Welcome to Switzerland, the country located in the beautiful Alps mountains with thousands of mountain peaks, best chocolate, delicious fondue, green meadows, friendly cows, huge valleys, cozy Swiss villages and much more – here is your 3 days Switzerland itinerary.

Oeschinensee hike

In 3 days you will get to see all the things mentioned above, you are going to have a really good time and get to know Switzerland much more. If you take the recommendation from my Switzerland itinerary, you are going to see the iconic Swiss sites.

Switzerland is a very friendly country with a high standards of living, so I will advise where you can save some money and still have a good time.

In this post you are going to find such information:

  • The map of your all 3 days trip;
  • How to travel: car or train;
  • How much can it preliminary cost you;
  • Places you should visit in the destinations;

And much more.

One note, if you have less time than 3 days, I have prepared a two days itinerary here: 2 days Switzerland itinerary.

And as well many day trips from the biggest Swiss airport cities:

There is something for everyone and each situation.

This 3 day Switzerland itinerary begins in Zürich (as the biggest airport is there), but you can easily do the whole trip from Basel as well.

Let’s dive in into your 3 days Switzerland itinerary.

How to travel in Switzerland

Switzerland, despite being in a very mountainous region, is very well connected with trains and have amazing roads. There are dozens of mountain passes you can go in summer and even in winter above 2000 meters altitude. So with a car you can go pretty much everywhere.

The trains are as good as it can get in Switzerland. It works like a clock. Like a Swiss clock. There are many trains which go very often to each direction, especially from bigger cities like Zürich or Basel.

Swiss trains are very comfortable, fast and clean. You will love the trains which go through the mountains as the views are amazing and you will be even surprised in some places how they built the rails in such rugged terrain.

The only thing to consider here is the price differences.

The train price for 3 days (you must buy Swiss pass, otherwise the traveling costs will skyrocket) is 232 CHF. For that price you can travel as much as you want in Switzerland for 3 days.

The car rental price for 3 days can be around 300 CHF. The petrol price for overall 3 days trip should be around 75 CHF (you will drive around 500km, the petrol/diesel price per liter is around 1,50 CHF).

So, if you are alone, it totally makes sense to buy train tickets. If you are two or more – to rent a car is cheaper.

If you are with a car – someone always must drive, if you are in a train – you can get the total Swiss experience and just look through windows to the mountains and valleys. It depends on how you like to travel, but for the group with two or more, I would advise to rent a car. You will save some money.

The cheapest way of travel would be hitchhiking, but then you kind of have to forget the 3 day plan as you may not get cars to stop that fast. Swiss people are usually friendly and stop, but in few years in Switzerland I saw hitchhikers maybe 2-3 times. It is unpopular, but at the same time – no competition.

Switzerland trip costs

We must consider such costs for your trip:

Hotel. Whenever you find a hotel cheaper than 100 CHF – consider it a good deal. It may not be the highest standard hotel with SPAs, but such price is really good in Switzerland. Airbnb can be cheaper, but not always. Hostel – cheaper than 40 CHF is a good deal.

Food. Food prices are the highest in Europe in Switzerland, so if you wish to save some money: avoid meat. Meat is very expensive here. Visit shops as Denner, Lidl and Aldi. These are the cheapest ones. If you do not spend too much money in restaurants and only buy food in the shops, you can spend 20-30 CHF a day.

Swiss fondue
Swiss fondue

Transport. As mentioned above: up to 232 CHF if you take a train. With a car and a bigger group of people you can spend less.

Restaurants. A decent meal can cost 20-30 CHF per person. A stake – 40-50 CHF. Cup of coffee – 4-7 CHF.

Gondola rides. Gondola rides are quite expensive in Switzerland, but it is the fastest way to reach the peaks. You can always skip it and hike. Gondola rides can start from 30 CHF (the cheapest I’ve ever paid was 12 CHF in a small village of Sulwald) and go up to 150 CHF.

All in all 3 days costs: it all depends on you. You can skip restaurants. You can skip gondolas. You can sleep in a car or in a camping. But if you sleep in hotels and go to restaurant from time to time, expect to spend at least 600 CHF per person, but you can really lower it to 300 CHF per person or even less.

3 days Switzerland travel map

Let us have a look at our map below:

3 days switzerland itinerary
3 days Switzerland itinerary

As you see in the map, you will have to drive almost 500 kilometers and that would be 8h 30 minutes of sheer driving, so that is around 3 hours each day which is very manageable and comfortable, because you really want to spend some time in the mountains.

Ok, so here is our plan:

  1. Visit Zürich for at least one hour.
  2. Go to Interlaken and maybe do some paragliding or we go to Grindelwald and go to Jungfraujoch.
  3. Spend a night in Grindelwald.
  4. We go to Lauterbrunnen.
  5. After Lauterbrunnen we head to Zermatt and glacier paradise.
  6. We spend a night in Zermatt.
  7. In the morning we head to Andermatt and maybe visit Oberalp Pass or Furka pass.
  8. We head and finish our trip in Zürich.

First day in Switzerland

Zürich

If you are patient enough and can wait for the mountains, I highly recommend visiting the biggest city in Switzerland.

It has a very cozy and humble old town and great walks by the lake Zürich.

To make it as fast as possible for you, you should go with your car and park here:
Once you go out from the parking, you will get very fast (in 5-10 minutes) to the big main square which is right by the Zürich Opera House.
Ok, so to understand where you are: the old town is on your right, the lake is right in front of you.
Please have a look at the Zürich walking tour map below:

Zürich walking map

The whole tour is quite short, 2,5 kilometers, 35 minutes if you walk with no stops, coffee breaks and do zero pictures. But I think you should spend there at least an hour or two, but I would not stretch it too long, because you can get to the Alps too late of your first day.
If you are lucky, you may even see the Swiss Alps from the Qualbrücke (from the bridge), but it must be perfectly clear weather with no fog or clouds.
Zürich
Zürich
Once you cross the bridge, you get to the older part of the city which leads to very popular shopping streets; on the other side of the river is the old town with many nice restaurants and boutiques.
After the tour, jump into the car and let’s go to Interlaken – the paragliding capital of Switzerland.

Paragliding in Interlaken

You should get to Interlaken in 1h 30 minutes, but I would like to recommend a little detour if you have time: visit a very nice village called Brienz. I have visited it myself and really like it, especially the walk by the lake and the mountain views all around. Have a look at what you can find in Brienz: Top things to do in Brienz.

Brienz
Brienz

If you come to Interlaken in summer time, you will notice very fast that the sky is full of paragliders. It is a very popular activity in Interlaken. The sky is full of paragliders as of birds.

I really recommend to paraglide, but it really depends on you: if you like heights and if you are not afraid of such an experience. You would go with a professional guide and overall flight would take you about 20 minutes. They collect everyone in the city center, take you up the mountain and you start your flight there.

Interlaken - the delicate pearl surrounded by majestic mountains
Interlaken majestic mountains

You can check all the tours right here: Paragliding in Interlaken.

Interlaken itself is a small city surrounded by the Swiss Alps so you can do lots of hiking, visit the little old town and check out the huge hotels.

But for the full mountain experience I would recommend to wait a bit and go to Grindelwald.

Grindelwald

Grindelwald is probably one of the most beautiful Swiss villages. It is the last village on the windy road and is completely surrounded by huge mountains.

Grindelwald
Grindelwald

It is full of old Swiss wooden architecture and has the complete feel of Swiss culture. You can go to many restaurants and have some local traditional fondue.

The are dozens of hiking trails in Switzerland and I have a list of the best one: Best hikes in Grindelwald.

I would really suggest you to do two of the following things: visit Jungfraujoch or Kleine Scheidegg.

Jungfraujoch
Jungfraujoch

Jungfraujoch you can reach only by train: it is a huge mountain station at 3466 meters altitude with restaurants, shops and winter all year round. It is one of the most popular mountain stations in Europe.

Kleine Scheidegg – you can reach as well by train or hike there. Hiking would take you up to 3 hours: later you can get back to Grindelwald by train. The hike to Kleine Scheidegg is one of the most beautiful in Switzerland: you will cross by many farms, will meet many cows, some mountain rivers, hotels, restaurants and in the end you will reach the huge mountain station with trains, hotels, shops and hotels at 2061 meters.

Kleine Scheidegg in winter
Kleine Scheidegg in winter

After your hike or visit to the heights of the Swiss Alps, I highly recommend, as mentioned before, go to the local restaurant and have some local fondue – the most traditional Swiss food.

Second day in Switzerland

Lauterbrunnen

Just 20 minutes away from Grindelwald, on the other side of the mountain, is an iconic Swiss village called Lauterbrunnen.

If you ever saw a village between huge rocks with a high waterfall pouring down water from one side – it is probably Lauterbrunnen. It is a very famous village on Instagram.

Lauterbrunnen
Lauterbrunnen

Lauterbrunnen is quite small village, but offers many hiking routes and you can visit couple of very nice waterfalls, one of them is right in the village and is called Staubbachfall. You can get very close to it and even underneath it.

I would as well recommend to take a train to Wengen – a car free village a bit higher than Lauterbrunnen. The train ticket is only a bit more than 6 CHF, but the ride is very beautiful: you get to see the whole valley, Lauterbrunnen from the top and the waterfalls as well. It is one of the most beautiful train rides in Europe for such a price. In Wengen you can do some hiking (read: hiking in Wengen) or visit a local cafe and have your breakfast.

Wengen
Wengen, Grindelwald, Switzerland

After Lauterbrunnen we go to the most famous Swiss village called Zermatt.

Zermatt and glacier paradise

The ride to Zermatt will take you about 2h 30 minutes, but this ride is mostly through Swiss Alps, so you are going to love the views all around you the whole way.

Zermatt view to Matterhorn
Zermatt view to Matterhorn

Zermatt is one of the most famous villages in Europe as it has the famous Matterhorn in its backyard. Matterhorn is famous because it is on Toblerone chocolate package. So this village must be in your Switzerland itinerary.

Zermatt is as well a car free village, so you will have to leave your car in Täsch village – they have huge parking lots over there. There is train to Zermatt every 10-20 minutes or you can hike to Zermatt in 1-2 hours. I have done it: it is a nice and easy hike. Have a look here: hiking from Täsch to Zermatt.

Zermatt is a very old and very protected village: only electric cars can drive there and the air over there is probably one of the most clean in all Europe.

What I really recommend to do in Zermatt – visit the glacier paradise. It is the highest mountain station in Europe at 3883 meters. You can reach it by gondola.

If you feel a bit dizzy on the top, no worry, it is because of the lack of oxygen. I have been there two times and both times felt quite dizzy for some time – later on body adapts.

In glacier paradise you can visit the restaurant – in a good weather conditions you can see Mont Blanc through the window.

Afterwards visit the ice rooms/museum/maze and go outside to have a look at 4000 meter peaks and the Alps on french, italian and swiss side. The views are jaw dropping on the top.

After visiting glacier paradise we spend a night in Zermatt – the jewel of Swiss Alps.

Third day in Switzerland

Andermatt and mountain passes

On the third day I would recommend not going straight to Zürich, but visit one more Swiss village and one or more mountain passes.

Andermatt is just 2 hours away from Zermatt and is surrounded by even three Swiss mountain passes.

Andermatt is located in a very mountainous Uri canton and you can actually visit much more places there, have a look at the list here: Top places in Uri canton.

Hiking Switzerland
Hiking from Andermatt

But I suggest to visit at least one, or if you are fast two or even three mountain passes. Driving through mountain passes is the ultimate fun alpine drive you can get.

Andermatt is right in the middle of mountains and have even three mountain passes next to it: Oberalp Pass, Gotthard Pass and Furka Pass.

Furka Pass is probably the most famous mountain pass in Switzerland as even James Bond have visited it in one of the movies and as well you can find one of the most iconic Swiss hotels there: Belvedere Hotel. As well in Furka Pass you can visit a shrinking (unfortunately) glacier.

Hotel Belvedere Furka Pass
Hotel Belvedere Furka Pass

Oberalp Pass is a perfect location to do some hiking and you can hike to the Tomasee, a lake which is the beginning of the biggest Swiss river Rhein.

Gotthard Pass is a very interesting mountain pass as it has a museum and even some old military bases which you can as well visit.

Or you can simply drive through all of them and take real and mental pictures for the whole life. It is immensely beautiful over there. The whole three mountain passes trip is doable in 3-4 hours.

After your adventure in the mountain passes you can have your lunch in a cozy Andermatt old town.

Back to Zürich

Afterwards you can head back to Zürich. On your way you are going to pass by two more capitals of two cantons: Zug and Schwyz.

You can have a short stop there and explore these cities before your flight home.

3 days Switzerland itinerary sum up

So here it is, all my recommendations for 3 days trip itinerary in Switzerland. You can as well explore all my website for more ideas as there are many more places to visit all around Switzerland, but if you visit all my recommended places, you are going to see lots of Swiss Alps. Lots of. And one of the best places in Swiss Alps as well.

If you are looking for more cultural trip, you can visit Basel, Lucerne or Geneva, but then your Switzerland itinerary will change a bit.

If you have any questions about Switzerland itinerary, please let me know, I will do my best to help you.

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