Switzerland 8 day Itinerary
ARRIVAL IN ZURICH
While planning our trip as a family we all share the responsibilities and designing the itinerary is always in my share. We went to Switzerland for 8 days and thoroughly enjoyed discovering the best this country has to offer. Here are my top tips for spending amazing time (which will definitely never be enough) in the most beautiful country in the world. First timers can also refer my first trip to Switzerland for useful tips.
ITINERARY – Zurich – Interlaken – Lucern – Zurich
In our trip we started our journey from Zurich to Interlaken to Lucern and back to Zurich. If I look at the map we traveled in a circle based on our hotel bookings and return flight from Zurich. In Switzerland it is super easy to take high speed trains that make you reach different cities in no time. Understanding the Swiss train systems makes life a lot easier. We were lucky to get free bus passes from our Hotel to the train station. Let me take you along the wonderful memory lane for the best 8 days itinerary to Switzerland.
Day 1 – Rhine falls & Old town Zurich
VISIT TO RHINE FALLS
After having a good sleep our first outdoor experience in Zurich was to visit Rhine Falls. The biggest waterfall in Europe is about an hour’s drive or train ride from Zurich. It is located very close to the border of Germany. It was a fantastic experience to get so close to this powerful waterfall through speed boat ride. I recommend you to carry some food/Snacks and a picnic mat to sit around the shaded area near Rhine falls. I spotted many families doing that. We had our lunch at an Indian restaurant in the same area.
OLD TOWN ZURICH
After visiting Rhine falls (which probably takes 4-6 hours total) we were back in Zurich and ready to explore the old town and Lake Zurich. We had a walk around the streets of Old town checking out some Cuckoo clocks .
I think that there was no better way than to end a day in Zurich than at Lake Zurich. The lake area goes lively with many street artists, musicians, acrobats showing their talent and people just gather around the lake to watch them perform.
The atmosphere is way more relaxed than in other parts of Switzerland. People enjoy the natural beauty that surrounds Zurich. I think a boat ride on Lake Zurich followed by dinner at a nearby restaurant ended our day in a perfect way.
Day 2 – Zurich & Cheese making tour
Our second day in Zurich we dedicated to kids & Swiss alps. We started early and had a visit to Zurich zoo. The main highlights of the zoo are the elephants especially watching them getting fed up close behind the glass windows. There were many other animals like about 9 Gorillas, lions, a tiger. We Spent a lot of time seeing the different species of monkeys. It turned out to be a good playground for kids. Children under 6 were free. Entree fee was 26 francs for adults.
There is an option for family pass as well. Make sure to wear comfortable shoes and be ready for a lot of walking including up and down hills.
TRIP TO CHEESE MAKING FACTORY
We decide to see how cheese is being made so we went with a group tour to Make your own cheese. Very interesting to see the cheese being made. Even better to taste it. A lovely little factory where you can watch soft cheese being made. There is a delightful restaurant where you can have cheese fondues. All different sorts of cheeses to buy. This place boasts of at least a dozen homemade cheese options..We had a good time and decided to have our dinner at a local restaurant. It was a lovely evening with beautiful views of the surrounding.
Days 3 – Interlaken Via Bern
As per our hotel booking the next stop was Interlaken. We decided to spend a day in Bern. Also it was a station where we were supposed to change the train to reach Interlaken. Bern turns out to be a Modern yet beautiful town. While smaller and less well-known, this city is a beauty. We had our lunch at one of the restaurants around the train stations. After that we went for a stroll along the old town of Bern and to Lake Brienz. It is actually now one of my favorite lakes in Switzerland. The water has the most beautiful color and shimmers a lovely turquoise.
We left in the evening to the train station to catch a train for Interlaken. We did a take away of some food from Coop supermarket for our dinner in the Hotel Baren located in Wilderswil in Interlaken.
Day 4 – Interlaken & Jungfrau – Top of Europe
The third destination on the cards was Interlaken but we stayed in Wilderswill. It is a small place near Interlaken which we discovered while looking for Hotels in Interlaken through Booking.com. To be honest the main reason to book this Hotel was that it offered a nice family room at a good price. But later we really enjoyed staying in a 100 years old hotel with great hospitality and friendly staff. Interlaken is like heaven on Earth and you would be missing out so much of natural Swiss beauty if you did not visit here.
There is so much to do, so make sure to book two to three nights in this beautiful town. You can visit some small villages which are really pretty to see.
After breakfast we were geared up for a full day excursion to the top of Europe. This trip is most expensive as compared to other mountain excursions. You’ll probably get a discount on tickets, if you have a Swiss Travel Pass or family pass.
We took a train to Jungfraujoch from Interlaken. There are 2 routes to Explore so I recommend while going you can go via Grindelwald and come back via Lauterbrunen. This could be discussed while buying your tickets. Another thing to keep in mind while going to Jungfraujoch is how many hours you are willing to spend there? While we were buying our tickets, we were asked this question. The train seats are reserved in advance to avoid any inconvenience to the visitors. I suggest minimum four hours are required at the top to explore different attractions.
Things to do in Jungfraujoch
The Jungfraujoch station is the highest train station in Europe. Jungfraujoch has many activities to do at the top. Make sure to go there with at least 4-6 hours without travel time. At the top you can visit Ice flyer, Ice palace, snow play area, Cliff walk and Lindt chocolate haven(to buy some chocolates).I recommend you to go for the ice flyer first as it closes earlier than other activities. The best thing is there always snow throughout the year in Jungfraujoch.
Tip: try to take a train via Grindelwald while going and Lauterbrunen while coming. This way you can see two most scenic towns on your way to Jungfraujoch.
Day 5 – Trip to lauterbrunnen & Wengen
Initially we saw this lovely town from train while coming from Jungfraujoch. We wanted to explore this beautiful town but we had a long day already. Lauterbrunnen is one of the most popular places in the region, It is 1.5 hours on a train from Interlaken.. It has the beautiful scenery wherever you look with some lovely waterfalls.
Lauterbrunnen offers tourist lots adventurous activities like skydiving and bungee jumping. It is also known for having more than 70 waterfalls. The most famous of which are the Staubbach Waterfalls and Trümmelfach Falls. If you just want to visit Lauterbrunnen for the beautiful scenery one can also have a trip to Lauterbrunnen while coming from Jungfraugh. If you are done timely from there.
You can visit Wengen from Lauterbrunnen. It is a Swiss Alpine village which takes 15 minutes ride by train.It’s known for its timber chalets and belle époque hotels. Wengen is a beautiful town with some activities like aerial cable care and Ski in winters.
The top attractions to visit in Wengen are:
TIP: Train journey in Switzerland is the most scenic experience. You will realize this while doing a train Journey to Lauterbrunnen and Wengen. One can always ask for the most scenic routes while visiting the nearby places.
Day 6 Harder Kulm & Shopping in Interlaken
We started our day a bit easy as we wanted to explore and admire the beauty of Interlaken. After breakfast we took a train to Interlaken Ost to visit Harder Kulm – Top of Interlaken. The cable car station is 5 minutes walk from Interlaken Ost train station. Another very dreamy place to visit in Interlaken which is 1,322 metres above sea level. From the view point one can look down upon Lake Brienz and Lake Thun, or admire the Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau. There is a restaurant and a café with a view of Lake Thun servinhg snacks and beverages.
This trip will probably not last one full day, so you can then head to Kursaal area in Interlaken. There is a shopping street close to Casino Kursaal with lot of restaurants, cafes and public areas. One can visit casino Kursaal a famous landmark in Interlaken. Some chocolate and souvenir shopping can be done here as well. There are some restaurants serving local and international food on the same street which makes the place lively. This place is good to relax there is a beautiful garden, chariot ride and lots of great views. Alternatively you can explore the nearby towns which are most beautiful, if you don’t want to do any shopping in the city.
Day 7 Lucerne
I know that many people who visit Switzerland say that Lucerne is the most beautiful city, but I somewhat disagree (By the time I left Interlaken I was in love and it will always be my favorite city in Switzerland).
Lucerne is one of the best places to eat & relax. It is a small town with so many cafes and restaurants. One of the first stops you have to make is at the Chapel Bridge. In the evening you will find many people dining around the chapel bridge or just having a drink at the cafes by waterside.
Chapel bridge is probably the main tourist attraction and the old town is beautiful. we tried the cheese fondue at one of the restaurants in old town it was amazing.
Another thing that you can do if you have a Swiss Travel Pass is doing a boat cruise on Lake Lucerne. If you are short on time, a few hours in Lucerne itself is probably enough to cover the highlights of the city. You can dine in one of the cafes in old town. Trying some local cuisine will be a fantastic, I totally loved the cheese fondue here.
Day 8 – Trip to Mount Titlis
We started our day early, so we can have one of the best mountain excursions to Mount Titlis. This is a unique experience and not comparable to anything else.
How to get there
We took a train Travel directly from Lucerne to Engelberg. The journey from Lucerne took around 45 minutes. The route from Engelberg train station to the TITLIS valley station takes just ten minutes on foot or you can hop on the free shuttle bus like we did. The 8-seater TITLIS Xpress cable car will transport you all the way up from Engelberg to Stand station. The TITLIS ROTAIR cable car will then take you on the final leg of the ascent from Stand to the summit station at 3,020 metres above sea level. The journey from Engelberg to TITLIS mountain station takes around 30 minutes.
We had first extraordinary rotair ride where views were in comparable. There was a lovely cow bell sound throughout the ride. You can find so many cows grazing on the ground if you look below from cable car.
Things to do in Mt. Titlis
Once you are there, the next few hours will be wonderful. This Glacier excursion offers activities like TITLIS Rotair – the world’s first revolving cable car, glacier cave, TITLIS Cliff Walk which is highest in Europe and a souvenir store. Since there are a lot of possible activities that you can do up there it would be easy to spend a full day on the mountain.
It is a perfect place where you can end your time in Switzerland. Either you can visit old town foe dinner or just a stroll in the evening. If you are a vegetarian like me You must try Cheese fondue and some rosti to carry flavorful memories of this beautiful country.
DEPARTURE FROM ZURICH
Depending on the time of your departure, you can head back to Zurich. The train takes approximately an hour from Lucern to reach Zurich.
It’s sad to leave Switzerland but now time to say ADIEU to this fairy tale. Hope my blog was helpful for you to plan your Switzerland trip. Please share it with your friends if you enjoyed my beautiful journey. Though everything about Switzerland is amazing, I would love to hear about some off beaten paths that you have tried.