WHAT TO DO IN SWITZERLAND IN 10 DAYS (OR UP TO 14 DAYS)
- 1 WHAT TO DO IN SWITZERLAND IN 10 DAYS (OR UP TO 14 DAYS)
- 2 Where to Stay in Switzerland For 10 Days
- 3 How to Get to Switzerland
- 4 10 Days in Switzerland – How to Get Around
- 5 EPIC THINGS TO DO IN 10 DAYS IN SWITZERLAND
- 5.1 Rhine Falls – 0,5 Days
- 5.2 Stein am Rhine – 0,5 Day
- 5.3 Zurich – 1 Day
- 5.4 Ebenalp Mountain and Appenzell – 1 Day
- 5.5 Flims – 1 Day
- 5.6 Valle Verzasca – 1 Day
- 5.7 Zermatt or Montreux – 1,5 Days
- 5.8 Jungfraujoch and Kleine Scheidegg – 1 Day
- 5.9 Lake Brienz + Brienzer Rothorn + Giessbach Waterfalls – 1 Day
- 5.10 Lauterbrunnen & Schilthorn – 1 Day
- 5.11 St. Beatus Caves & Lake Thun & Thun – 1 Day
- 5.12 Blausee & Oeschinensee – 1 Day
- 5.13 Bern – 1 Day
- 5.14 Lucerne & Mount Rigi & Mount Pilatus – 1,5 Days
- 6 PLACES TO VISIT IN 2 WEEKS IN SWITZERLAND
- 7 FINAL THOUGHTS ON 10-14 DAYS IN SWITZERLAND
Are you looking for a fun 10-day Switzerland itinerary? Then read on because you will find many travel tips on how to spend 10 days in Switzerland (and up to 14 and 21 days).
While some people might believe that ten days in Switzerland is way too much time, I think it is the minimum amount of time to spend in this tiny yet amazingly beautiful country.
There is so much to do and see that I leave heartbroken every single time, even though I road- and train-trip Switzerland for a whole six weeks each year.
There are just so many places to visit, and here are my top recommendations for spending 10 days in Switzerland (or even how to spend two weeks in Switzerland).
Find tips and tricks for getting around, where to stay, and more important information that you will need to have a wonderful time. It feels like the days are over in a heartbeat, so it is important to make the best of your trip and see as much as possible.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. This means I might earn a small commission when you buy a product/service via my link (at no extra cost to you). More about it here.
TRAVEL TIPS FOR YOUR 10-DAY SWITZERLAND ITINERARY
In this 10-day Switzerland itinerary, you will find out:
- Where to stay in Switzerland for 10 days
- How to get to Switzerland
- How to get around Switzerland in ten days
- More travel tips for your trip to Switzerland
- Places to visit and things to do in 10 days (or up to 14 days)
Where to Stay in Switzerland For 10 Days
If you stay in Switzerland for 10 days, I suggest changing hotels about 3-4 times so you can stay in one place for 1-3 nights and do day trips from there before continuing your trip. If you choose only a base for 10 days, it will mean that you have long travel times because the places mentioned here are quite spread out.
Since I mention many destinations on this itinerary (that you will probably not be able to do all), you can choose the places you want to visit and book your hotel there. You will find hotel recommendations further below.
How to Get to Switzerland
You can arrive in Switzerland via plane, car, and train.
- Switzerland has several international airports. If you arrive via plane, you will most likely arrive in Zurich, so I only focus on that airport. If you arrive in Zurich, you can easily take a train and get to Zurich city center by train. Trains run frequently, and there is no need to book train tickets in advance. You will not need an expensive shuttle or taxi.
- If you come from neighboring countries like Austria, Germany, Italy, or France, you might arrive via train. Switzerland is “train heaven,” and there are many great train stations all around Switzerland. The train centers are normally in city centers, so it is quite convenient to get to Switzerland via train.
- If you arrive in Switzerland in your own car, it normally goes smoothly. It probably depends on the country you are traveling from, but I – with a German license plate – have never been really checked and was just waved through border control.
- I suggest buying a toll sticker before border control. This will last for 1 year and costs around 40€. There are petrol stations at the border where you can buy one.
10 Days in Switzerland – How to Get Around
There are several amazing ways to get around in Switzerland, and here is what I recommend for 10 days in Switzerland.
- If you plan to get on some of the mountains (as I suggest in this itinerary), a Swiss Travel Pass makes the most sense.
- A Swiss Travel Pass is not cheap, but when you do many activities, like boat cruises, visiting museums, or getting on mountain summits (and of course using public transportation), a Swiss Travel Pass is the best option.
- You also have free access to many museums. You can use the boats for free on almost all lakes (except Walensee, which is not mentioned in this itinerary). And use public transportation without any costs. Some mountain excursions, like Mount Rigi, are included in 2021 in the Swiss Travel Pass.
- Also, you get up to a 50% discount on many mountain trips (some are even free with this pass).
- Public transportation is safe, on time, reliable, and the window views are one of a kind!
- So, there are no 10 days Swiss Travel Pass, but this 8 days Pass might be the cheapest option. For the first two days or the first and last day, you could get single tickets.
- If you stay 2 weeks in Switzerland, you can also get a 15-day pass. Check out Swiss Travel Pass prices here.
DRIVING IN SWITZERLAND
- Driving in Switzerland is fun and safe.It is quite challenging driving in the Swiss mountains, though. While I totally enjoy driving there, I hate not admiring the scenery as much as I would love to.
- Just stick to the speed limit (they take it very seriously there).
- Have change for parking (which can be extremely pricey, and finding good spots in the city centers is a challenge).
- Follow these tips, and you will have the most beautiful road trip in Europe. Find out about road tripping Switzerland.
Apart from driving or trail riding, there are more ways to get around though you probably will not be able to avoid driving/public transportation completely.
- Switzerland is made for nice strolls and amazing hikes. Find my post with hiking tips here.
- Bring comfortable shoes – the city centers often have cobbled-stone streets.
- And for hiking, bring proper hiking boots.
- I am slightly obsessed with boat cruises in Switzerland – and you should do at least one boat cruise with 10 days in Switzerland.
- However, they are not the perfect way to get around because they are lake boat cruises.
- So, there are only stops along the lake shores, and you will not get very far via boats.
- Most boat cruises are included in the Swiss Travel Pass.
CABLE CARS / FUNICULARS
- If you want to get on mountain peaks, cable cars and funiculars are a good way.
- Switzerland caters to non-hikers as well as hikers. You can get on most mountain peaks without much effort.
- However, the tickets for cable cars/funicular are quite expensive. A Swiss Travel Pass will often save you 50% on the ticket prices, though and some mountain peaks are completely free with a pass.
Visa Regulations for Switzerland
Switzerland is not part of the European Union, but people from the European Union do not need a visa. If you are coming from elsewhere, please do check visa regulations.
Money / Credit Cards
- The currency is the Swiss Francs. Most Swiss shops accept payment in euros (and some also in dollars). I would still change money and have some Swiss francs with me as it gets more expensive if you pay euros.
- Also, you can often pay with your credit card, at least in bigger stores. I have come across smaller shops – especially in lesser-busy areas or restaurants – where only cash payment is accepted.
- Switzerland is expensive – so here are a few tips on how to save money during your trip.
EPIC THINGS TO DO IN 10 DAYS IN SWITZERLAND
This 10-day Switzerland itinerary is different from most others. Here you will find many different activities and a timeframe. So, there are activities for 14-21 days, and you just pick those places that are the most appealing to you. This way, you can create your own 10 days in Switzerland itinerary.
Rhine Falls – 0,5 Days
If you fly into Zurich (or arrive in Zurich via train/bus), head to the Rhine Falls first.
- The biggest waterfall in Europe is about an hour’s drive (or train ride) from Zurich near the German border.
- It is a great experience to get so close to this powerful waterfall.
- Do a boat tour and get close to the waterfalls
- See the waterfalls from the platform
- See the castle at Rhine Falls
- Walk/hike around the waterfalls
Whether you get to the platform or do a boat ride, the waterfall is one of the best places to see if you have 10 -14 days in Switzerland. Here is a more detailed Rhine Falls guide with info on prices, opening hours, and more.
Stein am Rhine – 0,5 Day
Stein am Rhine is one of the most beautiful towns in Switzerland. It is located very close to the Rhine Falls and thus could be easily combined.The facades are some of the most stunning you will see – it looks like an unreal place, and it is hard to believe the houses are several centuries old. Stein am Rhein is really small and so a few hours here should be fine.
THINGS TO DO IN STEIN AM RHEIN
- Admire all the stunning buildings
- Spend time at the Town Hall Center
- Stroll the Rhine River
Zurich – 1 Day
After visiting Rhine Falls and Stein am Rhein (which probably takes 6-10 hours total), head back to Zurich. It is the biggest city in the country and a fun place to visit.
THINGS TO DO IN ZURICH
- Explore the Bahnhofstrasse (the most expensive street in the world). Though it does not look spectacular, this street beats 5th Avenue when it comes to rental prices. And since its convenient location is close to Lake Zurich and the Old Town, you should not skip it when visiting Switzerland.
- Stroll the old town with the narrow streets and old and colorful buildings.
- You can also visit the Uetliberg. In Switzerland, most towns/cities have their own house mountain which and this one is Zurich´s house mountain and enjoy some more nice views from there.
- If you want to be more active, rent a bike for free and explore Zurich by bike.
- Relax at Lake Zurich and take it easy for the last few hours. There are many fine-dining restaurants around the lake and supermarkets if you prefer getting food/snacks for a picnic at the lake.
- As a boat tour lover, I, of course, recommend a boat tour on Lake Zurich.
- Personally, I think that there is no better way to end a day in Zurich than at Lake Zurich. Especially on a summer day, when the street musicians are playing lovely music, and people just gather around the lake – Zurich gives you the best summer feeling! The atmosphere is way more relaxed than in other parts of Switzerland, it feels people are open-minded here, and you´ll see locals and tourists alike enjoying the natural beauty that surrounds Zurich.
- I could name many more things to do in Zurich (click here for more top things to do in Zurich), but I will leave it here.
With 10 days in Switzerland, you should be able to spend 1 full day in Zurich before continuing your trip.
WHERE TO STAY IN ZURICH:
- Zurich has some great luxury hotels which are amazing to get spoiled and enjoy life. Baur au Lac is one of the best-rated luxury hotels close to the city center.
- Arlette am Hauptbahnhof is one of the best-rated mid-range hotels close to the city center.
- Warning, there are not many budget hotels in Zurich. I once stayed at this hostel in the heart of Zurich, and it is a good choice if you are on a budget or want to meet other travelers.
Ebenalp Mountain and Appenzell – 1 Day
If you are interested in seeing the world-famous cliff mountain guest house, “The Ascher,” plan a trip to Appenzellerland. It is quite easily reachable by car or train from Zurich (about 90-120 by car or train). Head to the “Wasserauen” Station to explore Ebenalp Mountain first.
THINGS TO DO IN EBENALP MOUNTAIN
- Hike up to the Aescher (or take the cable car) and have a drink or lunch at the mountain guesthouse
- See the Wildkirchli Caves and learn about the history
- Hike down to the pretty Lake Seealpsee
Depending on whether you hike or take the cable car, it takes something like 2-6 hours. Check out my detailed guide on how to see the Aescher with more tips for Appenzellerland.
Once back in the valley, you can head back to the hotel or explore the cute and colorful town of Appenzell, which is just a few minutes drive away.Appenzell is quite small, so you do not need much time to explore it.
You can end your day in this colorful village and stay in one of the town center hotels before continuing your journey.
WHERE TO STAY IN APPENZELL
- Check out this 4-star hotel in Appenzell. It is a beautiful property directly in the heart of Appenzell.
Flims – 1 Day
Discover one of the hidden gems of Switzerland – Flims! This gorgeous and natural area, which is part of the region of Graubünden, is about a two-hour train or car ride from Zurich.You will see one of the most beautiful lakes in Switzerland – Lake Cauma.
Lake Cauma is a mountain lake, at about 1000 meters elevation. But no worries. You do not have to hike up all the way up. You can also drive up almost all the way and then hike down. If you do this, you will get to see more natural wonders. One of them is Lake Cresta and the Rhine Gorge. All of these beautiful places will cross your path if you hike down for just an hour (or a bit longer).
THINGS TO DO IN FLIMS:
- Chill at Lake Cauma
- Hike from Lake Cauma to Rhine Gorge
- From Rhine Gorge, continue your hike to Lake Cresta
- Rest at Lake Cresta
- There can be an entrance fee for both lakes – depending on the time of your visit.
- Check out my detailed post for more information.
- Do not forget to bring your water bottle, as there are water fountains with fresh water.
- There is a restaurant at Lake Cresta, where you can have lunch or take your own food and enjoy a picnic with a view.
- You could also hike up again or just take the Yellow Postauto (which are regular buses for mountainous areas) to get you to your hotel or back up to your car.
This place is not well-known among tourists, so you will mostly share it with locals.
If you stay two weeks in Switzerland, I suggest visiting both of them – Flims and Appenzell. Stay in each place for 1 full day. However, if you have only 10 days in Switzerland you might not be able to visit both.
WHERE TO STAY IN FLIMS
- Check out Waldhaus Flims Wellness Resort, a 5-star wellness hotel about 1km from Caumasee.
- A bit more budget-friendly is Hotel Cresta
Valle Verzasca – 1 Day
After Flims, it is time to explore some of Switzerland’s Italian-speaking parts – more precisely Locarno.
If you are on the hunt for more natural wonders, it is time to visit this unique place…Valle Verzasca. This place is an absolute dream and one of the best places to visit in 10 days in Switzerland.
The water is so green, clear, and inviting that it makes you want to jump in. Or probably not, as the water is cold.
- Whether you hop in or not (I have never done it), you will be in awe. Mother Nature knows how to create true beauty!
- The Lavertezzo Bridge makes this place even more unique.
- There are some beautiful places to hike around.
Getting there from Flims, or Appenzell, is rather time-consuming, but believe me, it is worth it. It is completely different than any other place in Switzerland.
WHERE TO STAY IN LOCARNO
For a trip to Valle Verzasca, I recommend staying in/near Locarno.
- Luxury Hotels in Locarno: I have stayed in a couple of very luxurious hotels, but this is probably my favorite – ever. Villa Orselina is a top luxurious small boutique hotel in Orselina, just a few minutes from Locarno – check out prices here.
- Mid-Range in Locarno: Hotel Garni Muralto. I did not stay here, but it is one of the best-rated hotels in that price range. Check out prices here.
Zermatt or Montreux – 1,5 Days
Okay, this is hard!
While I recommend visiting both places, Zermatt and Montreux, it takes some time to get from Valle Verzasca to Montreux and also to get from Valle Verzasca to Zermatt.
While the distance is not that far, driving in this area is tricky (with loads of mountain tunnels and traffic). Ideally, you would visit both places. But realistically, you may only be able to visit one place – especially if you have only 10 days in Switzerland and not a day more. So, if you opt for one place, you should plan in about 1,5 to 2 days (including travel time).
Zermatt is one of Switzerland’s most beautiful towns, and I think it is a must-see in Switzerland. With its world-famous house mountain, the uniquely-shaped Matterhorn, it is a great place to visit throughout the year.Since it is car-free, you have to leave your car in Taesch and take the train up. In Zermatt itself, you´ll find some electric cars (as well as taxis and buses), but it is so tiny that you can easily make your way around on foot.
THINGS TO DO IN ZERMATT:
- If you decide to visit Zermatt, make sure to get on Matterhorn Glacier for the amazing views. Just be aware that you might suffer from altitude sickness, as getting up to more than 3000 meters can be a shock to the system.
- End your day with a stroll along the beautiful Vispa River and a stop in one of the numerous cafes or restaurants.
- Here is my post on more fun things to do in Zermatt.
The only downside to Zermatt is that it is quite remote. Getting there is time-consuming (though the train ride is an experience for itself), which makes me hesitant to recommend it with 10 days in Switzerland if you want to visit as many places as possible.
WHERE TO STAY IN ZERMATT:
- Grand Hotel Zermatterhof & Hotel Mont Cervin Palace – these places define luxury in Zermatt.
- Hotel Garni Testa Grigia & Sunstar Hotel Zermatt are mid-range hotels that offer good value for money. I stayed at the latter one. The prices were very reasonable (summer prices are normally better than the prices in winter), and the location was great.
- Click here to find my accommodation guide for Zermatt.
Lake Geneva is a magnificent and giant lake in the French-speaking part of Switzerland. Montreux is a tiny town is loacted on the shores of this special lake.While Geneva is probably the first city that comes to your mind when visiting this area, I actually recommend skipping Geneva if you stay in Switzerland for 10 days only.
Geneva is great, do not get me wrong. It is interesting with all of its political institutions, the lake, and so on, but it is located in the southwestern part of Switzerland. Getting there takes time, so unless you really want to visit Geneva, I recommend visiting Montreux because it is located on the northern shores of Lake Geneva and thus much closer to other places mentioned here.
Montreux is beautiful! It seriously is! It is small, so walking around does not take much time. But with the most beautiful promenade in Switzerland and Chateau de Chillon, Montreux does not have to shy away from any comparison. Okay, this might sound like an exaggeration, but I am sure you will fall in love with Montreux, too.
THINGS TO DO IN MONTREUX:
- Visit Chateau de Chillon
- Spend time in/on/at Lake Geneva
- See the Freddie Mercury Statue
- Stroll the beautiful Montreux promenade
- Check out my more detailed guide on Montreux
WHERE TO STAY IN MONTREUX:
- Luxury Hotels in Montreux: For one of the most luxurious experiences in Montreux, check out Fairmont Le Montreux Palace.
- Mid-Range Hotels in Montreux: I stayed at the lovely 4-star hotel Eurotel which you can check out here – I was more than happy with my choice.
- Budget Hotels in Montreux: Okay, there are not really budget-friendly hotels in Montreux – accommodation around Lake Geneva is just pretty expensive. But here are the best budget hotels that are well-rated. Find out about the best budget hotels in Montreux.
If you are happy enough to stay in Switzerland for two weeks, I surely suggest visiting both towns. If both towns are appealing to you, then you might have to skip a few other places mentioned here. TIP: If you travel by train, always ask for the most scenic routes — train riding in Switzerland is an experience by itself.
INTERLAKEN AND JUNGFRAU REGION
The Jungfrau region, including Interlaken, is like heaven on Earth, and you would be missing out if you did not visit here! There is so much to do, so make sure to book two nights in this region if you stay 10 days in Switzerland. Located in the Bernese Oberland canton, it is also home to Bern but for now, let´s focus on Interlaken and the Jungfrau region.
Jungfraujoch and Kleine Scheidegg – 1 Day
A trip to Jungfraujoch is probably the most famous and popular one.
The Jungfraujoch is a saddle connecting the two 4000ers of the Alps: the Jungfrau and the Mönch. It lies at an elevation of 3,463 meters above sea level and has the highest train station in Europe at 3,463 m.
Getting to the “Top of Europe” feels unreal. It is a little village by itself with quite a lot of attractions to visit.
You can explore the Ice Palace or Alpine Sensation. And you will get to see snow – and do some winter sports, too – regardless of when you visit! There is snow every day of the year.
On your way to Jungfraujoch, you might want to stay longer at the Kleine Scheidegg. It is a mountain pass at an elevation of 2,061 m, situated below and between the Eiger and Lauberhorn peaks, and a popular stop for a break. Actually, you could hike up to Kleine Scheidegg and then take the train up to Jungfraujoch.
- Is Jungfraujoch a must-visit in 10 days in Switzerland? Well, I enjoyed my trip but…This trip is not cheap. If you are on a budget, there are also many other mountain excursions in the region.
- If you have a Swiss Travel Pass, you get a discount on this quite expensive day trip. Click here to find out more about it.
- You might have some time after your trip to Jungfraujoch. If so, I suggest spending the rest of the time in the very charming town of Grindelwald and have dinner there.
Lake Brienz + Brienzer Rothorn + Giessbach Waterfalls – 1 Day
Now, it is time to visit more great places in the region. If you want to start the day in a relaxed frame of mind, go to Lake Brienz and start with a boat tour.
Lake Brienz is actually my favorite, as the water has the most beautiful color and shimmers a lovely turquoise.
My all-time favorite mountain excursion was my trip to Brienzer Rothorn. Thus I have been there twice. And was in awe both times. The Brienzer Rothorn is a mountain with an elevation of 2,350 meters above sea level.
- Arrive at Brienz station by boat (and have the first glimpses of beautiful Lake Brienz) or by train.
- Then take the old steam locomotive to get up the Brienzer Rothorn.
- You can also hike up all the way.
- It is an amazing experience, and you will surely not regret the day trip.
- Hike back down – or take the locomotive.
- Afterward, take the boat again (check the timetable to make sure you do not miss the last boat) to Giessbach Waterfalls.
- There is a boat stop named the same. Get out there and take a short hike up (or take the hotel funicular) to the Grandhotel Giessbach. You have some amazing views from there of Lake Brienz and the waterfall.
- In winter, Grandhotel Giessbach is closed. This hotel has also become one of my favorite hotels in the world, with amazing views and interesting decor. The prices are quite high to stay overnight at Grand Giessbach Hotel, so if you are on a budget, make sure to enjoy at least a drink (or a fantastic dinner) at the hotel. This could also be your dinner spot.
- This trip will probably take a full day.
Another tip: If you skip any of these activities for any reason, I have other top tips for the region.
Lauterbrunnen & Schilthorn – 1 Day
If you want to visit one of the most popular places in the region, head to beautiful Lauterbrunnen.
Lauterbrunnen is notorious for adrenaline rushes and adventurous activities – skydiving, bungee jumping, base jumpers, etc. BUT there are also some hiking trails – after all, it is Switzerland, and it is a lot about hiking.
- Lauterbrunnen is also known for the 72 waterfalls (the most famous of which are the Staubbach Waterfalls and Trümmelfach Falls).
- It is known for being an extremely beautiful little village.
- It is also known for being home to the Schilthorn mountain where portions of the James Bond movie, “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service,” were filmed.
- The trip to Lauterbrunnen, including a hike and some other activities, will take up to a day, so you will probably not have much time to do anything else. Consider having your dinner in the heart of Lauterbrunnen village before going back to your hotel.
St. Beatus Caves & Lake Thun & Thun – 1 Day
Another very dreamy place to visit in 10 days is the St. Beatus Caves. It is located between Interlaken and Thun on the shores of Lake Thun.Get to St. Beatus Caves by bus or car and then take a 10-minute “hike” up to enjoy one of the best views in Interlaken. It is not the height that impresses, but the setting – the beautiful caves, the restaurant with a Lake Thun view, etc. You can have lunch at the panorama restaurant.
After visiting the caves, hike down the other side for another beautiful view. It is just a few minute’s walk and find out why road tripping in Switzerland is such an amazing way to discover the country. These roads are just made for exploring!
- Check out my more detailed guide on the St. Beatus Caves.
- This trip will probably not last one full day, so you can then head to Sigriswil to cross the panorama bridge in Sigriswil or have coffee in a wonderfully weird place called “Grabenmühle.”
- You can get there either by car or bus.
If you want to experience some “city life,” head to the beautiful town of Thun, which is quite close to the St. Beatus Caves.
You can visit castles there, spend time at the park and end your day at one of the numerous cafes in town. Here is my more detailed Thun city guide.
Blausee & Oeschinensee – 1 Day
My tip is to explore a few (more) of the amazing lakes that are located in the Bernese Oberland. In Kandersteg, you´ll find two of the most beautiful lakes in all of Europe, and with 10 days in Switzerland, you have enough time to see these lakes.
Blausee, a tiny lake of astonishing color, is located in a nature park where you can stroll along the lake (but not swim in it) and take it easy. If you want to get active, you can paddle a boat – or just dine in the restaurant that comes with a lake view. Find out more about Blausee. It is not a must-see but a great place if you are totally into lakes.
Make sure to add Lake Oeschinen to your Switzerland itinerary. It is another gorgeous lake that is mind-blowing.To get there, you need to get to Kandersteg Station (parking is available) by train or car and then either hike up or take a gondola up.
You can either walk directly to the lake (about 20 minutes easy downhill walk) or do some hiking (several hours) for phenomenal views. The best view comes only after some hiking, so I highly recommend the hike if you are moderately fit.
To end your day, you can head to the towns of Thun or Interlaken.
WHERE TO STAY IN INTERLAKEN:
If you explore the above-mentioned places, I recommend staying in/near the town of Interlaken.
- The most luxurious hotel in Interlaken is Victoria Jungfrau. Since I have not stayed there myself, I can only repeat what I heard: This hotel is amazing. If you are looking for a fancy place, this is probably the best pick.
- For your stay in Interlaken, I recommend this hotel which is centrally located and is quite nice. Check out rates for Hotel du Nord here.
- If you are on a budget, I recommend staying in Backpackers Villa Sonnenhof next to the Höhenmatte. It is not the cheapest hostel but definitely worth the money and one of my all-time favorite hostels. Check out prices here.
Bern – 1 Day
If I asked, “What is the capital of Switzerland,” would you know off the top of your head? Actually, most guess that it is Zurich, but the truth is that Bern is the lovely capital. It is also the capital of the canton Bernese Oberland. While smaller and less well-known, this city is a beauty!So, do not skip and pencil in at least one day for Bern.
THINGS TO DO IN BERN
- Visit the bears (yes, you read that right, some bears live in the city center of Bern, just next to the Aare river). But no worries, there is a fence that keeps the bears from getting to you and eating you alive.
- Enjoy the best view from the Rosengarten.
- Stroll along the old town of Bern (btw, the whole city center of Bern is a UNESCO World Heritage site.)
- Check out my Bern travel guide for more places to visit and things to do.
PLACES TO STAY IN BERN
The old town is also my tip for staying in Bern (though parking might be tricky if you have a car).
- Luxury Hotel: If you are looking for a 5-star luxury place to stay, Bellevue Palace is probably the best place to stay for your Bern trip. It is centrally located and is great for those who like to indulge in luxury. To check out rates, click here.
- Mid-Range Hotel: I stayed at the 3-star hotel Goldener Schlüssel for 1 night, located in the city center/old town. Though my hotel room was pretty small and the breakfast simple, but the location was perfect and made up for it. Check out rates here.
- Budget Hotel: Switzerland is no budget-friendly place, and Bern is no exception. BernYouth Hostel might be a good choice if you have to watch your budget more closely but still want to be centrally located. Check out rates here.
Lucerne & Mount Rigi & Mount Pilatus – 1,5 Days
I know that many people who visit Switzerland for a few days will say that Lucerne is the most beautiful city there. I somewhat disagree (Zurich will always be my true city love). However, I still think you should spend 1,5-2 days in Lucerne, and this is for several reasons.
After a busy few days, you need some time to recharge and rest. Lucerne is one of the best places to chill. Lucerne has some breathtaking places close by that you should also check out! Also, Lucerne itself is, above all, wonderful.
You have a stunning old town with beautiful historic attractions and one of the biggest lakes in the country.
If you are short on time, a few hours in Lucerne itself is probably enough, and sitting in one of the cafes outside will be a fantastic way to top off your day.
If you have a sunny day, make sure to head to Weggis, which is located on Lake Lucerne’s shores and is the perfect place to rest after all the busy sightseeing in Switzerland.
THINGS TO DO IN LUCERNE
- Visit Chapel Bridge
- Explore the old town and admire the beautiful old buildings
- Take a Lake Lucerne boat cruise
- Rest at Weggis – a “hidden place” to swim. There is also a lido (a beach area watched by staff), but this hidden gem is even better. Bring your blanket, some snacks and drinks – and your bathing suit.
- Check out my travel guide for Lucerne
WHERE TO STAY IN LUCERNE
- Luxury Hotels in Lucerne: Schweizerhof Luzern is a lovely luxury hotel in Lucerne. I stayed for two nights. It is located at Lake Lucerne’s shores and a few hundred meters from the old town and main tourist attractions.
- Mid-Range Hotels in Lucerne: Hotel des Alps is a lovely 3-star hotel in the city center (and it comes with great views). However, it is not only about the views. The restaurant downstairs offers breakfast (with a view), and from there, you are ready to explore the city within minutes. Click here to find the best rates for your stay at Hotel des Alpes.
- Budget Hotels in Lucerne: The Bed + Breakfast offers single and double rooms (with an occupancy of 4 people maximum). Some rooms have a shared bathroom, and some have a private one. Click here to find the best rates for your stay at B&B.
- TIP: The best option is to look for Airbnb accommodation if you are on a budget. The prices are slightly better, so this might be another option. Are you a first-time Airbnb user? Save on your next stay with Airbnb.
- Check out my accommodation guide for Lucerne.
If you cannot get enough of mountain views, head to Mount Rigi for the sunset.Mount Rigi is not very far from Weggis, so you can easily combine the trip. Riding up the mountain (funicular) is a feast for the eyes. Getting up while looking at the Alps, Lake Lucerne, and many lush meadows is a fantastic way to end your day. On sunny days, the sunset from Mount Rigi is often amazing. Of course, you can also hike up.
Alternatively, you can visit Mount Pilatus.
Whether you get (or better arrive at) to Mount Pilatus by boat, car, or public transportation, the next few hours will be wonderful once you are there.To get up there, you have to either hike for a couple of hours or take a funicular/cable car. Getting up is great, walking on the mountain top is great, and even getting down is great!
Since there are many possible activities that you can do up there (including paragliding, hiking, and more), it would be easy to spend a full day on the mountain.
PLACES TO VISIT IN 2 WEEKS IN SWITZERLAND
Because the country is such a beauty, I highly suggest staying longer than 10 days in Switzerland. And if you stay for 14 days or so, here is one more suggestion.
Valposchiavo – 2 Days
In 2018 I visited Valposchiavo. I cannot believe it is still a hidden gem because it is one of the most beautiful places ON EARTH! Seriously, this region blew my mind. And I actually would add it on a 5-day Switzerland itinerary, but I am aware that many people want to see the main attractions first.However, if you plan a two-week Switzerland itinerary, enjoy trail riding, or want to experience quieter places, then Valposchiavo will amaze you.
Take the famous and amazing Bernina Express. This is one of the most beautiful and scenic train routes in the world. I am serious. I have never been o serious before. Okay, I might have been serious on other occasions before, but seriously…
Anyhow, I have a very detailed itinerary for Valposchiavo here. It includes a video of Valposchiavo – but to Valposchiavo´s defense – my video doesn’t do it justice.
Check out prices for accommodation in Poschiavo, the capital of Valposchiavo.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON 10-14 DAYS IN SWITZERLAND
If you stay 14 or 21 days in Switzerland, you can visit all the above-mentioned places, but with only 10 days in Switzerland, you might have to tweak this Switzerland itinerary as it fits the best for you.
I know some people might prefer a fixed itinerary. Still, since we have not all the same tastes and preferences (except that we all want to experience Switzerland´s amazing beauty), you can adjust your itinerary with the suggestions mentioned.
I know Switzerland is extremely expensive and, thus, many people skip it. But as you can see, this small country has so much to offer. The scenery is – in my opinion – the most beautiful scenery. It is my favorite country in the world. There is so much to discover that I highly recommend staying 10 days in Switzerland.