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Written by Savi, 45 Comments

Idyllic pastures, iconic mountain peaks, scenic chalets, quaint villages blanketed with snow, hand-crafted cheeses, bespoke chocolates, and some of the prettiest drives in the world – a road trip in Switzerland is one of those things you must experience once in a lifetime.

View of Adelboden and the valley from The Cambrian Adelboden
Panoramas that await you on a road trip in Switzerland 🙂

 

When to go on a road trip in Switzerland

Skiers hit Switzerland during winter months but summer (June-September) is the most popular time to go on a road trip in Switzerland. While Switzerland is stunning during summer, it can also get crowded and expensive. A great time to visit is the shoulder season of November-December. The summer hordes have left the country and the skiers are yet to come. Snow-laden panoramas are everywhere to be found and you will feel like you’ve walked into a picture postcard every step of the day.

 

Renting a car for your road trip in Switzerland

We suggest flying into Geneva and renting a car there for your road trip in Switzerland.Quite expectedly, roads are in great shape in Switzerland, so you needn’t opt for a 4X4 in summer. But if you are planning your road trip during winter months, try to choose a 4X4, equipped with snow tyres and heated seats. As always we suggest comparing prices of car rentals on Economy Bookings and opting for the most cost-effective provider through them.

road trip in Switzerland
Road Trips make us happy 🙂

 

Budgeting for your road trip in Switzerland

Let’s face it – Switzerland is an expensive country! In fact I’ve even ranted about just how expensive it is in our article on 5 Travel Annoyances. So it is almost impossible to plan a road trip in Switzerland on a budget. If you’re on a budget, we suggest opting for a Road Trip in Bavaria or a Road Trip in Slovenia (stunning routes both!). If not, then start charting out your itinerary for a Swiss road trip. Expect to spend at least €250 per day per couple – this cost includes car rental, mid-range accommodation, grocery shopping, occasional meals at restaurants, and entry fees to some sites.

 

Itinerary for your road trip in Switzerland

We suggest setting aside at least 10 days for the road trip. The itinerary you will roughly follow for this road trip is as follows: Geneva -Montreux – Vevey – Bern – Adelboden – Zermatt – Gruyeres – Lausanne – Geneva – Zurich and Mt. Titlis (optional)

 

Switzerland on a budget
Road trip views in Switzerland – notice the suspended clouds?

 

Day-by-day breakdown and tips for your road trip in Switzerland

 

  • Days 1 & 2 – Land in Geneva and explore Geneva

Geneva is a convenient starting point for your road trip but other than that, it doesn’t have too much to offer. It’s both tough and expensive to find parking in the middle of the bustling city, so we suggest renting an apartment or chalet on Air B&B at the outskirts of Geneva. You can use this link to get $35 off your first booking on Air BnB if you’d like.

 

Spend Day #2 exploring Geneva but don’t take your car to the centre. Just park it at a convenient parking lot and take the tram into the city. The tram is convenient and stops at most prominent sites in Geneva. Take your time in Geneva to explore the UN Building, walk along the lake, or shop at the dozens of shops lining the centre. If you enjoy speciality coffee, then definitely try out one (or all) of these coffee shops for a perfectly brewed cup of coffee – Coutume, Birdie, and Boréal.

 

Speciality coffee in Geneva at Cafe Boreal
Cafe Boréal in Geneva

 

 

  • Day 3 – Drive to Montreaux and Yvoire

While Lake Geneva seems distinctly underwhelming from Geneva’s centre, it acquires a personality of its own when viewed from Montreaux. The town of Montreaux offers a stunning view of the lake against the famed Chillon Castle. This spot is ideal for some photographs.

While a number of tourists drive to Montreaux for a view of Lake Geneva, literally nobody knows about a romantic French village not far from Geneva or Montreaux. Yvoire is a locals’ secret and we got to it after a chance conversation with a friend who lives in Geneva but we just HAD to share it with you. The car-free village will take you back in time. It offers gorgeous views of Lake Geneva. But that’s not all. The fishing village has so much character, all its own. We’d recommend lingering in Yvoire over a meal.

 

  • Day 4 – Drive to Adelboden via Bern

The drive from Geneva to the little village of Adelboden takes approximately 3 hours. But we would suggest leaving Geneva early and spending a chunk of Day 4 in the capital city of Bern. Take a walking tour and explore the historical Old Town. It will leave you mesmerised. Make sure you visit The Gurten, which offers an incredible view over the city of Bern or Rosengarten for a panorama of the Old City of Bern.

 

Drive onto Adelboden and check into your hotel. Adelboden is a little skiing village that wasn’t particularly on the tourist radar till quite recently. The quaint village can get quite busy during ski season but other than that, it’s usually quiet. We would recommend staying here instead of touristy places like Interlaken in the vicinity. Adelboden makes for the perfect romantic getaway during the last weeks of November when it’s covered with a blanket of snow but the skiing crowd hasn’t yet descended on the village.

 

There is truly no better place to stay here than The Cambrian Adelboden. The sumptuous boutique hotel is easily one of the most scenic properties we’ve ever stayed at! Scenic and spacious suites offer 180 degree views of the surrounding valleys and villages and an unobstructed view of snow-laden mountains. The lounge overlooks the village nestled amidst Swiss peaks. Breakfast is tasty and plentiful – expect an expansive variety of cheese. The wellness area of the hotel truly stand out – expect amenities such as a heated outdoor pool surrounded by mountains on all sides and a thoroughly relaxing sauna area.

 

Cambrian Adelboden balcony breakfast with views of the valley
Breakfast on our room’s balcony with that gorgeous view – Bliss!

 

girl in infinity pool in switzerland
Savi at the heated outdoor pool at The Cambrian Adelboden

 

girl in hotel in Swiss Alps
Gorgeous view from the room at The Cambrian Adelboden

 

  • Days 5 and 6 – Enjoy Adelboden and Interlaken

It is easy to spend days walking around the village of Adelboden doing nothing but relishing the sights and sounds of Swiss village life. But you MUST take your car out for a drive of two. There is no shortage of things to do in the Adelboden area. Here are some that we would recommend – pick and choose ones that suit your preferences best

 

  1. Blausee is a little lake ringed by trees and mountains. Not many tourists make it here but it’s definitely worth the visit. The lake’s stark blue water, combined with snow-laden trees during winter months, makes for a panorama like no other.
  2. Engstlige Falls make for a scenic outing. It isn’t the most spectacular waterall you would’ve seen but it offers some great hiking and picnicking oppportunities
  3. Interlaken and Lake Thun are ideal if you want to witness green Swiss pastures . They remain green till December even when the skiing villages are snowed under. Drive to this area for a change in scenery. Combine the visit to Interlaken with a day trip to Grindelwald. It’s stunning!!
  4. Take the train to Jungfaujoch also known as the Top of Europe. There is no denying that the view from here is spectacular. However we are not big fans of the experience as it can get really crowded with tour groups at the top.
  5. In fact if you have an extra day and are keen to see a new country, you could even drive down to the tiny country of Liechtenstein and make a day trip out of it
  6. Go for an Alpine hike – there are so many gorgeous hikes for both amateur and experienced hikers. Choose a trail that suits you and work that fondue off!
  7. If hiking doesn’t interest you, go for an aimless drive instead. This area will leave you hypnotised, irrespective of the direction you choose.
Couple walking in the village of Adelboden in Switerland
Gorgeous walks in Adelboden

 

Switzerland Road Trip Blausee couple
Blausee during the month of November – winter wonderland!

 

Vaduz castle on a day trip to Liechtenstein from Switzerland
A quick day trip to Liechtenstein did not disappoint 🙂

 

Beautiful vantage points not far from Interlaken

 

Days 7 & 8 Drive to Zermatt and explore surrounding villages

This drive from Adelboden to Zermatt takes just 2.5 hours. Make sure you pack a picnic because there are dozens of picnic spots along the way. The actual village of Zermatt is both expensive and car-free. That’s why we suggest booking a traditional Swiss chalet, that offers free parking, in a scenic spot outside of Zermatt. You can find plenty of options on Air BnB. You can use my link to get $35 off your first booking on Air BnB if you’d like.

 

Once you’re all settled in your chalet, take the next 2 days to explore the villages dotting the area. Zermatt should definitely be the first village you explore. It is home to the iconic Matterhorn and some of the prettiest skiing slopes in the world. Its sylvan surroundings are bound to cast a bit of a spell on you. Check out these photos to see what we were greeted with upon reaching Zermatt.

 

Once you have had your fill of Zermatt, we’d recommend driving further afield to villages such as Grachen, which is home to a stunning alpine lake and the supremely scenic Simplon Dorf, home to the Simplon Pass that connects Italy and Switzerland. When it’s time to eat, head to the busier town of Brig. The Old Town of Brig is ideal for a post lunch gander. If you want to do something truly unique, you could also stick around in the area for an additional night and sleep on a bed on ice in a rare igloo hotel near Zermatt.

 

Further reading:

6 Must See Villages on your winter road trip in Zermatt

Staying in an igloo and sleeping on beds of ice in Switzerland

 

Visit zermatt snow
Right out of a fairytale – the village of Zermatt after a snowstorm

 

Iglu Dorf review
You can sleep in an a real igloo near Zermatt. We chose The Romantic Igloo at Iglu Dorf, Zermatt (Switzerland)

 

Iglu Dorf review
Fondue lounge at Iglu Dorf, Zermatt (Switzerland)

 

Road Trip In Switzerland Grachen
Grachen’s hidden Alpine lake is a short hike away from the village centre

 

Road Trip in Switzerland Brig
The Brig Castle is nestled in the lap of nature

 

Day 9 – Explore Gruyeres and surrounding villages

We highly recommend spending an entire day exploring the utterly charming village of Gruyeres and the surrounding countryside. Where else in the world would ALL conversations revolve around cheese and chocolate. Take a stroll in the village of Gruyeres, sample traditional Swiss fondue for lunch, and visit a chocolate factory in the area. Visitors have access to unlimited samples of chocolates in most factories in the area – free chocolate is always a good thing right?! 😊

 

Read everything you need to know about visiting Gruyeres on a day trip here (opens in new tab)

 

Day trip from Geneva Gruyeres
La Gruyere is perfect for a quintessentially Swiss experience

 

Gruyeres Day Trip from geneva
The gorgeous view from Gruyeres Castle

 

Day Trip from Geneva - chocolate factory
Raw cocoa beans at The Cailler Chocolate Factory in Broc, La Gruyere

 

Day 10: Drive to Geneva via Lausanne

At this stage, you could go directly to Geneva and catch your flight from there. But if you have an extra day at hand, we’d recommend spending it in Lausanne. The bustling city offers a unique mix of history, culture, marketplaces, and restaurants. Spend some time exploring the Old City and the lakefront district Ouchy. If you like your wine, then don’t leave without stopping at the supremely scenic Lavaux vineyards, overlooking Lake Geneva.

 

 

What to pack for switzerland
A Road Trip in Switzerland boasts of scenic panoramas by the dozen

 

A typical Swiss village- perfect as per usual

 

Day 11 – Fly out/Drive to Zurich

It’s time  wrap up your roadtrip and catch the flight back home. If you 2-3 extra days, you could combine this itinerary with a drive to Zurich and Mt. Titlis. Watch this video for some ideas about things to do when you are in Zurich

 

That’s it – everything you need to plan an epic road trip in Switzerland. Hope you have an incredible time driving in the country and don’t forget to read all our articles about Switzerland 🙂

45 thoughts on “An Epic Road Trip Itinerary For Switzerland

  1. Hey Savi and Vid,

    This article is very helpful to plan a road trip in Switzerland. My husband and I are planning a road trip in the next few months and we loved your itinerary. I have a question and it would be great if you can help me out! We’ve been reading up a lot about driving in Switzerland and a lot of forums have suggested downloading English maps before hand and loading them into the GPS since the GPS from the car rental company did not have English maps. Is this the case? And if this is indeed the case, then can you please let me know how you went about it?

    Thanks,
    Ramani

    1. Hi Ramani,

      the GPS device in our car had English maps so we didn’t face this problem. Perhaps confirm with the car rental agency?

      Also, you could just get a local sim and use Google Maps?

  2. Hi Savi! Wow loved your itinerary…I got to know many lesser known, small villages in Switzerland which cannot be missed. I have been to Switzerland before but this time I am planning a road trip and your article turned out to be a great guide. How are the restroom / toilet facilities in Switzerland in case of road trips?

    1. Hi Pooja,

      Thanks – happy to hear that 🙂 Yes Switzerland has such amazing villages and pretty little towns – ideal for a road trip 🙂

      There are plenty of service stations with proper toilet facilities so nothing to worry about

  3. Hey savi & vid , Tjsnk you for the Switzerland itenary , few places are unknown to us , will be of grt help as we r going to Switzerland

  4. Hi want to ask what would u suggest as a base cities for overnights for pregnant women in Swiss considering there are medical facilities vastly available !! M planning to take a trip in may with my husband n parents

    1. Hey

      Swiss healthcare is amazing, even in smaller towns so you need not worry. However, just for peace of mind, it might be betetr to stay in a bigger city like Zurich or even Bern

  5. Hi there, This article is just what I was looking for.
    Quick question: will this itinerary work for our travel to Switzerland in June ?

  6. Hey.. I have read so many itineraries to Switzerland but take my word, yours is the best!! Me and my husband are going on a road trip in Switzerland with a few friends and I am making sure we follow your footsteps:)
    I just have a few questions to ask.. We are unable to find Yvoire on maps..maybe because its unexplored like you said. Wanted to know where did you guys stay when you went to Montreaux and Yvoire. In Geneva outskirts itself or some other place?
    Also, did you guys stay in Adelboden only when you went to Interlaken, because I believe the places are quite close.
    Thank you:)

    1. Hey,

      Thank you so much 🙂

      Yvoire is on the French side (in fact we have linked the official website as well if you notice carefully :)). WE stayed in Geneva and did Montreaux and Yvoire as a day trip/drive.

      As for Adelboden, yes on our way from Geneva to Interlaken we spent a few days in Adelboden 🙂

  7. Hi i am planning a trip to switzerland in september 2018. Looking forward to do really fun stuffs but what tops my list is a really really good thermal spa with snow around. Do u think september would be a good time to that? Saw your post of Cambrian, ADELBODEN but wonder will it be snowy as in the pictures during september month.. Please suggest

  8. Hi Guys, I am long time follower and big fan.. do you reckon this would be good itinerary if visiting in summer? Thanks so much guys.

      1. Hey Guys! Planning a road trip this winter for December month..just one concern will the roads be covered in so much snow that driving will be hard and what abt getting around to the hotel/ Air B&B if it’s fully snow clad?Thank you so much.

        1. Hi Lekha,

          All roads are well taken care of even in heavy snow – if there are any remote roads that are cut-off, you’ll know about that. Daily life goes on as usual in Switzerland and roads are cleared for driving!

        1. Hey,

          Thanks so much for great itinerary sharing;

          we’ll drive a car with 9seats for 6persons, may I know at below:

          1. Parking ? easy to reach … such as sight seeing ponit

          2. High way fee & gas fee

          3. GPS, and App or web to recomment

          1. Hi – Parking is easy but expensive, tolls and gas fee depends on where you are and how much you drive. We used a GPS but you can also use google maps or any offline application for maps

  9. Thanks for this awesome post! I’m thinking of renting a car to drive from Leysin (close to Montreux) to Bern, possibly stopping in Gruyere along the way. I wondered if the drive is easy? Any steep roads, blind curves, huge bridges? (Obviously a little nervous about the drive so wanted to see if you had any insight!) Thanks! 🙂

    1. Hey Rebecca,

      Our experience driving in Switzerland has been very pleasant. Don’t remember any steep roads / blind curves but always a good idea to stay prepared for those 🙂

      Have a great trip

  10. Hi Guys,

    We are planning to go to switzerland in October with a kid, do you still suggest to do a road trip or Rail pass is better and cheaper as most of the towns in Switzerland are car free zones?

  11. Hello guys,

    This block is amazing. Thank you for inspiring us with your travel stories . We are planning to do road trip by this month end one question how about parking in the public area when we will go for sightseeing . Any app you can suggest? Is that expensive ?

    1. Hey Sanjyoti – a lot of places have free parking but it is a bit more expensive in more popular areas. We usually run a search on google for exact prices when we are planning our day 🙂

  12. Hi,
    Thank you for sharing such a beautiful itinerary, before taking the decision of doing a road trip in December, I would like to ask you about the challenges of taking a car during winters. Please share if you had faced any. I am worried about roadblocks due to snow. Please help!

    1. Hey – just make sure the car you rent comes with snow tyres. Other than that, it isn’t hard to drive in winter if you’re an experienced driver 🙂

  13. Killer blog guys. Planning to do exact trip as yours by end of November. You guys did in which month ?
    Do you guys see any challenge with the road trip in end of November ?

    1. Hey Bharat,

      We actually did this in end November too 🙂 The only challenge was that we rented the car in Paris and there were no snow tyres but when we reached Switzerland it was snowing so we had to get chains. Just be careful with that other than that all good 🙂

      1. Hey,

        Loved your posts, you guys make such a cute couple !

        We as a couple will be leaving for Switzerland for three days in two weeks,

        Problem is we only have three days, the itinerary we planned is:
        Day 1: Geneva – montreux stop over (for Geneva lake view that you mentioned) – Interlaken overnight
        Day 2: harderkulm In the morning – Mount titlis cable car – drive to hotel perhaps on the outskirts of Zermet
        Day 3: spend the day in zermett and drive back to Geneva

        Would you make any tweaks ? Is this all feasible ?, also a lot of the forums online mention parking problems if busy areas like montreux, I planned on not hanging around in Geneva too long and going to montreux for a nice view, where would we park ?

        Really looking forward to your reply, so confused with mixed options and opinions online !

        Regards,

        Sana

        1. Hey Sana,

          Hope you had a great trip – sorry we couldn’t reply sooner. I believe this would have been feasible, correct. Hope you had an amazing time and didn’t face any issues. Do update us here as your experience would help others planning a road trip in Switzerland 🙂

  14. Hey Savi!

    Your road trip looked awesome! Im mapping out my trip as we speak. Im starting off at Geneva as well so this is great! Just a few questions, is the weather end of October – Mid Nov. snow season? (Just thinking of what to wear)

    Planning to drive down to Milan after your itinerary. Where do you suggest I drive from? Thank you!

    Enjoy your next adventure!

    1. Hi Jose,

      Well, can’t really predict the weather. We went in November end to Geneva and there was no snow. As for driving to Milan – that sounds amazing but not sure what you mean by “where do I drive from”? 🙂

      In any case, have a great trip

  15. Wow! We’re super excited for our short Switzerland trip. Husband and son are hoping to catch the airshow up in mountains on October 8th or 9th weather dependant (son is aviation photographer enthusiast). Myself and daugher in law and toddler grandson will be chilling that day they are out watching airshow in our apartment in Beatenberg, as husband and son will have to climb some way up to get good shots of aircraft flying through mountains. We arrive Monday 7th October via Geneva airport lunch time. We are due to fly back on Saturday 12th October at 4pm. I have made a note of the places you have suggested. Do you have any suggestions as to what is most picturesque route to take to and from airport?

    1. hey Karen,

      We usually avoid taking detours when driving to the airport, however in Switzerland you’ll have the most picturesque views even on/from the main highway. If you do start early, you could take a small detour to Vevey / Montreaux by Lake Geneva 🙂

      Have an amazing trip and please don’t miss your flight (yes, Switzerland is that pretty and distracting ;-))

  16. Hi Savi and Vid,
    This is so helpful. I was planning a trip with my family. Could you please recommend if its better to stay in a hotel or a BnB. Or how to find good deals on BnBs?

    Thank you. Love reading your blogs as always 🙂

    1. Hi Shivika,

      If you’re travelling with kids or a big group, then AirBnB or other apartments make more sense 🙂

      As for good deals, you can use this link to sign-up and book on AirBnB (first time user) for a good discount.

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