Switzerland is arguably one of the most picturesque countries in the world.
Home to jaw-dropping mountains, stunning lakes, and quaint mountain villages, everyone has to visit Switzerland at least once in their lifetime.
If this is your first time visiting Switzerland and you want to plan the ultimate trip, this nine-day itinerary has everything you need to know.
From the best time to visit Switzerland to how to get around and the best places to visit, this nine-day Switzerland itinerary will ensure you have an unforgettable trip.
The Best Time to Visit Switzerland
Like any country, the best time to visit Switzerland depends on what you want to do.
If you’re planning on spending nine days hiking the mountains and swimming in the lakes, the best time to visit Switzerland is from April to September, when the temperatures are warmer and the landscapes are lush green.
That being said, visiting Switzerland in winter (December to March) is a magical experience because everything is dusted in white snow. Winter is the best time to visit Switzerland if you want to shred the Swiss Alps.
What to Know Before You Go
If it’s your first time traveling to Switzerland, there are a few things you need to know.
Unlike its neighbors, Switzerland is not part of the European Union, so the currency is not the euro.
The currency in Switzerland is the Swiss Franc. In the big cities, most, if not all, places accept credit cards. However, carrying cash with you in smaller towns is wise as many businesses don’t accept credit cards.
Switzerland is one of the safest countries in the world. You will always feel safe whether you travel solo or alone with your children.
You can drink tap water in Switzerland. Fountains provide water from the alps where you can fill up your drink bottle.
Switzerland has four national languages: French, German, Italian and Romansh. So, if you notice people speaking different languages in different parts of the country, that’s why.
Generally speaking, the more west you go, the more French you will hear, and the more south you go, the more Italian you’ll hear. However, the majority of the country speaks Swiss German. But if you’re worried about not speaking the language, don’t worry, as most of the population also speaks English.
Is Switzerland Expensive?
Switzerland is one of the most expensive countries in the world. However, if you’re on a budget, one of the best things to do is to buy your food at the local supermarkets instead of eating and drinking at restaurants.
How to Get Around Switzerland
Switzerland may be one of the smallest countries in Europe, but it has some of the best public transport in the world.
One of the best ways to get around Switzerland, especially on this nine-day itinerary, is by train using the all-in-one Swiss Travel Pass. This pass gives you unlimited access to most trains, buses and buses throughout the country.
The Swiss Travel Pass is valid for travelling on fixed and consecutive days. Three, four, six, eight and 15-day passes are available.
Now that you know the best time to visit Switzerland and the best way to get around, let’s get into the best nine-day Switzerland itinerary!
Day 1: Zurich to Lucerne
The start of your nine-day Switzerland journey begins in Zurich. Book a flight that arrives early so you can board a morning train at Zurich International Airport bound for Lucerne.
With your Swiss Travel Pass, you can just jump on the train. However, the ticket inspector will come around during the journey and ask to see your Swiss Travel Pass and your passport, so be sure to have both documents ready.
After a short one-hour journey, you’ll arrive in Lucerne.
The best things to do in Lucerne
Lucerne is one of the most beautiful cities in Switzerland (although most are!), and there are plenty of things to do.
Here are three things you must do during your one day in Lucerne!
1. Visit Chapel Bridge
Chapel Bridge is the most iconic attraction in Lucerne and the oldest wooden bridge in Switzerland.
Dating back to the 14th century, Chapel Bridge stretches 200 metres across the Reuss River. Attached to the bridge is an old water tower that served as a dungeon, archive and treasury vault in medieval times.
It’s free to walk over Chapel Bridge and has colourful paintings on the underside of the roof, so remember to look up!
2. Boat ride on Lake Lucerne
Lucerne sits on the western side of Lake Lucerne, so one of the best things to do while you’re there is to hop on a lake boat ride! With the benefit of your Swiss Travel Pass, it would be rude not to.
There are daily departures, usually every hour. This activity is one of the best ways to see the region at a slow pace.
Like the train, you will be asked to show your Swiss Travel Pass and possibly your passport, so have those ready to go.
3. Stand atop Mount Rigi
Known as the Queen of the Mountains, Mt Rigi is a large mountain range in the Lucerne region and worth a visit during your nine-day Switzerland itinerary.
The best way to get to Mt Rigi is by using your Swiss Travel Pass. Take the one-hour boat ride from the Lucerne Ferry Terminal and hop off at Vitznau. From there, a cog-wheel train will take you to the summit of Mt Rigi.
Once you reach the summit, you will be blown away by the breathtaking views that overlook the three lakes and alpine peaks in the distance.
Days 2 & 3: Lucerne to Interlaken/Lauterbrunnen
If you’ve done any research into Switzerland, you would’ve heard of Interlaken and Lauterbrunnen.
Your second day begins with a train journey from Lucerne to Interlaken using your Swiss Travel Pass. From there, you can hop on a train to Lauterbrunnen Valley, which only takes 20-minutes from Interlaken.
Interlaken is the gateway to the Jungfrau Region and a fantastic place to base yourself when visiting the stunning Lauterbrunnen Valley.
With so many incredible hikes in the region, it’s best to spend two days in Interlaken.
The best things to do in Interlaken/Lauterbrunnen
Since Lauterbrunnen is so close to Interlaken, it’s easy to get to and experience all of the great activities on offer.
During your one day in Interlaken, here are the three best things to do!
1. Visit Trümmelbach Falls
Known as The Valley of 72 Waterfalls, you can’t visit Lauterbrunnen without seeing one of its magnificent waterfalls.
Trümmelbach Falls is located in the heart of Lauterbrunnen and are a series of ten glacier-fed waterfalls. They are the only glacier-fed waterfalls in the world accessible underground by a lift, tunnels, paths and platforms built in 1913.
Trümmelbach Falls carries the water from the glaciers of Jungfrau down to Lauterbrunnen Valley. With 20,000 litres of water travelling down the falls per second, they are a natural phenomenon and a sight to be seen during your visit.
2. Go paragliding
Paragliding in Lauterbrunnen is one of the best things to do on your nine-day Switzerland itinerary if you love adrenaline-filled activities.
Lauterbrunnen Valley is beautiful from the ground and even more breathtaking from the sky. Flying tandem with an instructor allows you to focus on the flight, taking in the beautiful landscapes around you.
The average cost for paragliding in Lauterbrunnen will set you back $190, but it’s worth it for the spectacular views and unforgettable memory.
3. Go on a hike in Lauterbrunnen
One of the best things to do in Switzerland is to go on a hike. With so many mountain peaks and views, you can’t go to Switzerland without going on a hike.
In Lauterbrunnen alone, there are nearly 400 hiking trails to choose from that cater to every fitness level.
Some of the best hiking trails in Lauterbrunnen include
- The iconic Eiger Trail. This route takes you to the front of the famous Eiger Nordwand.
- Mürren to Grutschalp is one of the most scenic hikes in the region and offers views alongside the railway’s line, through alpine meadows and over rushing streams. Along the way, you’ll be rewarded with views of the Eiger, Jungfrau and Monch.
Day 4: Interlaken to Montreux
On the fourth day of your journey, check out of your hotel in the morning and head to Interlaken East Station to hop on the train to Montreux.
Located on the eastern end of Lake Geneva, Montreux is a beautiful little town with a lot to offer.
The best things to do in Montreux
Since Montreux is close to the border of France, there is a strong French influence in the town, from the architecture to the people.
There are plenty of ways to spend a day in Montreux, including
1. Stroll along the promenade
Montreux’s promenade lines the water’s edge of Lake Geneva and is an excellent place for a stroll taking in the vast landscapes of the lake and mountainous hills behind.
With plenty of bars and restaurants dotted along the promenade, find a spot with a view for dinner and watch the sky change colour over the lake.
2. Visit Chateau De Chillon
One of the best things to do near Montreux is to visit Chateau De Chillon.
Located 15-minutes by bus from Montreux, Chateau De Chillon is an island castle situated on the waters of Lake Geneva. It used to be an old medieval castle that is now a museum. Your Swiss Travel Pass gives you access to 500 museums in Switzerland, and Chateau De Chillon is one of them.
With breathtaking views of the surrounding areas inside the castle, it’s a unique place worth visiting while in Switzerland.
3. Narcissus Trails
If you visit Montreux during the spring, the mountains surrounding the town have stunning narcissus trails to enjoy.
Wander through the flowery trails in the alps to discover unusual alpine varieties at every turn.
Days 5 & 6: Montreux to Zermatt
Take the train from Montreux to Zermatt on day five of your nine-day trip through Switzerland.
Although the train journey is two and a half hours, the scenery of farmlands, mountains and valleys make up for it.
Zermatt is home to the iconic Matterhorn, which stands 4,478 metres at its highest peak. Since it’s such a famous landmark in Switzerland, it cannot be missed!
The best things to do in Zermatt
Aside from the Matterhorn, Zermatt is known for skiing, hiking and climbing all year round.
The best way to spend two days in Zermatt is one day on the mountain and one day exploring the village.
Some of the best things to do in Zermatt include
1. Skiing and snowboarding
If you’re visiting Switzerland during the winter, Zermatt is the place to be for skiing and snowboarding.
However, if you’re not a skier, you can ride the world’s highest gondola to the Glacier Paradise Station at the top of the mountain. On a clear day, you will be lost for words with the views of Zermatt and surrounding mountains.
2. Sunrise at Lake Stellisee
One of the best ways to see the Matterhorn in all its glory is to head to Lake Stellisee for sunrise. With the Matterhorn reflecting on the lake in the early hours of the morning, it’s a sight you’ll never forget.
Book your ticket in advance as only a few people can go up to Lake Stellisee at sunrise.
3. Hike the Five Lake Trail
The Five Lake Trail consists of Stellisee, Grindjisee, Grünsee, Moosjisee and Leisee. The trail is an easy walk that’s mostly downhill, with each lake offering a unique view of the Matterhorn.
Days 7 & 8: Zermatt to St. Moritz
Thought you’d seen the best Switzerland has to offer already? Not just yet!
The Glacier Express’s eight-hour journey through the Swiss Alps from Zermatt to St. Moritz is one of the most scenic train rides in the world.
With top to bottom glass windows offering panoramic views, lunch served to your seat, and a bar with refreshments, the Glacier Express journey is an adventure in itself.
You’ll be pleased to know that the Glacier Express is included in your Swiss Travel Pass. However, you will have to book your seat in advance at an additional cost.
On day seven, you’ll likely arrive at St. Moritz late, so there won’t be much daylight left to explore. So it’s best to head to your hotel, get a good night’s rest and wake up on day eight refreshed for a day of exploring St. Moritz!
The best things to do in St. Moritz
Located on the far eastern side of Switzerland, St. Moritz is a stunning city with a lot to offer.
Some of the best things to do in St. Moritz include
1. Ride the Bernina Express
This activity can be done any time but is most beautiful during winter.
The Bernina Express one-hour train takes you through the snowy mountains to Alp Grum. At the top of Alp Grum is a restaurant and bar boasting spectacular views of the nearby glaciers and mountains.
The Bernina Express is included in your Swiss Travel Pass, but you must book your seat in advance at an additional cost.
2. Skiing and wintersports
As the highest resort in Switzerland, St. Moritz offers some of the best ski terrains in the country.
While skiing and snowboarding are the most popular winter activity in St. Moritz, there are plenty more things to do. The resort town offers ice-skating, curling, Nordic skiing, tobogganing and bobsledding.
3. Walk around St. Moritz Lake
Not only is St. Moritz stunning in winter, but it’s also a beautiful place to visit in summer, too.
One of the best things to do in St. Moritz in summer is to walk around the lake.
There are hotels with restaurants and cafes along the lake with a path that follows the entire lake shore.
Day 9: St. Moritz to Zurich
The last day of your nine-day Switzerland itinerary consists of taking the train from St. Moritz to Zurich. The journey will be between three to four hours, depending on your connection.
Zurich is the perfect place to spend your last day in Switzerland as it’s full of shops, cafes, cobblestone laneways and historical sites.
The best things to do in Zurich
No matter if your flight from Zurich departs in the evening or early morning, there are a few things you should experience before leaving.
Some of the best things to do in Zurich include
1. Hop on a boat
If you want to experience the city from a different perspective, hopping on a boat at Limmatschiffahrt will do just that.
Built to pass below the seven bridges over the Limmat, the boats let you admire the city in all its glory in a way you would never have imagined.
Another great lake activity to experience while in Zurich is to board a dinner cruise. Hop on one of the Dreamboats of ZSG and enjoy a dinner cruise with fondue and barbecues while watching the sun go down over the city.
2. Wander through the Old Town
Zurich’s historic centre is on both banks of the Limmat. The medieval and early modern streets of the Alstadt (Old Town) are where you can find much of the city’s culture, shopping and nightlife.
One of the best things to do in Zurich is to get lost and wander through the streets of the Old Town. With plenty of cafes, historical monuments and quirky shops, it’s easy to spend an afternoon getting lost in this part of town.
3. Stand at the top of the Uetliberg
The Uetliberg is a mountain in the southwest of Zurich, and since 1875 it’s been possible to catch the train from the city’s centre to the summit of the mountain.
After a 25-minute train ride and a short walk, you’ll reach the top of the mountain. As you stand atop the 870-metre mountain, you’ll be blown away by the views of Zurich, its rivers, the lake and mountain peaks in the background.
The Best 9-Day Switzerland Itinerary
Switzerland is one of the most naturally beautiful countries in the world. Home to breathtaking mountain ranges, crystal clear lakes, and waterfalls, there is so much to love about Switzerland.
Whether you wish to visit during summer or winter, this nine-day Switzerland itinerary caters to both seasons.
In winter, the train journeys take you through snow-capped mountains and frozen lakes; in the summer, you can hike trails full of blooming flowers. No matter the time of year, the landscapes in Switzerland never disappoint.
From seeing the famous Matterhorn up close to hiking one of the many trails in Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland is a country you have to visit at least once in your life.
This nine-day itinerary takes you to the country’s most popular and stunning places. So, when are you going to book your trip?
Hello! Thank you so much for sharing this itinerary! Planning to follow your itinerary but in the opposite direction instead! Ie from Zurich to St Moritz then to Zermatt etc before going back to Zurich. Wondering if there’s any downside to it?
Not at all, doing it backwards will work just as well 🙂
Can you send me an itinerary doing this the opposite way please?
You may just follow this itinerary in reverse 🙂