Updated August 14, 2020.
Looking for a winter wonderland? One that’s really fairytale material? Look no farther than Europe! My sweet husband Steve and I had a fun and unexpectedly exciting time in Switzerland and Liechtenstein this past January, and we highly recommend the experience! Here’s an itinerary for your own trip to this Alpine winter playground!
Day 1: Arrive in Zermatt and Visit the Matterhorn Museum
Morning: Getting There
Maybe you’re taking the train in from elsewhere in Europe, or perhaps you’re like us and you’re flying into Zurich, Geneva, Basel, or another nearby airport. Either way, you’ll most likely be taking the train into Zermatt itself, since it’s a car-free city! You’ll want to choose a Swiss Rail Pass that works best for your trip! Here’s a quick guide for How to Plan Train Travel in Switzerland! Pro tip: Your Swiss Rail Pass includes admission to multiple museums and is also good in Liechtenstein!
Mid-day: Get Lunch
You are probably hungry from that train travel, so step into a restaurant for fondue, roesti, or authentic Italian food if you’d rather—Switzerland and Italy share the border at Zermatt. And don’t forget to stop into a chocolate shop for some of the best chocolate you’ll ever have!
Afternoon: The Matterhorn Museum (FREE with Swiss Rail Pass, 10 CHF [Swiss Francs] without Swiss Rail Pass)
If you have a Swiss Rail Pass, make sure to visit on the same day you take the trains so that your museum admission will be FREE! Plan to spend an hour or so here to learn about the Matterhorn, how mountain villages survived long before tourism took over, and the legendary attempt to summit the mountaintop.
Essential info: Your Guide to the Swiss Rail Pass
Day 2: Winter Sports
Get a hearty meal in your belly this morning to sustain your snowy adventures! Swiss breakfast is one of my favorites: muesli, cheeses of every sort, the best bread you’ve ever had, juices, jams and jellies from fruits that Americans don’t taste terribly often, and the best part: Nutella for breakfast!
More here: What to Eat in Switzerland
Did you know you can take the ski lift to the top of the Matterhorn and ski down the Italian side? You can also hike, snowshoe, ski, snowboard, and more! You can bring your own gear or rent everything you need there, but I do recommend some Winter Gear to keep you warm and dry in the snow! Not sure where to start? Check out 9 Things to Do in Zermatt.
Mid-afternoon: Refuel and Warm Up
When you’ve gotten your fill of the great and chilly outdoors, head into a fondue shop or cafe to refuel and get warm. You earned a hot chocolate and some sweets after your big day!
Read more: Gear Up for Winter Travel
Day 3: Glacier Express to St. Moritz
This is your all-day activity! In the winter time, there is only one Glacier Express train each direction. You’ll start from Zermatt at 8:52am (or thereabouts, time subject to change) and arrive in St. Moritz at 4:40pm (time subject to change). You will experience epic winter scenery, dine on traditional Swiss food, and hear a little about the history of the “slowest express route in the world”!
Our Glacier Express route was a bit amended due to epically heavy snowfall and level 5 avalanche risk, but don’t worry. That was a highly unusual situation! You can read the whole story here: An (Amended) Glacier Express Experience!
More here: How to Book the Glacier Express
Evening: Dinner in St. Moritz
There are planty of great restuarants in the winter resort village of St. Moritz, so simply pick one! We stopped into a little cafe for sandwiches and sweets, but you can have anything from a grand sit-down meal to bread and cheese from a grocery store! Get some sleep, you have another big day tomorrow!
Day 4: Travel to Liechtenstein
Morning: Explore St. Moritz
Take a couple of hours this morning to explore the Swiss Alpine village that has played host to royalty, the rich and famous, and two Winter Olympics! Make sure you visit the leaning tower, Via Serlas for high-end shop gawking, and the Engadine Museum for a little history! Get your guide to a quick stop in my post, Overnight in St. Moritz!
Read on: Snow Hiking in the Alps
Mid-day: Travel to Vaduz, Liechtenstein
It should only take about two and a half (very scenic) hours to get from St. Moritz to Vaduz, so enjoy the ride! Your Swiss Rail Pass and Swiss Francs are good in Liechtenstein, so you won’t skip a beat!
Afternoon: Liechtenstein National Museum and Treasure Chamber (FREE with the Swiss Rail Pass, 10 CHF without Swiss Rail Pass)
When you arrive in Vaduz, head straight to the Liechtenstein Center to get your passport stamped (if you like—it’s not required!), get tickets to the National Museum and Treasure Chamber (two attractions on the same ticket, free with your Swiss Rail Pass), and chat with the sweet Liechtensteiners inside! You will be delighted at how helpful they are and how delighted they are to have guests in their adorable country!
More here: What to Know Before You Visit Liechtenstein
Day 5: Explore Vaduz
Vaduz is the capital city of the Principality of Liechtenstein, and it is beautiful! You can walk to their Swiss and Austrian borders, visit the Cathedral of St. Florin, and even hike to the Castle where a real prince actually lives! Check out my One Day in Vaduz itinerary for your ultimate itinerary to see Vaduz in just a day!
More here: How to Spend 1 Day in Vaduz
Day 6: Fly Home
Use your Swiss Rail Pass to take the bus and train right to the airport, or be on your way to your next stop on your European adventure! If you have time to spend another morning in Liechtenstein, definitely take advantage of that. And don’t forget to visit again soon!
Need some tips for what to know before you go and more details on things to do? Check out my Switzerland and Liechtenstein pages! Want more winter wonderland experiences? Check out my Top Winter Destinations!
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