to find us some extra spots last minute. It was an amazing experience and we didn’t even go through the most scenic part of the route. I want to come back just for this train ride and try seats in Excellence Class.

Spend a day at Glacier 3000
Glacier 3000 is a mountain and glacier ski resort located in the Bernese Alps in Switzerland. It was named Glacier 3000 because the resort is at an altitude of around 3,000 meters. Depending on the season, you can enjoy a variety of different activities. Most activities are geared for winter travelers, like skiing, snowboarding, tobogganing, dog sled rides, and walking the suspension bridge. In the summer, you can enjoy glacier hiking, the Alpine Coaster, and the scenic alpine landscape.

Explore the city of Geneva for a day
Soak up the history and culture of this charming city. Museums, parks, luxury shopping, and the iconic Jet d’Eau. You can also enjoy boat cruises on Lake Geneva, most are included with the Swiss Travel Pass.

Explore the capital of Switzerland, Bern
Bern is known for its well-preserved medieval Old Town, Altstadt. In the capital city there is a beautiful rose garden that will give you panoramic views of the city, the historical Zytglogge clock tower that has an hourly show with figurines that pop out, and you can tour the Federal Palace.

Bern. Photography by Asya Olson.

Bern – we stopped there just for several hours on the way to Zurich. The views were worth it!

Ride the Rodelbahn Oeschinensee Mountain Coaster
Over 750 meters of track and 150 meters in elevation change, the Rodelbahn toboggan run is such a fun experience. It is open in the summer months from June-October and also closes for rain. Sometimes they are able to dry the track and open once the weather clears. The views of the mountains and valleys are breathtaking in Kandersteg. This was one of my most favorite coaster rides!

Views of Switzerland mountains and village from a cable car in the mountains. Photography by Asya Olson.
On the way to Rodelbahn Oschinensee Mountain Coaster

What to know about the Swiss Travel Pass

The Swiss Travel Pass is worth the cost if you are an active traveler. If you plan to explore multiple areas, it is helpful because the pass provides unlimited travel by train, bus, and boats with free museum entry, and discounts to excursions. It is also flexible and you can stop and change transport as many times as you want.

Cost will vary based upon the amount of days you purchase the pass for and if you select first or second class. Check Swiss Travel Pass for the most updated pricing information.

Once you purchase the pass, you don’t need to buy tickets for any of the included rides or attractions. Just provide the pass upon entry or when asked. Showing the pass on your phone is sufficient. 

Some trains do require a seat reservation in addition to the pass.

Swiss Travel Pass Rides I Reccomend

GoldenPass Express
This is a new train with giant windows. We paid for seat selection in the Prestige class. Otherwise, there is no need to book seats.

CabriO Stanserhorn
Take this gondola ride that leads you to a park with incredible viewpoints. You will need to pay 2 CHF (Swiss Francs) at entry.

Glacier Express
The only train that requires seat reservations for everyone and it is the most epic train ride. The most scenic views are when traveling between St. Moritz and Zermatt. This books out far in advance so book ahead as much as possible.

Belle-Epoque train
This train is a unique experience with a 1930s romantic style and elegant interior. It travels along the GoldenPass route.

Lake Lucerne Boat Cruise
There are many other lakes also included and it has a beautiful view of Lucern from the water.

Brienz Rothorn
This is the only train that does not have windows and the pass gets you a discount.

Bernina Express
While on this train, you will see stunning views of the mountains and through the valley.

I hope you find this travel guide to Switzerland helpful. I cannot wait for my next trip back!

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