Best Things to do in Zermatt in Winter

Matterhorn and Zermatt in the Swiss Alps best places to ski

Fun Zermatt Activities in Winter 

Do you plan to spend some time in Zermatt in winter? First of all, lucky you.

Switzerland in the winter is so rich in beautiful and stunning places – but Zermatt in the winter is probably one of the best places to visit! Though I am not a winter sports enthusiast (but I might get there), but I was blown away by its beauty in the winter months.

So, you might be wondering about the best winter activities and the best things to do in the winter? Then this post is for you. Find out what to do and many more travel tips.

Located in the southern part of Switzerland, this little town is famous as a winter sports destination in the canton of Valais.

At an elevation of 1,620 meters, Zermatt lies at the base of Switzerland’s highest peaks. With such proximity to the Swiss Alps and guaranteed snow throughout the winter, it’s no wonder Zermatt is one of the most popular winter vacation spots in the world.

Switzerland in winter, Zermatt

Zermatt is very well-known, so you can believe that there will be plenty of people enjoying indoor and outdoor activities during the winter. It is also rather expensive and a preferred destination for the rich. While not very affordable, it is amazing, and if you can afford the trip, you won’t be disappointed.

From mountain excursions to skiing to tobogganing and paragliding, there is something for every winter sports enthusiast. And if you prefer to stay inside, there are restaurants and a museum to enjoy.

DISCLAIMER: THIS POST CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS – THIS MEANS I MIGHT EARN A SMALL COMMISSION WHEN YOU BUY A PRODUCT/SERVICE (AT NO EXTRA COST TO YOU. MORE ABOUT IT HERE.

WINTER TRAVEL TIPS FOR ZERMATT

Let´s start with how to get to Zermatt because it is not as accessible as other towns in Switzerland.

How to Get to Zermatt

Zermatt does not have an airport. Most likely, you will fly into Geneva or Zurich and then take a train to Zermatt. Driving in Switzerland is fun, but in the winter, it is probably only for more experienced drivers.

If you plan to drive: Zermatt is car-free, you have to drive to Taesch (a little village close to Zermatt) and leave your car in a big car park in Taesch which charges about 13€ for 24 hours of parking.

From there, take a train to Zermatt. With a Swiss Travel Pass, you do not need an extra ticket and get up for free. Without a Swiss Travel Pass, you pay around 15€ for a return ticket from Taesch to Zermatt.

If you come by train, ask for the most scenic train ride. Train rides in Switzerland are mostly amazing, but not always, and it is worth asking for the scenic train rides.

Where to Stay in Zermatt

Zermatt is known for being an extremely luxurious destination. Prices in the winter are higher than in the summer (or fall and spring). There are no real budget hotels (if you like to find out about my best tips on saving money in Switzerland, click here). If you visit Zermatt in December, prices might be even higher. Especially around Christmas, Zermatt is popular. However, it probably is worth it.

Luxury hotels in Zermatt

Mid-range hotels in Zermatt  

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. I even had a great room view of Matterhorn – if you get the chance, I definitely recommend booking a hotel room with a view of Matterhorn as it is with some extra $.

Click here to find my accommodation guide for Zermatt.

WHAT TO PACK FOR ZERMATT IN WINTER

Though Zermatt in December is not as cold as many think, it is still important to dress warmly. Or better to dress in layers.

Coat – Warm And Waterproof: A warm, waterproof jacket should be one of the very first items that you think to pack. Avoid choosing a bulky jacket that takes up a lot of space. This can make you feel uncomfortable when you have layers underneath. Instead, opt for a lightweight, trench raincoat that will keep you warm, dry, and comfortable. 

Hat: A knitted beanie is a perfect solution for keeping the warmth in while you venture out. A hat will keep you toasty warm wherever you are.

Gloves: A pair of gloves can do wonders for your mobility, dexterity, and comfort. When selecting your options, it’s worth investing in a pair that can dry quickly and are touch-screen compatible.

Scarf Or Turtleneck: A warm scarf and/or turtleneck sweater are key items for keeping your neck covered. A turtleneck sweater is perfect as a garment to wear underneath your jacket, while the scarf can be removed easily. 

Leggings: Leggings are an essential item to pack as you can dress them up or down. You can even wear them underneath your denims as an extra layer of warmth. 

Socks: When it comes to packing socks for your Iceland trip – the thicker the better. Chances are that you’ll be spending a lot of time outdoors in the snow, and you’ll want your feet to be warm and cozy. 

Thermals: My favorite winter clothes are thermalsA quality set of thermals is your key to enjoying the winter weather in Iceland. You have to wear them on a cold day to believe what a wonderful invention it is!

Comfortable Walking Shoes: If you can only pack one pair of shoes, then make sure that they are a trusty pair of waterproof snowshoes. You’ll want your shoes to be as versatile as possible. Snowshoes allow you to enjoy a variety of activities while keeping your feet warm and dry. 

Zermatt in winter is not only about winter sports – though the it is without a doubt a top-notch destination for winter sport lovers. While most ski resorts will offer rental equipment, there are a few essentials to pack for yourself.

Ski Jacket: When choosing the perfect ski jacket, you need to consider warmth, level of waterproofing, and freedom of movement. A jacket that is adjustable in fit, seals effectively, and dries quickly is the perfect apparel for snowboarding, skiing, and other winter outdoor sports.

Ski Pants: A trusty pair of insulated ski pants are the next essential item for all winter sports fans. Make sure that your choice of pants is breathable, warm, and waterproof. These details will keep you dry, warm, and comfortable on the slopes.

Winter Protection: There are a few items that will make your winter vacation all the more comfortable. The last thing that you want is to be soaked on your first day, or get a migraine from snow blindness.

Chapstick: Visiting Switzerland in winter will most likely find you spending hours of fun on the snow-covered slopes. This can quickly dry out your lips and burn your skin. In this instance, you’re going to be grateful that you’ve packed your moisturizing stick of Chapstick.

Sunglasses: The best days on the slopes are the ones accompanied by clear, sunny skies and good conditions. These circumstances also increase the glare of the sun on the white snow, making it close to unbearable on your eyes. A pair of polarized sunglasses or ski goggles can protect your eyes from the wind and bright light.

WINTER FUN IN ZERMATT – WHAT TO DO

Okay, here are the top winter activities.

Skiing and Snowboarding

What is the most popular winter activity in Zermatt? You guessed it – skiing (and snowboarding). There’s nowhere better suited for ski and snowboard lovers.

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Right next to town, you’ll find one of the highest ski areas in Switzerland. Sitting at an altitude of 3,883 meters, the Matterhorn ski paradise offers amazing runs for even the most experienced skier. There are 360 kilometers of run for various experience levels – blue, red, black, and yellow.

There are chair lifts and cable cars to get you to the top. Zermatt also offers nine ski schools with multilingual instructors to teach beginners and help more experienced skiers improve. If you don’t have your skis, the sports shops will rent them to you.

After you’re done, check out one of the many restaurants and bars that offer gourmet food, drinks, and a social aprés ski atmosphere.

Winter Hiking and Snowshoeing

Hiking isn’t just for summer. If you prefer to be on your feet rather than skis, consider a winter hike and snowshoeing. This is a great way to experience Zermatt in December, January, February, or even in early March or November. The gorgeous views from Gornergrat are probably one highlight when visiting during that time.

Located just southeast of the town of Zermatt, Gornergrat is a rocky ridge of the Pennine Alps that provides great views of Gorner Glacier. You can get up there by taking the open-air railway (the only one in Europe) from Zermatt – more on that later.

Your winter hike will give you a chance to really explore the natural beauty of the area – including overhanging terraces that allow for picture-perfect views of Zermatt, Täsch, and Randa. There are guided hikes as well as self-guided trails you can take. Don’t forget to stop for a bite at the mountain restaurant before heading back.

Ice Sports

How about ice sports? Whether you visit Zermatt in January or any other winter month – it has a lot to offer, including ice skating, hockey, curling, and ice falls.

Right in the center of Zermatt, you will find ice rinks that are perfect for families and groups of various ages. Besides ice skating, these rinks are very popular for both Bavarian and Scottish curling. The Obere Matten Sports and Recreation Arena is perfect for ice sports of all kinds.

If you step outside the village proper, you will experience the gorgeous ice falls. There you can climb around huge icicles while watching this beautiful display of nature. If you need any equipment, many of the nearby sports stores in Zermatt have some for rent.

Tobogganing

Sledding and tobogganing are other favorite pastimes in Zermatt. If you love the excitement of going down steep trails, then you might want to spend some of your vacations on these runs. There are three to choose from, ranging from easy to medium levels. 

The easiest is the Randa run, which is gentle and slow, and located in town – perfect for beginners and families with children. The Rotenboden run is slightly longer and more exciting. Over the course of ten minutes, you will see the beauty of the Matterhorn as you sled down from Gornergrat.

The medium-level one is the Täsch run, which you can only access on foot. Once you trek up the slope, you’ll be able to speed down 3.6 kilometers of the snow-covered hill for an exhilarating ride. This is a great Zermatt winter activity if you want a few thrills.

Town of Zermatt

Seeing lovely Zermatt under the cover of snow and the bright sun is a worthwhile winter activity. Stroll the streets of this Alpine village – at this time of year, it is like a winter wonderland.

Best holiday places in Switzerland Zermatt
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Zermatt is car-free, so you will only see a few taxis and buses, which are electric. But not to worry, it is so small that you can easily make your way around on foot – or by bike. Stop by the ice rink, and people watch, window shop some of the boutiques, and stop for some food or a drink at one of the restaurants.

Paragliding and Heliskiing

If touring the town wasn’t exciting enough, there is always paragliding in winter. Zermatt has plenty to offer to more adventurous tourists. 

Zermatt has two flying schools that offer tandem paragliding and lessons for anyone wanting to go solo. If you prefer to heliski, you have the option to take a helicopter up to the top of the mountain and then ski down on untouched snow.

This way, you can experience the Matterhorn in all of its glory with a helicopter fly-around. See one of the highest peaks in the Alps from all sides. This thrilling winter activity shouldn’t be missed.

Matterhorn MuseumZermatlantis

To top off this list of winter activities in Zermatt, you should definitely make a stop at the Matterhorn Museum – Zermatlantis. This museum provides the history of Zermatt, from its origins as a farming village to its current-day status as a world-renowned Alpine resort.

You can see a short film about the first ascent and see the broken rope that led to tragedy. If you are interested in history, you might also find the exhibits of the stone ax from the Neolithic Period (3000-5000 BC) and the remains of the “Söldner” mercenary from around the 16th century worth visiting.

There are original houses and interiors to be seen, which help illustrate how Zermatt was a century ago. Architecture lovers may also want to note the museum’s own design, which was the work of famous Steiner Sarnen.

There are so many great places to go and things to do in Zermatt in winter. I hope this list of Zermatt’s winter activities will help you plan your own trip to this charming and luxurious Alpine ski resort.

Matterhorn Glacier Paradise

Going up to Gornergrat, at just over three thousand meters in height, you will see some stunning views all around you. It’s a breathtaking panorama. Matterhorn Glacier Paradise is one of the best places to visit in Zermatt in the winter.

The views that you will get at almost four thousand meters are unbeatable.

The summit lift will take you to the highest viewing platform in the Alps, which is at an elevation of 3,900 meters. You can turn full circle and see an amazing panorama of 38 peaks, including mountains in Italy, France, and Switzerland. 

A restaurant at the top offers amazing views with your meal if you want to stop and relax for a bit. Afterward, you are very close to the Glacier Palace, a really cool museum of sorts. Housed inside of a glacier, you’ll find ice crystals and ice sculptures once you enter.

Gornergrat Bahn 

Who doesn’t love a winter train ride through the mountains? If you want to break from active winter activities in Zermatt, take the Gornergrat Bahn. This mountain rack railway will take you from the town of Zermatt up to the top of Gornergrat. But the destination is only half the fun, as the train ride is really cool.

From the Gornergrat Bahn, you can watch the breathtaking views unfold as you climb another 1,500 meters from Zermatt to 3,000 meters above sea level. Sit back, relax, and don’t forget to take some pictures. You don’t often get to climb the Alps by train!

More Mountain Excursions

With all this natural beauty, one of the best things to do in Zermatt in winter is to go on a mountain excursion – other than the ones mentioned above.

This close to the Alps and some of its most impressive peaks, how could you not?

Rothorn is another summit you won’t want to miss. At just a little higher than Gornergrat, you can reach it via cable car between Sunnegga and Blauherd.

Sunnegga is about 2300 meters in elevation and provides a great winter destination for families, with a beginning skier’s area called Wolli’s Park. You might also want to see Schwarzee, which is the cable car station that directly accesses the ski trails down the Matterhorn in winter.

So, while Zermatt is a perfect place to visit all-year-round, Zermatt in winter is especially charming. There is so much more to do than just winter sports – though this surely alone is reason enough to visit. So, if you are headed to Zermatt in the winter months, I hope this winter travel guide helps you plan your trip to this cute town.Safe Travels, Arzo

PACKING LIST FOR EUROPE IN SUMMER

Summer packing list for Europe

WHAT TO PACK FOR A EUROPE SUMMER TRIP

Are you wondering about a perfect packing list for Europe in summer? Then read on, as I share my tips which hopefully will be helpful for you, too.

If you have decided to spend your summer (or at least some time of it) in Europe, you will have plenty to look forward to. Europe in summer is definitely a good choice – whether you head to the beautiful beach in Greece, busy cities like London, or hike in places like Switzerland.

You definitely cannot go wrong with Europe – find out what to pack for your summer trip to Europe.

Click on this link to find a checklist with all the important things to do before your trip.Hastings Beach Points of Interest

WHAT TO PACK FOR EUROPE TRAVEL

Here is what to pack – of course, it depends whether you are a light-packer or tend to pack a bit more and on many other things, but hopefully, this Europe packing list will help you remember the important things for YOUR Europe packing list.

Luggage in Europe

  • Suitcase: Though it depends, where exactly and for how long you travel, I recommend taking a good, light, and quality suitcase with you where all your clothes and most of your toiletries fit in. If you are a backpacker, you´ll find plenty of your equals in Europe.
  • Carry-On: I normally always have extra carry-on luggage with me. I normally research if a destination in Europe is considered as safe (meaning, I do a quick research about the crime rate, and while it is probably totally safe to take out your fancy luggage in some parts of Europe, other areas are less safe, and robbing is more common. So, if you plan to bring your brand luggage double-check.
  • Laundry bags are great if you travel for longer and don’t want your dirty and clean clothes to mix up. I prefer them over plastic bags.
  • Packing Cubes: Packing Cubes are the new must-items when it comes to traveling, they are convenient, and they also come in cool colors. I recommend using packing cubes that make packing and organizing easier. And let´s do not forget a laundry bag.
  • I choose a cross-body handbag with a zipper (to be safe) and several extra pockets for my handbag.
  • Passport Holder, I need a passport when I travel (when an ID is not enough), so I need a bigger wallet (aka a passport holder), and I love the fun colors here.
  • If you go on a beach vacation, you should also take a light and (ideally foldable) beach bag or a cotton bag instead.

London Eye at night - what a beauty.

Clothing in Europe in Summer

Summer in Europe can be a dream destination. Beautiful beaches, lovely cities and towns, charming villages, and amazing landscapes.

Summer means sun – most of the time. It can also be cold and rainy, and to be well prepared for your Europe trip, scroll down and learn more about the perfect Europe Packing List.

As you probably know, I never list any single item or say how many items to take (7 panties, etc.) because it clearly depends on the length of your stay and on you. It depends, whether you like to pack light and wash your clothes, or wear everything just once and do the washing part back home.

It also depends, where exactly you are heading to because there is no “European” style.

People in Italy are the best and fanciest dressed (in my eyes) people, while clothes are not important in other parts of Europe.

However, I recommend packing clothes that are comfortable and versatile so you can easily mix and match not to have to overpack.Dubrovnik should be on every Croatia road trip

Clothes to Pack for Europe

  • Hats: A hat is more than just an accessory in summer, so my must-have item is a stylish hat.
  • Sunglasses: Another must-have item on a sunny day: Sunglasses. Ray-Ban seems to be always a great choice, but the most important thing is the quality (sunglasses are an investment in healthy eyes)
  • Maxi Dresses: Summer means wearing cute dresses, and Europe is made to wear maxi dresses.
  • Skirts: You can wear short skirts in most places. Some shopping malls actually have dress codes and do not allow too short skirts or shorts (though many do not follow the rules)
  • Tops: The more, the merrier – my rule for hot destinations. I love skirts/trousers which I can wear with tops that are easy to change and are made from cotton are other light materials.
  • Blouses: Some cute blouses should be on your list (for the evening, some places that do not allow naked arms, or for the winter).
  • Cardigans and jackets: It can actually get chilly in the afternoon – not only but also after the sunsets. So definitely take at least 1 or 2 cardigans or jackets.
  • Linen Trousers: Though I love maxi dresses, the best thing to wear when it is hot is probably linen trousers – combined with a cool tank top and nice flat sandals, it can be super chic.
  • Denim is big in Europe and depending on where you visit in Europe. You might need some warmer clothes.
  • Sweatpants – for hiking, walking and feeling comfy and cozy (and yes, you can look great in sweatpants).
  • Shorts: Shorts are okay for most places – I love them, especially for the beaches.
  • Footwear:  flat sandals, flip flops, and ballerinas. But a pair of sneakers are almost always a good choice, too.

what to pack for Europe

Toiletries to Pack for Europe

If I travel for 10 days or shorter, I take travel-sized toiletries that I refill with my natural and organic beauty products from home (shampoo, conditioner, hair masks, cleaning water, and cleansing milk). Of course, you could buy toiletries here as well, but if you do not want to waste your time in drug stores or supermarkets, use this checklist for Europe.

Forget all the different small bags for shampoo etc. – get them all packed in a Toiletry Kit and have them super organized with you.

  • TSA Approved Clear Travel Toiletry Bag
  • Sunscreen
  • Travel bottles to refill – I refill them with my own organic products that I normally use. I do not use shampoo & conditioner provided by hotels for several reasons.
  • Electric Hair Removal Epilator (only if you stay longer than a week or if you remove your body hair with it) – otherwise, a razor or whatever you prefer.
  • Face cream. I also use it as a hand cream, so I do not have to take another cream.
  • Refillable Travel Size Perfume Bottle
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste and mouthwash plus Dental floss
  • Only use it when traveling: dry shampoo- (check size, and choose the small travel si ze)
  • Tissues
  • Deodorant
  • Refreshing towelettes
  • Magnifying make-up mirror
  • Nail polish and nail polish remover
  • My favorite hairbrush (especially for longer hair) – or if you have less space take a comb
  • Hair ties
  • A small cosmetic bag with the following items:
  • Mascara
  • Rouge
  • Eyebrow powder (Taming & Shaping Kit For Brows)
  • Tweezer
  • Eyelash curler
  • Eyeliner – I sometimes use black eye shadow as an eyeliner
  • Make-up brushes
  • Glass nail file
  • Cotton swabs

Here are a few more items that I personally do hardly use but which might be important to you, so I added them here:

  • Hair spray
  • Hand cream
  • Foundation
  • Powder
  • Lipstick
  • Sanitizer

What to pack for Europe

What to Pack for a Day at the Beach in Europe

  • Swimming Suits: bikinis (though you might find some nudist beaches as well in some places).
  • I love kaftans and think, it is best to wear from the beach back to the hotel room etc. Luckily, they look super cool these days.
  • Beach Bag:  I recommend one of the cool beach bags, which are light, affordable, and stylish.
  • Flip Flops are my must-have for beach days.
  • If you have a great hotel with a private beach section, you probably do not need a towel. If this is not the case not it should also be on your list. If you do not have any beach towel yet, click here to get your beach essentials.
  • Do you prefer lying at the beach all day, or do you like to be more active? Bring your beach ball (click here to get yours), or a floating unicorn.
  • A reading book / Kindle is also a great idea for a day at the beach.

Click here to find my complete list: What to pack for a day at the beachEurope packing list

Tech Stuff to Pack for Europe

  • I have my laptop with me whenever I fly. Find the best laptop for travelers
  • A while ago, I thought my tablet  is the most useless item I bought in a while – since I can download from Netflix (and thus watch my shows offline), I have found one good argument bringing my tablet with me whenever I travel
  • My phone- without doubt one of my most useful and important (travel) item
  • Camera – Europe has so many great spots that need to be photographed.
  • I have to admit that I still don’t have a kindle, so a “real” book is often an essential
  • A day at the beach or pool would not be perfect without my iPod
  • Power Charger- how long does your phone battery last? Not long? neither does mine, so this  is an essential
  • Check if you need an International Travel Power Adapter

Random Things to Pack for Europe

  • Umbrella (in many countries, like Germany, Switzerland, or England is can still rain quite a lot in the summer)
  • Guides
  • Medicine (headache pills etc.)

Read my: Packing guide for carry-on essentials.

Depending on where you travel in Europe, you could buy all or most of the items here in Europe – maybe even for a better price than in your country. Still, to avoid spending time shopping, I suggest coming to Europe and having your Europe packing list complete, so you can fully focus on discovering the beautiful places here in Europe.

best things to do in Switzerland

Safe Travels, Arzo

BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN ZURICH IN 2 DAYS

Things to do and see in Zurich

2-DAY ZURICH ITINERARY – WHERE TO GO & WHAT TO DO

Are you planning your Zurich itinerary and wondering about the best places to visit in Zurich in 2 days?

Well, then this post is perfect. Find out how to create the perfect 2-day Zurich itinerary with tips on the best things to do and the best attractions to visit in just 48 hours.

Without question, Switzerland is one of my favorite countries ever. There are so many stunning places to visit – but Zurich is a place I keep going back to. It feels a bit like home to me, and also, it is a great base for amazing day trips.

If you plan a visit to Switzerland, you should definitely add a trip to Zurich to your Switzerland itinerary, and I am sure you will not regret it!

Because it is small, you won’t get lost in Zurich. But it is not that small to feel bored. It is a small city or big town. There are a lot of cafes and restaurants as well as lots of opportunities for shopping, in addition to loads of greenery and nature to surround yourself with.

It is a city, small, but a city – and if you road trip Switzerland, make sure to add it to your trip (btw: here are more tips about the best things to do in Switzerland) 

Also, you will get some important travel information at the end of the post.

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

PLACES TO VISIT IN ZURICH IN 2 DAYS

Okay, let´s start with the best activities.

DAY 1 OF 2 DAYS IN ZURICH

If you start your day early in Zurich early the morning, you can easily see all my suggestions and even do a bit more. However, if you arrive during the day, then the itinerary for day 1 is perfect because it is not too packed.

Bahnhofsplatz – Bahnhofstrasse

Forget Dubai or any other place. When it comes to luxury, Zurich is the place to visit! Why?Zurich points of interest - places to visit in Zurich - the Bahnhofsstrasse Though the Bahnhofstrasse doesn’t look overly fancy, Zurich’s main shopping street, the Bahnhofstrasse, is actually the most expensive in the world.

Renting a shop there costs a fortune, and though you will find some more affordable shops such as the main chains in the area, you will also find a lot of luxury brands. It is an especially nice walk if you start at the train station and go towards Lake Zurich, and so it is a must-see in Zurich in 2 days.

Lindenhof

From Bahnhofstrasse head to Lindenhof. Lindenhof offers a great view of the city and is of the best “Zurich places to visit in 2 days”. It is in the old town on Lindenhof Hill, which allows you to soak in the Limmat River’s view or relax and chill. 

Zurich @shutterstock
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No 2-day Zurich itinerary would be perfect without a perfect without getting up here!  After the little hike up here (3 minutes “hike”), it is time to do some strolling and lunch.

Old Town

Another place to add to your Zurich itinerary is the old town of the city. Before arriving at Lake Zurich, stroll the old town of Zurich. I love Zurich´s beautiful old city. It is adorable and located between Lake Zurich, the train station, and the main shopping street (Bahnhofstraße).

Zürich @shutterstock
@shutterstock

It has many cobbled streets, and there are many cafes and restaurants, which makes it a great place to walk around aimlessly. Though it’s probably not the most beautiful old town in Switzerland, it is still colorful with beautiful houses. I suggest having lunch here – many different restaurants offer something for every taste. Also, the restaurants often offer outdoor- and indoor seatings so it is perfect for any type of weather.

Grossmünster and Fraumunster Church

There are several attractions in the city center, and two famous sights are churches.Solo female travel girl in Zurich in 2 days with Grossmünster in background Legend says that Grossmünster church was built on the graves of the city’s patron saints, Felix and Regula. So, whether you look at it from afar or visiting during the opening hours – the church is one of the main sights, so adding it to your Zurich itinerary is a must.

Close to the Grossmünster – also located on the Limmat river – is the Fraumunster church. With its green steeple, it is one of the most distinctive sights in Zurich. It is also very well known because of five stained glass windows prepared by Marc Chagall in the 1960s and for the rosette in the south transept. “The Heavenly Paradise” (1945) by Augusto Giacometti – a glass window – is another sight inside the church in the north transept.

Limmatquai Promenade

The Limmar River is another place to visit. It commences at the outfall of Lake Zurich, in the southern part of the city of Zurich. You will come across it when you visit the churches mentioned above.

Limmat river in Zurich with swans, one of the best places to visit in 2 days in Zurich
@shutterstock

The Limmatquai Promenade is one of the best places to have dinner. Often, the restaurants come with nice views of the river, so try to grab an outdoor seat.

The Old Town would be another place you could head to for dinner.

DAY 2 OF 2 DAYS IN ZURICH

After the first, quite chilled day in Zurich, it is time for day 2. However, of course, feel free to swap the days – especially if day 2 in Zurich is not a full day and day 1 in Zurich is.

Uetliberg in Zurich

If you prefer hiking and great views, you will surely enjoy the Uetliberg (Uetli Mountain) as much as I do. view from uetliberg how to get there in 2 days in Zurich

Btw: if you are looking for my great mountain views in Switzerland (that come without any hiking), click here.

It is the “house” mountain in Zurich, which offers the best views and if you are not into hiking, you can also take the tram up there. The views from up there are great, and it is one of the best places to visit in Zurich.

You could spend a full day here, but with only 2 days in Zurich, I suggest only planning in a few hours and use the train for getting up. However, if you want to hike up and down and enjoy a picnic at Uetliberg, you need more time.

Lake Zurich / BuerkliPlatz

Then I suggest taking the train/tram and get to Buerkliplatz. This is how I define “the starting point of Lake Zurich.”Bürkliplatz in Zurich, places to visit in Zurich SwitzerlandYou should know about me: I am all about lakes (and views), which is why I adore Switzerland.

There are stunning lakes everywhere. And Lake Zurich might not be the most stunning lake in the country, but it is definitely a lovely lake. You might have seen the lake on day 1 already as it just is at the end of Bahnhofstrasse and near the old town.

At Buerkliplatz, you have boats and beautiful views of the lakes and the scenery. So, enjoy a few minutes there before you can do the next activity.

Lake Zurich

One free thing to do in Zurich is to go for a swim. On a warm day, swimming in the lake is a must-do activity. It is just a stone throw from Bahnhofsstraße and the old town to Lake Zurich.

The lakes in Switzerland are pretty clean, and it was in Switzerland where, for the first time as an adult, I voluntarily hopped into the lake water.Zurich what to do - end your day at the lake The water is pretty clear, and there, you will find a lot of greenery and places to rest before hopping into the water.

TiP: One of the best places to swim is close to the Rentenanstalt. If you walk down the Bahnhofstraße towards Lake Zurich, turn right at Bürkliplatz and walk a few hundred meters (there is also a tram stop) so you get to enjoy a wonderful day at the lake. A perfect place to visit on a warm and sunny day.

Places Around Lake Zurich

Of course, I have to mention doing a boat tour on Lake Zurich.Zurich boat tour at sunset in 2 days in Zurich Here you have a few options. You can either do a short, medium, or long cruise on Lake Zurich. The short cruise is free with the Zurich Card at a charge of five euros, and with the Swiss Travel Pass, you can do all of these tours for free (plus a surcharge of five euros).

There are several stops where you can get off to have a break. Just make sure not to miss the last boat back to Zurich Bürkliplatz! If you do not visit Uetliberg, you should have enough time to get out at Rapperswil – which is on the southern shores of Lake Zurich. It is a tiny but cute village and might be a good place to add to your Zurich itinerary.

Cafes

Personally, I think Zurich has some beautiful cafes.Where to stay in Zurich - best places to stay in Zurich Switzerland

Actually, I think the cafes are some of the most beautiful in Switzerland, especially those around the lake. They are often very modern, pretty, and colorful, though they can get quite busy after work when people have their after-work-drink there. So, make sure to explore some cafes, and why not try my favorite, Quai 61?

If you go on a boat cruise, you have the option to get out at several stops – sometimes you have amazing cafes next to the stop.

Lake Zurich in the Evening

To end your second day in Zurich, plan an evening at Lake Zurich.Lake Zurich, Switzerland best areas to stay Normally, when I travel, I tend to go home quite early, but I  try to stay out a bit longer in Zurich. My tip is to end your day at Lake Zurich on a sunny day.

On nice days, there is always a lot going on with musicians playing beautiful music and many people walking around having a good time which creates a great atmosphere.

Opera District

Pro Tip: One area which has become one of my favorite places is the Opera House area.Opera House in Zurich, main place to visit in Zurich in 2 days It is located close to Lake Zurich and the old town, and it has free Wi-Fi. Since you probably all need Wi-Fi once in a while I am happy to tell you there are some chairs where you can sit with a beautiful view of the Opera and Lake Zurich and at the same time have free Wi-Fi. If you need to get something to drink or a snack, there are also some little stores where you can buy something.

For dinner, I suggest heading to the old town or grab your snack and have it outside. P.S. Though Switzerland surely is not a vegan-friendly place. There are some great affordable vegan restaurants in Zurich.

TRAVEL TIPS FOR YOUR ZURICH ITINERARY

Here is some info for your 2-day Zurich trip.

How to Get Around in 2 Days

Let´s start with how to discover Zurich.

Public Transportation: Zurich has amazing public transport – so I recommend getting around by tram/bus. With the Zurich Card, you can use public transport and have free entry to almost all museums in Zurich which is great to explore much of the city. Public Transport is pretty good, and you can rely on it.

If you have a Swiss Travel Pass, you will not need an extra Zurich Card. With the Swiss Travel Pass, you can use unlimited public transportation, even use the boat, and get access to many museums and some attractions without any extra fee. Click here to find out more about the Swiss Travel Pass.

Click here to find out more and check out prices for the Zurich Card.

By Car: While I have driven by car many times, it actually isn’t my preferred mean of transportation in the city. Traffic, expensive and limited parking spots make driving a bit problematic. However, public transportation is great, so a car shouldn’t be the first to get around.

By Bike: One of the fun things to do in Zurich is to rent a bike and explore this beautiful town on two wheels.

The best thing about it is…it does not cost a dime. Nothing! Not one cent. This news is awesome. I have to find a way to make my dog stay in the basket to do some bike tours, but I am sure this is one of the cool things to do in Zurich.

Where to Stay in Zurich for 2 Days

As mentioned, Zurich is very expensive, and there are no real bargains.

If you need to budget, I recommend booking an Airbnb apartment (first-time users can save $$ using my link).

I recommend staying close to the city center, but since public transport is pretty good, you can also book a hotel a bit further away, and you will still be mobile. My full accommodation guide for Zurich is here.

  • Luxury Hotels 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.
  • Mid-Range Hotels in Zurich: Arlette am Hauptbahnhof is one of the best-rated mid-range hotels close to the city center.
  • Budget Hotels in Zurich: Warning, there are not many budget hotels in Zurich. This one is a good-rated hostel in Zurich.

Security Tips for Solo Female Traveler

I often visit a friend in Zurich but spend a lot of time on my own (and sometimes with my dog Puppygak). Zurich is one of the best places to travel solo as a female.

Though the Swiss people are not necessarily the most open-minded, it is still easy to make friends, and most important of all, I feel safe even at night, and these recommendations can all be done as a solo female traveler.

More Tips for Your 2-Day Zurich Itinerary

Zurich is a great base for many fun day trips – check out my guide on best things to do near Zurich.

Here you will find many great day trip ideas from Zurich that you can easily access by train or car.

Here are the best places to stay in Switzerland

Looking for a perfect Switzerland itinerary? Here is a perfect 5-day itinerary for Switzerland.

CONCLUSION: PLACES TO SEE IN ZURICH IN 2 DAYS

Zurich in 2 days is not a lot of time, but it will allow you to discover the main attractions without being too stressed. Hopefully, this Zurich itinerary has helped you plan your trip.

Stay safe and have fun!Safe Travels, Arzo

 

HOW TO PLAN THE BEST SWITZERLAND ROAD TRIP

Switzerland road trip, where to go and what to see

HOW TO ROAD TRIP SWITZERLAND + TRAVEL TIPS

Are you planning your Switzerland road trip? Then read on because I – was a Switzerland enthusiast who regularly visits – share my road trip travel tips with you to plan your road trip itinerary.

Switzerland is one of the best places to road trip. It is incredible to see the lakes you pass, the mountain peaks, the beautiful towns, villages, cities, the attractions, the UNESCO World Heritage sites, and the lovely natural scenery.

When you drive in Switzerland, it is always mountainous, with altitude often changing quickly depending on where you drive. However, Switzerland is very safe and has great roads. It is just the best place I can imagine to road trip.

The only downside is that you can’t fully enjoy the beauty because you have to focus on the road. If you could only road trip one country in Europe, it should be Switzerland. Even though their public transportation is amazing, so is road tripping.Things to know before driving in mountains in Switzerland To visit all the places mentioned here, you need a minimum of 2 weeks. However, 3 weeks would be even better. But the reality is that most of us have less time. Even if you road trip Switzerland for 7 or 10 days, this post will be super helpful.

So, whether you road trip 5 days, 1 week, 2 weeks, or 3 weeks – here are the best travel tips for your road trip.

TIPS FOR ROAD TRIPPING SWITZERLAND

For a perfect road trip, it is important to know about the best stops. You will also need some essential travel tips for driving in the county. So, here is how to plan a perfect road trip.

Switzerland Driving Tips

  • You must be 18 years or older to drive in Switzerland, and your driver’s license must be in either English, German, Italian, or French.
  • Watch the speed limit because tickets are costly here. The speed limit for motorways/freeways is 120 kph, and highways are 100 kph. The speed limit is 50 kph in the cities in residential areas 30 kph, and rural areas 80 kph.
  • You will be driving on the right side of the street in Switzerland. Always yield right of way to public transportation and emergency vehicles.
  • Be aware of pedestrians and cyclists as well.
  • If you are traveling with children, any that are younger than 18 months should be in a child safety seat; everyone else needs to use a seatbelt.
  • You are required to drive with your lights on, even in the daytime.
  • Don’t drink and drive. In Switzerland, the maximum blood alcohol content while driving is 0.05%, which is lower than in many other European countries.
  • Gas stations are everywhere, but you’ll find that they are all self-service so.
  • Parking can be tricky. Check out my detailed “driving in Switzerland” post that helps you find where exactly you can park and what the colored parking spots mean.
  • It would help if you got a parking disc as you may need it. Depending on the color of the zone in which you are parking, you can park for a certain amount of time at no charge. You can get parking discs at police stations, banks, or tourist offices.
  • There is little traffic overall – just in cities like Zurich, Lucerne or Geneva, you should expect more traffic.
  • Some places are car-free – like Zermatt, Müren, and a very few more places. However, it is not like Italy, where you have to deal with that issue in almost any city.
  • If you drive to Switzerland in your own car, buy a Swiss Vignette. The toll sticker costs about 40 Swiss Francs and lasts from December to December (so, it is actually good for 14 months). If you rent a car, it will already have a sticker. You can buy one for your car at gas stations, online, or the border, and it allows you to use the motorway. You could ditch buying it – and try to avoid it by just using second streets, but it makes your life harder – and no one wants to deal with Swiss Police if you end up – by mistake – on the motorway.
  • If you drive in the mountains, keep in mind that streets can be narrow and windy – especially in the Italian-speaking part, this could be an issue.

Mountain Passes in Switzerland

Nothing, seriously, nothing beats – driving in the Alps and passes the stunning Mountain Passes in Switzerland. However, the passes are not open all year round due to weather conditions.

Snow means that the passes are closed. Unfortunately, some passes are closed for most of the year. The stunning Sustenpass, e.g., is closed from November to June (always check the weather forecast as this is not a fixed date but depends on actual weather).

I admit – there were days I was close to crying out loud just because I was overwhelmed by the beauty of driving in Switzerland.

So, here are some passes I highly recommend (and which you will “automatically pass” if you get from one destination to the other – if the weather allows it. One day, I will dedicate one post just about the stunning passes, but for now, here are some of my favorite passes with images (and then we will take about the main stops for your trip).

  • Flüela (2383 m above sea level): Vereina car-train service from Klosters-Selfranga to Sagliains
  • Julier (2284 m above sea level): Pass road open all year and cleared by snowfall
  • Sustenpass (2,224 metres): Wassen to Innertkirchen, normally just open from mid-June to October
  • Brünig Pass (1,008 m aviv sea love): Meiringen to Lungern and Giswi
  • San Bernardino (2065 m above sea level): Road tunnel from Hinterrhein to San Bernardino
  • Gotthard (2106 m above sea level): New pass road or road tunnel from Airolo to Göschenen
  • Albula (2315 a above sea level): Thusis to La Punt
  • Furka (2429 m above sea level): Car-train service from Realp to Oberwald
Brünig Pass - Switzerland Road trip with Arzo Travels
Brünig Pass

Best Time to Road Trip Switzerland

If you want to road trip, I highly suggest doing this between the end of June and early October. While I normally recommend visiting a popular destination in the shoulder season, driving at this time of the year will allow you to drive most (if not all) mountain passes.

Weather should be good at that time of the year (with many rainy days in between, but that is an issue Switzerland has in general), and though Switzerland does get busy, the roads normally do not. Places like Interlaken might be crowded, but most people do not road trip the country, so you are fine to drive on pretty empty streets.

Where to Stay When Road Tripping Switzerland

One of the best things is that you do not need a base but can get around. Check out my detailed guide on where to stay in the country (you will find tips in this post as well).

BEST STOPS FOR YOUR ROAD TRIP IN SWITZERLAND

Tip: Fly into Zurich because it is the main city in Switzerland and has a major airport. You can start your road trip here.

Stop 1: Zurich

Zurich should be on everyone’s road trip itinerary.Where to stay in Zurich - best places to stay in Zurich Switzerland Zurich is located in the northern part of Switzerland, right on the edge of Lake Zurich. It is also the country’s biggest city and known for banking and finance.

But it also has a very historic Old Town that dates back to before medieval times.

The promenade and buildings are centuries old as well. Zurich has plenty of cobblestone streets to stroll down as you explore the area. Some of the attractions here are Lake Zurich, Bahnhofstrasse, Lindenhof, the hiking and views from Uetliberg, and the Opera District.

I love Zurich, and I suggest spending 1 day if you road trip Switzerland for 7 days if you do a 2-week road trip you can stay 2 days. Of course, I have a more detailed Zurich post for you that you can check out here.

Tip: You can rent a car from the airport in Zurich, or you can take a train to get to the city center and explore Zurich without a car. Driving here means traffic and little parking spots. So, I suggest picking up your rental car once you are about to leave Zurich.

Stop 2: Stein am Rhein & Schaffhausen & Rhine Falls

Stein am Rhein is a small town is located in the northeastern part of Switzerland, just west of Lake Constance. It is best known for its medieval city center and architecture.Places to visit in SwitzerlandThere are many well-preserved, half-timbered houses here with painted facades along the old town’s ancient streets.

There are also nearby attractions, like St. George’s Abbey on the banks of the Rhine River, a museum, and Hohenklingen Castle overlooking the town, which was built during the Middle Ages. The charming and ancient sights around this small village make it a popular destination for visitors to Switzerland.

Tip: If you have more time, you can also combine the trip with visiting the Rhine Falls and Schaffhausen in one day. It is easy to drive to Stein am Rhine but park your car outside the town center and walk a few minutes to the city center.

Schaffhausen is a small village in Switzerland located very close to the Rhine Falls, along the upper Rhine River.View from Munot over the Rhine river and parts of SchaffhausenThis is also very close to the German border, and there are many vineyards. The buildings in this medieval town are done in a Baroque style and often have decorated facades and bay windows overlooking the streets. Schaffhausen is a small Swiss town that has a very inviting and charming atmosphere.

You can also visit nearby attractions like the 16th century Munot Fortress, the gothic St. Johann church, and the Kloster Allerheiligen monastery with a Romanesque cathedral. 

Tip: If you don’t want to stress, you can skip Schaffhausen or Stein am Rhine. Both towns are cute and have unique features – so either you visit the three mentioned places in one day or leave out one of the towns.

The Rhine Falls are probably the biggest and most powerful falls in all of Europe (I know, the Dettifoss Falls in Iceland also claims to be the most powerful, but I think the Rhine Falls actually is more powerful).Rhine Falls Switzerland Best places to see in SwitzerlandAnyhow, located near the German border, they are imposing and beautiful. Though they are a very popular tourist stop, the waterfalls and surrounding greenery are beautiful and worth visiting. During May and June, the water level is at its peak, and the falls are at their biggest, making them even more amazing.

The average is 150 meters wide and 23 meters high. There are boat tours, viewing platforms, and guided tours offered.

Tip: From Zurich, you can do a day trip and easily get to the Rhine Falls by car. For tips on where to park (for free and more), check out my more detailed guide on the Rhine Falls.

Stop 3: Basel

Basel is a city that is located in the northwestern part of Switzerland. It sits on the Rhine River and is also close to the borders of Germany and France.Basel most beautiful places in BaselLike many cities in this area, it has been around since medieval times, and the architecture and layout of the city show this. The old town surrounds the marketplace, which has a large red sandstone Town Hall from the 16th century. Other attractions include the tomb of Erasmus, who was a 16th-century Dutch scholar. You can find some of his works in the university in town- and also a 12th-century Gothic cathedral.

Though Basel is a beautiful city, it probably is the best city to visit if you are into arts. Yes, there is some scenery, and you can spend time outdoors, but if you do a one-week Switzerland road trip (and aren’t into arts), you might want to skip it (especially because the drive there is not really scenic).

Stop 4: Bern 

Bern is perhaps the most beautiful capital in Europe. It is located along a crook in the Aare River, in the central part of the country, which makes it – amongst other reasons – a good stop.where to stay in Switzerland The Swiss refer to it as their “Federal City.” It dates back to medieval times, around the 12th century. You can see this is the Altstadt architecture. Other impressive buildings to look for are the Swiss Parliament meeting place called the Bundeshaus, Federal Palace, the Französische Kirche, and the Zytglogge tower from the 13th century.

Bern has a lot of history but is also an important part of Switzerland today.

Though I really liked Bern, I would not say it is a must-see if you have minimal time only. If you plan a 2-week road trip, add Bern to your itinerary. If you also visit places in the south and central Switzerland you might have to pass here. If you visit during your road trip, check out my 1-day itinerary.

Stop 5: Lucerne

Lucerne is a city located in the central part of Switzerland and also in the German-speaking part of the country. It’s filled with colorful architecture and buildings that date back to medieval times and, without a doubt, one of the best places to add to your road trip itinerary.Best things to do in Lucerne - Chapel Bridge in Lucerne To the north of the Old Town, you will see a 14th-century rampart (Musegg Wall). When you travel out to Lake Lucerne, you get a great view of the Alps’ snow-capped mountains surrounding the town.

It also has other attractions that are just as scenic and picturesque. Some of these attractions include the Chapel Bridge, a 17th century Jesuit Church, Spreuer Bridge, Lion Monument, and Weggis. Make sure to drive along Lake Lucerne as well.

Lucerne should be on your Switzerland road trip itinerary whether you plan a 5, 7, or 14-day trip. With less than 7 days, 1 day in Lucerne is probably a good amount to visit. BUT you need to make sure to also drive along the Axenroad and head all the way to Vitznau. It is an amazing road with some of the very best views in the region. Driving along Lake Lucerne (Vierwaldstättersee) is…beautiful.

And if you want to rest at the lake, then head to Weggis (pass the main town center) until you find a little secret spot where not many people are. Here you can swim in the lake or enjoy the views. Check out my detailed Lucerne guide.

Stop 6: Interlaken

Interlaken is a resort town that is found in the central part of Switzerland. The town is small, full of timber houses, and found between two of Switzerland’s most popular lakes.Visit the Schynige Platte with your Swiss Travel Pass When you visit Interlaken, it is not just about the town but also about driving around Lake Brienz and Lake Thun. The drive around Lake Thun, a pretty emerald color, is especially scenic and one of the most beautiful places to road trip in Switzerland. This area is full of mountains, forests, meadows, and glaciers. A perfect destination for hiking, skiing, and other outdoor sports.

Tip: It really depends on which side of the lake you are driving. For Lake Thun, make sure to drive along Beatenberg and Sigriswil (along the northern shores of Lake Thun) and Lake Brienz, drive along the northern shores (so along Niederried), and most of the times, the motorways are less scenic than the side streets.

There are so many stunning spots to drive along – up to Beatenberg, Sigrswill Suspension Bridge (park there, and then you can pay a fee to walk the bridge), Thun, Spiez, and more. Oh, let’s not forget places like Lauterbrunnen (the drive to Lauterbrunnen is so idyllic and yet stunning), Grindelwald. You get it, don’t skip the region of Interlaken/Jungfrau.Lake Thun-Top Things to do in Interlaken, SwitzerlandYes, it is true: This region is one – if not THE – most beautiful area in my opinion. No matter how often I visit, I never get enough. Depending on the length of your stay, I suggest spending at least 3 days in the region, but actually, 4 days is a minimum if you road trip here.

Stop 7: Montreux

Montreux is known for its picture-perfect looks, from its proximity to Lake Geneva to the nearby mountains.A castle with a view and a great Instagram spot in Montreux The pretty vineyards – which come with a view of Lake Geneva – add to its popularity. There are medieval castles just offshore, and the promenade is filled with flowers, sculptures, and trees.

This city in the eastern part of Switzerland sits at the foot of the Alps and offers many attractions. Here you will find access to Lake Geneva, a Freddy Mercury statue, Chateau de Chillon, the vineyards in Chexbres and Vevey, and Rocher de Nayes.

The Montreaux Jazz Festival is the second largest jazz festival globally, taking place in the summer.

I loved Montreux! If you road trip Switzerland for at least 7 days, Montreux is one of the best places to see and experience Lake Geneva and (also known as Lac Leman). The town is quite small, and if you don’t have much time, 1 day in Montreux will do it.

Stop 8: Geneva 

Geneva is located in the southwestern end of Switzerland, along the southern tip of the crescent-shaped lake, and is famous for its old town and diplomatic activities.

Geneva in summer, Switzerland
@shutterstock

The city has the second largest population in Switzerland after Zurich and is surrounded by the Alps and Jura Mountains. Located in the country’s French-speaking part, Geneva is well-known for its cosmopolitan atmosphere and international appeal.

The city is the Headquarters of Europe’s United Nations and the Red Cross, and it is also famous as a city of diplomatic and financial activity. There is a heavy French influence on both the lifestyle and food in Geneva.

Here is the thing with Geneva – it is located on the southern shores of Lake Geneva and is quite remote – if you really want to visit Geneva, go for it. I have always enjoyed Geneva. However, though I suggest spending time in Geneva, with only 7-10 days in Switzerland, I would skip it and only drive to Montreux and then not continue driving along Lake Geneva.

Stop 9: Zermatt 

Zermatt is in the southern part of Switzerland and can actually not be reached by car – it is car-free.Switzerland in winter, Zermatt It sits below the Matterhorn Peak at around 1600 meters in elevation.

Zermatt is known for its outdoor activities, like climbing, hiking, and skiing, but it is also lovely to visit in other months.

Within Zermatt, you will find the main street, called Bahnhofstrasse, which is full of restaurants, hotels, boutiques, as well as outdoor skating rinks and places devoted to apres-ski in winter in Zermatt.

Park your car in Taesch and take a train to get to Zermatt. Depending on your time in Switzerland, I would plan in 1 or 2 days. Since Zermatt is quite remote, you could actually also skip it (but on the other hand, Zermatt is beautiful), but it makes a good stop on any Switzerland road trip itinerary.

Stop 10: Lugano

Located in the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland, in the Ticino region, Lugano is a Swiss city with a lot of Italian influence. The architecture and the food are proof of this.

Landscape of Lugano lake, mountains and the city located below, Ticino, Switzerland
@shutterstockTicino, Switzerland

The scenery and attractions in the city are beautiful. Lugano sits on the northern shore of Lake Lugano and is surrounded by mountains.

Inside the town, you can find the main square, called the Piazza Della Riforma, which is done in pastel colors and a neo-classical design, and the Monte San Salvatore and the Villa del Balbianello.

I love the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland – also because Lugano is so different from the rest of the country. However, it is also quite remote, so that you might skip that and head to Locarno instead.

Stop 11: Locarno

Locarno is also in the Italian-speaking part of the country but actually not as remote as Lugano (not that much close but still). Located on Lake Maggiore, it’s known for its sunny climate.Where to go in LocarnoIt has a beautiful lake area, plus some gorgeous mountain peaks that offer great views (including Cardaga). The 15th-century Santuario Della Madonna del Sasso, an art-filled pilgrimage site overlooking the city, is a beautiful place to add to your road trip. Driving here is a bit more stressful (however, nothing like Italy) as the streets are narrower and busier. If you visit Locarno, also visit Valle Verzasca and enjoy this beautiful part of Switzerland. Check out my Locarno guide for more info.

Stop 12: St. Moritz 

Now it is time to explore one of the most stunning areas in Switzerland – Graubünden. It is a lesser-known canton (state) – except for St. Moritz – to foreigners, but it is one of the most popular spots for Swiss tourists. And believe me when I say that it is one of the most beautiful states in the whole country.

St. Moritz is found on the eastern side of Switzerland, in the Engadin Valley. It is located high in the Alps, with an elevation of 1800 meters above sea level. So, it a popular destination for skiing, snowboarding, and bobsledding.

It has even hosted two Winter Olympics. When the lake freezes over, there is cricket, polo, and horse racing done on the ice. St. Moritz is a favorite resort town in Switzerland because of its excellent outdoor sports and the surrounding mountains’ natural beauty.

It is lovely to drive in this area. If you don’t have much time, I suggest not staying in St. Moritz as it is not the most interesting location (despite being gorgeous, competition in Switzerland is just too big).

Stop 13: Valposchiavo 

Valposchiavo is a secret place that I highly recommend.  It is located in the canton of Graubünden, which is close to the Italian border but is mostly German-speaking, and this is the country of beautiful mountain passes and stunning scenery.

Lago di Saoseo in ValposchiavoIt’s in a remote location, which might be why it isn’t more popular among tourists. Valposchiavo has a natural beauty that is hard to equal. With its calm and serene lake, lovely valley, and charming town, Valposchiavo is a great place to stop on a Switzerland road trip. 

It is actually one of my favorite places in all of Switzerland, and it is absolutely stunning to drive here – the views, the lakes, the mountain passes.

Switzerland at its best in Valpaschiavo. Compared to other places in the country, it is quite a hidden gem, so you won’t see many international tourists in this part of the country.

Stop 14: Appenzell & Ebenalp

If you fly back home from Zurich, you can stop in Appenzellerland as the last main stop of your Switzerland road trip. This part of Switzerland is also unique, and the rolling green hills are pretty unique.Things to do in Appenzell Town Appenzell is located in Switzerland’s northeastern corner, near the German border, and at the Alpstein Mountains foot. It is not as well-known as other areas, but it is a pretty scene with rolling hills, high mountains, and old and colorful buildings.

You can reach many mountain summits from Appenzell, including Santis Peak or the beautiful Ebenalp Mountain.Appenzellerland - More Than the Aescher Ebenalp is the most northern summit of the Appenzell Alps. If you enjoy hiking, this is a great place to go – Ebenalp is 1600 meters high. You can also ascend it by taking a cable car from Wasserauen. At the top, you will find a guest house, Ebenalp, where you can stop for drinks or food, or you can stay for a night.

There are great views here because of the elevation and surrounding scenery. It overlooks Lake Seealp, and there is also a nearby Alpine garden that is quite lovely.

From here, you can head back to Zurich or continue your journey and head to Southern Germany and explore that beautiful part of the world.

FINAL THOUGHTS – A SWITZERLAND ROAD TRIP

Switzerland is my favorite travel destination. Given its extreme beauty and the breathtaking scenery, I cannot get enough to drive there, and I am amazed every single time.

The country’s high prices – something that I cannot ignore – will not stop me from revisiting the country and exploring what the country has to offer.

I hope you enjoy this Switzerland road trip itinerary. Seeing some of Switzerland’s best places while road tripping is such a fun way to discover the country’s beauty.

PIN ME FOR LATER – ROAD TRIPPING SWITZERLAND

Here is a pin for you – save it to Pinterest to find this post easily whenever you need it again.

Best Switzerland road trip, travel tips for road trippingSafe Travels, Arzo

BEST TIPS FOR HIKING IN SWITZERLAND

Hiking in Switzerland, Arzo Travels

HIKING MISTAKES TO AVOID IN SWITZERLAND

Switzerland is a paradise. A paradise for lake fans, Christmas Market fans, adventure-seeking fans – Switzerland is a paradise for any outdoor lover. And hikers love Switzerland in particular. That is for many, many reasons.

Switzerland has some of the most amazing hikes for people of all ages and fitness levels. 

Hiking is a national sport in Switzerland. Actually, hiking might be THE national sport (besides skiing, but let’s forget about that weirdish obsession for now). So, why do people in Switzerland love hiking? For one, because the scenery is just beyond gorgeous.

Some of the most beautiful places in Switzerland can only be seen if you hike.

Image

In Switzerland, you can use cable cars or funiculars to get to many mountain peaks. And that is what I did for the longest time: taking advantage of the accessibility and using cable cars to enjoy breathtaking mountain views. Switzerland is very advanced with all their cable cars and so…

I mean, it makes it easy for non-Swiss. However, Switzerland was the first country that could convince me that hiking is also okay. Actually, it is more than okay. Hiking in Switzerland is excellent. And so hiking has become one of my favorite activities in Switzerland these days.

BUT, before you pack your hiking gear and get ready for some incredible hiking tracks, here are a few things to know.

IGNORING HIKE LEVELS

So, since most of you – us – were not raised in the Swiss Alps and hiking is not in our genes, you should familiarize yourself with the levels of difficulty. Just hiking because you read from a blogger that “it was an easy hike” would be pretty risky.

I check the hike’s difficulty every time before I hike and feel comfortable doing levels T1, T2, and T3. T4 is something I would only do with an experienced guide/hiking partner.

The Swiss Alpine Club (SAC) divides hiking trails into the following categories. Before you start any hike, look into the classification system (they are marked with different colors).

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T1 – HIKING

Yellow marking. Trail well cleared, the terrain is flat or slightly sloping, and there is no danger of falling.

No special requirements, and a map usually is not necessary.

T2 –  MOUNTAIN HIKING

White-red-white markings. A path with a continuous line and balanced ascent. The terrain is steep in parts, with a possible risk of falling.

You should be reasonably surefooted and have basic orientation skills.

T3 DEMANDING MOUNTAIN HIKING 

White-red-white markings. The path is not always visible. There are exposed sections that may be secured with ropes or chains and partly exposed pitches with risk of falling, pathless jagged rocks, etc.

Good surefootedness and basic alpine experience are essential.

The above-mentioned categories can be for anyone who is reasonably fit. Now, the other hikes are for the experts.

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T4 – ALPINE HIKING

White-blue-white markings. Trails do not always exist. The terrain is quite exposed, with jagged rocks and snow-free glacier sections. Be familiar with exposed terrain. Have the essential ability to assess the terrain and good orientation skills. Alpine experience. 

T5 –  DEMANDING ALPINE HIKING

White-blue-white markings. Often without a path. Some easy climbing sections. Exposed and demanding terrain, with steep jagged rocks, glaciers, and firn with a risk of falling. You need very good orientation skills and profound alpine experience, and elementary knowledge of handling an ice ax and rope.

T6 – DIFFICULT ALPINE HIKING 

Mostly without a path. Climbing pitches up to difficulty grade II. Paths not marked. Often very exposed, precarious jagged rocks, glaciers with a high risk of slipping and falling.

You need excellent orientation skills, advanced alpine experience, and a high level of familiarity with handling technical alpine equipment.

So, these categories will help you decide whether to do a hike or not.

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BELIEVING SWISS ESTIMATIONS OF HIKE DURATIONS

I can go along with the categories of hikes. As a non-expert, I think they did a great job! However, I highly disagree with the “hike duration.“ If you start your preparations, you will find information on the estimations of the hike durations. These estimations are often on the tourism website or leaflets. If you start your hike, you will see plenty of signs that also tell you about the time estimation.

Hiking tips for Switzerland

So far, so good. BUT… Please do not believe it! Add some time to it. At least 30%, I would say. Maybe more. Maybe less. Depending on how fit you are. But in general, I would plan some additional time for the hike.

Also, these estimations are pure hiking times. If you also plan to take (many) pictures and have breaks, you need to add even more time.

COMPETING WITH SWISS HIKERS

I am sure Swiss kids go to school, and all the stuff kids should do. Though it might seem they are professional hikers.

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If you hike, you will realize that everyone will overtake you. Kids, older people, animals (OK, I have yet to be overtaken by a Swiss cow)… everyone overtakes you. It seems they are born with some genes that non-Swiss people are missing. So, my tip is: Do not compete with Swiss locals. It is not our fault. Our genetics are just not the same.

Unless you have acquired hiking skills because of numerous hikes or are a professional athlete, ignore all the people passing you.

NOT USING TREKKING / HIKING POLES

I always thought hiking poles are an accessory for older people or people who wanted to look like professional hikers. It looks kind of fancy, hiking with poles.

However, it seems I was wrong. Hiking poles can be highly beneficial. Beneficial in many ways (for your health and your condition). They take shock off your knees on downhills while they can give you a boost on uphill hikes. They help you with keeping balance on slippery rocks or uneven terrain. These are just a few of the reasons to use trekking poles.

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So, what brought me to this realization? Well, I got to try them out on my Lake Oeschinen hike. I met a girl in my hostel and we did the hike together. She lent me her poles for the first part of the hike. As a Swiss, she did not struggle as much with the hike as I did. She quickly realized I needed them more, so she lent them to me for the duration of the track. 

Guess what? I just bought some myself, and I am ready to do all the hikes that Swiss people do, too. OK, we‘ll see about that, but I am well prepared.

NOT CHECKING THE WEATHER FORECAST

I am a weather snob. So, I only hike if the weather is good or at least decent (except for the day I hiked to the Aescher… do not ask). Even Swiss people hike less on rainy days (and that means something).

And honestly, hiking in the rain is no fun, and it can be dangerous. And it is even more tedious. And it is just no fun. So, what is the point of hiking if it is no fun? There are not many reasons left. Some people might say it is mythical when everything is covered in fog, but do you think the Aescher would have become so popular if you could not see it?

Aescher in the fog in Appenzellerland
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So, the main reason I travel is for the views. And lousy weather makes for terrible views. Check the weather and avoid – if time allows – rainy and foggy days for your hike.

NOT BRINGING A REFILLABLE WATER BOTTLE

Hiking is one of the best options to save money in costly Switzerland. Everything is expensive, except hiking… and water. So, if you want a very cheap day, spend the day hiking and bring your water bottle to refill.

Usually, there are many water fountains/waterfalls along the hike providing fresh water. Double-check if there are waterfalls along the way; I have been on some hikes and did not find any. That was kind of tough.

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SKIPPING CABLE CARS ALTOGETHER

Yes, we know that hiking in Switzerland is amazing and it can save us tons of money. Cable cars can be really expensive, so many people skip cable cars for this reason alone and hike.

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However, sometimes using cable cars makes sense. Do not worry. You still get to do some serious hiking. For instance, if you want to see Trift Bridge, it might be smartest to use the cable car to get up. From there, you have to get to the bridge, and that will take several hours. So, cable cars can ease your hike, but some hikes are pretty challenging, so then cable cars are sometimes an intelligent addition to your hiking day.

WEARING REGULAR SHOES / SNEAKERS

Recently, I lost one of my hiking boots in Iceland. Please do not ask me (I really do not know for sure what happened, but I have some ideas).

Anyway, I was such a tightwad that I did not buy new hiking boots straight away. So, I did the hikes in sneakers because wearing one hiking boot did not seem like a fantastic idea. 

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Then, my sneakers got ruined, and I was devastated (kind of). Sneakers are not made for hiking (who knew??). So, I had to buy new sneakers and new hiking boots. 

So, my lesson: hike in proper hiking boots. Especially in Switzerland, where hikes can be challenging, to avoid ruined sneakers and ruined body parts (like ankles or feet). Only for hikes categorized T1 are sneakers fine.

NOT WEARING LAYERS

This applies to hiking in all parts of the world: I highly recommend dressing in layers. Weather in the Swiss Alps can quickly change, and being too warm or too cold will make hiking less fun. It might be extra stuff to carry around, but I guess it is better to carry a pullover in your backpack than freezing and not enjoying the views at the top.

Arzo Travels hiking to Trift Bridge in Switzerland

STARTING LATE 

Vacations mean sleeping in for many. I get it. But if you plan a hike, then you should start early. Switzerland is not located near the Arctic Circle, so it does get dark quite “early” in summer. If you plan a hike that takes 6-8 hours, you should start your hike at 9 am, or 10 am, ideally.

This will guarantee a parking spot, smaller crowds (and fewer people overtaking you), and less hassle.

Also, you want to avoid hiking back in the dark.

NOT TELLING PEOPLE WHERE YOU ARE

As a solo female traveler (sometimes hiking with my dog), security is fundamental to me and should be important to you, too. We do not want to lose anyone in the Swiss Alps. We want you to get back safe and sound.

So, make sure you tell people where you are. 

LEAVING TRACES

Yes, we want to be remembered once we are not there anymore. But no one wants to remember our tissues with mucus. Or even worse, our plastic food packaging, which might stay for many, many decades somewhere in the Swiss Alps. So, keep your trash (except organic waste) and bring it back with you.

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Yes, sometimes there are no toilets, and you need to let it “happen.” But go to a remote place and dig a hole if necessary.

So, when you hike, do not leave any traces except for shoe prints.

NOT CLIPPING YOUR TOENAILS

This is the most important tip I can ever, ever give you. If you go on a hike that includes some steep downhill hikes, shorten your toenails.

Yes, even if you think they are shortish, they might still be too long. And long toenails can be a nightmare when hiking. Really, just take it from me. Hiking in the cold – somehow manageable. Hiking in the rain – somehow manageable. Hiking with longish toenails – not manageable.

BEING SURPRISED ABOUT SWISS FLAGS

Wherever you go, you can be certain, there are Swiss flags around. No place in the Swiss Alps is free of the Swiss flag. As someone who is not really into nationalism (and yes, the Swiss are kind of nationalists) I am always wondering “why”? but I know, I should not be putting too many thoughts into it.

So, if you can hike to a place, a Swiss flag might be there to welcome you.

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NOT GREETING SWISS HIKERS

Swiss people are not known for being overly chatty. If you hike, then Swiss people, however, will always greet you. Especially in the German-speaking part, locals are friendly. “Gruezi” should be part of your hiking vocabulary.

READY FOR SOME HIKING IN SWITZERLAND?

If you are ready to go on a few hikes in the Swiss Alps (or anywhere in Switzerland), I envy you! This country is so rich in hiking trails that everyone will find a perfect hike. Just keep a few things in mind and avoid these hiking mistakes in Switzerland.

FAVORITES HIKES IN SWITZERLAND

Here are some of my favorite hikes in Switzerland:

Stay safe and enjoy!

25 Epic and Best Things to Do in Switzerland

Best things to do in Switzerland, top activities

WHAT TO DO IN SWITZERLAND – FUN ACTIVITIES

Heading to one of the most gorgeous countries in the world and wondering about the best things to do in Switzerland? Well, find out about the top things to see and do in beautiful Switzerland – there are so many epic things to experience that it can feel overwhelming.

Without a doubt, Switzerland has a lot to offer its visitors. Most know about the stunning nature, with mountains throughout the country, including the mountain ranges of the Alps and the Jura, pristine lakes, colorful small towns, vibrant cities, traditional Swiss villages, waterfalls, and of course, pristine lakes wherever you look.

Though I have been to Switzerland numerous times and have traveled to many parts, Switzerland still amazes me every single time, and here are my tips for your Switzerland itinerary.

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.

TRAVEL TIPS FOR SWITZERLAND

Before talking about the most fun things to do, I share some quick travel tips, so your trip is as smooth as possible.

  • Switzerland is located in Europe, but it is not part of the European Union (so citizens from EU countries might have to pay customs when shopping in Switzerland).
  • Four official languages are spoken in Switzerland German-speaking part (north and east), while the southwest speaks French, and Italian is the main language in the southern part of Switzerland. Some, but few, people speak Romansh – however, many people speak (basic) English (at least in the areas with tourists).
  • Swiss Francs are the main currency, but Euros are accepted in many shops and credit cards (though American Express is accepted in fewer shops). However, I recommend having some Swiss Francs with you at all times.
  • Yes, Switzerland is expensive, so I have written an extra post on “how to save money in Switzerland.”
  • Water in Switzerland is drinkable from the tap. There are also many water fountains offering fresh water (so always have an empty bottle with you to refill), and it is actually delicious.
  • It does matter whether you decide to road trip Switzerland or if you travel Switzerland by train – both ways are great. Switzerland has an amazing public transportation system – you can get to the most remote area by just using public transportation (seriously, there are just a few exceptions). The public transportation system in Switzerland is reliable, punctual, and clean.  It is not cheap, though, but if it is your only means of getting around, then I recommend using the Swiss Travel Pass for tourists.
  • Road tipping in Switzerland is amazing, too. Check out my road trip tips for Switzerland, and check out my post on things to know when driving in Switzerland.
  • Walking and hiking in many parts of the country is a great way to get around – at least for short distances.
  • Switzerland is a very safe country. I, personally, never take any extra precautions and actually tend to be less cautious than in Germany. However, I am careful, and I always exercise common sense but feel fine wearing luxury brands or walking around in the evening/night. But, in the last five years, I have been visiting with my dog – and though he is small – he does a great job as a watchdog, so this makes me feel even safer. If you are a solo female traveler, always be aware of your surroundings and pay attention to where to go.
  • The Best Time to Visit Switzerland: Switzerland makes a great destination for any time of the year. However, if you are into skiing and other winter sports, naturally, winter in Switzerland is the best time to visit (though you can also do winter sports in some parts of Switzerland throughout the year). Summer is a very popular time to visit, though rain and cold days are not uncommon, even in July/August. Winter and summer are the most expensive times in terms of accommodations, so visiting in fall or spring might be great choices, as well. I probably would avoid late October and November and also March and April.
  • Here are more Switzerland travel tips.
  • Where to Stay: Here are my favorite areas and hotels to stay in Switzerland.

Where to stay in Switzerland

BEST THINGS TO DO IN SWITZERLAND

Okay, here are some fun activities to do in Switzerland (they are in random order).

Chasing Waterfalls

Waterfalls are probably not the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about Switzerland, but Switzerland is home to the biggest waterfalls in Europe.Where to go in Switzerland - see the Rhine FallsWhich waterfalls should you visit in Switzerland? There are many, many waterfalls to see in Switzerland. Here are some of my favorites.

However, if you are road tripping, you´ll see many more gorgeous waterfalls along the way. I spotted the most on my way from Zurich to the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland. Keep your eyes and ears open, and you´ll eventually stumble upon them!

Visit Cities

Well, Switzerland´s cities are not the biggest. But they are big enough to give you a nice city feeling, so add a city visit to your 5 days in Switzerland.Most of the cities in Switzerland have well-preserved old towns as well, which should be on your list when exploring the cities as they are popular points of interest in Switzerland.

Which cities to visit?

  • My favorite city is Zurich. There are many cafes and (vegetarian) restaurants, good clubs, and plenty of shopping options (the Bahnhofstrasse is the most expensive shopping street in the world). Of course, Lake Zurich is just a beauty: by the way. Each city has its own lake and, often, even has its own “home mountain.”
  • Though I personally love Geneva, it cannot hold a candle to Zurich or Lucerne. Geneva is the city to see if you are interested in learning about international politics (the United Nations has one of their main offices in Geneva, and the International Red Cross Committee is based there).
  • Basel is the art city in Switzerland. You cannot go wrong with visiting if you love old towns or enjoy museums of all kinds.
  • Bern is one of the most beautiful capitals in the world. It is located near Zurich. It makes a perfect day trip to see bears (yes) and explore the old town.
  • Last but not least: Lucerne is one of the most beautiful cities in the country. It is surrounded by stunning scenery and beautiful Lake Lucerne.

Explore Towns

You cannot leave the country without visiting at least a handful of cute, colorful towns in Switzerland.Best things to visit in Switzerland - Switzerland attractionsIn Switzerland, each town has its own charm, and believe it or not. They are indeed very different and unique. Appenzell has its own extraordinary architecture, and Stein am Rhine has its own, btw, fantastic style.

If you must visit the most beautiful towns in Switzerland, I am sure you will fall in love with Switzerland. Besides the two mentioned towns, you should put a few more towns on your itinerary:

Which towns to visit:

  • Schaffhausen is one of the most colorful towns in Switzerland. It is located near the Rhine Falls and makes a perfect day trip from Zurich. 
  • Thun is one of the most beautiful towns. It has a really pretty market square and beautiful castles to visit.
  • Zermatt is probably one of the most famous places in Switzerland. Though the town center is really tiny, it is worth seeing at any time of the year (so it is not only a perfect winter destination).
  • Rapperswil is a rather unknown place located on the shores of Lake Zurich. This small town is a perfect stop if you do a Lake Zurich boat cruise.
  • Stein am Rhine offers striking architecture – one of the most unique and impressive buildings are in Stein a Rhine in the northern part of Switzerland.
  • Solothurn is a hidden gem in Switzerland. Rarely visited by international visitors, it has a very special charm.
  • Montreux is not really a town – rather a promenade with tons, tons of flowers, and stunning Lake Geneva.

Discover Villages

After adding towns and cities to your list, do not forget to visit the cute little villages that make up Switzerland´s charm.

where to visit in Switzerland
@shutterstock / Lauterbrunnen

There are plenty of lovely villages, and you´ll surely stumble upon some eventually, but instead of relying on stumbling upon some eventually, make sure to plan in some time for those cute villages.

Villages to visit:

Some of my favorite best Swiss villages are:

  • Lauterbrunnen is known as THE outdoor place fr adrenaline junkies in Switzerland. However, it is also a beautiful village with tons of activities for people of all ages and fitness levels.
  • Appenzell is another gorgeous gem with colorful buildings and interesting buildings.
  • Mürren is one of the car-free villages that you can only visit via hiking or by using the cable car. This makes it a quite tranquil place (if it wasn’t for the visitors) for people of all ages.
  • Grindelwald is a perfect village to visit in winter – but it is not only a perfect ski resort but also a very cute town with amazing views of the Swiss Alps.

Go Hiking

If you want to do something locals do, you have to hike. Points of Interest Interlaken, Switzerland, MürrenI used to hate hiking – and then I hiked in Switzerland. And my world turned upside down. Hiking here is the next level – do not get me wrong, I am still no expert. But you cannot experience hiking here with hiking in other parts of the world. Check out my post with tips for hiking in Switzerland. luckily, Switzerland has hiking trails for each person. So, there is no shortage of opportunities.

Where to hike:

  • Flims is the perfect place to hike for beginners – and though it is an easy hike, you will see three amazing places along the hike.
  • Ebenalp and Aescher is another easyish hike (though quite steep) and perfect if you want to see the famous mountain restaurant.
  • The Lake Oeschinen hike is probably one of the most iconic hikes in the country – and after doing it myself, I can say the views are worth it.
  • My favorite hike in Switzerland was probably hiking around Gelmersee – it is a beautiful hike and still a little gem.

Wherever you are, there will be places to hike up – most often, you´ll meet some (Swiss) hikers along your way.

Do Boat Tours

My addiction to boat tours is probably not normal. However, I cannot imagine that anyone would NOT LIKE a boat cruise on one of Switzerland’s beautiful lakes.Best places to visit in Switzerland and best activities I have done so many on so many occasions, but I will likely never get enough of them – and that is for many reasons.

My top tip for things to do in Switzerland…go on a boat cruise. There are many great (literally) lakes in Switzerland, and boat tours are possible on basically all of the bigger lakes.

Best boat cruises:

  • My favorite boat cruises in Switzerland are the ones on Lake Brienz – there are many fun stops along the way
  • Another top thing to do in Switzerland is to hop on a Lake Thun cruise – plan in a full day for that tour to get out at many stops and see what the shores of Lake Thun have to offer
  • Lake Lucerne (or Vierwaldstättersee in German) is also perfect for long boat cruises – plan in enough time to hop off some stops like Weggis or Vitznau.
  • Do a boat tour on Lake Zurich. If you do the 4-hour boat trip tour, you can get off in beautiful Rapperswil and spend a few hours there before heading back (as you can see, boat tours also bring you from one place to the other).
  • Lake Geneva is awesome, AND there are little lounges in the first class – so perfect for a nice nap as well. I recommend planning in 1 day so you can hop off in Nyon and Montreux.

The best: most boat tours are free with your Swiss Travel Pass. Without a travel pass, the prices vary strongly. A day pass for Lake Brienz is about 100€ (one of the most expensive tickets for boat rides, though). Seriously, boat cruising is one of the best activities in Switzerland. Find out more about tours on Lake Thun and Lake Brienz.

Discover Lakes

Aside from the mountains, the lakes are the most stunning things that Mother Nature has created in Switzerland, so it does not surprise that one of the top things to do in Switzerland is to check out lakes.

Beautiful Caumasee in Graubünden - Switzerland where to go

You´ll find every lake color you can imagine. However, each lake is amazing and unique. Though not all of the lakes offer boat cruises, they are all worth to be visited. Few more lakes that I absolutely love and are Lungernsee and Zugersee.

Though they are not that famous, they are absolutely stunning. If you road trip (or train travel), you´ll pass them when traveling from Zurich to Interlaken. If you get the chance, hop off the train and spend some time at the less popular lakes as well.

If you like to have a lake almost all to yourself, I recommend Lake Sufers. I never fail to have a break when I travel from Zurich to the Italian-speaking part (apart from some fishers, I rarely see any soul at all).

Some are located in a park, and entry has to be paid (Blausee, Lake Cauma, Lake Cresta, etc.), but most are free to visit. They are so extremely clear and clear that even I swam in a few of them (and that says a lot).

Lakes to visit:

I have mentioned a few lakes above, and here are a few more lakes:

  • Lake Brienz – a real gem with striking colors and beautiful villages along the shores.
  • Lake Oeschinen is often considered the most beautiful lake in the country.
  • Lake Zug is not as famous as other lakes in the country, yet it is a beauty and worth a visit.
  • Blausee is one of the smallest lakes mentioned here, yet its color is so unique that it is a top lake in Switzerland.
  • Lake Maggiore is a gorgeous lake in the southern part of Switzerland.
  • Lake Cauma (which you can see in the picture above) is one of the most beautiful lakes and yet not that popular with international visitors.

Hop on a Train

While it often scares me to embark on a train in many other parts of the world (naming no names), train travel in Switzerland is fun, and so I highly recommend it.Bernina Express in Switzerland in the winter, ValposchiavoThe first time I traveled from Zurich to Lugano 8-9 years ago, I was awestruck. The scenery is one of a kind, and ever since then, train travel has been an awesome activity I do in Switzerland. I recommend getting a Swiss Travel Pass and exploring Switzerland by train.

For more window view pictures of my train travel experience, read my review of the Swiss Travel Pass.

P.S. With the Swiss Travel Pass you also get a discount on many activities, so check if you can save money with it, too!

Most scenic train rides:

  • Bernina Express is probably my favorite train ride (in summer and winter), and this is when train riding becomes phenomenal. It takes you from Chur in Switzerland to Poschiavo and then even to Tirano in Italy by crossing the Swiss Engadin Alps.
  • Glacier Express is the slowest express train in the world – but with that window views, you will be in no rush: It connects Zermatt and St. Moritz via Andermatt in the central Swiss Alps.
  • Golden Pass Line is another amazing train ride experience taking you from Lucerne to Montreux.

Road Tripping

This is not a contradiction – road tripping through Switzerland is as much fun as train travel, and I would bite my tongue rather than choose one over the other.Switzerland points of interest - Switzerland things to doRoad tripping allows you to discover Switzerland on your own path and stop wherever you like – believe me, there will be many spots you will want to stop.

The Grand Road Tour gives ideas on where to drive and which places are the most scenic – each route has its own charm, and while I am – normally – not the biggest fan of driving, I cannot wait for my next Switzerland road trip.

Best places to Drive:

  • Driving around Lake Lucerne (Axenstraße) and the way from Lucerne to Weggis and Vitznau has always been a pleasure.
  • In Interlaken, it is around Lake Thun that makes any road trip lover happy.
  • There are also many, many mountain passes that are so much fun to drive (including Furka Pass, SustenPass).

The Italian-speaking part of Switzerland is also awesome, though a bit more difficult to drive. I loved the route from Locarno to Valle Verzasca the most. Check out my quick guide on driving in Switzerland.

Visit Museums

Well, traveling with a dog means I cannot visit museums. Still, at least one museum should be on your Switzerland itinerary (my first pick would be the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum in Geneva), but you can choose from more than 900 museums to visit in Switzerland.Basel where to in Basel, SwitzerlandIf you prefer to spend your time outdoors, you could visit the Ballenberg museum in the Jungfrau/Interlaken museum, one of Switzerland’s main tourist attractions.

Most museums are free of entry with your Swiss Travel Pass. P.S. Basel is the best city to go to if you are interested in museums and art – find out more about Basel here.

See Vineyards

One of the best things to see in Switzerland are the vineyards.

Vineyards in the Chexbres region

Though I do not care about wine, the views of vineyards in Switzerland are amazing. You´ll find vineyards in many parts of Switzerland, and the most beautiful and biggest is probably in the area of Montreux – for the best view, get to Chexbres and enjoy (views on Lake Geneva are inclusive). Wine lovers can book a wine tasting.

Do Some Winter Sports

Switzerland is one of the best countries to do winter sports. I only did have one winter sports holiday. Guess in which country I tried all those different winter sports? Of course, it was in Switzerland.First ski experience in Verbier, Switzerland

Some places allow winter sports even in the summer – Jungfraujoch or Klein Matterhorn have winter sports activities of all kinds. In the winter, Switzerland becomes the dream destination for ski lovers.

Best places to ski:

Oh, that list would be too long to list all the amazing ski resorts in Switzerland. Click here for the best places to ski in Switzerland.

Walk over Suspension Bridges

Switzerland’s best views are from the mountains’ summit, but if you prefer it to be less high, check out a few of the amazing suspension and panorama bridges all over Switzerland.

In 2017, the world´s longest suspension bridge opened near Zermatt ( I will let you know how it was once I visit), but many more stunning bridges are worth visiting.Trift Bridge in Grimselwelt as a main place near Interlaken with Arzo Travels

Which Suspension Bridges to Cross:

  • Trift Suspension Bridge has probably been the scariest bridge ever that I have crossed. Check out my detailed post on Trift Bridge.
  • The Handeckfall Bridge is another thrilling bridge but less scary than the one in Trift.
  • Sigriswil Panorama Bridge is very family-family and perfect for people of ages (unfortunately, there is an “entrance” fee.

See Gorges

Switzerland has some amazing gorges which await your visit.

best things to do in Switzerland

Switzerland has some amazing gorges which await your visit. The Trümmelbachfälle (waterfalls) is located in a gorge. More great gorges to visit: Aare Gorge and Gorner Gorge.

  • The Rhine Gorge is a different kind of gorge, and you have the best view from above or from a train. It is one of the best tourist attractions in Switzerland – in my option though totally underrated.
  • The Aare Gorge is a section of the Aare river and carves through a limestone ridge in the Bernese Oberland.

Snap Pictures of Castles

Visit castles!

Chateaux de Chilean on the shore of Lake Geneva - best places in Switzerland

Though Switzerland is often considered a winter wonderland fairy-tale, the castles in Switzerland seem to be in the shadow of the mountains and lakes (or shorten it: in the shadow of stunning scenery).

However, there are beautiful castles in Switzerland that should be on your Switzerland itinerary.

Famous Castles to Visit

  • Chateau du Chillon in Montreux is indeed a beautiful castle on Lake Geneva’s shores.
  • Schadau Castle is pinkish, a color you rarely find in Switzerland
  • Thun Castle in Thun offers some of the best views
  • Castel Grande in Bellinzona dates back to the 13th century and is in the Italian-speaking part of the country

Enjoy the Mountain Views

I am still not finished. I have a few more great things to do in Switzerland.View from Brienzer Rothorn Hiking is a great way to get up a mountain (in theory…).

However, if you are not a hiker (and some mountains cannot be hiked), you can, and should, enjoy some amazing mountain views. Many great mountains offer cable car rides up, and a trip to Switzerland would not be complete without having visited a mountain summit in at least 2000 meters height.

My favorite train ride up was at Brienzer Rothorn, but there are many more to enjoy, like Klein Matterhorn, Mount Pilatus, and Mount Rigi.

Jungfraujoch is probably the most famous mountain trip – though expensive, it is still an awesome trip, and it does not come as a surprise that it is one of the most popular Switzerland attractions.

Read more: Here are my favorite mountain views in Switzerland that do not require any hiking!

Find out more:

Sleep in a Mountain Guest House

When in Switzerland…spend a night in a mountain guest house. A night in a guest house is probably a unique experience in Switzerland.

Most mountain guest houses are not really fancy, but sleeping in one was an incredible experience, and I cannot wait to spend more nights in the mountains.

Ebenalp Guest House on Ebenalp was my choice – a choice I did not regret. Compared to “normal hotels,” the prices are moderate as well. Do not forget to pack warm clothes for a night; it gets cold at an elevation of 1,800 meters (I learned it the hard way), and the heater might not work.

Make Friends With Cows

Make new friends. Swiss are known to be a bit reserved in general…but not so the cows.Hiking in Switzerland best hikes in SwitzerlandThough I am a vegetarian and have a dog, that does not mean that I am actually an animal lover (probably because of my Afghan heritage). Most animals actually scare me – so do the cows, which are numerous in Switzerland. Seriously, they are basically everywhere!

However, Swiss cows are lucky enough to spend their lives in nature, and if you are outside the cities, you´ll most likely stumble upon them. Take some pics – and befriend them. After all, they help produce that awesome Swiss chocolate, and if you do not befriend them, they might not make any more for you (or worse: not for me).

Where to See Cows:

  • You will just see them everywhere outside the city center

Watch a Move at an Open-Air Cinema

One of the best things to do in Switzerland in summer is to visit an open-air cinema.

In summer, you will see advertisements for open-air cinema everywhere – it is one of the main events for locals. The weather might not be your best friend, but if you are lucky and it does not rain, enjoy a movie night at the open-air cinema. The best: open-air cinemas are even in small towns.

Experience Adventure

So tiny, yet so much to do. Switzerland is a paradise for outdoor sports lovers, and so it doesn’t surprise that going on an adventure is also one of the top things to do in Switzerland.Top 10 places to visit in SwitzerlandParagliding, glacier hiking, bungee jumping, or even base jumping (though I definitely do not recommend the latter). You can do any adventurous activity in Switzerland.

Check out prices for paragliding in Interlaken

Coffee With a View

Whether you are on a mountain peak or at one of the (relatively few) high buildings in Switzerland: take your time and have a coffee. These views are one of a kind, so take the time for a break, get a drink and enjoy the views.

There are often guesthouses and restaurants on mountain peaks that come with a view, but some high buildings offer great views (in Switzerland, I prefer the first option, though).

Eat Swiss Chocolate

I am vegetarian and do not like raw cheese – not the best conditions to survive in Switzerland. Though I definitely cannot recommend eating any Swiss cheese, I definitely think that Swiss chocolate is DELICIOUS. You can even do your own chocolate and visit Chocolate workshops.

I did one workshop in Interlaken, and while it was fun, the highlight was that I was allowed to take three bars with me. They did not last long, but delicious things probably are not meant to last, right?.nterlaken what to do, Chocolate WorkshopBad news: Swiss chocolate can be extremely expensive.

Good news: Lindt is not the most expensive chocolate in Switzerland, but it is my favorite. So plan to replace some meals with some tasty bars of chocolate.

More good news: Vegan chocolate is quite common in Switzerland. It is dark chocolate – which is actually even very healthy, so enjoy!

Cool Down in Caves

In summer, the best thing to do in Switzerland is to visit a cave on a hot day when it is hot.

Switzerland has a few gorgeous caves. I recommend planning a visit to one of the caves on a very hot day, so you can cool down and learn about a different aspect of Switzerland. Surely, this is not an activity for those who have claustrophobia, but if you don´ make sure to add at least one to your Switzerland holidays.

My favorite caves are the St. Beatus Caves – the guided tour is definitely recommendable. Plus, outside the caves, amazing views of Lake Thun await you (seriously, the view is so amazing, so I have visited twice in the last 2 years).

Visit a Lido

Lidos are great places to swim. However, I mentioned that it is super safe and fun to swim in the Swiss lakes and rivers. Swimming in a lido is another great way to relax and cool down.

Lidos are natural swimming pools in the lakes and rivers, often watched by guards and fenced. Some have a pool, as well. You can get in for just a few Swiss Francs and have more “security” than at the lakes. Since I have my dog traveling with me, we actually get banned from visiting Lidos.

Watch a Sunset

Sunsets in Switzerland can be amazing. However, you should do some research on where to watch the best sunset. My tips for an incredible sunset: Vitznau near Lucerne (especially from Mount Rigi) and from a boat on Lake Thun (there are sunset boat cruises).Switzerland Lake Thun best sunsets

Okay, those were my tips for the best things to do in Switzerland. Believe me, if I say you could spend weeks and months in the country and would be amazed every single time because Switzerland is a show-off and likes to showcase its beauty! 

PIN ME FOR LATER – AMAZING THINGS TO DO IN SWITZERLAND

EPIC THINGS TO DO IN SWITZERLAND, Arzo Travels

Safe Travels, Arzo

Reasons to Love Switzerland And Why Not To

Travel Inspiration Switzerland

REASONS TO VISIT STUNNING SWITZERLAND

I love Switzerland. Yes, even after all my travels, Switzerland is probably my favorite travel destination. And I have visited many times. Many, many times but I can tell you that there are many reasons to visit Switzerland and you will not tire.

Read about my favorite reasons to fall in love with Switzerland and find out why not to visit Switzerland.

HERE IS WHY VISIT SWITZERLAND

Click here to find out about the best areas to stay in Switzerland.

Let´s get started with the reasons why to go to Switzerland.

Beautiful Lakes

What is Switzerland known for? Among others the gorgeous lakes: Lakes wherever you look at. (Geneva Lake, Lake Zurich, Vierwaldstaettersee (Lake Lucerne), Lake Brienz, (my favorite) but also Lake Thun, Blausee, Lago Maggiore, Lago di Saoseo, Oeschinen Lake and many more are beyond beautiful. Click on the links to read and see more of the places.Why love Switzerland

There are estimations that Switzerland has about 7000 lakes. 7000 lakes! And they are not your average lake. No, even the “ugly ducklings” are pretty, clear, and clean.

I haven’t heard of any Swiss lake that you cannot swim in because of its water quality. Yes, there are some lakes where swimming is forbidden (like Blausee), and some Alpine lakes are probably quite cold.Oeschinensee hike, Heuberg a top thing to do in Interlaken, Arzo TravelsI am all about #ChasingLakes, and Switzerland never fails to impress me – as they come in so many colors: green, blue, dark and light blue, turquoise…Lago di Saosea - underrated places in SwitzerlandHowever, there are many more reasons to visit Switzerland.

Mountains / Swiss Alps

Yes, the Alps are stunning – they are the highest and most extensive mountain range system that stretches approximately 1,200 km across eight European countries. Only 15% of the Alps are actually located in Switzerland, but honestly, they have gotten the best parts of it (okay, the Dolomites are pretty superb, too). If you love nature, you will be in awe.

Cat walk round the First cable car top station over snowy Alps above Grindelwald, Switzerland.

My favorite mountains? That is hard, but Niesen is pretty unique (it comes in the shape of a pyramid), Matterhorn (of course), Jungfraujoch with the highest trains station in Europe, or the Swiss Skyline with the three mountains Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau, and many more). If these beautiful Switzerland pictures do not inspire you to visit Switzerland, I am not sure what will.Best places to visit in Interlaken Switzerland

The mountains in Switzerland are not all part of the Alps. Actually, the Swiss Alps, along with the Swiss Plateau and the Swiss portion of the Jura Mountains, are just one of its three main physiographic regions. And though I still cheer for the Swiss Alps, the other mountains are beauties, too.

Accessibility

It might have charm if places are not really accessible – maybe it means fewer crowds and more authenticity. However, accessibility is also an amazing thing.

Given its location, bordering amongst others Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, it is easy to get to Switzerland. Whether you drive, take a train, or fly – getting to Switzerland doesn’t cause headaches.Mount Pilatus with the Swiss Travel PassAlso, you can reach mountain peaks – often – very easily because cable cars and funiculars are getting you up. While there are parts of Switzerland that are not easily accessible, it is very easy to get around and enjoy stunning mountain views without much effort.Mountain stops in Switzerland

Public Transportation

One main reason for the accessibility is the AMAZING public transportation in Switzerland. I yet have to visit a country that has as good public transportation as Switzerland.

RHAETISCHE BAHN: Bernina Express- Albulalinie
swiss-image.ch/Peter Donatsch

Trains and buses are clean, reliable, and punctual – many routes run regularly, and you can get to any part of Switzerland with public transportation. Okay, it is not really cheap, but if something is as good as public transportation in Switzerland, it is okay to charge a bit more (though I would not mind a price reduction on Swiss Travel Passes).

All You Need to Know About the Swiss Travel PassTip: Take the “Express” trains for the most scenic routes and window views.

Road Trip

Yes, public transportation in Switzerland is great, but so is road tripping. I couldn’t choose which is the better way to get around because both are pretty good ways to see the country.

I have road-tripped Switzerland many times, and I never tire. The mountain passes, the streets and of course the views… Switzerland is made for driving (but watch out for speed cams, the penalties for speeding are high).

Check out my Switzerland road trip guide for more info.

High-Quality Food

Switzerland has good and high-quality food: I have the feeling that the food is of much better quality than in Germany and that quality has the highest priority. Yes, Maggi (or many other Nestle products) is not fresh or high quality, but there is a reason why food is so expensive in Switzerland.

I am against eating animals (unless your life depends on it), but I appreciate that there is no mass production of animal products. You will see many cows in the mountains who roam freely. So, if you are on a budget, you might have to reduce your meat intake, but the meat does not come from tiny barns.

Zurich has awesome vegan and vegetarian restaurants with great food, which many omnivores (though the normal diary of a Swiss is not very vegetarian or vegan-friendly). But apart from those cities, it is a bit tough for vegetarians.

Good Time to Visit all Year Round

What is the best time to visit Switzerland? Switzerland is ideal for all seasons: Decide whether you want to enjoy the summer and take a swim in one of the lakes or if you prefer skiing in winter.Where to visit in SwitzerlandIf you love snow, you should definitely visit in the winter, and you will experience a winter wonderland. I have seen Norway and Iceland in winter – covered with snow – but Switzerland probably is the most beautiful country to see.Bernina Express in Switzerland in the winter, Valposchiavo

Outdoor Adventures in Switzerland

Switzerland is heaven for outdoor fans. Hiking is only one option for visitors. Whether you are a beginner, more experienced, or want to go on multi-day hikes to explore the stunning nature. Switzerland has something for everyone. Trift Bridge in Grimselwelt as a main place near Interlaken with Arzo Travels

I never liked hiking until I hiked in Switzerland. The views offered along the hikes are worth the “pain.” So, if you do not believe in hiking, Switzerland might convince you to try it! And you will see places like the Trift Bridge.Paradise for Outdoorlovers in EbenalpBut of course, there is so much more outdoor adventure – paragliding, white water rafting, bungee jumping…  The list is endless!

Waterfalls

Let´s talk waterfalls. Switzerland might not be Iceland (in terms of waterfalls), but some amazing and impressive waterfalls exist. You do not believe me? Well, think about the biggest waterfalls in Europe – the Rhine Falls.Arzo Travels in Schaffhausen, Rhine Falls

Or the Giessbach Waterfalls – or the Staubbauch Waterfalls in Lauterbrunnen near Interlaken. There is no shortage of waterfalls and just one more reason to visit Switzerland.

where to visit in Switzerland
@shutterstock

Many Free Activities

Yes, Switzerland is amongst the 5 most expensive countries in the world. BUT Switzerland also has many free activities – you can visit many places (lakes, parks, etc.) for free and do not have to pay an entrance fee.View from Brienzer RothornInstead of taking (expensive) cable cars to get up mountain peaks, you can hike and see some of the most beautiful places on earth for free.

Influences from Many Cultures

Influence of several countries: At least German, French, Italian influences are very present, making Switzerland not only one country but actually it feels like visiting several countries at once.

Quick Getaways to Other Countries

Where is Switzerland located? It is ideally located for a quick getaway to other countries and borders Germany, Italy, France, Austria, and Liechtenstein.

If you visit Switzerland, you can do day trips to beautiful places in Austria or Germany. From northern Switzerland, you are in a quite short amount of time in Bavaria and can add places like Neuschwanstein Castle to your itinerary.Things to do around Neuschwanstein Castle, Waterfall near MarienbrückeIf you are in southern Switzerland, e.g., Geneva, you can do an amazing day tour to beautiful Annecy in France.Annecy: one of the many bridges

What about Italy? Yes, if you are in southern Switzerland, you can easily visit Lake Como and explore some of Italy’s northern parts.

Beautiful Cities

Does Switzerland have nice cities? Yes, it does have charming and romantic cities and towns: Zurich, Geneva, Lucerne, Lugano are just some of them.

Safety

Is Switzerland safe? Does it have a high crime rate? Is Switzerland clean? Switzerland is one of the cleanest and probably safest states I have been to, the crime rate is, compared to Germany and many other countries, not high, and I felt safe all the time. Switzerland is also a great place for (first-time) female solo travelers.

Friendly Polite

People from Switzerland are called Swiss, and yes, Swiss people are extremely friendly, polite though a bit shy and reserved.

There are more reasons, but these are pretty good reasons to visit the tiny country in Europe.

Wondering what I don’t like about Switzerland? Find out and scroll down.

WHY NOT VISIT SWITZERLAND

Okay, though I am a fan of Switzerland, it doesn’t mean I am wearing (only) rose-colored glasses. Yes, there are a couple of issues even with Switzerland.

Price-Tag

Is Switzerland really expensive? Switzerland is one of the most expensive countries in the world and spending holidays there can eat into your budget.

Political situation

If you have read my blog, you know I am very liberal and anything else than conservative, so the xenophobic parties, which are quite strong, scare me. Depending on how strong they will eventually get, it might be a reason not to visit Switzerland anymore. The good thing so far is that the people are still super friendly.

Have you ever been to Switzerland? What do you think about this tiny country in Europe? Love to hear your opinions about Switzerland.

HOW TO VISIT THE RHINE FALLS IN SCHAFFHAUSEN

Rhine Falls @shutterstock

TRAVEL TIPS FOR A DAY TRIP TO RHINE FALLS

The Rhine Falls in Schaffhausen, Switzerland (actually it is between the towns Neuhausen am Rheinfall and Laufen-Uhwiesen) are the biggest waterfalls in Europe.

It is not very high with a height of 23 meters, but with over a width of 150 meters, up to 700’000 liters of water fall over the rocks every second – making the Rhine Falls the biggest waterfall in Europe.

Schaffhausen makes a wonderful day trip from Zurich or Lucerne, but the town center of Schaffhausen is also charming and worth a visit.

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.

Check out prices for accommodation and find the best hotel for you

@shutterstock
Rhine Falls @shutterstock

TIPS FOR VISITING THE RHINE FALLS

I visited the Rhine Falls in Schaffhausen three times and used two different entrances – each entrance offers different activities and views of the Rhine Falls. If you have time you can see the Rhine Falls from different angles – if you ask me, I deeply believe it is one of the best places to visit in Switzerland.

THE RHINE FALLS – FACTS

Facts & figures
Width of the Rhine Falls 150 meters
Height of the Rhine Falls 23 meters
Depth of the basin 13 meters
Age of the Rhine Falls approx. 15’000 years
The capacity of flow in summer approx. 600’000 liters per second
The capacity of flow in winter approx. 250’000 liters per second
The lowest capacity of flow 1921, 95’000 liters per second
The greatest capacity of flow 1965, 1’250’000 litres per second

HISTORY OF RHINE FALLS

Let´s go back many thousand years ago, but I will keep it very short.

Due to tectonic shifts in the Ice Age, the Rhine River was forced into a new riverbed over 15,000 years ago. The Rhine Falls came into being at the transition point where hard chalk turned into soft gravel.

LOCATION OF THE RHINE FALLS

The Rhine Falls are located in the very north of Switzerland – close to the German borders. The falls are actually not in Schaffhausen but Neuhausen.

HOW TO GET TO THE RHINE FALLS BY CAR

It depends whether you want to visit the Northern banks of Southern Banks of the Rhine Falls.

1. Southern bank (Laufen Castle): GPS address: Areal Schloss Laufen, 8447 Dachsen

2. Northern bank (Schlössli Wörth): GPS address: Rheinfallquai 32, 8212 Neuhausen am Rheinfall

  • FROM BASEL ABOUR 2 HOURS
  • FROM ZÜRICH ABOUT 1 HOUR
  • FROM KREUZLINGEN ABOUT 1 HOUR

Walking from one car park to the other takes about 10-15 minutes.

HOW TO GET TO THE RHINE FALLS BY PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

The Rhine Falls are easily accessible by public transportation. You can get from many cities, like Zürich, to the Rhine Falls, without changing trains (or changing trains max. 1 time).

The train station is in front of the Rhine Falls (you can see them from the train already), and there is not much walking included.

TRAIN STATION:

Southern river bank (Schloss Laufen): SBB train station «Schloss Laufen am Rheinfall»

Northern river bank (Schlössli Wörth): SBB train station «Neuhausen Rheinfall»

HOW TO GET TO SCHAFFHAUSEN BY RHYFALL EXPRESS

There is a little train that brings you to the Rhine Falls from several places close by.

Ride from Schaffhausen to the Rhine Falls and back (takes about 30 minutes, one-way ticket around 6€)

Operating hours: 2 April to 17 October 2021

How to visit the Rhine Falls

There are two main ways to see the Rhine Falls – from the northern banks and the southern banks.

This will make a difference in parking, entrance fee, and more, so you might want to think about how to see the Rhine Falls. I suggest visiting both sides of the Rhine Falls.

If you plan to visit the Rhine Falls, you can either use the “entry” Schloss Laufen (Site Dachsen/Zurich) or Schlössli Wörth (Site Neuhausen/Schaffhausen).

SOUTHERN BANKS OF SCHAFFHAUSEN – SCHLOSS LAUFEN (SITE DACHSEN / ZURICH)

On my first trip, I decided to use the entry at Schloss Laufen. And here is what you need to know if you choose this entry.

  • Parking is free
  • Dogs are permitted (and free)
  • Wheel-chair friendly to the most part (there is a lift to get to the platform)

RESTAURANTS / SHOPS

There are some souvenir shops, cafes and an older castle – Schloss Laufen. If you are hungry or thirsty, you will not have to worry. Of course, everything comes with the typical price tag, but you can also bring your own snacks and drinks.

SCHLOSS LAUFEN + Historama

On this site of the Rhine Falls, you can visit the castle and also see the historama – an interactive exhibition about the Rhine Falls. It is included in your ticket.Rhine Falls how to get to Rhine Falls in Schaffhausen Neuhausen To get to the platform, you have to pass the castle.

VIEWING PLATFORM:

The highlight of the Rhine Falls is surely the platform’s view – this is why I suggest paying the entrance fee and use this entry. It is quite impressive because you get quite close to the waterfall.Rhine Falls are the rhine falls free

What to do at the rhine Falls

Rhine Falls where are the

Rhine Falls best places to visit in Schweiz

Rhine Falls in Neuhausen

Powerful wateralls Rhine Falls

NORTHERN BANKS OF RHINE FALLS: SCHLÖSSLI WÖRTH /SITE NEUHAUSEN / SCHAFFHAUSEN

Another option is to see the waterfalls from Schlössli Wörth. Schlössli Wörth is the other entrance – there is no entrance fee, but the parking fees are quite high. 

  • No entrance fee
  • Parking fee (first 1 hour= 5€, each additional hour 2€)

How to see the Rhine Falls in SwitzerlandIf you choose to see the Rhine Falls this way, you can do the boat tours from here. If you have enough time, I would recommend seeing it from both sides, especially because it is not that far from each other and you could walk.

MY TIP: Park your car at the southern shores for free and get on the viewing platform before doing a stroll to the northern banks.

BOAT TOURS:

There are a number of boat tour options available on this side of the Rhine Falls.

Here are some popular ones:

  • Rock tour: 30 minutes including climbing – the rock
  • Rhine crossing: 3 minutes
  • Short tour: 15 minutes
  • Audioguide: 30 minutes

Hours of operation:
April + October (11am to 5pm); May + September (10 am to 6 pm); June, July, August (9:30 am to 6:30 pm)

I was with a dog, so I could not do the rock climbing boat cruise (the huge rock in the middle of the waterfalls), though it would have been my preferred choice.

Instead, I did the 15-minute boat tour (about 6€), and it turned out that the heavy rain of the previous days was my luck because the waterfall was much more powerful than on my last trip. I got actually also got scared about the people on the platform as it seemed they would be washed away by the water.

WATERSPORTS:

There are plenty of other activities (soft rafting, canoeing, etc.) you can do. But with a dog that is easily scared and not well behaved (so I could leave him alone), I was not free in my actions and just walked around a bit. Okay, honestly, I am also not into watersports, but if you are, plan accordingly.

RESTAURANTS:

There are also restaurants where you can have drinks/food with great views of the waterfall. There are also spots where you can picnic.

ADVENTURE PARK: 

On this side, you will one of Switzerland´s largest forest rope courses, where you will have unique views of the Rhine Falls – there are courses for beginners to advanced ones.

Hours of operation:

Open daily from April to the end of October from 10 am to 7 pm

PLAYGROUND

For the little ones, you will also find a playground on this side of the waterfalls.

RHINE FALLS ILLUMINATION

I have yet to see it myself but every night, the waterfalls get illuminated. I saw the Niagara Falls illuminated years ago and it looked spectacular so I guess, it is worth getting here before the sun sets, walk around and then stay until it gets dark and the spectacle begins. Check out the times for the illumination here.

Rhine Falls in Schaffhausen @shutterstock
 @shutterstock

Things to do Around Rhine Falls

The Rhine Falls are a must for any Switzerland itinerary – they are easy to visit and make a great day trip from places like Zurich, and they can be visited at any time of the year. So, a quick recap of what to do at the Rhine Falls.

  • Admire the Rhine Falls
  • Do a boat tour
  • Do a castle tour of Schloss Laufen + Historama (interactive exhibition about the Rhine Falls)
  • Visit the Adventure Park
  • Eat and drink in restaurants / Picnic (at both sides of the waterfalls possible)
  • Rent canoes
  • Hiking options around Rhine Falls
  • See the illumination of the waterfalls

Whether you do a boat trip, walk around the waterfall, stand on the platform or have a picnic/dinner around the Rhine Falls, there are a couple of things to do at the Rhine Falls.

But what happens once you have seen the waterfalls from all the different angles?

You can then visit places nearby, including the beautiful town of Schaffhausen, the fun city of Zurich, the art city of Basel, or even do a day trip to Lucerne.

If you see the Rhine Falls from the southern and northern banks (and do a boat tour), I assume it will take 2-5 hours.

IS IT WORTH VISITING THE RHINE FALLS?

I love the Rhine Falls and I think, they are great to visit if you are close by. As mentioned, I have visited three times already and will probably visit again in the future. However, I visited as day trips from Zurich or when I came from Southern Germany to Switzerland.

I do think, it is a great place for the family – the Rhine Falls are free (if you visit from the northern banks at least), pretty at any time of the year, and very accessible. Would I travel to the waterfalls from Southern Switzerland? I guess, I would not. It is worth it if you combine it with a trip to Schaffhausen or/and Stein am Rhine and stay for 2 days or so.

Stay safe and enjoy!Safe Travels, ArzoArzo Travels in Schaffhausen, Rhine Falls

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