This is the perfect itinerary for a short trip to Switzerland – especially if you visit for the first time. The trip includes cities like Zurich and Lucerne, beautiful lakes and Mount Rigi for amazing views.
Over the years I’ve had so many international friends visiting me in Switzerland and I was always excited to show them the best of the best. So I’ve decided to share that with you. All of these trips I usually do by train. If your accommodation is in Zurich, the connections are perfect.
Day 1: Zurich & Rapperswil
Morning: Do a tour of Zurich. You may visit the famous (and expensive) shopping street called Bahnhofstrasse, the Minster and the old town (Niederdorf). Enjoy a nice walk along the river and/or the lake too. The best view of the city you get from the university terasse (Polyterasse) or the Lindenhof.
Afternoon: I used to live in Rapperswil and everyone who came to visit loved it. So this is my suggestion for the afternoon. Rapperswil is famous for its castle and the wooden bridge across the lake of Zurich. The train ride from Zurich is approximately half an hour and you have a connection every 15 minutes.
Day 2: Lucerne & Mount Rigi
This is by far my favorite day trip in Switzerland. It combines city and nature, plus you get to use all kind of public transportation. Make sure you have a daypass though!
Morning: The best way to reach Mount Rigi is via Arth Goldau. From there you can take a cable car up to the top (Rigi Kulm). At the top you have a restaurant and get to enjoy an amazing view over two lakes. If you wear appropriate shoes, there are various hiking/walking trails to discover the area. This is the link to their official website where you can check the weather, train schedules and hiking trails
Afternoon: Once you’ve enjoyed the mountain air, take the cable car down to Vitznau. In Vitznau you have a direct connection to Lucerne – by boat! You may get off at the last (Lucerne) or second last stop (Verkehrshaus – Lido) and walk along the lake to the city center. Visit the famous church (Hofkirche St. Leodegar) and walk across the Chapell Bridge. I suggest you have dinner in the city too. Check out this official website for more things to do around Lake Lucerne.
Day 3: Rheinfall & Schaffhausen
Yes, Switzerland has one of the biggest waterfalls in Europe! And it’s a simple day trip from Zurich. Did you know that there’s a Smilestones Minitature World too? I didn’t either – until an awesome group of friend surprised me for my birthday.
Morning: Visit the waterfall and the miniature museum. You can reach the Rheinfall by train. There are two stops: Neuhausen am Rheinfall and Schloss Laufen am Rheinfall. I personally prefer the side of Neuhausen. Plus the Smilestones Minitaure World is right next to the train station there. I can really recommend a visit – especially if you travel with kids.
Afternoon: Schaffhausen is only a train stop away from Neuhausen. It has a very charming and traffic-free city center. The houses are decorated with oriel windows and lavishly painted facades, which makes it one of the prettiest old towns of Switzerland. The Munot fortress was built between 1564 and 1589 and is the emblem of the town.