Zurich is the economic center of Switzerland and the perfect place to get a first impression of the country. Prices for a night in a 6-bed dorm start at around €43 here.
Zurich offers fantastic events all year round, such as the Film Festival, the JAZZNOJAZZ Festival, or the “Zürcher Theater Spektakel”, a theater and performing arts festival. It’s also a great city for shopping, because there are hundreds of shops and even six farmers’ markets, where you can buy vegetables, fruit, and bread, but also meat, sausages, and regional specialties. The market on the Helvetiaplatz is particularly interesting because its stalls are so international. You can admire and buy specialties from a wide variety of countries here. Don’t miss out on this great market when you’re in Zurich!
Of course, the city also has a lot of sights to offer, including many churches, like the Grossmünster, the Fraumünster, and St. Peter. Zurich is also home to the Swiss National Museum, which is just behind the main train station.
Visiting the Zoological Museum of the University of Zurich, where you can see about 1,200 different animals, is another very exciting way to spend your time. The city also has the famous Kunsthaus, an art gallery with changing – but always very prestigious – exhibitions. Last but not least, the zoo in Zurich is also well worth a visit.
If you prefer more physical activities, why not try out the Monday Night Skate, which takes place every week between May and October. Exploring the city on inline skates is a great opportunity. You could also run the Zurich Marathon in April, or you can spend a hot summer’s day swimming in the lake or or in a nearby river.
Finally, Zurich has lots of different clubs, restaurants, and cafés, so you definitely won’t be disappointed when it comes to food and drinks.
From Zurich, you’ll continue your journey to Lugano. The bus ticket is only €10. Once you’ve arrived, check into a hostel, where a night in a dorm is about €26.
Lugano is located in the canton of Ticino and is therefore in the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland. Lugano is a university city and filled with culture. It’s also characterized by a mild, sunny climate.
While walking along the lakeside promenade, which is lined with palm trees, you’ll get a great view of Lake Lugano. You can also see the surrounding mountains, including Monte Brè, Monte San Salvatore, and Sighignola, from here – the scenery is simply breathtaking.
The city of Lugano is very diverse and has a unique charm, because it’s the perfect blend of Swiss and Italian culture. It’s also a great place to go shopping, and it has a very diverse restaurant scene.
There’s something for everyone in Lugano, whether you’re an art and culture lover or a sports enthusiast. The city’s old town is also well worth seeing, especially its museums, such as the Museo Cantonale d’Arte and the Hermann Hesse Museum.
There are many great spots to go swimming in Lugano. Furthermore, the city is a good starting point for short hikes or longer trekking tours through Ticino. If you’re looking for something a little more action-packed, you can also explore the surrounding area on a mountain bike.
After you’ve enjoyed Lugano’s many sights and activities, it’s time for you to get to your next stop, Lucerne. Getting there by bus is about €15 per person.
Lucerne is an absolutely breathtaking city. It’s located directly on the shores of Lake Lucerne and lies at the foot of the Alps. Staying in a 6-bed dorm here will cost you about €31 per night.
Locals often call their hometown “the most beautiful city in the world” – a claim which is only supported by the fact that Lucerne is more or less at the center of Switzerland.
There are a lot of different churches in Lucerne, for example St. Leodegar and St. Paul. While you’re here, you can also visit one of the oldest Renaissance palaces in the world, the Rittersche Palast. Other buildings worth seeing are the Lion Monument and the Kapellbrücke (chapel bridge), which is Europe’s oldest covered bridge made from wood.
The old town is also home to a number of different museums and other well-preserved historical buildings. One of them is the Weinmarkt, whose façade is covered in paintings from the 13thcentury.
Lucerne is famous for its emphasis on culture, and there are many music festivals happening here. Among the biggest ones are the Stadtfest (city festival), the Fasnacht (the carnival), the Blue Balls Festival, and Funk am See.
For your next stop, recommend taking the train from Lucerne to Grindelwald for approximately €41 per person.
After the busy crowds of the previous cities, the peace and quiet of Grindelwald will be very relaxing. The town in the Bernese Oberland has only about 3,700 inhabitants. Its name derives from the old high German words “grintil” (bar, barrier) and “walt” (forest).
Grindelwald’s scenery is beautiful, and depending on the time of year you can go either hiking or skiing. Nearby Bussalp is a popular destination with many different hiking and tobogganing trails. In Grindelwald, you can enjoy the outside, relax, and breathe in the fresh mountain air all year round. You have the choice between a few different hostels, but a night in any of them will be around €31.
The final stop on your journey across Switzerland is Montreux. To get here from Grindelwald by train will cost you about €36.
Montraux is located in the canton of Vaud, directly on the shores of Lake Geneva. The town is known for its unusual location, as it’s also surrounded by several 2,000 m high mountains. The climate is mild, and the lake’s shore is lined with pretty flowers, sculptures, and Mediterranean trees. You can also see some beautiful buildings from the Belle Époque here. There’s an island in the water next to the promenade, where you can visit the medieval castle of Chillon.
Montreux is also well-known for its cultural events, which are responsible for its reputation as a city of music. It’s most famous for the Montreux Jazz Festival, which takes place every July.
Did you know that the band Queen spent a lot of time in Montreux? From 1979, the band owned the Mountain Studios in the Montreux casino. The casino was rebuilt in 1975, after it had burned down in December 1971. This event inspired a great song by a different band, Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water”.
Montreux is also a fantastic spa town, whose facilities you should definitely make use of while you’re here. A night in a 6-bed room will cost you about €44.