Two weeks in Switzerland is not sufficient time to fully explore this beautiful country. However, it is enough time to ensure you have one of the best road trips as a family. Here’s your Best Road Trip: A Two Week Switzerland Itinerary.
Zurich International Airport is the central hub for most international & connecting flights making it the perfect starting point for your vacation. Depending on what time of the day you land in Zurich and with check-in from 2 pm onwards, you may want to just head straight for Basel and have Zurich as your last stop.
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Basel – Pitstop 1 on the Best Road Trip
Stay: 3 Nights
This beautiful city is situated on the German and French borders and is best known for its art scene as well a wonderful mix of the three cultures you would find in a border city.
After a long journey, you most probably will want to take it easy on the first day. I suggest you take a walk around your hotel, get to know your surroundings and let your internal clock adjust to the new time if required. I would check with the Hotel reception about any local markets or fairs that might be happening while you are in town.
After breakfast, head to the Riehen Toy Museum which will be an unforgettable experience for any toy lover. Changing special exhibitions ensure that imaginations, both young and old, are stimulated. You and the kids will definitely spend a few hours here having an enjoyable time.
Basel Zoo is well worth the visit. During the summer months, the park is an ideal place to stroll in the open air and in winter, the various animal houses guarantee encounters with a wide variety of animals. There are also several underwater creatures for the children o discover.
If you are looking to explore more of the surrounding countryside, there are plenty of day trips worth taking from Basel.
Bern – Pitstop 2 on the Best Road Trip
Stay: 2 Nights
Even though the country doesn’t have an ‘official’ capital city, Bern for intents and purposes is the administrative capital.
An hour’s journey from Basel means you will have time to look around the town center before you check-in. Visit the Gothic M?nster which has the highest spire in all of Switzerland.
BarenPark or the Bear Park allows visitors to observe bears Finn, Bj?rk, and their daughter Ursina in their natural habitat. The park provides a landscape where the brown bears can fish, climb, play or just relax. The park is open every day from open 8 am to 5 pm
Gurten Park is Bern’s local mountain and offers activities for the whole family. The mountaintop stands at 860 meters above sea level, offering a fantastic view across the entire city. The observation tower extends your view even further. For the children, there is a playground and miniature railway to keep them entertained. The park is accessible either by train or foot.
Lauterbrunnen – Pitstop 3 on the Best Road Trip
Stay: 5 Nights
This is the longest stay of the trip and worth every day. With its 72 thundering waterfalls, secluded valleys, colorful alpine meadows, and lonely mountain inns, the Lauterbrunnen Valley is heaven on earth.
Rooms in the small town of Lauterbrunnen go quickly so try to book it immediately. Once you settled in take a walk to the Staubbach Waterfall which is at the top end of the street. At 297 meters, it is one of the highest waterfalls in Europe and THE most beautiful if you ask me.
If you have time explore the neighboring mountain villages of Gimmelwald, M?rren or Wengen which can be accessed by the cable car.
One activity you must try while in Lauterbrunnen is paragliding and something I highly recommend doing. The tandem paragliding combines the experience of weightlessness of flying with breathtaking scenery and awe-inspiring natural beauty. The flying time is 15 ? 20 minutes and the whole trip experience takes approximately one and a half hours.
I used Airtime Paragliding whose team comprises of highly trained pilots (mine was a former winter Olympic champion Ueli Kestenholz) and I had what I can confidently say a once-in-a-lifetime-experience!!!
After a high like that, you want to go even higher and visit Jungfrau or like the Swiss like to refer to it ‘Top of Europe’. Standing at 3,454 meters above sea level, with snow under your feet, icy air streaming across your face and a view that will take your breath away; this is a different world, one that you have to experience!
The kids will love the Ice Palace, the Alpine Sensation and the Snow Fun Park. For the adults, there is the Hole in One by Omega and Lindt Swiss Chocolate Heaven.
Take the 20-minute train journey to Interlaken and visit the Chocolate Factory and make your own chocolate. You can even do your own vegan (and healthier) dark chocolate, too. Then head to Lake Thun and choose between a boat cruise or water activities like windsurfing and stand up paddling. If you prefer to avoid water activities, you can learn about Thun?s history while enjoying views from Thun Castle, strolling the beautiful market square and old town, and resting at Schadau Castle.
After a tiring 3 days, you may want to take a day off and relax. Visit the William Tell Open-Air Theater in Interlaken and watch 190 performers, from children to old men, all in historically authentic costumes turn the shooting of an apple into an exciting historical detective story. The realistic backdrops, with live goats, cows, and horses, allows ample room for action-packed riding scenes that raise the hairs on the back of your neck.
Zurich – Final Pitstop on the Best Road Trip
Stay: 3 Nights
Spend the day around Lake Zurich near the City Center watching people play games or the Alphorn. Turns out watching people is very relaxing. Take a stroll around the center, grab a meal at one the many restaurants and just take in the culture.
Head over to the Zurich Botanical Gardens which is maintained by Zurich University. Over 53,000 square meters, you’ll find over 9,000 plant and flower species at the gardens. This is a must-see for any age, and great for the family.
Take a day trip to Lucerne, a magical old town and visit the medieval Chapel Bridge and water tower that is so famous for. Then take the City walk tour and learn about its history. If you have time you can visit Mount Pilatus.
Focusterra is a Museum of Earth Sciences. Here you will learn why the volcanoes erupt, what makes up the earth and if you want to know what an earthquake feels like, they have an earthquake simulator (kinda cool yet scary!). They also address environmental issues we are facing today and what we can do to help fix it.
At Zoo Zurich you will discover over 380 species of animals in nature-orientated enclosures such as the Masoala Rainforest and the Kaeng Krachan Elephant Park and learn how to protect their natural habitats. The zoo is open 365 days and for 6 hours Monday to Saturday and for 8 hours on Sunday.
End the trip with a Rooftop Spa at B2 Boutique Hotel + Spa which is located in the century-old stone vaults of the former Hurlimann brewery. You can choose from either the Irish- Roman spa or thermal baths (Go Thermal)
Logistics – Key to the Best Road Trip
German, Italian, French, and Romansh are the four official languages of Switzerland however you will find English is widely spoken. If you would like to learn to speak one of the local languages, my recommendation would be Rocket Languages. They provide an award-winning learning course which is used by over 120,000 people just like you to master a new language. You can try the courses out ABSOLUTELY FREE by simply clicking on the language you want to learn.
Flights to Switzerland
I recommend searching through jetradar.com They scan tons of different travel discount sites and feature special flight deals. You can fly into either Zurich or Bern as they both have international airports.
This 14-day guide can be taken either by train or car! Both have their benefits; with the car, if something catches your eye or if you want to take a detour on your journey, you easily can! RentalCars Connect is the world’s biggest online car rental service and can connect you to the biggest brands in car hire.
Alternatively, you can take the scenic route and use the train system. The transport links throughout Switzerland are world-class and easy to use. Public transport can be pricey so I suggest you buy the Swiss Rail Pass for the 2 weeks. You can buy the tickets prior to leaving the airport.
Where to Stay in Switzerland
Ideally, you would want to do this trip before the tourist season kicks in as prices can be comparatively higher to other European countries. Also, when it comes to accommodations, I recommend making reservations well in advance as the stay is most probably going to be your biggest cost on this trip. Check here for the best accommodation prices.
Make sure you get Travel Insurance before you fly. Travel insurance from WorldNomads.com is available to people from 140 countries. It covers for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities. You can read all about why you need it here.
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