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Europe Travel: Switzerland in 14-18 Days — Three Itineraries

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This is a high level overview of travel throughout Switzerland over a 14-18 day period.

We present two itineraries for intra country travel – one that begins in Zurich (east side of Switzerland), and the other from Geneva/Lausanne (west side of Switzerland). Most travelers will enter the country through one of these places, either into Zurich or Geneva by way of Paris.

Switzerland is a small country that is easily navigated by fast trains to major hubs with local trains to get to precise locations. The itineraries below use a blend of train and private car to access some of smaller villages and afford the traveler increased flexibility in their plans. We provide details around options are for those who choose to use public transport only.

We also include a third itinerary that includes travel from the Swiss Alps into Northern Italy, including Lake Como and Milan.


Countries covered in this itinerary

  • Switzerland

Itinerary one (16 days): Begin in Lake Geneva

Switzerland City Base

Nights

Notes & Day Trips

Lake Geneva
(Base as Lausanne or Geneva)

4

If your accommodation is in Lausanne:
–Day 1: Visit Ouchy by foot & old town Lausanne
–Day 2: Day trip by train to Geneva, ferry or train back to Lausanne.
–Day 3: trip by rental car to drive around Lake Geneva: Saint-Prex, Nyon, Yvoire, Évian-les-Bains, Chillon
Options for day 4:
–train to Saint-Saphorin and Chillon
–split up day 3 day-trip towns into two days
–free day lakeside in a favorite town

If your accommodation is in Geneva:
–Day 1: Explore Geneva
–Day 2: Day trip by train to old town Lausanne, explore Ouchy. Ferry or train back to Geneva.
–Day 3 (rental car): drive around Lake Geneva (one day): Hermance, Yvoire, Évian-les-Bains
Options for day 4:
–train to Chillon and Saint-Saphorin
–split up day 3 day-trip towns into two days
–free day lakeside in a favorite town

DAY 5: Departure from Lausanne and Geneva
–By rental car: depart to Bern, stop through Gruyeres for lunch and early-afternoon
–By train: direct departure to Bern

Bern

2

Day 1: late afternoon arrival to Bern
Day 2: Old Town Bern, river activities
Day 3: train to Zurich

Zurich

3Day trip by train: Saint Gallen & Appenzell
Day trip by train: Basel or Lucerne
–Can also remove one day from Zurich and stay overnight in Lucerne. Lucerne to Interlaken train.
Interlaken1

Grindelwald

4Day 1: Funicular to Kleine Scheidegg & Jungfraujoch (top of Europe), funicular to
Day 2: Hike
Day 3: Lauterbrunnen
Day 4: Wengen (on the other side of the Grindelwald mountain), reached by train either via Zweilutschinen or via Kleine Scheidegg. It is a pedestrian-only town.
Day 5: Transport back to Bern, onto Lausanne or Zurich

Itinerary two (14-17 days): Begin in Zurich

This itinerary offers time in both Lake Lugano & Lake Geneva. If you are pressed for time, remove the time spent in Lake Lugano or Lake Geneva.

Switzerland City Base

Nights

Notes & Day Trips

Zurich

3

Day 1: Explore Zurich
Day 2: Day trip by train: Saint Gallen & Appenzell
Day 3: Day trip by train: Basel or Lucerne

Lugano

(or Lake Como, Italy)
3Day 1: Old town Lugano, funicular to Monte Bré
Day 2: Day trip to towns on Lake Lugano
Day 3: Travel back to Zurich, en route to Bern
Bern2Day 1: Arrival to Bern late afternoon, evening
Day 2: Old town Bern, river
Day 3: Trip to Thun en route to Interlaken
Interlaken1Day 1: Old town Interlaken
Day 2: Train to Grindelwald

Grindelwald

4Day 1: Funicular to Kleine Scheidegg & Jungfraujoch (top of Europe)
Day 2: Hike/outdoor activity
Day 3: Lauterbrunnen
Day 4: Wengen (on the other side of the Grindelwald mountain), reached by train either via Zweilutschinen or via Kleine Scheidegg. It is a pedestrian-only town.
Day 5: Head to Interlaken en route to Bern onto Lausanne and Lake Geneva. If you depart early afternoon, plan to spend the night in Interlaken or Bern.
Interlaken or Bern1Overnight stay in Interlaken or Bern to get ready for transport to Lausanne

Lake Geneva
(Base as Lausanne or Geneva)

3

If your accommodation is in Lausanne:
–Day 1: Visit Ouchy by foot & old town Lausanne
–Day 2: Day trip by train to Geneva, ferry or train back to Lausanne.
–Day 3: trip by rental car to drive around Lake Geneva: Saint-Prex, Nyon, Yvoire, Évian-les-Bains
–Day 4 (rental car) Saint-Saphorin & Chillon

If your accommodation is in Geneva:
–Day 1: Explore Geneva
–Day 2: Day trip by train to old town Lausanne, explore Ouchy. Ferry or train back to Geneva.
–Day 3 (rental car): drive around Lake Geneva (one day): Hermance, Yvoire, Évian-les-Bains
–Day 4 (rental car): Saint-Saphorin & Chillon

Itinerary three (18 days) : Begin in Zurich, Switzerland, end in Milan, Italy

This itinerary offers time in both Lake Geneva, Lake Lugano, and Northern Italy (Lake Como and Milan). If you are pressed for time, remove Lake Lugano or Lake Geneva.

City Base

Nights

Notes & Day Trips

Zurich

3

Day 1: Explore Zurich
Day 2: Day trip by train: Saint Gallen & Appenzell
Day 3: Day trip by train: Basel or Lucerne

Lake Geneva
(Base as Lausanne or Geneva)

3If your accommodation is in Lausanne:
–Day 1: Visit Ouchy by foot & old town Lausanne
–Day 2: Day trip by train to Geneva, ferry or train back to Lausanne.
–Day 3: trip by rental car to drive around Lake Geneva: Saint-Prex, Nyon, Yvoire, Évian-les-Bains
–Day 4 (rental car) Saint-Saphorin & Chillon

If your accommodation is in Geneva:
–Day 1: Explore Geneva
–Day 2: Day trip by train to old town Lausanne, explore Ouchy. Ferry or train back to Geneva.
–Day 3 (rental car): drive around Lake Geneva (one day): Hermance, Yvoire, Évian-les-Bains
–Day 4 (rental car): Saint-Saphorin & Chillon

DAY 5: Departure from Lausanne and Geneva
–By rental car: depart to Bern, stop through Gruyeres for lunch and early-afternoon
–By train: direct departure to Bern
Bern2Day 1: Arrival to Bern late afternoon, evening
Day 2: Old town Bern, river
Day 3: Trip to Thun en route to Interlaken

Grindelwald

4Day 1: Funicular to Kleine Scheidegg & Jungfraujoch (top of Europe)
Day 2: Hike/outdoor activity
Day 3: Lauterbrunnen
Day 4: Wengen (on the other side of the Grindelwald mountain), reached by train either via Zweilutschinen or via Kleine Scheidegg. It is a pedestrian-only town.

Day 5: Departure from Grindelwald
If using a rental car, drive to Lugano directly.
If relying on train, stay over night in Bern, then train from Bern into Zurich, onto Lugano.
Bern
(may omit with rental car)
1Overnight stay in Bern to get ready for train from Bern –> Zurich –> Lugano

Lugano

1Day 1: Old town Lugano, funicular to Monte Bré
Day 2: Drive to Menaggio, Lake Como (30 minutes)
Day 3: Day trip to Varenna, Bellagio
Day 4: Trip to Como, evening transport to Milan
Menaggio, Italy2Day 1: Explore Menaggio
Day 2: Day trip to Varenna, Bellagio
Day 3: Day trip to Como, late afternoon train to Milan
Milan, Italy2Day 1: Explore old town
Day 2: Day trip to Florence, Varenna or Bologna
Day 3: Depart for airport

Maps of locations covered

Map of Switzerland

Transport times

  • Train Zurich to Lausanne — 2 hours, 30 minutes
  • Train Zurich to Lugano — 2 hours
  • Drive Lausanne to Bern — 2 hours, 15 minutes
  • Drive Interlaken to Lugano — 1 hour, 15 minutes

Mode of transport — rental car


Interested in exploring more of Europe? Check out our Schengen Area Europe Itinerary — 13 countries in 90 Days for ideas about where to travel.

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