HOW TO PLAN THE BEST SWITZERLAND ROAD TRIP

HOW TO ROAD TRIP IN SWITZERLAND + TRAVEL TIPS

Tempted to take a Switzerland road trip? Then you’ve come to the right place! As an avid admirer of all things Swiss, I’m here to help. There’s no better way than hitting the open roads and winding your way around this stunning country – marveling at its gorgeous lakes and majestic mountain peaks as you go.

Plus there are so many UNESCO World Heritage sites, charming villages, and heavenly landscapes that will add magical touches along your journey through Switzerland – making it one for life’s albums!

Let me be your expert tour guide on how YOU can make your own unforgettable Alpine adventure in Switzerland: buckle up & and let´s do a road trip in Switzerland!

Things to know before driving in mountains in Switzerland
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To visit all the places mentioned in this Switzerland road trip itinerary, you need a minimum of 3 weeks. Want to explore the beauty of Switzerland but don’t have much time? Don’t worry – even if you visit Switzerland for 5, 7, or 10 days, this post will help get the most out of your trip!

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. This means I might earn a small commission when you buy a product (at no extra cost to you) after clicking on my link. More about it here.

TIPS FOR ROAD TRIPPING SWITZERLAND

Ready for the Switzerland road trip of your wildest dreams? Traveling far and wide can be an amazing adventure, but having a plan is key! Check out the top travel tips to make sure you hit all the best stops, keep from getting lost in foreign lands, and have some fun along the way.

Switzerland road trip tips by Arzo Travels, Lake Thun
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Lake Thun road trip in Switzerland

Driving Tips For Your Switzerland Road Trip Itinerary

➡️ You must be 18 years or older to drive in Switzerland. 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 (kilometers per hour), and highways are 100 kph. In the city it is 50 kph, in the cities in residential areas it is 30 kph, and in rural areas, it is 80 kph.

➡️ You have to drive 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. They are everywhere!

➡️ 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 – they are all self-service, meaning that you will refill your own gas/diesel. Sometimes there is no person and you have to pay before you refill your gas at a machine, and sometimes you refill your gas and then go inside the gas station and pay at the cashier´s desk (normally in cash or by card).

➡️ 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.

➡️ A parking disc is helpful. 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.

➡️ Most of the time, there are parking machines and you can pay via different apps or credit cards. My tip: Download the app – EasyPark if you have internet in Switzerland. This app is super handy because you can book your parking ticket via the app. There is a small fee but you can extend and end the parking time even if you are not ar your car from a distance. If you do not have internet, then you might be able to pay by credit card or Twint but it is not always the case. Thus, have some coins with you to pay in these cases.

➡️ 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, Mürren, and a very few more areas. In these cases, you need to park your car at the nearest car park and then get there by train/funicular/gondola, etc.

➡️ 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 most likely already have a sticker. You can buy them at gas stations, online, or at the border. 

➡️ The vignette allows you to use the motorway. You could ditch buying it – and try to avoid it by just using second streets. It will make your life harder though because driving motorways might save you some time. Also, 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 roads can be narrow and windy. Especially in the Italian and French-speaking part, this could be an issue because the drivers, in addition, also tend to speed.

➡️ Roundabouts! If you are not familiar with roundabouts, make sure to learn about the rules, because there is an abundance of them. 

➡️ If you will have wifi in Switzerland, it will help you to navigate. Even in the mountains, the internet is really good, but every once in a while, it can happen that you will have no reception, so I highly recommend downloading an offline map (Google Maps or the app MapsMe, which I prefer) to make sure to have the best road trip.

Tips For Driving in the Swiss Mountains

Driving in the Swiss mountains can be challenging if you are not used to it. Here are some tips, specifically for driving in the Alps.

  1. Make sure to familiarize yourself with the terrain of the area in which you will be driving, so that you are aware of any tight turns or steep inclines (a GPS helps as you can see sharp turns ahead of time)
  2. Always check local forecasts as mountain weather can change quickly, and be prepared for inclement conditions.
  3. Be alert and cautious when driving on mountain roads, because of their narrow width and sharp curves.
  4. It is recommended to use low gears when driving up steep inclines. This will help to increase your control over the car and reduce brake wear.
  5. Be sure to keep a safe distance between you and other vehicles, as it can be difficult to pass on mountain roads.
  6. Don’t forget to enjoy the view and take breaks when necessary, as driving in the mountains can be physically and mentally taxing.
  7. It is important to carry a basic emergency kit with you, in case of breakdowns or other unexpected events.
  8. . Make sure that your tires are properly inflated and have sufficient tread before heading out on the road.
  9. . Make sure you are aware of any wildlife that may be present in the area and take extra caution when driving near them.
  10. Be aware of cyclists, hikers, and other pedestrians on the road when driving in mountain areas, as they can be difficult to see.
  11. If your vehicle starts to slide downhill, do not press heavily on the brakes; instead, gently engage them until you regain control.
  12. Have a plan for where you will go should an emergency arise while driving in the mountains. It is important to know your options in case of an accident or breakdown.

Mountain Passes in Switzerland

Ready for the drive of a lifetime? Check out Switzerland’s picturesque mountain passes: soaring peaks, winding roads, and all! Just be sure to plan your trip around seasonal road closures – because nothing spoils an adventure like being stuck in the snow.

Furka Pass road trip itinerary for Switzerland
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With snow on the ground, some passes will only be open for a certain window or completely closed for months – so make sure to stay ahead with weather forecasts! The awe-inspiring Sustenpass usually opens around June but that can vary depending on rain and other conditions.

I am not ashamed to admit that I had moments when I wanted to cry – just because I was overwhelmed by the beauty of driving in Switzerland and the Swiss Alps.

One day, I will dedicate one post just about the stunning passes, but for now, here are some of my favorite passes (and then we will talk about the main stops for your trip).

  • Flüela Pass (2.383 meters above sea level)
  • Julier Pass (2.284 meters above sea level)
  • Susten Pass (2,224 meters above sea level)
  • Brünig Pass (1,008 meters above sea level)
  • San Bernardino Pass (2.065 meters above sea level) 
  • Gotthard Pass (2.106 meters above sea level)
  • Albula Pass (2.315 meters above sea level)
  • Furka Pass (2.429 meters above sea level)
  • Klausen Pass (1.948 meters above sea level)
Brünig Pass - Switzerland Road trip with Arzo Travels
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Brünig Pass

Best Time to Road Trip Switzerland

Summer and early fall in Switzerland is the perfect time to get out on a road trip through Switzerland. From late June until October, you can take your car over nearly every mountain pass and enjoy some gorgeous weather (the occasional rainy day notwithstanding).

So, a summer road trip in Switzerland is like a dream come true. But even in spring, and fall, most Swiss roads are inviting – though some mountain passes are closed, it is pretty easy to get around and explore the country!

Where to Stay When Road-Tripping Switzerland

With no need for a fixed base you can stay on the move and find amazing places to rest each night – check out my detailed guide on where to stay in Switzerland.

I will also mention some great places to stay for each destination – and for each budget in this post below. 

How to Rent a Car in Switzerland

If you’re planning a road trip to beautiful Switzerland, but don’t have your own car with you – no worries! Discover Cars is the perfect rental company for making sure that when it comes to wheels for exploring this magnificent country, prices won’t break the bank.

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 Check out prices for your rental car in Switzerland here.

Budget For a Switzerland Road Trip

How much a Switzerland road trip will cost depends of course mostly on how long you will road trip, if you have to rent a car, what type of car you have, and how much you will drive. 

I am not talking about accommodation, food, and activities but here are some costs/prices.

RENTING A CAR COSTS: If you have to rent a car in Switzerland, you should budget between 50-150 CHF a day (for smaller and medium-sized cars). Plus, I highly suggest having full insurance and not only the basic one that comes with a rental car.

PETROL/DIESEL: Petrol/gas and diesel prices vary in Switzerland – you can expect to pay about 1,90 CHF on average for 1 liter of Diesel, and 1,75 CHF for 1 liter of gas/petrol. With these high gas/diesel prices, it might make sense to rent a smaller car if possible.

TOLL/VIGNETTE: You might have to pay a vignette/toll sticker for Switzerland that is valid for a calendar year – if you have a rental car, it might already be included.

PARKING: Parking is not cheap in Switzerland. But, well, what is cheap here? You might find free parking at some tourist spots (especially and mostly for cable car stations outside the town/city center) or along the shores of the lakes etc. but you can expect to pay around 1-2 CHF an hour for outdoor parking. In the evening, often after 7 pm, parking is free in many areas.

BEST STOPS FOR YOUR ROAD TRIP IN SWITZERLAND

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

This road trip itinerary is not the exact route of the Grand Tour of Switzerland but includes many stops.

Stop 1: Zurich

Nestled near the sparkling waters of Lake Zurich, discover Switzerland’s biggest city – Zurich!

From finance to historic sites dating back centuries, you won’t want to miss exploring this bustling metropolis. Okay, Zurich just has 400,000 inhabitants, so we have to be careful when we use the term metropolis – but it is the Swiss version of a metropolis.

Where to stay in Zurich - best places to stay in Zurich Switzerland
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Take a stroll around the city or enjoy some of its top attractions: Lake Zurich, Bahnhofstrasse, Lindenhof Hill, or Uetliberg Mountain. If you’re doing a 7-day tour through Switzerland – why not spend half a day here soaking up all that culture?

Check out my detailed post about this charming Swiss destination.

TIP: Make your adventure to Zurich even easier by taking the train from the airport right into it city center! This will help you with the headache of finding parking spots and being stuck in a traffic jam.  The day you leave Zurich and continue your journey, you can rent your car!

🛏️ WHERE TO STAY IN ZURICH

Luxury: Baur au Lac – Zurich has some great luxury hotels that are amazing for getting spoiled and enjoying life. Baur au Lac is one of the best-rated luxury hotels close to the city center.

➡️ Book your stay at Baur au Lac here.

Mid-Range: The Glärnischhof by TRINITY – For more budget-friendly accommodation, check out this 4-star hotel is one of the best-rated mid-range hotels close to the city center, right next to the famous Bahnhofstrasse, 

➡️ Book your stay at The Glärnischhof by TRINITY here.

Budget: Oldtown Hostel Otter – There are not many budget hotels in Zurich. This is a good-rated hostel in Zurich. I stayed here once and for a hostel, it actually was quite good – especially because of its great location.

➡️ Book your stay at Oldtown Hostel Otter here.

Stop 2: Stein am Rhein & Schaffhausen & Rhine Falls

Visit Stein am Rhein for an amazing experience in the past! This charming Swiss town is located near Lake Constance and the German border and has gorgeous Medieval architecture.

Come and explore its history, culture, and beauty – this should definitely be your next vacation spot if you’re looking to unwind in blissful surroundings!

Places to visit in Switzerland
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This Swiss town is full of historical delights, like St. George’s Abbey by the Rhine River and Hohenklingen Castle – which was built all the way back during Medieval times!

And don’t forget about all those beautifully preserved half-timbered houses with their brightly painted facades as they line up along old town streets – what a sight to see! So why not come explore this charming destination for yourself; it will be an adventure like no other!

Check out my Stein am Rhein guide for more travel info.

  • 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. 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 near the German border.

Schaffhausen attractions church
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Looking for the perfect postcard scene? Then Schaffhausen is your spot! This Swiss village boasts a beautiful Baroque-style skyline with delightful decor peeking out from every street.

Not to mention, you’ll find plenty of historic sites like the 16th-century Munot Fortress and St. Johann Church – plus an incredible Romanesque cathedral at Kloster Allerheiligen monastery.

But don’t miss out on the enchanting vineyards that give this place its unique character and charm – now that’s vacation perfection! 

  • Tip: Schaffhausen and Stein am Rhine are both lovely towns, but if you’re determined to get the most out of your day – might be worth skipping one! After all, those majestic Rhine Falls can’t wait for you! Just don’t forget that camera 📸.

Come see Europe‘s most majestic spectacle – the Rhine Falls! Located near Germany, these powerful falls are a sight to behold during May and June when their waters reach peak levels.

Guaranteed to leave you in awe with its beauty regardless of the travel months though, this is something no one should miss out on seeing!

Rhine Falls Switzerland Best places to see in Switzerland
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With towering cliffs, measuring an average of 23 meters high and spanning a whopping 150 meters wide, this natural wonder is sure to amaze. Don’t miss out on boat and guided tours while you’re there – they provide unbelievable views as well as insight into its special history.

Check out my more detailed guide on the Rhine Falls.

  • TIP: From Zurich, you can do a day trip and easily get to the Rhine Falls by car.

Stop 3: Basel

Basel is the ultimate destination for art travelers! This stunning city in northwest Switzerland sits right on the Rhine River, making it a perfect spot to take advantage of both Swiss and German cultures – not to mention its close proximity to France too.

So if you’re looking for an exciting place that’s full of delightful surprises, Basel has your name written all over it! 

Basel most beautiful places in Basel
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Basel is a living throwback to medieval times! You’ll love the 16th-century Town Hall in its huge red sandstone center and the 12th-century Gothic cathedral. Plus, explore the tomb of Erasmus—a renowned Dutch scholar from back then whose works can still be found at our local university today!

But if you’re more into art than history, Basel got that too: Basel’s overflowing with galleries just waiting for your visit.

TIP: After all the praise of beautiful Basel, I have to add a thing: If you only have a one-week Switzerland road trip, skip the art galleries of Basel and opt for something more traditionally Swiss instead – like taking in some breathtaking mountain views or discovering charming villages! 

Check out my Basel itinerary for more travel tips.

🛏️ WHERE TO STAY IN BASEL

Luxury – Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois – For the most luxurious stay, check out rates and prices at Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois, which is centrally located and one of the city’s best hotels.

➡️ Find out about the rates here.

Mid-Range – Hyperion Hotel – I stayed at the Hyperion Hotel, which is very well-known for its great views. It is located in Kleinbasel, and the tram station is just in front of the hotel. The hotel was great: good breakfast, a good location, and a modern style. 

➡️ Find out more about the hotel here.

Budget in Basel– We all know that there are no real bargains when it comes to accommodations in Switzerland. Hostels, where you could also book private rooms are my recommendations in this case.

➡️ Check out budget hotels and hostels here.

Stop 4: Bern 

Bern – the city where the river flows and beauty abounds! Located on a bend of the majestic Aare River, I consider Bern Europe’s most beautiful capital.

It’s also conveniently located for travelers looking to explore all that this amazing country has to offer.

Bern from Rosengarten with Arzo Travels
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Take yourself back more than eight centuries and explore this beautiful medieval city. Admire impressive structures like the Swiss Parliament, and Zytglogge Tower from the 13th century, and do not forget attractions such as Rose Garden or Bear Park.

Don’t miss out on visiting Bern if you pass through Switzerland – because then at least we can say you tried ;).

If you visit Bern during your road trip, check out my 1-day itinerary.

🛏️ WHERE TO STAY IN BERN

If you can, book your hotel in the old town. From there, you can get to all (or most) attractions in Bern within minutes.

Luxury – Bellevue Palace– Bellevue Palace is a 5-star hotel and centrally located – the perfect choice for those who like to indulge in luxury.

➡️ Check out rates here.

Mid-Range – Goldener Schlüssel – I stayed at the 3-star hotel Goldener Schlüssel for 1 night, located in the city center/old town. Though my hotel room was pretty small, with no direct (and free) parking options and the breakfast was simple, the location was perfect and made up for it.

➡️ Check out rates here.

Budget – Bern Youth Hostel  – Bern Youth Hostel is located in the city center and it offers affordable dorm beds but also private rooms with private bathrooms.

➡️ Check out rates here.

Stop 5: Lucerne

Nestled in central Switzerland, Lucerne boasts beautiful architecture from medieval times and is the perfect addition to your driving tour. 

Best things to do in Lucerne - Chapel Bridge in Lucerne
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This quaint Swiss city is full of surprises – from the 14th-century rampart Musegg Wall to picturesque attractions like Chapel Bridge, Spreuer Bridge, and Lion Monument.

And let us not forget about its panoramic views – get ready to witness some truly breathtaking snow-capped mountains when you visit Lake Lucerne. If relaxation is on your mind then head out towards Weggis; this secret spot promises peace & tranquility as well as fantastic opportunities for swimming in the lake or simply enjoying stunning vistas with nobody around!

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 – because one thing is guaranteed: You’re sure gonna fall in love with magical Lucerne!

The Axenroad is an absolute must-see when visiting Lucerne! Cruise along the scenic route, taking in spectacular lake views and lush greenery. Make sure to take a detour all the way to Vitznau – it’s one of those ‘once in a lifetime’ experiences you’ll never forget!

Check out my detailed Lucerne guide.

🛏️ WHERE TO STAY IN LUCERNE

I have stayed at several hotels in Lucerne, and here are some tips.

Luxury: Schweizerhof Lucerne – If you want to book a luxury hotel in Lucerne, I recommend this beautiful 5* hotel.

➡️ Book your stay at Schweizerhof Lucerne here.

Mid-Range: Hotel des Alpes – On my last Lucerne trip, I stayed at Hotel des Alpes. The room view was amazing (and included views of the Chapel Bridge and Mount Pilatus).

➡️ Book your stay at Schweizerhof Lucerne here.

Budget: The Bed + Breakfast– If you want to stay in a budget hotel, have a look at this B&B. Some rooms have a shared bathroom, and some have a private one.

➡️ Check out prices here.

Click here to read my full post on the best hotels in Lucerne.

Here are more tips on the best places to stay in Lucerne.

Stop 6: Interlaken

Nestled in the stunning Swiss Alps, Interlaken is a picturesque gem. With two of Switzerland’s most celebrated lakes – majestic Lake Thun and beautiful Lake Brienz – this charmingly small resort town will have you reaching for your camera as soon as you arrive! 

Visit the Schynige Platte with your Swiss Travel Pass
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If you’re looking for an incredible place to explore, Interlaken is your jam! Get ready to drive the perfect Swiss road trip and take in stunning views of emerald-colored Lake Thun. Picture yourself taking a stroll through lush meadows filled with majestic mountains and glaciers – it’s breathtakingly beautiful!

And don’t forget about magnificent Lake Brienz where there are plenty of picturesque villages along its shores waiting to be discovered – what could be more perfect? Whether you love hiking or skiing in the winter (or any other outdoor sport!), this spot has something special just for you. 

  • TIP: For the best window view, make sure your wheels are taking a scenic detour – when driving along the northern shores of Lake Thun (pass Beatenberg or Sigriswil you have the best views over Lake Thun. 

The region of Interlaken/Jungfrau will blow your mind with its gorgeous sights! From the magical wonders of St.Beatus Caves to the majestic city of Thun, and beautiful Spiez – this region has it all!

And don’t forget about Lauterbrunnen or Grindelwald either- every inch is full of amazing opportunities to explore. Don’t pass up a chance like this…you won’t regret it! 

Lake Thun-Top Things to do in Interlaken, Switzerland
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If you’re in the region, don’t just come and go – stay awhile! With so much to see and do here, I reckon a 3-day minimum is essential-

But if exploring every nook & cranny of this area sounds like your thing (which trust me – it should!), you should stay several months. But, realistically, say 4 days presents itself as an absolute must. Here are some tips on how to plan your Interlaken itinerary.

🛏️ WHERE TO STAY IN INTERLAKEN:

Luxury: Victoria Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa – The most luxurious hotel in Interlaken is Victoria Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa. I have not stayed there myself, so I can only repeat what I heard: This hotel is amazing. If you are looking for a fancy place in Interlaken, this is probably the best pick.

 ➡️ Book your stay at Victoria Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa here.

Mid-Range: Hotel du Nord – For your stay in Interlaken, I recommend this hotel – Hotel du Nord – which is centrally located and is quite nice. It is one of my favorite accommodations for your 5-day Swiss itinerary.

➡️ Book your stay at Hotel du Nord here.

Budget: Backpackers Villa Sonnenhof – If you are on a budget, I recommend staying in Backpackers Villa Sonnenhof next to the Höhenmatte. It is not the cheapest hostel but definitely worth the money and one of my all-time favorite hostels.

➡️ Book your stay at Backpackers Villa Sonnenhof here.

Stop 7: Montreux

Come to enchanting Montreux, nestled along the northern shores of beautiful Lake Geneva. From its jaw-dropping alpine views to captivating attractions, this Swiss village has everything a traveler could ever dream of!

A castle with a view and a great Instagram spot in Montreux
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Stunning vineyards, majestic castles – the renowned Chateau de Chillon – plus flowery promenades, trees everywhere…And don’t forget to say ‘hello’ to the Freddie Mercury statue while you’re at it.

Don’t miss out on spectacular Lake Geneva views that can be seen from this beautiful Swiss town. Make sure you give yourself at least 1 day in Montreux.

🛏️ WHERE TO STAY IN MONTREUX

Luxury – Fairmont Le Montreux Palace – For one of the most luxurious experiences in Montreux, check out Fairmont Le Montreux Palace. This 5-star hotel has a great location and is best known amongst those who like to indulge.

➡️ Book your stay at Fairmont Le Montreux Palace here.

Mid-Range – Eurotel Montreux – As mentioned above, I stayed at the lovely 4-star hotel Eurotel Montreux – I was more than happy with my choice.

➡️ Book your stay at Eurotel Montreux here

Budget in Montreux  – Okay, there are not really budget-friendly hotels in Montreux. Accommodation around Lake Geneva is just pretty expensive. 

➡️ Book your budget-friendly hotel in Montreux here.

Stop 8: Geneva 

Nestled at the southern end of beautiful Lake Geneva, this charming city oozes history and style. It’s a great place to experience breathtakingly scenic views, and important diplomatic activities – and get yourself an iconic timepiece at one of its famous watch shops!

Geneva in summer, Switzerland
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Geneva is Switzerland’s metropolitan jewel. Home to both the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Geneva reigns internationally for its enviable culture and financial prowess… but not necessarily worth visiting if you’re doing a short Swiss road trip.

Though I personally love Geneva, it is not a must-see if you stay in Switzerland for, let´s say, 3 weeks. 

🛏️ WHERE TO STAY IN GENEVA

My experiences with Genevan hotels were a bit of a wild ride; not only are they super pricey but the standards tend to leave something to be desired. So if you’re planning on venturing around Geneva make sure your hotel has stellar reviews so you don’t get taken for too much money – no one likes being overcharged!

Luxury: Les Armures Hotel Nestled in the heart of Geneva’s old town, the Les Armures Hotel occupies a unique 17th-century building that exudes historic charm and character. This boutique hotel offers guests a one-of-a-kind experience, blending luxurious accommodations with fine dining in an unpretentious setting.

➡️ BOOK YOUR STAY AT  LES ARMURES HOTEL HERE

Mid-Range – N’vY Manotel There are some stunning hotels close to all the main attractions that won’t break the bank. My personal favorite is N’vY Manotel – a colorful hotel located close to the shores of Lake Geneva and the old town.

➡️ BOOK YOUR STAY AT  N´V`Y MANOTEL HERE

Stop 9: Zermatt 

Zermatt is a mountain getaway like no other! Perched at an elevation of 1,600 meters (5,249 feet) beneath the iconic Matterhorn Peak in Switzerland’s sunny south, this car-free destination draws visitors from all over looking for that perfect Alpine escape.

Switzerland in winter, Zermatt
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Whether you’re an adventure junkie or a lover of the finer things in life, there’s something for everyone when it comes to visiting Zermatt! Get your fill of hiking and skiing year-round at Klein Matterhorn (Glacier Paradise) and Gornergrat. In the summer months, Zermatt is an amazing place for some epic hikes.

Plus, enjoy all that downtown Bahnhofstrasse has to offer with its collection of restaurants, hotels, boutiques – even outdoor skating rinks during winter months and places devoted to apres-ski in winter in Zermatt. 

Leave the car behind in Taesch as no cars are allowed on this remote getaway spot. Just hop on board a train instead. Plan 1 or 2 days here depending on how much time you have in Switzerland – don’t miss out if possible… Zermatt is beautiful and makes a good stop on any Switzerland road trip itinerary.

🛏️ WHERE TO STAY IN ZERMATT

Zermatt takes luxury to the next level – even for Switzerland, a country known for its extravagance! If you’re looking to take your vacation up another notch, this is definitely the place. There are no real budget hotels (if you would like to find out about my best tips on saving money in Switzerland, click here).

Luxury: Hotel Mont Cervin Palace – Hotel Mont Cervin Palace defines luxury. If you are looking for a 5-star hotel in Zermatt, this might be perfect for you because it has everything you could be asking for when you book luxury accommodation.

➡️ Book your stay at Hotel Mont Cervin Palace

Mid-range: Matterhorn Lodge Hotel & AppartmentsHotel Matterhorn Lodge Hotel & Appartments, which opened in December 2012, is located in the heart of Zermatt’s historic center. Decorated in a classic Alpine style, it boasts a wellness area with three different saunas. The hotel is conveniently situated just a two-minute walk from a ski bus stop.

➡️ Book your stay at Matterhorn Lodge Hotel & Appartments here

Click here to find my accommodation guide for Zermatt.

Stop 10: Lugano

Come to Lugano and experience the best of Italy without leaving Switzerland! From gorgeous architecture to delicious Italian cuisine, this Swiss city offers a unique combination of alpine charm with Mediterranean flair. Plus – it’s home to some beautiful people which makes your trip even sweeter!

Morcote church near Lugano
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Lugano is a truly captivating destination, sitting on the shores of the beautiful Lake Lugano and known for its incredible views. For an added touch of beauty, take a stroll in the Piazza Della Riforma – pastel-hued buildings with classic designs will surround you!

And if that wasn’t enough to wow you already; head out for some invigorating hikes up Monte San Salvatore or Monte Bre – where even more breathtaking scenery awaits! Here is my detailed post on Lugano and its top activities.

Make sure to also stop by Morcote! Located just outside Lugano, this stunning village is bound to take your breath away. You can visit this beautiful village in Switzerland easily from Lugano.

Lugano has a unique charm but if you don’t have enough time to explore this remote beauty then head over nearby to Locarno which is not as remote and still packs an incredible Swiss experience.

🛏️ WHERE TO STAY IN LUGANO

If you plan to stay in Lake Lugano, then I recommend staying in Lugano, which is the best base to get around, or in Morcote. This absolutely, mind-blowing beauty is located a bit further and there is not much to do, but it is one of the top 5 most beautiful villages in ALL of Switzerland. Take my word for it (because I am not only a lake expert but also a Swiss village expert).

Luxury: The View Lugano – One of the most famous 5-star hotels in Switzerland is this property. It is located close to the funicular station of San Salvatore and Lake Lugano. 

➡️ BOOK YOUR STAY AT THE VIEW LUGANO HERE

Mid-Rang: Hotel Zurigo Downtown – This 3-star hotel is located just 300 meters from Lake Lugano and in the heart of Lugano. 

➡️ BOOK YOUR STAY AT HOTEL ZURIGO DOWNTOWN HERE

Mid-Range: LUGANODANTE – We like you – This is a beautiful 4-star property in the city center of Lugano. This might be the perfect choice if you are looking for something more comfortable and luxurious. 

➡️ BOOK YOUR STAY AT LUGANODANTE HERE

Stop 11: Locarno

Locarno packs a sunny punch! Enjoy all the sun-soaked delights of Lake Maggiore without venturing too far – making it an ideal destination for those looking to experience some Italian flavor with minimal remoteness.

Where to go in Locarno
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Visit Locarno for lakeside beauty, majestic mountaintop views, and a 15th-century pilgrimage site with an artistic flair! You can admire picturesque Lake Maggiore from Santuario Della Madonna del Sasso or from Cardada Mountain Peak.

Locarno is way more than just a stunning Swiss lakeside town! Explore the beautiful Valle Verzasca Valley, which has to be seen to be believed.

Take in breathtaking views as you hike or bike through this paradise – and don’t forget your camera for that picture-perfect shot of Lavertezzo Bridge – one of the iconic Swiss landmarks -on those sunny days!

Valle Verzasca in Ticino
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Driving to Valle Verzasca might not be as stressful as in Italy but you can feel the Italian influence when you get here. On the other hand, navigating narrower roads and busier streets can still make for an exciting driving experience! Check out my Locarno guide for more info.

🛏️ WHERE TO STAY IN LOCARNO

Luxury – Villa Orselina- Villa Orselina is a top luxurious small boutique hotel in Orselina, just a few minutes from Locarno. It has become one of my favorite hotels ever.

➡️ Check out prices here.

Mid-Range Hotel Garni Muralto – Though I did not stay here, Hotel Garni Muralto might be a good choice because it is one of the best-rated hotels in that price range. 

➡️ Check out prices here.

Stop 12: St. Moritz 

Ready for some truly beautiful Swiss adventure? Pack your bags and explore the stunning canton of Graubünden (or Grison in English)! This gorgeous area is widely adored by the locals, yet remains a secret gem to foreigners – except St. Moritz, that is!

So why not take advantage of this magical mystery tour before it gets too crowded?!

View of Upper Engadine Lakes incl Silser Lake, Silvaplana Lake
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Lake Silvaplana

Grand Tour of Switzerland, phioto op in Engadin
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Especially in fall, its beauty is ridiculous with all the fall foliage, but it makes a great destination all year round.

St. Moritz is one of Switzerland’s most stunning spots, and it’s been drawing in visitors from around the world with its majestic mountain views for centuries!

With captivating outdoor sports to take part in during the winter months like skiing, snowboarding, and bobsledding – as well as lush hiking trails that are ideal for an alpine escape come summertime – there’s something here for everyone all year round.

Plus their lakes? Wowzers! But be warned – St. Moritz comes at a high-altitude price tag…it ain’t cheap folks! It is still worth it.

ℹ️ If your travels take you to this special area from mid-May to mid-October, plan for two nights and get ready for the best transportation setup ever – totally free public transport plus access to all 13 cable cars. That’s what we call living life in luxury! 

🛏️ WHERE TO STAY IN ST.MORITZ

To take advantage of the “free public transportation and cable car rides”, book at one of the participating hotels (below mentioned hotels are all part of it) and visit during June and early October.

Luxury – Battrud´s Palace -This luxury hotel has everything you are looking for when booking a 5-star hotel in St.Moritz. From an extensive spa area, a lounge and bar area, luxurious hotel rooms and suites, and more.

➡️ BOOK YOUR STAY AT BATTRUD`S PALACE HOTEL HERE

Mid-Range – Hotel Corvatsch – 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. 

➡️ BOOK YOUR STAY AT HOTEL CORVATSCH HERE

Budget – St.Moritz Youth Hostel – 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 better prices in all of St.Moritz.

➡️ BOOK YOUR STAY AT ST. MORITZ YOUTH HOSTEL HERE

Stop 13: Valposchiavo 

Valposchiavo is an absolutely stunning, yet underrated destination in Switzerland! Nestled in the picturesque Graubünden Canton near the Italian border – the time for your Valposchiavo Aventure has arrived! 

Lago di Saoseo in Valposchiavo
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Wow, Valposchiavo is a must-see destination on any Switzerland road trip! Its natural beauty is unparalleled – with its tranquil lake views, lush valleys, and charming town center.

It’s definitely one of my favorite places to explore in all of the country! Plus it has that bonus – being so remote means there are very few international tourists visiting here. So it really feels like discovering your secret paradise!

🛏️ WHERE TO STAY IN VALPOSCHIAVO

Similar to St.Moritz, Valposchiavo has an amazing guest card – so leave your car at the hotel, and take advantage of the free public transportation if you book a stay at one of the participating programs and stay for two nights.

Historic Hotel Albrici – Located right in the heart of Poschiavi village, it is a great place to base yourself and get around the stunning Valposchiavo.

➡️ BOOK YOUR STAY AT HISTORIC HOTEL ALBRICI HERE

Stop 14: Appenzell & Ebenalp

Wrap up your Swiss road trip in style and visit Appenzellerland – the magical land of rolling green hills! This gorgeous region will add an extra touch of adventure to your journey home from Zurich.

Things to do in Appenzell Town
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Discover a hidden gem in the Swiss Alps – Appenzell! Nestled at the foot of the Alpstein Mountains, near Germany’s border and boasting incredible views from mountain summits such as Santis Peak or Ebenalp Mountain – this underrated town truly has it all.
Appenzellerland - More Than the Aescher
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And don’t forget to check out The Aescher for a remarkable experience – located on Ebenalp Mountain – a stunning summit at 1.600m above sea level in Appenzell Alps.

Take on an adventure as you choose between hiking up or taking a cable car from Wasserauen Station, either way, rewards await! You can take in breathtaking panoramic views of Lake Seealpsee looking out from Ebenalp & Aescher Guesthouse. Check out my Appenzell guide for more travel tips.

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.

Gasthaus Hotel Hof in Appenzell – The Gasthaus Hotel Hof is perfectly located in the town center (with free parking space), and you could hardly be located closer to the market square. If you are looking for a friendly, welcoming family-run hotel, this might be a perfect choice. It is quite simple and basic but a good choice. 

➡️ BOOK YOUR STAY AT GASTHAUS HOTEL HOF HERE

Romantik Hotel Säntis – If you want something fancier, the Romantik Hotel Säntis might be the perfect choice for you. This 4-star hotel is also located in Appenzell and is a great base to get around Appenzellerland.

➡️ BOOK YOUR STAY AT ROMANTIK HOTEL SÄNTIS HERE

PIN ME FOR LATER – ROAD-TRIPPING SWITZERLAND

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Best Switzerland road trip, travel tips for road tripping
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FINAL THOUGHTS – A SWITZERLAND ROAD TRIP

If you’re looking to add some true beauty and adventure into your life, then Switzerland is the place for it! From its stunningly gorgeous landscapes that never fail to leave one in awe, a Switzerland road trip must surely be high on everyone’s bucket list. 

Although prices may be steep for a road trip through Switzerland, this won’t stop most from revisiting time and again – so go ahead and treat yourself to an unforgettable journey through its incredible sights & sounds and discover all this and more when road-tripping Switzerland.

Join me as I take you along my ambling Swiss itinerary sure to make any heart skip a beat or two…you’ll love every second of your Switzerland road trip!

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Safe Travels, Arzo
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