travel and tourism

How to plan a trip to Switzerland

Joshua Berida

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How to plan a trip to Switzerland

SWISS. Stunning views from the Grütschalp, Mürren, and Gimmelwald trail.

Joshua Berida

Aside from touring around Zurich, you can also include day hikes with Lauterbrunnen, Grindelwald, and Interlaken as jump-off points in your itinerary

When you think of Switzerland, you’ll think of delectable chocolates, rolling hills, snow-capped peaks, and stunning landscapes. These are exactly what you’ll get when you get the chance to visit this beautiful country.

You don’t need to hike up to the best viewpoints all the time because you can just take the cable car or train to reach them. However, you can also follow the trails to earn the views of the mountains.

View of Grossmünster. Photo by Joshua Berida
Getting a visa

You’ll need a Schengen visa to enter Switzerland. Some of the basic requirements for visa applications include:

  • Valid passport
  • Photo (35 x 45 mm)
  • Itinerary
  • Accommodation confirmation
  • Application form
  • Proof of occupation or business registration
  • Proof of funds (bank certificate, credit card statements, bank statements, etc.)

You will have to apply at a VFS office:

Check the link out to learn more about the requirements and booking an appointment.

Get into Switzerland

There are no direct flights to Switzerland from Manila. You’ll have to transit through a different country before reaching Zurich. You can check Skyscanner or your preferred website to check schedules and prices. You can then book directly with the airline if you want. You can combine Switzerland with other countries in Europe if you have the time and the budget.

City, Metropolis, Urban
Overlooking view of Zurich. Photo by Joshua Berida
Getting around Switzerland

You can get around the country by train and get to mountain villages and trails using the cable cars.

Check schedules and fares here: .

Itinerary and places to visit

This itinerary consists mostly of day hikes with Lauterbrunnen, Grindelwald, and Interlaken as jump-off points.

Day O

Upon arrival in Zurich, make your way to the main train station and catch the train bound for Lauterbrunnen. There are no direct trains to this destination, you’ll have to switch trains after arriving in Interlaken. Lauterbrunnen is a small town with stunning mountain views. Check in your accommodation and walk around to experience the Swiss countryside.

You can check schedules and book train tickets here:

Day 1

One of the reasons I visited Switzerland is to see the mountains and hike along its scenic trails. The hike I would recommend on your first day is the Grütschalp, Mürren, and Gimmelwald trail. The latter is beginner-friendly with mostly flat surfaces and stunning mountain views.

Plant, Tree, Fir
Stunning views from the Grütschalp, Mürren, and Gimmelwald trail. Photo by Joshua Berida

I suggest starting the hike from Grütschalp so that you’ll descend gradually instead of walking uphill if you started from Gimmelwald. After the cable car ride up, you’ll immediately see the snow-capped mountains in the distance. The recurring theme of this trail is spectacular mountain vistas. You won’t sweat much because of the cool breeze and the easy-to-follow trail. The Gimmelwald section is paved and leads you to the station where you can catch the cable car down.

How to get to the trail: Take the cable car from Lauterbrunnen to Grütschalp. You can buy tickets here .

Day 2

Check out of your accommodation and get ready to do another easy hike. The trail I suggest doing on your second day is Männlichen to Kleine Scheidegg. The latter is another beginner-friendly and easy trail with beautiful views of the mountains. The trail is straightforward, it’s easy to find and follow it. It’s also mostly flat with gradual descents.

Road, Gravel, Mountain
Männlichen to Kleine Scheidegg trail. Photo by Joshua Berida

Take as much time as you want soaking in the views and breathing in the fresh air. Bring some snacks and drinks with you. The trail takes around two hours with plenty of time to stop, take photos, and eat. You can stay for a few hours in Wengen if you’re not in a hurry. This quaint mountain town is a nice place to relax and unwind in before or after your hike. Make your way back to your accommodation in Lauterbrunnen and head on over to Grindelwald.

How to get to the trail:

  • From Lauterbrunnen, take a train bound for Wengen. After arriving in Wengen, take a cable car to Männlichen.
  • From Grindelwald, take a direct cable car to Männlichen.

You can buy tickets here or over the counter.

Day 3

It’s time to do another hike, this time your jump-off point is Grindelwald. The hike you’ll do is the Eiger Trail. You’ll start at Eigergletscher Station and finish the trip at Alpiglen before taking another cable car to Grund (Grindelwald). The cable car ride up is scenic with a view of the mountains throughout. The view from the station is spectacular (again).

Slope, Mountain, Mountain Range
View from the Eiger trail. Photo by Joshua Berida

After taking some photos, you’ll likely see a crowd heading for another ride up to the Top of Europe. Walk away from them and make your way to the start of the Eiger Trail. There are signs that point you to it. The first half of the trek is easy enough with mostly flat dirt paths. You’ll also get to see the North Face. The surrounding views are worth dozens of photos. The last section of the trail gets more challenging and steeper. The hike to Alpiglen was the toughest part with steep inclines that require some balancing but nothing technical.

Cliff, Nature, Outdoors
You’ll see the North Face when you hike along the Eiger trail. Photo by Joshua Berida

How to get to the trail: You can take a direct cable car from Grindelwald to Eigergletscher Station. You’ll most likely encounter a crowd because this is the same route that goes to the Top of Europe Station.

You can buy tickets here , or at the station counters.

Day 4

After breakfast, board a cable car all the way up to First Station. First is a beautiful area where you can try the Cliff Walk. The latter provides you with breathtaking views of the mountains and the landscape. However, sometimes the weather can be unpredictable. It could be foggy the whole time you’re there (which happened during my visit). Despite poor visibility, you can still get a glimpse of how spectacular the views are. There’s also a restaurant where you can get a hot drink and something to eat.

Nature, Outdoors, Plateau
Even on a foggy day, First provides spectacular views. Photo by Joshua Berida

Another reason to make your way here is the walk to Bachalpsee. The walk takes a few hours going there and back. The lake is pretty and the views of the mountains the same. Again, it depends on the weather. It could get foggy during your trip.

If you have the budget, you can go all the way up to Jungfraujoch or also known as the “Top of Europe.” The cable car to it is quite expensive.

You can buy tickets here , or at the station counters.

Day 5

After breakfast, hop on a train and make your way to Interlaken. After arriving, head on over to your accommodation to check in or at least leave your things in the luggage storage.

Interlaken is a lovely destination with views of the mountains and a laid-back vibe. It’s a tourist town so expect more people. It has some attractions you might want to visit during your stay. You can go on a short trip to Lake Thu and Lake Brienz. You can go up Harder Kulm for more overlooking views, visit Unterseen, try paragliding, walk to Unspunnen Castle, or visit the Interlaken Monastery and Castle.

Road, Outdoors, Neighborhood
Relax in Interlaken. Photo by Joshua Berida

Day 6

After visiting some attractions in Interlaken, it’s time to go for another hike with spectacular views at Schynige Platte. You can reach this hiking destination by taking the train from Wilderswil. The ride up to the mountain station is scenic (you’ll be staring out the window most of the time kind of views).

I would recommend the panorama trail as it’s easy to do and has stunning vistas. The loop takes around three hours or faster depending on your pace. The trail is mostly flat with gradual inclines in some parts. You’ll have to climb up stairs to reach one of the viewpoints but it’s also easy. You’ll see views of the lake and the mountains throughout your adventure. Wilderswil is a short train ride from Interlaken. If you have
the time and the energy, you can combine Schynige Platte with Faulhorn and all the way to First. This alternative can take an entire day so bring enough food and drinks.

You can buy tickets here , or at the station counters.

Nature, Outdoors, Wilderness
Schynige Platte is one of the must do hikes while in Interlaken. Photo by Joshua Berida

Days 7-8

Check out of your accommodation in Interlaken then take the morning train to Zurich. After arriving at Zurich, head on over to your accommodation to check in or leave your stuff in the luggage room. Zurich is a small city to explore on foot and at a slow pace. You can see a lot in a short time. Go at a leisurely pace to soak in the culture and history of the city after hiking for most of this itinerary.

The old town is a quaint and charming neighborhood that has plenty of historic buildings that are centuries old. Take a leisurely stroll along Lake Zurich, hang out by the gardens and parks, and/or grab something to eat at the cafes and restaurants. Another pedestrian street worth checking out is the Banhof and Banhofstrasse. Here you’ll find shops from various brands.

Grossmünster or Great Minster dominates Zurich’s cityscape with its towers. This church is centuries old and is a renowned city landmark. Other churches of note include the Fraumünster and St. Peter’s Church. Take another leisurely stroll around Lindenhof. The latter also provides beautiful views of the old town.

If you have the time and budget for museums, you can check out the following:

  • Lindt Home of Chocolate
  • Swiss National Museum
  • FIFA Museum
  • Museum of Fine Arts

Zurich has other activities you can do in the city or just a day trip from it.

Day 9

Depending on the time of your flight, you’ll have extra time to revisit some of your favorite hangout spots in the city. You can also do some last-minute shopping before leaving Switzerland.

You can also combine this itinerary with other places you want to visit while in Europe.

When is hiking season?

The hiking trails are closed during certain months of the year. Most trails are open from the end of June until late October. Dates change so you’ll have to check official websites for more information.

You can check this website for the trails mentioned above:

Swiss Pass or Half-Fare Card?

For the itinerary mentioned above, I would recommend a half-fare card instead of the Swiss Travel Pass.

The card reduces the price of cable cars and train tickets by 50% within its scope of coverage. On the other hand, the Swiss Pass only provides unlimited rides within its scope of coverage, and you won’t get a 50% discount for some of the cable car rides up and down the mountains.

You can get a Swiss Pass and learn more about it here:

You can purchase a Half-Fare Card from Klook:

You can also buy a Half-Fare Card from the official site here: offers/tickets/guests-abroad/swiss-halffare-card.html

How much will you spend?

There’s no denying it Switzerland is an expensive country even if you’re trying to go on a budget. A budget of around P80,000 for the itinerary mentioned above covers the following:

  • Budget room or bed din a dorm
  • Eat at a budget restaurant or food from supermarkets
  • Swiss Half-Fare Card
  • Cable cars up and down mountains and train rides between cities and towns
  • City taxes

This budget doesn’t include shopping, flights, and other activities you might want to do such as boat rides, kayaks, etc. Sky’s the limit for you if you can afford it. –

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