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9 Days Switzerland Itinerary

In-depth 9 Days Switzerland Itinerary by Swiss Travel Expert

Jun 09, 2021
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Switzerland may look like a tiny country on the map, but there is so much to do and see that you have to keep coming back.

You can never finish the main highlights of Switzerland if you don't stay for a longer duration. Therefore, choosing a 9 days Switzerland itinerary is near perfect for covering all the iconic Swiss mountains and destinations.

Those who wish to sneak peek into the "not so usual" Switzerland tour can consider this a complete travel package.

Places covered:
  • 1. Montreux
  • 2. Zermatt
  • 3. St Moritz
  • 4. Lugano
  • 5. Zurich

Day 1: Arrival - Travel to Montreux - Chillon Castle and Promenade:

Your first destination in this 9-day itinerary is Montreux. Your point of arrival in Switzerland should be via Geneva, as it is the closest airport to Montreux. However, if you're flying into Zurich as your entry point, you still have good train connections to Montreux. It would take approximately between 1.30 hours from Geneva Airport or 2.50 hours from Zurich Airport. Don't forget to keep your Swiss Travel Pass and passport in hand before you board your train.

Montreux is located on the western side of Switzerland and is also a part of the Lake Geneva region. You will experience this when your train arrives closer to Montreux, and you pass by villages and vineyards located around the lakes.

Make your way to the hotel, freshen up and relax. After lunch, proceed to Château de Chillon. The Chillon Castle is a fortress on a rocky island and houses many medieval frescoes and dungeons. There are various rooms at multiple levels and interconnected pathways with wooden staircases to explore within the castle. Some rooms have interactive areas, and some have great audios and videos, which makes it easier to understand the history behind the castle and make it come alive. After you finish your visit to Chillon Castle, take the bus to Montreux promenade (towards the central station) and walk along the lakeside. You will come across huge parks, a boat pier, and many metal art sculptures on the way. You cannot miss out on Freddie Mercury's bronze statue here. Enjoy the sunset here with a light snack or a cup of coffee at one of the restaurants nearby.

Make your way back to your hotel or apartment overnight in Montreux.

Note: A proper lunch/dinner in the Montreux region could be pretty expensive, so it's best to buy smaller meals or snacks from the grocery store.

Day 2: Montreux - Gstaad - Glacier 3000

Today you will take a train to Gstaad, which is around 1.30 hours away. If you've ever come across posters/photographs of Switzerland, they have most probably been shot here. Once you move out of Gstaad station, you will find yellow buses parked outside.

Take the one which reads Les Diablerets , and get off at Col-du-Pillon, which is the base station for the Glacier 3000. Exchange your mountain voucher at the base station and proceed towards the cable car up. After changing a cable car at a midway point, you will reach the peak.

The highlight here is the "Tissot Peak walk", a suspension bridge that connects two mountains (Included in your mountain voucher). You get a great view of the Alps from here. The Alpine coaster - the highest bobsleigh track and many other activities like the Snow Bus, Dog Sled rides are available at an additional cost (Operation depends on weather conditions).

Have lunch at one of the restaurants on top and take the cable car back down. Make sure you check restaurant timings as soon as you're on top, so that you walk in for lunch much before they close for the day. You can take a stroll around the village of Gstaad, look at cows grazing over the meadows, an alpine experience for all ages. Take the train back to Montreux. Overnight in Montreux.

Day 3: Montreux - Zermatt - Leisure (Or Gornergrat)

After breakfast, take the train to Zermatt. Zermatt is a car-free resort, so you would have to either walk or take an electric bus to your hotel. Check in to your hotel or apartment.

After settling into your hotel or apartment, start your day 3 of the itinerary by exploring the village. Take a walk on the Bahnhofstrasse - Zermatt's main street, where you will find a lot of restaurants, pubs, bakeries, small boutiques, and hotels - both modern and traditional, at every step of the way. Visit the Matterhorn Museum and stop by at the church of St Mauritius too. A lot of picture-perfect locations with the Matterhorn in the background.

Alternatively, you can take a trip to the Gornergrat, a viewing platform where you'll get the best views of Matterhorn and Monte Rosa. The Gornergrat railway is right opposite Zermatt main station. So make sure you leave early from the hotel if you'd like to do the Gornergrat excursion.

Day 4: Zermatt - Matterhorn Glacier Paradise:

Today, visit one of the most iconic Swiss mountains - Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, which is a must include in your 9 days itinerary for Switzerland. A leisurely walk to the base station of Matterhorn Glacier Paradise will take about 15 mins from the main station. The triangular peak of the Matterhorn is the inspiration behind the unique shape of the Toblerone chocolate. Once you reach the base station, you take the 3- stage gondola ride to the peak.

Try the "Crystal ride" cabins, decorated with Swarovski crystals, and a transparent floor, which gives you a view of the glaciers below. This is only available for a small leg of the journey and is at an additional cost, but is worth it.

After a 50-minute gondola ride, you will be at the highest cable car station in Europe, at the height of 3883 meters. On days when the skies are completely clear, you'll be able to spot Mont Blanc (France) and Gran Paradiso (Italy). Try the Glacier palace, the highest in Europe, which has beautiful ice sculptures, ice benches and ice tunnels.

Drop-in at a restaurant for lunch, and take the gondola back to the base station. In the evening, try one of the pubs on the main street of Zermatt, or walk in to a small dessert outlet and have something to satisfy your taste buds.

Day 4 of your 9 days Switzerland itinerary ends here. Overnight in Zermatt.

Day 5: Zermatt - St Moritz via Glacier Express:

Since we have an early train to board, you will have an early breakfast, check out and reach the train station around 08.40 am. Reservation on this train is mandatory, so keep your reservation ticket and Swiss Pass ready, as you board the 08.52 am Glacier Express train to St Moritz.

The reservation ticket purchased is at a discounted rate in conjunction with your Swiss Travel Pass cost, so it is important you have both documents with you.

The Glacier Express train, although called an "express" train, is the slowest express and the most popular train in Europe. It will take you approximately 7 and a half hours to complete the entire journey to St Moritz.

You will be comfortably seated in a coach with large panoramic windows reaching right to the top. As your train moves over spectacular 291 bridges and several tunnels, you will enjoy an unobstructed view of the Matterhorn, the Rhine Gorge, Oberalp pass (Highest point) and the Landwasser viaduct - a UNESCO World Heritage Site not to be missed!

The train also comes with a pantry compartment. So you have the option of ordering a meal or a snack. Or even a glass of wine or a cup of coffee that you can enjoy on your seat with a beautiful view outside.

You will reach St Moritz at around 4.45 pm. Make your way to the hotel, check-in and relax at your hotel. Overnight in St Moritz.

Day 6: St Moritz - Diavolezza

St Moritz is located in the western part of Switzerland, in the Engadin valley and Europe's premier winter sports destination.

Today, you make your way to Diavolezza, a vantage point 3000 meters high. Take the train from St Moritz to Bernina Diavolezza, and then a cable car to the top.

With the sun shining over the glaciers, Diavolezza makes an ideal spot to lay back and feel close to mother nature. Try some snowboarding activity here, or move to Berghaus Diavolezza for lunch. Then, make your way back down.

Take the train back to St Moritz, get off, and start walking towards the iconic St Moritz lake. The amazing view will have you looking at the lake, the forest, beautiful houses and a mountain in the backdrop - all in one frame. Then, walk for another 15 - 20 mins to the 33-meter high leaning tower (Originally a part of a church). The Engadiner Museum and Segantini Museums are located 10 - 15 mins away by bus from the main station.

Have dinner at one of the restaurants nearby, and make your way back to the hotel. Overnight in St Moritz.

Day 7: St Moritz - Lugano

After breakfast, check out of the hotel. Then, take the 4-hour train journey to the Lugano. Lugano is located on the southernmost part of Switzerland. It has a Mediterranean feel because it is located close to Italy.

You will arrive into Lugano by afternoon. Check-in, have lunch and relax. (Lugano Paradiso is a great area to stay at, and is surrounded by numerous take away joints, restaurants, bars & supermarkets.)

Around 4.30 pm, take a bus ride to Parco Ciani - located right by the Lake of Lugano. This huge park has a lot of fountains and statues is divided into 2 parts, one which has an English - Italian feel with flower beds, trees, typical English lawns, fountains and the second part which features the local plants, oaks, and sycamore trees, along with a children's play area.

As the sun sets, the hues of the sun are overtaken by Lugano's city lights reflecting off the lake. You will be awe-struck by the panoramic view of the city, the lakes, Monte Bré and Monte San Salvatore. Lugano Casino is also 5 mins away (Be sure to dress appropriately if you'd like to go in)

After dinner, make your way to the hotel, marking an end to your Day 7 of your Switzerland itinerary for 9 days.Overnight in Lugano.

Day 8: Lugano - Swiss Miniatur

Take a short train ride to Melide and walk to Swiss Miniatur- the theme park that showcases models of Switzerland in miniature form.

A visual delight for young and old, Swiss Miniatur has an impressive set of models ranging from aeroplanes to ships, castles to buildings, funiculars to cable cars ascending and descending a small mountain, to trains including the Glacier Express, which moves on rail tracks around the park. Around 128 models, in the 1:25 scale traditionally made by artisans of the park, can be seen here. This is one of the most popular inclusions in a Switzerland itinerary by people travelling with kids.

Have lunch at the restaurant located within the park. The park has a kid's play area and a mini train to ride around the park.

You can either make your way back to the hotel or take the train to Fox Town in Mendrisio. Fox Town is the largest factory outlet with over a hundred stores offering 30 to 70 per cent discount on branded goods. Fox Town also has beauty salons, restaurants and a Casino too, all under one roof.

You can have dinner at the restaurants in Fox Town or closer to your hotel (Try an Italian meal today if you haven't already - maybe some Lasagna or Ravioli? Or Pizza maybe). Then, return back to the hotel. Overnight at Lugano.

Day 9: Lugano - Zurich

Moving to the last city in the itinerary, take the train to either Zurich Airport or Zurich HB, depending on your hotel's location. You will arrive at your hotel by 1 pm. Have lunch, and head out to the Zurich city centre. Depending on your time and interest, you could choose to do either of the options below, all accessible with the Swiss Travel Pass.

1. A basic city tour can be done on your own using the Switzerland train pass. You can start with Bahnhofstrasse - a trendy street in Zurich flanked by boutiques, coffee shops, stores that sell jewelry, watches, chocolates, and a lot of big brands too. From there, you can walk towards the old town.

On your way, you will see Zurich's landmarks - The Fraumunster Church, Zurich Lake (Limmat) and the Grossmunster. If you're willing to walk a little more to an elevated area, you can visit the Lindenhof hill, which offers breathtaking views of the old town, the lake, the churches, city hall etc. This spot also serves as a public park and picnic spot.

2. You can go to Üetliberg, a small mountain that offers Zurich's panoramic views, the lake, and the Alps from the top. It's a short train ride from the main station and a steep walk to the top.

3. You can also visit the Rhine Falls, which is easily accessible by train. You can take the train to Neuhausen or Schloss Laufen and then follow the signboard and walk to the Rhine Falls. A boat ride in the centre of the waterfalls is possible at an additional cost.

If you do not want to cover the city on your own, you can opt for seat- in- coach tours too. However, this depends on what time you arrive in Zurich as the tours have fixed timings and have to be booked in advance. Also, check out 10 things to do in Zurich, penned by Swiss travel experts.

Have dinner at the nearest restaurant (If you're at the airport, try the food court there) and move to your hotel. Overnight at Zurich.

Day 10: Zurich - Departure:

After breakfast, check out from the hotel and head towards Zurich International airport for your flight back home.

Hope this plan covering varied areas of Switzerland from glitzy St Moritz to sporty Zermatt, Mediterranean Lugano and cosmopolitan Zurich is a good fit for you. Enjoy your Swiss holiday!

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