3 Days in Switzerland: Your Perfect Itinerary

Alright friends, I’m going to go ahead and save you some time. You should probably just start googling flights to Switzerland right this minute.  Trust me, I’m not being presumptuous—Switzerland really just is all it’s cracked up to be. After reading through my guide on what to do with 3 days in Switzerland, you’ll have fallen for this beautiful country too!

Switzerland looks like it comes straight from the pages on a fairytale, complete with rustic chalets, snowcapped mountains, and steaming hot chocolates. During my 3 days in Switzerland, I was able to enjoy the natural beauty, check out some of the cities, and partake in Switzerland’s mouthwatering cuisine.

Though there are so many ways you could plan your 3 days in Switzerland, here is my overview and what I’ll cover in detail below:

  • Day 1: Paragliding in Interlaken, Schynige Platte, and Lake Brienz
  • Day 2: Bern and Unterseen
  • Day 3: Lucerne

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Is 3 Days Enough in Switzerland?

Spending 3 days in Switzerland is never enough, but if that is all the time you can spare, you can still make an incredibly memorable, fun-filled trip. The good news is that Switzerland is pretty compact and is incredibly well connected by train. If you’re planning to move locations a lot, it is worth looking into the Swiss Travel Pass. There are passes for 3, 4, 6, 8, and 15 days, so depending on your itinerary, I’d recommend at least pricing out if the pass makes sense for you. I ultimately opted to not purchase the pass since purchasing single tickets was a better deal for me.

While you won’t see everything Switzerland has to offer in such a short time, 3 days in Switzerland will definitely give you a good feel for the country while letting you experience everything from the beauty of nature to quaint towns and larger cities.

I based myself in Interlaken for my 3 days in Switzerland, but Lucerne would also serve as a good base if you don’t want to spend time transferring between hotels each day.

3 Days in Switzerland Itinerary

Day 1: Paragliding in Interlaken, Schynige Platte, and Lake Brienz

Wake up bright and early, because this is going to be a fun-filled day! Start off with this paragliding adventure over the majestic Swiss Alps. You get some seriously beautiful views. Plus, who doesn’t want to run off the side of a mountain? My guide was incredibly reassuring the whole time and the whole experience was absolutely a once in a lifetime adventure.

3 Days in Switzerland: Interlaken, Bern, Unterseen, Lucerne, Schyinge Platte

Read More on Interlaken:

Schynige Platte

Now that you have your adrenaline pumping, stroll through town and make your way (by foot or bus) to the Wilderswil train station. The cogwheel train up to Schynige Platte leaves from the station, and is incredibly scenic. The train takes just under an hour and ascends slowly through rolling meadows and forests. Keep an eye out for the brilliant blue lakes Thun and Brienz.

At the top, you have many options. Take a rambling hike (as I did), or grab food and drinks from the restaurant at the top. I would definitely recommend hiking around, because honestly, the views do not look real. I saw the lake, and thought it had to be fake…there are no lakes that look like this in real life, right?

3 Days in Switzerland: Interlaken, Bern, Unterseen, Lucerne, Schyinge Platte

But they do, and they’re in Switzerland. See why I loved this place at first sight? I spent a few hours trekking around up there, but you could easily make a day of it.

3 Days in Switzerland: Interlaken, Bern, Unterseen, Lucerne, Schyinge Platte

Tips for Visiting Schynige Platte: You can only visit during the summer, so check that it is open before you head to the station. The summer season runs from the end of May to mid-October. The crowds tend to be busiest from mid-June to mid-August, so if you can time your visits outside the peak tourist times, I would recommend it. I personally visited at the beginning of September, which was ideal. The weather was brisk and there were few crowds. Depending on when you are visiting, you may want to purchase your tickets in advance. Though tickets are pricey, they do include all activities at the top, so you will not need to purchase any separate tickets.

Lake Brienz

During the afternoon, take the train back on down, head into Interlaken, and cap off your day with a boat ride across Lake Brienz. Really, I wanted to check out if the lake was as gorgeous up close as it was from the top of the mountain. Spoiler alert: it may have been even prettier! Crossing the lake, we passed a castle (I was as surprised as you are!), many adorable ferry stations, and I finally arrived in Brienz with plenty of time to explore…or so I thought.

3 Days in Switzerland: Interlaken, Bern, Unterseen, Lucerne, Schyinge Platte

At this point, the skies opened up, ending my explorations. I grabbed a quick bite to eat, took the train back to Interlaken (you can also take the ferry back if you prefer) and promptly passed out.

Honestly, looking back at that first day, I’m not sure how I fit it all in. I must have looked like a crazy person running around and trying to do so many things. Honestly though, I was just so in love with Switzerland’s beauty that I wanted to soak it in as much as possible.

3 Days in Switzerland: Interlaken, Bern, Unterseen, Lucerne, Schyinge Platte

Day 2 Morning: Bern and Unterseen

It was a really good thing I soaked in all of the Swiss sunshine on the first day, because on day two, it poured…for nearly the entire day. This dashed my hopes for frolicking outside in the beautiful Swiss sunshine. However, I did get to explore Bern, a fabulous little city that has covered sidewalks. Catch an early train to Bern so you have plenty of time to wander through the city. A couple options here: take yourself on your own Audio Tour of the city or do a tour with a local, to discover all of the top attractions and secret corners of the city.

3 Days in Switzerland: Interlaken, Bern, Unterseen, Lucerne, Schyinge Platte

Check out the iconic clock, buy lots of chocolate, and find a little coffee shop to people watch. Also, make sure you wander a little outside of town to check out the cute little houses. They reminded me of something ripped straight from the pages of Harry Potter!

3 Days in Switzerland: Interlaken, Bern, Unterseen, Lucerne, Schyinge Platte

Unterseen

I arrived back in Interlaken later in the afternoon, and decided to take a stroll through Unterseen, a neighboring little town. Check out the Swiss chalets, and pop into a hole in the wall spot for a delicious local dinner.

3 Days in Switzerland: Interlaken, Bern, Unterseen, Lucerne, Schyinge Platte
3 Days in Switzerland: Interlaken, Bern, Unterseen, Lucerne, Schyinge Platte

Day 3: Lucerne

On day 3, I had a train leaving from Zurich that evening, so I opted to spend the day exploring Lucerne, Switzerland. An easy train ride from Interlaken, Lucerne is home to the Chapel Bridge (aka my favorite flowery bridge ever). Lucerne is the perfect spot to spend a day, and an awesome little city for a 2 hour walking tour.

3 Days in Switzerland: Interlaken, Bern, Unterseen, Lucerne, Schyinge Platte

Other options in Lucerne include heading up to Mt. Pilatius in a cable car, exploring the glacier world of Mt. Titlis, or cruising Lake Lucerne (on a yacht!)

Read More on Lucerne:

3 Days in Switzerland: Interlaken, Bern, Unterseen, Lucerne, Schyinge Platte

After a whirlwind tour of Lucerne, hop back on the train to Zurich to catch your train or flight out. My next stop was Vienna. If you’re curious about top attractions, check out my City Guide to Vienna. I have to say – 3 days in Switzerland is not enough, and I know I’ll be back again one day to continue exploring all the beauty this country has to offer!

3 Days in Switzerland: Interlaken, Bern, Unterseen, Lucerne, Schyinge Platte

Where to Stay in Interlaken

I based myself in Interlaken for my 3 days in Switzerland and would definitely recommend it. It is one of the adventure capitals of Europe and is well connected to other villages and towns in the country.

Local Stay: Heidi’s Hideaway boasts breathtaking views of Jungfrau from its rooftop patio. Whether you opt to visit in the summer and sunbathe surrounded by the majestic Swiss Alps or during the winter when you can enjoy a spiked hot chocolate, this penthouse palace cannot be beat.

Heidi's Hideaway Plum Guide stay
Image via Plum Guide

Luxury Stay: Victoria Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa has one of the top rate locations in Interlaken, offers a gourmet dining experience, and best of all, a relaxing spa. For rooms with an even better view of Jungfrau, head up past Interlaken to Wengen, and make Hotel Wengener Hof your base. Wengen is car-free and reachable only by train (also it’s such a cute little town.) If you’re planning to spend most of your time in and around Wengen, it’s a great place to stay. Since I was trying to do as many adventure activities as possible and most leave from Interlaken, I opted to stay in town.

Mid-Range Stay: A top recommendation for a reasonably priced stay in Interlaken is Hotel Beausite…this boutique style hotel is rated the best value for your money in Interlaken!

Budget Stay:  For budget stays, look no further that Balmer’s Hostel, The location is great, the hostel has all sorts of helpful amenities, and it is reasonably priced (hard to find in Switzerland!) The hostel has an outdoor beer garden where you can chill and order a drink after a long day of adventuring.

Top 8 Interlaken adventure activities; best things to do in Interlaken, Switzerland; where to stay in Interlaken

Getting Around Switzerland

My itinerary is easily accomplished by trains. However, if you have more than 3 days in Switzerland and want to explore the countryside, you might want a rental car. Depending on where you’re going, definitely shop around. I usually check out Expedia and Sixt . Sixt offers some awesome deals on premium and luxury rentals!

3 Days in Switzerland: Interlaken, Bern, Unterseen, Lucerne, Schyinge Platte

I hope this guide to the perfect 3 days in Switzerland has convinced you that Switzerland is the most beautiful country ever. It really is just that gorgeous in person!  Tell me—have you visited Switzerland before…what were your favorite activities there? If not, what is your favorite beautiful country? Let me know in the comments!

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35 Comments

  1. Your pictures are just beautiful! Thank you for sharing this informative post. I am planning a trip to Switzerland next year and this is going to be helpful.

  2. Sadly all I’ve seen of Switzerland is the airport on a connecting flight but I have a few Swiss friends that I would love to go and visit one day because it is such a beautiful country – I don’t think there are many countries that can top it!

  3. Bern has been on my list for years. I can see what you mean by it being such a beautiful country!

  4. These landscapes are so unique! I´ve been to Switzerland twice (both in Dec though) and haven´t done paragliding over the Alps yet. Looks like once in a lifetime experience! Bern and Unterseen are still on my bucket list! Pinned #feetdotravel

  5. Your recent pics on Instagram had me quite enamoured by Switzerland and now having read your post I’m dying to go. I love that although only having a short stay, you still powered through so much. 🙂

  6. I’ve only briefly stopped at Switzerland but always wanted to go back. Would love to check out some of the places you mentioned here, all of them would suit my travel stile. Nice to see your using a Sony A6000 too!

  7. Everything is beautiful there, just amazing! Switzerland has always been in the top 5 places to visit for me, so hopefully I ‘ll get to see these beautiful pictures in person. Walk the streets and hike some of those mountain areas.

  8. Wow you have fit so much into your three days! I love Switzerland – it’s such a beautiful country, like a living postcard! Love the look of Bern and Lucerne as well as the stunning mountains you’ve explored. Lake Brienz looks great too!

  9. Hi,
    I just have a question. I am a single woman travelling and I don’t drive. So all these places can be visited through train and is it safe for a solo woman?

  10. This is a perfect itinerary and it includes paragliding! Love it. How much did you pay for Balmer’s hostel? Considering a few cheaper alternatives since Switzerland is on the pricey side.

  11. Love this entire post! This has definitely been my guide as I plan my summer travel. Did you spend any time in Zurich? I’ve also been eyeing the Sony a6000 for about a year now. Did you purchase an additional lens for travel photography?

    1. Oh good, that makes me so happy! As of this trip, I️ just used the normal lens, but I’ve definitely been considering getting another one for longer range shots. You can do a ton with the out of the box package though!

  12. Hi planning a 3-4 days
    short trip to Switzerland kindly recommend how should I go start from Zurich ?

  13. Hi.. Planning 3-4 days trip to Switzerland in April, is it good to buy Swiss travel pass? and did all places mentioned above will be open in April?

    1. It depends how much you will want to use the trains. I personally didn’t with my itinerary, but if you plan to do a lot more trains, it would be worth looking into.
      As far as whether everything will be open in April- the towns definitely will, but you’d need to check with the mountain, which would likely be weather dependent.

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