Tag: Swiss Alps

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Epic 3 Day Switzerland Itinerary | Swiss Alps Trip Planning

Make your Swiss Alps adventure unforgettable, even if you’re only visiting Switzerland for just 3 days! That’s plenty of time to see the amazing views Switzerland is known for, enjoy the mountain villages, and have a wonderful Swiss holiday!

If you only have a short time to spend in Switzerland, we have you covered with this perfect 3 day Swiss Alps itinerary that allows you to explore Interlaken, Murren, Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald.

Read our Ultimate Guide to Planning a Swiss Alps Trip here – we answer all of the most common questions about visiting this region like do I need a car in Switzerland?, where to stay in the Swiss Alps, what’s the best month to visit Switzerland? And more!

To make the most of it and see as many sights as possible, choose one base and then go on day trips from there. Popular bases include Lucerne, Wengen, Interlaken, and Zermatt – depending on which area you’re wanting to see. We chose Interlaken as our base and it was beyond perfect for seeing Lauterbrunnen, Murren and Grindelwald!

Jump To:

Day 1: Interlaken
Day 2: Lauterbrunnen & Murren
Day 3: Grindelwald
Itinerary Addition Ideas

Interlaken, Switzerland

Day 1: Arrive in Interlaken

On your first day arriving to Interlaken, you’ll want to check in to your hotel or vacation rental and then start exploring your beautiful base city. Whether you’re coming from Geneva, Zurich or another location, Interlaken is super easy to reach by train or car.

Höhematte Interlaken Park

First, walk to the Main Street of Interlaken: Hoheweg. Stopping at the Höhematte Interlaken park (above) to watch the paragliders land and enjoying the mountain backdrop. Then walk just a little further to check out the exterior of Schloss Interlaken, the nearby castle.

Continue walking around the adorable downtown, enjoying the Swiss architecture and beautiful buildings. Don’t forget to stop at one of the many chocolate shops for a sweet treat!

Have a traditional Swiss dinner at Taverne – this was our favorite restaurant that we went to in Interlaken. We enjoyed it so much we went back on our third night! While pricier than other stops outside of Switzerland, it seemed like it was  a decently affordable option for this area and it was absolutely delicious. 

Continue your Interlaken explorations by heading down to the river to walk along its banks and admire its clear, teal-blue water! There’s a walking path all along the river on both sides so as long as you walk towards the river, you’ll run into it. If you’re dining at Taverne, you can cross the street and take the Hoheweg road right down to the water, but any route will do. We also recommend you cross the river when you’re able to and walk on the north bank so you can enjoy the city and mountain views as you walk, they’re incredible! 

If you’re game for a good walk, follow the path until you arrive at Lake Brienz (pictured below). We sat right on the rocks by Täggelibock for about an hour, just enjoying the views. We had it all to ourselves! You can also walk a bit further around the bend and a handful of benches by Seeclub Interlaken. This is also a 10 minute walk from the bus stop at 3800 Interlaken, if you don’t want to walk this far.

View of Lake Brienz from Interlaken

Note: If you are getting in to Interlaken early in the day, Day 1 is the perfect day to do a Lake Brienz Cruise before dinner! You can find information on booking a cruise here.

Day 2: Lauterbrunnen & Murren

Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland

First Stop: Lauterbrunnen

Start your day bright and early and head up to Lauterbrunnen either by car or from the Interlaken Ost train station. By train, it’ll take about 25 minutes to get up to Lauterbrunnen.

Once you arrive at the Lauterbrunnen train station, walk about 0.3 miles down Auf der Fuhren and make your way to the Staubbach Waterfall viewpoint. This viewpoint offers a picture perfect view of the falls and the surrounding valley. You’ve likely seen plenty of photos on Instagram that were taken from this very spot!

To get to this photo spot, pay close attention as the turnoff to the road can be easy to miss. After you pass by Hotel Schützen on your right, you’ll see a narrow paved road on your left sloping down the hill. Walk down that road about 200 feet until you get to the bench at the end of the path – this is the viewpoint!

Next, we’re going to go see the falls up close and personal! Continue walking down the narrow paved walkway that is right in front of the bench, towards the falls. Once you hit the road, turn right, and then make your way to Staubbach Hutte. You’ll see the trailhead for the Staubbach Falls trail right behind this structure. 

This easy hike is just 0.4 miles, but it offers some of the coolest views of the valley. After making your way up a short but steep hill, you’ll hike through a cave and end up right behind Staubbach Falls. 

Next, make your way back to Staubbach Hutte (where you entered) and turn right, heading further down the Lauterbrunnen valley trail. It may still be a little crowded at this point, but most tourists that are walking turn back shortly if you’re looking for some solitude.

This trail goes for another 4 miles or so, and you can take it all the way to the end. Or you can turn back and head to Murren which is what we decided to do after about a mile of walking, enjoying the valley. You can also rent bikes and e-bikes in this area to traverse this Lauterbrunnen Valley trail faster.

If you want to continue to explore the small town of Lauterbrunnen, you can do so now or at the end of the day (after visiting Murren). 

Murren, Switzerland

Murren

After finishing the short hike up to the falls, you’ll walk to the Lauterbrunnen cableway station, which is a bit over half a mile north of Staubbach Hutte. Most of the year, this is your best bet for getting up to Murren. However, it was closed during our trip so we had to walk back to the Lauterbrunnen train station, get on a bus to Stechelberg, then get on a cable car to Gimmelwald, and another cablecar to Murren. It was a bit long and tedious but definitely worth it.

Once you arrive at the Mürren BLM station, walk through town and join the Northface Trail. It’ll be about a 10-minute walk through the town, so stop and enjoy the beautiful views or grab a pre-hike snack in this cute mountain town! You can read more details about this hike on All Trails here. It  was moderate difficulty, with the most strenuous part on this alternate route being at the very beginning due to the steep grade – but it gets easier after that!

The North Face Trail, Murren

This was by far the best hike I have ever done. Even after living in Colorado for 10 years, this hike makes everything else I’ve done pale in comparison. The views were absolutely AMAZING and exactly what we came to Switzerland to see. If you’re looking for a hike that has those quintessential Swiss Alps views, this is the one to do. We couldn’t believe how beautiful it was for pretty much the entire hike!

Note: it’s really helpful to download the premium version of the All Trails app for this hike as the trail was not well marked when we went and there were several times that we didn’t know which path to take. 

After your long hike, grab a bite to eat in Murren or head back down to Lauterbrunnen. Most of Murren’s shops and restaurants were still closed in late May when we went so we decided to go back to Lauterbrunnen for food. We wandered through the small town to look at the cute buildings, then had a drink and some appetizers at The Bell Restaurant. We sat on the outdoor patio and had a beautiful view of Lauterbrunnen and Staubbachfall Waterfall! It was the perfect end to a perfect day exploring the mountains.

Then, take the train or your car back down to Interlaken for dinner and get some sleep so you can explore more tomorrow!

Day 3: Grindelwald

Grindelwald

First thing in the morning, head up to Grindelwald either by train or with your car if you have one. 

You have two options on how to spend your time here: spend the morning wandering around the beautiful town or go straight to the gondola that takes you to Grindelwald First for amazing views, hiking, First Cliff Walk, and activities like the mountain carts.

We did not go up to Grindelwald First and that’s something I definitely would go back and change if I could! Due to weather conditions when we visited, most of the hiking trails up there were closed and we really wanted to do a hike so we opted not to take the expensive gondola up there just to look around.

Instead, we took our time exploring the village of Grindelwald, and then chose a paved trail that was super beautiful, winding through the mountain chalets and offering stunning mountain views! With the rainy weather, having a paved option was awesome and after the initial steep ascent, it was an easy hike – more of a walk if anything.

To walk this trail, just use your phone GPS/maps that direct you to Gasthaus Waldspitz. We were going to have lunch there because it looked like it had beautiful views but it ended up being closed that day. But the path is from the village of Grindelwald to there, and it’s a super beautiful walk – we weren’t disappointed!

We then stopped at Barry’s Restaurant, Bar & Lounge for a late lunch. We ended up sitting on the patio there for awhile and enjoying a couple of beers and the amazing views of Eiger mountain – it’s literally right across the street!

After enjoying the magical views of Grindelwald from town, we made our way back to the train station and back down to Interlaken for the night. We wanted to do our walk to Lake Brienz once more because we enjoyed sitting at the lookout point by Täggelibock so much – it was the most peaceful place I’d ever been! But we were too tired from our days of exploring and had to catch a very early train to Italy in the morning.

Note: If it’s open, we definitely recommend going to First Grindelwald  this day to either do the Cliff Walk and visit the First View platform (it looks unbelievable), do the fun activities like Mountain carts, or hike to Bachalpsee Lake. There is plenty of time to enjoy all of the mountain activities at the top at First and explore Grindelwald down below as it’s not that big of a village. When we go back, we’ll definitely be taking the gondola up – we’ll cross our fingers for better weather next time!

Itinerary Addition Ideas

While we didn’t have time on our trip to add these stops, we definitely recommend researching them and seeing if they’re a good fit for your itinerary! 

Jungfraujoch

As one of the most popular day trips in Switzerland, this is definitely an addition you could make to your itinerary – especially if you plan on spending extra time in the region. The Jungfraujoch is a saddle connecting to major 4000ers of the Bernese Alps, the Jungfrau and the Mönch. It is famously called the “Top of Europe,” sitting at 3,454 meters high – the highest accessible point in Europe. You can take the train up to it, but expect it to be quite busy and touristy! 

At the top you can enjoy the mountain views and views of the Aletsch Glacier from Sphynix Observatory, explore the ice tunnels, learn the history of Jungfraujoch at the Alpine Sensation Exhibition, and enjoy a virtual show of the Alps at the cinema. 

This is a very popular tourist destination, but we felt we could see other beautiful views without spending a whole day getting to and from this spot. 

Cruise on Lake Brienz

While we walked to Lake Brienz and were absolutely blown away but how turquoise, clear and stunning this lake was, we didn’t have the chance to take a cruise on this lake and enjoy it and the mountain views from it. If we go back, this is definitely something we’ll want to include as it looks amazing!

Harder Kulm

Also known as the “Top of Interlaken,” Harder Kulm is a funicular station, situated high above the city of Interlaken. It offers spectacular views of the surrounding mountains, as well as the town of Interlaken, Lake Brienz, and Lake Thune below. We planned on making the short trek up to this viewpoint, but the line for the funicular was easily 200 people deep the evening we walked over there so we decided to just keep walking and ended up sitting by Lake Brienz and enjoying that instead. It ended up being one of our favorite moments in the trip – it was so beautiful!

Europe Travel, Featured, Home Page

The Ultimate Guide to Switzerland | How to Plan a Trip to the Swiss Alps

Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland

Dreaming of the perfect Swiss alps vacation? Even if you only have 3 days to spend in this beautiful region, we have you covered! 

After spending 3 days with Interlaken as our base, we felt like this was the perfect amount of time to explore this area and soak up all of its beauty! With day trips Lauterbrunnen, Murren, and Grindelwald, 3 days is plenty of time to enjoy it all without feeling rushed.

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Jump To:

How Many Days Do You Need in the Swiss Alps?
What’s the Best Month to Visit the Swiss Alps?
Is It Expensive to Visit the Swiss Alps?
Do You Need a Car in the Swiss Alps?
Where to Stay in the Swiss Alps
More Tips For a 3-Day Switzerland Itinerary
Do They Speak English in the Swiss Alps?
3 Days in Switzerland Itinerary: Lauterbrunnen, Murren, Grindelwald & Interlaken
What We Didn’t Do On Our 3-Day Swiss Alps Trip That We Should Have

How Many Days Do You Need in the Swiss Alps?

We felt three days was the perfect amount of time to see all of the highlights of this region. However, you could always spend more time in this gorgeous area!

Don’t waste precious time moving around too much in Switzerland when you only have 3 days to spend there. To make the most of it and see as many sights as possible, choose one base and then go on day trips from there. Popular bases include Lucerne, Wengen, Interlaken, and Zermatt – depending on which area you’re wanting to see. We chose Interlaken as our base and it was beyond perfect for seeing Lauterbrunnen, Murren and Grindelwald!

View from Murren, Switzerland

What’s the Best Month to Visit the Swiss Alps?

While there is no wrong time to visit Switzerland (it’s gorgeous year round!), when you’ll want to go depends on which activities you’re looking forward to doing. If you’re trying to ski or visit the Christmas markets, obviously winter months will be the best time to go. If you’re looking to enjoy the mountain scenery and hike/walk, the best months to visit Switzerland are June – September as the temperatures are mild and pleasant, and the days are typically dry and sunny so you have clear views across the mountain peaks and countryside.

We visited the Swiss Alps at the very end of May and it was a bit chilly and rainy though there were still plenty of hiking options open and we did have windows of warmth and sunshine each of the days we were there. Just be prepared and bring raincoats, and hats & gloves if it might be cold!

Is It Expensive to Visit the Swiss Alps?

Switzerland is infamous for being one of the most expensive travel destinations and after visiting it, we’d have to say we agree! However, it wasn’t as bad/expensive as we feared and we were able to do it in a way that was relatively budget-friendly without sacrificing comfort or staying in hostels. I’ll be talking about where we stayed in Interlaken below, but as far as other expenses, you’ll need to account for transportation cost and meals out (which tends to be the biggest expense there).

Each day, we spent probably $30-50 on train/public transportation tickets for the two of us to go from Interlaken to Grindelwald and then Interlaken to Lauterbrunnen and Murren. We didn’t buy the Swiss travel pass so that could have potentially made it cheaper, but we felt it wasn’t necessary for our short trip.

Yes, Switzerland is expensive compared to visiting places like Italy or Germany but we felt it was absolutely worth a little extra expense to see some of the most amazing mountain views we’ve ever seen in our lives!

Do You Need a Car in the Swiss Alps?

Switzerland has an excellent public transportation system and downloading the app SBB Mobile made purchasing train, cablecar and bus tickets on the fly super easy and convenient. We used it constantly to get around! You can also buy tickets at each train station.

While you definitely don’t need a car in the Swiss Alps, and there are places you won’t be able to access by car (i.e. getting from Lauterbrunnen to Gimmelwald or Murren), renting one is definitely a solid option. We decided that when we go back some day we’d definitely prefer to rent a car so that we can drive to Interlaken, Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen, and to make transporting our luggage a lot easier (we were dragging one with a broken wheel all through Interlaken – not fun!)

Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference. It was nice taking public transportation and not having to worry about parking, but we did have to wait in lines and get on some pretty crowded trains and buses at times and that made us wish we were in a nice comfy, private vehicle!

Where to Stay in the Swiss Alps

If you’re looking to explore the Swiss Alps in 3 days, we recommend choosing a central city as your base for exploring and then doing a day trip each day. Popular bases include Lucerne, Wengen, Interlaken, and Zermatt – depending on which area you’re wanting to see. We chose to stay in Interlaken because we wanted to see Grindelwald, Lauterbrunnen, and Murren and it was absolutely perfect! It was extremely convenient for our day-time adventures and then having our evenings in Interlaken was wonderful, it’s a really beautiful town in its own right! 

Staying in Interlaken also made it much easier for us to continue the rest of our trip by taking a train to Italy. If we would have stayed in one of the mountain towns like Lauterbrunnen or Grindelwald, we would have had to get a much earlier train the morning we left and connected in Interlaken to another train anyway.

If you want to stay in Interlaken, we loved staying at the Zentrum Artos Interlaken. It was a beautiful hotel and had an amazing espresso/coffee machine if you need a morning cup of caffeine! We chose the Grandlit room that had a balcony and it was amazing sitting out there in the morning and evening, we even had a mountain view we weren’t expecting! The area this hotel was in was super quiet and serene, and an easy walk to everything in Interlaken. 

It was also one of the nicest, most budget-friendly options with it costing only $750 for the 3 nights we stayed. This was definitely a little pricy compared to the other stops on our trip (not in Switzerland) but as far as being in the Swiss Alps goes, it seemed like a pretty good deal for how clean, comfortable, & nice this hotel was!

Our only complaint was the hotel claims to have air conditioning, but it didn’t appear to be working in our room (or have any vents for that matter). But all in all, we really enjoyed it, loved the balcony and location and would definitely stay there again!

Interlaken, Switzerland

More Tips For a 3-Day Switzerland Itinerary

Switzerland is a beautiful country but it’s not without a few items to note if you’ve never been there before! Here are a few more quick tips so you’re prepared for your trip:

1. The currency is the Swiss Francs (CHF) and the conversion rate to the dollar isn’t great, so it will definitely feel expensive here!

2. Most Swiss shops and restaurants accept payment by credit card. We didn’t have trouble anywhere we went and never ended up needing to go to an ATM to get Swiss Francs. If you’re not going to have any local currency on hand, it’s always a good idea to ask before you order at a restaurant to verify they accept card, just to be sure!

3.  You can save money by bringing your own water bottle on your trip as you can refill it from fountains that you find everywhere in Switzerland – we even found fountains on our 5 mile hike in the middle of nowhere!

4. The country feels very safe and crime is low, especially in the Swiss Alps region. However, you should exercise normal precautions and be mindful of pickpockets in crowded spaces.

5. You may need a visa to visit Switzerland if you’re not from the United States or a country in the European Union. Always check visa regulations before planning your trip.

6. Download and use the SBB Mobile app to easily buy train, bus & other public transportation tickets.

Do They Speak English in the Swiss Alps?

If you’re like me and speak exactly zero German, you may be wondering if they speak English in the Swiss Alps and the answer is YES! Everywhere we went in Interlaken, Grindelwald, Lauterbrunnen and Murren, we had no trouble speaking English thankfully. If all else fails, use Google translate on your phone or just point to what you want on the menu!

3 Days in Switzerland Itinerary: Lauterbrunnen, Murren, Grindelwald & Interlaken

Höhematte Interlaken (central park in town)

First of all, this is one of my favorite trips that I’ve EVER taken. This region is insanely gorgeous and I highly recommend it! You can absolutely see it in 3 days (that’s what we did) but there is so much to do, see, and enjoy, you could definitely spend more time there. I’ll be detailing our 3-day itinerary below but I’ll also include a few extra things we wished we did/had time to do that you might want to include in your trip!

For this itinerary, Interlaken was our base and the perfect spot to see all of the mountain towns on our list, as well as enjoy beautiful Lake Brienz and Lake Thune. Read our 3 perfect days in the Swiss Alps itinerary here!

What We Didn’t Do On Our 3-Day Swiss Alps Trip That We Should Have

Jungfraujoch

As one of the most popular day trips in Switzerland, this is definitely an addition you could make to your itinerary – especially if you plan on spending extra time in the region. The Jungfraujoch is a saddle connecting to major 4000ers of the Bernese Alps, the Jungfrau and the Mönch. It is famously called the “Top of Europe,” sitting at 3,454 meters high – the highest accessible point in Europe. You can take the train up to it, but expect it to be quite busy and touristy! 

At the top you can enjoy the mountain views and views of the Aletsch Glacier from Sphynix Observatory, explore the ice tunnels, learn the history of Jungfraujoch at the Alpine Sensation Exhibition, and enjoy a virtual show of the Alps at the cinema. 

This is a very popular tourist destination, but we felt we could see other beautiful views without spending a whole day getting to and from this spot. 

Cruise on Lake Brienz

While we walked to Lake Brienz and were absolutely blown away but how turquoise, clear and stunning this lake was, we didn’t have the chance to take a cruise on this lake and enjoy it and the mountain views from it. If we go back, this is definitely something we’ll want to include as it looks amazing!

Harder Kulm

Also known as the “Top of Interlaken,” Harder Kulm is a funicular station, situated high above the city of Interlaken. It offers spectacular views of the surrounding mountains, as well as the town of Interlaken, Lake Brienz, and Lake Thune below. We planned on making the short trek up to this viewpoint, but the line for the funicular was easily 200 people deep the evening we walked over there so we decided to just keep walking and ended up sitting by Lake Brienz and enjoying that instead. It ended up being one of our favorite moments in the trip – it was so beautiful!