If you are looking for an easy answer to how many days to spend in Switzerland, there is none. The answer is as much time as you can spare. I know lots of people plan trips just around Switzerland. Travelling to Europe isn’t that easy for us, since we live in North America (West Coast). The fly time could easily range between 9 to 12 hours. Plus with only two weeks of vacation days to spare in a year, we try to squeeze in as much as we can out of our planned trips.
This time, we squeezed in 4 countries in our 15 day trip. Sounds exhausting right? Trust me it was so worth it!
So anyway, back to the question. How many days to spend in Switzerland? If you are on a tight schedule, I’d suggest 5 full days. No you won’t be able to cover the entire country but a big portion of it.
Without further ado, let’s get to the breakdown:
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We took an early flight from Amsterdam to Zurich and then a short 45 minute train ride to Lucerne. A lot of people spend a day in Zurich but for this trip we decided to skip Zurich and head straight to Lucerne. The first thing we did was check in our hotel and leave our bags. We stayed at the Montana Hotel near Lucerne old town in case you are looking for hotel recommendations.
Lucerne – Old Town
I would recommend taking it easy the first day since the next few days will be action packed and you don’t want to burn yourself out. Walking around Lucerne Old Town is a good start.
You will also be able to see one of Lucerne’s popular attractions, The Chapel Bridge which is a bridge across the Reuss river in Lucerne which dates back to 1332.
Another main attraction in Lucerne old town is the Lion Monument which is a short walk from the Chapel bridge. The Lion monument was built in the 1800’s and commemorates the Swiss guards who were massacred during the French Revolution.
To end our day, we had dinner at Ammos, an authentic Greek restaurant which is very close to Lucerne old town.
We were able to pack a lot day 2 in Lucerne including one of the peaks – Mount Pilatus and one small Swiss town, so I’d suggest starting early.
To get to Mount Pilatus the easiest way is to take the boat/ferry right across Lucerne main station. The ferry ride lasts about an hour and a half and takes you to Alpnachstad through Lake Lucerne. From there, you can take the cogwheel railway that is one of the steepest rail tracks travelling for 30 minutes up 48 percent gradient.
Mount Pilatus is one of the peaks in Switzerland with an altitude of 7000 ft. There are two ways to reach Mount Pilatus from Lucerne but I would suggest taking the golden route that is taking a boat from Lucerne to Alpnachstad, changing to cogwheel up to Pilatus, on your way back, taking the cable car down to Frakmuntegg and then gondola to Kriens. Finally a bus (#1) to Lucerne train station that is a 15 minute ride.
We took an early train to Interlaken, that was our base for the next half of our trip. If you are looking for hotel recommendations, I’d suggest staying at Victoria Jungfrau Hotel, which is also one of the highly visited places by tourists in Interlaken. It is located in the heart of Interlaken making it very convenient for travellers to get around.
Murren is another small Swiss town on your way from Lauterbrunnen to Schilthorn. In my opinion Murren had the best views in all of our Switzerland trip, so don’t miss it!
You can take the cable car from Murren to get to Schilthorn that is a peak with an altitude of almost 11,000ft. You can easily spend a few hours at Schilthorn including having lunch at Piz Gloria restaurant that serves a James Bond inspired menu.
If you are feeling adventurous and aren’t afraid of heights, there is also a skywalk that you can try. We also saw tonnes of hikers, so if you are up for it you can try a hike on your way down.
Naturally we felt very tired and drained out after all the sightseeing and walking, so we decided to take it easy on the fourth day.
Our hotel stay at Victoria Jungfrau came with a complimentary access to their spa and fitness centre. Shams booked a massage for himself while I enjoyed my alone time at the outdoor hot tub at the spa with mountain views. It’s important to take care of yourself during your trip so that you don’t burn out. I’d suggest to take advantage of your hotel amenities.
After our spa date, we decided to explore the west side of Interlaken and found this really cool Lebanese restaurant with great reviews and decided to give it a try. We loved their customer service and food and have been telling all our friends about it.
Switzerland is known for quite a few things including its dairy and chocolates. Since we had spare time on the fourth day, we decided to go chocolate tasting. A very popular store in for chocolates is Funky Chocolate Club. If you have time, they also host regular chocolate making workshops too.
The last day was kind of transitionary and we had an evening flight from Geneva to Barcelona.
We checked out and took an early train to Geneva via Bern. Ended up spending the day in Bern (locked our luggage at the train station in Bern). We visited quite a few sites including the Einstein Haus before finally heading to Geneva Airport.
Travelling to Switzerland? Here are my favourite travel essentials: