Small enough to traverse end-to-end in a few hours and with excellent public transport, Switzerland can be explored in as little as three days, specifically if you stick to one or two key regions. A five to seven-day trip will let you see a broader mix of city and countryside attractions. And with 10 or 14 days, you will be able to get properly off the beaten track if you choose. Read on for itinerary options that will show you the very best of this small country.

Planning Your Trip to Switzerland

When planning your Switzerland trip, consider your point of arrival, which can influence how you maximize your time. Geneva (west) and Zürich (north) are the two big international airports and, as Switzerland is relatively small, three days lets you explore either of these cities and take a day trip into the countryside. In one week, you could see Geneva and Zürich, other iconic cities like Bern and Lucerne, and spend more time in Switzerland's beautiful mountains. Two weeks is enough time to see more than just the popular destinations, seeing places such as the Swiss National Park (southeast).

Switzerland in 3-4 Days

Geneva is a great cosmopolitan introduction to Switzerland

Three days means you need to manage your time effectively to make the most of your trip. Arriving in Geneva, explore the Old Town and its Cathedral and museums dedicated to timepieces or contemporary art, and appreciate Lake Geneva by strolling through waterside gardens, taking a boat trip, or having a swim. Then take two days to travel along Lake Geneva, stopping off at the lively city of Lausanne and a lakeside castle-like Château de Chillon, before climbing into the mountains to Zermatt, picturesquely crowned by one of the world's great mountains, the Matterhorn (14,691 ft/ 4,478 m).

In Zürich, you'll want to gaze at the majesty of 13th-century Fraumünster, a church with windows designed by Marc Chagall, take a comprehensive trip through Swiss history at the Swiss National Museum, or climb Uetliberg mountain (2,857 ft/ 871 m) for incredible panoramas. Then stop at Switzerland's prettiest big city, Lucerne on Lake Lucerne, before heading into the mountains around Central Switzerland's highest peak, Mount Titlis.

Plan your trip to Switzerland
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Switzerland in 5-7 Days

Switzerland, Grindelwald - Aerial village view and autumn Swiss Alps mountains panorama landscape, wooden chalets on green fields and high peaks in background, Bernese Oberland
A fall view over Grindelwald and the Swiss Alps in the Bernese Oberland

With around a week in Switzerland, you have much more scope for exploring. You could linger for longer around Lake Geneva, squeezing in a side trip to Bern, before journeying to Valais, a postcard-perfect pocket of mountainous countryside. Here, see the beautiful Aletsch Glacier and visit Zermatt for mountain-based activities. Also, take in the mighty peaks of the Jungfrau region of Bernese Oberland from Interlaken, with Europe's highest-elevation rail ride to Jungfraujoch (11,332 ft/ 3,454 m) as a highlight. 

Another possibility is to zone in on one specific region for your trip. For an excellent overview of the Bernese Oberland's finest mountains, an area with iconic summits such as Eiger and Jungfrau, consider a hut-to-hut hike such as on this 5-day itinerary. You'll walk through some of Europe's finest mountain scenery and experience many of the most intrinsic elements of Swiss Alpine life. You'll get to overnight in mountain huts surrounded by tranquil forests and mountain vistas, visit traditional alpine villages like Grindelwald and take memorable train rides.  

Switzerland in 10 Days

Gruyères, Switzerland
Traditional home in historic center in Gruyères

Ten days in Switzerland gives you license to see whatever elements of the country appeal to you. Remember that while you could see most of Switzerland's highlights during this time, your itinerary will be jam-packed if you do. It still makes sense to be selective about where you visit.

A great 10-day itinerary between Geneva and Zürich, showcasing Switzerland's incredible diversity, might see you travel around Lake Geneva, stopping at Lausanne, UNESCO-listed Lavaux Wine Region, and Château de Chillon. Then head northeast via the famous medieval cheesemaking town Gruyères to the Swiss capital of Bern, which also has a UNESCO-listed medieval center. Shoot over to Interlaken for mountain activities in the Jungfrau area before going northeast via Lucerne to Zürich. There's still time for side trips to Europe's most powerful waterfall, Rheinfall, or its third-biggest lake, Lake Constance.

Again, focusing on a specific region gives you a more in-depth experience. On this 10-day hike, you'll walk from Chamonix in the French Alps over the border into Switzerland, and to the mountain resort Zermatt, traversing the fine mountain scenery tucked away in Switzerland's southwest corner. You'll hike around 2.5-5 hours each day through glacier-daubed mountainsides, pine forests, alpine meadows, and along the base of the towering Matterhorn, taking the idyllic walker's Haute route. You'll also have peace overnight as you stay in remote huts that give you the chance to spy on timid mountain creatures like ibex. 

Switzerland in 2 Weeks

Ancient village of Corippo situated near Lavertezzo on a hill surrounded by forest and mountains in Canton Ticino
Traipse through the small town of Corippo in Switzerland's Ticino region

Two weeks in Switzerland and you'll also have plenty of chances to go off-piste, seeing sights that do not easily slot into a shorter itinerary because of their out-of-the-way location.

From Geneva, go to South Switzerland's Ticino region, traveling here after a week exploring Lake Geneva, Valais mountain destinations like the Aletsch Glacier, and Jungfrau region mountain villages like Lauterbrunnen. Alpine Ticino is influenced by neighboring Italy's culture: it's a place to enjoy pasta and gelato in castle-crowned towns like Bellinzona or relax beside dazzling lakes Maggiore and Locarno that spillover from Italy. Switzerland's prettiest Alpine village, Corippo, is also in Ticino. From here, visit Switzerland's only national park, the Swiss National Park, then stop to explore Lake Lucerne on the way back to Zürich.

You could also consider a truly off-the-beaten-track fortnight in the country's east. In the first week, take in Northeast Switzerland's mountains, Lake Constance and Rheinfall. Then drop down via Lucerne, stopping to see peaks like Mt. Titlis or Mt. Pilatus before heading to Southeast Switzerland and Graubünden's seldom-visited capital, Chur. Go rafting in the Ruinaulta area, continue to ritzy St. Moritz, then go and hit the 50 miles (80 km) of trails in the isolated, mountainous Swiss National Park to spot ibex, golden eagles, marmots, and more, as well as exploring idyllic hidden villages. 

More Great Switzerland Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Switzerland? Check out these other Switzerland itineraries, with outdoor adventures, cultural trips, and best-of tours to hit the highlights.