Everyone should complete a Swiss Alps road trip at some point, as you’ll never be able to believe the incredible views until you’ve witnessed them first hand. Take your motorhome to Switzerland for the ultimate road trip experience, climbing sharp peaks, parking by lakes and savouring delicious fondue! Camping in Switzerland will allow you to immerse yourself in nature and escape the bustle of daily life and technology. And to reduce stress levels further, here is our Switzerland self drive itinerary, so all you have to do is organise your campervan hire and begin!
Be sure to plan enough time in for your trip, as you may wish to stay longer in certain places. This is one of the top perks of motorhome travel, the flexibility it provides. So consider not booking campsites too far in advance, and ensuring you've arranged long term motorhome hire!
Day 1 - Zurich
A visit to Switzerland would not be complete without a stop in this world renowned city. Now we’ve only planned in one day, but we wouldn’t blame you for taking 2-3 days to explore Zurich. There are plenty of things to do in Zurich, and we’ve included a few of our top picks below. You can either drive to Zurich in your motorhome, or if you’re pressed for time simply fly into Zurich Airport. It is Switzerland’s largest airport with plenty of options from across the globe.
Things to do in Zurich:
- Head to Lake Zurich to walk the Lake Zurich Promenade. You’ll get to savour the incredible architecture and witness daily life bustling by. You can also take a boat ride on the lake, or to the connecting Limmat River. You can explore the entire city via it’s waterways, and stay cool while doing so!
- A classy city like Zurich has to feature great museums, and one of these is the Kunsthaus Zurich. Grasp this opportunity to witness a variety of art pieces from numerous renowned Swiss artists, as well as works from world-wide names such as Gogh, Rembrandt and Picasso. It also features more interactive exhibits, creating an experience unique to other art galleries.
- If you’re not quite culturally satisfied after the Kunsthaus, make a tour of the numerous historic churches dotted across Zurich. From the Romanesque Grossmunster church, to the 8th century St. Peter church, you’ll find a wide variety of choices!
- Need a few last minute items for your Switzerland road trip? Perhaps a warm jumper for those fresh camping evenings in Switzerland. Head to Bahnhofstrasse, a main street with plenty of shopping options.
- Staying for more than one day? Make a day trip from Zurich to Uetliberg, which is possible with a Swiss Half Fare Card or a Swiss Travel Pass. This mountain peak offers an incredible view of Zurich, and further to the alps in the distance. You can either take a cable car or hike, and it’s considered a manageable track. Treat yourself to something delicious at the restaurant at the peak!
Staying at: Fischers Fritz. Situated alongside Lake Zurich, this spacious campsite will allow you to stay close to the city. If you’re hungry for a celebratory meal, try the delicious seafood restaurant onsite.
Price: Starting from CHF 18.50/ £15 per night.
Day 2 - Zurich to Lucerne
Driving time: 48 minutes
Once you’ve had your fill of Zurich, drive the short distance to Lucerne. Many consider Lucerne to be one of the prettiest cities in the world since its establishment in the 9th century. Have your camera charged, as you'll be snapping away endlessly.
Things to do in Lucerne:
- Lucerne is constructed on the banks of Lake Lucerne, so be sure to take a boat trip onto the gloriously blue waters. You can also take the Golden Round Trip, which begins on the lake and then moves to a cogwheel railway up to the summit of Mt Pilatus. You can descend using the cableway and gondolas, and then grab a bus back to Lucerne.
- Chapel Bridge is a must see during your time in Lucerne. Most likely built in the 14th century, it was sadly partially destroyed in 1993. It has since been rebuilt and is still a sight to behold. It links the Aldstadt to the right bank of the Reuss River.
- The Dying Lion Monument consists of a collapsed lion laying on broken symbols of the French monarchy, with a pond before it. The monument honors the tragedies of the French Revolution in 1792, when approximately 700 Swiss Guards were massacred during and after the storming of the Tuileries Palace.
Staying at: TCS Camping Luzern-Horw. Perfectly located outside of the city with easy access to the highway, you’ll find plenty of rest after your busy day. Free WIFI and power, to ensure you’re camping in Switzerland is in ultimate comfort.
Price: starting from CHF 15/ £12
Day 3 - Lucerne to Interlaken
Driving time: 1 hour, 4 minutes
A nice drive to start your day, primarily following the A8 which will take you past numerous lakes and between mountains. You’ll know once you’ve reached Interlaken, as it feels like being transported back to a medieval fairytale. This little town is located between two lakes and surrounded by lush forests and mountains. It is the epitome of Swiss culture, with plenty of hiking and skiing opportunities.
Things to do in Interlaken:
- Roll up your sleeves and prepare for an Interlaken adventure! Soar to new heights by paragliding or skydiving, or conquer the waves with speed boating or river rafting. Prefer solid ground beneath you? Enjoy an afternoon spent mountain biking.
- Visit the Jungfraujoch railway, which was built between 1896 and 1912, and takes you to the highest railway station in Europe.
- Beside Lake Thun you’ll find the St Beatus Caves. Local legend claims that the dragon of these caves was kicked out by the Irish monk Beatus in the 500s. The cave system left is phenomenal, featuring a waterfall as well. There is also a restaurant and museum!
- Head to the neighbouring town of Unterseen. Not quite in Interlaken, but this small medieval town is worth a visit! There is plenty of history to explore and learn from, and it is less touristy than Interlaken.
- Explore the Weissenau Nature Reserve, a stunning wetland ideal for walking. You’ll also find the ruins of Weissenau Castle, built in the 1200s.
Staying at: Manor Farm Holiday Park. A spacious campsite featuring plenty of accomodation options and spotless facilities. There’s something for everyone here, from a cosy restaurant to playground equipment.
Price: starting from CHF 12.50 / £10
Day 4 - Interlaken to Bern
Driving time: 1 hour
No Switzerland road trip itinerary is complete without Bern! The capital city of Switzerland, Bern is filled with history, stunning architecture and plenty to do. The sprawling city stretches out before you, and if you’re more of an urban dweller you may wish to plan in more nights in Bern.
Things to do in Bern:
- Visit Bern’s Old Town to enjoy the covered shopping area. It is built on a cliff beside the Aare River and features a variety of activities and delightful cafes.
- The true beauty of Switzerland lies in its subtle fusion of nature and urban, the respect for natural beauty and how it is encompassed in daily life. The Rosengarten personifies this as a city park with over 400 species of floral diversity, views of the city around and a delicious restaurant.
- You’ll certainly hear it while there, but be sure to also visit the famous clock tower of Zytglogge. Located in Bern’s Old Town, it is a tribute to the clock making history of Switzerland, and features this through the design. Over 800 years old, and you wouldn’t guess it! Be sure to visit in time for the hour change, when moving puppets make an appearance.
- Take an hour to visit the Cathedral of St. Vincent. Also known as the Berner Munster and the Bern Cathedral, this esteemed historic artefact was built over the course of 470 years. It features art across the centuries, and the terrace is also a view to behold.
Staying at: Camping Eichholz. Located within the city, this Swiss campsite is run by a friendly staff. It is possible to rent bikes, with the first four hours free. Located by a river, it is possible to rinse off after a warm day of exploring!
Price: CHF 26/ £21
Parking a motorhome in a city can be difficult, so be sure to check out some motorhome parking tips and practice before you go!
Day 5 - Bern to Montreux
Driving time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
From Bern, take the A9 until the exit for the A12/E27. Follow this for 84km until the turning off for Route 1/Route 12. This will lead you all the way to Montreux, a sleepy small town near Geneva. Known as the Swiss Riviera, Montreux is known for its short summers, warmer temperatures throughout the year and annual Jazz Festival.
Things to do in Montreux:
- If possible, time your trip for the annual Jazz Festival. This converts the town into a cultural hub, and is the best way to enjoy the warm summer evenings. A true highlight for your Swiss Alps road trip.
- Grab Charlie and hurry on over to the Chocolate Factory! Or at least take a ride on the famous Swiss Chocolate Train, delicious!
- Unlucky enough to be in Montreux during winter, so that you miss the Jazz Festival? We have something just as good in mind! Take the lantern trail of Les Pleiades, following a trail through the landscape that has been painstakingly lit.
- Ever explored a glacier? Now is your chance! Take a cable car up and then ride the Alpine Coaster, a bus that will take you right to Glacier 3000. Brave the world’s first suspension bridge, and reward yourself with some delicious Swiss delicacies at a restaurant. You’ll feel on top of the world, probably because you are!
- Head to the nearby Chapin’s World. This is the only museum in the world displaying the illustrious film career of Charlie Chaplin. It is only 15 minutes away from your campsite, so the perfect end to your day!
Staying at: Camping des Horizons Bleus. Wake up to a stunning view of Lake Geneva, and take advantage of the luxurious facilities offered. Camping in Switzerland at it’s finest!
Price: starting from 17 CHF / £14.00
If you’d like to visit Geneva as well, this would be the best point to divert your route! It’s only 1 hour and 15 minutes from here following the A9 and A1. Certainly worth a visit, but given that it is hidden in the bottom corner of Switzerland, it will lengthen your trip significantly.
Day 6 - Montreux to Zermatt
Driving time: 1 hour, 58 minutes
The longest drive yet, with the last part taking you up into the mountainous terrain of Zermatt. Be aware that this isn’t the easiest of drives, so be sure to head out on time so that you can arrive with daylight and time to rest. Zermatt is a delightful resort city tucked away in southern Switzerland and has a reputation for having the best views of and access to the Matterhorn.
Things to do in Zermatt:
- A prime skiing destination, pull on your fluffiest socks and head out to the slopes! It’s a safer skiing destination than the Matterhorn, and features a high altitude, multiple glaciers and year round possibilities. Be sure to enjoy apres ski at one of the numerous restaurants afterwards.
- Not a ski bunny? Still visit the top using the cable car, to witness incredible views.
- Take the Gornergrat Railway to witness this impressive set up and experience views like no other!
- Take a walking tour through the village! A one and a half hour tour, you can finish it off with a delicious warm drink in one of the various cafes.
Staying at: Camping Zermatt. A homely campsite surrounded by peaks and forests, it offers sanitary facilities and more.
Price: starting from 13 CHF / £11
It can be hard to stay on budget on your motorhome holiday, so be sure to check out our tips!
Day 7 - Zermatt to Brig
Driving time: 41 minutes
Skirting along the border with Italy, Brig will be the most unique stop on your Switzerland road trip itinerary. A small town with a fascinating history, spend a night in Brig and break up the long drive to Lugano.
Things to do in Brig:
- Cross the Simplon Pass, a mountain pass of 2005m that link Brig with Domodossola in Italy. It was used in the 17th century to transport salt by mule, but now you can thankfully cross it by car or train.
- Explore the Stockalper Palace, you can enter for free and roam around the main court, baroque gardens and more.
- For a good meal and drink, head to Couronne Bar Restaurant. Centrally located, you’ll find this restaurant in an exquisite old building with turrets. The street view is ideal for people-watching as well.
- Take a soak at Thermal Camping Brigerbad. Release all the driving tension that has built up over this Switzerland road trip in a motorhome. Either enjoy the public pool or rent a private one, and consider a massage to round it all off!
Staying at: Camping Geschina. Conveniently located near the E62, this small campsite is a calm oasis after busy days of driving. Fall asleep to the sounds of the nearby river, and watch the sunset over the mountainous view.
Price: starting from 15 CHF / £13
Day 8 - Brig to Lugano
Driving time: 3 hours
The final stop in our Switzerland road trip itinerary! Inches away from Italy, the wonderful city of Lugano has a delightful Italian air about the city. Positioned across a hilly region, it features an unbeatable view of a lake and the alps in the distance.
Things to do in Lugano:
- Head out onto Lake Lugano. This glacial lake reaches the steep edge of mountains surrounding, and can be crossed by boat or ferry. You could almost consider it to be international waters, as you’ll be able to flit between Italy and Switzerland!
- Your final day in Switzerland deserves to be celebrated in true Swiss style; with a hike! Monte San Salvatore is just classified as a mountain, at just over 900m. Hike to the top within an hour, and if required, take the cable car back down!
- Visit the neighbouring village of Gandria. These quaint cobblestoned streets hold a dark past, as this home to a major smuggling operation only a century ago. You wouldn’t know it now, and the sloping houses and Church of St Viglio will provide a tranquil afternoon stroll.
Staying at: Camping Lugano Lake. A mere 10 minutes from the centre, this campsite will have you perfectly situated to explore the area. It is situated in a national park, and you’ll be able to make use of the private beach.
Price: starting from 18 CHF / £15
Getting Home from Switzerland
And there we have it, the end of our Switzerland self drive itinerary. While there are plenty of other great destinations in Switzerland, we sadly could not include them all. From here you can either drive home, or head back to Zurich using the A2 and A4. You can catch a flight from there. You could also choose to head to Geneva now, and catch a flight from Geneva International Airport.
Your Swiss Alps road trip itinerary has come to a close, encompassing many of the best destinations in Switzerland. This is the ideal motorhome road trip to ensure the ultimate comfort and freedom while exploring this unique country. Have we missed any vital destinations? Let us know!