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Written by Savi, 44 Comments

The mention of Switzerland evokes hyperbolic images of expansive grasslands, wooden chalets, tiny villages, and picturesque skiing slopes – for once, these images are an apt representation of truth. If there is one country that is blessed with natural beauty, it is Switzerland. A Road Trip in Switzerland can take you through Alpine villages, glacial lakes, stunning hikes, cheese factories, chocolate factories and so much more. Here are our 6 favourite villages with tips and tricks to help you plan the perfect Road Trip in Switzerland

 

A typical Swiss village- perfect as per usual
A typical Swiss village- perfect as per usual

 

Renting a Car in Switzerland

Switzerland is well connected by train, so it’s easy to visit any of these villages using Public Transport but you know our fondness for road trips don’t you? 🙂 The flexibility that a car offers is tough to beat. We flew to Geneva Airport and rented a car with Hertz, Switzerland. Vid is a Gold Club Member, so Hertz is usually the first car rental option that pops up in our mind. It was still Spring when we visited Switzerland so we were expecting the occasional snow storm and opted for a 4X4 – Hertz Switzerland had a brand new fleet so we got a gorgeous Opel 4X4 with heated seats. Ooh yeah! Let’s face it – everybody wants a snug arse when it’s snowing outside 😉 All jokes apart, we would highly recommend renting a 4X4 in Switzerland – it makes it so much easier to face sudden blizzards or snow storms. Besides, if you’re a curious explorer and like to off road every once in a while (err we plead guilty!), a dependable 4X4 is your best bet! Make sure you have proper travel insurance – ones with additional cover for car rentals are always a plus. Ask us, we’re road trip bunnies 🙂

 

 

Now that you’re all warm in your car (sorry couldn’t resist alluding to the seats again, I was rather taken in by them!), it’s time to plug in your favourite music and start the idyllic drive. We drove from Geneva to a little village on the outskirts of Zermatt. Zermatt is a great base if you are NOT renting a car as the entire village is car free. If you rent a car, opt for a village close to Zermatt. You can base yourself in a chalet anywhere in the area and drive in a different direction everyday 🙂 All these villages are an easy day trip from Valais/Visp in southern Switzerland.

 

road trip in Switzerland
Road Trips make us happy 🙂

 

 

#1 Grächen 

This tiny mountain village is located at 1600 mts. It’s the perfect village for walkers and hikers – explore the village centre, its cathedral (which was dotted with glistening snow when we visited), or walk up to the hidden Alpine lake in the area. It is also perfect for skiiers and snowboarders as there are a number of ski lifts and pistes in the vicinity. The fairytale village is located on a broad sunny terrace on the Alps, so it’s the ideal place to spend a leisurely afternoon nursing a bottle of wine.

 

Road Trip In Switzerland Grachen
The picturesque village of Grachen is perched on a broad terrace of the Alps

 

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

 

 

#2 Zermatt

The romantic village of Zermatt is right out of a fairy tale. We swooned over it in our Photo Essay of Zermatt but we couldn’t just leave it at that. Zermatt is right up there in the list of our favourite villages in Switzerland. Sun-kissed wooden chalets, cobblestoned alleys, and luxurious boutique hotels dominate the landscape, so it’s hard not to fall in love. Make sure you visit Hinterdof, the Old Quarter of Zermatt, where you will see wooden houses from the 16th and 17th centuries.

 

Zermatt is a car-free village. You can park your car at the parking lot in Tasch village and take a train to Zermatt. Return Ticket cost 16 CHF/person and parking costs 24 CHF/day. Overnight parking is also possible.

road trip in Switzerland
The fairy-tale village of Zermatt

 

 

#3 Gornergrat

Ok, we’re cheating. Gornergrat is not exactly a village but a rocky ridge of the Alps overlooking the Gorner Glacier. Take the Gornergrat Bahn (Gornergrat Railway) to the last station. The journey, one of the prettiest in Switzerland, takes visitors through idyllic snow-covered forests and surreal mountain panoramas. You can even stop by at an Igloo Village on your way up. Gornergrat is the getaway for all sorts of winter sports – explore adventurous sports or dine at the Kulm Hotel and check out the crazy view from their observatory at 3120 mts. Gornergrat needs to be seen to be believed!

 

Zermatt Gornergrat
Experiencing the magical ride on the Gornergrat “Express” from Zermatt – A Must Do

 

 

#4 St. Niklaus

St. Niklaus is a sleepy village in the Visp area. It’s off-the-beaten-path, so don’t expect to see tourists here. In fact, you will struggle to find a restaurant that serves food after 10 p.m.. But that is why it is special! St. Niklaus is where you go to feel your stress melting away. Pack a picnic, drive around till you find a vantage point to munch on Swiss cheese and sandwiches as you gaze at the Alps *le sigh*

 

Road trips, gorgeous views, and picnics = happiness :-)
Road trips, gorgeous views, and picnics = happiness 🙂

 

Road Trip in Switzerland St. Niklaus
The sleepy village of St. Niklaus at night

 

 

#5 Brig

Brig  is one of the larger town in the Valais area. But its Old Quarter, set against the backdrop of the mountains, resembles a small village. Brig’s striking castle seems to be nestled in the lap of the Alps – entry is free and you won’t ever find more than a handful of people at any given time.

 

Brig also has dozens of large supermarkets, so it is the perfect place to stock up on groceries for your Road Trip in Switzerland. Its central square is dotted with cafes and restaurants

 

Road Trip in Switzerland Brig
The Brig Castle is nestled in the lap on the Alps

 

#6 Simplon Dorf

Simplon Dorf needs to be included in all posts about Road Trips in Switzerland not because its outrageously idyllic (which it is!) but because the drive leading to the village is stunning. The highlight of the drive is the Simplon Pass, a mountain pass that connects the Alps in Switzerland and Italy. We drove to Simplon Dorf on a foggy day, so hours were spent swooning at snow-clad mountains playing peek-a-boo with the thick veil of fog. The Simplon Pass cast a spell on us, it really did!

 

Road Trip in Switzerland Simplon Dorf
Aye we went on that bridge 🙂

 

Road Trip in Switzerland Simplon Pass
Magical, snow-laden panoramas are the highlight of a road trip in Switzerland

 

Want to see these villages on video? Check out a short video of our Road Trip in Switzerland shot with our new GoPro camera 🙂

 

Which of those 6 locations tickle your fancy?  Will you be planning a trip to Switzerland soon? 🙂 

Planning a visit to Switzerland? Read all about chocolates, snow-clad mountains, overnight stays in an Igloo, and perfect clothes for a trip to Switzerland 🙂

 

 

 

We were guests of Zermatt Tourism in Switzerland. We are two extremely opinionated ninjas – so all views (good and bad) are entirely our own. Click on to read our full Disclosure Policy

 

44 thoughts on “6 Must See Villages on a Road Trip In Switzerland

    1. Hey Megha – Solo travel can be amazing fun too 🙂 You should try it out with a short trip and then venture out for longer trips

  1. Breathtakingly beautiful 😀 ! Gornergrat is where i wanna be for sure 🙂 This anni I think its gonna be me n the guy here somewhere 😀 Lovely video. Would you tell me the song that plays in the background ??

  2. I wanna go to Gornergrat. Take the train ride and stay in Igloo..One in my bucket list..don’t know when, but will visit for sure…

  3. I just LOVE LOVE LOVE Switzerland. And I haven;t explored nearly enough of it yet. I loved Interlaken, Lauterbrunn a, Zurich and Lucerne but I really need to see some more little villages.

  4. Thanks for sharing! I adore Switzerland and am so excited to go back in October with my husband and parents. We’ll be staying in Nendaz but hope to do a day trip up to Zermatt.

  5. Wow, Switzerland is really beautiful. We have visited many places in this beautiful country, but missed the places mentioned in your site. We’ll go there sometime soon- maybe in 2015.

    Have also been to the fjords in Norway- a must see for all those peripatetic travellers who like to explore.

    1. Hey Sridhar, Switzerland is really gorgeous. We’ve been wanting to drive around Norway for a while now, hope to get to it next year 🙂

  6. I did a short road trip through Switzerland in February, but didn’t actually stop. Obviously that was a mistake. Love the photo of the pink coat in the snow. Perfection!

  7. Hey.. couldnt find any places for road trip in central switzerland. we have booked a car for 2 days for our love for road trips. do you know places we could cover by road near lungern?

    1. Hey Ayushi – haven’t been to that area, so wouldn’t be able to suggest much. Sorry we couldn’t be of more help 🙁

  8. we re also doing zermatt on our last day.travelling from hasliberg to zermatt on 17th august 2016. we ll be there just for a night and we ll be leaving for zurich 6 am next morning.
    could you tell me the must dos in zermatt in the limited time we have pleasee.

    1. Hey Ayushi – since you’re there just for a night you should walk around Zermatt and absorb the atmosphere. You could also take the uber scenic Gornergrat rail 🙂

  9. Hi there,

    i need your advise on our road trip to Switzerland. We have 4 days from 25-29 October. We will be in Italy before that. Can you please advise the best route and places we can cover. We leave from Zurich on 29th afternoon.

    Thank you

    1. Hi Aakriti,

      You can drive into Switzerland from North Italy (through Simplon pass) and spend a few days in Zermatt before driving to Zurich for your flight. Alternatively, you could enter Switzerland and drive north to Lucerne and then on to Zurich to board your flight.

      Cheers

  10. Hi, we are planning to visit Switzerland next week. We will be flying from London and not sure which area will be more convenient to fly, Geneva or Zurich. We would love to visit Zermart and Gornergrat, also Bechalpee lake in Grindelwald, Gruyere and Chillón Castle. We only have 5 days. Can you recommend the route and suggest if car or train? This is our first time there. Thanks, love your blog!

    1. Hey Carol – really sorry for the late response. Both car and train are actually equally convenient in Switzerland. We love roadtrips, so we’d suggest renting a car if you can. This will give you the independence of stopping wherever you want 🙂

  11. Hi Savi,
    My husband and I are traveling to Swiss in May and we are debating whether to rent a car or take the swiss pass. What are the parking options and other downsides of renting a car? I love having the flexibility of making frequent stops but I also heard there aren’t very many “places” on the road that allows you to stop?
    I am a great fan of you guys! Keep it going!

    1. Hi Chaitra,

      We always prefer renting a car – the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages, at least for us 🙂 There were plenty of rest stops on the roads we drove for this particular trip so we never felt like we were missing out. Even parking was not a problem from what we can remember 🙂

  12. Hi, I will be having a road trip from Geneva as well, could you kindly let me know about your routes? I have no idea where to go first once I’ve reached Geneva. Hehehe

  13. Hi guys, can you suggest a good itinerary for a 10 day trip to Switzerland? I will be taking my parents along with me. I am fond of villages and would like to visit as many as I can. Can you help me in planning the trip? I will be flying to Zurich first and I’ll probably get the stp.

    1. Hey Shreya,

      All the details from our road trip are in this article 🙂 If you have any specific questions, do let us know 🙂

      Hope you have a great trip!

  14. HI, Savi and Vid!

    We’re flying into Zurich in a month with plans to spend most of our time in the Black Forrest in Germany. However, I’m thinking since we’re flying into and out of Switzerland, we might as well take a few days and visit a town or two. We already plans to have a car (and like you two, I prefer the freedom of road trips), but my hubby is hesitant to keep the car into Switzerland because everywhere he reads train is the way to travel there. Did you feel traveling via car was, in any way, a hassle and just not worth the effort? It also seems to be financially a better option since we’d only be there for two, three days max. We would love to know your opinion.

    1. Hey Katie – it’s a lot of fun to drive in Switzerland. Parking tends to be really expensive in busy areas but it’s easy to find free parking if you go a bit off the beaten path 🙂

  15. Amazing places which part of the year you suggest to take this trip ?
    We visited Austria, Germany, Swiss for Christmas and bit confused where to go this Christmas in Europe !

  16. Hi Savi and Vid ,
    Big fan!!!!
    Could you please suggest how do I plan my 10 days trip to France and Switzerland .

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