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Introducing Switzerland

Get to the heart of Switzerland.
Switzerland is all about quintessential Alpine scenery, perfectly preserved medieval towns, and international cities that run on a famously precise schedule. This central European nation is small but surprisingly diverse—shared borders with France, Italy, and Germany have produced distinct regional cultures. One unifying factor is the Alps: the mountain range takes up a whopping 65% of Switzerland’s total area, making this an ideal destination for active fun (and iconic views) all year. 

When is the best time to visit?
Snowy Switzerland is a skier's paradise, and it's no surprise that January and February are peak tourist months. This goes for the Alps of course, but applies to the cities too—Bern, for example, looks great under a layer of winter white, and its Christmas markets are a must-visit (for the delectable Swiss chocolates alone).

The country is also idyllic in summer, as travelers trade ski lifts for hiking boots and hit the Alpine trails. You can enjoy great outdoor excursions during the slower spring and fall seasons, too—September is a particularly great “off” month to visit, as the summer crowds are gone yet the weather is still pleasant, and the scenery ever-wonderful.

Where should you go?
Certainly, you’ll want to visit Switzerland’s picture-perfect capital of Bern, whose medieval Old Town is home to the towering Zytglogge clock tower. And of course, you’ll want to experience the Alps. There are many hiking trails in these world-famous mountains, all signposted and easy to follow. Head to St. Moritz and Zermatt for some of the best skiing in Europe.

Zurich is a beautifully kept city, and this is where serious shoppers will want to spend time. It's also a nice stop on your way to or from Germany by train. See much of the Swiss countryside in a short time on the GoldenPass railway line from Montreux to Lucerne and takes about 5.5 hours (switching trains at Interlaken). It runs through three mountain passes with spectacular views of lakes, waterfalls, and Swiss chalets. 

How many days do you need?
If you simply want to travel through the Swiss countryside and visit a few postcard-worthy cities and towns, you can do so in well under a week. To properly take advantage of Switzerland’s winter sports and excursions, two weeks is ideal. In this timeframe, you could embark on a number of great day-long or even multi-day hikes—or ski at multiple resorts—with time to relax at a few chalets along the way.

Switzerland Tours & Itineraries

Get inspired by trips other travelers have loved
Lauterbrunnental
Map of Bernese Oberland Traverse - 7 Days
Bernese Oberland Traverse - 7 Days

Take a classic Swiss hut-to-hut hike through the Bernese Oberland mountains on this week-long trek. You'll go from scenic valley to scenic valley as you traverse past the bases of some of the best-known mountains in the Alps, such as Eiger, Monch, and Jungfrau, making your way through waterfalls, cliff faces, and dairy pastures.

Vineyards of the Lavaux region by Lake Geneva
Map of Exploring the Wine Regions of Mont Blanc - 6 Days
Exploring the Wine Regions of Mont Blanc - 6 Days

Sample some of the world's best wines as you circle around Mont Blanc from Switzerland to Italy to France. Visit vineyards nestled in the idyllic countryside in the foothills of the Alps, where ancient grape varieties still produce rare and high-quality wines. Taste local wines in the terraced hills of Lavaux, Switzerland, and toast to the breathtaking views from Pointe Helbronner in France with a glass of Cuvée des Guides — moments and wines to be remembered!

Lauterbrunnen valley
Map of Best of Bernese Oberland - 5 days
Best of Bernese Oberland - 5 days

Hike from hut to hut under the snowy facades of some of the most famous peaks in the Swiss Alps with this five-day itinerary. As you hike past the iconic peaks of Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau, you'll make your way through Alpine pastures, glacial lakes, and rushing waterfalls, with stops on mountaintop tramways and charming villages in between.

Crossing Col de Balme
Map of Chamonix to Zermatt Walker's Haute Route - 12 Days
Chamonix to Zermatt Walker's Haute Route - 12 Days

You'll explore high alpine passes, pass through thick pine forests, hike along the base of glaciated peaks, and much more on this 12-day trekking itinerary. Start your trip in Chamonix—the French 'Capital of Alpinism'—then head east into Switzerland, arriving 10 days later in Zermatt at the base of the Matterhorn. As you hike through the Alps, you'll spend your time looking for wildlife, breathing in the fresh alpine air, and taking in the views, ending each day with comfortable stays in villages and mountain huts.

Lac de Moiry
Map of Chamonix to Zermatt Walker's Haute Route - 10 Days
Chamonix to Zermatt Walker's Haute Route - 10 Days

Visit traditional Swiss villages, explore high-elevation alpine lakes, and cross high rocky passes as you trek through the Alps on this 10-day itinerary from Chamonix to Zermatt. Head east across the mountain range as you traverse mountainsides, hike along glacier foothills and look for wildlife (like ibex and marmots). Spend your nights in lakeside mountain huts and cozy towns, falling asleep to the sound of the wind and water. 

Lake Moiry as seen from Corne de Sorebois
Map of Chamonix to Zermatt Walker's Haute Route - 7 Days
Chamonix to Zermatt Walker's Haute Route - 7 Days

Hike through thick pine forests, visit traditional Swiss villages, and look for wildlife (like ibex and marmots) on this 7-day trekking itinerary through the Swiss Alps. Cross the high-elevation Col de Riedmatten Pass, traverse mountainside, and hike along glacier foothills as you make your way east towards Zermatt, which sits at the base of the Matterhorn. At night, cozy up in huts and small villages that retain an authentic alpine feel.

Switzerland Travel Advice

Read our detailed insights to make sure you have the best trip
The spectacular Landwasser Viaduct (photo courtesy of Scaliger
Switzerland's Best Train Rides

Switzerland's rail network is one of the world's best, defying steep mountain gradients, threading through dramatic valleys and around beautiful lakes to showcase the country's...

Our Latest Switzerland Content

Luxury alpine resort town of St. Moritz
Switzerland in December: Travel Tips, Weather & More

Snow starts to fall in earnest in Switzerland in December, and with it are the tourists that flock to the mountain ski resorts. There are also charming markets held in various cities in the lead-up to Christmas. Whether you're interested in outdoor or city attractions, December's a great time to visit Switzerland. Read on to learn more.

Zürich city center with Fraumunster and Grossmunster Churches and River Limmat
Switzerland in November: Travel Tips, Weather & More

November is the final month of fall in Switzerland, and temperatures are generally cold. Conditions are not yet ripe for skiing, but this month is still an excellent time to visit Switzerland's cities for cultural attractions and to make the most of their proximity to the mountains if the weather's fine. Find out more about where to go and what to do in Switzerland in November.

Admire the changing leaves in the Swiss capital of Bern
Switzerland in October: Travel Tips, Weather & More

October is fall in Switzerland and the low season for travel, between the peaks of summer and winter. The weather may be pleasant and sunny or damp and dull, so it makes sense to base yourself in one of Switzerland's beautiful cities if you're visiting in October. Read on for more about traveling to Switzerland in October.

Meet our Local Travel Specialists

Experienced travel agents with a passion for Switzerland
Travel specialist Valentine Julien
active 17 hours ago

Valentine Julien

Valentine is the girl from The French Alps! After being a tailor-made trip planner in Sri Lanka and event organizer for an international ski freeride competition in Switzerland, she settled...

read more...
Travel specialist Tomaz Martinek
active 19 hours ago

Tomaz Martinek

I knew I want to work in travel industry since my high school years. I was born in Slovenia's capital and spend my youth dreaming about showing other people our lovely country and travelling the...

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Travel specialist Josee Legrand
active 16 hours ago

Josee Legrand

My name is Josée, Im a bilingual Canadian. Fifteen years ago, I attended a wedding in France and it changed my destiny! I fell in love with this magnificent country and never left! Its charm, its...

read more...
Travel specialist Mojca Peterka
active 5 days ago

Mojca Peterka

I was born in a small town in the middle of Slovenia. Luckily, being located right in the middle of Europe, our culture and history were influenced by many countries. I always had great interest in...

read more...

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Trip Reviews for Switzerland

The latest reviews by travelers who booked their trip on kimkim

Trip of a lifetime! · Switzerland - Jun 4 - Jun 15, 2022

Traveler: Daniella G. - Local specialist: Tomaz Martinek

Once booking with Tomaz and KimKim, my friend and I were given to a local company with Zala helping us. Overall, the trip and recommendations were amazing. Day by day feedback to follow.

We had great directions from Zala regarding transportation and luckily the train was easy to get the hang of. Our first hotel was Hotel Josef. Very cute hotel and close to the train as promised. What we didn't know however, was that there was no front desk at this hotel. Check in was a bit difficult,... read more

Once booking with Tomaz and KimKim, my friend and I were given to a local company with Zala helping us. Overall, the trip and recommendations were amazing. Day by day feedback to follow.

We had great directions from Zala regarding transportation and luckily the train was easy to get the hang of. Our first hotel was Hotel Josef. Very cute hotel and close to the train as promised. What we didn't know however, was that there was no front desk at this hotel. Check in was a bit difficult, especially after a full day of travel. Written on the locked hotel's door was a note to walk to a nearby hotel after 9pm. We arrived around 7:30pm on a Saturday. We called the number on the door as well as the number provided in our paperwork. Neither number worked. We took it upon ourselves to walk to the nearby hotel and ask for some assistance. Turns out check in was via a kiosk inside the restaurant and we needed a code to get in the main door. This would have been helpful information to know before arrival.

The Limmat River cruise ticket was covered with the Swiss pass. Suggestions on where to get off and walk around would have been helpful. The Zurich Small Group Tour is not something I would recommend. There was no explanation of what was on the tour (i.e. number of stops, type of food or type of drink) prior to booking it. The first stop was for beer, meat, and cheese. There was no alternative to the beer, which neither of us drink so that was a huge waste of beer and our money. I expected information from the tour guide about the types of cheeses and meats available. There was only information about the beer from the waiter at the restaurant. The tour guide, unfortunately, didn't know any information. Next, the weather didn't cooperate and there was a big downpour preventing us from getting to our next stop. We improvised and stopped for a drink at a nearby bar to wait out the rain. Because we stopped here and because supposedly the third (and final) stop was closed, our guide provided 5 CHF toward the wine, and we covered the rest. She seemed unsure of her budget and considering there was no backup plan for rain or for a closed final stop, I don't think we should have had to cover our own glass of wine. The final stop was for fondue. This was a cute place, but again, not much information. The other people on the tour booked the tour on their own and cost about 150 CAD, about $115. This tour was NOT worth anywhere close to that. Quite a disappointment.

Mt. Pilatus was amazing. Absolutely worth every penny and all the time! It was very cloudy, so we did not get the panoramic views, but a risk you must take. What we were not told about was that there is a stop on the descent with fantastic activities including a ropes course, zip line, glider, and toboggan. Because we didn’t know these existed, by the time we got down to this part, we could not do the ropes course, which is something that we would have loved to do. We were able to do the zip line and toboggan, which were very fun! I highly recommend them.

Lucerne was adorable. There was a lot to see and do. Hotel Central Luzern was such a cute hotel. The front desk staff was fantastic. In fact, everyone was. The room was teeny tiny though. Barely room to walk around and the bathroom door was a frosted glass door with the toilet right in front of it, so there was no privacy. The space was not so much the issue because we were only there to sleep, but the lack of privacy would have been an issue if we needed to stay more than 1 night. Hotel Château Gütsch was not recommended to us, but we saw it in the skyline and is worth the time.

We stayed in Interlaken for quite a while. I’m guessing because it was central to a lot of the big activities we had planned. The downside, the area was small with not much to do. Even with suggestions from the hotel, everything was closed after the activities we had planned for the day, so the evenings were very boring. The higher altitude activities required a heavier jacket, which we were warned about before the trip. I had arranged with Zala to rent a jacket by asking the hotel staff as there was supposed to be somewhere to rent nearby our hotel. Unfortunately, after asking multiple people, they were all unaware of places to rent during the summer. This induced a bit of a panic. We called the number provided and were able to speak to Tomaz. He was not aware of anywhere either. Within about an hour, Zala had emailed with alternative locations. Some of which I had already explored, but ultimately, the rental location on the way to Jungfrau worked out. Having specific details already planned into the itinerary about the rental location would have eased some unnecessary stress. With all that said, Zala was very attentive through email with all my questions while we were local. The Funky Chocolate Club was amazing. The experience was fun and there was a lot of information, and everything was hands-on plus goodies to take away. A friend suggested the Staubbach falls, which were beautiful. There is also panoramic hotel nearby that we discovered while walking around and that is also something I would recommend.

It could have been mentioned, but there was a ton of rainy days everywhere we went except for Lausanne. I did bring a light rain jacket, but it was a lot of rain and ended up with soaking wet shoes because we did not want to miss out on exploring. Luckily the rain was intermittent. St. Beatus Caves and Oberhofen Castle is worth the visit. The caves were spectacular. Hotel Interlaken was great. Spacious and good breakfast.

The trip to Grindelwald was easy to navigate. The mountain carts were a blast! To get to the carts was a trek though. When booking our trip, we did pick the mountain carts, however, we were not told that we could bundle and do more than one activity for a discounted price. The trek was long to get to the activities and the carts lasted only a few minutes of fun, so we instantly wanted to do more. To do that though, we would have had to buy the activity and the gondola. We were incredibly disappointed to learn it would have cost a tremendous amount to do that instead of pre-bundling.

Zermatt was a bit of a disappointment. We did not realize that going to the Matterhorn would cost anything let alone 71 CHF with the Swiss Pass. We did not end up doing that. The town was cute, but we did not stay long.

Lausanne was so cute! There was so much to do. Beau-Rivage Palace in Ouchy was absolutely worth the visit as well as the Cathedral. Hotel de l'Angleterre was right next door to the Palace, but I was not able to go in and walk around. And of course, the Olympic Museum. Vevey and especially Montreux are also worth the visit. Chillon Castle was a gorgeous true castle. So much history and beauty. We chose to go paddle boarding in Vevey instead of doing museums. We had intended to do the winery but did not get to it.

Geneva city tour with a bus and boat cruise was also not something I would recommend. The bus tour did allow us to see quite a few attractions but even while driving slowly, it was a different experience than seeing it walking. I did like the couple times we got off the bus. After the bus we took a tramway. They did a good job trying to allow you to see everything, but you could not fully appreciate the beauty of the structures while still moving. The boat cruise was in no way a tour. We just sat on a very hot boat for an hour. The Fondue cooking class was a great experience. I do recommend that. As much as I liked Lausanne, it would have been nice to stay in Geneva at least for the last night.

In general, suggestions for what to do and see during our downtime would have been helpful. In addition, knowing that stores and every day activities are closed on Sundays was important information we did not have. The Olympic Museum was closed on Mondays, and the Monday after we arrived was a holiday and therefore a lot of stores were also closed. More information regarding the guided tours is also necessary as I don’t think these were worth the money. Overall, the trip was great and I would recommend Switzerland to anyone.

Norma

Best trip ever! · Switzerland - May 29 - Jun 9, 2022

Traveler: Norma S. - Local specialist: Tomaz Martinek

From start to finish, KimKim was so attentive to our wishes and responded to all our inquiries in a prompt manner. We gave them
some of our ideas, and they filled in the days with places we did not know existed. We could not have been more pleased with their service. Their attention to the details of train schedules, passes, hotel reservations, etc took away a great deal of the stress of traveling in a foreign country with an unfamiliar language. They were also respectful of our budget. We would highly recommend this firm to anyone wanting to plan a stress-free getaway.

Tomaz Martinek profile photo
Tomaz Martinek, local specialist, responded to this review:

Hi Norma, thank you for your kind words. I hope to see you again travelling with us soon! Kind regards, Tomaz

Jack

Exceeded Our Expectations in Every Aspect · Switzerland - May 29 - Jun 1, 2022

Traveler: Jack R. - Local specialist: Tomaz Martinek

Our three days and nights in Salzburg exceeded our expectations , which were quite high to begin with. Mitch, the guide who provided two days of tours (one for Salzburg and one to drive us to Hallstatt) was an excellent fit for our group of 8 persons. He knew Salzburg details but did not flood us with information, however, when we asked questions he could provide interesting details in response. Clearly, his 30 years of living in Salzburg and his highly developed social skills were key... read more

Our three days and nights in Salzburg exceeded our expectations , which were quite high to begin with. Mitch, the guide who provided two days of tours (one for Salzburg and one to drive us to Hallstatt) was an excellent fit for our group of 8 persons. He knew Salzburg details but did not flood us with information, however, when we asked questions he could provide interesting details in response. Clearly, his 30 years of living in Salzburg and his highly developed social skills were key factors in providing us with one of the best guided tour experiences we have ever had.

In Hallstatt, Tomaz connected us with Brigitta, a guide with 20 years of experience leading tours. She is a local woman who knew the history of Hallstatt well and could explain why the town became a World Heritage Site. For a walking tour guide, Brigitta was the best we have ever experienced.

The lodging accommodations provided by Hof Wirt were fully worthy of its 3-Star status, if not more. Clean, comfortable, staff-friendly and the breakfast spread was amazing.

Thanks, Tomaz, for arranging an extraordinary experience for us in Salzburg.

Tomaz Martinek profile photo
Tomaz Martinek, local specialist, responded to this review:

Hi Jack, thank you for such a nice feedback! I am happy that you liked the tour! See you soon back in Europe.

Kind regards, Tomaz