Innsbruck, Tyrol, Austria

Germany Austria Switzerland Itinerary: Explore 3 Countries in 10 days

April 6, 2024

You can only spend 10 days on your vacation in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, and you want to see as much as possible of the most beautiful sights? Then this itinerary is for you!

Exploring Austria, Germany, and Switzerland on a road trip is a dream for many, so we have put together an itinerary where you can discover the best places in these three countries.

In many ways, these are the most interesting countries in Central Europe, full of stunning places: with breathtaking peaks of the Alps, crystal-clear mountain lakes, fantastic views, beautiful buildings, and charming cities.

We have visited all three countries many times, especially Austria, which is very close to us, almost like a second home. Additionally, as hikers, we love exploring the natural wonders of the Bavarian Alps and Switzerland, to which we regularly return to discover new places.

We specifically recommend our route to those who want to explore the most beautiful landscapes of German-speaking countries, enjoy hiking, strolling in beautiful cities, and are interested in waterfalls, lakes, and historical buildings.

If you belong to these groups, then is there a better summer trip than embarking on a fulfilling road trip to these three wonderful countries?

So let’s see the details of the 10-day road trip exploring Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.

Overview of the 10-day Germany Austria Switzerland itinerary

Creating a 10-day itinerary for these three countries is actually not easy. There are so many sights, so much to see that it could easily fill a month-long trip.

Therefore, we have selected what we believe to be the absolute best places to visit, and we have summarized them into this 10-day itinerary.

As a result, in our itinerary, we only include Bavaria from Germany, the western part of Austria, and the northeastern part of Switzerland.

If you want more, we can also provide ideas, but then you will need to plan your trip for more than 10 days.

So let’s see what are the must-see places in Bavaria, Austria, and Switzerland in 10 days:

Day 1: Munich

Day 2: Salzburg

Day 3: Lake Königssee

Day 4: Hallstatt

Day 5: Innsbruck

Day 6: Appenzell Alps

Day 7: Zurich

Day 8: Lucerne

Day 9: Lauterbrunnen

Day 10: Neuschwanstein Castle, Back to Munich

Map to the 10-day itinerary

We also show on a map the places and the route of our 10-day Germany Austria Switzerland itinerary.

FAQ: Things to consider when planning your trip

Is 10 days enough for a road trip around Switzerland, Austria, and Bavaria?

As mentioned, 10 days can be enough for visiting the absolute best places in a three-country tour. However, the pace might be a bit fast, and many attractions could be missed. For this reason, we recommend additional destinations if you would like to extend your trip.

However, if you only have 10 days in these three countries, we’ll help you make the most out of your trip.

Best time to visit these countries

Our itinerary’s destinations are most beautiful in late spring, summer, and early autumn. Therefore, we recommend traveling from around May to mid-October.

If you’re looking to save money or avoid crowds, it’s worth avoiding July and August, as these two months are the most expensive and everything tends to be crowded, especially at hiking destinations.

Additionally, since these destinations can be quite rainy, always be prepared and keep an eye on the weather forecasts.

Where to start your trip

Among the listed destinations, we recommend starting your itinerary from either Munich or Zurich. The reason for this is that these two cities have the largest airports, and many international flights arrive there.

If you are traveling by your own car, it’s worth considering other places as the first stop. If you are coming from the east, Hallstatt could be your first stop, if from the south, then Innsbruck or Lauterbrunnen.

We start our itinerary in Munich.

Getting around in Germany, Austria and Switzerland

By car

We’ve designed the 10-day itinerary specifically for a road trip, so we strongly recommend doing it by car. Without a car, it’s difficult to reach rural locations, or sometimes impossible.

If you don’t have your own car, we suggest renting one. Renting a car in any of these countries ensures safe and quality service. In German-speaking territories, scams or irregularities in car rental are rare, so you can rent a car with peace of mind.

As for prices, you’ll encounter similar car rental and fuel prices. Perhaps Austria is a bit cheaper than the other two countries, but not significantly. Highways are free in Germany, while in Austria and Switzerland, you need to purchase a vignette.

Regarding driving style, you don’t need to worry. Drivers in all three countries tend to follow the rules, and aggressive behavior is rare. There are many cameras and frequent police speed checks on the roads. The road network is good in all three countries, and parking is well-organized almost everywhere. Overall, whether it’s Germany, Austria, or Switzerland, feel free to drive.

Two other things to note: firstly, if you’re traveling from east to west, there are police controls at almost all borders along our routes. Secondly, although Germany is reputed for having no speed limits on highways, in reality, there are speed limits on many sections.

Guided tours

If you absolutely want to avoid driving, public transportation and guided group tours are available options for you. You can even combine guided group tours with train travel for longer distances. For example, you can take a train from Munich to Salzburg, but for Hallstatt, there might not be a train option, so you can take a guided tour instead. For such cases, we recommend, where you can find numerous daily excursions to rural destinations without needing a car.

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Where to stay during the 10 days

Since this is quite a specific route, it’s questionable where it’s best to stay overnight. We can recommend accommodations for almost every place, which you’ll find listed below at each destination.

Where we think it’s best to look for hotels are Munich, Salzburg, Innsbruck, Zurich, and Lucerne or the Brienz Lake area. The more rural places can be visited as a day trip.

Germany Austria Switzerland 10-day itinerary

Now here’s the 10-day itinerary that takes you through the most beautiful places in Bavaria, Switzerland and Austria:

Day 1: Munich

We start the first day of the itinerary in Munich because most international flights land here, making it the largest hub among the cities on our itinerary.

Munich is Germany’s third-largest city and the capital of Bavaria. It’s an important economic, cultural, and transportation center. While it might not be the most exciting tourist destination in Germany, we believe it’s worth spending half a day or a full day exploring its main attractions before heading out to the countryside.

In Munich, the best places to visit are:

  • Marienplatz: The central square of Munich, known for its iconic Rathaus (town hall) with its Glockenspiel clock tower.
  • Englischer Garten: One of the world’s largest urban parks, perfect for a leisurely stroll or a picnic.
  • Nymphenburg Palace: A magnificent Baroque palace surrounded by beautiful gardens, once the summer residence of the Bavarian monarchs.
  • Hofbräuhaus: The famous beer hall where you can experience Bavarian gastronomy and enjoy traditional food and beer.
  • BMW Welt and Museum: A must-visit for German car enthusiasts, showcasing BMW’s history, innovations, and latest models.

Choose from the various activities available in Munich, enjoy the diversity of the big city, its culinary offerings including German beers, and get ready for the travels of the following days.

Where to stay in Munich

In Munich, we recommend the following accommodations:

Day 2: Salzburg

On the second day of our 10-day itinerary, we head towards Austria. Our first stop is Salzburg, the fourth largest and one of the most famous cities in Austria.

Munich-Salzburg: 150 km (93 mi), 1.5 hours drive

Here are some recommended attractions in Salzburg:

  • Kapuzinerberg: A hill on the eastern bank of the Salzach river offering panoramic views of Salzburg. Lookout points such as Aussichtsplatz Klostermauer provide excellent photo opportunities.
  • Mirabell Palace: A 17th-century palace featuring beautifully manicured gardens and an ornate ballroom. The castle gardens are particularly stunning from spring to autumn.
  • Hohensalzburg Fortress: A large medieval fortress situated atop Festungsberg, offering panoramic views of the city and surrounding mountains. Accessible on foot or by cable car, with free admission and cable car ride with the Salzburg Card.

These attractions, along with the travel time, will take up a whole day. If you have any time left, take a stroll along the banks of the Salzach river, or visit Mozart’s Birthplace.

For the second, third, and fourth nights, it’s practical to stay in Salzburg and visit the rural destinations as day trips.

Where to stay in Salzburg

In Salzburg, we recommend the following accommodations:

Day 3: Lake Königssee

For the third day, we planned a trip to Germany’s two most picturesque lakes, Königssee and Obersee. These two Alpine lakes are a short drive from Salzburg, so it’s worth taking a day trip from here to explore one of the most beautiful parts of the Bavarian Alps.

How to get to these two lakes is detailed in a separate article.

Salzburg – Königssee: 40 km (25 mi), 40 minutes

Here, we’ll briefly describe what to do at the lakes:

  • Go on a boat tour on the Königssee Lake: Taking a boat ride with the electric boats operating on the lake is not only the most popular activity in the area but also offers a unique experience. With these boats, you can reach the sights on the other side of the lake, and along the way, you can experience the lake’s famous echo with a trumpet performance.
  • Visit St. Bartholomew’s Church: Although only possible from the outside, take a look at the unique onion-domed church, which has a history dating back many centuries.
  • Walking tour to Obersee: Take a boat to the Salet dock on the Königssee, from where a hiking trail leads to the Obersee lake. This lake is equally stunning as the Königssee.
  • Visit the Röthbachfall waterfall: Upward from the Obersee, you’ll find Germany’s tallest waterfall, which is also worth a visit.
  • Taste local foods: Both the Königssee and Obersee offer numerous restaurants and huts where you can try local dishes and beers. At the church, you can even taste fish caught from the lake.

These activities offer excellent relaxation in nature, allowing you to experience the best of the Bavarian countryside.

It’s worth spending the evening in Salzburg.

Day 4: Hallstatt

On the fourth day, our itinerary focuses on Austria’s most famous small town, Hallstatt. Hallstatt is just a short drive from Salzburg, making it an ideal destination to visit on a day trip.

Salzburg – Hallstatt: 80 km (49 mi), 1 hour 10 minutes

Hallstatt is a fairytale-like town nestled on the shores of Lake Hallstatt, deep in the wooded mountains of Austria. It would be a shame to miss it when visiting Austria, so we recommend spending some time here.

In Hallstatt, we recommend the following activities:

  • Take a walk along the shores of Lake Hallstatt and enjoy the beautiful scenery of the lake and surrounding mountains.
  • Visit the famous salt mines and explore the city’s history and cultural heritage at the Salzwelten Museum.
  • Take a boat tour on Lake Hallstatt and admire the scenic surroundings of the town from the water.
  • Explore the charming streets of the town and try local specialties in traditional Austrian restaurants and cafés.

If you still have time or are an avid hiker and nature enthusiast, we recommend visiting the Gosau Lakes, which offer some of the most beautiful lake views and best hiking trails in the area.

Spend the evening in Salzburg.

Day 5: Innsbruck

On the fifth day, it’s advisable to start your journey early in the morning, as there’s relatively little time left in our itinerary for the wonderful Tyrol!

Tyrol is one of Austria’s most beautiful regions, filled with the most stunning mountains and lakes of Austria.

Since we only have one day in the 10-day itinerary to showcase Tyrol, our itinerary focuses on its capital, Innsbruck.

Salzburg – Innsbruck: 185 km (115 mi), approx. 2 hours drive

In Innsbruck, the must-visit places are:

  • Riverside promenade: In our opinion, the most spectacular spot in Innsbruck is the riverside promenade next to the market square beside the Innbrücke bridge, where you can enjoy breathtaking views of the Inn River, the colorful Tyrolean houses on the riverbank, and the often snow-capped Tyrolean mountains in the background.
  • Old Town of Innsbruck: With attractions such as the Golden Roof, the Stadtturm or City Tower, and the Triumphpforte or Triumphal Arch. These are all within a short walk, and you can also admire the beauty of Austrian architecture on the way.
  • Seegrube Viewpoint: With the Nordkette cable car, you can ascend from the northern part of the city to the Seegrube viewpoint, or even to the Hafelekar peak. Both places offer breathtaking panoramas of Innsbruck and the surrounding Alps.

If you enjoy hiking in the mountains, we highly recommend extending your 10-day trip here, as there are plenty of wonderful hiking destinations around Innsbruck. Just to name a few examples:

  • Seebensee and Drachensee
  • Schleeis Speicher
  • Finstertal Speicher
  • Zürser see

Spend the night in Innsbruck, our next day’s itinerary will depart from here.

Where to stay in Innsbruck

In Innsbruck, we recommend the following accommodations:

  • The PENZ Hotel: a four-star modern hotel with private garage, located in the city center
  • Leipziger Hof Innsbruck: nice four-star hotel in alpine style, a little further from the city center, at affordable prices, with parking

Day 6: Appenzell Alps

On the sixth day of the journey, we continue our travels to Switzerland. We’ll be traveling from Innsbruck all the way to Zurich, with a slight detour in the Swiss Appenzell Alps.

Innsbruck – Appenzell: 190 km (118 mi), 2.5 hours

Along the way, if you’re still in the mood, feel free to stop in Tyrol or Vorarlberg to enjoy the fantastic views, or if you have more time, you can even stop briefly at one of the alpine lakes.

Here are some options that are closest to the route:

– Finstertal Speicher
– Zürser See
– Lünersee

However, the main highlight of the sixth day is the Appenzell Alps, for which we recommend several different routes. Choose according to your preference:

  • Drive to Schwende-Rüte, near Appenzell, and hike to the famous Seealpsee lake.
  • From Brülisau, hike to the other two famous lakes, Sämtisersee and Fälensee, which is a bit more challenging hike.
  • Alternatively, from the village of Frümsen, take the mountain lift and ascend to Berggasthaus Staubern, from where you can hike interesting trails to either the iconic Saxer Lücke or Fälensee.

In the evening, it is recommended to continue to Zurich for the next day’s activities, so we suggest hotels in Zurich.

Appenzell – Zurich: 100 km (62 mi), 1.5 hours drive

Where to stay in Zurich

We recommend accommodations in different categories, choose according to your needs and budget:

Day 7: Zurich

Spend the seventh day in Zurich, explore the city’s main attractions, and if you feel like it, venture out to the countryside as well.

Zurich is Switzerland’s largest city. Situated on Lake Zurich’s shores, the city blends modernity with rich history.

The best things to do in Zurich:

  • Wander through the Old Town, stroll along the Limmat River, visit landmarks like Grossmünster church, and walk down Bahnhofstrasse for shopping.
  • Enjoy Lake Zurich with its parks and optional boat tours.
  • For culture lovers, Zurich boasts museums like Kunsthaus Zurich and the Swiss National Museum. Football enthusiasts can visit the FIFA Museum.
  • For stunning views, head to the Uetliberg Lookout Tower.
  • Dining or relaxing in local restaurants and bars.

Spend the night in Zurich.

Day 8: Lucerne

On the eighth day of the 10-day itinerary, another Swiss city awaits exploration: Lucerne.

Zurich – Lucerne: 50 km (31 mi), 40 minutes

Located on the shores of Lake Lucerne, the city of Lucerne is just a short drive from Zurich. It offers several attractions for a short visit.

  • Among the most important sights are the historic bridges, the Kapellbrücke and the Spreuerbrücke, dating back to the 14th and 15th centuries respectively. Both bridge feature stone towers and span across the Reuss River.
  • Nearby, you can find the Jesuit Church, built in the 17th century.
  • For mountain lovers near Lake Lucerne, a visit to Mount Pilatus is recommended. Mount Pilatus offers stunning views, accessible through the world’s steepest cogwheel railway.

We recommend spending the night in Lucerne or at the next day’s destination, Lauterbrunnen.

Where to stay in Lucerne

  • Hotel Central Luzern: A three-star hotel located in the heart of Lucerne, close to the main attractions

Day 9: Lauterbrunnen

On the ninth day, we dedicate our time to exploring the famous Lauterbrunnen.

Lucerne – Lauterbrunnen: 80 km (50 mi), 1 hour 20 minutes

We’ve allocated a day for Lauterbrunnen in this itinerary, but in reality, the area offers numerous attractions that could take up several days. Therefore, the recommended duration of stay here depends on your preferences.

Lauterbrunnen is famous for its waterfalls, with a total of 72 waterfalls located in the valley where the village is situated. The most famous is the Staubbachfall waterfall, which cascades down from a steep cliff nearly 300 meters high within the village.

If you wish to explore Lauterbrunnen and its surroundings in one day, here are some recommendations:

  • Take a stroll through the village, especially recommended is the iconic photo spot along the pedestrian walkway in front of Chalet Pironnet.
  • Take a cable car or train ride to Jungfraujoch, the “Top of Europe,” where you can experience stunning alpine scenery and visit the Ice Palace. The Jungfraubahn offers one of Switzerland’s most scenic train journeys.
  • Discover the charming village of Grindelwald, surrounded by breathtaking mountain landscapes.

If you have more time in the area, consider exploring the following attractions:

  • Brienzer Rothorn: Take a trip up Brienzer Rothorn for breathtaking views of Lake Brienz. Enjoy a scenic journey on the steam-powered panoramic train, a popular activity in Switzerland for good reason—the views from there are truly stunning.
  • Interlaken: Visit the resort town of Interlaken, located between Lake Thun and Lake Brienz. Explore the town’s shops, cafés, and take a boat trip on one of the lakes.
  • Aareschlucht: Explore the wonders of nature at Aareschlucht, a stunning gorge along the Aare River. Walk between rock walls on wooden bridges and pathways. Aareschlucht is known for its unique rock formations and is a perfect destination for nature lovers and hikers.

This list alone shows how much there is to discover in the Lauterbrunnen area. So if you’re up for it, don’t hesitate to spend more time exploring the surroundings.

In the evening, we suggest returning to Zurich or staying somewhere along the way.

Where to stay in the Lauterbrunnen area

Day 10: Neuschwanstein Castle, Back to Munich

On the tenth day, we start our journey back towards Germany. Since Munich was our planned starting point, Munich is our destination for the tenth day, with a small detour.

Along the way, there are still interesting sights to see. Lake Constance, for example, is worth stopping by for a while, but we believe the highlight is Neuschwanstein Castle, a favorite among tourists.

Zurich – Neuschwanstein Castle: 250 km (155 mi), 3 hours

Neuschwanstein Castle is a famous castle in Bavaria that was built in the 19th century. It’s one of the most photographed buildings in Germany and a top tourist spot.

This castle inspired the design of the Sleeping Beauty castle in Disney’s fairytales. It really looks like something out of a fairytale.

Located in the southern part of Germany, in Schwangau, it was built by King Louis II of Bavaria, who wanted to fulfill his childhood dreams. He decorated the castle with characters from Richard Wagner’s operas, inspired by his admiration for the composer.

Perched above the Alpsee, the castle sits on a rocky outcrop in the Pöllat Gorge, offering panoramic views of the countryside. It’s the main attraction in the area and can be seen from afar as you approach.

While there’s a fee to enter the castle, you can explore the outside for free. There’s parking available in Schwangau, but it can get crowded, so plan ahead. The closest parking lots to Neuschwanstein Castle are P1, P2, and P3.

You can reach the castle on foot or by local bus for a fee. The hike is a bit steep, but not too long, so it’s doable for people of average fitness.

For the best photos of the castle, head to Marienbrücke, a bridge west of the castle that offers a stunning angle for photography.

If you have some extra time, you can visit the nearby Hohenschwangau Castle, take a stroll by the shores of Lake Alpsee, or explore the Lechfall in Füssen.

Returning to our starting point, Munich, in the evening marks the end of our 10-day road trip through Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.

Neuschwanstein Castle – Munich: 135 km (84 mi), 1 hour 45 minutes drive

We hope you enjoyed the itinerary and found it inspiring enough to embark on a similar journey in these three fascinating countries. Although the three countries may seem similar, each offers unique attractions that are worth experiencing. Whether it’s Austria’s iconic Hallstatt, Switzerland’s picturesque Lauterbrunnen, or Germany’s stunning Königssee, each provides a unique experience for tourists.

Ten days are sufficient to explore some of the best places in Switzerland, Austria, and Germany, but if you want to see more, don’t hesitate to extend your trip. Here are some additional attractions that are not far from our planned route:

Other destinations if you want to see more

Lake Eibsee

Lake Eibsee is situated in the Bavarian Alps, near the Zugspitze, Germany’s highest mountain. Its crystal-clear turquoise waters, surrounded by lush forests and majestic peaks, make it a breathtaking sight. You can enjoy swimming, boating, or simply relaxing on the shores. The lake’s tranquil atmosphere and stunning scenery make it a perfect destination for nature lovers and photographers alike.


Nuremberg, located in Bavaria, is a lesser-known tourist destination, but we think it’s worth a day trip from Munich. Its well-preserved medieval old town, lined with charming cobblestone streets and historic buildings, offer a real German experience. You can explore iconic landmarks such as the Nuremberg Castle, the Kaiserburg, and the bustling Hauptmarkt square.


Liechtenstein is a tiny country nestled between Switzerland and Austria. Despite its small size, Liechtenstein boasts stunning alpine scenery, charming villages, and a rich cultural heritage. You can explore the capital city, Vaduz, home to Vaduz Castle and the contemporary Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein. Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy hiking, skiing, and mountain biking in the picturesque landscape of the Rhine Valley and the Alps.

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Oeschinensee, located in the Swiss Alps near Kandersteg, is a breathtaking mountain lake renowned for its beauty. Surrounded by towering peaks and green meadows, Oeschinensee offers stunning views and outdoor recreational opportunities. You can hike along scenic trails, rent rowboats to explore the lake, or simply relax in the stunning natural scenery. With its crystal-clear waters and picturesque surroundings, Oeschinensee is a must-visit destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.


Kaprun in Austria boasts the impressive Kaprun High Mountain Reservoirs, known as the Kaprun Stauseen. These reservoirs, Wasserfallboden and Mooserboden, are artificial lakes fed by glacial meltwater. From the shores of these lakes, you can see Austria’s highest peak, the Grossglockner. Accessing the lakes isn’t easy: buses and cable cars transport visitors in stages along the route, but the view is worth the effort. If you have more time in Austria, consider a day trip to Kaprun.

Seebensee and Drachensee

Seebensee and Drachensee are famous alpine lakes in the Tyrolean Alps in Austria, which also offer breathtaking scenery and peaceful surroundings. The high altitude lakes attract nature lovers and hikers alike with their beautiful waters and majestic mountain views. Accessible from Ehrwald, the hike to the two lakes takes half a day or even a full day. If you have more time in Tyrol and like hiking, don’t miss these two lakes either, as they are the most beautiful in the area.

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