How to Spend Epic 7 Days in Switzerland

CREATE A PERFECT ONE WEEK IN SWITZERLAND ITINERARY

Are you planning your 7 days in Switzerland and wondering how to spend an amazing one week in Switzerland? Then read on because you will find out where to go and see many travel tips for Switzerland for 7 days in Switzerland.

As a regular Switzerland visitor who often stays in the country for weeks and even months at a time, I have a million favorite places. There are so many cute little villages and towns, breathtaking sceneries (including the most beautiful lakes and mountains), and fun cities that I could easily stay there for years without getting bored.

This Switzerland itinerary will help you to discover the most beautiful places in 7 days. This itinerary is busy, but I want you to see as much as possible of this gorgeous place. 

TRAVEL TIPS FOR YOUR 7 DAYS IN SWITZERLAND

I have to say that creating this 7-day Switzerland itinerary was tough, but I am pretty sure that it turned out great (if I may say so myself). By using this carefully created 7-day itinerary, you can enjoy the best of Switzerland in one week. It contains a wonderful mix of mountains, waterfalls, lakes, cities, towns, and more! 

If you stay less than seven days, you can read my 5-day itinerary (which, btw, is also super awesome).

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, which 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.

In this 7-day Switzerland itinerary post, you will find out:

  • How to get around Switzerland in 7 days
  • Money tips for 7 days in Switzerland
  • Best time to visit
  • Where to stay in Switzerland for a week
  • More travel tips for a week in Switzerland
  • Places to visit and things to do in 7 days

How to Get to Switzerland

  • BY PLANE: For this 7 days in Switzerland itinerary, I suggest starting and ending your trip in Zurich, Switzerland’s biggest city (though it isn’t the capital). Many people pick a different airport for the departure. This could be the airport in Geneva – but I do not really think Geneva is a must-see place if you have just 7 days in Switzerland. So, you can do a loop (whether you drive or travel by train) and start and end in Zurich. From the international airport in Zurich, you can easily get to the city center (there are direct train connections and it takes only about 15 minutes) or get a rental car at the airport.
  • BY TRAIN: If you get to Switzerland, I suggest starting in Zurich. It has a good train station – and is quite well connected to other countries in Central Europe. From the train station, it is easy to get to the city center and many attractions mentioned here.

How to Get Around Switzerland in 7 days

Switzerland can be discovered by car or train – both options are fantastic choices. 

BY CAR: For the last six years, I have been road-tripping Switzerland and loving it. I came in my car and bought a toll sticker (around $45) to use all the motorways as well.

I usually stay for several weeks, and I think it is worth it. You could use only side roads to avoid buying such a sticker, but sometimes it will make distances even longer. So, if you bring your car, invest in a sticker and save time by using motorways. You can purchase toll stickers wherever you enter the country.

If you rent a car, a toll sticker is usually included in the rental price.

Driving in Switzerland is fun and safe. The streets are well paved, and usually, the traffic isn’t too bad – whether you use highways or country roads, they are not extremely busy. Of course, this doesn’t pertain to main city centers, which may be busier.

There are many gas stations along the way. Like everything else in Switzerland, gas is not a bargain, but Switzerland isn’t known for being a budget destination. Check out my Switzerland road trip post for more tips.

Parking in cities can be tricky and expensive, which brings me to another terrific means of transportation.

BY PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION: I love public transportation in Switzerland. It is super convenient, reliable, on time, clean, and safe… but expensive. It is only available to non-Swiss – but for most visitors from abroad, it is perfect for getting around. Trail travel in Switzerland is just fun – like really, really fun. Here, the journey is the reward. While train riding sounds like a punishment in Germany to me (at least sometimes), it is a treat for the eye in Switzerland.

SWISS TRAVEL PASS

For this Switzerland itinerary, I strongly recommend that you use the Swiss Travel Pass if you do not road trip.

  • 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 on most lakes are included.
  • Even some mountain excursions are included (like Mount Rigi) and for most others, you will get a 50% discount.
  • The Swiss Travel Pass also covers most museums and entrances to castles.
  • There are passes for 3, 4, 8, or 15 days available. I suggest, getting the 8-day pass for this itinerary.
  • 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.
  • 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 budget tips here.

Best Time to Visit Switzerland For 7 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 re-visit Switzerland, I would choose late spring, summer, or early fall.

However, there is never a guarantee on the weather in Central Europe.

LANGUAGE

Switzerland is small and has only a bit more than 8,5 million inhabitants. However, it has four official languages! 

  • Most of the country speaks Swiss-German. The places I mention here are mostly located in the German-speaking part of the country (which is the north and east of Switzerland) as well as Central Switzerland. If you learn German at school etc., you will not understand that dialect, though. It is not the German that is spoken in the news, movies, or so. But most Swiss people will try to speak High German if they realize you do not speak/understand the Swiss dialect.
  • Italian is spoken in some parts of South Switzerland – especially in the canton of Ticino.
  • French is another main language that people in the west and south speak. This includes Zermatt (where also German is spoken) but also places around Lake Geneva.
  • Romansh is a minor, yet still official, language spoken by very few (about 37,000 people) in the southeast.
  • English is not an official language but many people – especially in the tourism sector – speak at least some basic language. 

Pin Me For Later – Switzerland in 7 Days

If you liked this itinerary, pin this for later.

Epic 7 day Switzerland itinerary, Arzo Travels
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THINGS TO DO IN ONE WEEK IN SWITZERLAND

Hopefully, the above-mentioned travel tips will help you plan your itinerary. Now it is time to talk about the best places to visit in 7 days in Switzerland.

DAY 1 OF 7 DAYS IN SWITZERLAND

The first day of your 7-day trip could start in a not very well-known but charming little town in the northern part of Switzerland.

  • Stein am Rhein + Rhine Falls

Stein am Rhein

So, here is probably the most beautiful town in Switzerland: Stein am Rhine. The picture doesn’t do any justice, but I felt it was the place with the most distinctive architecture after visiting many towns in the country.

Places to visit in Switzerland
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This little town in the northern part of Switzerland is like a fairy tale come true. 

THINGS TO DO IN STEIN AM RHEIN

  • Focus on the town center and admire the stunning buildings (maybe have lunch in one of the restaurants here)
  • Visit the Rathausplatz – town hall square
  • See the mediaval castle “Burg Hohenklingen”
  • Stroll the lovely river outside the town center
  • Find out more about Stein am Rhein here

After some time in the town, it is time for nature. So head to the impressive waterfalls.

Rhine Falls

The biggest waterfalls in Europe aren’t in Iceland. They are actually in Switzerland. Right next to the German border, to be precise. The astonishing waterfalls near the town of Schaffhausen know how to impress.  

Rhine Falls where are the
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THINGS TO DO AT RHINE FALLS

DAY 2 OF ONE WEEK IN SWITZERLAND

Time to talk about the second day in Switzerland!

  •  Zurich

Zurich

Zurich is my favorite city in Switzerland. It just has more to see than other Swiss cities, and it is laid back (by Swiss standards) and easy-going. 

Where to go in Zurich Switzerland
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THINGS TO DO IN ZURICH 

  • I recommend strolling the old town and Bahnhofstrasse (which is the most expensive street in the world). Though it does not look spectacular, this street beats New York’s 5th Avenue with renting prices (have I mentioned that Switzerland is expensive?). 
  • Explore the beautiful old town with its many beautiful buildings (here are also great restaurants).
  • Do a boat cruise on Lake Zurich.
  • I think that there is no better way to end a day in Zurich than at Lake ZurichThis is especially true on summer days when street musicians play music and people gather around the lake.
  • If you have a Swiss Travel Pass, you can use public transportation in Zurich without any extra charge. You can also use boats (you might have to pay a surcharge of CHF 5 for Lake Zurich, though).

WHERE TO STAY IN ZURICH

DAY 3 OF YOUR 7-DAY ITINERArY

Another day in Switzerland and several more gorgeous places to visit.

  • Lucerne & Surroundings

Arrive early in the morning in Lucerne and store your luggage at the hotel before exploring this lovely city – and its astonishing scenery.

I recommend heading to one of the mountains first. Lucerne has two impressive mountains, which are easily accessible via cable cars/cogwheel trains.

Mount Pilatus or Mount Rigi

Both of the mountains are amazing places to visit.

MOUNT PILATUS

Mount Pilatus takes about a full day to get up, explore, and discover. You could do it in 5-6 hours, but it would be a waste of money (getting up there is not cheap) as there is a lot to do. 

Things to do up Mount Pilatus
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The views from there are astonishing, so if you are willing to limit your time in Lucerne’s city center to 2 or 3 hours, it is the best day trip option.

Tip: With a Swiss Travel Pass, you have a 50% discount on the ride up (and can do a Lake Lucerne boat cruise for free).

MOUNT RIGI

Mount Rigi is a beautiful mountain that offers astonishing views over Lake Lucerne. Getting up Mount Rigi takes less time compared to Mount Pilatus and there is less to do. However, the views are one of a kind!

Mount Rigi with the Swiss Travel Pass
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TIPS FOR VISITING MOUNT RIGI

  • With the Swiss Travel Pass, the Mount Rigi excursion (cogwheel) is included in 2021, so there are no extra costs for you.
  • If you enjoy hiking (or want to save money because you do not have a Swiss Travel Pass), you can also hike one way, or if you are fairly fit, you can hike up and down. You could also hike just some parts and take the funicular for the rest.
  • There is a restaurant at the top of the mountain.

PERSONAL OPINION: I loved both mountain excursions and have done each twice actually (in winter and summer). Both are amazing! But with only 7 days in Switzerland, I actually suggest visiting Mount Rigi because it takes less time. Also, Mount Rigi is included in the Swiss Travel Pass and it will save you money.

Lucerne

The city center of Lucerne is cute, but I highly suggest spending some time in nature (Mount Rigi, e.g.). So, a few hours (or half a day) in the city is a good amount of time if you have a week in Switzerland.  

Chapel Bridge 2016 in Lucerne - Can you spot me and Puppygak on th bridge?
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THINGS TO DO IN LUCERNE

  • Visit Chapel Bridge
  • Explore the Old Town
  • See the Lion Monument
  • Stroll Lake Lucerne Promenade
  • Do a Lake Lucerne boat cruise (if you don’t do any mountain excursion, you will have time for a boat trip)
  • Check out my Lucerne travel guide for more info 

WHERE TO STAY IN LUCERNE

DAY 4 AND 5 IN A WEEK IN SWITZERLAND

Now, it is time for 2 days in the stunning region of Bernese Oberland. Bad news: Even if you stay 2 days in the region, it is impossible to do all suggestions I have for you. As everyone’s taste is different, pick the ones that are the most appealing to you.

  • Region of Interlaken

When I talk about Interlaken, I actually mean the Interlaken and Jungfrau region and not just the town of Interlaken. Either way, if you have ever read my Switzerland posts (and I have many posts on Switzerland), you know that this is probably my favorite area in Switzerland… or maybe even in the world! The scenery is beyond beautiful, and it takes my breath away every single time I visit. 

Jungfraujoch

Jungfraujoch is probably the most popular day trip activity in Switzerland. The highest train station in Europe attracts tons of visitors each day. 

top of europe Jungfraujoch - things to know.
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Jungfraujoch is great to visit at any time of the year. You will always find snow! The views are amazing (with an altitude of more than 3000 meters, this is no surprise).

THINGS TO DO AT JUNGFRAUJOCH

If you start your journey early (around 8 am), you could do something in the evening, like explore the gorgeous town of Thun, for example.

PERSONAL OPINION: A trip to Jungfraujoch is a unique experience BUT, given its price and the duration, I would not say it is a must-see place in 7 days. There are many other options as good as Jungfraujoch (check out my post on great mountain views).

Thun

Surprisingly, I overlooked this town for the longest time, but when I finally visited, I totally loved it. Thun is such a picturesque town (as a town prettier than Interlaken) with the lovely Aare River flowing through, it has a special charm. It is also bigger than Interlaken with many beautiful cafes and restaurants.

Thun, most beautiful town in Interlaken
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View from Schloss Thun

THINGS TO DO IN THUN

  • Spend time at Lake Thun
  • Check out the cute streets of the old town
  • Explore the castles – Thun Castle, Schloss Schadau, and more
  • With your Swiss Travel Pass, you get free access to all the castles. If you stay at an official accommodation in the region, you will receive a little discount.
  • Check out my Thun travel guide for more information

PERSONAL OPINION: If you want to take it more slowly, you could enjoy a full day in Thun. There is enough to do in and around Thun. If you would like to explore more of the Interlaken region, I guess half a day is enough.

St. Beatus Caves, Sigriswill Suspension Bridge, and Grabenmühle

Here are three of my favorite places in the region. You can do the next three/four activities in one day.

ST. BEATUS CAVES

First, head to gorgeous St. Beatus Caves. Even if you don’t buy a ticket to enter the caves, the trip will be worth it. You can get there easily from Interlaken/Thun by car or public transportation, and after a few minutes’ hike, you will have one of the best views – ever, ever, ever.

Though the restaurant’s view is not the highest vantage point, it is one of a kind.

View from the panorama restaurant in St Beatus Caves
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TIPS FOR VISITING ST. BEATUS CAVES

  • For this amazing view, a 10-minute uphill hike is required
  • Depending on if you do a guided tour inside the caves or not – plan between 1.5 and 4 hours for this activity.
  • Check out my detailed post for St. Beatus Caves.

SIGRISWIL SUSPENSION BRIDGE

From St. Beatus Caves, you can enjoy a lovely drive up (by bus or car) to Sigrswil Suspension Bridge and the hidden gem of Grabenmühle in Sigriswil. Sigriswil is something more unique for your 7-day Switzerland itinerary and more off-the-beaten-path. 

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These places are still not as well known, and so I love the serenity and tranquility there. Sigriswil suspension bridge offers great views of Lake Thun and the Alps. 

Grabenmühle best place to visit
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I cannot even classify what Grabenmühle is. It somehow is a little garden with a cafe and animals. And great views. Whatever it is, it is so worth the visit.

TIPS FOR VISITING SIGRISWIL SUSPENSION BRIDGE AND GRABENMÜHLE

  • For about 7€, you can pass the suspension bridge and enjoy this perfect view of Lake Thun.
  • Afterward, the ticket from the bridge is your entry ticket for Grabenmühle. 
  • Check out my guide on Grabenmühle and Sigriswil.
  • As always, it depends on how long you will spend at each place, but considering driving time, I estimate that all activities (including St. Beatus Caves) will take about 5-9 hours.
  • So, for the evening, you could head to one of the cute towns, Thun or Interlaken, to end your day.
  • If I had to pick one of my favorite places to stay – it would be around Lake Thun. It is not very budget-friendly, but it is worth the money. Especially the sunset around Lake Thun is spectacular. Click here to find the best accommodation around Lake Thun.
  • Here are more tips on things to do around Lake Thun.

Lauterbrunnen

Lauterbrunnen is located in the Alps and is one of the most popular places for extreme outdoor sports lovers – extreme sports like base jumping, etc., are extremely popular here.

Though I do not want to promote these kinds of sports (deaths are reported regularly in Lauterbrunnen), Lauterbrunnen is a drop-dead gorgeous place you can add to your 7-day itinerary for Switzerland. Even if you are not into crazy outdoor sports.

Lauterbrunnen Staubbach waterfall a top activity in Interlaken with Arzo Travels
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Lauterbrunnen is also known for being surrounded by thundering waterfalls – 72, to be precise.

THINGS TO DO IN LAUTERBRUNNEN

  • Visit the Staubbach Falls 
  • Get a ticket and visit Trümmelbach Waterfalls. You will not regret it. TIP: If you visit after a rainy day, bring your rain jacket as the waterfalls tend to be even heavier, and you will get wet.
  • Hike to Müren (or take the cable car) and then you could get to Schilthorn, which is the famous “James Bond mountain.”
  • Do some more hikes around Lauterbrunnen

Brienzer Rothorn

One of my travel highlights was my ride up Brienzer Rothorn. I will never forget the day that I took the one-hour ride up in an old steam locomotive. The ride was the most impressive I have ever had – the scenery was the most diverse and stunning! 

View from Brienzer Rothorn
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TIPS FOR GETTING UP BRIENZER ROTHORN

  • The best way to arrive at Brienzer Rothorn station is via boat (which means you will take a cruise on Lake Brienz, my favorite lake in the world).
  • Check out my Interlaken one-day itinerary for more on Brienzer Rothorn.
  • Boat tours on Lake Brienz are included in the Swiss Travel Pass, and there is a discount for the ride to Brienzer Rothorn with the pass.

Oeschinensee and Blausee

These two lakes are not situated in the region of Interlaken (or Jungfrau) but Kandersteg. However, they are close by and absolutely amazing! You could visit both in one day, either by car or public transportation.

BLAUSEE

Blausee National Park is small but lovely. It has mostly become famous for its unique water color. 

Bucket list places in Switzerland Blausee
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TIPS FOR VISITING BLAUSEE

  • There is an entrance fee for the park – it depends on the season and arrival time.
  • You will not need a lot of time here – plan in between 30 – 60 minutes to walk around the lake and do a quick boat tour.
  • Check out my more detailed guide on visiting Lake Blausee.

PERSONAL OPINION: Blausee is hyped – it is lovely, but I do not consider it a must-see on a 1-week Switzerland itinerary. Also, it bothers me to pay an entrance fee – in a country with so many stunning lakes, you can see many lakes for free.

OESCHINENSEE

Oeschinensee is a great place to add to your Switzerland 7-day itinerary. The weather tends to be bad in this area, but that should not stop you.

There are different ways to see the Oeschinensee. 

Oeschinensee hike, Heuberg a top thing to do in Interlaken, Arzo Travels
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TIPS FOR VISITING OESCHINENSEE

  • If you aren’t much into hiking, take a cable car up. From there, walk for 20 minutes or so, and you are at the lake (if even that sounds too tiring for you, you could take a shuttle bus for a couple of CHF to get dropped off at the foot of the lake).
  • The best, most amazing view over Lake Oeschinen requires some hiking, though. It takes about 3-5 hours, and the views are BREATHTAKING.
  • This trip takes something around 3-8 hours.
  • Check out my full Lake Oeschinensee guide with all the info you will need for a trip to Lake Oeschinen.

WHERE TO STAY IN THE REGION OF INTERLAKEN

I suggest staying in Interlaken. From there, you can reach many places in the area quite easily, as it is well connected with its 2 train stations and Lake Thun and Lake Brienz boat station. Also, you can spend an evening in Interlaken without making it an extra point on your 7-day itinerary.

  • 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.
  • The most luxurious hotel in Interlaken is Victoria Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa. Since I have not started there myself, I can repeat what I heard: This hotel is supposed to be amazing, so if you are looking for a fancy place, this is probably the best pick.
  • 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.

DAY 6 AND 7 – LAST DAYS OF YOUR 7-DAY TRIP

Here is an idea on how to spend the last two days in the country.

  • Zermatt

Zermatt

Zermatt is a very well-known winter destination and popular for winter sports lovers, but it is actually lovely to visit year-round, and so you have to add it to your 7 days in Switzerland trip. 

Best cities to visit in Switzerland
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While the town is small and the fast travelers could probably explore it in one day (without doing any winter sports activities), it is a bit trickier to get there and time-consuming, so you should plan in about 1,5 or two days.

Most of the time, you will have views of the stunning Matterhorn. This mountain, with its unique shape, is probably one of the most iconic mountains in the world.

THINGS TO DO IN ZERMATT

  • Explore the small old town of Zermatt
  • Stroll along the Vispa River
  • Go luxury watch shopping (Zermatt is known as a paradise for luxury watches)
  •  Visit Klein Matterhorn and enjoy the best views from there. But be aware that going up almost 4000 meters above sea level can cause headaches for those who aren’t used to the altitude.
  • Here is my Zermatt guide for the winter. 
  • You’ll find more information on my Zermatt guide.

WHERE TO STAY IN ZERMATT

  • Luxury hotels in Zermatt: Grand Hotel Zermatterhof & Hotel Mont Cervin Palace – these places define luxury. If you are looking for 5-star hotels, these might be perfect for you.
  • Mid-range hotels in Zermatt : Hotel Testa Grigia & Sunstar Style Hotel. I stayed at the latter one – Sunstar Style Hotel. The prices were very reasonable (summer prices are normally better than the prices in winter), and the location was great. I even had a lovely room view of Matterhorn. I definitely recommend booking a hotel room with a view of Matterhorn if you have the budget for it (it costs a bit more normally).
  • Click here to find my accommodation guide for Zermatt.

DEPARTURE

From Zermatt, it is time to head to the airport of your departure.

Switzerland has an amazing public transportation system, and I have never had any issues with trains running late. HOWEVER, I highly suggest leaving early. You never know. There might be a day where trains run late – even in Switzerland. 

CONCLUSION: HOW TO CREATE AN EPIC 7-DAY SWITZERLAND ITINERARY

Looking at this 7-day Switzerland itinerary, all stops are in the German-speaking areas of Switzerland. There are numerous gorgeous places in the French- and Italian-speaking parts (like Montreux and Valle Verzasca). However, it might get hectic trying to visit all of the areas in Switzerland in a week.

Though the country is geographically small, there are so many places worth visiting that it is hard to see everything. However, 7 days in Switzerland should be a minimum, and it will allow you to see quite some areas – ideally, you will have 10 days in Switzerland.

Stay safe!

Safe Travels, Arzo
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