How to Spend the Perfect 7 Days in Switzerland
Food & Wine
Switzerland is a beautiful destination to kick back and relax or tap into your adventurous side. Their intricate train system makes it easy to travel between cities and see mountains, lakes and wildlife around every corner. You can hit the popular tourist attractions or stick to the road less traveled in quaint historic Swiss villages. There really is nothing like the pure fresh air of the Swiss Alps (and the cheese and chocolate are a great bonus too!)
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Where to stay
Central Plaza Hotel Zurich
Located directly on the Limmat, the hotel is known for its combination of modern lifestyle and excellent service.
Grand Hotel Suisse Majestic, Autograph Collection
Representative of the Belle Epoque, this hotel is located on the shores of the Geneva Lake.
Family-style hotel renovated and modernized to be able to continue the centuries old hospitality.
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Day 1: Arrival in Zurich
It is so convenient to fly in and out of Zurich and definitely worth seeing, but you probably do not need more than a day or two here. When you arrive check into your hotel and head out for a much needed espresso and pastry. Felix is centrally located with a beautiful bakery and outdoor seating. From here you can leisurely walk around Old Town, exploring unique alleys and boutiques. I would recommend climbing to the top of Grossmunster Church if you are able, there are a lot of stairs but it is well worth the view of the city!
If you aren't too tired from all the walking, take the train to the Lindt Chocolate Factory where you can do a guided audio tour of how Swiss chocolate is made! This was a really cool experience and the best part is unlimited chocolate tasting (yes, I said unlimited!)
Travel Tip: Get the Swiss Travel Pass! It will make your life so much easier and is worth every penny.
Day 2: Lucerne & Fondue
Enjoy breakfast at your hotel and then take the 45 minute train ride from Zurich to Lucerne. I stayed at Hotel Chateau Gutsch, which was one of my favorite parts of the trip. It has the best views of the city and was overall a very unique experience. If you decide not to stay here, I would still recommend taking the funicular up to see the views and enjoy a meal or a drink on the patio.
From here it is a short walk to the Musegg wall tower hike. This is a historical monument with lots of history and great views of the city, plus you will definitely get your workout for the day. Grab a quick bite to eat on the water and then head to check out the Chapel Bridge, one of the most renowned sites in Lucerne. After walking the bridge, shop your way over to the Lion Monument which is a beautiful work of art and history. By now you'll be ready for a big dinner, and my favorite spot was Fondue House du Pont, great for traditional Swiss fondue! Definitely make a reservation ahead of time. Finally, walk off all that cheese just in time to get some gelato and enjoy it on the Lakefront promenade on your way back to the hotel.
Day 3: Travel to Interlaken
Enjoy breakfast at Hotel Chateau Gutsch with beautiful sunrise views of the city from above. Then take the scenic boat tour from Luzern to Vitznau. Once you arrive in Vitznau you will take the cogwheel train straight up the mountainside to Rigi Kulm.
Once at the top, you can walk the breathtaking Mt. Rigi panoramic trail (about 0.5 miles.) These are some of the best views of the mountain ranges and lakes in and around Lucerne and the trip up the mountain is an experience itself! If you are not one for hiking, you can take the cogwheel train back down the mountain after the panoramic trail.
We decided to hike from Rigi Kulm to Rigi Scheidegg (about 6.5 miles.) It is a relatively flat trail with plenty of places to stop for lunch along the way. This is one of my favorite hikes I have ever done and I cannot recommend it enough! Once you arrive in Rigi Scheidegg, take the gondola down the mountainside to Arth-Goldau, where you can catch a train back to Luzern.
From here pack up your things and take the train from Luzern to Interlaken, if you are anything like me you will need a nap on the train! Once you arrive in Interlaken, check into your hotel and head to Layaly Beirut for a casual environment with fabulous authentic Lebanese food.
Day 4: Exploring the Lakes Near Interlaken
Today is all about exploring all that Interlaken has to offer. If you are interested in paragliding, this is the spot to do it but we decided to have a more relaxing day walking around the city. After breakfast, head to Hemwehfluh Bahn or Pfingstegg to enjoy an authentic toboggan ride experience. This was such a fun way to kick off our day!
Then, head to Lake Thun for a once-in-a-lifetime boat ride. Lake Thun is fed directly from the glaciers, so the water is so clear. It is worth finding a public beach to take a quick swim, and then hopping on the boat to cruise around the lake. The boat stops at numerous ports on the lake so you can get off at any point and take the train back to Interlaken.
Lake Brienz is also very popular. It has beautiful turquoise blue waters and is the perfect destination for kayaking/ paddle boarding if you have the extra time!
Once you get back to Interlaken, head to Sapori for a wonderful Italian dinner with great cocktails/wine and dessert.
Day 5: Interlaken Bike Tour
For our second day in Interlaken, I booked a 6-hour guided 6-bike tour. This was the best way to see Interlaken and is suitable for all experience levels (the e-bikes make a huge difference!) The tour was called the 6-Hour Guided E-bike Tour to Lauterbrunnen 72 Waterfalls Valley and Swiss Picnic. I booked on Viator travel, but the tour was through Flying Wheels Interlaken.
You will start the tour in downtown Interlaken and bike through historic neighboring villages all the way to the Lauterbrunnen valley where you will have a picnic in the mountains and tour some of the areas most famous waterfalls. This was another one of my favorite things we did on this trip. I learned so much about Swiss culture and Interlaken history, and our tour guides were so knowledgable!
Once you return to Interlaken, catch the train to Montreux and enjoy a quick dinner upon arrival. Tip: The bike tour only runs certain days of the week, so we did this our second day in Interlaken, but I would highly recommend doing this on your first day if possible. The tour guides have so many recommendations for food and activities that it would be helpful to learn when you arrive rather than when you are leaving.
Day 6: Montreux
Enjoy breakfast at Lucien Moutarlier, a French bakery with the best croissants (I went here every morning we were in Montreux!) Walk from Montreux to Chateau Chillon along Lake Geneva. The self-guided tour of the castle is so worth it. You will learn so much history and see how a true castle functioned back in the day.
From here take the train up to Chexbres village and walk down the scenic vineyards on Lake Geneva. This is a UNESCO heritage site and well worth the visit. There are over 200 wineries to choose from, I did a tasting at Domaine Bovy and it was lovely but you really cannot go wrong. You can also book multiple tastings depending on how much time you have!
Tip: Give the wineries as much of a heads up as possible because they bring in local cheeses/breads to pair with the wine, and sometimes they are booked for weddings or special events.
Finally, book the Beau Rivage dinner boat cruise on Lake Geneva. This was a beautiful sunset cruise with a full buffet, fresh caught local fish or veal and a dessert buffet that was out of this world. This was the perfect way to see Lake Geneva, experience Swiss culture and wrap up our trip!
Day 7: Return to Zurich and Fly Home
Grab a quick breakfast (again at Lucien Moutarlier) and make your way back to Zurich. We packed so much into our trip that we spent our last day eating comfort food, relaxing and getting a good night's rest before our early morning flight.
Tip: Central Plaza hotel was the perfect place to stay in Zurich because it is just steps from the major train station that takes you to the airport.
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