Switzerland is full of breathtaking scenery, fascinating history, and wonderful attractions for you to explore during your vacation. Because it has accessible and easy-to-drive roadways, it is a prime destination for vacationers who choose to rent a car in Switzerland. Driving through the world-renowned mountains, valleys, and cities of this small European country is a truly satisfying experience that anyone will enjoy. From the comfort of your warm rental car, you can take in the pristine views of the white-capped Alps as you drive from bustling Bern past Lake Lucerne and its placid, sweeping views on your way to the Lauterbrunnen Valley, enjoying the many historical and cultural charms along the way.
Our 3-Day itinerary gives you an idea of where to look for fun and excitement so you can spend your time in Switzerland creating lasting memories with your loved ones instead of deciding what to do next. Stay as long as you'd like at the places you most enjoy and leave when an attraction loses your interest. Make sure you dress warmly, because even in the summer months, the mountains can be a bit chilly.
|3-Day Switzerland Road Trip Driving Distances|
|Section||Distance (Miles)||Estimated Time|
|Day 1: Exploring Bern||0||0|
|Day 2: Bern to Lucerne||57||1 Hour, 46 Minutes|
|Day 3: Lucerne to Lauterbrunnen||49||1 Hour, 14 Minutes|
The route around Lake Lucerne and the Lauterbrunnen Valley has tolls, so come prepared to pay them to avoid fines. From Bern, you will follow Route 10 east to connect with Route 2a toward Lucerne. To get to Lauterbrunnen from Lucerne, follow highway A8 south via the A2 until you arrive at Wilderswil. Take the road south through the Lauterbrunnen Valley and follow signs to Lauterbrunnen. We always recommend that travelers have all the traveling information and safety equipment they need, including warm clothes and extra food, before setting out on their journey.
Begin your excursion in the city of Bern, one of Switzerland's largest cities. The default capital of Switzerland, Bern offers so much for travelers to do and see that it is a fantastic place to start your road trip. Anyone interested in history will love the Old Town's 16th-century fountains and cathedral. Another point of interest is the Zytglogge, a medieval clock tower that has moving puppets and stands in Bern's city centre. It was built in the 13th century and has served the city as a prison, a guard tower, and a city clock over the last 8 centuries.
Also in the city centre is the Bern Minster, a 15th-century cathedral built in the Gothic style with imposing buttresses and noble arches. As the tallest cathedral in Switzerland, the Bern Minster is a must-see on your tour of the city. Once you've seen all the attractions you can handle in one day, head back to your hotel for a good night's sleep so you can enjoy the following days of your road trip.
As you get going on your second day, take route 10 on the west side of Bern east to Lucerne past the Emmental Valley and the cattle farms that sparsely spring up along its hills. The city of Lucerne has a history dating back to the fall of the Roman Empire, but it truly transformed into a center of Swiss culture in the 14th century when it became the fourth member of the Swiss Confederation, after the communes of Uri, Schwyz, and Unterwalden banded together in the late 13th century.
Besides the architecture and the spectacular views of Lake Lucerne in the surrounding area, the main attraction that Lucerne has on offer is the Kappelbrücke, or Chapel Bridge, which straddles the Reuss River. Though it is an amazing feat of engineering and is the oldest covered bridge in Europe, dating to 1333, the best feature of the Kappelbrücke is its interior. Inside, pedestrians can view numerous paintings that depict the history of Switzerland. These paintings date from the 17th century and are some of the few that survived a fire in the 1990s.
Night time in Lucerne is surprisingly vibrant and full of life. Bars and restaurants offer some delicious drinks and food -- some even have rooftop dining areas that provide impressive views of the city -- so you can recharge for your final day on the road.
There are a couple routes that you can take on your way past Lake Lucerne. If you would like to get to the Lauterbrunnen Valley more quickly, stay on the west side of the lake and take the A8 toward Interlaken for views from the high peaks down into the Lauterbrunnen Valley there. Apenzellerland to the east of Lake Lucerne is also great for photo opportunities in the villages and abundant hillsides that are characteristic of the area.
The striking village of Lauterbrunnen, which is nestled in the Lauterbrunnen Valley, gave J.R.R. Tolkien the inspiration for his Elven City of Rivendell in his Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Once you arrive there, it is easy to see why he would have wanted some of his most serene creations to live in a place like Lauterbrunnen.
There are quite a few sites that deserve a visit in and around Lauterbrunnen. The Lauterbrunnen Valley waterfalls give visitors a sense of the timelessness of the place and make for fantastic photo opportunities. The Trummelbach and Staubach Falls are truly majestic; going on a hike to see them gives travelers the chance to stretch their legs while taking in the surrounding natural beauty of the valley.
The Talmuseum Lauterbrunnen is also worth a mention, because it lets travelers learn about the early life and mountaineering history of the valley. More adventurous travelers also have the opportunity to go on skydiving and paragliding tours for some of the most awe-inspiring views of the mountainside. Traveling by train, you can also take a short trip to the small resort town of Wengen nearby at the foot of the Eiger, Monsch, and Jungfrau mountains. There are no cars in Wengen, with the exception of a few taxis and other commercial vehicles, so the town is quiet and pristine, making for a great final stop.
Once you've rested in the Lauterbrunnen Valley, you can make your way back north to Bern via the A6 to catch a flight to your next destination. It's a pretty fast drive, only taking about 50 minutes without traffic or construction. Alternatively, you can easily travel on to Zurich, doubling back on the A8 past Lake Lucerne. Whether you want to revisit some of the sights you saw the previous day, or new ones you didn't get a chance to see, you can reach wherever you're going in your rental car. When you have the means to go where you want, all you need is time.