Last Updated on: 20th October 2023, 02:22 pm

Dreaming of visiting Switzerland but only have 5 days to spare? Here are two options of 5 days itinerary for Switzerland to help you plan your Swiss adventure.

There are enough things you can cover in five days. With thoughtful planning and research, you can craft the perfect 5-day Switzerland itinerary to experience the majestic Alps, some of the charming villages such as Geneva, Lugano, and Arosa, and stunning lakes this destination is famous for.

I’ve been to Lugano on a business trip. I fell in love with Switzerland at first sight for multiple reasons, and therefore felt the urge to return.

Here’s how to decide when is the best time to go to Switzerland. Would you agree with my points, there?

zurich in fall

5 Days Itinerary for Switzerland – Option 1

This 5-day Switzerland itinerary covers the must-see places and activities you can comfortably fit into just one week in Switzerland.

This itinerary implies that you fly into Zurich airport and you sleep in Zurich the night before Day 1 below.

rheinfall switzerland

Rheinfall should be part of your 5 days Switzerland itinerary – now you see why

Day 1: Zurich and Rhine Falls

Spend your first day exploring Zurich, the largest city in Switzerland.

Check out this Zurich City Tour and book your spot at the price of today, [todaysdate].

Walk along the shores of the pristine Lake Zurich and stroll through Old Town to see sights like Fraumünster Church with its ornate stained-glass windows.

In the afternoon, take a short train ride to Rhine Falls – Europe’s largest waterfall. This train ride is only one hour long, so there’s plenty of time to explore your destination.

You can also book an organized trip to Rhine Falls here.

Watch the mighty river cascade down the rocks from viewing platforms before heading back to Zurich for the evening.

You’ll spend your first night in Switzerland in Zurich.

interlaken viewpoint

Interlaken observatory deck

Day 2: Jungfraujoch and Interlaken

On your second day, journey into the Bernese Alps to visit Jungfraujoch – nicknamed the Top of Europe. Take Europe’s highest railway up to the observation deck perched at 11,333 feet (3,454m) for spectacular views of glacier-covered peaks. Don’t miss the Ice Palace carved into the glacier itself.

Check out this Jungfraujoch Glacier trip and book your spot at the price of today, [todaysdate].

Afterward, continue on to Interlaken in the heart of the Berner Oberland region. Check into your hotel and stroll beside either Lake Thun or Lake Brienz at this mountain resort town. Ride a cable car up to one of Interlaken’s neighboring peaks like Schilthorn for more stunning Alpine views if time allows.

golden pass train switzerland

Isn’t the Golden Pass train beautiful?

Day 3: GoldenPass Line and Lucerne

Spend day three aboard the GoldenPass panoramic train traveling from Interlaken to Lucerne. This scenic journey showcases quaint Swiss villages and farmland set against the backdrop of the mighty Alps.

Upon arriving in Lucerne, take some time to explore this medieval city on Lake Lucerne. Walk across the iconic 14th-century Chapel Bridge and admire views of Mount Pilatus from the lakefront promenade. Consider taking a boat cruise across the lake to really appreciate Lucerne’s gorgeous setting.

Rigi mountain cow sculpture

Welcome on the top of Rigi mountain!

Day 4: Mt Rigi or Mt Pilatus

On your fourth day, choose between ascending two of Lucerne’s neighboring peaks – Mt Rigi or Mt Pilatus. Both offer stunning 360° views from their summits across the Alps and over Lake Lucerne below.

If you want to take this trip to Mt Rigi from Zurich, click here to see this day trip to Lucerne and Mount Rigi – you’ll be away for 8-9 hours, but you won’t have to leave your hotel in Zurich just yet.

Mt Rigi has a panorama trail and scenic railway while Mt Pilatus boasts the world’s steepest cogwheel railway up its flanks. After enjoying the views, ride the railway back down again in the afternoon then spend the remainder of the day relaxing in Lucerne.

bern cobbled street

The cobbled streets of Bern are romantic, indeed

Day 5: Bern and Geneva

For your final day, take the train to Bern – Switzerland’s capital. Explore the 15th-century old town, UNESCO World Heritage site and see landmarks like the Gothic cathedral, medieval arcades, astronomical clock and Bear Park.

Continue onward to lovely lakeside Geneva, stretching alongside Lac Léman. Stroll through Old Town to see attractions like The Reformation Wall, St. Peter’s Cathedral and the scenic water jet fountain before this amazing 5-day Swiss adventure comes to an end.

If time allows, consider taking a boat trip on Lake Geneva. Click here to see one of these 50-minute boat trips and to book your date.

With an efficient 5-day itinerary focused on Switzerland’s highlights, you can grasp the beauty and magic of this country in a short time. Just be sure to check transport timetables when planning your routes each day. Enjoy the natural splendor of the Swiss Alps, picturesque villages and serene lakes throughout this action-packed week.

5 Days Itinerary for Switzerland – Option 2

Here’s an alternative 5-day Switzerland itinerary that also includes Lugano, Lake Como and Arosa:

zurich aerial view

Aerial view of Zurich

Day 1: Zurich and Rhine Falls

This would be the same itinerary as above.

Lugano Switzerland lakefront promenade with trees

Day 2: Lugano and Lake Como

Rather than going to Jungfraujoch, head south to Lugano, a beautiful small town by Lake Lugano in southern Switzerland.

Explore the pedestrian streets of the city center, take a cruise on the lake and ride a funicular up Monte San Salvatore for panoramic views.

In the afternoon, take a bus or train across the border to Italy’s Lake Como. Visit scenic lakeside villages like Bellagio or Varenna and enjoy the views of the lake and surrounding mountains. Return to Lugano for the night.

chur arosa railway

Day 3: Bernina Express to Arosa

On your third day, take the Bernina Express train along one of Switzerland’s most scenic rail routes, crossing the Alps to arrive in Arosa, a resort town in Graubünden canton.

Admire views of glaciers, mountain peaks and turquoise lakes from the train. You may be able to take good photos right from the train. If not, do as we did – go for selfies or ask a friend to take photos of you on the train.

switzerland train Chur Arosa

That’s me with my friend on the red, sunny train from Chur to Arosa

Once in Arosa, stroll along the lake or ride the Weisshorn cable car up for stunning views of the surrounding mountain scenery. Stay overnight here in this high alpine region.

lucerne switzerland historic center

The historic center of Lucerne is another must-see during your five-day Switzerland itinerary

Day 4: GoldenPass Line and Lucerne

Travel from Arosa back across Switzerland on the GoldenPass Line panoramic train to Lucerne, taking in all the breathtaking scenery along the way. Spend the afternoon exploring medieval Lucerne.

Day 5: Bern and Geneva

This would be the same Swiss travel itinerary as above.

This alternate itinerary allows you to see the lakeside cities of Lugano and Lake Como as well as spend a night in the mountains around Arosa.

Make sure you dress for cold. I’ve been to Arosa in April and it was freezing cold. Even my camera froze and refused to switch on!

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5 days switzerland itinerary


Violeta Matei
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