The Grand Tour: the coolest way to visit Switzerland

Visit Switzerland: the Grand Tour overlooks Lake Geneva in French-speaking Switzerland.

Imagine zipping over mountain passes, winding down curving roads, stopping in small villages, and ogling wildlife and waterfalls and wildflowers. The Grand Tour is the ultimate road trip and possibly the best way to visit Switzerland.

Here’s everything you need to know about the Grand Tour.

Visit Switzerland: Grand Tour
Picture Maegli

Visit Switzerland on a road trip

What if we told you that Switzerland Tourism has already planned your perfect road trip?

On the Grand Tour, you’ll drive more than 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) through 45 of the country’s best attractions. The route takes you past 22 lakes, 12 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, two biospheres, and so much more. You’ll drive through major cities like Bern, Zurich, Lugano, Lausanne, and Geneva, as well as picturesque villages like Appenzell, St. Moritz, and Zermatt.

While driving, keep an eye out for the recommended photo ops. Each one is marked with a red sign shaped like a shield, indicating the most photogenic locations on the route. But don’t let that rein in your creativity! On such a beautiful road trip, you’ll be tempted to pull over and take lots of gorgeous photos — at signposted photo spots and at other eye-catching locations too.

Since snacking is an essential component of any road trip, you should also consider picking up a Grand Tour Snack Box. The snack box looks like a blend of a picnic basket and a lunch box, and it contains delicious Swiss specialties. From cheese to chocolate, bread, fruit, and meat, you’ll feast like a king!

Visit Switzerland: the road winds up a mountain.
Picture Scholz

Plan the nitty-gritty details

If you plan on driving about five hours a day, you’ll need seven days to complete the core route. (Of course, you might need additional time, depending on the distance between your entry point into Switzerland and the Grand Tour roads.)

Since the Grand Tour takes travelers over five mountain passes, it’s best to drive the route between April and October. While you could make the trip during the winter, you’d have to be flexible. Depending on snowfall, you’d possibly need to re-route or use a car-train service.

Although you can drive the route in either direction, Switzerland Tourism recommends going clockwise. And luckily, this road trip avoids most busy motorways, so you can relax and enjoy the scenic route.

Both Europcar and Hertz offer rental cars in Switzerland, but the most adventurous travelers might want to consider riding a motorcycle.

No matter how you choose to experience the Grand Tour, it’s time to visit Switzerland. You’ll have a blast cruising through the country and seeing its prime attractions.

On your mark… get set… go!

If Alpenwild has anything in common with Switzerland Tourism, it’s a love of Switzerland and a love of planning! We’d be more than happy to put together your next vacation. Let us plan your customized trip, or an Alpenwild Getaway after your guided tour ends. We’d love to see you there!

Whitney Brown

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