Autumn in Switzerland is beautiful. Our 4-day itinerary included the discovery of the country’s rural beauty and urban scenes. As a landlocked country, Switzerland’s Alps occupy the larger part of the territory. Therefore, it has many nature scenes related to the mountain areas, like the snow-capped peaks of the Alps, glacier lakes, emerald valleys, and picturesque mountain villages. Autumn in Switzerland is the best season to travel, the air is dry, and the climate is mild, very comfortable for outdoor activities.
In addition to the jaw-dropping scenery, Switzerland also has cultural attractions such as the city of Zürich and Lucerne with excellent museums and galleries, historic buildings, and various festivals. It is easy to fix a Switzerland itinerary of any length.
Autumn in Switzerland: our 4-day itinerary
Given the short traveling time, we decided to stay at an apartment near Beatenberg, Switzerland, and focus on exploring nearby locations.
- 1st Day: Aare Gorge (Aarenschluct) and Brienz
- 2ed Day: Jungfraujoch
- 3rd Day: Lucerne (Luzern) and Sustenpass
- 4th Day: Zürich
1st Day: Aare Gorge (Aarenschluct) and Brienz
Aare Gorge (Aarenschlucht)
Cut through the limestone, the Aare Gorge between Meiringen and Innertkirchen is as deep as 200 metres and at its narrowest point as wide as barely more than one metre. The fascinating gorge is an easy one-hour walk. Since we carried our baby trolley and the gorge is partially wheelchair accessible, we went from the western entrance to the middle of the narrow valley. It is also the best part of the gorge.
At the eastern end of turquoise-coloured Lake Brienz, the cosy village is one of the best places to visit to enjoy Lake Brienz. We strolled the Brienz promenade at a slow pace to enjoy the view of the glacier lake. The low stone boundaries along the lake invited us to sit and take a picture with the background of the tranquil Alp scenery. Then, we chilled out ourselves in a restaurant next to the lake and had ice-cream and cakes.
The late afternoon sun shone on the lake, and we had a perfect time on such a mid-autumn day. After our break, we had a walk along the Brunngasse in the village, one of the beautiful streets in Europe.
2ed Day: Jungfraujoch
At 3,454 meters (11,332 ft), Jungfraujoch, Top of Europe, is a high-alpine wonderland of ice, snow and rock, the highlight of any Switzerland holiday. Our journey started from Kleine Scheidegg, where we took the Jungfrau Railway through the Eiger to the highest train station in Europe.
As the train climbed, white glaciers replaced the green meadows until we reached Jungfraujoch. On the summit, from the Sphinx Observation Deck, we got a 360° view of one of the most beautiful scenery in the Alps from the terrace. The panoramic view stretches from the valley to the snow-capped peaks and the Aletsch glacier.
We visited the Ice Palace and walked on the eternal snow before we took the return journey. The ride on the Jungfrau train station was one of the most scenic train rides we have had in Europe.
3rd Day: Lucerne (Luzern) and Sustenpass
Lucerne is a romantic Swiss gateway. Our exploration started in the old town, where the medieval squares and cobblestone streets passed through the bright façades. The world-famous sights in this city are the Chapel Bridge (Kapellbrücke) with the octagonal Water Tower. Destroyed in a 1993 fire but subsequently restored, the Chapel Bridge remains the oldest wooden covered bridge in Europe.
We planned to view this elegant city onboarding a river cruise with the panorama of the surrounding Swiss Alps’ peaks. However, on that day, the weather was so bad that we gave up the idea and showed up in the chocolate shops to look for a sweet Swiss treat, from handmade chocolate, finely made pralines to fluffy pastries, perfect for an afternoon tea.
Susten Pass (Sustenpass)
On the way to Lucerne, we drove along Highway 8. But on the way back changed to Highway 2 and then road No. 11 that passes the Sustenpass.
Sustenpass is a mountain pass in the Swiss Alps. Built from 1938–1945, including a 300-metre long tunnel that crosses the pass at 2,224 metres, the road connects the Reuss Valley at the foot of the Gotthard Mountain, Innertkirchen in the canton of Bern with Wassen in the canton of Uri.
As we drove through the valley, the stunning panorama of the Gadmen Valley and the Steinen Glacier came into our view. The autumn in Switzerland is so amazing! As the weather turned bright, on the Bernese side of the tunnel, we parked at a large parking lot and took several pictures.
Since there are several hiking routes in the area, the Berggasthaus Hospiz next to the parking area is a good base for outdoor activities. We had drinks in the restaurant and rest for a while.
4th Day: Zurich
Zurich is on the last day of our 4-day Switzerland itinerary because it is on the way back to Frankfurt. We left the chalet in the early morning and arrived in Zurich before lunchtime.
Zurich is a gorgeous city with cobblestone streets, charming architecture, and several significant buildings. We mainly walked in the old town area and passed the buildings, such as Fraumünster, Grossmünster, and the Stadthaus. Not far from these buildings, the Bahnhofstrasse is the shopping boulevard where visitors could find everything they desire.
The Sechseläutenplatz is a square with a few elegant buildings and views over the lake. With my toddler in his trolley, our family did a leisure walk along the river. We realized that exploring the city involving a lot of walks. Therefore, visitors can buy city cards, which allows them to get many free transportations and discounts at various cultural and recreational facilities. A true budget deal!
Our Switzerland itinerary was made based on where we stay. But from Lucerne or Zurich, it is still possible to explore these places by joining organized tours:
- From Zurich: Lucerne & Mount Pilatus Day Tour
- From Lucerne: Titlis Half-Day Tour – Eternal Snow & Glacier
Both Lucerne and Zürich have many accommodations at all price levels. The following hotels are in the centre of both cities:
- Hotel des Balances, in the old town of Lucerne
- Storchen Zürich, in the city centre of Zürich