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Visiting the hidden gems of Lake Como during a Northern Italy Switzerland trip

One of the most memorable trips I’ve been on was a family trip to Northern Italy and Switzerland in late May through early June 2018. We booked our luxury Northern Italy and Switzerland trip through Crawford Concierge who crafted the best bespoke itinerary for us. This itinerary is not only perfect for families, it is also great for solo travelers, couples and friend groups.

Italy is one of the most desired travel destinations in the world and it is almost impossible to see the entire country in one trip. If you want to see a good chunk of Italy like myself, I recommend doing separate trips for each area of Italy. So far, I’ve been to Italy three times. The first time was a trip to Sicily in June 2017 for my 26th birthday. My second trip to this beautiful country was when I did my Northern Italy and Switzerland adventure with my family in 2018 and I also did a ski trip to the Italian Dolomites in South Tyrol during January 2020.

The best Northern Italy Switzerland itinerary includes pasta

If you are looking to explore the best of Italy, I recommend you first start with this amazing 10-day Northern Italy Switzerland itinerary that we did via train.

**Please note that this blog post uses affiliate links meaning that if you make a purchase via my affiliate link, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. I only promote and talk about products and services that I have used and like.


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Northern Italy Switzerland Itinerary

Northern Italy Switzerland Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Zürich

A woman enjoying her time in Zurich during a Northern Italy Switzerland trip

We started our Northern Italy Switzerland itinerary started in Zürich. From Zürich Airport (where you will fly into), there is a train that will take you downtown. The train runs consistently between 5am and 12:30am and the actual station is situated at the lowest level of the airport at level 02. The journey from the airport to downtown Zürich will take around 10-15 minutes.

Where to Stay in Zürich:

Luxury: Small Luxury Hotel Ambassador Zürich

Mid-Budget/Boutique: 25hours Hotel Langstrasse

Budget/Hostel: Lindas Beauty Hostel

Rentals: Airbnb or Home Away

I recommend that your first day in Zürich be more of a relaxing one since you will most likely have a tiring travel journey. I recommend grabbing food and leisurely strolling around the city. After settling into our hotel, we got pizza at Razzia, which is a swanky bar and restaurant known for its cheeses. Needless to say, it was absolutely delicious!

After grabbing food, enjoy a relaxing walk around Lake Zürich. Located on the lakefront are outdoor bars, live music venues, boats and people having a great time! The lake area is absolutely beautiful!

Later into the evening, I recommend watching the sunset and grabbing drinks at a rooftop bar in the city. Since we stayed at Small Luxury Hotel Ambassador, they had a great rooftop bar called The View Hidden Bar. It is open to the public, but please note that they have a capacity for the amount of people who sit up there.

Day 2: Day in Zürich

Visiting a beer garden on top of a Swiss mountain during a Northern Italy Switzerland itinerary

After getting a good night’s rest, we wandered into Zürich’s Old Town, which is a real life storybook. In the Altstadt (Old Town), there is a lovely Swiss café called Conditorei Schober that offers delicious chocolates, cakes, pastries, tarts and breads. It is absolutely amazing!

Once you are finished with breakfast, stroll through the cobblestone streets and quaint alleyways. A few churches and landmarks that you must see are the St. Peterskirche, Grossmünster and Framünster. I also recommend making your way to the mountainous side of Zürich to the beautiful town of Adliswil. From there, you could hike or take a gondola up to Felsenegg vantage point. Once you reach the top, you could savor the views of the city of Zürich and nearby Swiss Alps. Felsenegg also has a bar called Panorama where you could grab a refreshing Swiss beer!

Another wonderful thing to do in Zürich is take the ferry across Lake Zürich. It is the perfect way to relax, admire the swiss Alps and catch beautiful views of the mansions along the lake. During your last evening, I recommend grabbing an authentic Swiss German dinner at Restaurant Brasserie Johanniter. It was by far one of the best restaurants I’ve eaten at during my travels! For dessert, you cannot miss out on getting macaroons at Confiserie Sprüngli!

Day 3: Arrive in Como

Take a Como cooking class during a Northern Italy Switzerland itinerary

The second place we visited on our Northern Italy Switzerland itinerary was Lake Como. We traveled from Zürich to Como by train from the Zürich Hauptbahnhof to Como San Giovanni train station. It was around a 3-hour train ride and the views were astronomical! From the train station in Como, you could easily walk to your accommodation, which I recommend you booking in the actual village of Como.

Where to Stay in Como:

Luxury: The Palace Hotel

Mid-Budget/Boutique: Rumi Rooms

Budget/Hostel: In Riva al Lago

Rentals: Airbnb or Home Away

The top things to do when you first arrive in Como is walk around and grab lunch at one of the authentic restaurants in town. Our favorite restaurant in the town of Como was Trattoria Il Solito Posto. I also recommend taking the Pigra Cable Car in Como to the top of the mountain where you could catch amazing views of the lake along with all the beautiful towns nearby.

Later in the day, I recommend taking a cooking class with Paola Lovisetti Scamihorn. Paola is a food blogger of Passion and Cooking and is also the author of the books The Mamma Mia! Diet, Authentic Italian Cookbook: Love is Eating along with Love is Eating – Healthy and Tasty Italian Recipes for Family Meals. Paola’s recipes are healthy and have proven that consuming a Mediterranean diet helps keep people fit. Paola also hosts cooking classes for those visiting Como and that is what we did.

Overall, we felt welcomed and part of Paola’s family from the moment we stepped foot into her home. We enjoyed an aperitivo that consisted of prosciutto, salami, cheese and an assortment of breads. We then helped Paola cook a healthy whole-wheat linguine with fresh vegetables and herbs in a white wine sauce dish along with chicken, prosciutto and sage roll ups. For dessert, we made tiramisu. Everything tasted amazing!

Day 4: A Day on Lake Como

Visiting beautiful Lake Como during a Northern Italy Switzerland trip

During our second day in Lake Como, we did a guided boat tour. If you make your way to Como, this is definitely something you HAVE TO DO! It was one of the best days we had during our time in Northern Italy. Our guide Giacomo sailed us around on his gorgeous handcrafted wooden boat. During our boat day, we sailed passed lavish mansions and colorful villas. A lot of these homes are actually owned by celebrities, top CEOs, bankers and world leaders such as George Clooney, Richard Branson, Gianni Versace, Guinness and more.

Our first stop on our boat journey was to the colorful village of Varenna. We enjoyed strolling through the gorgeous cobblestone alleyways and catching glimpses of the lake. The architecture and historical monuments are also something to admire in Varenna.

The second village we visited was Bellagio, which is known as The Pearl of Lake Como. Bellagio is definitely more touristy than Varenna, but it is absolutely beautiful with pastel-colored villages, stunning views and a charming culture. During your time in Bellagio, I recommend getting lunch at Terrazza du Lac Ristorante and also exploring the gardens of i Giardini di Villa Melzi.

Later in the afternoon, we made our way to Locanda dell Isola Comacina. It is a unique island that includes walking trails, fishermen houses and a church. There is also a bar on the island called La Botte where you could grab an aperitivo and enjoy the views of the lake.

Day 5: Arrive in Venice

A woman taking a Venetian rowing lesson during her time in Venice included in a Northern Italy Switzerland itinerary

Traveling from Como to Venice is around 3.5 hours by train. It requires you to take the local train from Como San Giovanni station to Milano Centrale and then you will need to switch trains that will take you to Venice’s Venezia Santa Lucia train station. Once you get to Venice, you will most likely need to take a water taxi to your accommodation.

Where to Stay in Venice:

Luxury: Palazzo Veneziano

Mid-Budget/Boutique: Carnival Palace Hotel

Budget/Hostel: We_Crociferi

Rentals: Airbnb or Home Away

One of the best things to do in Venice is take a Venetian rowing lesson. Personally, I recommend doing this activity over a traditional gondola ride if you are short on time. Before you actually take your rowing lesson, I recommend grabbing lunch at a nearby restaurant called Ristorante Diana. It was one of the best restaurants I went to in Northern Italy.

Taking a rowing lesson in Venice was one of the most memorable activities we did there. We did our lesson through Row Venice, which is a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of traditional Venetian culture. Row Venice’s employees are predominantly all females creating the best experiences for locals to enjoy as well as visitors. Our lesson began with the introduction of the traditional batelina, which is a rowing boat that is now rare to see in Venice. We practiced in the quiet canals, away from the tourists. Once we got comfortable, we made our way onto the popular Grand Canal where there was more traffic. We had such as blast!

After our rowing lesson, we made our way through the fairytale streets of Venice. We admired the stunning Gothic architecture, charming bridges and Arabic touches. As you stroll through Venice, it is a MUST that you see the iconic Rialto Bridge, Bridge of Sighs and Saint Mark’s Basilica. While you are making your way through the area, I recommend grabbing gelato at VizioVirtù Cioccolateria. For dinner, try some delicious pizza at Ostaria al Vecio Pozzo!

Day 6: Island Tour of Murano, Burano and Torcello

Visiting the colorful village of Burano during a Northern Italy Switzerland trip

During your second day in Venice, take a tour of the three islands off of the main city – Murano, Burano and Torcello. There are a lot of tour companies that take travelers to these islands, but I personally recommend seeing them on your own.

The island of Murano is renowned for its tradition of glass making. In fact, I recommend seeing a glass making demonstration where you can watch a glassmith (or glassblower) create stunning glass work.

After learning about glass making in Murano, head over to the colorful fishing village of Burano. According to Italian legend, Venetians living in Burano painted their homes bright colors so that the local fishermen could see them even during the grayest days to avoid crashing into shore after a long voyage at sea. It is best to stroll through the adorable streets of Burano, wander through the gorgeous lace shops and learn about Italian lace making, touring the leaning church tower of San Martino and grabbing delicious butter cookies.

Torcello is the most northerly island of the Venetian lagoon and most of it is uninhabited. The people who do live there mainly reside in farmhouses. An iconic landmark that you cannot miss is the Devils Bridge. According to folklore, this bridge was built in one night by the devil to win a bet. The Church of Santa Fosca is also a wonderful landmark to see in Torcello!

Day 7: Day in Florence

Visiting the beautiful city of Florence during a Northern Italy Switzerland itinerary

Traveling from Venice to Florence could easily be done in two hours and 15 minutes by taking the train from Venezia Santa Lucia to Firenze Santa Maria Novella. Once you get to Florence’s main train station, you could either walk or haul a taxi to your accommodation in the city.

During our Northern Italy Switzerland trip, we wanted to include Tuscany and Cinque Terre in our itinerary, so we decided to base ourselves in Florence and do day trips from there. In my opinion, if you have more time, I recommend staying a couple nights in Cinque Terre and having a lovely beach vacation and also renting a villa in the Tuscan countryside to get the most authentic experience.

Where to Stay in Florence:

Luxury: Hotel Spadai

Mid-Budget/Boutique: Residenza La Musa Amarcord

Budget/Hostel: Ostello Tasso

Rentals: Airbnb or Home Away

With only one day in Florence, you will need to pack a lot in. The first place we visited during our time in Florence was the Duomo. Known as Florence’s most iconic landmark, the Piazza del Duomo is one of the most amazing sites in the city. If you want to go into the Duomo, it is recommended that you book your tickets in advance to get in.

Before seeing the rest of the fascinating sites and landmarks of Florence, I recommend getting lunch at SimBIOsi, which is a great organic restaurant. Afterwards, head over to the Galleria dell’Accademia to see Michelangelo’s David. It is truly fascinating to see the David in person!

Another great thing to do during your time in Florence is go shopping in Ponte Vecchio. Known as Florence’s oldest bridge, Ponte Vecchio was the only bridge across the Arno River that did not get destroyed by the Germans during World War II. Initially, butchers occupied the shops, but nowadays, it is a collection of high-end jewelers, art dealers, souvenir sellers and more.

Later on into the evening, you have to watch the sunset from the Piazzale Michelangelo. It is the most famous lookout in Florence and it truly is an amazing spot to see an epic sunset! After watching the sunset, grab a lovely dinner at Trattoria Zà Zà.

Day 8: Day Trip to Tuscany from Florence

A day trip to Northern Tuscany during a Northern Italy Switzerland itinerary

From Florence, we did a beautiful day trip to Northern Tuscany. It was such a lovely day and we got to see so much. You could either do an organized tour to Northern Tuscany or rent a car and do a self-tour.

Our first stop in Northern Tuscany was to San Gimignano, which is where you could capture iconic views that Tuscany is known for from the rolling green hills to the picturesque Cypress trees. San Gimignano is a picture-perfect Tuscan village that is filled with stone buildings and 13th Century fortress walls. During your time in San Gimignano, you have to walk around and admire all of the beauty. You also have to visit the stores and purchase truffle oil, since it is a staple in the Tuscan region. You could use truffle oil with a variety of Italian and non-Italian dishes such as French fries, pizza, potatoes, eggs and more. I also recommend seeing the Duomo di San Gimignano and climb the Torre Grossa (tower). To top it off, you HAVE to visit Gelateria Dondoli, which is the world champion gelato shop!

After exploring San Gimignano, make you way over to Siena, which is one of the most popular cities in Tuscany and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A fun fact about Siena is that it is where you could hear the most beautiful Italian being spoken. When you arrive in Siena, I recommend getting pizza for lunch at Ristorante Pizzeria Spadaforte in the Piazza del Campo. Once you are finished with lunch, wander through the medieval city of Siena and visit the beautiful Siena Baptistery, Medici, Torre del Mangia and Duomo di Siena.

The third stop on our Northern Tuscany tour was to the charming village of Monteriggioni. This small fortress town is absolutely lovely and the perfect place to grab a mid afternoon coffee and relax. It is in Monterioggioni where you could admire views of the surrounding Chianti region. During your time in this lovely city, see the Castello di Monteriggioni (castle) and Chiesa di Santa Maria Assunta (church).

Last, but not least, it is best to end your Northern Tuscany day trip by wine tasting in Chianti. During our time in Chianti, we visited the Poggio Amorelli estate where we tasted the amazing wines of Marco Mazzarrini at his winery called Famiglia Mazzarrini. During our wine experience in Chianti, we tasted a few whites and reds, including a delicious Prosecco. In between each wine tasting, we also got to taste the regional olive oil, truffle oil and balsamic vinaigrette on fresh Italian bread. We were even served a charcuterie platter.

Day 9: Cinque Terre Day Trip from Florence

A woman enjoying the beautiful views in Cinque Terre

In addition to our day trip to Tuscany, we also did a wonderful tour to Cinque Terre from Florence. Just like with a Tuscany day trip, a day to Cinque Terre could be done with an organized group or on your own. I personally recommend you do a day trip to Cinque Terre on your own so that you could enjoy the coast without being on a time limit.

During a trip to Cinque Terre, I recommend starting in Manarola, which is the smallest, but most iconic village in Cinque Terre. In Manarola, it is best to enjoy food and drinks at Punta Bonfiglio where you could admire the colorful homes on the cliffs. The second village to visit in Cinque Terre is Vernazza. This beautiful village is located on a small harbor that also has colorful houses as well as a plethora of cafés, restaurants and souvenir shops.

Monterosso al Mare is the only village in Cinque Terre with a beach that is perfect for both relaxing and swimming. Not only do I recommend enjoying a beach day in Monterosso, it is best to also grab lunch here and enjoy a pesto dish from a waterfront restaurant. The Liguria region, which Cinque Terre is situated in is known for pesto sauce that consists of fresh basil, garlic, pine nuts, olive oil and sometimes Parmesan cheese. A great restaurant to eat at in Monterosso al Mare is Ristorante il Gabbiano.

To end your day trip in Cinque Terre, it is best to take a boat to the town of Porto Venere that is a historic fishing port with more colorful harbor houses. During your time in Porto Venere, visit the gorgeous Gothic-style Church of St. Peter and also the centuries-old Castello Doria.

Day 10: Day in Bologna

Beautiful buildings in Bologna during a Northern Italy Switzerland trip

Getting from Florence to Bologna could be done by taking the train from Firenze Santa Maria Novella to Bologna Centrale. It takes around 40 minutes to get from Florence to Bologna and once you arrive, you could either walk or take a taxi to your accommodation.

We only spent one full day and night in Bologna because we flew home from Bologna Guglielmo Marconi Airport. Discover why Bologna is the best city to conclude your Northern Italy Switzerland itinerary.

Where to Stay in Bologna:

Luxury: Hotel Corona d’Oro

Mid-Budget/Boutique: Palazzo Trevi Charming House

Budget/Hostel: Dopa Hostel

Rentals: Airbnb or Home Away

After arriving in Bologna and checking into your hotel, I recommend walking around and visiting the city’s historical landmarks. I recommend climbing the Torre Asinelli or Torre Prendiparte where you could catch stunning views of Bologna. From there, definitely check out the Cattedrale Metropolitana di San Pietro, which is a late 16th Century cathedral.

For lunch, the best place to eat at is Ristorante Trattoria Oberdan da Mario. It is located near Bologna’s beautiful canals that are definitely worth seeing! Once you are finished with lunch, it is best to walk off what you ate by strolling down the glam streets of Via dell’Indipendenza, Via Ugo Bassi, Via Rizzoli and Via D’Azeglio where you could go shopping.

Later into the afternoon, grab a gelato and aperitivo at Piazza Maggiore where you could admire the beautiful architecture and enjoy live music. For dinner, savor a delicious meal at Trattoria Del Rosso.


Plan Your Northern Italy Switzerland Itinerary!

A woman enjoying her time in Zurich

I hope you all enjoyed reading about the best 10-day Northern Italy Switzerland itinerary. If you would like your own bespoke itinerary made for your trip, contact Crawford Concierge.

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10-Day Northern Italy and Switzerland itinerary

Basic Facts of Italy and Switzerland:

Italy – Currency: Euro, Capital: Rome, Time Zone: Central European Time

Switzerland – Currency: Swiss Franc, Capital: Bern, Time Zone: Central European Time

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32 Comments

  1. Kim Deer on May 28, 2020 at 12:01 am

    Loved this wonderful trip by Crawford Concierge ~ it was a perfect family trip to alot of the most beautiful regions of Italy and Zurich, Switzerland. This was my first trip to Italy and one I will never forget. The architecture and cathedrals were stunning. The food and great wine were amazing ~ the views at the top of the Swiss Alps were breathtaking ~ Venice such a beautiful region and way of life ~ surrounded by gorgeous bodies of water. Cinque Terra, the Italuan Riviera was amazing. Florence was a great city ~ saw the original David by Michelangelo, Lake Como my favorite ~ private boat ride ~ best experience on Lake Como ~ private cooking class with Paola Scamihorn and her beautiful family and seeing beautiful Burano ~ known for their homemade lace and Murano ~ known for their blown glass ~ loved everything about this awesome and memorable family trip ~ thank you again Crawford Concierge ~ great blog Taylor ~ love you ~ mom xoxo ♥️

    • Taylor Deer on May 28, 2020 at 11:49 am

      Thank you mom! It really was so amazing. They create the best bespoke itineraries. 🙂

  2. Mikayla on May 28, 2020 at 10:42 am

    Girl I am SO glad you wrote this. Im planning a trip to Europe next year and that’s exactly where I wanted to do it!

    • Taylor Deer on May 28, 2020 at 11:50 am

      Ah awesome! Italy and Switzerland are so amazing, although I wish I spent more time in Switzerland. If you have the time, definitely visit Zug and Lugano in Switzerland. 🙂

  3. Brittany Sneller on May 28, 2020 at 12:49 pm

    This is exactly the type of trip I want to take! I’ve been missing Europe lately and I have so many “bucket list” places to check off in Switzerland and Italy both. My dad’s side of the family can be traced back to Felsberg, Switzerland in the 1600s so I’ve always wanted to visit there. It looks gorgeous. P.S. I love the outfit you’re wearing in Cinque Terre!

    • Taylor Deer on May 28, 2020 at 2:38 pm

      Ah awesome! You would love this trip. I wish I saw more in Switzerland though, next time! If you do this trip and have extra time, I recommend Zug and Lugano. Also thank you so much Bri! 🙂

  4. Nina on May 30, 2020 at 10:17 am

    This sounds like the perfect itinerary! Can’t wait to visit Cinque Terre and Florence 🙂

    • Taylor Deer on May 30, 2020 at 8:32 pm

      Thank you Nina! It was perfect and you would love both destinations. 🙂

  5. madhu sharma on May 30, 2020 at 10:41 am

    That’s an awese itinerary covers best of Switzerland and Italy ..thanks for sharing

    • Taylor Deer on May 30, 2020 at 8:32 pm

      Thank you so much Madhu! I’m glad you liked it. 🙂

  6. Shelley on May 30, 2020 at 11:19 am

    Every time I see photos of Italy, I swear it gets prettier and prettier! Loved your photos & now I have some wanderlust for Switzerland too.

    • Taylor Deer on May 30, 2020 at 8:33 pm

      Thank you so much Shelley! You would love it there 🙂

  7. Ophelie on May 30, 2020 at 12:04 pm

    Amazing trip Taylor! It am surprised by all the beautiful places you got the opportunity to see during those 10 days: many are very iconic! Thank you for all the info.

    • Taylor Deer on May 30, 2020 at 8:33 pm

      Thank you Ophelie! It was definitely an amazing trip. 🙂

  8. Jenny Ventura on May 30, 2020 at 12:51 pm

    Those pictures are gorgeous – I want to plan my trip now!

    • Taylor Deer on May 30, 2020 at 8:34 pm

      Thank you so much Jenny! You would love this trip. 🙂

  9. Madi | Madimonde on May 30, 2020 at 12:57 pm

    Sounds like an absolutely amazing trip, I love all the colorful pictures! I haven’t been to either country yet so I will definitely use this guide to help me plan my trip! Thank you Taylor 💕

    • Taylor Deer on May 30, 2020 at 8:34 pm

      It really was Madi! I loved it so much and I know you would too! 🙂

  10. Michelle on May 30, 2020 at 4:42 pm

    I love the idea of doing a Switzerland / Northern Italy trip. We visited Venice and some Greek Islands this past 2019 and I just can’t wait to go back and see more of both Greece and Italy. I am going remember your tip about about boating around the lake and viewing the Alps, that just sounds wonderful!!

    • Taylor Deer on May 30, 2020 at 8:35 pm

      That sounds wonderful and I definitely need to get back to Greece and see more. It is one of my favorite countries. Also, yes, definitely do not miss out on the boat tour around Lake Como. 🙂

  11. Molly on May 30, 2020 at 6:19 pm

    Love this post! Cinque Terre is my favorite!

    • Taylor Deer on May 30, 2020 at 8:36 pm

      Thank you Molly! It truly is a beautiful place. Next time I want to do the hike. 🙂

  12. Lauren Allen on May 30, 2020 at 7:16 pm

    This is a great itinerary and I love your photos! 🙂

    • Taylor Deer on May 30, 2020 at 8:36 pm

      Thank you so much Lauren! 🙂

  13. Allison on May 30, 2020 at 7:17 pm

    This itinerary is so helpful! I’ve been to Venice but am dying to get back to Italy! It all looks so stunning. Also, I love your outfits – so cute!

    • Taylor Deer on May 30, 2020 at 8:37 pm

      Thank you Allison, I loved it there. Also I appreciate the compliments on my outfits. 🙂

  14. Polly on May 30, 2020 at 10:33 pm

    That sounds like a fantastic trip! This is an amazing itinerary as well. Thank you for sharing. Cannot wait to be able to go back to Italy 🙂

    • Taylor Deer on May 31, 2020 at 12:37 am

      It really was Polly! I loved it so much. I cannot wait to go back as well. 🙂

  15. Léa on June 6, 2020 at 4:54 am

    Oh such a wonderful itinerary idea! It makes me miss Europe so much. I never get tired of Italy (who could?!), I explored most of those places already but will probably go back at some point.. And I really want to explore more of Switzerland! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Taylor Deer on June 7, 2020 at 11:54 pm

      Thank you Lea and yes, I could never get sick of Italy either. Also, I need to get back to Switzerland and explore more cities and places. 🙂

  16. Roger Fox on June 9, 2020 at 4:19 am

    I really love Italy. Hope to return there this year! Incredible photos, looking at them, I kind of was there. Thanks for this opportunity! I’m impressed!

    • Taylor Deer on June 9, 2020 at 9:24 am

      Thank you so much! I’m looking to go back this year as well. It’s an amazing country. 🙂

Leave a Comment





DSC_0856

Visiting the hidden gems of Lake Como during a Northern Italy Switzerland trip

One of the most memorable trips I’ve been on was a family trip to Northern Italy and Switzerland in late May through early June 2018. We booked our luxury Northern Italy and Switzerland trip through Crawford Concierge who crafted the best bespoke itinerary for us. This itinerary is not only perfect for families, it is also great for solo travelers, couples and friend groups.

Italy is one of the most desired travel destinations in the world and it is almost impossible to see the entire country in one trip. If you want to see a good chunk of Italy like myself, I recommend doing separate trips for each area of Italy. So far, I’ve been to Italy three times. The first time was a trip to Sicily in June 2017 for my 26th birthday. My second trip to this beautiful country was when I did my Northern Italy and Switzerland adventure with my family in 2018 and I also did a ski trip to the Italian Dolomites in South Tyrol during January 2020.

The best Northern Italy Switzerland itinerary includes pasta

If you are looking to explore the best of Italy, I recommend you first start with this amazing 10-day Northern Italy Switzerland itinerary that we did via train.

**Please note that this blog post uses affiliate links meaning that if you make a purchase via my affiliate link, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. I only promote and talk about products and services that I have used and like.


Pin the Below Image to Keep Handy

Northern Italy Switzerland Itinerary

Northern Italy Switzerland Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Zürich

A woman enjoying her time in Zurich during a Northern Italy Switzerland trip

We started our Northern Italy Switzerland itinerary started in Zürich. From Zürich Airport (where you will fly into), there is a train that will take you downtown. The train runs consistently between 5am and 12:30am and the actual station is situated at the lowest level of the airport at level 02. The journey from the airport to downtown Zürich will take around 10-15 minutes.

Where to Stay in Zürich:

Luxury: Small Luxury Hotel Ambassador Zürich

Mid-Budget/Boutique: 25hours Hotel Langstrasse

Budget/Hostel: Lindas Beauty Hostel

Rentals: Airbnb or Home Away

I recommend that your first day in Zürich be more of a relaxing one since you will most likely have a tiring travel journey. I recommend grabbing food and leisurely strolling around the city. After settling into our hotel, we got pizza at Razzia, which is a swanky bar and restaurant known for its cheeses. Needless to say, it was absolutely delicious!

After grabbing food, enjoy a relaxing walk around Lake Zürich. Located on the lakefront are outdoor bars, live music venues, boats and people having a great time! The lake area is absolutely beautiful!

Later into the evening, I recommend watching the sunset and grabbing drinks at a rooftop bar in the city. Since we stayed at Small Luxury Hotel Ambassador, they had a great rooftop bar called The View Hidden Bar. It is open to the public, but please note that they have a capacity for the amount of people who sit up there.

Day 2: Day in Zürich

Visiting a beer garden on top of a Swiss mountain during a Northern Italy Switzerland itinerary

After getting a good night’s rest, we wandered into Zürich’s Old Town, which is a real life storybook. In the Altstadt (Old Town), there is a lovely Swiss café called Conditorei Schober that offers delicious chocolates, cakes, pastries, tarts and breads. It is absolutely amazing!

Once you are finished with breakfast, stroll through the cobblestone streets and quaint alleyways. A few churches and landmarks that you must see are the St. Peterskirche, Grossmünster and Framünster. I also recommend making your way to the mountainous side of Zürich to the beautiful town of Adliswil. From there, you could hike or take a gondola up to Felsenegg vantage point. Once you reach the top, you could savor the views of the city of Zürich and nearby Swiss Alps. Felsenegg also has a bar called Panorama where you could grab a refreshing Swiss beer!

Another wonderful thing to do in Zürich is take the ferry across Lake Zürich. It is the perfect way to relax, admire the swiss Alps and catch beautiful views of the mansions along the lake. During your last evening, I recommend grabbing an authentic Swiss German dinner at Restaurant Brasserie Johanniter. It was by far one of the best restaurants I’ve eaten at during my travels! For dessert, you cannot miss out on getting macaroons at Confiserie Sprüngli!

Day 3: Arrive in Como

Take a Como cooking class during a Northern Italy Switzerland itinerary

The second place we visited on our Northern Italy Switzerland itinerary was Lake Como. We traveled from Zürich to Como by train from the Zürich Hauptbahnhof to Como San Giovanni train station. It was around a 3-hour train ride and the views were astronomical! From the train station in Como, you could easily walk to your accommodation, which I recommend you booking in the actual village of Como.

Where to Stay in Como:

Luxury: The Palace Hotel

Mid-Budget/Boutique: Rumi Rooms

Budget/Hostel: In Riva al Lago

Rentals: Airbnb or Home Away

The top things to do when you first arrive in Como is walk around and grab lunch at one of the authentic restaurants in town. Our favorite restaurant in the town of Como was Trattoria Il Solito Posto. I also recommend taking the Pigra Cable Car in Como to the top of the mountain where you could catch amazing views of the lake along with all the beautiful towns nearby.

Later in the day, I recommend taking a cooking class with Paola Lovisetti Scamihorn. Paola is a food blogger of Passion and Cooking and is also the author of the books The Mamma Mia! Diet, Authentic Italian Cookbook: Love is Eating along with Love is Eating – Healthy and Tasty Italian Recipes for Family Meals. Paola’s recipes are healthy and have proven that consuming a Mediterranean diet helps keep people fit. Paola also hosts cooking classes for those visiting Como and that is what we did.

Overall, we felt welcomed and part of Paola’s family from the moment we stepped foot into her home. We enjoyed an aperitivo that consisted of prosciutto, salami, cheese and an assortment of breads. We then helped Paola cook a healthy whole-wheat linguine with fresh vegetables and herbs in a white wine sauce dish along with chicken, prosciutto and sage roll ups. For dessert, we made tiramisu. Everything tasted amazing!

Day 4: A Day on Lake Como

Visiting beautiful Lake Como during a Northern Italy Switzerland trip

During our second day in Lake Como, we did a guided boat tour. If you make your way to Como, this is definitely something you HAVE TO DO! It was one of the best days we had during our time in Northern Italy. Our guide Giacomo sailed us around on his gorgeous handcrafted wooden boat. During our boat day, we sailed passed lavish mansions and colorful villas. A lot of these homes are actually owned by celebrities, top CEOs, bankers and world leaders such as George Clooney, Richard Branson, Gianni Versace, Guinness and more.

Our first stop on our boat journey was to the colorful village of Varenna. We enjoyed strolling through the gorgeous cobblestone alleyways and catching glimpses of the lake. The architecture and historical monuments are also something to admire in Varenna.

The second village we visited was Bellagio, which is known as The Pearl of Lake Como. Bellagio is definitely more touristy than Varenna, but it is absolutely beautiful with pastel-colored villages, stunning views and a charming culture. During your time in Bellagio, I recommend getting lunch at Terrazza du Lac Ristorante and also exploring the gardens of i Giardini di Villa Melzi.

Later in the afternoon, we made our way to Locanda dell Isola Comacina. It is a unique island that includes walking trails, fishermen houses and a church. There is also a bar on the island called La Botte where you could grab an aperitivo and enjoy the views of the lake.

Day 5: Arrive in Venice

A woman taking a Venetian rowing lesson during her time in Venice included in a Northern Italy Switzerland itinerary

Traveling from Como to Venice is around 3.5 hours by train. It requires you to take the local train from Como San Giovanni station to Milano Centrale and then you will need to switch trains that will take you to Venice’s Venezia Santa Lucia train station. Once you get to Venice, you will most likely need to take a water taxi to your accommodation.

Where to Stay in Venice:

Luxury: Palazzo Veneziano

Mid-Budget/Boutique: Carnival Palace Hotel

Budget/Hostel: We_Crociferi

Rentals: Airbnb or Home Away

One of the best things to do in Venice is take a Venetian rowing lesson. Personally, I recommend doing this activity over a traditional gondola ride if you are short on time. Before you actually take your rowing lesson, I recommend grabbing lunch at a nearby restaurant called Ristorante Diana. It was one of the best restaurants I went to in Northern Italy.

Taking a rowing lesson in Venice was one of the most memorable activities we did there. We did our lesson through Row Venice, which is a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of traditional Venetian culture. Row Venice’s employees are predominantly all females creating the best experiences for locals to enjoy as well as visitors. Our lesson began with the introduction of the traditional batelina, which is a rowing boat that is now rare to see in Venice. We practiced in the quiet canals, away from the tourists. Once we got comfortable, we made our way onto the popular Grand Canal where there was more traffic. We had such as blast!

After our rowing lesson, we made our way through the fairytale streets of Venice. We admired the stunning Gothic architecture, charming bridges and Arabic touches. As you stroll through Venice, it is a MUST that you see the iconic Rialto Bridge, Bridge of Sighs and Saint Mark’s Basilica. While you are making your way through the area, I recommend grabbing gelato at VizioVirtù Cioccolateria. For dinner, try some delicious pizza at Ostaria al Vecio Pozzo!

Day 6: Island Tour of Murano, Burano and Torcello

Visiting the colorful village of Burano during a Northern Italy Switzerland trip

During your second day in Venice, take a tour of the three islands off of the main city – Murano, Burano and Torcello. There are a lot of tour companies that take travelers to these islands, but I personally recommend seeing them on your own.

The island of Murano is renowned for its tradition of glass making. In fact, I recommend seeing a glass making demonstration where you can watch a glassmith (or glassblower) create stunning glass work.

After learning about glass making in Murano, head over to the colorful fishing village of Burano. According to Italian legend, Venetians living in Burano painted their homes bright colors so that the local fishermen could see them even during the grayest days to avoid crashing into shore after a long voyage at sea. It is best to stroll through the adorable streets of Burano, wander through the gorgeous lace shops and learn about Italian lace making, touring the leaning church tower of San Martino and grabbing delicious butter cookies.

Torcello is the most northerly island of the Venetian lagoon and most of it is uninhabited. The people who do live there mainly reside in farmhouses. An iconic landmark that you cannot miss is the Devils Bridge. According to folklore, this bridge was built in one night by the devil to win a bet. The Church of Santa Fosca is also a wonderful landmark to see in Torcello!

Day 7: Day in Florence

Visiting the beautiful city of Florence during a Northern Italy Switzerland itinerary

Traveling from Venice to Florence could easily be done in two hours and 15 minutes by taking the train from Venezia Santa Lucia to Firenze Santa Maria Novella. Once you get to Florence’s main train station, you could either walk or haul a taxi to your accommodation in the city.

During our Northern Italy Switzerland trip, we wanted to include Tuscany and Cinque Terre in our itinerary, so we decided to base ourselves in Florence and do day trips from there. In my opinion, if you have more time, I recommend staying a couple nights in Cinque Terre and having a lovely beach vacation and also renting a villa in the Tuscan countryside to get the most authentic experience.

Where to Stay in Florence:

Luxury: Hotel Spadai

Mid-Budget/Boutique: Residenza La Musa Amarcord

Budget/Hostel: Ostello Tasso

Rentals: Airbnb or Home Away

With only one day in Florence, you will need to pack a lot in. The first place we visited during our time in Florence was the Duomo. Known as Florence’s most iconic landmark, the Piazza del Duomo is one of the most amazing sites in the city. If you want to go into the Duomo, it is recommended that you book your tickets in advance to get in.

Before seeing the rest of the fascinating sites and landmarks of Florence, I recommend getting lunch at SimBIOsi, which is a great organic restaurant. Afterwards, head over to the Galleria dell’Accademia to see Michelangelo’s David. It is truly fascinating to see the David in person!

Another great thing to do during your time in Florence is go shopping in Ponte Vecchio. Known as Florence’s oldest bridge, Ponte Vecchio was the only bridge across the Arno River that did not get destroyed by the Germans during World War II. Initially, butchers occupied the shops, but nowadays, it is a collection of high-end jewelers, art dealers, souvenir sellers and more.

Later on into the evening, you have to watch the sunset from the Piazzale Michelangelo. It is the most famous lookout in Florence and it truly is an amazing spot to see an epic sunset! After watching the sunset, grab a lovely dinner at Trattoria Zà Zà.

Day 8: Day Trip to Tuscany from Florence

A day trip to Northern Tuscany during a Northern Italy Switzerland itinerary

From Florence, we did a beautiful day trip to Northern Tuscany. It was such a lovely day and we got to see so much. You could either do an organized tour to Northern Tuscany or rent a car and do a self-tour.

Our first stop in Northern Tuscany was to San Gimignano, which is where you could capture iconic views that Tuscany is known for from the rolling green hills to the picturesque Cypress trees. San Gimignano is a picture-perfect Tuscan village that is filled with stone buildings and 13th Century fortress walls. During your time in San Gimignano, you have to walk around and admire all of the beauty. You also have to visit the stores and purchase truffle oil, since it is a staple in the Tuscan region. You could use truffle oil with a variety of Italian and non-Italian dishes such as French fries, pizza, potatoes, eggs and more. I also recommend seeing the Duomo di San Gimignano and climb the Torre Grossa (tower). To top it off, you HAVE to visit Gelateria Dondoli, which is the world champion gelato shop!

After exploring San Gimignano, make you way over to Siena, which is one of the most popular cities in Tuscany and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A fun fact about Siena is that it is where you could hear the most beautiful Italian being spoken. When you arrive in Siena, I recommend getting pizza for lunch at Ristorante Pizzeria Spadaforte in the Piazza del Campo. Once you are finished with lunch, wander through the medieval city of Siena and visit the beautiful Siena Baptistery, Medici, Torre del Mangia and Duomo di Siena.

The third stop on our Northern Tuscany tour was to the charming village of Monteriggioni. This small fortress town is absolutely lovely and the perfect place to grab a mid afternoon coffee and relax. It is in Monterioggioni where you could admire views of the surrounding Chianti region. During your time in this lovely city, see the Castello di Monteriggioni (castle) and Chiesa di Santa Maria Assunta (church).

Last, but not least, it is best to end your Northern Tuscany day trip by wine tasting in Chianti. During our time in Chianti, we visited the Poggio Amorelli estate where we tasted the amazing wines of Marco Mazzarrini at his winery called Famiglia Mazzarrini. During our wine experience in Chianti, we tasted a few whites and reds, including a delicious Prosecco. In between each wine tasting, we also got to taste the regional olive oil, truffle oil and balsamic vinaigrette on fresh Italian bread. We were even served a charcuterie platter.

Day 9: Cinque Terre Day Trip from Florence

A woman enjoying the beautiful views in Cinque Terre

In addition to our day trip to Tuscany, we also did a wonderful tour to Cinque Terre from Florence. Just like with a Tuscany day trip, a day to Cinque Terre could be done with an organized group or on your own. I personally recommend you do a day trip to Cinque Terre on your own so that you could enjoy the coast without being on a time limit.

During a trip to Cinque Terre, I recommend starting in Manarola, which is the smallest, but most iconic village in Cinque Terre. In Manarola, it is best to enjoy food and drinks at Punta Bonfiglio where you could admire the colorful homes on the cliffs. The second village to visit in Cinque Terre is Vernazza. This beautiful village is located on a small harbor that also has colorful houses as well as a plethora of cafés, restaurants and souvenir shops.

Monterosso al Mare is the only village in Cinque Terre with a beach that is perfect for both relaxing and swimming. Not only do I recommend enjoying a beach day in Monterosso, it is best to also grab lunch here and enjoy a pesto dish from a waterfront restaurant. The Liguria region, which Cinque Terre is situated in is known for pesto sauce that consists of fresh basil, garlic, pine nuts, olive oil and sometimes Parmesan cheese. A great restaurant to eat at in Monterosso al Mare is Ristorante il Gabbiano.

To end your day trip in Cinque Terre, it is best to take a boat to the town of Porto Venere that is a historic fishing port with more colorful harbor houses. During your time in Porto Venere, visit the gorgeous Gothic-style Church of St. Peter and also the centuries-old Castello Doria.

Day 10: Day in Bologna

Beautiful buildings in Bologna during a Northern Italy Switzerland trip

Getting from Florence to Bologna could be done by taking the train from Firenze Santa Maria Novella to Bologna Centrale. It takes around 40 minutes to get from Florence to Bologna and once you arrive, you could either walk or take a taxi to your accommodation.

We only spent one full day and night in Bologna because we flew home from Bologna Guglielmo Marconi Airport. Discover why Bologna is the best city to conclude your Northern Italy Switzerland itinerary.

Where to Stay in Bologna:

Luxury: Hotel Corona d’Oro

Mid-Budget/Boutique: Palazzo Trevi Charming House

Budget/Hostel: Dopa Hostel

Rentals: Airbnb or Home Away

After arriving in Bologna and checking into your hotel, I recommend walking around and visiting the city’s historical landmarks. I recommend climbing the Torre Asinelli or Torre Prendiparte where you could catch stunning views of Bologna. From there, definitely check out the Cattedrale Metropolitana di San Pietro, which is a late 16th Century cathedral.

For lunch, the best place to eat at is Ristorante Trattoria Oberdan da Mario. It is located near Bologna’s beautiful canals that are definitely worth seeing! Once you are finished with lunch, it is best to walk off what you ate by strolling down the glam streets of Via dell’Indipendenza, Via Ugo Bassi, Via Rizzoli and Via D’Azeglio where you could go shopping.

Later into the afternoon, grab a gelato and aperitivo at Piazza Maggiore where you could admire the beautiful architecture and enjoy live music. For dinner, savor a delicious meal at Trattoria Del Rosso.


Plan Your Northern Italy Switzerland Itinerary!

A woman enjoying her time in Zurich

I hope you all enjoyed reading about the best 10-day Northern Italy Switzerland itinerary. If you would like your own bespoke itinerary made for your trip, contact Crawford Concierge.

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10-Day Northern Italy and Switzerland itinerary

Basic Facts of Italy and Switzerland:

Italy – Currency: Euro, Capital: Rome, Time Zone: Central European Time

Switzerland – Currency: Swiss Franc, Capital: Bern, Time Zone: Central European Time

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32 Comments

  1. Kim Deer on May 28, 2020 at 12:01 am

    Loved this wonderful trip by Crawford Concierge ~ it was a perfect family trip to alot of the most beautiful regions of Italy and Zurich, Switzerland. This was my first trip to Italy and one I will never forget. The architecture and cathedrals were stunning. The food and great wine were amazing ~ the views at the top of the Swiss Alps were breathtaking ~ Venice such a beautiful region and way of life ~ surrounded by gorgeous bodies of water. Cinque Terra, the Italuan Riviera was amazing. Florence was a great city ~ saw the original David by Michelangelo, Lake Como my favorite ~ private boat ride ~ best experience on Lake Como ~ private cooking class with Paola Scamihorn and her beautiful family and seeing beautiful Burano ~ known for their homemade lace and Murano ~ known for their blown glass ~ loved everything about this awesome and memorable family trip ~ thank you again Crawford Concierge ~ great blog Taylor ~ love you ~ mom xoxo ♥️

    • Taylor Deer on May 28, 2020 at 11:49 am

      Thank you mom! It really was so amazing. They create the best bespoke itineraries. 🙂

  2. Mikayla on May 28, 2020 at 10:42 am

    Girl I am SO glad you wrote this. Im planning a trip to Europe next year and that’s exactly where I wanted to do it!

    • Taylor Deer on May 28, 2020 at 11:50 am

      Ah awesome! Italy and Switzerland are so amazing, although I wish I spent more time in Switzerland. If you have the time, definitely visit Zug and Lugano in Switzerland. 🙂

  3. Brittany Sneller on May 28, 2020 at 12:49 pm

    This is exactly the type of trip I want to take! I’ve been missing Europe lately and I have so many “bucket list” places to check off in Switzerland and Italy both. My dad’s side of the family can be traced back to Felsberg, Switzerland in the 1600s so I’ve always wanted to visit there. It looks gorgeous. P.S. I love the outfit you’re wearing in Cinque Terre!

    • Taylor Deer on May 28, 2020 at 2:38 pm

      Ah awesome! You would love this trip. I wish I saw more in Switzerland though, next time! If you do this trip and have extra time, I recommend Zug and Lugano. Also thank you so much Bri! 🙂

  4. Nina on May 30, 2020 at 10:17 am

    This sounds like the perfect itinerary! Can’t wait to visit Cinque Terre and Florence 🙂

    • Taylor Deer on May 30, 2020 at 8:32 pm

      Thank you Nina! It was perfect and you would love both destinations. 🙂

  5. madhu sharma on May 30, 2020 at 10:41 am

    That’s an awese itinerary covers best of Switzerland and Italy ..thanks for sharing

    • Taylor Deer on May 30, 2020 at 8:32 pm

      Thank you so much Madhu! I’m glad you liked it. 🙂

  6. Shelley on May 30, 2020 at 11:19 am

    Every time I see photos of Italy, I swear it gets prettier and prettier! Loved your photos & now I have some wanderlust for Switzerland too.

    • Taylor Deer on May 30, 2020 at 8:33 pm

      Thank you so much Shelley! You would love it there 🙂

  7. Ophelie on May 30, 2020 at 12:04 pm

    Amazing trip Taylor! It am surprised by all the beautiful places you got the opportunity to see during those 10 days: many are very iconic! Thank you for all the info.

    • Taylor Deer on May 30, 2020 at 8:33 pm

      Thank you Ophelie! It was definitely an amazing trip. 🙂

  8. Jenny Ventura on May 30, 2020 at 12:51 pm

    Those pictures are gorgeous – I want to plan my trip now!

    • Taylor Deer on May 30, 2020 at 8:34 pm

      Thank you so much Jenny! You would love this trip. 🙂

  9. Madi | Madimonde on May 30, 2020 at 12:57 pm

    Sounds like an absolutely amazing trip, I love all the colorful pictures! I haven’t been to either country yet so I will definitely use this guide to help me plan my trip! Thank you Taylor 💕

    • Taylor Deer on May 30, 2020 at 8:34 pm

      It really was Madi! I loved it so much and I know you would too! 🙂

  10. Michelle on May 30, 2020 at 4:42 pm

    I love the idea of doing a Switzerland / Northern Italy trip. We visited Venice and some Greek Islands this past 2019 and I just can’t wait to go back and see more of both Greece and Italy. I am going remember your tip about about boating around the lake and viewing the Alps, that just sounds wonderful!!

    • Taylor Deer on May 30, 2020 at 8:35 pm

      That sounds wonderful and I definitely need to get back to Greece and see more. It is one of my favorite countries. Also, yes, definitely do not miss out on the boat tour around Lake Como. 🙂

  11. Molly on May 30, 2020 at 6:19 pm

    Love this post! Cinque Terre is my favorite!

    • Taylor Deer on May 30, 2020 at 8:36 pm

      Thank you Molly! It truly is a beautiful place. Next time I want to do the hike. 🙂

  12. Lauren Allen on May 30, 2020 at 7:16 pm

    This is a great itinerary and I love your photos! 🙂

    • Taylor Deer on May 30, 2020 at 8:36 pm

      Thank you so much Lauren! 🙂

  13. Allison on May 30, 2020 at 7:17 pm

    This itinerary is so helpful! I’ve been to Venice but am dying to get back to Italy! It all looks so stunning. Also, I love your outfits – so cute!

    • Taylor Deer on May 30, 2020 at 8:37 pm

      Thank you Allison, I loved it there. Also I appreciate the compliments on my outfits. 🙂

  14. Polly on May 30, 2020 at 10:33 pm

    That sounds like a fantastic trip! This is an amazing itinerary as well. Thank you for sharing. Cannot wait to be able to go back to Italy 🙂

    • Taylor Deer on May 31, 2020 at 12:37 am

      It really was Polly! I loved it so much. I cannot wait to go back as well. 🙂

  15. Léa on June 6, 2020 at 4:54 am

    Oh such a wonderful itinerary idea! It makes me miss Europe so much. I never get tired of Italy (who could?!), I explored most of those places already but will probably go back at some point.. And I really want to explore more of Switzerland! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Taylor Deer on June 7, 2020 at 11:54 pm

      Thank you Lea and yes, I could never get sick of Italy either. Also, I need to get back to Switzerland and explore more cities and places. 🙂

  16. Roger Fox on June 9, 2020 at 4:19 am

    I really love Italy. Hope to return there this year! Incredible photos, looking at them, I kind of was there. Thanks for this opportunity! I’m impressed!

    • Taylor Deer on June 9, 2020 at 9:24 am

      Thank you so much! I’m looking to go back this year as well. It’s an amazing country. 🙂

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