Is it possible to explore Switzerland in 9 days? Here’s a road trip itinerary to over 30 stunning places to do just that. Enjoy!
For my whole life, I have been living in Switzerland. But I have to admit that I didn’t really know the country that well. Like many Swiss, I had never seen the Matterhorn for a long time. I had heard of Lauterbrunnen, but I had never been there either. Hence, I spent much more time in my near surroundings in nature. Oh yes, I love it. But as it is often the case, many humans do know their own country far too little.
Due to my studies in sustainability management at ETH Zurich, I asked myself: Why do millions of tourists actually come to Switzerland while I don’t really know my country. And, let me tell you, this question changed everything!
So for the past 5 years, I undertook hundreds of hikes, visited over 1000 Swiss places, and even started to lead guided private tours within the country. Now, I can finally say that Switzerland is one of the most beautiful countries in the world.
- Why Switzerland is my dream country
- A Switzerland 9 day road trip itinerary
- Day 1: Zurich
- Day 2: Day trip from Zurich by public transport
- Day 3: Our road trip starts
- Day 5: Over the Susten Pass in the direction of Kandersteg (journey over Susten Pass and to Steinsee only possible in summer)
- Day 6: Trip to Gstaad
- Day 7 – Lauenen and Lake Lauenen
- Day 8: The mountains of Gstaad
- Day 9: Return journey to Zurich with great side trips
- Conclusion: Switzerland round trip
Why Switzerland is my dream country
People keep asking me what I like most about Switzerland. And I can tell you honestly, the question is really hard, because there is a lot to mention. It’s exactly the diversity that I love about Switzerland. The country has 26 cantons, and practically every canton has its own culture. Even when driving through the cantons, you can see for example big differences in the architectural style of the houses. Sometimes this even differs within one canton from village to village. On the other hand, many cantons also have traditional food. In the south of Switzerland, there is polenta, in Valais, raclette, and in St.Gallen, the St.Gallen veal sausage.
But not only that: Switzerland shows such a diverse nature in only a small area, as probably only a few countries. In 160 kilometers, over 4000 meters of altitude difference (about 13,000 feet) are covered. That means from a lake with a Mediterranean climate to high alpine terrain with icy temperatures and an impressive glacier world.
By the way: If you think Switzerland is small and one week is enough to see the country, you are very much mistaken. Because almost every valley has its own breathtaking beauty and culture to offer.
Our journey together to secret places
Today I want to take you on a journey to some of my most beautiful places. A trip that you can do by yourself and will make you experience unforgettable moments in Switzerland. Many of the places are unknown and dreamlike insider tips. And I can already tell you one thing: Because of my background, you will not only learn a lot about Switzerland but also about nature.
A Switzerland 9 day road trip itinerary
Day 1: Zurich
Like most of the guests, you will probably arrive in Zurich. Alternatively, there is Geneva and for European tourists, Basel. Our trip starts from Zurich, the largest city in Switzerland, which we will use as our first hub for the first two nights of the Swiss adventure. But you can also take a hotel or Airbnb in Rapperswil or Lachen on Lake Zurich. However, since Zurich is a really nice city, I recommend winding down the evenings. Many of my guests stop the first days in Zurich and continue afterward to the Swiss Alps. Although I promise you many insider tips, we will start with the must-sees in Zurich.
1). Lindenhof – Zurich’s oldest quarter
If you are in Zurich, then the old town is definitely a must. The oldest quarter of Zurich is the Lindenhof, which dates back to Roman times. From here you can enjoy a fantastic view of the river Limmat and the houses of the “Niederdörfli” district. The buildings of the universities ETH Zurich and the University of Zurich also tower imposingly on the slopes of the city. The ETH is one of the best universities in the world, and Switzerland is visibly proud of it.
It is also impressive to know that the hill of the Lindenhof was the result of an ice age 20,000 years ago. Because here the whole region around Zurich was still covered by glaciers and the hills are formed from the moraine of the glacier.
2). Europaallee – Zurich’s most modern quarter
Now we walk through the Bahnhofstrasse, which is, by the way, the biggest shopping street in Zurich. But our next goal is the Europaallee which is the most modern district of Zurich. The real estate belongs mostly to the Federal Railway SBB, which has removed tracks and train depots to build profitable real estate. Large companies such as Google, UBS, Credit Suisse, and many others have rented space here. Also on site is the vegetarian restaurant Hiltl with a new branch restaurant. It was the first vegetarian restaurant in the world and a must-stop for good food or a drink.
3). Langstrasse – the big contrast
Our little city tour is of course far away from 0815 and now continues to Langstrasse. Once known for drugs and prostitution, this neighborhood is slowly changing. Because the Europaallee borders directly next door and makes pressure on the partly still very run-down quarter. More and more chains are coming here and old houses are being replaced by expensive modern ones. In the evening, especially on weekends, parties take place and people flock to Langstrasse.
This would be my little alternative city tour. If you want to know more about Zurich, you can have a look at this Zurich guide.
Day 2: Day trip from Zurich by public transport
Today we have a wonderful day trip from Zurich. Since the public transport in Switzerland is one of the best in the world, we buy today at the machine a ZVV and SchwyzPass day ticket. If you have problems validating the ticket, I recommend you to get the ticket at the staffed ticket office at Zurich main station (Zürich Hauptbahnhof).
4). Rapperswil lakeside path – longest wooden footbridge in Switzerland
Our first stop is Rapperswil, which you can reach comfortably by train from Zurich in 30 minutes. For all travel times on the Swiss transport network, you can find information at sbb.ch/en. Before you do the lakeside walk, it is highly recommended to visit the medieval town of Rapperswil. In addition to the castle, there is also a wonderful old town, a monastery with a rose garden and a romantic lakeside promenade.
The lakeside path, which is at 841 meters the longest wooden footbridge in Switzerland, starts just 5 minutes from the station and leads to Pfäffikon in 1h10min. Already about 3500 years ago a lake dam existed here. Of course not in this form. What I love about this place is the endless silence. There are even benches where you can enjoy a fantastic view of the old town of Rapperswil or the Swiss Alps.
You also have a view of the Frauenwinkel nature reserve, which is the largest of its kind in the canton of Zurich. It covers an area of around 490 football pitches (350 hectares). You will find over 30,000 nature reserves in Switzerland, but most of them are very small. This one is a major exception.
On the hike in the direction of Pfäffikon, you will also pass a toilet, barbecue area, and children’s playground. When you arrive in Pfäffikon, take the train in the direction of Einsiedeln.
5). Einsiedeln & Sihlsee (largest monastery and largest reservoir in Switzerland).
Einsiedeln has been known as a place of pilgrimage for more than 1000 years and is still worth a visit today with its monastery and idyllic town. Yes, the monastery is the largest place of pilgrimage in Switzerland and was founded in the 10th century.
But our journey continues and we take the post bus in the direction of Unteriberg-Weglosen. It leaves every hour from Einsiedeln. Kindly note that the last return trip is at 16:47 (as of 2021, please check on sbb.ch). Therefore it might be better if you visit Einsiedeln afterward.
The bus ride passes by the Sihlsee. It is one of my favorite lakes near Zurich and the largest reservoir in Switzerland. To be honest, you don’t notice much of a reservoir, especially in summer. In winter there is a lot of water missing because the water is stored now in the Alps in form of snow.
At Sihlsee electricity is produced for the Swiss Federal Railways SBB. The SBB currently runs on almost 90% hydroelectric power and the goal is to increase to 100% in the next 10 years.
6). Hike Druesberghütte – Pure adventure with scooter descent
Now we start with our 2-2.5h hike to the Druesberghütte. This hike is very unknown and an absolute highlight. Because at the end you can ride down with scooters or in winter with a kind of sled called Schneegemel (ski with a seat on it).
Around 2/3 of the hike is through the forest until we reach the tree line. Then you can enjoy a beautiful panorama of the Hoch-Ybrig and the surrounding mountains. By the way, the height of the tree line varies greatly and depends mainly on the average temperature. The cold-loving trees need an average temperature of 6.5 degrees Celcius (43.7 degrees Fahrenheit) for at least 3 months in order to grow. Above the tree line, these temperatures are usually lower.
Furthermore, it is also highly recommended to have a picnic with this fantastic panoramic view above the tree line. But honestly, from now on it is no more far to the destination. It takes another 20-30 minutes to walk along the pleasant path to the Druesberghütte. There you can treat yourself to a warm tea or coffee. Or on reservation, even a fondue. Above the hut, there is a chapel, where you can also enjoy the peace and I highly recommend it.
But the best comes at the end. A breathtaking 20-minutes scooter descent back to the Unteriberg-Weglosen bus station awaits you. Wow, this is so much fun every time! 22CHF costs the adventure per person and should be paid with cash. In winter it’s the snowgemel, which costs 15CHF per person.
After the cool departure, it’s time to go back by bus to Einsiedeln and from there by train via Wädenswil to Zurich. Note that the last bus leaves before 5 pm (as of 2021).
Day 3: Our road trip starts
Okay, no road trip can start without a car. Switzerland has one of the world’s best transport systems, as already mentioned. For trips to tourist spots or even otherwise to the developed areas of the mountains, this is not a problem. But for a road trip over mountain passes with lots of stops and hikes, a car is almost unavoidable. To keep the emissions as low as possible and also to save your budget, I recommend renting a car as small as possible.
Since Switzerland is a very expensive country, you can get away with much cheaper accommodation and car rental during the off-season. The best options and prices in Zurich are usually at Zurich Airport. A price comparison tool before booking will help you to really choose the cheapest price. But even on those platforms, there are still sometimes huge differences.
A first stop is in Hirzel, where you can look at the hilly landscapes with the trees. Geologically, they are called drumlins and were formed by glaciers. Thousands of years ago, this region also had a landscape made only by ice. The farmers each planted a lime tree on the hills to keep the devil away. This results in some spectacular scenery. My followers on Instagram even said the landscape resembles the Teletubbie Land.
After the visit of the Hirzel, we continue in the direction of the Wägitalersee. It is worth driving the country roads because I am also surprised again and again by new jewels. The region around Hirzel is also considered by my guests as one of the greatest highlights near Zurich.
8). Lake Wägital – pure idyll
After the country road, we return to the motorway, where we quickly take the exit again in the direction of Vorderthal and then Lake Wägital (Wägitalersee). Another question I am often asked by my tour guests: “How expensive is a house in Switzerland? This is a very difficult question to answer, as it depends on the region, the size, and the age of the house. But Vorderthal is definitely one of the most affordable regions in Switzerland – both from the cost of living and buying a house. And the region is also beautiful.
But our destination is the Wägitalersee. Although this pearl is as well a reservoir, it is one of my favorite lakes in Switzerland. Due to the breathtaking views that unfold and the diverse hiking opportunities, it is an indescribable place. In summer, quite a few people come here by now. Between autumn and spring, you are almost alone.
Now it depends on your preferences. Would you prefer a leisurely swim or fishing (only possible in summer)? Do you want to take a three-hour hike around the lake? Or how about climbing a mountain? The Bockmattli for example with almost 2000 meters would be a 6h hike. You see, the possibilities are almost endless.
But I still have to tell you something very important. Where today the Wägitalersee shows its beauty, there used to be green land and a village with a bathing and spa hotel. This was flooded and rebuilt on the edge of the lake as Innerthal.
9). Seerenbach Falls – one of the highest waterfalls in Europe
The adventure continues. Namely, we drive in the direction of Lake Walen. Where today there is a flat plain and our motorway passes through, there used to be a lake. Because Lake Zurich and Lake Walen were once one lake over 80 kilometers long. The lake was slowly separated by sediment inflow from the Alps. Really impressive what nature creates!
It will be even more exciting when I tell you that we are going to one of the highest waterfalls in Europe. Since the water comes from a karst system, there is almost no water flowing in dry periods. This means that in a dry autumn and summer and a cold winter, it is not worth going to the Seerenbach Falls. But especially in spring, it is one of my biggest highlights to recommend near Zurich.
The water plunges around 600 meters into the depths on a total of three steps. In addition, there is a second waterfall, the Rin spring, which partially releases 30000 m3 of water per second. Does this number mean nothing to you? Then I can tell you that it is a lot of water.
The walk takes in total around 40 minutes. Please note that the parking meter costs 2 francs per hour and can only be paid in coins. It is also important to know that travel times are very limited due to the narrow road. The drive to the Seerenbach Falls is allowed between 00-05 and 30-35, back to the motorway from 15-20 and 45-50.
10). Läderach Schokoladenfabrik – Best chocolate at factory prices
What would Switzerland be without chocolate? Honestly. This is unimaginable. One of the best chocolate factories for me is clearly Läderach. Although not the cheapest, it’s absolutely worth it. In the House of Läderach in Bilten, you can not only buy chocolate at outlet prices (up to 75% cheaper than in the store).
There is also a museum, chocolate courses, and guided tours. The factory is open every day from 9 am to 6 pm. If you buy chocolate and you are on the road in the summer, it should be eaten as soon as possible. It can get very hot in the car and the chocolate melts quickly.
Now our day draws to a close. I recommend staying overnight in this region like Lachen or Glarus.
Day 4: To the origin of Switzerland (11-13 only possible in summer)
After the Seerenbach Falls, the route leads to a second waterfall. Connoisseurs call the Berglistüber as one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Switzerland. However, this is not surprising, because the Berglistüber is situated in the UNESCO World Heritage Sardona.
And something is very special: you can even go behind the waterfall at your own risk and see the rushing water from a completely new perspective!
But now comes a geological sensation. Normally, younger rocks are found on top of older ones. Here it is just the other way round. The bright limestone (150 million years old) is on top of the younger shale (about 50 million years old). How so?
Due to plate tectonics, the African Plate and the Eurasian Plate drift together. The result is the folding of the Alps. Here, an older layer then folded over a younger one. And so we can now admire this geological phenomenon on site. By the way, the waterfall is only 5 minutes away from the parking lot at Linthal Bergli.
The route continues in the direction of Urnerboden. This region is accessible even in winter if there is not too much snow. But the problem is that you still can’t get over the Klausenpass. Accordingly, destinations 11 to 13 must be skipped in winter.
Urnerboden is the largest alp in Switzerland. More than 1200 cows from 48 families graze here in summer. With so much milk, good cheese is also produced. I can heartily recommend you to make a stop at the cheese dairy in Urnerboden. Especially the mild cheese is my favorite. The alpine honey, which can be bought in the cheese dairy as well, is also very popular with my guests. Both as a gift and to consume by themselves.
13). Glacier lake Klausenpass
Now we drive to the highest point of the pass road. The street is usually open from the beginning of June until the end of October when the first snow comes. Here we tie our hiking boots and march towards the Gletscherseeli (glacier lake).
It is one of the most beautiful unknown gems here in the region. And honestly, at the lake, you have the feeling as if you had arrived in the Antarctic. Again and again, in summer, large ice cams fall down and trigger waves. That’s why it is important to keep enough distance from the glacier. Otherwise, it can end fatally. The best thing to do is to watch and enjoy the lake from above. There are even a few benches to sit on. By the way, this is also the perfect place to taste the delicious cheese.
The hike is very easy for experienced hikers and has an elevation gain of 200 meters (about 600 feet). However, good footwear is necessary.
After the walk, our road trip continues to Bürglen, where we make a shortstop. Because according to legend, this is where the Swiss national hero Willhelm Tell was born. He preserved the independence of Switzerland. A photo at the statue of Tell in Bürglen is almost a must in your photo album.
15). Tells plate
The ride continues to the Tellsplatte in Sisikon. You pass through the beautiful medieval town of Altdorf, where there is also a huge statue. If you like cities, then it’s worth making a short 30-minute stop here. Otherwise, continue straight on.
The Tellsplatte is not only historically an important place in Swiss history. It also offers a fantastic panorama of Lake Lucerne and the mountains opposite, many of which are around 3000 meters or 10,000 feet high.
Historically, according to the legend, Willhelm Tell jumped here in a storm from the ship of his enemy (the Habsburgs), ran back over the mountains to Altdorf, and stabbed its governor, who was a Habsburg. When it’s nowadays windy, then many windsurfers can be observed.
16). Morschach viewpoint and walk
If you still have time, then I take you to my absolute favorite place above Lake Lucerne. And this is Morschach. Today the village lost in importance, however, Morschach was known hundreds of years ago as a transit point for pilgrims. In the 18th and 19th centuries, there were even two luxury hotels in the village.
I recommend you to park the car in the village for free on the outside parking lots (you need a parking disc, which you should find in the rental car). Of course, you can also park the car in the multi-storey car park. Then walk in the direction of Axenfels. And right here is the place that Winston Churchill and Princess Elizabeth loved so much. The picturesque view of the seemingly endless Lake Lucerne.
The steep rock faces are still relics of the ice ages when the glacier-filled the whole plains of the valley. Even in Morschach, you can still find many huge stones that have been transported for kilometers by the glacier and deposited in another place. These are the so-called erratic blocks. One of the largest can be found near the Axenfels golf course, called the Druidenstein.
For the night you have the possibility to stay in Morschach, Brunnen or the city of Lucerne.
Day 5: Over the Susten Pass in the direction of Kandersteg (journey over Susten Pass and to Steinsee only possible in summer)
17). Stone lake and stone glacier (only open from June to October)
If you want to make this road trip from June to the end of October you can drive on the Sustenpass and enjoy a wonderful panoramic view. The rest of the time there is a winter closure. As an alternative, I recommend the Brünigpass.
The Sustenpass is the direct link between the canton of Uri and the canton of Bern. Although it was never an important pass in terms of trade, the pass became more and more important in military terms. For example, the Simplon pass was occupied by Napoleon, whereby the Susten pass suddenly gained in importance. The alpine pass was mainly used for national defense purposes during the Second World War.
Today it is a very popular pass in Switzerland and is used by many excursionists in summer and autumn. There are also various excursion destinations and hikes in the region.
The higher our ride goes at the Sustenpass, the more we get into the alpine terrain. Simply impressive how quickly you can immerse yourself in a completely different world. We cross the highest point of the pass and then make a dreamlike photo stop a little further on. Please be careful, because the cars are partly racing fast on that street.
And now an incredible panorama of the Steinsee and the surrounding glacier world opens up. What is particularly impressive is that Lake Steinsee was still 1 kilometer longer in 1950. Only due to the retreat of the glacier, Lake Steinsee slowly formed. Researchers say that the volume of glaciers in the Swiss Alps is decreasing by around 2.5-5% per year.
Of course, one should also look at the lake from below and enjoy it, because there is a completely different perspective. And even better, you will encounter almost no people. By the way, the almost artificial milky color of the lake comes from the glacier which scrapes off the stones. Then, the smallest sediment particles of the stones are transported into the lake.
18). Hamlet Rosenlaui
Our journey continues in the direction of Meiringen. If you want, you can still visit the Aareschlucht. It is partly very crowded, but always a highlight. But I would like to show you a less known gorge and an absolute dream place. Namely Rosenlaui. By car, you turn left shortly before Meiringen and drive up the mountain. Even in winter, this is doable with snow chains. Since it is a private road, a ticket costs 8 francs. This can only be paid with coins.
Yes, maybe you’ve seen this place on Instagram. It is still quite unknown but is becoming more and more popular. We make the first stop at the parking lot of the hamlet Gschwantenmad, where you have the river on the left and a view of the imposing Wellhorn in front of you. I recommend the short walk along the river to the glacier gorge. Because the energy that this place of power releases is simply indescribable! And of course, you can take perfect souvenir photos. All those who fly drones: since it is a nature reserve, flying is not allowed here.
19). Glacier gorge Rosenlaui (only open from May to October)
The Rosenlaui Glacier Gorge is definitely a wild gorge. The 40-minute tour costs 10 francs per adult and shows the incredible power of the glacier water. After the gorge, one can continue walking for approximately 10 minutes and gets a free view of the Rosenlaui Glacier. For me, it is always a highlight and also my guests always say that this place is one of the most beautiful places they have ever seen.
If you want to do another hike from here, you can either hike to the Rosenlauibiwak (very good shoes required).
20). Waterfall Meiringen
One of my favorites is the high waterfall in Meiringen near the military airport. The water falls almost 500 meters while the steep rocks add a dramatic touch to it. If you come at the weekend, you won’t see any military planes because the Swiss military only flies from Monday to Friday. Yes, that’s not a joke.
By the way, this waterfall is one of the photo subjects that always performs greatly on my Instagram account.
Now there are two good possibilities to stay overnight. Either directly in Meiringen or otherwise in the Brienz region. If you still have time, you can either visit the Giessbach Falls or the charming village of Brienz and walk a little by the lake. Iseltwald is also a great place to stay overnight.
Day 6: Trip to Gstaad
Today we are heading in the direction of Gstaad. We will soon make our first stop in Iseltwald on Lake Brienz. Although Iseltwald is no longer an unknown place due to Instagram, however, it’s such a charming village that I must introduce it to you. Because often when I drive by, I make a quick stop. As well here, it’s important to bring coins for parking (1CHF/h).
Especially between spring and autumn, Iseltwald is one of the most romantic places I know. Whether a leisurely stroll in the village or a swim in Lake Brienz, Iseltwald always enchants. But also in winter, it is worth a visit because the chalets are always lovely no matter which season.
Now we take a longer drive directly to Gstaad.
22). Schönried and Saanenmöser
Shortly before you arrive in Gstaad, you will pass through the villages of Schönried and Saanenmöser. The romantic chalets already catch your eyes here. Because in the region around Destination Gstaad there have been precise building regulations since the 50s. And these give the region a uniform appearance, which is often not the case in Switzerland. So if you see a house around Gstaad that consists almost entirely of concrete, it’s most likely that it was built before the 50s.
After the long drive, it’s good to get some fresh air. If you like, you can take an idyllic walk from Schönried to Saanenmöser. This takes about 1 hour. In winter, the route is a winter hiking trail and with the snow, it is also fantastically beautiful. From Saanenmöser you will take the train back, which leaves every half hour.
If you come in winter, you can also go on an adventurous toboggan run in Schönried (Horneggli) as an alternative.
23). Gstaad & Saanen
We are almost there! The last 10 minutes we drive in our car to the famous Gstaad. The region is perfect for spending the night. Of course, you can also enjoy your night in Schönried or Saanenmöser. But you have to see Gstaad and Saanen. Especially Gstaad is known for its famous guests like John Travolta, Roger Federer, Elizabeth Taylor, and many more.
Gstaad has also been the setting for many Bollywood films and the Hollywood movie “The Return of the Pink Panther”. When you stroll through Gstaad, you notice the special spirit of the village. Everything is cozier here. Therefore it is not surprising that Gstaad Tourism uses the slogan “Come up, slow down”. But one also notices that Gstaad is a little more expensive than other regions. This is especially true for food and parking, but for accommodation, you can find fair Swiss prices.
My favorite, however, is the neighboring village of Saanen. With its chalet village center partly dating from the 15th to 18th century, it is one of the villages worth protecting in Switzerland. If you take a closer look at the chalets, you will find so much attention to detail, such as the decorations. For me, it’s a must to have seen Saanen!
Please note that you also have to bring enough coins for parking. Or you can download an app, where you then transfer the amount via mobile phone. As a cheaper alternative, you can also get a parking day ticket at the tourist office for a specific car park. However, this is only worthwhile if you want to park your car in Gstaad for the whole day.
Day 7 – Lauenen and Lake Lauenen
24). Lake Lauenen
It could hardly be more idyllic. The Launensee, which is known from a Swiss song, is the perfect destination for dreamers and hikers. Although the lake is a nature reserve, you can swim and even paddleboard here at specific spots. Parking is limited and costs at least 6CHF per day. But the natural spectacle is worth it.
If you like hiking, you can start the most beautiful hikes in the region from here. My favorite is the circular hike from the Lauenensee to the Geltenhütte and back. Note, however, that you should allow a whole day for it because the pure hiking time takes 4 hours.
Like many Swiss lakes, Lake Lauenen is at risk of silting up. The marshland areas bear witness to the sediment input from the mountain waters. So if nothing is done, one day the whole lake will be a wetland. Since it is a nature reserve and a popular destination as well, there will certainly be some heated discussions.
In winter the lake is frozen, but there is also a wild and romantic winter hike. Or why not take a beautiful carriage ride?
Oh yes, Lauenen is truly a romantic mountain village. With its 15th-18th century chalet village center and white church, the place quickly stands out. I definitely recommend stopping here and taking a tour of the village. It is also worthwhile to do some shopping in the village shop. Because here you have the feeling that time has stood still. A very great experience!
26). Arnensee (only in summer)
If you still haven’t had enough of the lakes in the Gstaad region, then it’s worth enjoying the evening atmosphere at Lake Arnen. Although a reservoir, you don’t notice much of it apart from the dam wall.
The Arnensee with its fir forests exudes a touch of the wild west in Switzerland. If you want, you can do a 1h round hike and treat yourself to a refreshing swim in summer. Even stand-up paddling is possible.
As the road to the Arnensee is private and has to be maintained, you have to buy a parking ticket here as well (only possible in coins).
Day 8: The mountains of Gstaad
27). Gsteig bei Gstaad
Today is our last day in Gstaad. And we take full advantage of it once again. We make a short stop at Gsteig bei Gstaad. Because in summer, especially in the morning hours, you have the perfect light to photograph the historic chalets in combination with the church.
It is also worth taking a tour of the village, which lasts a maximum of 15 minutes.
Now we drive directly to Col du Pillon. Because from here the cable car takes you up to the Glacier 3000. Yes, the ride is not quite cheap. But if the weather is good, it is really worth it. In summer, one can go tobogganing, do the breathtaking Peak Walk, or a glacier hike. In winter, skiing, glacier hike, and peak walk are on the program.
Even if this mountain is touristy, the view is also fantastic. If you visit the Glacier 3000, then I recommend coming in the morning. Because the weather is often worse in the afternoon depending on the weather. If it is foggy or raining, I would skip the Glacier 3000.
29). Lac Rétaud (Only in summer)
Honestly, it doesn’t get much more romantic than this. Lac Rétaud is my favorite lake near Gstaad. Moreover, it is also the most unknown of the six lakes in this destination. The green color of the lake in combination with the green meadows and trees in the background, as well as the mountains, make the lake a true place of power. And of course, it is a perfect photo object.
But likewise, you can let your soul dangle here and simply switch off and enjoy. There is even a jetty for swimming. But the water in the lake is not really deep.
You can also hike from Lac Rétaud to Lake Arnen. Then you have to take public transport to Col du Pillon and hike from there via Lac Retaud to Lake Arnen. Note that there is no bus at Lake Arnen. However, there is a shared taxi. In addition, people with cars are expressly advised to give hikers a lift.
Day 9: Return journey to Zurich with great side trips
30). Lac de l’Hongrin (Only in summer)
Today we drive back to Zurich. It is true that the roads of the lake are only accessible between late spring (May) and October due to the snow. But Lac de l’Hongrin is an absolute insider tip and a true paradise for dreamers and romantics. Here, one immediately can slow down and enjoy the scenery. The blue lake in combination with the Vaud mountains and the green meadows seem almost too perfect to be true. There are also picnic areas with barbecue sites.
Those who want to enjoy the view from the top can do a round hike to the Col de Sonlomont, which takes about 5 hours. But the view is really breathtaking.
31). Gruyere (Broc chocolate factory)
The journey continues to Gruyere. The medieval town in the canton of Fribourg is very touristy, but as we pass by here, you almost have to make a stop. The cobblestones, the fountain as well as the charming houses invite you to a wonderful walk. By the way, the famous Gruyere cheese comes from this village. This means you can also visit the cheese factory.
If you are a chocolate fan, then you should definitely stop at the “Maison Caillier”. They offer a chocolate tour, where you can learn how a cocoa bean becomes chocolate. Of course, there is also the possibility to buy chocolate.
On the way back to Zurich I recommend avoiding the rush hour between 16.30 and 18.30 during the week. Because then you get on the highway again and again in long traffic jams.
Conclusion: Switzerland round trip
Wow, what a fantastic trip that was! Exploring the city of Zurich on foot. The next day seeing the near surroundings of Zurich by public transport. And then experience the 7-day road trip with some of the most beautiful insider tips in Switzerland.
You quickly realize how diverse the country is. That practically every canton has its own culture and the traditional architectural style differs massively in some cases. From the rather flat midlands in the Zurich region to the impressive Alps in the Klausen Pass and Lake Lucerne area, Switzerland has so many contrasts to offer.
Now enough written, it’s time to experience Switzerland by yourself. Have fun and enjoy discovering, photographing, and relaxing.
- 7-Day Swiss itinerary for active travelers
- 30 Fun indoor and outdoor activities for autumn and winter
Marc Gottwald is an entrepreneur & content creator with a degree in sustainability management and takes people as a private tour guide to the most beautiful places in Switzerland. He shares his most beautiful impressions on his homepage switzerlandbylocals.com as well as on Instagram @switzerland_by_marc.