Best way to travel in Switzerland

Welcome to the ultimate Swiss Travel Guide! As a professional travel journalist, I’ve explored Switzerland extensively and know the ins and outs of traveling through this breathtaking country. In this guide, you’ll discover the best way to travel in Switzerland and experience its stunning landscapes, vibrant cities, rich cultural heritage, and delectable culinary offerings.

Key Takeaways

  • Diverse Offerings: Switzerland boasts stunning landscapes, vibrant cities, rich cultural heritage, and delightful culinary experiences.
  • Scenic Train Journeys: Explore breathtaking landscapes with iconic train journeys like the Glacier Express and Bernina Express.
  • Swiss Rail Pass: Opt for a Swiss Rail Pass for cost-effective and flexible travel across the country, with various pass options.
  • Efficient Public Transport: Navigate Swiss cities seamlessly using trams, buses, and trains, with the added benefit of city cards offering discounts on attractions and unlimited transport.
  • Outdoor Exploration: Embrace the great outdoors with extensive hiking and cycling trails, including popular routes like the Matterhorn Glacier Trail and the Rhine Route.
  • Lake Cruises: Enjoy the serene beauty of alpine lakes through scenic boat tours, available on Lake Lucerne, Lake Geneva, and Lake Zurich.
  • UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Discover Switzerland’s rich history by visiting UNESCO sites, including boat trips to Lavaux Vineyards, exploring Chillon Castle, and wandering through historic towns like Bern, Lucerne, and Zermatt.
  • Swiss Delights: Indulge in Swiss chocolate, and cheese, and explore the craftsmanship behind Swiss watches.

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Getting Around Switzerland: Scenic Train Journeys and Swiss Rail Pass

Switzerland’s breathtaking landscapes are best explored aboard its scenic train journeys. The iconic Glacier Express, with its panoramic views of the Alps, takes you on an unforgettable journey between Zermatt and St. Moritz. The Bernina Express is another must-see, winding its way across the Swiss Alps and offering jaw-dropping views of glaciers, lakes, and mountains. For a more leisurely journey, hop on the GoldenPass Line and travel from Lucerne to Montreux while enjoying the gorgeous scenery from the comfort of your seat.

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To travel efficiently and cost-effectively, consider purchasing a Swiss Rail Pass. With unlimited travel on the Swiss rail network, you can hop on and off trains as you please and explore the country at your own pace. The pass comes in various options, from a four-day pass to a one-month pass, making it perfect for both short and long trips. With a Swiss Rail Pass in hand, you can explore Switzerland’s beauty with ease and flexibility.

Swiss Rail Pass

Pass TypeValidityAdult PriceYouth Price
4-day consecutive4 days$392$264
8-day consecutive8 days$586$384
15-day consecutive15 days$746$488
22-day consecutive22 days$893$585
1-month consecutive1 month$1,115$729

Navigating the Swiss transportation system is a breeze with helpful signage and timetables posted throughout the stations and on the trains themselves. With its punctuality, cleanliness, and efficiency, traveling by train in Switzerland is one of the highlights of any trip.

Best Way to Travel in Switzerland: Public Transport and City Cards

Switzerland is home to some of the most vibrant and charming cities in Europe, each with its own unique character and offerings. Whether you’re exploring the enchanting streets of Lucerne or taking in the stunning views of Zurich’s crystal-clear lakes, public transport is the best way to navigate these bustling metropolises. Trams, buses, and trains are quick, convenient, and punctual, making it easy to reach your destination.

To make the most of your city experience, consider purchasing a city card. Many Swiss cities offer these cards, providing free or discounted access to top attractions along with unlimited public transport use. For example, the Zurich Card offers free entry to more than 40 museums and discounts at various restaurants, cafes, and shops. The Geneva Pass includes free public transport and access to about 50 attractions, including a boat tour on Lake Geneva and a visit to the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum.

CityCity Card NamePriceBenefits
ZurichZurich Card$27 – $52Free entry to museums, discounts at restaurants and shops, unlimited public transport
GenevaGeneva Pass$27 – $34Free public transport, free entry to attractions, discounts on tours and activities
LucerneLucerne City Card$19 – $40Free entry to museums and attractions, discounts on tours and transport

Exploring Swiss cities by public transport is a convenient and affordable way to experience all the unique offerings these cities provide. City cards provide a great way to save money and enhance your trip. So hop on a tram, bus, or train and start exploring!

Embracing the Great Outdoors: Hiking, Cycling, and Lake Cruises

Switzerland’s breathtaking natural landscapes make it a perfect destination for outdoor enthusiasts. With an extensive network of hiking and cycling trails, visitors can explore picturesque villages and admire breathtaking viewpoints.

Some of the most popular hiking trails include:

  • The Matterhorn Glacier Trail offers stunning views of the iconic Matterhorn Mountain.
  • The Eiger Trail takes hikers on a scenic journey through the Bernese Oberland.
  • The Swiss Path is a 35-kilometer trail winding around Lake Lucerne.

Cycling is another great way to explore Switzerland’s natural beauty. The country is well-equipped with bike rental stations and cycling routes that cater to all skill levels. One of the most popular cycling routes is the Rhine Route, which runs along the Rhine River from the Swiss Alps to the North Sea.

From a different perspective, visitors can embark on a scenic lake cruise to enjoy the serene beauty of Switzerland’s alpine lakes. Lake Lucerne, Lake Geneva, and Lake Zurich all offer boat tours, and some even have glass-bottom boats for a unique viewing experience.

Discovering Swiss UNESCO Sites: Boat Trips, Castles, and Historic Towns

Switzerland is a country filled with rich history and cultural heritage, home to several UNESCO World Heritage Sites. These sites offer a glimpse into Switzerland’s past, showcasing its diverse influences and unique characteristics. Here are some must-visit destinations to discover Swiss UNESCO sites.

Boat Trips

Take a leisurely boat trip along the shores of Lake Geneva to visit the stunning Lavaux Vineyards. Discover the art of winemaking and enjoy breathtaking views of the terraced vineyards and the lake.

Lavaux VineyardsTerraced vineyards and wineries offering wine-tasting tours


Explore the medieval Chillon Castle near Montreux, one of the most visited castles in Switzerland. Immerse yourself in its history while enjoying the beautiful shores of Lake Geneva.

Chillon CastleMedieval castle with tours, exhibits, and breathtaking views of Lake Geneva

Historic Towns

Wander through the well-preserved historic towns of Bern, Lucerne, or Zermatt to fully experience Switzerland’s past. Explore the Old Town of Bern, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with arcades, fountains, and unique architecture.

BernOld Town featuring Zytglogge clock tower, fountains, and arcades
LucerneChapel Bridge, medieval walls, and lively squares
ZermattIconic Matterhorn mountain, quaint Alpine village

Discovering Swiss UNESCO sites on a boat trip or visiting the castles and historic towns is a must for all history and culture lovers. Don’t miss the chance to explore Switzerland’s rich past and cultural heritage.

Indulging in Swiss Delights: Chocolate, Cheese, and Swiss Watches

To truly experience Switzerland, one must indulge in its delectable offerings and renowned craftsmanship.

Starting with chocolate, Switzerland has some of the best chocolate in the world. Swiss chocolatiers are renowned for their high-quality chocolate, and no trip to Switzerland is complete without sampling some. Whether indulging in a classic milk chocolate bar or a unique chocolate truffle, the taste and texture of Swiss chocolate are sure to impress.

In addition to chocolate, Switzerland is also famous for its cheese. Swiss cheese is known for its distinct flavor and texture, and traditional cheese dairies can be found throughout the country. Embark on a cheese-tasting tour and sample a variety of cheeses, including the famous Emmental, Gruyère, and Appenzeller.

Lastly, Switzerland is home to some of the world’s finest watchmakers. Swiss watches are renowned for their precision and elegance, making them a sought-after luxury item. Visit famous watchmaking towns like Geneva or La Chaux-de-Fonds to explore the history and craftsmanship behind these exquisite timepieces.

Indulging in Swiss delights is an essential part of any trip to Switzerland. From chocolate and cheese to Swiss watches, these offerings showcase the rich cultural heritage and craftsmanship for which Switzerland is known.


Is it easy to get around Switzerland without a car?

Yes, it is easy to get around Switzerland without a car. The Swiss public transport network is unrivaled, weaving a hyper-punctual web of rail, trails, riverboats, and buses across the land and requiring just one integrated pass: the Swiss Travel Pass. You’d be hard-pressed to find a destination in Switzerland not serviced by a train. There are 29,000 kilometers of public transport routes crisscrossing the country. Switzerland ranks among the world’s most easily navigable countries for travelers with physical disabilities.

Is it difficult to travel around Switzerland?

No, it is not difficult to travel around Switzerland. Switzerland is safe, solo traveler-friendly, and incredibly scenic. Public transport is very well-maintained and easy to follow, and many locals speak English as well. However, you’ll have to be wary of landslides, avalanches, rockfalls, and snowdrifts, as well as altitude sickness and generally injuring yourself doing outdoor activities.

How many days in Switzerland is enough?

The number of days to spend in Switzerland depends on various factors, including your interests, budget, and the specific activities or destinations you wish to explore. However, a minimum of 7-10 days is recommended to fully experience the beauty and adventure that Switzerland has to offer. Some sources recommend at least four days, while others suggest spending 10 days to two weeks in Switzerland.

Is it better to drive or ride the train in Switzerland?

Both driving and taking the train in Switzerland have their advantages. Driving gives you the freedom to explore at your own pace and visit off-the-beaten-path towns. However, for travelers, a car is about as useful as a pair of knitting needles on a Swiss Army knife. The Swiss rail network is the absolute best method of transportation in Switzerland when traveling between major cities, hubs, and hotspots. Trains are the most popular way for travelers to explore Switzerland, arguably the best. They are fast, efficient, and extremely reliable. The predominant operator is Japan Railways, commonly known as “JR,” which is several distinct rail systems providing one linked service throughout the country.

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