PLACES TO VISIT IN SWITZERLAND IN 4 DAYS
Are you looking for exciting 4 days in Switzerland? Look no further! In this 4-day Switzerland itinerary, I’ll take you on a whirlwind tour of some of the best landmarks that the beautiful country has to offer.
From stunning mountain views and crystal clear alpine lakes to traditional Swiss villages and world-famous chocolate, I’ve got something for everyone. So grab your passport, and some extra Swiss Francs (because Switzerland is not the most budget-friendly place), and get ready to explore Switzerland like never before!
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TRAVEL TIPS FOR A 4-DAY SWITZERLAND ITINERARY
Before jumping to your itinerary for 4 days in Switzerland, here are some very important tips to have a smooth trip.
ARE 4 DAYS IN SWITZERLAND ENOUGH?
Ready to explore Switzerland in just 4 days? Is it even possible? Absolutely! Well, in all honesty, you would need weeks or months to see the great, beautiful places in Switzerland but with careful planning, you can make the most of your time and see many of Switzerland’s highlights.
This itinerary will help you to get the most out of your four days in Switzerland and make the most of your short visit!
HOW TO GET AROUND
When it comes to getting around Switzerland over four days, I’m torn between road-tripping and taking trains. You cannot go wrong with any of these two options. Picking which mode works best will depend on where exactly you want to go but whatever path (literally!) that you choose is sure to be unforgettable.
PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION / SWISS TRAVEL PASS
For this Switzerland itinerary, I strongly recommend that you use the Swiss Travel Pass – just because this is such a busy (and amazing) itinerary that you will be out all day. And you can still enjoy these wonderful window views while getting from one destination to the other.
There are different Swiss Travel Passes available regarding flexibility and duration. Flexible passes allow you to use the pass for a certain amount of days within one month or the regular, more affordable option, which means you have to use the pass on consecutive days of travel.
- Yes, the Swiss Travel Pass is quite expensive but it will pay off.
- You can use buses and trains without any extra costs.
- Also, most boat cruises and some mountain excursions are included.
- The Swiss Travel Pass also covers most museums and entrances to castles.
- The great thing about it is that you never have to worry about finding parking spaces and instead use buses and trains.
- The Swiss Travel Pass is valid for 3, 4, 6, 8, or 15 days. You could choose the “flexi” or “consecutive” ticket, but for a 4-day Switzerland trip I recommend just choosing the consecutive ticket.
- Click here to find the rates for a Swiss Travel Pass.
MONEY / CURRENCY IN SWITZERLAND
- Switzerland is not part of the European Union and does not have the euro (€). They use Swiss Francs. At the moment, 1 Swiss Franc equals about 1€ or $1,04.
- While euros are widely accepted, the exchange rate is terrible, so I recommend exchanging money at home or withdrawing cash from an ATM (if you don’t have to pay the fees or withdraw money just once to avoid paying fees several times).
- Credit cards are widely accepted (especially Visa and Mastercard). Still, I recommend always having cash on you for the smaller things you need to pay for (especially in smaller towns and shops).
- As mentioned, the country is not known as a backpacker’s paradise, mainly because accommodations are costly. Also, food is not cheap (though the quality is often better than in other European countries). Ideally, you can save money by reducing your meat, alcohol, and cigarette consumption for those seven days – and find out more about Switzerland’s budget tips here.
WHEN TO VISIT SWITZERLAND FOR 4 DAYS
Switzerland is great to visit at any time of the year. But here are my two cents on what time might be the best time to visit Switzerland for 7 days for you.
For winter sports lovers, the best time is obviously in winter. Any time from December to early March is probably a good time to visit if you want to hit the slopes. If you are not into winter sports but love Christmas Markets, visit in the first three weeks of December. The Christmas Markets in Switzerland are top-notch. From December to February, the temperature range is -2 to 7 °C (28° – 45° F).
Summer in Switzerland can be amazing. I experienced some very rainy days (and weeks) in summer, but often, the weather tends to be nice. Days are long, and you can squeeze more activities into your itinerary. From July to August, the daytime temperature range is 18 to 28 °C (65° – 82° F)
If you want to avoid the tourist crowds and save some money on hotels, then from late April to June and from September to early October would be the best time to visit Switzerland. In spring and autumn, the daytime temperature range is 8 to 15 °C (46° – 59° F).
However, there can always be certain events and activities – also outside of the busy season – which make a place more crowded, and hotel prices can thus increase.
MY OPINION: I loved Switzerland in winter, but if I had only one more chance to revisit Switzerland, I would choose late spring, summer, or early fall. Here is my more detailed post about the best time to visit Switzerland.
However, there is never a guarantee about the weather in Central Europe.
PLACES TO VISIT IN 4 DAYS IN SWITZERLAND
Let´s get started, here is what to do and see on a 4-day Switzerland trip.
DAY 1 – LUCERNE & MOUNT RIGI
Day 1 of your amazing trip will start in Lucerne.
ZURICH TO LUCERNE
Most likely, you will arrive in Zurich. And Zurich (or Zürich as it is written and spelled in Swiss German) is a beautiful city – do not get me wrong. Zurich is like my second home BUT with only 4 days in Switzerland, we have to skip it. Do not be too sad though, Lucerne is an amazing alternative.
If you get to Zurich airport, take the train from there to Lucerne. Ideally, you arrive in Zurich early in the morning, so you would have almost the full day to explore stunning Lucerne. But even if you get to Lucerne in the early afternoon, you still have time to explore the area.
- It takes about 60-90 minutes from Zurich Airport to Lucerne city center. This train ride is included in your Swiss Travel Pass – so, no extra costs for you today.
BOAT CRUISE TO VITZNAU
The first few hours in Switzerland might have been stressful so you will enjoy some relaxing time on the boats.
Board one of the regular boats that leave right from the train station and take a leisurely boat ride along Lake Lucerne, ending up at Vitznau. This scenic journey takes about an hour and gives you breathtaking views of the Alps and the crystal clear waters of Lake Lucerne, as well as picturesque villages along the shore.
Enjoy some fresh Swiss air and take in the beauty of Switzerland’s stunning nature. Once you reach Vitznau, hop off the boat – this boat cruise was just the beginning of an amazing day of exploring Lucerne´s outdoor beauty.
For an unforgettable experience, take the iconic cogwheel railway up Mount Rigi, also known as The Queen of the Mountains. This one-hour journey features incredible panoramic views of Lake Lucerne and surrounding mountains and Alpine meadows – all while traveling on tracks built in 1871!
Once at the summit – which is 1,800 meters (5,905 feet) above sea level – you can explore the area on foot. There are several hiking trails for all levels of experience.
Enjoy lunch with a view, visit one of the mountain restaurants, or simply soak in the scenery from many of the observation points scattered around the summit. Whatever you choose to do on Mount Rigi, it will be an experience you will never forget!
If you are lucky and spend your evening on a clear, sunny day, you most likely will experience one of the most beautiful sunsets in Switzerland. Here at Mount Rigi, sunsets are extra pretty! And if you prefer more physical activity, you can also hike down/up instead of just using the cogwheel that beams you up!
- The boat tour as well as the train journey to Zurich and the train/cogwheel ride up Mount Rigi is ALL INCLUDED in the Swiss Travel Pass. Yes, right! Even the mountain excursion is covered by this little pass.
- So, by now it should not surprise you why I love the Swiss Pass and almost always buy them when I am in Switzerland myself.
WHERE TO STAY IN LUCERNE FOR A 4-DAY TRIP
With only one night in Lucerne, I highly recommend staying in the old town. Accommodations there are – no surprise – pricy – but with only one day in the area, you do not want to spend too much time traveling. I have stayed in several hotels in Lucerne, and here are some tips.
- LUXURY: Schweizerhof Luzern is a lovely luxury hotel in Lucerne. It is a beautiful and fun 5* hotel located at Lake Lucerne’s shores and a few hundred meters from the old town and main tourist attractions. Check out rates here.
- MID-RANGE: Hotel des Alpes is a nice 3-star hotel in the city center (and it comes with great views). The restaurant downstairs offers breakfast (with a view), and from there, you are ready to explore the city within minutes. I think there is no 3-star hotel with a better location in Lucerne. Click here to find the best rates for your stay at Hotel des Alpes.
- BUDGET: The Bed & Breakfast -Neustadt 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.
- If you are still unsure where to stay in Lucerne, you can check out my full accommodation guide on the best places to stay in Lucerne here.
DAY 2 – LUCERNE CITY CENTER AND TRAVEL TO INTERLAKEN
Since you are in the beautiful Lucerne, it is time to explore one of the prettiest cities in Switzerland.
LUCERNE OLD TOWN
Lucerne is in central Switzerland, traversed by the winding Reuss River and encircled by snow-capped mountains. On the eastern shore of Lake Lucerne lies the Old Town, where cobbled streets and the iconic Chapel Bridge, a wooden covered bridge lined with 17th-century paintings, converge.
Start by visiting the famous Chapel Bridge – one of the oldest covered wooden bridges in Europe. Cross the bridge and take a walk along the banks of Lake Lucerne.
I highly recommend having a peek at the Jesuit Church which is just a 5-minute walk from the Chapel Bridge before heading to the old town of Lucerne – as Lucerne´s historic city center is one of the best ones in Switzerland.
The Old Town of Lucerne is filled with amazing sights and attractions. Visit the iconic Lion Monument, located in a small park near the old city wall. This impressive sandstone sculpture commemorates the Swiss Guards who were massacred during the French Revolution. Along with this iconic monument, there are plenty of other sights to explore in the Old Town.
Stroll through picturesque lanes lined with colorful wooden shutters, explore medieval buildings and narrow cobblestone pathways, or admire the city’s beautiful fountains. There are also plenty of shops and restaurants to check out in the Old Town, so if you need a break – and lunch – this is the place to enjoy it.
When you’ve seen what Lucerne has to offer, make your way to Interlaken, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Switzerland.
LUZERN – INTERLAKEN EXPRESS
Take the Luzern-Interlaken Express and enjoy one of the most scenic train rides in Switzerland. This 2-hour journey will take you through some of the most beautiful lake and mountain landscapes in the country.
As you pass by small villages, rolling hills, and snow-capped mountains, you’ll get a glimpse of what makes Switzerland so special.
- I have more good news for you: This ride is also included in your Swiss Travel Pass (no reservation fee, nothing – just a scenic free ride if you are a Pass-holder). The trip takes about 2 hours and these hours are pure eye-candy.
DINNER IN INTERLAKEN
After this amazing train ride, you can check in at your hotel in Interlaken and explore the small town center of the world-famous Interlaken. Built on a narrow stretch of valley, between the gorgeous lakes – Lake Thun and Lake Brienz – it is a must-see in Switzerland.
From stunning views of the surrounding Alps and glistening nearby lakes, this area offers a little something for everyone! However, the town itself is rather small, so 1-2 hours of Interlaken sightseeing should be enough.
You might want to have a nice dinner in Interlaken and end your day!
For a nice picnic, get some snacks and drinks at a supermarket on the main street Höheweg and enjoy it then at the Höhematte park, which is right in the heart of Interlaken. On sunny days, you´ll see plenty of paragliders above you – making this park even more special (as if the views of Jungfrau Mountain were not amazing enough).
But whether you are looking for international – including Arabic, Indian – Swiss food, or fine dining experiences – you will find all options here in Interlaken.
4-DAY VACATION IN SWITZERLAND – WHERE TO STAY IN INTERLAKEN
I suggest staying in Interlaken because its central location allows to you get around easily.
- LUXURY: The most luxurious hotel in Interlaken is Victoria Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa. I have not stayed there myself, so I can only repeat what I heard: This hotel is amazing. If you are looking for a fancy place in Interlaken, this is probably the best pick.
- MID-RANGE: For your stay in Interlaken, I recommend this hotel which is centrally located and is quite nice. It is one of my favorite accommodations for your 5-day Swiss itinerary. Check out rates for Hotel du Nord here.
- BUDGET: 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.
- Here is my accommodation guide for Interlaken.
DAY 3 – LAUTERBRUNNEN + MUERREN + SCHILTHORN
From Interlaken, you can do an easy day trip to Lauterbrunnen Valley. You might think that “Easy is boring”, but I can assure you: A trip to Lauterbrunnen is anything but boring, so buckle up and discover one of the best places Switzerland has to offer.
- To get to the Lauterbrunnen Valley, you’ll need to take a train from Interlaken Ost station to Lauterbrunnen station. The journey takes about 20 minutes and your Swiss Travel Pass will cover the tickets. It is a short yet scenic train ride!
Lauterbrunnen is a small village located in the Bernese Oberland region of Switzerland. The village lies on the floor of an impressive U-shaped valley, surrounded by jagged peaks and thundering waterfalls.
Nicknamed the ‘Valley of 72 Waterfalls’, Lauterbrunnen is a must-visit for anyone wanting to take in the beauty of Switzerland’s natural landscapes.
Lauterbrunnen is home to some of the most impressive waterfalls in Switzerland. The largest and most famous waterfall is the Staubbach Falls, located just outside of town. This dramatic waterfall cascades 300 meters and is one of the highest waterfalls in Europe.Just a few minutes’ walk away is the view of another impressive waterfall, the Trümmelbach Falls. This waterfall is unique because it is actually hidden inside the mountain, with tunnels and walkways leading visitors to various sections of its cascades.
The town center of Lauterbrunnen is also a great place to explore. Visit the old church, take in the views of the valley from the many viewpoints, or explore the narrow pathways lined with traditional wooden chalets.
Lauterbrunnen however, is also known as a base jumpers paradise. Base jumping in Lauterbrunnen is a very risky activity. Known as one of the most dangerous sports in the world, base jumping has claimed many lives over the years. The valley of Lauterbrunnen is a favorite spot for experienced base jumpers due to its steep cliffs, deep ravines, and impressive waterfalls. I have been to Lauterbrunnen many times but luckily never seen anyone doing it, let alone seen anyone jumping to death. But apart from this risky activity, Lauterbrunnen is heaven!
Given Lauterbrunnen´s small size, I recommend combining a trip to Lauterbrunnen with Mürren.
Mürren is an idyllic mountain village situated (situated at 1,650 meters above sea level) at the foot of the Schilthorn peak in the Bernese Oberland region of Switzerland. The village is well known for its stunning views of the Alps and meadows, as well as its many ski slopes in the winter months.
Once you arrive in Mürren, you’ll be rewarded with views that take your breath away. The village itself is quite small and quiet but there are many things to do here.
And if you visit on a clear – and longer summer – day, then this should not be your last stop on this 4-day itinerary for Switzerland.
- Getting to Mürren from Lauterbrunnen is a piece of cake. All you have to do is take the gondola from Lauterbrunnen station to Grütschalp. From there, you’ll catch a train up to Mürren. The journey takes about 30 minutes in total and is included in your Swiss Travel Pass (no additional cost). What should I tell you??? This journey from Lauterbrunnen to Mürren is just…drop-dead gorgeous. Impressive. Beautiful. Stunning!
If you want to be more active, just get up via gondola to Grütschalp and then do an easy but incredible hike to Mürren. This slightly uphill hike takes about 90 minutes!
SCHILTHORN – PIZ GLORIA, SWISS SKYLINE, AND MORE
Schilthorn is a 9,744-foot mountain peak – known for its spectacular views of the Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau mountains.
One of the best things about Mürren is that it provides easy access to the Schilthorn peak. The Schilthorn peak is a must-visit destination for any James Bond fan. If you know, you know!
From Mürren take two gondolas to get to Schilthotn. Get your thrills on the Schilthorn journey with a daring stop at Birg. Take in spectacular views from above as you bravely explore the Thrill Walk – its steel structure clinging to rock walls and wriggling under observation decks, topped off by awesome obstacles like rope crossings, tunnels, and glass floors!
Then continue your journey to the top. The summit also houses the famous “Piz Gloria” revolving restaurant – known from the James Bond movie On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
You can even visit the James Bond Walk of Fame, which is a museum dedicated to Mr. 007 himself. It also houses memorabilia from the film and offers an interactive tour of the mountain peak.
And though I am not a James Bond fan (I have not even watched the movie yet), I highly recommend this day trip because of 1) the views and 2) more activities, which include skiing, snowboarding in the winter, and hiking in the surrounding trails in the summer months.
This is also a beautiful place to watch the sunset – so, if you are there on a clear, sunny day make sure to enjoy that spectacle before returning to Murren/Lauterbrunnen and then to Interlaken.
- The trip to Mürren is free with a Swiss Travel Pass. The return ticket from Mürren to Schilthorn is about 88 CHF for adults – you get a 50 % discount with a Swiss Pass.
DAY 4 – DIFFERENT OPTIONS
Let´s talk about day 4 in Switzerland – here I have a couple of options for you!
One popular attraction on many Switzerland itineraries is the famous Jungfraujoch. Visit the highest railway station in Europe and take in spectacular views of the Aletsch Glacier, Bernese Alps, and more from its observation deck at almost 3,500 meters (about 11,000 feet)!
Not only is it an amazing feat of engineering, but Jungfraujoch also offers visitors a wealth of attractions and activities. This includes the Alpine Sensation, the Ice Palace (yes, a tunnel made out of ice), several viewing platforms (from which you have a fantastic panorama of the Aletsch Glacier), a Lindt museum, and more.
In the summer months, you can explore the breathtaking alpine meadows and glacier valleys or take in the spectacular views from its many observation decks. At The Snow Fun Park, you can even do winter sports in the summer.
In winter, the opportunities for winter sports like skiing and snowing are endless – though, Jungfraujoch is also special because you can also do winter sports in the summer months! Yes, it is true. There is always snow on the top of Jungfrajoch, and this always you to do some winter sports at the Snow Fun Palace.
Jungfraujoch is definitely one of those special places that deserve to be on everyone’s travel bucket list. Not only does it offer breathtaking views and unique activities for all seasons, but it’s also a great way to get close to the heart of the Swiss Alps! Check out my guide about Jungfraujoch for more info.
- From Interlaken, get from Lauterbrunnen to Kleine Scheidegg and then you have to change trains one more time. The ride is one of the best train rides in Switzerland, so do not mind that the whole journey (one-way) is about 2 hours in total. On your way back, you can take the gondola which stops at Grindelwald Terminal station. The gondola – via Eiger Express – is the faster way to get up/down the Jungfraujoch, but a bit less scenic in my eyes.
- The trip to Wengen is free with your Swiss Travel Pass. From Wengen to the top of Junfraujoch you get a 25% discount with a pass.
The Jungfrajoch excursion is quite expensive – so, if you have to watch your budget closely, you can skip it and do one of the many other activities near Interlaken which are free or way cheaper. Thus, I have a few more recommendations for your last day in Switzerland.
GRINDELWALD & GRINDELWALD FIRST
Stunning views and activities to please every type of traveler await you in Grindelwald.
Grindelwald is a small village about 30 minutes from Interlaken. After a leisurely stroll through this traditional Swiss village with beautiful wooden chalets, it is time to get up Grindelwald First at 2.166 meters above sea level.
Whether you hike up or take the cable cars – at the top, you have panoramic vistas of Eiger Mountain and a variety of activities you can choose from.
The best way to experience this area is with a hike to Bachalpsee Lake – one of the most beautiful Swiss lakes. Hiking to the lake just takes about one hour – and the best is that it does not even include a steep uphill/downhill hike, which makes it very family-friendly.
Other popular activities in Grindelwald First include skiing, and snowboarding in the winter months, or hiking and mountain biking in the summer. Grindelwald First is also known as the Top of Adventure, as there are many activities like the Cliff Walk, First Glider, and more.
When you are in Switzerland for 4 days, then this is a great way to spend a day.
- Just hop on a train from Interlaken Ost to Grindelwald – it takes about 30 minutes to get there by train. Just make sure you sit in the right compartment – the train splits and one part of the train will continue to Lauterbrunnen, and the other part of the train will get to Grindelwald. This train ride is also, as you might have guessed, included in the Swiss Travel Pass.
- The ticket to Grindelwald First is about 64 CHF – with a Swiss Travel Pass you enjoy a 50% discount.
LAKE THUN & THUN & SPIEZ
With its majestic mountain views, blue-green waters, and quaint villages, Lake Thun is the perfect destination to explore. Interlaken is located on the northern shores of this stunning lake. Hop on a boat and enjoy a scenic boat cruise.
I recommend taking a day trip to this charming town situated at the north end of Lake Thun – Thun. Explore Thun´s Old Town, its castles, shops, and other attractions. It surely is one of the most beautiful Swiss cities (or towns) and is a perfect mix of beautiful scenery and cultural sights.
If time allows, visit also Spiez village! Spiez is different compared to the rest of the country! Here you have a gorgeous promenade as we know it from many other Swiss destinations because of its Mediterranean Flair.
You could believe you are somewhere on the French Riveria. You have also some of the best views of the uniquely shaped Niesen mountain – which looks like a pyramid! As if that was not enough, Spiez is also home to a gorgeous castle, vineyards, and more!
And if you’re feeling brave enough (and why wouldn’t you?) dive into some exciting water activities such as kayaking or stand-up paddling on the lake before taking one of those famous boat trips around town that will leave lasting impressions long after your visit ends! Check out my detailed guide on Lake Thun and Thun for more info.
- At Interlaken West, hop on the boat towards Thun. You can get out at any station (like Spiez, St.Beatus Caves etc.) – this boat ride is scenic! From Thun, you can get to Spiez by bus or boat.
- TIPS: Whether you get to Thun/Spiez (or any village in between) via boat or train – it is included in your Swiss Travel Pass. Also, the entrance to Thun Castle is included.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON A 4-DAY SWITZERLAND TRIP
So, if you’re looking for 4 days full of adventure and exploration, then this Switzerland itinerary is just the thing for you. With its breathtaking alpine scenery, medieval architecture, and vibrant cities, there’s something here to suit everyone. I added a mix of everything, which makes this itinerary pretty perfect in my eyes :).
Whether it’s exploring the lakeside towns or taking in the stunning views from atop a mountain peak, 4 days in Switzerland is sure to be a memorable experience.
You can also check out my other itineraries for more ideas on how to make the most of your days in Switzerland.