Switzerland Solo Travel Guide

solo travel guide Switzerland
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Switzerland is famous for its mesmerizing mountain landscape, overflowing with natural beauty. See the well-preserved architecture in the medieval towns, admire the snow-capped peaks in the Alps, and sample the tasty cheese and chocolate.

Enjoy a scenic train ride through charming villages, or a thrilling cable car ride up high to a panoramic lookout. Keep reading below to see the best places to visit when traveling alone through Switzerland!

Solo Travel in Switzerland: Best Cities to Visit

Although Switzerland is recognized for its wonderful landscape, the core cities also have a lot to offer. Solo travelers can find themselves admiring the architecture of the Old Town, visiting the museums, and tasting the local delicacies. 

During a solo trip to Switzerland, visitors may choose to stay directly in the quaint mountain villages. Alternatively, many visitors find it more convenient to base their stay within a main city, while taking day trips or tours out to the mountains.

 

Zurich 

Switzerland solo travel itinerary

Chances are your journey in Switzerland will begin in Zurich, where most travelers arrive by train or plane. In addition to being a bustling transportation hub, Zurich is an excellent stop with many attractions to see. 

Take a stroll through Zurich’s Old Town, which sees the narrow streets weave through historic buildings, magnificent squares, and small cafes. Chocolate lovers will enjoy immersing themselves in the history and world of Swiss chocolate through the exhibits at the Lindt Home of Chocolate, a museum located slightly outside of the city.

 

Bern

senior woman traveling alone Swiss Alps

Switzerland’s capital city is brimming with medieval architecture that dates back to the 12th century. Nestled in the city center is the Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site surrounded by the Aare river.

Roam the narrow pedestrian streets through the historic buildings, various shops and landmarks until you encounter one of the city highlights, the Zytglogge whimsical clock tower. 

While you can get a good look at the fascinating clock from outside, another option is taking the tour which brings you inside the tower and up-close to the clock’s gears, figurines and skilfully-crafted details as you climb up to the viewing platform at the top.

The Aare River is bright blue, and forms a U-shape around the city’s core. Take a relaxing walk along the river banks, or admire the view from one of the many bridges overlooking the river.

 

Lucerne

solo travel Switzerland

This compact city in central Switzerland is nestled between Lake Lucerne and Mount Pilatus. With much beauty and charm, Lucerne’s image is that of the quintessential city in Switzerland.

Stroll along the timeless architecture, the beautiful lake, and the cozy coffee shops in the Old Town. You can’t miss the Chapel Bridge, the covered wooden footbridge that’s been an icon of the city since the 1300s. 

Located just outside of the city is Mount Pilatus, which is a top destination for a half-day trip. Admire the breathtaking scenery as you ride the cable car or cogwheel train, climbing over 6,000 feet above sea level to reach the summit. At the peak, relish the sweeping views of Lake Lucerne and the mountain ranges in the distance.

 

Basel

Switzerland solo tour

Basel is steeped in art and culture, with nearly 40 museums showcasing various specialty collections.

Step into the medieval Basel Paper Mill (Basler Papiermühle), a hands-on museum dedicated to the history of creating handmade paper and books. Uncover centuries of fine art at the Kunstmuseum Basel, or explore a vast display of kinetic art at the Museum Tinguely.

In the center of the Old Town, marvel at the eye-catching design of Basel’s Town Hall. The red building is adorned with beautiful frescoes and topped with a golden spire. The town hall is located in Marktplatz, Basel’s main square, which also has a small outdoor market with stalls selling local food items. 

 

Top Things to Do on a Solo Trip to Switzerland

best place to solo travel Switzerland

Although Switzerland’s core cities do have many attractions and intriguing sights to see, the country’s highlight is the striking scenery and mountains. Solo female travelers can easily venture out of the city to see the fantastic landscape. The extensive rail network is excellent for traveling between cities and regions.

Additionally, there’s many day tours that offer organized trips to a variety of different towns and sights, offering convenience, as well as the opportunity to visit many remote destinations in one day.

Keep reading below for some of the must-see attractions on a solo vacation to Switzerland. 

 

1. See the famous Matterhorn mountain from Zermatt.

visiting Matterhorn mountain by yourself

Famous for its chiseled pyramid silhouette, the Matterhorn has appeared on the Toblerone chocolate bar for decades. Essentially the gateway to the Matterhorn, Zermatt is a car-free resort town in the southern base of Switzerland.

The easiest way for solo travelers to get an up-close look at the Matterhorn, is by taking the Gornergrat Railway. The station is located right in the center of Zermatt, and the train takes you up to the Gornergrat Summit which offers a panoramic viewing platform. The train ride is an experience in itself, offering wonderful views of the mountain ranges during its ascent up 10,000 feet.

 

2. Take a dramatic cable car ride up to a panoramic observation deck.
Switzerland solo trip 

Hop in a cable car and enjoy the amazing scenery as you ascend to the top. The ride up to the peak is an intriguing experience as you look upon the mountain valley below. 

In addition to admiring the panoramic view, there’s often other activities to do at the top, depending on the destination. These include: enjoying a meal, taking a hike or walk, visiting an interactive information station, and walking on a suspension bridge or cliff walk. 

Some of the popular cable car rides include: Titlis Rotair in Engelberg, Schilthorn in Lauterbrunnen, and Eiger Express in Grindelwald.

 

3. Experience a scenic train journey through the Swiss Alps and countryside. 

solo train travel Switzerland

Sit back and relax as you journey through the Swiss landscape. As the train weaves through the countryside, watch the breathtaking views right from your seat. Throughout the ride, you’ll come across glistening views of the quaint villages, crystal blue lakes, and green rolling hills.

The three most popular scenic train rides are: Bernina Express, Glacier Express, and GoldenPass. They all operate different routes, depending on which fits best with your itinerary, or which areas you would like to see. 

Taking a train ride is an easy and comfortable way for solo women to see the breathtaking landscape and alpine scenery. 

 

4. See the Old Town and charm in the picturesque city of Lucerne.

Switzerland solo trip

The image of the city of Lucerne is like a snapshot out of a postcard. It’s a beautiful, compact city that sits between Lake Lucerne and Mount Pilatus. Marvel at the medieval architecture as you walk through the Old Town, and visit the famous landmark of the wooden footbridge which stretches across the Reuss river. 

There’s lots more to admire, including the beautiful setting of the lake. Enjoy a cruise along Lake Lucerne where you can see the stunning setting, with the backdrop of the surrounding mountains and lakeside towns. 

 

5. Visit the Jungfraujoch, also known as the “Top of Europe”.

traveling alone as a woman Swiss village

While the railway ticket may be on the pricier side, the Jungfraujoch is still a popular site for visitors to Switzerland. It is Europe’s highest railway station, surrounded by glaciers, white snow, and mountain ranges. Depending on your starting location, the journey to reach the Jungfraujoch may require a few different transfers followed by a cogwheel train ride up into the mountains.

For solo travelers staying in major cities such as Zurich or Lucerne, day tours to the Jungfraujoch are especially convenient. On the way to the mountains, you’ll leave the city behind and journey through the wonderful Swiss landscape and villages in the stunning Bernese Oberland region.

 

Getting Around Switzerland as a Solo Traveler

travel alone Switzerland

It’s quite easy to navigate the country if you’re traveling by yourself. Switzerland’s reliable public transportation system consists of trains that provide connections between various cities as well as cable cars that bring passengers up to various summits in the mountains. To get around within a city, there’s trams and busses. Many of the major city centers are also walking-friendly.

 

Arriving in Switzerland

The major rail station is Zurich HB in Zurich. If you’re coming by train from another country, it is likely at this station that you will be arriving in. From here, you can switch to a local train and carry on to your destination if it is a different city. If you’re flying into Switzerland and arriving from major airports such as in Zurich or Geneva, there are trains that can take you to the city center in less than 10 minutes.

Traveling Alone by Train in Switzerland

The majority of the train routes in Switzerland are operated by the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB). Timetables, route information, and various ticket options are available through their website. 

For single travelers that plan to use the public transportation network consistently during their visit, it might be worth it to purchase the Swiss Travel Pass. The Swiss Travel Pass offers unlimited travel on the extensive SBB network and most private railways for the period of days chosen (3, 4, 6, 8, or 15 days). 

 

how to travel solo in Switzerland

 

While most of the country’s routes are operated by the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB), certain local and regional routes are run by smaller private operators. Specific routes that you might encounter during your solo getaway are: 

  • RhB (Rhaetian Railway) which operates the Bernina Express and Glacier Express scenic train routes.
  • MOB (Montreux Oberland Bernois) which operates the GoldenPass scenic train route. 
  • Jungfrau Railway (Jungfraubahn) which operates the mountain rack railway bringing travelers up to Jungfraujoch, the highest railway station in Europe. 
  • Gornergrat Railway which operates the route of Zermatt up to the Gornergrat viewing platform showcasing the Matterhorn mountain. 

Overall, the rail system is a reliable and efficient way for solo travelers to connect between the different cities and towns. Several train routes also provide a wonderful opportunity for sightseeing. Switzerland is a good choice for women traveling alone for the first time, as it is safe and has excellent public transport system. 

 

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