There’s no better way to discover Switzerland than by cruising on the E-Grand Tour route, which has been dubbed “the best road trip of the Alps." And now with ample electric car rentals (including ultra-cool Teslas) and more than 300 charging stations, the tour is an easy and incredibly scenic way to experience eco-friendly travel.
As you coast along the clearly marked loop, see a highlight reel of quintessential Swiss sites: 5 Alpine passes, 12 UNESCO World Heritage sites, 22 glassy lakes, countless meadows and mountains, and a collection of vibrant cities and jewel-box villages.
Capture Instagram-worthy pics at the official photo spots (look for the outsized red frames) and purchase a Grand Tour Snack Box (refillable on the route) to munch on cheeses, chocolates, and other regional road foods.
1. Geneva – Peaceful Pedal
Ariana Park, home to the United Nations’ European headquarters, is the launchpad for Geneva Bike Tours’ e-bike ride through the “peace capital,” a nickname nod to the city’s more than 200 international organizations. The three-hour tour passes iconic Geneva sights, such as St. Peter’s Cathedral, built between 1160 and 1260. Climb 157 steps up to the cathedral’s North Tower platform for panoramic views of the city and its eponymous lake.
Photo Spot: Lake Geneva, Coppet
Snack Refill: Nyon Region Tourism office — Alexandre chocolate
2. Neuchâtel – Perfect Timing
Take a timely trip north of Neuchâtel to the neighboring towns of La Chaux- de-Fonds and Le Locle, collectively named a UNESCO World Heritage site for a continuous watchmaking culture dating to 17th century. Craft your own mechanical timepiece at an introductory workshop. View a timeline of watch-making history at the Watch Museum of Le Locle.
Photo Spot: Pont du Gottéron, Fribourg
Snack Refill: Aebersold bakery, Murten — Nidelkuchen cream cake
3. Bern – Dive In
Jump feet first into daily life in Switzerland’s compact capital city. Begin by shopping and strolling the four miles of lauben (covered walkways) in Bern’s Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Then, join the locals in a rite of summer—floating down the brisk River Aare to the Marzili, the city’s crystalline riverside swimming pool.
Photo Spot: Emmental Show Dairy, Emmental
Snack Refill: Schloss Hünegg in Hilterfingen —Nussgipfel (croissant filled with hazelnut paste)
4. Lucerne – Conquer the Dragon
Soar up the slopes of Lucerne’s mystical, 6,981-foot Mount Pilatus (formerly the domain of a dragon, according to legend) on the Dragon Ride aerial cable way. Hike around the summit to see (on clear days) top-of-the-world views of the city, Lake Lucerne, and up to 73 Alpine peaks.
Photo Spot: Château Gütsch, Lucerne
Snack Refill: Aeschbach Chocolatier, Lucerne — chocolate pralines
5. St. Gallen – Treasure Trove
A 2,700-year-old Egyptian mummy, 170,000 books, and the earliest known (eighth-century) architectural plan drawn on parchment are among the cultural gems housed in St. Gallen’s Abbey of St. Gall, a UNESCO World Heritage site. After touring the abbey district, take a high-road hike crossing 18 bridges on the aptly named Bridge Trail.
Photo Spot: Drei Weieren (Three Ponds), St. Gallen
Snack Refill: Appenzeller Schaukäserei AG — St. Gallen Biber (almond-filled honey dough pastry)
6. Maienfeld – Swiss Miss
Follow in the world-famous footsteps of Heidi, heroine of the classic children’s novel, on the Heidi Trail from medieval Maienfeld to Heidi Village. From here, hike up to a lunch stop at the rustic Heidialp chalet, a replica of the high-meadow hut where Heidi spent summers with her grandfather.
Photo Spot: Panorama Hotel Restaurant Heidihof, Maienfeld
Snack Refill: milk & more, Davos — Totenbeinli (hazelnut cookies)
7. Lugano – Warm Welcome
Benvenuto to sun-splashed Lugano, a Swiss slice of the Mediterranean on the Italian-speaking, southern side of the Alps. Dubbed the “garden city” due to an abundance of parks, blooming flowers and shrubs, and palm trees, lakefront Lugano ticks all the right boxes for a warm and relaxing rest stop.
Photo Spot: Monte San Giorgio, overlooking Lake Lugano
Snack Refill: Hotel Delfino, Lugano — Ticino alpine cheese
8. Grimentz – Treat the Senses
Detour back in time to the postcard-perfect Valais village of Grimentz, where, June to October, nearly 35 species of geranium fill the air with a fragrant blend of ginger, mint, orange, and other intoxicating floral scents.
Photo Spot: Stockalper Palace, Brig
Snack Refill: Bäckerei Tea-Room Mathieu, Susten — Traubenkerngipfel (grape seed bread)