This incredible Italy and Switzerland itinerary can accommodate trips around a week long, from 6 to 8 days in total.
Northern Italy and Switzerland offer a captivating road trip experience with their stunning alpine landscapes, picturesque villages, and a wealth of cultural treasures. Travelers can enjoy the perfect blend of natural beauty, historic charm, and culinary delights while exploring these two enchanting regions.
Switzerland has been hovering at the top of my Travel Wish List for several years now. I’ve flown through, and over, it a number of times but have never stopped off to appreciate it’s unique beauty. When friends from the USA suggested that they might want to spend a vacation traveling through Switzerland and the Alps I was immediately on board.
I cannot take credit for this beautifully constructed Itinerary. For one of the first times in my travel career I left the planning and details up to my American friends. We traveled at a very different pace than what I’m used to but it was enjoyable for all the right reasons – company, scenes, sites and experiences.
While covering a lot of ground it (should) be at a much slower pace than the Itineraries I’ve shared in the past (or future).
6-8 Day Itinerary for Northern Italy & Switzerland
Day 1 – Lake Como
We stayed in Bellagio, but the driving in that area was very challenging, and we might have considered staying in Como if we had known this in advance. Bellagio was fantastic and I would recommend it, but be prepared for tight roads, sharp cliffs, and very anxious driving for several hours in and several hours out of Bellagio.
- Flew to Milan and hire a car
- Drove to Lake Como
- Stopped at Grocery Store en route (stock up on food and wine)
- Relaxed at Air B&B
- Drove to waterfront in Bellagio
- Wandered Bellagio’s quaint streets
- Visited Apertivo et al wine bar (try “Saten”, a sparkling Chardonnay)
- Ate dinner at San Giacomo
Day 2 – Lake Como
The best part of staying on Lake Como was the ability to get around the lake via Ferry and/or Water Taxi. Regrettably we did not make it out to Villa Balbianello (to do so you need to take the Ferry to a close port, and then a water taxi across), but did have an excellent tour of the middle part of Lake Como.
- Breakfast at the Air B&B
- Drove to waterfront and park in Bellagio
- Took the Car Ferry from Bellagio to Cadenabbia
- Meant to take the People Ferry closer to Balbianello, to catch a water taxi
- Walked to Villa Carlotta from Ferry Stop
- Visited Villa Carlotta and the Gardens
- Took the People Ferry from Bellagio to Varenna (with a few stops)
- Ate lunch at Nilus Bar, on the waterfront
- Walked through the streets of Varenna
- Took the People Ferry from Varenna to Bellagio
- Returned to the Air B&B to rest, before returning to Bellagio
- Ate Dinner at Hotel du Lac, on the waterfront
- Drinks at Aperitivo et al
Day 3 – Lucerne
- Ate breakfast at the Apartment
- Drove around Lake Como to city of Como
- This was a challenging portion of the drive, for fair warning.
- At Swiss border bought car tax sticker
- When driving a non-Swiss car into Switzerland a car tax sticker needs to be acquired, cost was about €40.
- Drove to Lucerne
- Crossed the Chapel Bridge and wandered through Old Town
- Ate lunch in Old Town
- Walked around Old Town and then to the Lion Monument
- Climbed hill for view of Lucerne and Lake Lucerne
- Continued wandering through Old Town, along the River, etc.
Day 4 – Bern
- Attempted to drive from Lucern to Mt Pilatus
- Ended up driving up the side of another Mountain (Hergiswil) – whoops.
- Gave up on this detour and continued on to our next destination
- Drove to Lauterbrunnen
- Took Cable Car from Lauterbrunnen to Grütschalp
- Took Train from Grütschalp through Winteregg to Murren
- Ate lunch in Murren at the Eidleweiss Hotel
- Explored the town of Murren
- Returned to Lauterbrunnen via Train and Cable Car
- Drove to Bern Hotel (Hotel Aplenblick)
- Walked to visit the Bears of Bern
- Explored Old Town and counted (and photographed) Fountains
- Ate Dinner at Lötschberg
Day 5 – Zermatt
- Ate breakfast at the Hotel (Alpenbick)
- Drove to Chillon Castle (Chateau Chillon)
- Visited Chillon Castle
- Ate lunch nearby and visited Coop Grocery Store
- Drove to Tasch and Parked Car
- Took Glacier Express from Tasch to Zermatt
- Checked in at Hotel Fleurs de Zermatt
- Explored Zermatt and caught first view of the Matterhorn
- Swam in Indoor/Outdoor Pool at Hotel
- Ate dinner at Brown Cow
Day 6 – Zermatt
- Breakfast at the Hotel (Fleurs de Zermatt)
- Taxi to Cable Car station to ascend Mountain
- Cable Car from Zermatt to Furi
- Cable Car from Furi to Trocknet-Steg
- Brief tour around Trocknet-Steg
- Cable Car from Trocknet-Steg to Matterhorn Glacier Paradise
- Brief tour around Matterhorn Glacier Paradise
- Cable Car back to Zermatt via Trocknet-Steg and Furi
- Taxi back to the Hotel (Fleurs de Zermatt)
- Train back to Tasch
- Drive from Tasch to Coop Restaurant (down the mountain)
- Lunch at Coop Restaurant
- Drove back to Milan
- While I returned to London the next morning from Milan, it would have been easy to spend a few days visiting the city.
- My friends stayed on in Milan for another 2 days, and spent 1 touring Milan and 1 taking a day trip to tour Bologna.
The trip was all I could have hoped for. I spent plenty of time in the Alps, and saw the famous Lake Como as well. The cities of Switzerland, while small, had beautiful old towns to visit. The drives through Switzerland were captivating with every turn, every dip and every climb. I would highly recommend the Itinerary, as is or adjusted, to anyone looking for a similar holiday.