With 2 weeks to explore Switzerland, you have a bit more breathing time, and you can take in some of the more esoteric destinations, such as Gruyères (of cheese fame) and Appenzell (capital of folkloric religion). The second week will also allow you to visit not only the cities previewed above, but also less touristy centers such as Basel.

Days 1 & 2: Geneva: Your Entry into Switzerland

On this trip, we enter Switzerland from its French-speaking western frontier, the international city of Geneva. If you arrive early enough, take our morning walking tour, which will allow you to see the highlights of the quays and the Old Town, including such attractions as the famous fountain, Jet d'Eau, trademark of the city. You can also explore Old Town landmarks like Place di Bourge-de-Four. In the afternoon visit Musée Ariana, one of Europe's top pottery and glass museums (allow less than an hour), and the Musée d'Art et d'Histoire (Museum of Art and History), with a fabulous collection covering everything from Swiss timepieces to Picasso. Allow an hour for a visit here. If time allows, duck into the Palais des Nations, former seat of the League of Nations. Overnight in Geneva.


On Day 2, while still based in Geneva, take a full-day tour of Lac Léman (Lake Geneva). Departures are at 9am daily, with a return at 8:45pm. You'll be back in Geneva in time for a late dinner.

Day 3: Montreux: Chief Resort of the Swiss Riviera

It's best to rent a car when you leave Geneva for this exploration of Switzerland. Drive 100km (62 miles) east from Geneva and you'll arrive at this chic resort on Lac Léman. Expect a balmy climate as you explore Château of Chillon, which Lord Byron wrote about in The Prisoner of Chillon. The château will be the man-made highlight of your visit. After lunch head for Rochers-de-Naye, at 2,042m (6,698 ft.), reached by cogwheel train from Montreux. One of the greatest vistas in all of western Switzerland unfolds at the top. That night, if you're a gambler, you can descend on Casino de Montreux.


Days 4 & 5: Vevey & Lausanne

In the morning, drive 6km (4 miles) northwest of Montreux, arriving in Vevey, the home of Nestlé chocolate. Many famous artists have lived here, and Charlie Chaplin chose it as his final residence. Start your exploration at Grand-Place, the large market square and town nerve center. All the museums are minor, but if you have time for one, make it Musée historique de Vevey, viewing its section on winemaker relics. Have lunch at Café de La Clef, where Jean Jacques Rousseau stayed in 1730, before continuing to Lausanne, which lies 18km (11 miles) to the west. Check in to a hotel in Lausanne for 2 nights.

In the afternoon explore Ouchy, the port area along the lakefront, especially the promenades, Quai de Belgique and Quai d'Ouchy. Filled with tropical plants, these gardens stretch for half a mile.


On the morning of Day 5, explore Lausanne's Haute Ville, or Upper Town. Allow 45 minutes for a visit. You will still have time for a visit to the Château de Beaulieu et Musée de l'Art Brut, a château from 1756 with a museum of paintings by the criminally insane. For a change of pace, take one of the lake steamers leaving every hour in summer, heading for Evian-les-Bains, one of the leading resorts of Lake Geneva (which lies across the French border). Along the way you can take in the beauty of the lake (Lac Léman is French). Once at Evian, you can walk its fashionable lakeside promenade before returning to your hotel in Lausanne for the night.

Day 6: Gruyères & Fribourg

Leave Lausanne in the morning and head 56km (35 miles) northeast to the small town of Gruyères, seat of the counts of Gruyères and known for its château and its famous cheese. The highlight of a visit here is the Château Gruyères, which is filled with art and antiques. Allow 1 hour for a visit. Allow another hour to visit the Fromagerie de Démonstration, a model dairy where the famed cheese is made. If you find yourself in Gruyères for lunch, and you're into cheese, order raclette. This traditional Swiss specialty is served all over town.


After lunch, continue on to Fribourg for the night, 35km (22 miles) north of Gruyères. You can stroll around this university city, set between lakes and mountains, and visit its major attraction, St. Nicholas's Cathedral. Allow 30 minutes. If time remains, duck into its Eglise des Cordeliers, a historic Franciscan church. Overnight in Fribourg.

Days 7 & 8: Murten & Bern

Leave Fribourg in the morning and drive 18km (11 miles) north to Murten. Allow an hour for a walk along its medieval ramparts, plus another 40 minutes to stroll its main street, Hauptgasse. You can also pay a 45-minute visit to the Musée Historique, installed in an 8th-century mill.


Remain in Murten for lunch then set out for Bern, the capital of Switzerland. Check in to a hotel for 2 nights. With the time remaining in the afternoon, visit the famous Bärengraben (Bear Pits), and the Cathedral of St. Vincent, with its celebrated tympanum over the main portal.

On the morning of Day 8, spend at least 1 1/2 hours in the Kunstmuseum (Fine Arts Museum), with its exceptional collection of world art dating from the 1300s. Before the morning ends, take our 2-hour walking tour of Altstadt. After lunch spend about an hour visiting the Historisches Museum Bern (Bern Historic Museum), followed by a tour of the Bundeshaus, a Renaissance palace housing the Swiss Parliament. To cap your visit, take the cable train to Mount Gurten at 844m (2,768 ft.) for one of the grandest panoramas in the area. Spend your final night in Bern by going to a famous old wine tavern, the Klötzlikeller.

Day 9: Solothurn & Basel


Leave Bern in the morning and drive 43km (27 miles) north to Solothurn. At the foot of the Jura mountains, Solothurn offers a rewarding 3 hours of exploration, as you visit its Old Town on the left bank of the Aare River, taking in its Cathedral of St. Ursus. With time remaining, call at the Kunstmuseum Solothurn (Municipal Fine Arts Museum), taking in such paintings as the Madonna of Solothurn by Holbein the Younger.

After lunch continue to drive north into Basel, a distance of 69km (43 miles). Try to visit Basel's two main attractions, the Zoologischer Garten Basel, one of the greatest zoos in the world, and Fondation Beyeler, one of Switzerland's finest museums of modern art. Overnight in Basel.

Days 10 & 11: Lucerne: Lake Tours & Mountain Vistas


From Basel, drive 96km (60 miles) southeast to the city of Lucerne. After checking in to a hotel for 2 nights, set out to conquer this lakeside town by spending 2 1/2 hours taking our walking tour, which covers the scenic highlights. In the afternoon, head to the Swiss Transport Museum, one of the finest museums of its kind in the world. If time remains, visit Neues Kunstmuseum (Modern Art Museum), with both a permanent collection and temporary exhibitions.

Spend all of Day 11 taking two of Switzerland's most popular mountain excursions: one to Mount Pilatus in the morning, the other to Rigi in the afternoon. 

Day 12: Appenzell: Strong on Folklore 


From Lucerne, drive 129km (80 miles) to Appenzell, the most folkloric town of northeastern Switzerland. Take about 2 hours to explore the town, doing some shopping along its Hauptgasse for regional handicrafts. Have lunch at Hof, before heading out in the afternoon to visit Ebenalp, a distance of 6km (4 miles). This jagged promontory at 1,620m (5,314 ft.) offers one of the most stunning panoramas of the Appenzell district. For an even grander look, visit Mount Säntis, the highest peak at 2,463m (8,079 ft.), for the single most spectacular view of eastern Switzerland. It's 14km (9 miles) west of Appenzell. Return to Appenzell for the night.

Days 13 & 14: Zurich

For your final look at Switzerland, head west from Appenzell for 99km (62 miles) to Zurich, the country's largest city. For general orientation, follow our two walking tours, which will take you into the Altstadt and along the historic quays by the Limmat River.


In the afternoon, pay a visit to one of the city's greatest attractions, the Landesmuseum (Swiss National Museum). This is your best introduction to the history and culture of the Swiss people.

On Day 14, your final day in Switzerland, see the stained-glass windows of the Fraumünster, admire the Romanesque and Gothic cathedral of Grossmünster, and spend some time at the Kunsthaus Zürich (Fine Arts Museum) viewing its treasure-trove of art.

After lunch, take in the Botanischer Garten, filled with works of the Impressionists. If enough time remains, take the mountain railway to Uetliberg for one of the great panoramic views of the area. Return to the city center for the night, perhaps spending it at Bierhalle Kropf, the city's most famous beer hall, serving hearty regional cuisine.


The next morning you'll find that Zurich has the best rail and air connections of any city in Switzerland, whether you're returning home or going somewhere else in Europe.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.