ITINERARY FOR SWITZERLAND AND ITALY IN 10 DAYS
Are you looking for the perfect Switzerland and Italy itinerary? Look no further, as this post is about an amazing trip that combines some of Switzerland’s most beautiful locations with one of Italy’s most idyllic regions.
As a self-proclaimed Switzerland addict, I love to talk about my favorite country. But do you know what? Italy is my second favorite country, so today I can tell you about my favorite travel destinations. This is also exciting for me!
And there are a lot of things to see and do in both countries – but with only ten days (or a bit less or more) it is impossible to see all the top places in these countries. But with this Italy and Switzerland itinerary, you get to explore some of the extraordinarily stunning places.
Locarno, Valle Verzasca, St.Moritz, the Mortaratsch Glcier, Milan, and Lake Como – these are some of the incredible places you will see if you follow this itinerary. But this post is also important travel tips – e.g. how to get around, where to stay, and more.
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FAQ: SWITZERLAND AND ITALY TRIP
So whether you want to explore these two places in 5, 7, or 10 days – this Switzerland and Italy itinerary is the perfect way to explore Switzerland’s alpine beauty and relax in an Italian paradise. Get ready for a trip of a lifetime!
Here are some important FAQs and answers.
BEST TIME TO VISIT ITALY AND SWITZERLAND
If you want to make the most of your Switzerland and Italy itinerary, May, June, and September through early October are the BEST times to visit. Spring is a great time to enjoy some beautiful blooms in Valle Verzasca and explore Locarno’s colorful old town.
In the fall, you’ll get to witness Switzerland’s patchwork of golden-colored forests and experience Italy’s mild temperatures.
Plus, the days are just long enough for you to take in the sights without rushing around. Whatever time of year you visit, this itinerary will provide a perfect blend of stunning nature and vibrant culture.
I visited Lake Como twice in the summer months – and I was melting! Seriously. It can get hot and thus, how could I recommend visiting in the busy summer months, where it is not only hot – so hot, that sightseeing is difficult – but also accommodation prices are higher than they are in pricey Switzerland and Italy. And in the summer, there are also the crowds – it will be busy when you visit.
HOW TO GET AROUND IN SWITZERLAND – PUBLIC TRANSPORT & CAR
🚆 PUBLIC TRANSPORT
One of the best ways to get around Switzerland is by using its efficient public transportation system. It is reliable, punctual, clean, and gets you everywhere!
The Swiss Travel Pass is a great way to travel conveniently and cost-effectively, as it allows you unlimited access to trains, buses, boats, and trams. You can also use it for discounted fares or free admission at many museums.
TIP: SWISS TRAVEL PASS
The Swiss Travel Pass is a pass you can get in Switzerland that allows you to use buses, trains, and boats without extra costs. Even some mountain excursions are included (like Mount Rigi), and for most others, you get a 50% discount. The Swiss Travel Pass also covers most museums and entrances to castles.
Yes, the Swiss Travel Pass is quite expensive but it will pay off. There are passes for 3, 4, 6, 8, or 15 days available. I suggest, getting the pass for this itinerary, if you use public transportation.
🚘 ROAD TRIP
Though I love road tripping Switzerland, I do not necessarily recommend renting a car for this trip, just because Swiss public transport is so great. Also, because of the destinations I recommend here, you should know that driving in these parts can be more stressful as (mountain) roads can be narrow and windy and it might not be the best for inexperienced drivers.
However, I cannot deny that driving in Switzerland has quite some benefits – including flexibility and if you travel with a couple of people, it might be even cheaper.
In case, you decide to rent a car, I suggest this site to find the best prices. I normally use my own car whenever I drive in Austria or Switzerland. I have used this site to find a rental car for other destinations, though (e.g. Albania).
If you want to use the car in both countries, make sure you are allowed to do so.
HOW TO GET AROUND IN ITALY – PUBLIC TRANSPORT & CAR
🚆 PUBLIC TRANSPORT
In Italy, public transport is also efficient and easy to use. You can take the train or bus to most places you’d like to visit. Around Lake Como, buses and boats are your best bet to get around. To travel between cities – like Como to Milan – trains are the most effective and fastest way.
TIP: If you buy a paper ticket, remember to validate your ticket BEFORE you get on a train, at the machines in the underground tunnels, or on the tracks. You must do this before riding, otherwise, the ticket inspector may fine you.
🚘 ROAD TRIP
I do not necessarily see the need to rent a car in Italy, though it gives you more flexibility and freedom. Hiring a car can be a great option if flexibility is very important to you. However, driving in Italy is not for the fainthearted. Streets can be busy and drivers tend to be reckless. Also, petrol prices are quite high as are highway tolls.
HOW TO GET FROM SWITZERLAND TO ITALY
If you’re planning on doing a Switzerland and Italy itinerary, getting between these two countries is easy.
Taking the “Bernina Express” from Milan to Chur includes a border crossing near Tirano – that should go smoothly. You might get asked for your IDs and though I have crossed the border several times this way, I never had any border controls.
If you plan to get back from Locarno to Milan, all you need to do is take the train from Locarno to Como Nord Station in Italy. The journey takes about 1 hour and 20 minutes, and trains run up to 10 times per day.
If you want to travel by car between Switzerland and Italy, there are several border crossings that take less than an hour. The most popular route is the Great St Bernard Pass, which takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes from Martigny in Switzerland to Aosta in Italy.
VISA FOR A SWITZERLAND AND ITALY ITINERARY
If you’re an EU citizen, visiting Switzerland is as simple as a walk in the park! You don’t need any visa: just enjoy your vacation time. So go explore new lands without worrying about unnecessary paperwork – with so many great places to see, there’s no excuse for staying put at home! However, have your ID with you as there might be border controls.
If you are not an EU citizen but have a Schengen visa, you can also visit both countries without hassle.
ITALY AND SWITZERLAND ITINERARY – 10 DAYS
So, let´s get started with your trip to Italy and Switzerland.
🇮🇹 DAY: 1 MILAN
Milan is a city located in northern Italy and is the capital of the Lombardy region. It is known as one of the fashion capitals of Europe (the people here are really the most beautifully dressed ever), as well as being an important financial center and home to numerous cultural attractions.
Some of the most famous sights in Milan include the Duomo di Milano, one of the largest Gothic cathedrals in Europe, and La Scala opera house, which is home to some of the world’s best operas. Other attractions include Sforza Castle and Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II.
If you have one day in Milan, there is plenty to do. Start with a visit to the Duomo di Milano at the heart of the city. After that, take a stroll around La Scala Opera House and admire its beauty. Then explore Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, one of the oldest shopping malls in Europe. For lunch, have a traditional Italian meal at one of the city’s many restaurants.
In the afternoon, take a stroll around Sforza Castle and its beautiful gardens.
Be sure to finish your day off with a glass of Italian wine and some delicious Italian food.
Though Milan is not my favorite Italian city, it is a great place to visit – even if it is just for the jaw-dropping cathedral. I would not stay longer than a day in Milan though – too many places nearby are waiting for you!
ACTIVITIES/TOURS IN MILAN
WHERE TO STAY IN MILAN
LUXURY: I once stayed at the beautiful Principe Di Savoia – Dorchester Collection. This 5-star hotel offered everything I needed for my 1-night stay. And because it is not directly located in the city center (but not too far away), a limo service will get you to the city center – free of charge.
MID-RANGE: This 3-star hotel, Missori Suites, is centrally located and might be the perfect choice for your trip!
FROM MILAN TO COMO
The train from Milan to Como takes between 40-75 minutes. Tickets start from only 5 € (depending on which connection etc.)
🇮🇹 DAY 2 & 3: LAKE COMO
Spending two days in Lake Como is a perfect escape for anyone looking to explore the beauty of Italy.
Lake Como is a lake in northern Italy, located at the base of the Alps and about 40km north of Milan. The lake is shaped like an inverted Y, with two long branches that extend from the city of Como in the south to Colico in the northeast.
It is renowned for its scenic beauty, making it a popular tourist destination, and it is also home to some of the world’s most luxurious villas. The lake has several small towns located along its shoreline, including Bellagio, Menaggio, and Varenna.
There are numerous activities to enjoy on Lake Como such as swimming, sailing, windsurfing and even skiing in the winter months. It is also possible to take boat trips around the lake, with regular ferry services connecting many of the towns and villages along its shoreline.
Additionally, Lake Como also boasts some excellent restaurants serving up delicious Italian cuisine.
WHERE TO STAY IN COMO
There are plenty of places to stay on Lake Como, ranging from luxury resorts to more modest accommodation options.
LUXURY: One of the most luxurious hotels in Como is this 4-star property Villa Flori.
MID-RANGE: If you want something more budget-friendly and decide to stay in Como, check out B&B Hotel Como City Center. It is an affordable but very well-rated hotel, where you get good value for money.
At the end of day 3, head back to Milan. Why? Because something very special is waiting for you.
FROM COMO TO MILAN:
From Como, take the train back to Milan. – it takes between 40-75 minutes. Tickets start from only 5 € (depending on which connection etc.)
🇮🇹 🇨🇭 DAY 4: MILAN – BERNINA EXPRESS
This day is about one of the most scenic train rides in the world. This day is about glaciers, tunnels, Alps, lakes. This day is about window views and relaxation. You could just sit back and enjoy an amazing ride from the comfort of a train.
What makes the Bernina Express so special, I think it should be part of the Italy/Switzerland itinerary? Well, From Tirano, Italy to Chur via St.Moritz in Switzerland – this train ride is just a feast for the eyes.
Since you are in Milan, you can start from there, and snaking through the majestic Swiss Alps, this iconic railway route takes riders over breathtaking landscape views and across two towering passes. The train winds its way up to Tirano, Italy – and here the Bernina Express officially starts.
Embark on an unforgettable journey aboard the Bernina Express, a spectacular ride through the Alps! You’ll glide over the stunning 65-meter-high Landwasser Viaduct, an architectural masterpiece, and UNESCO World Heritage site.
Along the winding route from Chur to Tirano, marvel at the engineering feats of 55 tunnels and 196 bridges. Witness breathtaking views of the Bernina massif at the Montebello curve, gaze upon the impressive Morteratsch glacier, and admire the pristine beauty of the lakes along the way.
Don’t miss the unique Alp Grüm and the mesmerizing Brusio Circular Viaduct on this truly remarkable Alpine adventure!
TIP 1: You end your journey to St.Moritz – my tip is not to get all the way to Chur. There are some parts after St.Moritz, which are actually pretty impressive, but you will get to see this later during this trip.
TIP 1: There are some extra tickets for the Bernina Express from Milan to Chur. You could buy one of them and use the iconic Bernina Express. These trains run 1-3 a day, depending on the season. If you have a Swiss Travel Pass, then there is no need to buy a ticket for the Tirano to Chur route, as the Pass is valid for the route. But you have to pay a compulsory reservation fee which is up to 30 CHF in the summer months.
OR, you can take a “fake” Bernina Express. So, why do I call them fake Bernina Express? Well, there are local trains that do go the same route. There are no panoramic windows, and you might have to change trains once or twice.
However, there is no need for any reservation and thus, it would be completely covered by the Swiss Travel Pass. Also, there are a few more stops (in case you want to get out), and they run much more frequently (at least once every hour to be precise).
FROM MILAN TO ST.MORITZ
This train ride from Milan to St.Moritz takes about 4 hours – but it is a pretty ride, so buckle up (not literally as there are no seatbelts in Swiss trains) and enjoy!
🇨🇭DAY 5 & 6: ST. MORITZ
So, after this amazing train ride you had the day before, it is about going out and exploring the stunning Engadine Valley.
St. Moritz is a popular destination for tourists all year round as it offers something unique to each season, but it is especially beautiful during the summer months.
Located in the Swiss Alps of the Engadine Valley and surrounded by some of Europe’s most stunning mountain peaks, St. Moritz provides an idyllic natural playground for outdoor enthusiasts.
In the summer months, St. Moritz offers a variety of activities and attractions to keep you busy. Whether you enjoy hiking, biking, boating, horseback riding, and more in the surrounding mountainous landscape – you can choose from a variety of activities.
But most of all, I am in love with St.Moritz for its amazing mountain views – whether you get up Corvatsch Mountain or Diavolezza, you have some of the best panoramas. And the lakes…ahhh, what should I tell you? Yes, Lake Como is a beauty and Lake Maggiore (which you will see later) is also a pretty lake. But Lake Silvaplana and Lake Sils are next-level stunning.
St. Moritz also makes for an ideal holiday destination as there is a wide range of accommodation options such as luxury hotels, apartments, and chalets to choose from. Visitors can also head to the nearby resorts of Pontresina or Silvaplana for additional activities and attractions.
With its picturesque backdrop, St. Moritz is also the perfect place for a romantic getaway or family vacation.
TIP: You can use public transportation for free with your Swiss Travel Pass. However, the cable cars/funiculars do not offer any discounts with your Swiss Travel Pass. The reason I recommend visiting St.Moritz for two nights is the following: It is a stunning Swiss destination.
But there is also another reason: If you stay a minimum of 2 nights in one of the participating hotels, you get a pass – for free – that allows you to use public transportation and all 13 cable cars/funiculars in the valley for free!
This offer is only available in the warmer months (so from June to early October) and is known as the “Bergbahn Inklusive”. You can also buy mountain passes instead of single tickets, in case you do not stay 2 nights in St.Moritz.
WHERE TO STAY IN ST.MORITZ
These accommodations in St.Moritz all offer the Bergbahn Inklusive ticket (if you stay for at least two nights).
LUXURY: This hotel, Badrutt’s Palace, has everything you are looking for when booking a 5-star hotel in St. Moritz. From an extensive spa area to a lounge and bar area, luxurious hotel rooms and suites, and more.
MID-RANGE: Hotel Corvatsch is a 3-star hotel located in the lower part of St. Moritz. and only a 3-minute walk from the lake and the Signal Cable Car.
BUDGET: The St. Moritz Youth Hostel is situated at the edge of the forest in the lower part of St. Moritz. During the day, there is a bus that gets you to the St. Moritz train station. The rooms all have shared bathrooms, and breakfast is always included – you cannot find a better deal in all of St. Moritz.
FROM ST.MORITZ TO LOCARNO
The train ride is about 4 hours – but no reason to be upset about it. First, get to Thusis – this is part of the Bernina Express which is absolutely amazing and which you did not get to see if you got out at St.Moritz.
Then continue your journey to Bellinzona and then to Locarno – as you probably are well aware by now, train rides in Switzerland are more fun than just a necessary evil!
🇨🇭 DAY 7 & 8: LOCARNO / ASCONA
So, after a few days in pretty St.Moritz, head to Ticino, the Italian-speaking canton.
Locarno is located on the northern shore of Lake Maggiore (Lago di Maggiore) and is a popular tourist destination. The town boasts beautiful scenery with views of both lake and mountains, including nearby Cardada Mountain.
Enjoy the stunning architecture of the old town, go for a boat ride on Lake Maggiore, take hikes in the nearby mountains and forests, or explore some of the cultural sights such as the International Film Festival held every August. Many restaurants and cafes line the waterfront promenade.
Lake Maggiore, also known as Verbano, is a large lake in northwestern Italy and southern Switzerland. It is the largest and deepest of all the pre-Alpine lakes in the region. The lake is partly Swiss and partly Italian – one could say, a perfect mix!
If you have time, walk towards Ascona (or hop on a bus) which is about 4 km from Locarno. Ascona is a small Swiss town located in the Ticino region of Switzerland, on the northern shore of Lake Maggiore.
Ascona is known for its warm climate, stunning scenery, and beautiful “lake” beaches, making it a great place to enjoy some rest and relaxation.
Ticino is actually a little peace of Italy in the heart of Switzerland – the best of two worlds!
TIP: The boat ride on Lago di Maggiore is free with a Swiss Travel Pass (pick the tour that is in the Swiss side of the lake).
WHERE TO STAY IN LOCARNO
Tip, though I recommend staying overnight in Locarno, I also understand if you do not like changing hotels too often. If that is the case with you, I suggest leaving your luggage at the train station (there are lockers which cost about 10 CFH for 12 hours but have a max. size).
Explore Locarno and then get your luggage and check in your accommodation in Valle Verzasca. But if you prefer staying in Locarno, here are some hotel tips.
LUXURY: I have stayed at a couple of very luxurious hotels, but this is probably one of my favorites: Villa Orselina! It is a top luxurious small boutique hotel in Orselina, just a few minutes from Locarno.
MID-RANGE: I did not stay at Hotel Garni Muralto, but it is one of the best-rated hotels in that price range. It is not directly in Locarno, but Muralto just borders Locarno and you can get there within minutes.
Do not expect bargains when traveling in Switzerland, so there are no real budget hotels. But here are some general money-saving tips, check out my post for the best advice.
🇨🇭 DAY 9 & 10 VALLE VERZASCA AND DEPARTURE
Ohhhh, my! Today it is time to explore one of the most unique destinations in Switzerland: the impressive Valle Verzasca Valley.
Valle Verzasca is a spectacular valley located in the canton of Ticino. The entire region is renowned for its stunning natural beauty and abundance of outdoor activities. The valley is one of the most scenic parts of Switzerland, with lush green meadows and majestic mountains providing an unforgettable backdrop.
Enjoy activities such as hiking, mountain biking, swimming, rock climbing, and kayaking. For those who prefer less physical activity, there are plenty of cultural attractions to explore too.
From ancient castles to small villages tucked away in secluded valleys and waterfalls, Valle Verzasca has something for everyone!
One of the most popular attractions in Valle Verzasca is the Lavertezzo Bridge, an impressive stone arch bridge that crosses the river at Lavertezzo. Constructed in 1618, this historic structure has become a symbol of Valle Verzasca’s past and present.
Valle Verzasca is so pretty, it’s impossible to take a bad photograph here!
Tip: Most people just come here for a day – and while a day trip to Valle Verzasca is better than none, I recommend staying here overnight and seeing some places others do not see in one day.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON 10 DAYS IN SWITZERLAND AND ITALY ITINERARY
This Switzerland and Italy itinerary is the perfect combination of culture, nature, adventure, and relaxation. From the stunning architecture of Switzerland’s old towns to Italy’s breathtaking lakeside views and Switzerland’s majestic mountains and forests, this trip has something for everyone.
With plenty of opportunities for exploration, relaxation, or a little bit of both – Switzerland and Italy are sure to give you an unforgettable experience that will stay with you forever! So don’t forget your camera – because it would be a shame to miss out on capturing these amazing memories!