Welcome to Switzerland, the country located in the beautiful Alps mountains with thousands of mountain peaks, the best chocolate, delicious fondue, green meadows, friendly cows, huge valleys, cozy Swiss villages, and much more – here is your 3 days in Switzerland itinerary.
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 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 the destinations
And much more.
In case you don’t have 3 days, here is my 2 days Switzerland itinerary
This 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!
3 days Switzerland travel map
As you see on 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:
- Visit Zürich for at least one hour.
- Go to Interlaken and maybe do some paragliding or we go to Grindelwald and go to Jungfraujoch.
- Spend a night in Grindelwald.
- We go to Lauterbrunnen.
- After Lauterbrunnen, we head to Zermatt and glacier paradise.
- We spend a night in Zermatt.
- In the morning we head to Andermatt and maybe visit Oberalp Pass or Furka pass.
- We head and finish our trip to Zürich.
1) Arriving at Zürich airport
Once you arrive at Zürich, you should decide how are you going to travel in Switzerland: by car or public transport.
If you are more than one person, I highly recommend renting a car, as it will be a cheaper option than buying multiple train tickets for many people. I have a full article about how to use trains in Switzerland: How to use trains in Switzerland.
Renting a car will be much cheaper and you will be much more flexible and fast during your 3 day stay in Switzerland.
2) Take a Walking Tour in Zürich
As the first step in your trip, I highly recommend visiting the biggest city in Switzerland.
It has a very cozy and humble old town and great walks by Lake Zürich.
To make it as fast as possible for you, you should go to your car and park here: Rämistrasse 22A, 8001 Zürich.
It is very close to the city center, but as well very close to the old town and the lake. This parking is quite costly, but you would need to park there just up to two hours or less. Once you go out of 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:
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 on 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.
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.
If you want to spend more time with a local guide tour, who can tell you much more about the history and hidden gems of Zürich, I highly recommend a guided tour: Zürich guided tour.
Another very good and fast option is a bus tour of Zürich where you are going to see even more of the city in just 2 hours: Zürich bus tour.
After the tour, jump into the car and let’s go to Interlaken – the paragliding capital of Switzerland.
3) Visit Brienz and 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 attractions you can find in Brienz.
There is a very nice boat tour on the lake Brienz where you going to enjoy picturesque views, blue-green lakes and adore chalet villages: Brienz and Thun lake tour.
If you come to Interlaken in the summertime, 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 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 the 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.
I’ve tried paragliding in Interlaken during the spring and I must say it was one of the most memorable and colorful experiences in my life. Seeing surrounding valleys, snow-capped mountains and lush lakes from above is simply worth it.
If you are up to it, you should try a paragliding tour with a professional, so you won’t have to do pretty much anything, just enjoy the flight and the views: 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 waiting a bit and go to Grindelwald.
4) Hiking Trails in 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.
It is full of old Swiss wooden architecture and has a complete feel of Swiss culture. You can go to many restaurants and have some local traditional fondue.
There is so much to do in Grindelwald, that I have written a very extended long article about the 15 best things to do in Grindelwald – if you would have more time, you can spend easily one week in Grindelwald and still have something new to do each day. Grindelwald is my favorite mountain destination in Switzerland.
There 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 do two of the following things: visit Jungfraujoch or Kleine Scheidegg.
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. I had once fondue where a few years ago and it is still the most fascinating place I have done it.
Jungfraujoch is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Switzerland and I highly recommend visiting it, you won’t regret it. If you want to save up some money and not buy a ticket directly in Grindelwald, I suggest using this option: Jungfraujoch train tour.
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.
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.
Spending a night in Grindelwald
Grindelwald is a very famous Swiss destination, so it has many many hotels and chalets to choose from.
If you want a cheaper option, I recommend:
Eiger Lodge Easy – it is one of the cheapest places to spend a night in Grindelwald with bunk beds, a bar, and a billiard table.
Hotel Belevue Pinte – a beautiful rustic hotel with restaurant.
If you do not mind spending more, these are great options:
Spinne Grindelwald – a 4 star hotel with a spa. Just imaging spending there a night after a long trip to mountains.
Sunstar Hotel and Spa – another 4-star hotel with a spa. A central location with beautiful unspoiled fascinating views of the famous North Face of the mountain Eiger.
1) Wander Around Majestic 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 and many other social platforms.
Lauterbrunnen is quite a small village but offers many hiking routes: Best hiking routes in Lauterbrunnen. And you can visit a 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.
The ultimate destination from Lauterbrunnen is called Schilthorn where you can enjoy panoramic mountain views at 2970 meters altitude and visit the place where even James Bond visited. Look for the best cable car prices right here: Schilthorn. Note: the cable car goes from Stechelberg which is 6 kilometers from Lauterbrunnen, but buses go there all the time right from the center of Lauterbrunnen.
I would as well recommend taking 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.
After Lauterbrunnen, we go to the most famous Swiss village called Zermatt.
2) Zermatt and Glacier Paradise
The ride to Zermatt will take you about 2h 30 minutes, but this ride is mostly through the Swiss Alps, so you are going to love the views all around you the whole way.
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 the Toblerone chocolate package. So this village must be on 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 a 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 cleanest in all Europe.
What I really recommend doing in Zermatt – visit the glacier paradise. It is the highest mountain station in Europe at 3883 meters, it is the highest such destination in Europe. 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, the body adapts.
In glacier paradise you can visit the restaurant – in good weather conditions, you can see Mont Blanc through the window.
Afterward, 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 sides. The views are jaw-dropping on the top.
After visiting glacier paradise we spend a night in Zermatt – the jewel of the Swiss Alps.
Spending a night in Zermatt
Zermatt is pretty much the top tourist destination in the Swiss Alps and hotel prices can be quite steep, but if you want to save some money, I recommend these hotels:
Zermatt youth hostel – It is pretty much the cheapest option in Zermatt.
Hotel Adonis – a rustic hotel with private rooms and a good breakfast option.
More expensive options would be:
Hotel Continental – a very central cozy 3-star hotel.
Albana Real Hotel – a central hotel with a spa. A perfect place to relax after a long day.
1) Visit Andermatt and Surrounding 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 many more places there, have a look at the list here: Top places in Uri canton.
But I suggest visiting 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 the mountains and has 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 has 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.
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.
2) Back to Zürich
Afterward, 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.
Public Transportation in Switzerland (& How to Save Money)
Switzerland, despite being in a very mountainous region, is very well connected with trains and has 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 in 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 a 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 an 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 on 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 you 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 a few years in Switzerland, I saw hitchhikers maybe 2-3 times. It is unpopular, but at the same time – no competition.
Cost of Traveling in Switzerland (Money-Saving Tips!)
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 a price is really good in Switzerland. Airbnb can be cheaper, but not always.
You can find hostels cheaper than 40 CHF which is a good deal.
Food prices are the highest in Europe, so if you wish to save some money: avoid meat. Meat is very expensive here. Visit shops like Denner, Lidl, and Aldi. These are the cheapest ones. If you do not spend too much money on restaurants and only buy food in the shops, you can spend 20-30 CHF a day.
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. A 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 170 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 camping. But if you sleep in hotels and go to restaurants 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.
Hope you can have good use of our 3 days in Switzerland itinerary. If you’re looking for something else or a tailored Switzerland itinerary, don’t hesitate to let us know.
Oh, not to forget. Feel free to share your experiences and recommendations so we can create a well-balanced Swiss itinerary in the future. 🙂