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10 days in Northern Italy and Switzerland Itinerary

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Looking for a fantastic trip that combines Italy’s idyllic medieval towns and famous lakes with Switzerland’s most popular cities and the renowned Swiss Alps? Then you’re in the right place. Our 10 days in Northern Italy and Switzerland itinerary takes you on an absolutely amazing trip through Europe’s most beautiful regions.

Planning a trip of this magnitude can be challenging. With so much to explore, like a walking tour in a picturesque Italian town or a scenic train ride through the snowy Swiss Alps, you’re bound to miss some hidden gems.

This is why we created this Northern Italy and Switzerland itinerary for you. This 10-day itinerary takes you to some of the most beautiful cities in Italy and Switzerland to discover their famous landmarks and historical and cultural attractions. 

Perfect Northern Italy and Switzerland itinerary you’ll love

Italy and Switzerland Itinerary 10 days pin
Northern Italy and Switzerland Itinerary 10 days

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Northern Italy and Switzerland itinerary | At a glance

Before we dive into this Switzerland and Italy itinerary, let’s have a look at what this amazing trip has in store for you:

  • Day 1 of 10 Northern Italy and Switzerland itinerary: Explore Bologna’s historical city centre
  • Day 2 of 10 Northern Italy and Switzerland itinerary: Experience the floating city of Venice
  • Day 3 and 4 of 10 Northern Italy and Switzerland itinerary: Discover Milan’s Art Nouveau buildings, shopping centers, and castles
  • Day 5 of 10 Northern Italy and Switzerland itinerary: Have a scenic escape in Lake Como
  • Day 6 of 10 Northern Italy and Switzerland itinerary: Explore Geneva’s best attractions
  • Day 7 of 10 Northern Italy and Switzerland itinerary: Experience the best of Bern
  • Day 8 and 9 of 10 Northern Italy and Switzerland itinerary: Escape to the resort town of Interlaken
  • Day 10 of 10 Northern Italy and Switzerland itinerary: End your Italy-Switzerland itinerary on a high in Zürich

Italy and Switzerland Itinerary with a scenic train ride (Bernina Express)

  • Day 1 and 2: Fly to Milan, explore for 2 days
  • Day 3: Day trip to Lake Como and Bellagio (Italy) 
  • Day 4: Milan to Switzerland via the Bernina Express
  • Day 5: Visit Chur (arrive in Zurich in the evening, 1 hour train ride)
  • Day 6 and 7: Sightseeing in Zurich for 2 days
  • Day 8: Lucerne and Mount Titlis day trip
  • Day 9: Bern day trip
  • Day 10: Rhine Falls day trip

Italy and Switzerland Itinerary: Fly to Rome, and fly out from Zurich

  • Day 1 and 2: Rome
  • Day 3: Florence day trip (or extend 2 nights in Florence and visit Siena or Pisa)
  • Day 4 and 5: Visit and stay in Milan for 2 nights
  • Day 6: Train travel to Chur in Switzerland via Bernina Express (stay overnight in Chur)
  • Day 7: Explore Zurich for a day
  • Day 8 and 9: Interlaken and Jungfrau
  • Day 10: Bern (return to Zurich in the evening)

Switzerland and Italy Itinerary: Start in Zurich, end in Rome 

  • Day 1 and 2: Fly to Zurich, explore for 2 days
  • Day 3: Bern day trip 
  • Day 4: Lucerne and Mount Pilatus day trip
  • Day 5: Train travel to Tirano in Italy via Bernina Express. Make connections from Tirano to Milan
  • Day 6 and 7: Visit and stay in Milan for 2 nights
  • Day 8: Explore Lake Como and Bellagio for a day (overnight in Milan)
  • Day 9 and 10: Travel to Rome and explore for the next 2 nights

Planning a Switzerland and Italy Trip Itinerary

Begin your Northern Italy and Switzerland trip plan with visa requirements and arrival airports. 

Both countries are located in Europe and they follow Schengen visa requirements to allow non-visa-exempt passport holders to enter the country. Citizens of the United States and Canada can visit Italy and Switzerland visa-free and stay for 90 days. 

Zurich Airport

At the border crossing, your passports won’t be checked. But when you touch down in either country, your passport and other documents will be checked by immigration. 

Keep in mind, Switzerland is not a member of the European Union but Italy is. As mentioned, both follow the Schengen Agreement. 

Italy uses Euros as the official currency, and Swiss Francs are used in Switzerland. 

Rome Airport

For your flights from North America, destinations like Zurich, and Geneva (in Switzerland) and Milan and Rome (in Italy) are good options to fly into. 

In the Italy Switzerland itinerary below, we have included samples where you can start in either country; and complete sightseeing using rental cars or public transportation. 

  • To start in Northern Italy, fly to Milan Malpensa Airport (you can also arrive in Rome and then connect to Milan via high-speed trains)
  • To start in Switzerland, flying to Zurich International Airport makes sense 

Once you’ve decided where to go and what you would like to explore, it’s time to start planning your itinerary. As with any trip, it’s important to determine transportation options within each destination. 

Train to leave from Venice to Zurich HB

Both countries have a solid public transportation network, and depending on the duration of your trip, it may be best to purchase a rail pass that allows you to freely move between countries and cities.

Eurail Pass is a good option to consider here. Or you can opt for a country-specific pass with attractions access. 

We always use the Swiss Travel Pass when traveling in Switzerland, and use a mix of city passes, and tours to get around in Italy. We recommend booking train tickets and passes prior to your trip to save money. 


Get unlimited rides on trains, trams, buses, and boats throughout Switzerland with an all-in-one Swiss Travel Pass!

Buy it online, show your e-ticket on your phone, and start your Swiss Adventure with ease and stay on budget!

Note that in some cases, connections between cities via trains are faster as compared to a road trip in these two countries. Having said that you can always get a rental car, if that’s what you prefer. 

There are a plethora of guided excursions also available in each country, so you may also decide to take a day trip or do an organized tour from your accommodation base.

Accommodation is another important factor to consider when planning a trip to Northern Italy and Switzerland. We have included top picks for each city/ town where an overnight stay is suggested. 

Finally don’t forget to get travel insurance

Day 1: Northern Italy itinerary – Explore Bologna’s historical city center

Italy’s different regions and their unique offerings make the country one of the most visited in Europe. 

In the northern region of Emilia Romagna, Bologna is world-renowned as Italy’s foodie capital. The city also has lots of beautiful architecture you can explore.

Decorated old portico with columns in Bologna, Italy
Decorated old portico with columns in Bologna, Italy

Admire Bologna’s porticoes

The porticoes of Bologna are a recently-declared UNESCO World Heritage Site waiting to be explored. 

Spanning over 26 miles within the historic city center, Bologna’s porticoes and city walls are a symbol of the city’s bustling medieval era. 

Take a walking tour or leisurely stroll through the longest portico in Bologna – Portico of San Luca — it has about 666 arches. 

Or opt to tour the Portico Dei Servi, which extends towards Piazza Maggiore and has the widest corridors.

Grab lunch at Piazza Maggiore

As the heart of Bologna city center, Piazza Maggiore is the best place to hang around, people-watch, and get amazing views of some of the city’s best landmarks. 

Enjoy a tasty lunch while looking out at the dramatic Basilica di San Petronio and Palazzo d’Accursio. 

You’ll also find the Fountain of Neptune, depicting the god of the sea with a trident in hand and standing over four cherubs – the ultimate symbol of power.   

Climb Asinelli Tower

From Piazza Maggiore, walk for about five minutes to the colossal Asinelli Tower. The 319-foot tower is the tallest leaning medieval tower in the world. It stands next to Garisenda Tower, and together they make Le due Torri.  

Bologna vista from Asinelli tower

These two towers are the most well-preserved in the city, and Asinelli is the only one you can climb. 

If you’re up for it, you can get an entrance ticket and climb up 498 steps to reach the top of the tower, where you’ll get stunning views of the city.

Take a food tour + private cooking class

If you’d like to take a piece of Bologna home with you, consider taking a food tour or private cooking class and learn how to make some tasty Italian delicacies. 

As the culinary capital of the world, Bologna offers great food tours that, at times, include cheese and wine tasting.

Marvel at La Finestrella

Discover Bologna’s long-lost canals through a small window on Via Piella. Yes, the city of Venice is not the only place in Italy where you can find canals. 

Bologna’s hidden canals date back to the Middle Ages when they were used for the transportation of goods and people. 

Where to stay in Bologna: 

  • Art Hotel Commercianti: Centrally located Art Hotel Commercianti offers a hearty breakfast, and modern amenities in every room. Rooms have a beautiful traditional/medieval charm to them. Book your stay here
  • NH Bologna De La Gare: Stay near the Bologna Centrale train station at the NH Bologna De La Gare! This hotel is conveniently located in the shopping district and about a 10-minute walk from Bologna Cathedral. It offers modern rooms, with a bar and parking on-site. Book your stay here

Note: Start early morning for Venice on day 2. Bologna to Venice is 1 hour 30 minutes by train and less than 2 hours by car

Day 2 Northern Italy itinerary – Experience the floating city of Venice

You can’t visit Northern Italy without making a stop in the City of Canals. Venice is dotted with stunning terracotta houses, medieval bridges, floating gondolas, and scenic canals that will make you fall in love. 

Here’s how you can spend one day in Venice.

Take a Grand Canal tour

The Grand Canal is one of the most notable features in Venice. Whether you’re visiting on a day trip or spending one day in Venice, taking a tour of the Grand Canal is a must-do

Venice Gondola Ride

You’ll enjoy a boat ride through hidden canals and get a front-row seat to attractions like the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Gritti Palace, and the postcard-worthy Salute Church.

Tip: Not sure if you should use a vaporetto (water taxi) or a canal tour? This guide about whether a gondola ride in Venice is worth it has what you need to know to make your decision.

Stroll around Piazza San Marco

Sitting in the heart of Venice, Piazza San Marco is the most vibrant square in the city. Flanked by historically significant buildings like St Mark’s Basilica and Doge’s Palace, this public square is a great place to take a guided tour

You can also climb to the top of St Mark’s Campanile, where you’ll get a spectacular view of the city.

Visit Doge’s Palace

Doge’s Palace is one of Venice’s most popular attractions, and it’s easy to see why. 

Inside Doge Palace in Venice Italy
Doge Palace Interiors

Aside from the gorgeous Venetian Gothic-style architecture, you’ll also have the palace’s ornate interiors to marvel at. 

As a former residence of the supreme leader of the old republic, the museum is a great place to learn about the history of the city and see its stunning architecture. This Doge’s Palace entry ticket gives you access to the regal interiors and the Bridge of Sighs. 

Get a book at Libreria Acqua Alta

If you’re a bookworm, you’ll love spending time at this cozy, eccentric bookstore. Libreria Acqua Alta is one of the best Instagram-worthy photo spots in Venice

It boasts colorfully stacked books from floor to ceiling, some are stored in a bathtub and even a gondola.

Note: Libreria Acqua Alta is popular among tourists, and you may find it overcrowded.

Walk across Rialto Bridge

Spanning 66 feet over the Grand Canal, Rialto Bridge is one of the most iconic landmarks in the city. 

Rialto Bridge
Rialto Bridge

And while it’s an absolutely beautiful piece of architecture to admire, Rialto Bridge also has a long history. It’s the oldest of the four bridges that cross over the Grand Canal. 

Walking across the Rialto Bridge is a great way to get up close views of the architectural details. But if you want to ditch the crowds and see the bridge in solitude, take a gondola tour along the Grand Canal and get stunning views of Rialto Bridge as you’re serenaded.

Where to stay in Venice: 

  • Palazzo Veneziano – Venice Collection: Gorgeous 4-star property, located in the neighborhood of Dorsoduro, the Palazzo Veneziano is perfect for sightseeing in Venice, and you will also find many bars and restaurants nearby. Read traveler reviews and check current availability
  • Hotel Campiello: This is an affordable 3-star hotel, located close to San Macro Piazza, and many other sightseeing areas. Check availability here

Note: Start for Milan the next day. You have 2 days of sightseeing here. Venice to Milan is 3 hours by the fastest train and car. 

Day 3 – 4 Northern Italy itinerary – Discover Milan’s Art Nouveau buildings, shopping centers, and castles

Milan is the capital of the Lombardy Region of Northern Italy. This bustling metropolitan is also world-renowned as the fashion capital of the world. 

It’s also home to some of Italy’s landmarks, like the Duomo di Milano and Sforza Castle.

Where to stay in Milan: 

  • c-Hotel Atlantic Milano: c-Hotel Atlantic Milano is conveniently located near the central station, and is perfect for sightseeing, as well as for entering and leaving Milan. Plus you will find restaurants, bars with live music and parks nearby. Book your stay here (this hotel is also known as Atlantic Hotel Milano)
  • Park Hyatt Milan: Located close to the Milan Duomo in Zone 1, Park Hyatt is a luxury property with stunning views of the city. It is about a 4-5 minute walk from the Duomo. Some suites also have a private terrace, and you can wine and dine in their restaurant on-site. View more information here

Day 3 – Visit Milan’s top attractions

There’s so much to do in this beautiful city that it raises the question, “how many days in Milan is enough?” — and rightfully so. 

Your first day in the city of Milan takes you through all the city highlights. This is also a great one-day Milan itinerary if you can only stay for 24 hours or less. 

Marvel at the Duomo di Milano

Milan’s pre-eminent cathedral, the Duomo di Milano, is one of the most magnificent churches in the world. 

Girl at the rooftop in Milan Duomo
Rooftop view

The white marble Gothic cathedral was commissioned by the Archbishop of Milan, Antonio da Saluzzo, and it took nearly six centuries to complete, from 1386 to 1965. 

Today, Milan Cathedral is one of the most celebrated landmarks in Italy. You can get an all-access ticket to the Duomo and get to see the cathedral’s museum, its terraces, and the rooftop. You’ll also get entry to the Chiesa di San Gottardo in Corte. 

Tip: Read this in-depth guide to get the lowdown about visiting Milan Cathedral.

Wander through Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is home to some of the oldest restaurants and shops in Milan. Operating since 1877, the Galleria is the oldest active shopping gallery in the city.

You’ll find a range of cafes, restaurants, and shops selling luxury brands like Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Dior, Chanel, Prada, and more. And although some of these brands may be out of your budget, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is worth visiting for its Renaissance Revival architecture. 

Stroll through Piazza Mercanti

Piazza Mercanti is one of Italy’s most idyllic squares. Located just a skip away from the magnificent Duomo, this quaint square is home to some of the most gorgeous medieval buildings in the world. 

The piazza was the city’s center of government and industry during the Middle Ages. This is why you’ll find the former courts of justice, the notary seat, and the Chamber of Commerce dotted around the square.

See the Last Supper at the Santa Maria delle Grazie

Art aficionados will appreciate a visit to the Santa Maria delle Grazie for a sneak peek at Leonardo da Vinci’s 15th-century masterpiece, “The Last Supper.” The painting sits in its original place along the walls of the refectory. 

Santa Maria delle Grazie church in Milan hosts the painting of Leonardo da Vinci: the Last Supper
Santa Maria delle Grazie church in Milan hosts the painting of Leonardo da Vinci: the Last Supper

To see the historical mural, take a guided tour of Santa Maria delle Grazie, where your expert guide will lead you through the viewing of the world-renowned painting for 15 minutes.

Day 4 – See Milan’s art and medieval architecture

The second day of your two days in Milan takes you through the city’s most famous art museums, galleries, and medieval architecture.

Wander through Sforza Castle + Arco della Pace

Sforza Castle is a Renaissance fortification built in the 15th century. The castle has served as a private residence for royalty, mainly the Visconti lords. It was also used as a weapons depot and as military barracks throughout its life.

Sforza Castle

Today, you can take an audio guide through the castle’s museums, each boasting interesting artworks and relics. 

Stroll through the castle’s lush grounds while admiring medieval architecture before dashing over to Arco della Pace for incredible photos.

Besides being almost identical to the Arc de Triomphe in France, Arco della Pace is one of Milan’s significant Neoclassical monuments, symbolizing peace between European nations. 

See masterpieces at Pinacoteca di Brera

Pinacoteca di Brera is Milan’s main public gallery and home to over 400 paintings dating between the 13th and 20th centuries. 

You can browse through the museum via a guided tour and see paintings from artists such as Caravaggio, Piero della Francesca, and Raphael. 

Brera District

Visit the La Scala Opera House

Teatro alla Scala is an iconic opera house in Milan famous for its absolutely amazing acoustics. The theater is known for premiering many popular operas, especially many of Giuseppe Verdi’s. 

Book a ticket for the La Scala Museum tour, and get to see the famous stages, regal interior, and stunning crystal chandelier.

Note: You can extend your stay in Milan to day 5, and take a day trip to Lake Como and Bellagio.

Day 5 Northern Italy itinerary – Have a scenic escape in Lake Como

Lake Maggiore and Como offer the ideal tranquil getaway from the Lombardy Region’s bustling cities. Although Lake Maggiore is slightly bigger, the large lake doesn’t get as much tourist traffic as its counterpart. 

Panoramic view of Cernobbio town (Como Lake, Italy)

Here are a few ways you could spend your day in Lake Como.

Stroll through Como Town

Visiting Lake Como is one of the most popular day trips numerous tourists take from Milan, and it’s not hard to see why. 

But you can’t visit Lake Como without first making a stop at the picturesque city that gives the lake its name. 

Spend some time walking along the city’s gorgeous waterfront promenade, exploring its museums, and visiting famous churches like the stunning Como Cathedral.

Explore Lake Como

Surrounded by rolling green hills, picturesque old towns, and beautiful lakeside mansions, Lake Como is one of the idyllic places to visit in Italy. 

You can enjoy the upscale resort area and its beautiful scenery by taking a Lake Como cruise that ends with a stunning sunset. The lake also offers water sports opportunities, e-biking tours, and a lakeside dinner at a great restaurant.  

Take a trip to Varenna

Varenna is a small village sitting along the eastern shores of Lake Como. This idyllic old town offers views of colorful homes, medieval streets, and the gardens of Villa Monastero. It’s a great place to escape the high tourist summer season in Lake Como.

Varenna Village in Lake Como, Italy.

Visit Bellagio

Bellagio is another postcard-worthy old town on the shores of Lake Como. You can reach this gorgeous lakeside village via a 50-minute drive from Como Town. 

Once you arrive in Bellagio, hire a boat and take your own trip around the lake. End your day with a tasty meal at Ristorante Bilacus’s vine-covered terrace.

Tip: You can see the best of Lake Como, Varenna, and Bellagio with this day trip from Milan. The tour takes the most popular route to Lake Como, dotted with scenic villas and gardens.

Day 6 Switzerland itinerary – Explore Geneva’s best attractions

From here onwards, you will make your way to Switzerland. You have the option to either arrive in Zurich or Geneva to kickstart sightseeing here.   

Geneva City Centre

Either way, we recommend starting early in the morning from Italy. Here is the travel time for each,

  • Bellagio or Milan to Zurich is 3 to 4+ hours by train
  • Bellagio or Milan to Geneva is 5 to 6+ hours by train 

As the capital of luxury watches and jewelry making, Geneva is a must-add to any Switzerland trip. This city boasts incredible views of the Swiss Alps, watchmakers, and many diplomatic headquarters to explore.

See the Jet d’Eau (Geneva Water Fountain)

Start this Switzerland trip with a visit to the star of Geneva Harbor. Shooting up to an altitude of 459 feet, Jet d’Eau is one of the largest fountains in the world. It is visible throughout the city and is one of the most iconic landmarks in Geneva.

Climb the tower of St. Pierre Cathedral

Nestled on the highest point of Geneva’s Old Town, St. Pierre Cathedral combines different architectural styles like Gothic and Ancient. The 12th-century cathedral boasts dramatic interiors and a tower you can climb for amazing views of the town.

Visit Palais des Nations + Red Cross Museum

As we touched on before, Geneva is home to several international headquarters, including the United Nations and the International Museum of the Red Cross. These buildings are of huge significance to all countries across the world and are perfect for taking pictures. 

Take a half-day trip to Chillon Castle (optional)

If you’re looking for something out of a fairytale, look no further than the Gothic-style Chillon Castle. 

Chillon Castle Switzerland bucket list
Chillon Castle in Switzerland

Sitting on an island on Lake Geneva, this medieval castle boasts exhibitions across 36 gorgeous rooms and courtyards. 

Where to stay in Geneva: 

  • Fairmont Grand Hotel Geneva: This is a stunning 5-star lakeside property located in the heart of Geneva. It has about 400+ rooms and is elegantly decorated. Plus it is only a 2-minute walk away from the ferry terminal. Hotel amenities include a pool, spa, and a bar & restaurant. Book your stay here
  • Hôtel des Tourelles: Hôtel des Tourelles is an affordable 2-star hotel, located about 10 minutes walk away from the city centre area. At less than $120 USD a night, this hotel serves its purpose. The hotel is pet friendly. Book your stay here

Note: Start for Bern the next day. Geneva to Bern is less than 2 hours by train or drive. 

Day 7 Switzerland itinerary – Experience the best of Bern

Bern has been the de-facto Swiss capital since 1848. And although you’d expect the capital city to be either Geneva or Zürich, Bern has a rich culture and lots of things to do on offer.

Take a walking tour of Old Town Bern

The UNESCO-designated Old Town of Bern is a well-preserved medieval center dotted with sandstone buildings, cobblestone streets, and charming shops and cafes. 

Bern Old Town
Old Town Bern

Take a stroll through Bern’s Old Town and discover its fountains, towers, and arcades. 

Visit Einsteinhaus

Head over to Einsteinhaus to see where Albert Einstein lives with his wife and son. This modest museum on the second floor shows the humble abode where Einstein wrote his annus mirabilis papers, which drastically changed how humanity understands the universe. 

Inside Einstein House in Bern
Inside Einstein House in Bern

Marvel at the Cathedral of Bern

Bern Minster is the tallest cathedral in Switzerland, sporting a single spire that soars about 328 miles into the sky. 

Bern Cathedral
Bern Cathedral

After admiring the cathedral’s Gothic architecture, you can take the 400-odd-step climb to the top of the tower for panoramic views of the city.  

Stop by the Bern Historical Museum + Einstein Museum

Visiting Bern Historical Museum is a quintessential must-do activity when spending one day in Bern

The museum boasts a range of historical and ethnographic collections dating back to the Stone Age. 

It’s also connected to the Einstein Museum, where you can browse through photos, objects, and documentation of the physicist’s time in Bern.

Fun Fact: Albert Einstein spent seven years of his life in Bern, so you’ll find a deep connection between many of the city’s attractions and the physicist.

Note: We recommend leaving for Interlaken by evening. Trains and road trips will take about an hour to get there. 

Where to stay in Interlaken: 

  • Hotel Interlaken: Hotel Interlaken is a vintage hotel, dating back to the 1400s. It offers a variety of amenities for a comfortable stay in Interlaken. The hotel has free parking and is a good option if you are road-tripping. And the train station is 10 minutes walk away. Check availability here
  • Hotel Staubbach: Hotel Staubbach is one of the first hotels in Lauterbrunnen. Suites feature amazing panoramic views of the Staubbach Falls and Lauterbrunnen Valley. You can choose your accommodation from a private room with a shared bathroom or larger family-friendly rooms. Book your stay here

Day 8 and 9 Switzerland itinerary – Escape to the resort town of Interlaken

Surrounded by gorgeous mountains with dense forests, lakes, alpine meadows, and icy glaciers, Interlaken offers a great escape from Switzerland’s busier cities. 

Enjoy a cruise on Lake Thun

On the west of Interlaken, Lake Thun is a gorgeous deep blue waterbody popular for windsurfing, sailing, and sunbathing. 

Oberhofen village on the lake Thun, Switzerland
Lake Thun, Switzerland

The picturesque town also boasts stunning medieval architecture like Thun Castle, which you’ll have unobstructed views of from your boat cruise.

Marvel at Harder Kulm

Harder Kulm is one of the biggest draws on any Switzerland itinerary. The panoramic restaurant offers sweeping views of the valley floor, the two lakes, and the Swiss Alps in the distance. 

You can either take a short hike or ride a funicular (cable car) to the top.

Take a train ride to Schynige Platte

Enjoy a scenic train ride to the Schynige Platte, passing forests, alpine pastures, and marvelous views of Lake Thun and Brienz. 

The cogwheel train ride is about 4.5 miles and climbs to a height of nearly 4659 feet. You’ll enjoy spectacular views from the top. 

Go on a half-day trip to Jungfraujoch

Famously known as the top of Europe, Jungfraujoch is a saddle between two peaks of the Bernese Alps. 

Swiss Alps
Swiss Alps as seen in Jungfraujoch

Sitting at 11,362 feet above sea level, Jungfraujoch is a major feat to tick off your Switzerland trip bucket list

Catch this scenic ride to the top of Europe from the Interlaken Ost train station. 

Note: Leave for Zurich on day 9 (in the evening). Settle in with a nice dinner at the Old Town.

Day 10 Switzerland itinerary – End your Italy-Switzerland itinerary on a high in Zürich

As the economic capital and the largest city in Switzerland, Zürich is a great place to end this amazing trip. Admire the city’s architecture and see what its galleries and museums have to offer.

Where to stay in Zurich: 

Stroll through the Altstadt (Old Town)

Start your day in Zürich with a leisurely stroll through the city’s medieval Old Town. Its elegant streets are dotted with colorful homes, cozy bars, and art museums like the Kunsthaus. 

Zurich Old Town

You’ll also get to see the colossal Fraumünster Church.

Visit the Swiss National Museum

Sitting across the Zürich HB train station, the Swiss National Museum is home to a vast collection of cultural history, craftsmanship, and artworks from Switzerland’s past. 

A visit to the museum is a great way to learn more about the country.

Alternate Italy and Switzerland Itinerary 10 days

Here is an alternate Italy-Switzerland itinerary that can be explored by public transport, and also includes a scenic train ride.

Girl at the Milan Cathedral
Milan Cathedral

Day 1 and 2 in Milan (Italy)

Start your trip by exploring Milan for 2 days. Visit Milan’s iconic Duomo, Vittorio Emanuele II, see the Last Supper, and Sforzesco Castle, and enjoy shopping and art walks. 

Day 3: Day trip to Lake Como and Bellagio (Italy) 

Visit Lake Como and the famous town of Bellagio from Milan on a day trip. You can also join a day tour to check out all the highlights

Day 4: Milan to Switzerland via the Bernina Express

Spend day 4 of the itinerary to travel to Switzerland in style by riding the scenic Bernina Express. From Milan, you will arrive in Tirano, located at the foothills of the Swiss Alps. 

Vineyard and the Alps in Chur, the oldest city in Switzerland
Vineyard and the Alps in Chur, the oldest city in Switzerland

The Bernina Express leaves from Tirano and arrives in St. Moritz in Switzerland. For the purposes of this itinerary, plan to disembark in Chur. 

This route can be done in both ways and makes for an unforgettable experience.

To make the most of your trip in Switzerland, we recommend purchasing the Swiss Travel Pass to get unlimited rides on the public transportation network like trains, buses, ferries, and free access to over 500 museums. 


Get unlimited rides on trains, trams, buses, and boats throughout Switzerland with an all-in-one Swiss Travel Pass!

Buy it online, show your e-ticket on your phone, and start your Swiss Adventure with ease and stay on budget!

Train rides such as Bernina and Glacier Express require an additional cost for seat reservation, but with the Pass, it is 1000% worth it. 

Stay overnight in Chur (or St. Moritz). 

Day 5: Chur

Chur is the oldest city in Switzerland, making it an ideal destination for history buffs. The Old Town area is a great way to explore the city’s past, with its winding cobblestone streets and medieval buildings. 

There are also plenty of museums and churches to visit, such as the Cathedral of Chur, Rätisches Museum, Shelter for Roman Ruins, and the Alt-Haldenstein Castle. 

You can spend a few hours in Chur before making your way to Zurich. 

Day 6 and 7: Zurich

See the best of Zurich in 2 days. Keep Zurich as a base to explore other destinations in Switzerland for the remainder of your itinerary. 

Limmat River view

In Zurich, enjoy a lovely riverside stroll along the Limmat River. This scenic route is one of the most popular spots in Zurich. 

You can easily walk through Old Town, which is the medieval heart of Zurich. 

Stop by Grossmünster, a 12th-century Romanesque-style church with two tall spires that dominate the city skyline. 

Next, visit Bahnhofstrasse for some of the best shopping in Switzerland. Here you’ll find world-famous fashion brands as well as high-end jewelry stores and boutiques.

During your trip, also visit the FIFA and the Swiss Museum of Transport. 

Day 8: Lucerne and Mount Titlis

Go on a day trip to Lucerne and Mount Titlis from Zurich. Located in the heart of Switzerland, Lucerne is a vibrant city on the banks of Lake Lucerne, filled with medieval architecture, boutique shopping, and world-class restaurants. 

Girl in Lucerne - Is Lucerne worth visiting

From here, you can take a cable car or funicular to Mount Titlis, the highest mountain in Central Switzerland. Atop the summit, explore an array of Alpine activities, such as paragliding, hiking, and skiing. 

For those seeking a more leisurely activity, there is also an observation deck with stunning views of the surrounding area. 

Mount or Mt Titlis in Switzerland near Engelberg
Mount or Mt Titlis in Switzerland near Engelberg

Lucerne and Mount Titlis are two must-see destinations for anyone looking to experience the beauty of Northern Italy and Switzerland.

Day 9: Bern

Arrive in Bern from Zurich train station, and explore it for a day. Almost all of the primary attractions in Bern are centrally located making it easy to navigate and make the most of the visit. 

The beautifully preserved Old Town of Bern should be top on your list. Here you’ll find cobbled streets flanked by 16th-century buildings that are now used as shops and cafes. 

The city’s centerpiece is the clock tower called Zytglogge – a must-see when visiting Bern. Other destinations include the Einstein Museum, Münster Cathedral, and the Bern Historical Museum. 

Bern Old Town

If you’re looking for a bit of culture, make sure to check out some of Bern’s many galleries and theaters. And while you’re in Bern, be sure to enjoy some of its delicious local dishes such as rösti or fondue!

For your outdoor needs, take a stroll through the Aare River Gorge, where you can explore historical monuments and beautifully landscaped gardens. 

There are also plenty of outdoor activities to keep you entertained like hiking, kayaking, and cycling. Spend a few hours at the nearby Bear Park, where you can get up close and personal with Switzerland’s national animal!

The Bern Bears in the new Bern Bear Pit. The Pit houses the famous Bern bears that gave the Swiss capital city its name.
Bern Bears in the new Bern Bear Pit

No trip to Bern is complete without visiting one of its many parks or gardens. The Rose Garden is especially beautiful in summer, while Bundesplatz, an old public square, is great for people-watching. 

Day 10: Rhine Falls 

Taking a day trip to the Rhine Falls is an adventure that should not be missed when visiting Switzerland. 

Located only about 60 minutes from Zurich, the largest waterfall in Europe provides some of the most beautiful views and opportunities for exploration and relaxation.

Rhine Falls and Laufen Castle in Schaffhausen

When planning your visit you will want to decide whether you’d like to make the journey by train or by car. If you decide to use public transportation, it is possible to take a direct train from Zurich main station to Neuhausen am Rhinefall, or drive 35 minutes to get there.

Day tours are also offered on this route!

Once at the falls, you can enjoy free parking as well as easy access to all areas of the site – including its many observation decks overlooking the impressive cascading water.

The Rhine Falls are open all year round and offer a wonderful experience for visitors of all ages. 

Italy and Switzerland Itinerary: Fly to Rome, and fly out from Zurich

Although we focused heavily on Northern Italy in this post, it is possible to explore Rome and the Tuscan region on a short trip as well. 

Zurich in 10 days in Northern Italy and Switzerland Itinerary

For this, we recommend flying to Rome and leaving from Zurich in Switzerland. 

A typical itinerary will look like this,

  • Day 1 and 2: Rome
  • Day 3: Florence day trip (or extend 2 nights in Florence and visit Siena or Pisa)
  • Day 4 and 5: Visit and stay in Milan for 2 nights
  • Day 6: Train travel to Chur in Switzerland via Bernina Express (stay overnight in Chur)
  • Day 7: Explore Zurich for a day
  • Day 8 and 9: Interlaken and Jungfrau
  • Day 10: Bern (return to Zurich in the evening)

Switzerland and Italy Itinerary: Itinerary in reverse

You can do the same itinerary in reverse by starting in Zurich, the largest airport in Switzerland. 

  • Day 1 and 2: Fly to Zurich, explore for 2 days
  • Day 3: Bern day trip 
  • Day 4: Lucerne and Mount Pilatus day trip
  • Day 5: Train travel to Tirano in Italy via Bernina Express. Make connections from Tirano to Milan
  • Day 6 and 7: Visit and stay in Milan for 2 nights
  • Day 8: Explore Lake Como and Bellagio for a day (overnight in Milan)
  • Day 9 and 10: Travel to Rome and explore for the next 2 nights

Northern Italy and Switzerland itinerary Travel Tips

Now that we have covered all of our itinerary samples, here are some additional tips, 

Renting a car or using public transportation

It is a personal preference if you wish to explore by driving or riding the train (or any other public transportation). But keep in mind that most of the cities like Venice, Zurich, Bern, and Lucerne all have car-free city centres. 

In places like Lake Como, Milan or Interlaken cars are fine, but you will also find good public transportation options including guided tours to take you there. 

Savings tips

We highly recommend booking accommodation in advance for your trip to Italy and Switzerland. Hotels in Switzerland can be very expensive in the summer and winter months – so book early!

A Swiss Travel Pass for 4 days will be your best bet to save money in Switzerland if you are splitting your 10 days in each country equally. 

Milan Train Station

For Italy, use websites like Trenitalia to make reservations prior to your trip. To save time, opt for high-speed trains that connect cities like Rome, Milan, Venice, and Florence. 

Bernina Express is a great add-on to your itinerary to experience the BEST of both countries. The entire route takes 4 hours to complete and has multiple stops along the way. 

Best time to visit Italy and Switzerland

Both countries are perfect for a visit all year round. 

If possible, it’s best to plan your trip for the early summer or fall months when temperatures are milder. This also allows you to experience the breathtaking scenery of the Alps throughout Switzerland and northern Italy in all its glory.  

Winter in the swiss alps, Switzerland

The Swiss Alps is a world-renowned geographical feature that attracts skiers, climbers, and snow lovers from across the world. Straddling the border between Italy and Switzerland, the pyramid-shaped Matterhorn peak is perhaps the most famous of the Swiss Alps.

Although you can see the Alps from Lake Geneva, just a few hours from Interlaken and Zurich, you can spot stunning views of the Matterhorn from the Swiss town of Zermatt. Zermatt is a must-add when you visit Switzerland in winter!

Note: Both countries are located in the Central European Time zone

Should you visit Switzerland and Italy?

Italy and Switzerland are two of the most visited countries in Europe, and it’s easy to see why. From stunning Italian villages to lakeside resorts in Switzerland, you will find the perfect blend of natural and cultural attractions.

And this 10-day itinerary has got all you’ll want to see and do in this region. So don’t wait, plan your next trip to Italy and Switzerland!

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10-day Northern Italy and Swiss Itinerary: Italy & Switzerland days 1 to 10

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