Zurich is a great place to beigin your journey around Switzerland. Whether you fly into Zurich, get the train or drive, Zurich is easy to reach from all over Europe and the world. Although Zurich is not the official capital city of Switzerland, it is however the dominant city for culture and tourism. After your arrival in Zurich, you could spend the afternoon wandering the streets of Zurich old town. There is a route planned out for tourists which shows you the major highlights of the inner city.
Top things to do in Zurich:
- Uetilberg – a hike up the hill to a magnificent view across Zurich city and lake.
- Alt stadt (old town) – There is a route planned out for tourists which shows you the major highlights of the inner city
- Lake zurich
- Kunsthaus (Art Museum)
Lucern (Luzern, Lucerne) is a gorgeous city, on lake Lucern. One night could be spent here, with a visit up the Pilatus Mountain and hours walking the streets and bridges of the alt Stadt (old town) during the day.
Top things to do in Lucern:
- Mount Pilatus
- Kapelle Bruecke (Chapel Bridge)
- Old Town
Interlaken is of course the gateway to ‘the top of Europe’, or Jungfraujoch. The magnificent mountain peak stands on the edge of the valley surrounding Interlaken. Actions sport and nature lovers will be at home in Interlaken. The valley is filled with Para gliders and hang gliders, countless hikes and of course the Alps for skiing and mountaineering. All of the drives around Interlaken are absolutely gorgeous. The steep valleys rumbling down to the bright aqua blue lakes are sights you can really make the most of while you have the freedom of a car.
Top things to do in Interlaken:
- Hang gliding,
- Para gliding
- Walking or hiking.
- Drive through the hills and around the lakes surrounding Interlaken
Jung Frau Joch
They call it ‘the top of Europe’. The Jungfraujoch stands at 3 466m above sea level and is only accessible to tourists by the Jungfrau railway. The train takes you up the steep climb inside of the mountain. Two stops on the way up allow you to hop off the train to peek out the middle of the mountain into the valley below. A the top, you look across the Aletsch Glacier from the comfort of the observation building. On top is also one of the highest astronomical observatories in the world. From there, you see amazing views across both sides of the mountain range. Restaurant and full amenities are found at the top. As it is well supported by tourists it is a very comfortable and rather luxurious way to experience the Bernese Alps!
Top things to do on the Jungfraujoch:
- Hiking – choose to hike on the glacier or one of the many trails
- Zip line
- Ice sculpture castle
- Admire the view!
- Sunbake in the sun chairs
I only passed through Thun due to a recommendation from my accommodation staff member – and I absolutely do not regret it. Sitting on the river, drinking a coffee, looking over the lake with the Alps in the background was a gorgeous way to spend a morning. The city of Thun is very cute, with lots of character and charm. I highly recommend a relaxing stopover in Thun
Top things to do in Thun:
- Have a coffee and a meal at one of the riverside restaurants.
- Castle Schadau
- Walk around the streets and explore!
As the capital of Switzerland and the residence of Einstein, Bern should be on your itinerary (at least for a drive by). The best place I found in Bern was the view across the city from the Rose Garden. A quick stop in the city centre will allow you to see the highlights and move onto explore more of Switzerland’s natural beauty.
Top things to do in Bern:
- Experience the view from the Rose Garden
- The federal palace
- bear Park
- Einstein Museum
- Kunst museum (art museum)
- Paul Klee Zentrum (artist)
Geneva holds the largest number of international organizations in the world. It is home to one of the United Nations headquarters as well as the Red Cross headquartes. This really gives you an idea of the large expat community and the quality of life in Geneva. Everything in the region is well groomed and nothing seems to be out of place. Taking a walk along the lakes edge is a very relaxing way to spend an afternoon. A glass of wine with a view across Lake Geneva with the Matterhorn and Mount Blanc in th background is an experience not to be missed. You could indulge in the upmarket shopping opportunities in Geneva; however I preferred to enjoy the scenery and culture instead.
Top things to do in Geneva:
- Le Jet d’Eau – a powerful water jet feature in Lake Geneva.
- enjoy the views of the lake and the alps with a drink.
- Boat trip on the lake
- swimming at the beach
- old town
- Palais des Nations
- Basilica of our lady Notre Dame
Tips for a road trip to Switzerland:
- European cars need to buy a car pass – 40 EURO available at stations before the border. The passes are valid for the calendar year.
- Parking in Zurich is hell. Be sure to arrange parking before you arrive, if you are staying in the city. From the local police department you can buy a day parking pass for 15 Franks and park on the road.
- As you have a car, don’t be afraid to go a little off track occasionally. Sometimes turning off the main road will lead you to the greatest moments of your trip – those more untouched, pristine areas of the countryside. Explore the lakes, the mountain views and the small towns along the way.
So there are my recommendations for a 1 week trip to Switzerland! Let me know what you think in the comments below.
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