Our 2016 itinerary for five days in Switzerland started with us arriving by car from France. We traveled through western Switzerland and the Mittelland, Bernese Oberland and Valais (basically western Switzerland). Our first base of operations was the city of Bern, the capital of Switzerland, which is one of the eleven UNESCO sites that exists in Switzerland. Our travel ended with us departing Brig and heading over the Alps to Italy via the Simplon Pass. The map below has the key points of interest in our five days of travel, with links to other articles.
Note: All photos courtesy of Switzerland Tourism
5 Days in Switzerland Map
Day 1 - Eastern Lake Geneva to Bern
Our first stop was the UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the Lavaux Vineyards. To learn more about this area you can watch our travel video article on the terraced hillsides and Swiss wine. A detour option on the way was the city of Lausanne which has an ornate cathedral and a medieval historic area with shopping, but we were unable to make that side trip due to inclement weather. Just down the road from the Lavaux region we made our first castle visit, Chateau de Chillon shown below. We then drove toward Bern with intentions to stop briefly in Fribourg but time did not permit.
Day 2 - Bern
The best way to get around Bern is with the Bern Ticket allowing free public transportation in the main areas. The ticket is generally free when staying at a hotel. Bern offers various tour guide options that we highly recommend to get a great foundation on the city before exploring it on your own. There is a farmer's market in Parliament Square for the foodies in the crowd. During your tour, a visit to the Clock Tower (Zytglogge) is a must. We had lunch at the restaurant Rosengarten which offered spectacular views of the city. The afteroon left so many options from museums, experiencing the Marzili, Bern’s most popular river pool, and beautiful rose gardens. In the evening when the weather is warm, find a beautiful rooftop terrace view of the city for drinks and/or dinner. Take a look at our Visit Bern Switzerland video that will give you lots of information on what to see and do in Bern.
Day 3 - Bern to Thun to Brig
After a full day in Bern, we departed towards our final destination of Brig. Our first stop was Thun at the mouth of Lake Thun. Here we explored the historic city and castle. Leaving Thun we wanted to stop in Spiez for some photos of the castle there but rain precluded us from doing that. Next stop was Blausee for some more pictures before putting the car on a train transport through the Alps to get to Brig. Arriving in Brig we selected the Ambassador Hotel, a perfect location for getting on and off trains. Brig itself has a beautiful castle to explore.
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Day 4 - Brig to Zermatt
Today we experienced our first trip on the wonderful Swiss rail system leaving Brig for Zermatt where we continued up the mountains to get up close and personal with the magestic Matterhorn. Here we took photos and video of the world's most photographed mountain from the Klein-Matterhorn (Matterhorn Glacier Paradise). We got there by boarding the aerial cable car in Zermatt. The mountain station at 3820 meters above sea level is the highest cable car station of the Alps. At the top there are various activities one can do and an ice museum. Take our Gornergrat Zermatt Matterhorn Tour to see what it was actually like to be so close to this magnificent mountain. For even more inspiration, take a look at these 23 photos that will motivate you to put this on your someday trip list.
Day 5 - Brig to Interlaken
Having selected Brig as a base camp, we reversed course and again took the train to Interlaken. Here we visited the lake side town and took trains and transports up the mountain into the Jungfraujoch area. While we did not go all the way to the top, which is the highest railroad station in Europe, there was much to enjoy between the lake and the top of the mountain. At the top you would be able to see the Aletsch Glacier which is a natural UNESCO World Heritage Site. Our plan was to take a train to Wenge and take the Mannlichen lift. From there we were going to take the hike to Kleine Scheidegg which is a very easy hike that is said to take one hour and 20 minutes, but due to heavy rains, we were unable to do this. In that direction we would have been facing the Alps while hiking and had planned to stop and take some timelapse photography along the route. We had planned to return via train from there, stopping if time permitted. One cannot control the weather and unfortunately our plans were rained on.
Day 6 - Brig to Italy
After 5 wonderful days in Switzerland we departed over the Alps via the famous Simplon Pass to our final destination in Italy. The pass itself provided breathtaking views and engineering marvels like the bridge seen below.
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