How to Spend Epic 7 Days in Switzerland

CREATE A PERFECT ONE WEEK IN SWITZERLAND ITINERARY

Are you planning your Switzerland itinerary and wondering how to spend amazing seven days in Switzerland? Then read on because you will find out where to go and what to see and many travel tips for 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 a short amount of time.  But the itinerary is busy. But I want you to see as much as possible, but I tried to don’t pack it too full, so you are not stressing out.

TRAVEL TIPS FOR YOUR 7 DAYS IN SWITZERLAND

I have to say that creating this Switzerland itinerary was tough, but I am pretty sure that it turned out great (if I do say so myself), and by using this carefully created list, you can enjoy the best of Switzerland in one week.

Before jumping to the itinerary, here are some things I’d like to mention first.

If you stay less than 7 days, you can read my 5-day itinerary (which, btw, is also super awesome).

It also depends on where you fly into. For this itinerary, I would suggest starting and ending your trip in Zurich, Switzerland´s biggest city (though it isn’t the capital).

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
  • Best time to visit + more travel tips for a week in Switzerland
  • Places to visit and things to do

How to Get Around

By Car: For the last six years, I have been road-tripping Switzerland and loving it. I came in my own car and bought a toll sticker (around $45) to use all of the streets.

I stay for several weeks, and it was worth every penny. You could use only side streets to avoid buying such a sticker, but sometimes you cannot avoid motorways. So, if you bring your car, invest in a sticker (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 really known for being a budget destination.

Parking in cities can be tricky and expensive, which brings me to another terrific means of transportation. Click here to get the best rates for renting a car.

Public Transportation: I love public transportation in Switzerland. It is super convenient, reliable, on time, clean, and safe… but expensive. 

I recommend this 8-day Swiss Travel Pass (only available to non-Swiss inhabitants). It is perfect for getting around – you can use it for buses, trains, visiting certain museums, getting discounts on cable cars, etc.

And train 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.

Money / Currency

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 money from an ATM (if you don’t have to pay 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.

For winter sports lovers, the best time is obviously in winter; any time is good for others. Prices for accommodations depend on the season, though.

If you want to avoid the tourist crowds and save some money on hotels, then from March to June and September to October would be the best time to visit Switzerland.

Since there is never a guarantee on the weather, I would suggest trying those months if you stay one week in Switzerland.

Pin Me For Later – 7 Days in Switzerland

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 in Switzerland

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

Stein am Rhine

As promised, this Switzerland itinerary has it all – mountains, waterfalls, lakes, cities, towns, and villages. And this itinerary has a great mix of mountains, waterfalls, lakes, cities, towns…and so on.

Places to visit in Switzerland
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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 so many places.

This little town in the northern part of Switzerland is like a fairy tale come true. More picture-perfect buildings surround the most distinctive facades and buildings.

If you stroll outside the town center, you will also find a lovely river to walk along, though I probably would focus on the town center as you only have a few hours (maybe have lunch in one of the restaurants 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. Whether you get to the platform or take a boat ride, the waterfalls are one of the best places to visit in 1 week.

Rhine Falls where are the
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This is an especially great place to start if you come from Zurich (by train) or come by car from countries like Germany or France or even Austria. Check out my guide on the Rhine Falls for more info.

Click here to find the best accommodation near the waterfalls.

Day 2 in Switzerland

Time to talk about the second day in the country!

Zurich

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

Where to go in Zurich Switzerland
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If you only have one day 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 when renting prices (have I mentioned that Switzerland is expensive?). It is conveniently located by Lake Zurich and the Old Town. So, do not skip it when visiting Switzerland.

The shopping street and strolling (and maybe lunch in the old town) takes about half a day, max. Personally, I think that there is no better way to end a day in Zurich than at Lake Zurich.

This is especially true on summer days when the street musicians play lovely music, and people gather around the lake. It feels cosmopolitan, friendly, and laid back.

If you have a Swiss Travel Pass, you cannot only use public transportation in Zurich without any extra charge. You can also use boats (with a surcharge of 5 CHF for Lake Zurich, though).

Here are my tips for the best places to stay in Zurich (for all budgets) and best places to see in Zurich

Click here to find the best rates for accommodation around Lake Zurich

Day 3 in Switzerland

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 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 stunning Lake Lucerne boat cruises for free).

Mount Rigi is a beautiful mountain that offers drop-dead gorgeous views over Lake Lucerne, but I spent much less time up there. Getting up takes less time, and there is less to do. However, the views are one of a kind, and they are absolutely worth it.

Mount Rigi with the Swiss Travel Pass
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You could also hike some stations, but it takes about 3-4 hours in total if you take the cable car.

Tip: The Swiss Travel Pass in some years has the Mount Rigi excursion included.

Lucerne

The city center is cute, but I recommend exploring the scenery of the canton (state) rather than the city center only, as there are more beautiful, unique cities and town centers in Switzerland (e.g., Stein am Rhine). I actually advise planning in a few hours to see the Chapel Bridge and stroll the lake.

Chapel Bridge 2016 in Lucerne - Can you spot me and Puppygak on th bridge?
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If you have a Swiss Travel Pass, you get a 50% discount on mountain activities, and boat cruises are included without extra costs! How awesome is that? I know it is one of the best features of the Swiss Travel Pass.

So, if you don’t want to go up one of the mountains, you could do a boat cruise (btw, both mountains are also best reached via boat, but of course, you can also get there by public transportation car).

Here are my tips on the best places to stay in Lucerne – and here is my full Lucerne guide

Click here to get the best deals for your stay in Lucerne

Day 4 and 5 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, I have added options for 4 or 5 days, and you can see which ones 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. You will find a few activities that you can do in two days. Actually, there are more than a few, but see which ones you’d like to visit during your 2-day stay.

Jungfraujoch

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

top of europe Jungfraujoch - things to know.
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It is great to visit at any time of the year. You will always find snow! Snow tubing, a bit of skiing, or playing in the snow is possible throughout the year. But there is more to see and do. The views are amazing (with an altitude of more than 3000 meters, this is no surprise).

Prices for this exceptional day trip are admittedly high, but with your Swiss Travel Pass, you get a 25% discount (Find out more about a Jungfraujoch day trip with a Swiss Travel Pass.

But of course, you can get up the Jungfraujoch even without a Swiss Travel Pass – more info here).

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). BUT, given its price and the duration, there are many other options as good as Jungfraujoch (check out my post on great mountain views).

Thun

Surprisingly, I often overlooked this town or just passed it whenever I was in the region, but when I finally visited, I totally loved it.

Thun, most beautiful town in Interlaken
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Thun is such a beautiful town (as a town prettier than Interlaken) with the lovely Aare River flowing through it (the Aare River is probably the most beautiful river, in my opinion, and strolling along it is just a lovely, laid-back activity).

Spending time at Lake Thun, checking out the cute streets of the town, and exploring the castles (there are several really, really charming ones to marvel at) were just a few of the things to do.

If you want to take it more slowly, you could enjoy a full day here. If you would like to explore more of this gorgeous piece of Earth called Interlaken, I figure that half a day is enough.

From Schloss Thun, you also have one of the best views – overlooking Lake Thun, and the town is one of my favorite views (that isn’t from a mountain peak).

Tip: with your Swiss Travel Pass, you get free access to all the castles. If you stay at an official accommodation in the region, you can a little discount.

St. Beatus Caves, Sigriswill Suspension Bridge, and Grabenmühle

Here are three of my favorite places in the region, which you can do all at once – well, not really, but almost.

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 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.

Ten days in Switzerland Itinerary
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From there, you could keep hiking to the other side and have another amazing view of Lake Thun.

I – would be depending on if you do a guided tour inside the caves or not – plan between 1.5 and 4 hours for this activity.

Sigriswill Suspension Bridge and Grabenmühle

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. This is something more unique for your 7-day Switzerland itinerary and a hidden gem.

Interlaken best activities
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These places are still not as well known, and so I love the serenity and tranquility there. For about 5€, you can pass the bridge and enjoy this perfect view of Lake Thun. Afterward, the ticket from the bridge is your entry ticket for Grabenmühle.

Grabenmühle best place to visit
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Grabenmühle was recommended to me by a local, and this really weird but incredibly beautiful place won my heart within minutes.

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

Time: As always, it depends on how long you will spend on each place, but taking driving time into consideration, 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 or villages 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 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 (there are deaths reported regularly in Lauterbrunnen), the place is great to visit even if you aren’t into them – so another place to add to your one-week Switzerland itinerary.

where to visit in Switzerland
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The village is also known for being surrounded by thundering waterfalls – 72, to be precise. The Staubbach Falls is one of them, but for more impressive 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 get wet).

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 stream loc. The ride was the most impressive I have ever had in Switzerland because the scenery was the most diverse and impressive.

Interlaken points of interests
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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.

Boat tours on Lake Brienz are included in the Swiss Travel Pass, and there is a discount for the ride to Brienzer Rothorn with a STP.

Click here to find out more about my tips on where to stay in Interlaken.

Oeschinensee and Blausee

These lakes are not situated in the region of Interlaken (or Jungfrau), but in Kandersteg; however, they are close by and absolutely amazing!

You could visit both in one day, either by car or public transportation.

There is an entrance fee for the Blausee National Park, which is a few €. The park is small but lovely.

Bucket list places in Switzerland Blausee
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For Oeschinensee, you can go up and spend a full day hiking. The weather tends to be bad in this area, but that should not stop you.

If you aren’t much into hiking (welcome to my world), you can take a cable car up. From there, you can hike for 20 minutes or so and have the best, most amazing view over Lake Oeschinen and discover the area by yourself (for the very lazy, you can take a bus shuttle that even drives you to the lake for an extra payment of 5€, if I remember correctly).

Oeschinensee hike, Heuberg a top thing to do in Interlaken, Arzo Travels
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With the Swiss Travel Pass, you get a 50% discount on the cable car ride.

As it would be impossible to do all the activities in two days, see what is the most appealing to you and add it to your itinerary.

Day 6 and 7 in Switzerland

Here are some more ideas on how to spend the last two days in the country.

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 on Switzerland trip.

Best cities to visit in Switzerland
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While the town is small and the fast travelers could probably be done exploring 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 two days.

The town itself is perfect for nice strolls along the Vispa River, luxury watch shopping, and enjoying the car-free town (only electric cars and buses are allowed) – always with the Matterhorn Mountain in front of you!

The mountain is probably one of the most iconic mountains in the world. Its weird and unique shape makes it a destination for any bucket list. You can visit the 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 (of course, for most of us, it is only possible via cable car).

By the way, here is my Zermatt guide for the winter.

Getting to Zermatt

As mentioned, Zermatt is car-free and, thus, a bit time-consuming to get to. You’ll find more information on my Zermatt guide. Here are my tips on where to stay in Zermatt.

Click here to get the best rates for your stay in Zermatt

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

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 extremely gorgeous places in the French- and Italian-speaking parts (like Montreux and Valle Verzasca). It might get hectic trying to visit all of the areas in a week.

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

MAP OF PLACES FOR YOUR SWITZERLAND ITINERARY

Stay safe!

Safe Travels, Arzo
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