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Trip List by Shannah K

Switzerland & Italian Alps in 9 days

Mar 1, 2013  Limited vacation time and wanting to see as much as I can!
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An itinerary I created for a 9 day whirlwind road tour of Switzerland. Every day was a new adventure in a new place.

  • Explore locations featured in this Trip List: Zurich, Bormio, Bellagio, Interlaken, Gstaad, Montreux, Veytaux, Chamonix
  • Category: Roadtrip
  • Traveler type: Sightseeing, Active/Outdoors
  • Appeals to: Couples/romantics, Singles, Families with teenagers, Active/adventure, Tourists
  • Seasons: Summer, Fall
  • 1. Zurich

    We arrived in Zurich, and rented a car at the airport. We rented a GPS (after a previous disaster trying to navigate Rome without a GPS, we thought we'd take one this time - very glad we did!).
    We visited the Old Town, as well as the riverside shops, which our airbnb local hosts suggested as the main destinations for visiters.
    Be sure to visit the Sprungli restaurant and attached chocolate shoppe - the other half of Lindt and Sprungli!
    The Coop supermarkets and mini-markets became our one-stop shop for everything in Switzerland, and we usually had a sandwich from there for lunch, which was consistently of high quality. The Coop brand chocolates (specifically the milk and dark Gianduja) were really cheap, and better than any other supermarket chocolate I found, especially if you don't like your chocolate to be too sweet. At about $1 for 100g, I prefer it to lindt and it's so much cheaper! I only wish I brought more home :P

  • 2. Drei Stuben
    Drei Stuben, Zurich

    We had the best Rosti of our trip here, and my partner is still raving about their meatloaf 6 months later! It's off the tourist-trodden area, a more local restaurant.

  • 3. Davos, Switzerland

    Day 2 started with a drive to Davos. Unfortunately we were in Davos on a Sunday, and by the time we'd arrived, the bike rental stores were all closed. Instead of mountain biking, we walked the mountain trails. It's a great place to go to the mountain top trails, the terrain in Davos is like nowhere I've seen before.
    We drove to Monstein in the evening for dinner at Hotel Ducan - and it was definately the best decision we made for the whole day - Monstein is a town worth visiting, with old log cabins and more traditional swiss architecture.

  • 4. Bormio
    Bormio, Province of Sondrio

    Day 3 - the day long drive. Our reason for this whole trip - to drive the Stelvio pass. We spent about 6 hours in the car for this one.
    We started along the Fluelapass exiting Davos, this road being if anything, equally or more beautiful than the Stelvio area. We saw several Marmots along the way. We eventually reached a tunnel, that takes about 20 minutes within the tunnel to reach the Italian border. Following this, the terrain changed drastically from barren rocky mountains and valleys, to forested towering mountain ranges. The terrain was spectacular all the way from Davos to Bormio on this route.
    We drove through several charming Italian towns with very narrow streets before reaching Bormio.
    We checked into our hotel (a pleasant stay at the Bagni Nuovi), then continued our drive towards Stelvio. The Stelvio Pass was as impressive and enjoyable to drive as we had expected. We ate lunch in Stelvio, then returned to Bormio and spent the rest of the afternoon at the hotel's Spa, then had dinner in the town. In retrospect, the Bagni Nuovi restaurant was so beautiful and had such a great dessert, that we wished we had eaten dinner there instead. We found it difficult to find a place open for an early 8pm (italian time) dinner in the old town centre.

  • 5. Bellagio
    Bellagio, Lake Como

    Day 4 - We drove to Lake Como. We stopped in Varenna to explore before taking a ferry across to Bellagio. We had plenty of time to explore both towns, including the bird sanctuary near Varenna (worth a visit). We had a relaxing evening at an airbnb about 10 minute drive along the lake away from Bellagio.
    Had we had an extra day here, we'd have rented a boat on the lake, or taken the ferry to the many other towns along the lake.

  • 6. Versasca Valley & Dam

    The Versasca Dam near Locarno is pretty famous from the opening scene of the film Goldeneye, when James Bond bungees off the dam wall. We had an amazing time visiting this region.
    The place was difficult to find. Our GPS had a tough time getting us there... we kept thinking we must be in the wrong place as the GPS took us out to wineries and a small non-descript town, before we finally caught glimpse of a sign pointing to the direction of the famous Vesasca dam. Boy, were we glad we persisted in searching for the place!
    Firstly, you can arrange to bungee jump from the dam - they only do this on weekends during the low season, so I can't comment much more on that.
    We continued to drive beyond the dam, and found an enchanted region spotted with tiny towns of old stone-built dwellings and steeples. There isn't much tourist amenities beyond the dam, it would be wise to bring to snacks and lunch if you plan to spend a while here, which we certainly could have. We got too hungry to persist, but would have loved to have found a way to climb from the road down to the river had time permitted.
    Ultimately, we have no idea where that road leads, and we had to turn back the way we came to exit the valley.

  • 7. Interlaken
    Interlaken, Bernese Oberland

    On Day 5 we ended our day in Interlaken and spent the evening exploring the town. We took the "Sustenstrasse" route (from Bellagio via Versasca) which became a road that winds up and down the mountains. The day was overcast and we drove up to cloud level where it rained extensively, so visibility wasn't so good - but even in these conditions we got the impression that this mountain pass could compete with the beauty of the Stelvio pass. We stopped by Brienz and visited the free wildlife park on the way into town.
    On Day 6, we arranged to go hanggliding, which was the experience of a lifetime.
    An extra day would have been great here, as there is so much to see and explore in the surrounding nature - the mountains and the lake.

  • 8. Gstaad
    Gstaad, Saanen

    Gstaad is a lovely and popular tourist town we visited on the way to Montreux. Traditional swiss cottage architecture. We stopped by on the way to Montreux.

  • 9. Montreux
    Montreux, Canton of Vaud

    We spent Day 7-8 in Montreux. A busy lakefront town, there's plenty of shopping and a beautiful promenade along the lake. The nearby town of Vevey is also nice to visit.
    Beyond Vevey is the UNESCO heritage vineyards.

  • 10. Auberge de Sonchaux-Terravet
    Auberge de Sonchaux-Terravet, Veytaux, Canton of Vaud

    About 20 minutes drive from Montreux, you'll following a winding road up a mountain, and ascend to this beautiful restaurant overlooking Montreux and the lake. We had the cheese fondue here on recommendation from a Montreux local, and it was a great choice. This place is worth it for the drive and the view alone.

  • 11. Chamonix
    Chamonix, Haute-Savoie

    Another charming tourist town, mainly a ski resort in the winter. Chamonix was our final stop before departing from Geneva airport. Mont Blanc is beautiful, and there were several trails a short drive away to see a series of waterfalls (both above and underground).