In this article we have prepared an itinerary with essential places things to do in Switzerland in 4 days, ideal if it is your first time in the Alpine country.
Chances are that if I tell you to think of just one country in the world where things work perfectly and where the quality of life is high, Switzerland might come to mind.
And no wonder, its main cities are chosen year after year among the best in the world to live. It has no sea, but it has the highest peaks in Europe and beautiful lakes where the summits are reflected.
We designed this itinerary to travel to Switzerland in 4 days to see the most important sights without taking into account the city of Geneva.
📜 TABLE OF CONTENTS
How to move around Switzerland on your own?
There are several options for touring Switzerland on your own and not falling into excursions, in case you want to save money on your trip. One of them:
- Rent a car: it is not as expensive as it seems and an excellent option to move at your own pace without depending on public transportation schedules.
🚗 Search here for the best car rental prices; and travel at your own pace!
- Buy the Swiss Travel Pass: depending on the number of days you are going to stay in the country, this is an excellent option to spend less. On the one hand, you won’t have to buy individual tickets and, on the other hand, it also has a large number of attractions included.
Want to save money on your trip to Switzerland? Buy the Swiss Travel Pass for unlimited train, bus and boat travel in Switzerland.
Itinerary on things to do in Switzerland in 4 days – MAP
I attach a map with the location of the cities we have visited in this itinerary to travel to Switzerland. More than anything else, you may note that there is one route linking the 4 cities around, so the trip is relatively easy to make both ways, either by car rental or by train.
Day 1 – Things to do in Zurich
We started the first day of places to see in Switzerland in 4 days by visiting Zurich. It is a city to enjoy the outdoors.
The best thing to do is to walk along both banks of the Limatt River, on which the heart of the city sits, entering its historic center. The towers of the Grossmünster Cathedral and the Fraumünster Abbey Church stand out on the horizon.
Somehow or other, you will reach the lake of Zürich, which you can walk along a nice path with incredible views.
To end the day, a very original place to visit are the Freitag Tower and the Frau Gerold Garten.
📷 Tour the city in its entirety with this panoramic tour of Zurich by bus and train. You will love it!
🔝 Do you want to see more details? Check out this article on things to do in Zurich in 3 days.
📷 If you want to get the most out of your visit and learn a lot more, check out these tours in Zurich with English speaking guide.
Where to stay in Zurich?
Accommodation in Zurich is among the most expensive in the country. It is almost impossible to find a double room for less than 100 euros a night. Here are some suggestions for accommodation in the center:
- Boutique Hotel WellenbergIn the heart of the historic center of Zurich. It has a working library inside and also a restaurant. The rooms are modern and spacious.
- Motel One ZurichMotel One Zürich is located in a completely renovated old building near the lake. The rooms have large windows and plenty of light. Excellent breakfast.
- Walhalla Guest HouseWalhalla Guest House: close to the central train station, good value for money. Rooms not so big but with comfortable beds.
🏨 Do you want to look for other options? Find here the best hotels in Zurich.
Day 2 – Things to do in Bern
We continue with the itinerary to travel to Switzerland in 4 days with Bern. We arrived before noon and went straight to the old town, which starts very close to the station.
The entire historic center of Bern is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is one of the most beautiful in Switzerland, even in Europe, with medieval buildings still in a good state of preservation. The Aar River surrounds this part of the city, making a U shape, and we are always just a few steps away from it.
So what is there to things to do in Bern?
1. Zytglogge and the beautiful fountains of the historic centerZytglogge so unpronounceable is the Clock Tower The main street of the historic center, which has an opening at the bottom through which people can pass and which used to be one of the entrance gates to the walled city. Along this street, there are several fountains with drinking water that have survived the passage of time.
2. Münster: it is the Cathedral of Bern, of Gothic style and from the 15th century. Its portal is decorated with a representation of the Last Judgment. The one central tower it has was not always so tall. Its construction had stopped in the middle of the 16th century due to economic problems and it was not until the end of the 19th century that it was completed. Today it measures 100 meters and makes it the tallest church in Switzerland.
Next to the Cathedral is the Münster Platform, which is a beautiful garden with benches, trees and a viewpoint on the south side of the city where the river Aar flows. The views of the low houses with their orange roofs contrasting with the turquoise river is beautiful.
3. Parliament of Switzerland: It is a very beautiful Florentine style building inaugurated at the beginning of the last century. It is very close to the train station so it is worth going there, and if you have the chance to see it inside on a tour, take advantage of it! It is very nice and one of the best places to see in Bern.
4. Albert Einstein House-Museum: This house is where Albert Einstein lived when he worked as an employee of the patent office. Bern and its Zytglogge clock played a very special role in the theory of relativity. In fact, he lived on the main street of the historic district just a few steps from the clock. To explain his famous formula E=MC2 he said that if he were on a train traveling at the speed of light, his clock would run at normal time while Bern’s clock would not have moved a second.
5. Bears in the middle of the city: Not only is the name of the city, Bern, derived from the word “bear” in the local dialect, but they have become the symbol of the city. His image appears on the coat of arms, fountain statues and souvenirs.
But also next to the river there is a small park called Bärengraben where there are several bears in captivity and, although well cared for, it is a little embarrassing to see them there.
6. The Aar River flows through Bern with a lot of water and it is normal to see people, even parents with their children, jumping off the bridges and letting themselves be carried away by the current. They go by so fast that it feels dangerous, but the truth is that people seem to be having a lot of fun.
Where to stay in Bern?
The largest hotel offer in the Swiss capital is concentrated in the historic center from the central train station to the river.
- Hotel Savoynear the central train station and the historical center. Spacious rooms and excellent service.
- Metropole Easy City HotelMetropole Easy City Hotel: just a few meters from the main attractions of Bern’s historical center. Well-decorated rooms.
- Bern Backpackers Hotel Glockefor those on a budget, this is one of the cheapest hotels in the center of Bern. It has rooms with shared or private bathrooms and a kitchen for breakfast and meals.
🏨 Do you want to look for other options? Find here the best hotels in Bern.
Day 3 – Interlaken, a things to do in Switzerland in 4 days
In the itinerary to travel to Switzerland we go to Interlaken, which as one can guess from its name, is a city between two lakes, Thun and Brienz. But it is not these two lakes that attract thousands of tourists every year but the Jungfrau, an alpine mountain at 4100 meters above sea level, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The city is very touristy but at the same time very clean and well kept. Walking through the “center” you will find plenty of restaurants, cafes, tourist agencies, exchange houses and hotels.
It has two train stations, West (West) and Ost (East). Very close to the latter is where you may come across a park that has a breathtaking view of the Jungfrau and where you can watch the adventurous paragliders descend during the day and watch the sun set over the highest peak in the Swiss Alps in the evening.
🔝 Thinking about visit the Alps? Check out our article on the best Swiss Alps tours.
The way to climb the Jungfraujoch, which is the mountain pass at 3400 meters above sea level, is on a train built with a lot of effort and complications at the beginning of the 20th century and is the highest train in Europe.
📷 Buy tickets in advance for the rack railway up to Jungfraujoch and reserve your place.
If you are looking for an economical alternative, the best is to go up to Harderkulm by funicular, which is a viewpoint with amazing views of the Jungfrau and the valley with the lakes from the viewpoint. There is a platform not suitable for those with vertigo that takes all the sighs. I really recommend your visit if you are traveling to Switzerland.
📷 Buy your funicular ticket in advance to ascend the Harder Kulm.
📷 Visiting Interlaken from Zürich with an English speaking guide: Ideal if you want to have everything more under control on your trip to Switzerland. We recommend these two excursions that are very good value for money:
– Tour of the city and the viewpoints of Interlaken.
– Excursion to Interlaken including the train to Jungfraujoch. Very complete and convenient as it includes the bus to and from Zurich, entrance fees, English speaking guide and train ticket.
📷 And if you want to get around the entire Swiss Alpine region, visiting the towns of Grindelwald, Mürren, Lauterbrunnen, Interlaken, Unterseen and Wengen, purchase the Jungfrau Rail Pass and book your place.
Where to stay in Interlaken?
As the city is small. hotels are concentrated in the downtown area and around the Aare River.
- Metropole Swiss Quality HotelMetropole Swiss Quality Hotel: a striking accommodation with large windows overlooking the mountains and a panoramic restaurant located on the 18th floor.
- Hotel Central ContinentalHotel Central Continental: located in a historic building on the banks of the river. Elegant decoration and a very complete breakfast buffet.
🏨 Do you want to look for other options? Find here the best accommodation in Interlaken.
Day 4 – Things to do in Lucerne
The last city of the itinerary on things to do in Switzerland for 4 days is Lucerne. For many, it is one of the most beautiful cities in Switzerland. It has a medieval historic center that is concentrated along the mouth of the Reuss River in Lake Lucerne.
One of its main attractions is one of the wooden bridges that crosses the river, the oldest in Europe, called the Chapel Bridge. The bridge has a companion with which it has watched time pass since the founding of the city, it is called the Water Tower. This tower is over the water and has an octagonal floor plan and a wooden roof. Both are the most recognizable postcard of the city and one of the most interesting places in Switzerland.
📷 Book your electric bike tour of Lucerne here to visit the city’s main attractions without polluting the environment.
When crossing it, pay attention to the frescoes painted on the roof of the bridge.
It is not the only bridge it has, but this is the most representative. We in turn walk along the walls of the medieval city that still has some of its towers standing. Both the wall and some of its towers are accessible to the public and we took the opportunity to climb the Clock Tower. At the same time, being in the upper part of the city, it has incredible views of the city and its lake.
Another activity to do in Lucerne is to walk through the historic center, which has very beautiful buildings, some with painted facades with drawings, and in many of its squares, an ornate drinking fountain. You will also find nice restaurants and cafes for a proper rest.
We returned to Zürich, but directly to the airport (Zürich Flughafen), straight to the airport, as we were going back that same night.
📷 Check out these excursions in Lucerne to get to know the surroundings or stroll around the city.
Where to stay in Lucerne?
The alternatives in Lucerne are varied, from hotels right in the center or on the shores of the lake, to more distant and lower priced accommodations.
- Ameron Luzern Hotel Floralocated 150 meters from the bridge and a few meters from the lake shore. Modern and elegant rooms and Swiss-style breakfast buffet.
- B&B Bettstatt-NeustadtB&B Bettstatt-Neustadt: close to the train station, this modern building offers rooms with shared bathrooms and apartments. Good value for money.
- Hotel Des AlpesIn the heart of the city center, the rooms with terrace allow to contemplate the bridge of the chapel from the room.
🏨 Do you want to look for other options? Find here the best hotels in Lucerne.
Practical information for your trip to Switzerland
Approximate cost of our 4-day trip through Switzerland
These are our total expenses for two people.
- Flights: 212 € – from Madrid to Zürich with Iberia. Normally, from Madrid there are tickets for less than 100 € round trip to Switzerland to the cities of Zurich, Geneva and Basel. Find cheap flights here.
- Trains: 257 € – at that time the Swiss Travel Pass did not exist, or was not so popular, but for what we have done, perhaps we should have bought it.
- Lodging: 119 € – only 2 nights. We did the search with Booking based on location and reviews. We stayed in hostels with shared bathrooms.
- Meals: 281 €.
- Miscellaneous: €57
- Total: €926
– What is the currency of Switzerland?
The currency of Switzerland is the Swiss Franc. In some places they accept the euro as a form of payment but with a not very advantageous exchange rate. It is convenient to go to an exchange house and get the local currency.
🔝 Do you want to spend less money on your trip? Check out these tips on how to travel Switzerland on a budget.
– Requirements for travel to Switzerland
Switzerland belongs to the Schengen area (free movement between countries), therefore there is no passport control at entry as long as you come from one of the countries within this agreement.
Otherwise, there is passport control and upon arrival, there will be two lines to choose from: “European Union citizens” and “All passports”. The first row is faster and without questions, but you can only access it if you have the passport of a member country.
We suggest, before entering the country, to find out the visa requirements for each particular nationality.
🚊 Buy your Interrail and Eurail pass! This pass is a train ticket with which you can travel on almost all trains in Europe. With it you have access to 40 rail and ferry companies in 33 countries. Absolute freedom to discover Europe at your own rhythm. See our Interrail and Eurail Guide here.
- Buy Interrail Pass here (for those with residence in Europe)
- Buy Eurail Pass here (for those NOT residing in Europe)
Buy your travel insurance and travel safe!
🚑 Take a look at these tips for choosing the best travel insurance (updated to 2023 and with juicy discounts) for the type of traveller you are, and they will also help you clear up the most common doubts. Travel safe!
How to eat cheaply in Switzerland?
As you may have seen, Switzerland is not cheap. But you can eat cheaply in relation to the prices in the country. We have seen many locals using these options, especially among teenagers, young and not so young.
- Buy ready-made food from street stalls, such as kebabs or salad and sandwich places.
- Buy ready-made food in supermarkets, which have an exclusive “take away” sector with a wide variety of food. Swiss supermarkets are Coop or Migros.
- Falling into the classic fast food of the yellow M or the burger king 😉
The average expenditure was 30 euros the two of us per meal that we did in these places. And 30 euros would also have been the price per person for a sit-down meal in a restaurant. So, basically, we save more than half by eating at these places.
It was practice for our long trip, where we have improved tactics and saved quite a bit on meals. You can read about them in our article on eating cheaply in Europe.
In the following photos we have Juan in action, shopping at a street stall and about to enter one of Switzerland’s most popular supermarkets, Coop City, which has an area for buying take-away meals at a good price.
Good quality and healthy take-out food is available.
And if you get good weather like us, these are the views you will have the opportunity to enjoy while you eat. Much better than eating locked up in a restaurant, isn’t it?
Discounts and useful resources to save on your trip
- Cheap flights with Skyscanner
- Rent a car with Auto Europe
- Interrail Pass
- Eurail Pass
- Train Tickets with OMIO
- Bus tickets with OMIO
- Ferry tickets with OMIO
- Asia tickets with 12Go
Activities and Tours
– Comparison of Travel Insurance 2023 –
Others for your trip
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- Hosting with Webempresa
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- Web translation plugin with WPML
More articles about Switzerland
- How to Travel Switzerland on a Budget, Tips and Prices
- Is Swiss Travel Pass Worth It, Tips and Examples
- The Best Swiss Alps Tours, the Must-Sees
- Things to Do in Bern in 1 Day
- Things to Do in Interlaken in 1 Day, 5 Must-See Places
- Things to Do in Lucerne in 1 Day, a City With Lots of Charm
- Things to Do in Zurich in 3 Days, a Quiet Walk by the Lake
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