Switzerland has been on my bucket list for awhile now. It’s filled with so many beautiful cities and it’s a country you can visit during anytime of the year. We wanted to go away on vacation in December and thought Switzerland was the ultimate winter wonderland getaway. We spent seven incredible days in Switzerland and got to explore the cities of Zermatt, Grindelwald, Interlaken, and Zurich. In this guide, I will be sharing a 7 day Switzerland itinerary in these four cities and all the details on how you can spend a week in December in Switzerland.
7 Days in Switzerland Itinerary: Overview
- Day 1 – Zermatt
- Day 2 – Zermatt
- Day 3 – Zermatt
- Day 4 – Interlaken
- Day 5 – Grindelwald
- Day 6 – Zurich
- Day 7 – Zurich
How to Get to Switzerland
There are two major airports in Switzerland: Zurich and Geneva. You can choose either one depending on the first spot in your itinerary. In this 7 Day Switzerland Itinerary, our first stop will be Zermatt. Each airport is about a 3 hour train ride to Zermatt. If Zermatt will also be your first stop, you can book whichever flight is the cheapest. I landed in Geneva and departed from Zurich.
How to Travel Around Switzerland
For getting around Switzerland, you can either rent a car or take public transportation. I recommend using public transportation. Public transportation like trains and buses in Switzerland is so easy to use and super convenient. And the train rides in Switzerland are some of the most beautiful train rides in the world. The scenery is absolutely incredible.
Switzerland offers the Swiss Travel Pass and Half Fare Card that I highly recommend getting if you are visiting multiple cities in Switzerland.
What is the Swiss Travel Pass? It is an all access ticket that allows unlimited use of Switzerland’s public transportation. This includes trains, buses, and boats. You even get free entrance to more than 500 museums and up to a 50% discount on most mountain excursions. Purchase the pass here! You just have to select the number of days. They have 3, 4, 6, 8, and 15 day options. And please note that this is unlimited travel on fixed and consecutive days.
What is the Swiss Half Fare Card? The Swiss Half Fare Card provides unlimited half price tickets on trains, buses, and boats. You also get up to 50% discounts on most mountain excursions. This card has a validity of one month. You can purchase the Swiss Half Fare Card here!
If you are deciding between the Swiss Travel Pass and the Swiss Half Fare Card, the best way to decide is to look up prices of all the transportation you will be doing in Switzerland. I recommend getting the Swiss Travel Pass if the total amount is more than the Swiss Travel Pass. If half the total amount of transportation is more than the Swiss Half Fare Card, I recommend getting the Swiss Half Fare Card.
For this itinerary, I recommend using the Half Fare Card. If you plan on taking longer and more expensive train rides, the Swiss Travel Pass might be best for you!
Language in Switzerland
Even though Switzerland is a small country, did you know it has four official languages!!
- German – most of the country speaks Swiss-German (north, east and central Switzerland)
- Italian – this is spoken in some parts of South Switzerland
- French – this is spoken in the west and south (including Zermatt and Geneva)
- Romansh – spoken by few but still an official language that you will find in the southeast
- English – not an official language but most people speak English!
It was cool exploring Switzerland and noticing the official language changing depending on the city we were in! But we never had a hard time communicating since almost everyone we spoke with knew English.
7 Day Switzerland Itinerary: Details
Day 1: Arrive in Geneva / Take Train to Zermatt
Transportation Info: 2 hours 55 minute train from Geneva to Zermatt
If you arrive in Zermatt in the afternoon, you may have time for a few activities! You can explore Zermatt village and check out the different shops. I recommend grabbing hot chocolate at Petit Royal. It is the best hot chocolate I’ve ever had!
Right before sunset, you can walk to Zermatt Matterhorn Viewpoint (you can put that exact name in Google Maps). It’s about a twenty minute walk from downtown. You will have to walk up a bunch of stairs, but you will get to see the most amazing view of Zermatt and the Matterhorn.
Day 2: Spend the Day in Zermatt
Matterhorn Glacier Paradise + Gornegrat
One of the best things to do in Zermatt is to see two incredible vantage points – the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise and the view from the Gornegrat ridge. The PEAK2PEAK Ticket ticket allows you to see both in one day!
We started with a gondola ride to the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise. It takes you to 3,883 meters above sea level and then you take a lift to a 360 degree viewing platform. It is a beautiful glacier paradise. At the peak, you can also find a cinema lounge, food, ski slopes and even hiking trails on the way to the top.
The advantage of the PEAK2PEAK ticket is you don’t have to go all the way back down to go back up to the Gornegrat. You can take the cable car to Riffelberg and then change there to go up the Gornegrat railway.
Please note that the the Peak2Peak Ticket is available in July and August and from November to April. And if you are going in the winter, I recommend wearing layers because it is freezing up there!
Try Swiss Fondue
After spending a day in the mountains, when you get back to Zermatt, I recommend trying Swiss fondue! The traditional way is a mix of Swiss cheese and white wine. It is mainly served with bread, but you can also pair it with potatoes, charcuterie, mushrooms, and cornichons (pickles). I wasn’t the biggest fan because it has an alcohol after taste. It might have been the restaurant we went to so I didn’t have anything to compare it to. But it was a cool experience and a must-try in Switzerland!
Hotel in Zermatt
The hotel we stayed at in Zermatt was BEAUSiTE Zermatt. This boutique hotel is beautiful and has an amazing view of the Matterhorn. The staff is super nice and friendly. The breakfast and lunch is so good and I highly recommend visiting their spa! We went to the spa in the morning and had the pool to ourselves!
Day 3: Morning in Zermatt / Take Train to Interlaken
Transportation Info: 2 hour train from Zermatt to Interlaken
On your last morning in Zermatt, you can sleep in, have a late breakfast, and relax at your hotel spa! The spa is usually less crowded in the mornings and sometimes you can have the whole place to yourself. Carl and I love busy itineraries, but we also love making time to relax throughout our vacations. We spent our last morning in Zermatt hanging out at the hot tub and taking in the view of Zermatt and the Matterhorn one last time before we left.
Now it is time to visit the next city in Switzerland, Interlaken. Interlaken is nestled in the heart of the Swiss Alps and lies between two lakes, Thun and Brienz – hence the name! Interlaken is also a great home base for exploring the central region of Switzerland.
Once you arrive in Interlaken, you can walk around the city, explore, and grab dinner.
Day 4: Spend the Day in Interlaken
Interlaken is filled with so many things to do. There are amazing hiking trails to explore. You can take a day trip to Jungfraujoch, which is known as the Top of Europe. If you are up for an adventure, paragliding is also a very popular activity in Interlaken!
Chocolate Making Class in Interlaken
A fun activity Carl and I did in Interlaken was making our own chocolate! We took a chocolate making workshop class with the Funky Chocolate Club. It was so much fun!
The class is 90 minutes and started off with talking about the history of chocolate and how it’s made. We got to try all different types of chocolate – cocoa bean, cacao nibs, various percentages of dark chocolate, milk chocolate, white chocolate, and even red chocolate made from ruby cacao beans!
We got to make three chocolate bars and chose either milk or dark chocolate. Carl and I made ours with dark chocolate! After selecting the chocolate, the first step is tempering the chocolate. We have to stir it until reaches 30 degrees Celsius. Then, you pour the chocolate into a funnel that you use to fill three chocolate bar molds. After filling the chocolate molds, you get to decorate! You have the option to decorate with icing and an array of different toppings.
After you are done decorating, the chocolate bars take about an hour to cool. You can either walk around the city or hang out at the Funky Chocolate Club’s cafe and try something from their menu. I recommend their hot chocolate or chocolate covered strawberries!
Day 5: Day Trip from Interlaken to Grindelwald
Transportation Info: 45 minute train from Interlaken to Grindelwald
On your second day in Interlaken, you will be taking a day trip to Grindelwald. Grindelwald is a beautiful mountain town in the Jungfrau region. It is the perfect city to visit for all the awesome outdoor activities.
We stayed one night in Grindelwald, but found the town to be quite small and not enough things to do at night. I recommend staying in Interlaken and just visiting Grindelwald for the day.
Sledging in Grindelwald
Today, we will be going sledging! Carl and I are not snowboarders or skiers, but we still wanted to do a fun snow activity. Sledding in Switzerland is totally different from the sledding we are used to doing as kids! It’s enjoyed by both adults and children. It is so much fun and really gets your adrenalin going!
There is a sled run in Grindelwald called the Jungfrau Eiger Run. It’s a 2 mile trail that takes about 30 minutes to complete (can take longer if there are more people). And you are surrounded by the most incredible views!
The season starts end of November and ends mid-April depending on the snow conditions. It is 58 CHF for a one day sledding pass. You can buy your pass here! They also have options for multiple days. This pass will give you unlimited access for the day to hike and sled in the Jungfrau region.
How to get to the Jungfrau Eiger Run? From Grindelwald, you can take a taxi or bus to the Grindelwald Terminal. From the terminal, you will take the Eiger Express to Eigergletscher, where you will begin the sled run.
Where to rent sleds? You can rent sleds at the shop, Intersport. One is located at the Grindelwald Terminal. It costs about CHF10 for one day’s use.
Day 6 + 7: Take Train to Zurich / Explore the City
Transportation Info: One hour and 33 minutes train from Interlaken to Zurich
It is time to travel to your final destination in Switzerland….Zurich! Zurich is such a beautiful city with so much history and things to see! It is one of the most popular places to visit in Switzerland. You will find luxury shops, historic streets, and a beautiful waterfront. I recommend spending at least two days on your 7 day Switzerland itinerary in Zurich to explore the city
Here are the top things that you can do in Zurich, Switzerland:
Walk the Historic Street of Augustinergasse
Augustinergasse is one Zurich’s most beautiful historical street. I love the colorful buildings and how it feels like you are in a fairytale. You will find a mix of local boutiques, cafes, and restaurants.
Visit a Chocolate Shop: Laderach + Confiserie Sprungli
You can’t visit Switzerland without buying their famous Swiss chocolate! The two most popular chocolate shops are Laderach and Confiserie Spruengli. We got a sample from both to compare! They were both really good but Spruengli was my favorite!
Explore Altstadt (Old Town)
One of the main things to do in Zurich is to explore Altstadt, also known as Old Town. It’s filled with picturesque buildings and charming cobblestone streets.
Bahnhofstrasse is Zurich’s main downtown street and one of the world’s expensive shopping avenues.
Church of St. Peter
The Church of St. Peter in Zurich has the oldest church clock face in Europe!
Grossmünster is an iconic church in Zurich to visit. It sits along the Limmat River. I love the medieval architecture design.
For the best photo, I recommend walking across the river.
Fraumunster Church is another stunning historic church to visit that is located in Zurich’s old town.
Check out the views at Lindenhof Hill
Lindenhof Hill is a nice quiet park that overlooks the city. You will get great views of Zurich and the river.
Zurich Christmas Markets
If you are planning this trip in December like I did, I highly recommend checking out Zurich’s Christmas markets! Here is a list of the ones you can visit:
- Zurich Train Station – Christkindlimarkt
- Werdmuhleplatz Christmas Market
- Niederdorf Christmas Market
Currency and Credit Cards
Since Switzerland is not part of the EU, they use the Swiss Franc. Credit cards are widely accepted so we actually never used cash which was super convenient.
Check out my Winter Vacation Packing Guide to get a list of items to pack for your trip and tips on what to pack for a cold weather trip.
Hope you enjoyed my 7 Days in Switzerland Itinerary!