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How to Spend 3 Days in the Swiss Alps

How to Spend 3 Days in the Swiss Alps

Three days in the Swiss Alps are just enough time to take in the highlights of this scenic part of Europe. Interlaken and Lucerne make convenient basecamps from which you can hike or ski, savor the views from some of Europe’s highest peaks, and enjoy an epic train ride through the mountains. Here’s how to do it.

Day 1: Lucerne and Mt. Pilatus

Against a backdrop of lush valleys, snowcapped peaks, and glittering lakes, Lucerne is an ideal starting point for your Swiss Alps explorations. Head out on the popular Golden Round Trip, which includes a boat cruise, a ride on Europe’s steepest cogwheel railway to the summit of Mt. Pilatus, and a cable car ride back down. Then, spend the evening strolling around the atmospheric Old Town before dining on a traditional cheese fondue at one of the lakeside restaurants.

Day 2: The GoldenPass Panoramic

Running all the way from Lucerne to Montreux, the GoldenPass Panoramic is considered one of Switzerland’s most beautiful train journeys. With limited time, opt to ride the short section between Lucerne and Interlaken—a route full of photo ops as the train climbs over the Brünig Pass, offering views over Lake Lungern, Lake Brienz, and the Bernese Alps.

After you arrive in Interlaken, spend the rest of the day outdoors. A boat cruise across Lake Brienz or Lake Thun is a must, but you’ll also find ample opportunities for hiking, skiing, and water sports. Adrenaline junkies can even try their hand at skydiving or paragliding.  

Day 3: Europe’s highest railway

On your final day, take a voyage to the “Top of Europe”—the 11,332-foot (3,454-meter) summit of Jungfrau mountain, where an observatory affords panoramic views over the Aletsch Glacier as well as the French and German Alps. Getting to the Jungfrau involves taking multiple trains, so book a day trip from Interlaken to ensure a hassle-free experience. Look for a tour that includes entrance to the Sphinx Observatory and stops in mountain towns such as Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen along the way. 

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5 Tours and Activities

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Jungfraujoch Top of Europe Day Trip from Interlaken
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Jungfraujoch Top of Europe Day Trip from Interlaken

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120
Enhance your experience of Jungfrau’s Alpine majesty on an exhilarating full-day excursion from Interlaken to the Top of Europe. Travel to Grindelwald and board the new state-of-the-art gondola Eiger Express to the Eiger Station. Then change into a cogwheel train up the Jungfraujoch pass and arrive at Europe’s highest railway station, known as the 'Top of Europe'. Absorb magnificent panoramas of snow-capped Alpine spires; gaze at the jagged peak of Europe’s largest glacier; and explore a fairytale ice palace while enjoying illuminating commentary from your guide.
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  • 7 hours 15 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$278.17
From
$278.17

Tandem Paragliding Experience from Interlaken

Tandem Paragliding Experience from Interlaken

star-5
837
Paraglide above the Swiss Alp peaks on a tandem flight with transport from Interlaken. At the launch spot in Beatenberg, listen to a safety talk with a small group of no more than 10 people, and then take off with a guide. Gaze down at Lake Thun and the snowy summits of the Jungfrau as you soar above the alpine landscape; the views are as breathtaking as the flight.
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$188.19
From
$188.19

Helicopter Skydiving in Interlaken

Helicopter Skydiving in Interlaken

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193
Surrounded by soaring mountain peaks including the Eiger, the Mönch, and the Jungfrau, Interlaken is a thrill-seeker’s dream destination. On this tour, take to the skies by helicopter with round-trip travel from your Interlaken hotel included, and experience the buzz of sky-diving in the foothills of the Swiss Alps. Soar to 14,000 feet (4,267 meters) above sea level and leap into the clear, blue yonder in tandem with your instructor.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$597.77
From
$597.77

Interlaken City Tour plus Harder Mountain (Top of Interlaken) Private Tour

Interlaken City Tour plus Harder Mountain (Top of Interlaken) Private Tour

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3
Discover the best of the Swiss alpine scenery from the city on this private tour of Interlaken. Follow a private guide along the banks of the Aare River and choose your own route to take in the attractions of most interest. Delve into Interlaken’s historic heart in the Höhenmatte, travel by public bus away from the tourist trail, or take the cable car to 4,337 feet (1,322 meters) above sea level for beautiful views over the surrounding peaks to shimmering Lake Thun.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$285.60
Price varies by group size
From
$285.60
Price varies by group size

Private Swiss Cheese and Chocolate Tour from Interlaken
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Private Swiss Cheese and Chocolate Tour from Interlaken

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3
If you want to discover the best Swiss chocolate and cheese without straying too far from Interlaken, this hassle-free day trip is the answer. With a guide, you’ll travel to the village of Gruyères for a picnic of traditional Swiss bites, than take a tour of a cheese makers where the village’s namesake cheese is produced. Sample and learn about chocolate at Maison Cailler Chocolaterie, and enjoy free time in the UNESCO-listed Swiss capital of Bern.
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  • 8 to 9 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$719.53
Price varies by group size
From
$719.53
Price varies by group size