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5-Day Switzerland Itinerary: Where To Go And What To Do


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Switzerland is a dream country that everyone should visit once in a lifetime. It might be difficult to plan where to go and what to do, especially if you only have 5 days. But it’s worth it!

I lived in Switzerland for 3 years and explored the entire country extensively, it’s my pleasure to share with you this travel guide!

I’ve created this 5-day Switzerland itinerary based on my experience so you can enjoy country’s highlights within 5 days. You’ll visit the most beautiful city, enjoy the breathtaking mountains, and experience Lake Geneva.

Let’s explore Switzerland together!

Photo of Lake Lucerne during autumn, the perfect time of the year to plan a 5-day Switzerland itinerary.
The beautiful Switzerland during Autumn. The perfect time to plan a 5-day trip.

5-Day Switzerland Itinerary Overview

During the 5 days you’ll be in Switzerland, you’ll enjoy a little bit of everything. The best way to get around is by train, which I recommend for this itinerary.

So here is an overview of your Switzerland 5-day trip:

  1. DAY: Lucerne
  2. DAY: Lucerne – Lake Brienz – Interlaken – Grindelwald
  3. DAY: Grindelwald & Adventure Activities
  4. DAY: Jungfraujoch
  5. DAY: Grindelwald – Golden Express – Montreux – Geneva

This itinerary mixes natural wonders and city experiences, you can have a taste of Switzerland and later come back for more. 

How To Get To Switzerland

I recommend you fly to Zurich to start this itinerary. It has an international airport and the best flight connections. From Zurich airport, you can take a direct train to Lucerne.

You can search for the best flight deals to Switzerland at Skyscanner

I don’t recommend visiting Zurich, as Lucerne is much nicer. However, if you want, you can spend a few hours in Zurich on your arrival day before taking a train to Lucerne. It’s up to you! 

Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland and it’s easy to lose track of time, so check out the famous lake Zurich and the old town, then find your way to Lucerne.

This itinerary officially starts in Lucerne.

Nicotella, the author of this article posing with her Swiss Travel Pass. The easiest way to Travel in Switzerland for 5 days or more.
Swiss Travel Passes are the best way to get around the country.

How To Get Around Switzerland & Make This Itinerary

The best way to get around Switzerland is by train or by car. If you have a limited time, trains come in handy. The Swiss railway system is efficient and will get you from one place to another without further planning.

Several railway passes will make your entire trip more flexible and affordable.  Here are some of the best passes: Swiss Travel Pass, Half-Fare Card, and regional passes.

I would normally recommend the Swiss Travel Pass, but there isn’t one that covers five days. But don’t worry, I found a combination of passes that will work perfectly, and without breaking the bank.

Since you’ll spend most of the time on this itinerary in the beautiful Bernese Oberland Region, I recommend getting the 4-day Bernese Oberland Pass.

In addition, you can purchase a Day Pass on your last day via the SBB website (SBB – Swiss Railways).

How To Get Around Switzerland With The Bernese Oberland Pass

The Bernese Oberland Pass is valid from Lucerne for the entire Bernese Oberland region, Jungfrau region, to Bern, Brig, and Domodossola (in Italy).

The pass gives you flexibility as it serves as one ticket for all, so you don’t have to buy separate tickets. It gives you access to train journeys, boats, and even a few scenic cable car rides in the region.

You’ll start using the pass from Lucerne on your 1st day in Switzerland. Your last day to use the pass will be day n. 4 in the Jungfrau region.

For the journey from Zurich to Lucerne, I recommend buying separate train tickets via the SBB official website. The more in advance you buy them, the cheaper they’ll be.

For day 5. of this itinerary, I recommend purchasing the so-called Saver Day Pass. You can buy this day ticket on the SBB website and travel with it on all trains, buses, and boats in Switzerland. And the same, the earlier you buy it, the cheaper it will be.

Here is the SBB website where you can buy all the Saver Day Pass and the ticket from Zurich to Lucerne

Here is the Bernese Oberland Pass website to buy your 4-Day Pass.

Detailed Switzerland Itinerary For 5 Days

Now that you have basic information to prepare for your itinerary, let’s talk about the journey and what you’ll experience each day.

In this section, I’ll guide you to the best things to do in each place and give you further insider tips.

Lucerne is a charming city and a must-see in any 5-day Switzerland itinerary.
This is Lucerne’s picturesque Old Town.

 

1 DAY: Lucerne

Lucerne is hands down the most beautiful Swiss city. Its iconic Chapel Bridge, the beautiful lake, stunning architecture, and the breathtaking Alps in the background make this place so special, perfect for a honeymoon in Switzerland.

I recommend spending an entire day in this picturesque city. There is a lot to do, but you can easily see almost everything within half a day since it’s a small town. So, if you want to maximize your time, you can add an extra mountain excursion on this day to Mount Pilatus, Mount Titlis, or Mount Rigi.

I recommend Mt. Pilatus for the experience, incredible views and Mt. Rigi for hiking and its unique cogwheel train.

If you decide to do a mountain excursion, do so first in the morning before the crowds arrive. After, return to Lucerne, have lunch, and explore the city in the afternoon.

Best Things To Do In Lucerne & Surroundings

These are the highlights I suggest seeing in Lucerne:

  • Chapel Bridge (Kapellbrücke): This iconic wooden bridge, adorned with colorful paintings depicting Lucerne’s history, is the city’s most famous attraction. You can walk through the bridge and enjoy the views of the city.
  • Old Town (Altstadt): Explore Lucerne’s charming Old Town with its narrow cobblestone streets, medieval buildings, and colorful frescoed facades. Some of the most beautiful spots are Weinmarkt and Hirschenplatz, with cafes and shops.
  • Lion Monument (Löwendenkmal): Visit the poignant monument carved into a sandstone cliff, which commemorates the Swiss Guards who were massacred during the French Revolution. The sculpture of a dying lion is a powerful symbol of bravery and sacrifice.
  • Glacier Garden (Gletschergarten): Explore this unique geological site featuring glacial potholes, ancient rock formations, and interactive exhibits about the Ice Age. It’s a fascinating insight into the natural history of the region.
  • Château Gütsch: This Chateau, nowadays also a hotel, is set in a 19th-century castle on the hill overlooking the city and Lake Lucerne. You can take a funicular train (included in your Berner Oberland Pass) to get up and down.
  • Swiss Museum of Transport: Perfect for both adults and children, this interactive museum showcases the evolution of public transportation in Switzerland, featuring exhibits on trains, automobiles, aviation, and more. Get your skip-the-line ticket here to save time. And, besides the Swiss Chocolate Adventure, an experience about the beloved chocolates from Switzerland.
This is a photo of the Chapel Bridge in Lucerne, an old bridge that became the symbol of the city.
The iconic Chapel Bridge in Lucerne.

The best way to explore Lucerne is to walk through its Chapel Bridge towards the Old Town. Then, stroll through the Old Town for a while, and take a funicular train to Château Gütsch. Enjoy the breathtaking views of the Alps and Lake Lucerne before you head back to the city.

Afterward, you can check out the Lion Monument with the Glacier Garden. Add a few museums if you’re a fan.

Don’t forget to enjoy Lake Lucerne a bit. You can take the boat from Lucerne to nearby towns (Weggis, Vitznau, Fluelen) and relax. The boat rides are also included in your Berner Oberland Pass.

PRO TIP: A unique experience to have in Lucerneis to join the 1-hour Historical Tour with Night Watchman. It happens in the evening, so perfect for your itinerary, and will give you a hint of the history and legends of medieval Lucerne. You can book this tour here!

Lucerne is also the best place to try the Swiss cheese fondue. This and other experiences are in this guide about what to do in Lucerne, where to stay and eat.

Where to stay in Lucerne

As you only have one night in Lucerne, I suggest you stay near the old town or the train station, making your life easy to get to the attractions or in and out of the city. 

Here are three options for good places to stay in Lucerne:

2. DAY: Lucerne – Lake Brienz – Grindelwald

Today is a travel day. If you missed anything in Lucerne that you still want to visit, do so in the morning.

Here is your day trip itinerary:

You’ll then travel on the famous Luzern-Interlaken Express from Lucerne to Brienz. It’s one of the panoramic trains in Switzerland. You’ll pass by the Lake Lungern and via the Brunig Pass until you reach another stunning area – the Jungfrau region.

The train runs until Interlaken, but I highly recommend you get off in Brienz. It’s a small village on the shores of Lake Brienz.

Photo of the Luzern-Interlaken Express train riding bay a lake in Switzerland.
The view you get from riding the Luzern-Interlaken Express.

PRO TIP: If you want, take the steam rack train to Brienzer Rothorn Mountain. The journey takes 1 hour, and the views are incredible. And the best part is that the excursion is included in the Berner Oberland Pass.

Alternatively, you can stroll the streets of Brienz and see the local Swiss life in this typical village.

Then, take the boat from Brienz to Interlaken Ost. The color of Lake Brienz is insane, unlike you’ve seen anywhere else. So enjoy the boat ride until you get to Interlaken.

From Interlaken Ost, take the last train to Grindelwald. You’ll stay 3 nights in this mountain town, making various excursions and hiking trips. Book one of the best hotels in Grindelwald to make your stay even more magical.

Where to stay in Grindelwald

3. DAY: Grindelwald & Adventure Activities

Good morning in Grindelwald. I hope you slept well because today, you have an amazing adventure planned on the top of the First Mountain. You’ll be flying above the Swiss meadows, overlooking the mountains and glaciers in the Jungfrau area.

In the morning, take the cable car from Grindelwald (opposite Sunstar Hotel) to Grindelwald First.

First, walk around the cable car station and enjoy the Cliff Walk until you reach the glass viewing point. Take a few photos before the crowds arrive.

If you like hiking, I recommend walking up to Bachalpsee Lake. It’s an easy 50-minute hike, mostly flat, with a few uphill sections.

If you’re an experienced hiker and need a bit more adventure, then continue hiking from the Bachalpsee Lake to the Faulhorn Hut. It’s a typical Swiss mountain hut where you can have lunch. After, return to Grindelwald First.

Grindelwald First & Adventure Activities

Besides hiking, Grindelwald First offers the following Adventure Activities you can enjoy:

  • First Flyer: Experience an adrenaline rush with the First Flyer zip line, which allows you to soar through the air at high speeds while enjoying panoramic views of the Alps below. It starts in Grindelwald First and takes you down to the middle station called Schreckfeld.
  • First Glider: Once you’re in Schreckfeld, take the First Glider, which will take you back to First. It’s a combination of a zip line and a hang glider. You’re strapped into a harness, attached to a cable, and flying above the Swiss meadows.
  • Mountain Cart: You must return to the Schreckfeld station (either walk or take a cable car). That’s where you’ll pick up your mountain cart and ride it down the mountain road to another middle station called Bort. It’s an activity for all ages, and you can drive at your own pace, so take it easy.
  • Trotti Bike: The last adventure activity is the Trotti Bike, which you can pick up at the Bort station. This one might seem the scariest as you ride a small bike down the steep roads. But don’t worry, it’s not as scary as it looks. As long as you drive slowly and break, you’ll love it. Ride the Trotti Bike back to the cable car station in Grindelwald.
Collage of three photos showing the author of the article doing outdoor activities at First Adventure in Grindelwald.
Grindelwald First Adventure Activities that you can add to your itinerary.

NOTE: You’ll have to buy separate tickets for these adventure activities at the cable car station in Grindelwald (they’re not included in the Berner Oberland Pass). You can choose to do one or all of them.

The Grindelwald First excursion, which includes hiking and adventure activities, takes the entire day. Afterward, you can explore Grindelwald, play mini-golf, or relax in a spa at the Sports center.

4. DAY: Jungfraujoch Excursion

Jungfraujoch is one of the most popular mountain excursions in Switzerland. Although it is very touristy, it’s 100% worth visiting.

It’s known as the ‘Top of Europe,’ not because it’s the highest mountain on the continent. Jungfraujoch hosts the highest train station in Europe. Besides, you’ll experience walking through an ice cave, learn about the construction of the mountain railway and its meteorological station, and see spectacular views of the largest glacier in the Swiss Alps—Aletsch Glacier.

It’s an unforgettable experience, especially for those who don’t get to see snow that often.

NOTE: The excursion is not entirely covered by the Berner Oberland Pass. But you’ll get a discount and pay a fraction of the price, which is 99 CHF for a return ticket from Eigergletscher station. You can buy tickets at the Grindelwald Terminal station.

How To Get To Jungfraujoch

To get to Jungfraujoch, you must take a train from Grindelwald to Grindelwald Terminal station. You can buy your discounted tickets here.

After, take the Eiger Express gondola from Grindelwald Terminal to Eigergletscher. Then, take the red Jungfrau region to Jungfraujoch.

Trains passing by the Jungfrau region in Switzerland. One of the places you can visit in a 5-day Switzerland itinerary.
The scenic Jungfraujoch train ride.

What To Do In Jungfraujoch

Jungfraujoch offers so many things to do despite being a small area on top of a mountain.

Once you arrive by train, you’ll follow a route through the tunnels inside the station and enjoy all the activities.

Here is what not to miss once you’re there:

  • Jungfrau Panorama, 360° Cinema
  • Sphinx Observatory
  • Alpine Sensation
  • Ice Palace
  • Glacier Plateau
  • Lindt Chocolate Heaven
  • Snow Fun Park
  • Jungfraujoch Pass

If you follow the signs inside the station, you won’t miss any of the highlights I listed above. The visit to Jungfraujoch takes approx. 3 hours.

Jungfraujoch excursion and Jungfraujoch Pass
The stunning Jungfraujoch is a must in any Switzerland itinerary.

Getting Back To Grindelwald

You can make the exact same journey back to Grindelwald. Or, if you want to add some extra activity, you can take the red Jungfrau train down to Kleine Scheidegg. Have lunch there, and then make the exciting Eiger Trail hike back to Grindelwald.

The Eiger Trail is a 2-hour hike (only downhill) that starts at the Eigergletscher station and ends in Alpiglen. You’ll walk beneath the famous Eiger North Face and enjoy panoramic views of the area. Not many people know about this hike, so it’s less crowded.

Once you reach Alpiglen, you can keep walking down to Grindelwald (but the road is very steep, and it might hurt your knees). Or you can take the local train to Grindelwald, which is included in your Berner Oberland Pass.

5. DAY: Grindelwald – GoldenPass Express – Montreux – Geneva 

Today is your last day in Switzerland, so let’s get the most out of it.

In the morning, you’ll ride another panoramic train called the GoldenPass Express from Interlaken Ost to Montreux. After, you’ll get to explore Montreux and its lakeside promenade.

And in the end, you’ll make it to Geneva, where you’ll end this itinerary.

In the morning, take a train from Grindelwald to Interlaken Ost. Check the train connections via the SBB website or app to make it on time for your panoramic train.

GoldenPass Express Train

The GoldenPass Express is one of the Swiss panoramic trains. This means the journey is more comfortable, as it has fewer seats, the windows are wider and panoramic, and you can enjoy the stunning views. It also requires a seat reservation.

The entire ride is included in your Saver Day Pass. But you’ll need to buy an extra seat reservation on their official website.

Hop on the train in Interlaken Ost and see how the scenery changes throughout the ride as you get from the German-speaking region of Switzerland to the French-speaking area with lush green forests.

In the end, you’ll get to see the stunning Lake Geneva before you arrive in Montreux.

Photo of Nicoletta at Montreux lakeside promenade.
The charming Montreux lakeside promenade.

Best Things To Do In Montreux

Montreux is one of my favorite cities in Switzerland, mainly thanks to its charm. It feels like you’ve arrived somewhere in Lake Como or a Mediterranean area.

Take it easy and stroll through its streets first. After, you can check out some museums and then walk alongside the breathtaking promenade to see the iconic Chillon Castle.

Here are my top things to do in Montreux:

  • Montreux Museum: learn about the history of the city.
  • Freddy Mercury Statue: take a photo with Freddy Mercury at the lakeside promenade. Or if you are a fan, join this: In the footsteps of Freddie Mercury Tour.
  • Queen – The Studio Experience: visit the recording studio of Queen in the heart of the city.
  • Chillon Castle: this medieval fortress boasts stunning architecture, fascinating history, and picturesque views. You can book a guided tour and explore the castle’s halls, dungeons, and courtyards, offering insights into its rich past.
  • Montreux Lakeside Promenade: this scenic lakeside promenade stretches from Montreux to nearby Vevey. Enjoy gorgeous views of Lake Geneva and the surrounding Alps, dotted with charming cafes, gardens, and sculptures.

Getting From Montreux To Geneva

In the late afternoon, make your way to Geneva. You can either take regular train routes from Montreux to Geneva. Or if you want to make your ride a bit more special, take a boat on Lake Geneva. The boat ride takes approx. 2 hours and will take you directly to the city.

This itinerary ends in Geneva in the evening, as the city offers great international connections. It’s the perfect base city from where you can fly back home or continue road-tripping through France and down to Spain.

I don’t necessarily recommend spending much time in Geneva. There are more beautiful places. So, if you want to experience the vibe, 1 – 2 hours in the city is enough.

Travel Advice:

Don’t forget your Travel Insurance! You don’t want anything to ruin your trip, right? So don’t take the risk! Reliable travel insurance can help you in case of travel issues, from accidents to health problems, travel delays, and lost luggage.

There are many insurances in the market, our picks are HeyMondo and SafetyWing. We used both and always had a good experience. Click on the insurance names to get a quote.

Switzerland snow-capped mountains.

FAQs – Switzerland in 5 Days Itinerary  

I’ve also answered some of the frequently asked questions. Check my answers below:

Is 5 Days In Switzerland Enough?

No, 5 days isn’t enough time in Switzerland. While you can visit many places and enjoy some parts of the country, your itinerary will miss many things. So, if you want to explore Switzerland fully, I recommend spending 8 – 10 days.

Which Cities Should You Visit In Switzerland?

Lucerne, Montreux, Bern, Lugano, Bellinzona, and Zurich are cities that are most worth your time in Switzerland. My favorite cities in Switzerland are Lucerne, Montreux, and Lugano. They have a special charm and offer many activities for every traveler.

Is It Better To Stay In Zurich Or Interlaken?

It’s better to stay in Interlaken, as it’s the gateway to the wonderful Jungfrau Mountains, which offers so many activities. This region is the true Switzerland that you want to experience when you visit.

Which Is Better Interlaken Or Lucerne?

Lucerne as a city is better than Interlaken. In Interlaken, there isn’t much to see and do. Interlaken is great to base yourself and make daily excursions to the mountains. But Lucerne as a city is truly beautiful and is 100% worth visiting.

Switzerland Travel Itinerary Final Tips

Now that you already have your 5-day in Switzerland trip planned, there are two more tips I want to give you.

1 – Switzerland is not a cheap country to visit, you probably already know. But there are ways to save a bit of cash here and there. So after planning your itinerary have a look at this guide: Switzerland trip costs, it can help you plan your travel budget.

2 – Mobile Roaming fees can be a real pain, and not all European SIM cards work in Switzerland. So If you are traveling from abroad consider getting a Switzerland eSim card, to save money and time. 

We know it’s hard to plan international trips, so I hope this 5-day Switzerland itinerary helps you get around the country, and shows you the highlights. Make the most of your time and add mountain excursions with the panoramic trains to make the journey even more special.

But don’t rush from one place to another, because Switzerland is truly about the views. So leave some time off to soak up the atmosphere.

Switzerland in 5 Days! This detailed guide was put together by someone who lived and traveled in the country, so you can trust our tips and plan your 5 days in Switzerland itinerary hassle-free. Here are the best places to visit, things to do, and how to get around in 5 days. This Swiss itinerary uses trains, boats, and public transportation so that you can make the most of your time. Plus tips on where to stay and activities.

About the Author: Nicoletta is a travel enthusiast and passionate language learner. While traveling, she loves to connect with locals using her language skills to learn about new cultures. Look for her skiing, hiking in the mountains, or exploring new destinations as she designs travel itineraries for her clients.

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