Travelling with Pets

Switzerland Road Trip with a dog

Read Poppy the Cockapoo’s (and her paw-rents) road trip itinerary, exploring dog-friendly Switzerland with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle.

We’ve dreamed of visiting the Alps with Poppy ever since she was a puppy, and after our 2-week trip to Switzerland, we can honestly say it’s the most dog-friendly country we’ve ever visited.

We picked four main bases for our road trip which was the perfect amount for a 2-week holiday. It meant we weren’t packing our bags every day and having to check out of somewhere each morning. On the whole, it was much less stressful and allowed us to spend more time exploring! We also tried to mix up hotels and self-catered accommodation to keep costs down.

Day 1:  Drive from the UK

After lots of research into the best way to get to Switzerland with a dog, we settled on driving as the easiest and most cost-effective option. Flying was an immediate no for us as we wouldn’t be comfortable putting Poppy in the hold of a plane. The costs and time required for travelling by train put us off this option too.

With a drive to Switzerland of around 800 miles/1287km, we explored the options finding that the quickest and easiest way of getting to France by far was Eurotunnel Le Shuttle. The crossing takes just 35-minutes and you stay in the car with your dog for the entire journey. Not only did this allow us to do our outbound and return journeys in just one day, having our car gave us so much flexibility throughout our holiday to see things that wouldn’t have been as accessible by public transport.

Day 2 – 5: Zermatt

We absolutely loved our first few days in Zermatt. It’s a lovely bustling village even in Summer and of course, the views of the Matterhorn are breath-taking. You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to walks in this area, and although the lifts in Zermatt are eye-wateringly expensive dogs travel for free on all mountain lifts.

Must-sees:

5 Lakes Walk

A great walk for a sunny day is the Five-Seenweg (Five Lakes Trail). This hike takes you past the lakes of Stellisee, Grindjisee, Grünsee, Moosjisee, and Leisee with stunning views of the Matterhorn. Allow three hours for the full hike.

A mountain landscape, reflected into an azure blue lake. A cockapoo dog sits on a rock in the foreground, looking towards the camera.

Gornergrat

We’d highly recommend spending a day trying to get a bit closer to the Matterhorn and either head up to the Gornergrat or Glacier Paradise. We opted for Gornergrat and decided to hike up from Riffelalp but this was a tough hike with an altitude above 3000 metres. If you’d prefer a gentler day, can catch the train to the top, admire the views of the Gorner glacier then walk down to the Riffelsee lake. If you’re lucky you’ll get a reflection of the Matterhorn in the lake which is just incredible.

Gourmetweg

With weary legs on day four, we had earmarked the Gourmetweg, a mountain path that leads past numerous mountain restaurants back down to Zermatt village. Just catch the lift up to Sunnegga, then it’s mostly gentle downhill with various foodie stops along the way.

Accommodation: Hotel Alpenhof Zermatt

Day 5-10: Beatenberg (near Interlaken)

You’re completely spoilt for choice with things to see in this area. We spent five nights in the Interlaken area and didn’t even scratch the surface! If there’s only one place to base yourself in for a Switzerland trip, I’d argue this is probably it. With easy access to the entire Bernese Oberland region, snow-capped mountains and blue lakes, this place is everything we dreamed a trip to Switzerland would be.

Rocky mountain façade behind a blue still lake, a dog sits on a rock centre of the frame.

Must-sees

Oeschinensee and Blausee

A day of two very different lakes. We recommend starting your day at Blausee, which is actually a working trout farm. There’s a small fee for entry and can get busy later in the day but is worth a visit for the incredibly clear water. A boat trip on the lake is also included in your ticket price. The geography of the area gives Blausee a unique deep blue colour, with crystal clear water and some easy strolls around the lake and woodland. Dogs must stay on leads, due to there being trout everywhere.

Just down the road, we highly recommend a trip to Oeschinensee. This is the number one highlight of our trip. It is possibly one of the most beautiful locations in the world with clear blue water framed by the jagged alpine peaks. Park at Kandersteg to take a cable car up. From there it’s a short walk to the lake. If you have any energy left in your legs there’s an 8km panoramic walk but it is a steep climb.

Lauterbrunnen

Waterfall central! This picturesque valley of 72 waterfalls gave Lord of the Rings author JRR Tolkien inspiration for the city of Rivendell and it’s easy to see why. Driving to park at the Lauterbrunnen train station, we then walked around the village and along the valley, taking in the sights such as Staubbach Falls, a waterfall which you can actually walk behind!

It’s also worth a trip to Trummelbach Falls, a network of ten waterfalls that are inside the mountain. Due to the confined tunnels and noise from the rushing water, this is understandably not dog-friendly but is definitely worth a visit if you can. To complete a lovely circuit, walk along the valley to a cable car that takes you directly up the steep cliff face to the car-free village of Murren, providing more breathtaking views of the valley below. From here you can get a train back down to the Lauterbrunnen train station.

A grass-covered valley with a still, blue lake in the middle, sits before snow-capped mountains seen in the distance. A dog is standing on a rock, with a few specks of moss, in the foreground.

Schynige Platte to First hike

We wanted to get at least one full day walk in the area and if you enjoy hiking, we’d highly recommend the hike from Schynige Platte to First. Catch the first train of the day from Interlaken up to Schynige Platte, then it’s a spectacular 16km walk over the mountains to First. A particular highlight was the stunning lake of Bachalpsee. Once you reach first, take the cable car to the lovely village of Grindelwald and a train back to Wilderswil. Bachalpsee lake is also accessible in a 1-hour hike from First mountain station if you’d prefer a shorter walk.

Accommodation: Ula’s Holiday Apartments

Day 10-12: Lucerne area

As this was a birthday trip, we had to splurge for a couple of nights and picked the Hotel Villa Honegg near Lucerne. With the infinity pool of dreams, we enjoyed having a couple of days to relax at the hotel, as did Poppy!

Must-sees

Lucerne

For a gentle day of sightseeing, Lucerne is well worth a visit. Make sure to explore the Old Town with the Chapel bridge. The iconic covered walkway, the oldest sheltered bridge in the world, is a symbol of Lucerne and one of the city’s main tourist attractions. It’s also a great city to catch a boat ride to see the city and surrounding areas from a different angle.

Stoos

We’d highly recommend the Stoos ridge hike from Klingenstock to Fronalpstock, with spectacular views over lakes and mountain peaks. Although we did this hike on a cloudy day, we were lucky to have the clouds lift for an incredible view near Fronalpstock.

Accommodation: Villa Honegg

Day 12-15: Lugano

Driving down to the Italian speaking region of Switzerland was fascinating. You enter a bridge in the German-speaking area but when you emerge the other end, it’s like stepping into a different world. The Ticino region had a completely different feel to the rest of our trip with Italian architecture, Mediterranean weather and lots of mosquitos!

Must-sees

Mount San Salvatore

It wouldn’t be a trip to Lugano without a visit to its very own mountain, Mount San Salvatore. At the top, you’ll be treated to 360-degree views of the city, lakes, and views of the Alps. A funicular can take you up and there are several trails to explore once you’re there.

Gandria

Gandria was a stunning village to visit, built into the mountainside of Mount Brè with the narrowest of streets and stairways. We walked along the lakeside from Lugano, but you can also get a boat straight from the city into the village.

A Cockapoo dog stands in a clear rock water pool, looking up towards the camera.

Lavertezzo

The incredible water of the Verzasca river in Lavertezzo is the clearest water we’ve ever seen. It can get busy here in summer, but it’s a must-see if you’re in Ticino and was one of the highlights of our trip. Take a trail along the river from the main bridge to escape the crowds.

Accommodation: Guesthouse Castagnola

Ready to explore dog-friendly Switzerland with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle

Travelling with your pets with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle is easy and convenient. See our Pet compliance checklist and Travelling With Your Pet page to help you get ready for your holiday.

Keep up-to-date and see more of Poppy’s adventures here.

All images courtesy of @cockapops

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