Are you trying to plan the perfect Switzerland road trip? Well I am here to help you and make this entire process a lot easier!
Switzerland is one of those countries that speaks to the imagination. Mountains that reach high into the sky, green meadows that are ringing with the sound of cowbells and lakes as turquoise as the most vibrant jewellery.
Planning a road trip through Switzerland can become stressful, mostly because there is so much to see and do and well, you can’t do it all at once unfortunately. That’s why before I went on this trip I did a ton of research and I am now ready to share all of my knowledge with you!
Get ready to plan the best Switzerland road trip with this itinerary and all of my extra tips and tricks!
The Ultimate Switzerland Road Trip Itinerary
Driving into Switzerland
When you’re starting your epic road trip to Switzerland there is one really important factor that you have to remember! Switzerland is not a part of the EU, so once you drive into the country the cost of your mobile data will fly through the roof! Make sure to turn them off before you drive across the border. For navigation you can use Waze which will continue working even though you’ve turned off your mobile data!
You can’t do a road trip in Switzerland without driving on certain highways and before entering the country you will be obligated to buy a vignette. The price for this vignette has been the same since 1985 and is 40CHF or €37 and is valid for the rest of the year. This means that if you buy it in January it is valid for 12 months, if you buy it in December it’s only valid for 1 more month.
Arriving in Switzerland
The first stop on this trip is Interlaken. This town will serve as a base to go on several day trips in the area. Once you’ve checked into your hotel and freshened up you can get a local SIM at Swisscom. For €20 you can get 15GB of data which will be more than enough for this trip!
I stayed at the Lindner Grand Hotel Beau Rivage during my time here. It’s a beautiful 5 star hotel located next to the water and a little out of the city centre. There is a big parking lot for hotel guests for no extra fee.
For more hotel options in Interlaken click here.
Stop 1: Chasing waterfalls in Lauterbrunnen
Lauterbrunnen has to be one of the most picturesque towns in entire Switzerland and is the first stop on this epic road trip in Switzerland. This quaint place is nestled in the middle of a valley and if that wasn’t impressive enough there is also a waterfall in the background!
Lauterbrunnen is only a mere 25 minutes driving from Interlaken and there is a big parking lot at the main train station. A parking ticket for 3 hours is €3,50, not too bad according to Swiss standards!
If you prefer to spend a night in Lauterbrunnen here are some of the best hotels.
Stop 2: Lake Brienz
Lake Brienz, also known as the Briensersee is one of the most beautiful turquoise lakes I have ever seen. My favourite place in this area is Iseltwald, a cute little town located in a bay on the lake. During the day you can participate in a ton of water activities or simply go for a stroll around the lake. Across the bay you’ll see Schloss Seeburg, a beautiful castle which unfortunately is private property and can’t be visited.
Make sure to spend at least one evening in Iseltwald. Enjoy a dinner outside at Hotel Chalet du Lac, also offering a splendid view over Schloss Seeburg.
Stop 3: Endless views at Grindelwald
The area around Interlaken consists of one beautiful mountain range right next to the other one and it can become pretty daunting at times to choose which one to add to your road trip. Also, unless you want to daily hike up at least 1000 meters the only way to reach the mountain tops is to go by gondola. And well let me just say that the gondola’s in Switzerland aren’t cheap. So you want to really think about which one you want to visit.
I opted for Grindelwald and took the gondola that went up to First. The price to go two ways is €71/person but to me it was worth it. Especially on a clear day the views that await you at the top will leave you absolutely speechless.
There are plenty of things to do but the most popular one is to hike to Bachalpsee. From the top of the gondola this hike will take around 40 minutes and is pretty easy and on a gravel road.
Before going back down make sure to check out the First Cliff Walk. This might not be for those with a fear of heights but otherwise it’s a really fun thing to do!
Stop 4: Swing away at Adelboden
Another picturesque little town not far from Interlaken is Adelboden and the main reason that I visited this place is because of a certain swing. If you know me you know that I love nothing more than finding a swing in a secluded place so you can imagine my excitement when I discovered this one!
To reach the swing you simply take up the gondola (€19/person) and once you’re up the mountain turn right and follow the pathway. You’ll soon see the swing in the distance!
If you decide to add this stop to your road trip itinerary make sure to calculate in some time to visit the Engstligen Falls. They are really close by and you can park your car almost next to them!
Stop 5: Feel like 007 in the most famous mountain pass in Switzerland
It’s pretty simple, you can’t go on a road trip in Switzerland and not drive the Furkapass and Grimselpass. One of the most iconic scenes from Goldfinger was filmed on the Furkapass and part of this mountain road is now even named James Bond Street.
It’s here that you’ll also find the iconic Belvedere hotel and the Rhone Gletscher.
Stop 6: Fronalpstock
Fronalpstock is a lesser known place in Switzerland but one that should definitely be a part of your road trip in Switzerland. Not only is the view from the top absolutely insane, you’ll also get to go up the mountain with the steepest gondola in entire Switzerland! It’s an experience to say the least and will cost you €48/person. To reach the top you’ll need to take two different gondola’s and start from Stoos but the price mentioned above is for both two ways.
Stop 7: Lake Lucerne
Lake Lucerne is one of the most beautiful lakes in entire Switzerland and you’ll find the best view over it at Villa Honegg. I totally recommend staying here cause the hotel and especially it’s infinity pool are absolutely amazing. If it’s not an option for you it might be interesting to know that you can make a reservation for an afternoon cocktail without being an actual hotel guest! For my personal experience at Villa Honegg click here.
Stop 8: Alpstein
The Alpstein mountain range in Switzerland is one of those places that you have to see for yourself to actually believe it. And if I had to be completely honest, this was my favourite area that I visited on this road trip. So if you can’t add everything to your own itinerary make sure to take at least 3 days to explore the Alpstein region.
I stayed in the small town of Appenzell at Hotel Hecht. It’s nothing fancy but it’s a good base to have when you go out exploring and hiking every single day. Not to mention that it’s right at the start of the city centre of Appenzell and close to the restaurant ‘Little Italy.
Places in Alpstein that you have to add to your Switzerland road trip itinerary
The area around Ebenalp is one you can not miss! The best way to explore it is to arrive early (there is a big parking lot but especially on the weekend it can fill up pretty quickly!). After that you take the gondola up, it’s €30/per person to go up and down. But what you can actually do is simply buy a one way ticket and once you’re up start hiking towards Schäfler. It’s a 1,5 hour hike one way but absolutely worth it! After that you can enjoy a typical rösti in the nearby mountain hut and start making your way back down.
The next place you’ll encounter is Aescher-Wildkirchli, the coolest mountain hut ever on the edge of a cliff. I always wondered how they restock these mountain huts and on the day I was hiking here I saw a helicopter arrive to bring fresh goodies! Your next stop is the beautiful Seealpsee. After spending some time at the lake you can simply keep on hiking down back to the parking lot!
This hike simply has to be on your Switzerland road trip itinerary! The shortest and fastest way to reach this epic mountain is by taking the gondola up at Frümsen which is €35/person for two ways. From there it’s a 1,5 hour hike to reach Saxer Lücke. On your way over there you will also already catch a glimpse of the beautiful Fälensee.
Stop 9: St. Moritz
The mundane town of St. Moritz is the perfect place to relax after all of the hiking from the previous days. I stayed at the Kulm Hotel, the first hotel ever built in St. Moritz. For more details about my experience click here.
If laying at the pool isn’t exactly your thing no need to worry, there are tons of things to see and do in St. Moritz. For instance you can pay a visit to Lake Staz and the St. Moritzersee.
Stop 10: Ticino
I visited Ticino on a day trip from Interlaken but honestly if you have the time you should spend at least 3 days in this beautiful area! Ticino is a beautiful mix between Swiss nature and Italian architecture and took my breath away as soon as I drove through it. So make sure to calculate in a few days on your Switzerland road trip!
To check for hotel rates click here.
Places in Ticino that you have to add to your Switzerland road trip itinerary
Ponte Tibetano Carasc
This stunning suspension bridge is located in the heart of a forest in Ticino. To reach the start of the trail you’ll have to drive up a tiny mountain road. Be very careful when doing so cause the road is very narrow and at most times can only fit 1 car. The hike itself is pretty straight forward through the forest and after about 40 minutes you’ll reach the suspension bridge.
This is one of the best places to visit in Ticino and with good reason! Valle Verzasca is nestled between the mountains and consists of several small villages, one right after the other. Due to it’s popularity I strongly advise to visit this place in the morning cause parking space is pretty limited. Make sure to bring your bathing suit and a towel as well. On a sunny day you can relax on the rocks and take a dip in the water!
Foroglio is a teeny tiny village in Ticino but as soon as you see it you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into some kind of fairytale! Little stone houses accompanied by a waterfall backdrop. Have lunch at La Froda and make sure to go down to the waterfall to find a hidden swing!
I can’t wait for you to have the best time on your road trip in beautiful Switzerland! After only 3 days there it became one of my favourite countries to visit and I know you will love it as much as I do! If you have any questions drop them in the comment section below!
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Charlotte Lint is the founder of Charlies Wanderings.
Charlotte has traveled all over the world and is based in Belgium where she also owns her very own dental practice.
She is an expert on writing efficient travel guides and finding unique places to stay.
Every month she helps over 134.000 people discover the most beautiful places in the world through her detailed travel guides.