Best Day Trips from Zurich
Zurich is Switzerland's biggest city as well as its economic and educational center. As you walk down the city streets you will feel the buzzing and lively atmosphere of the city that attracts people from around the globe. If you look around you will notice that you are surrounded by vibrant and beautiful natural landscapes with the reflection of the gorgeous Swiss Alps in the water of Lake Zurich.
During the wintertime, Zurich is alive with winter sports and Christmas markets, and during the summertime, the city is the host of many events and festivals. Attractions like Zurich's world class museums, historic landmarks, and great restaurants are also available year-round.
As you can tell, there is plenty to do in Zurich. However, when you vacation in this city you will also be close to other fantastic cities, parks, and interesting places that are worth checking out. You can get the best of both worlds if you reserve some time on your vacation to go on day trips to explore the area surrounding the city!
Traveler tip: When you are away, stow your bags at a luggage storage facility in Zurich. On a day trip, carry only what you require and leave the rest behind.
How to get out of Zurich
Zurich is a city that is easy to get around, and you will see many of the locals and tourists taking advantage of its navigability by exploring it on foot or by bike. If you ever need to get somewhere that is too far to walk, a ride on their efficient bus or tram system will prove to be useful. Driving can be a challenge if you aren't used to the city streets, also since parking can be hard to find.
When you are ready to get out of the city to go on a Zurich day trip you will need to plan how you are going to get from one place to the other. With Zurich HB Main Station as the central hub, Zurich's railway network is definitely one of the best ways to get to your destination, although you can also hire a taxi or try renting a car if you feel confident enough to drive in a new place. Overall, we recommend relying on the public transportation system since it is affordable and stress-free!
From Zurich to Lucerne
Lucerne is a city located right in the heart of Switzerland, and it is a picturesque town that is one of the best day trip destinations. This city served as an important trading town in Medieval times, and much of its history can still be seen in the streets of the Old Town. It is also located next to the River Reuss and Lake Lucerne which is a gorgeous spot where you can relax and soak up the natural beauty of the water and snow capped mountains that surround it. If you want to venture into the Swiss Alps, Mount Pilatus and Mount Titlis are both nearby.
This charming alpine town offers plenty of landmarks, with the most famous being Kapellbrücke, or Chapel Bridge. This covered wooden bridge dates back all the way to 1333 and it is in impressively good condition considering its age. If you take a walk through the bridge you can marvel at over 100 different images that depict the history of Lucerne. Right beside it is Wasserturm, a water tower that also dates back to the 13th century. If you want to see more art make time to take a trip to the Museum Sammlung Rosengart! The Lion Monument and old City Walls should also be on your list of things to see in Lucerne.
How to get to Lucerne
This gorgeous town in central Switzerland has so much to offer that you might even want to stay for more than a day! Luckily it is easy to get here from Zurich and can be reached directly by car if you want to drive. There are also frequent trains connecting Zurich and Lucerne, and the train ride only takes about 45 minutes.
From Zurich to Bern
Although a small city, Bern stands as the capital of Switzerland and one of its most important places. The Old Town of Bern is a listed UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the top reasons to visit. Although it suffered a fire in 1405, the center of the city still offers lots to see and is home to some stunning buildings that were constructed in the 17th and 18th centuries. You will fall in love with the Old Town as it is extremely beautiful being located atop a ridge and surrounded by the peaceful Aare River.
As you tour around the city, make a point to stop by the top tourist attractions like the Zytglogge clock tower that you can go inside. Just a short walk away is the Parliament Building which has a wonderful terrace overlooking the city, and if you hop across the river you will find a selection of wonderful museums plus fantastic city views near the city's Bear Pit. Some of the best ones to check out include the Einstein Museum, the Natural History Museum, and the Bern Historical Museum. Additionally, Bern has a great drinking scene and is known for its Swiss biscuits and Emmental cheese.
How to get to Bern
There are some guided tours that will bring you to Bern and can teach you a lot about the city, although you can easily get here on your own as well. There are regular trains traveling between the two cities and the journey only takes about an hour to an hour and a half.
From Zurich to Jungfraujoch
If you like skiing or just want to admire the views from one of the impressive mountains in Switzerland then you will love a day trip to Jungfraujoch. As one of the three famous peaks in the Bernese Oberland, this mountain will definitely satisfy nature lovers and it is also a great place for mountain biking and mountain climbing. It is a lovely place to visit, even if you just want to admire the scenic splendor of the rolling green pastures and villages where you can experience the real rural Alpine life.
The Jungfraujoch mountain pass is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that can offer you endless outdoor adventures, and it is easy to get to if you take the cogwheel railway from Grindelwald. You can also check out Europe's highest railway station which has a research station and restaurant in case you get hungry. Don't miss a chance to admire the views from the Sphinx viewing platform, and visit the Ice Palace that has been carved straight into the glacier!
How to get to Jungfraujoch
Getting to Jungfraujoch will take a little while but it is well worth the journey. You can admire the panoramic views as you ride the train to the mountain, which will take about three and a half hours.
From Zurich to Basel
This city in Northern Switzerland is often overlooked and deserves much more appreciation and recognition than it receives. This is why you should take a day trip to Basel from Zurich! Located in the Rhine Valley by the Rhine River is this rich, multicultural city ready to welcome you with a wealth of history plus attractions that all art and architecture enthusiasts will adore. If you are a nature lover, you will want to stop by the Rhine Falls that lead into Lake Constance. They are some of the mightiest falls in all of Central Europe and are easily accessible from Basel. You can either admire them from above or take a scenic cruise to see them from below!
There are plenty of other things to do in Basel itself. Make your own tour of the area starting at the Town Hall, and then continuing on to the Basel Minster. It is the city's impressive Gothic cathedral that is quite a sight to behold with its two towers and intricate details. Interested in seeing some modern and contemporary art? The Beyeler Foundation and the Fine Arts Museum are definitely worth checking out. Fun fact; Basel has suburbs that are technically situated in Germany and France, so you can actually visit three countries at once!
How to get to Basel
Getting from Zurich to Basel is simple if you take the railway. Once you board the train you will get there in just about an hour's time.
From Zurich to Mount Titlis
A day trip to Mount Titlis is the perfect activity for anyone who loves skiing, hiking, or seeing breathtaking views from atop one of the most beautiful Alpine peaks. Situated over 3,000 meters high, the summit of this mountain will be appreciated by all adventure seekers as well as those who enjoy mountain biking and climbing. You will reach the peak using a revolving cable car (the first in the world that was built back in 1992!) that offers panoramic views as you make the ascent. Bring your camera for the aerial cable car ride since you will definitely want to capture some shots of the incredible views.
From the summit, you can take some time to appreciate the incredible scenic beauty, and then make your way to check out the tourist attractions. Nearby you will find an entire adventure park with a fun Glacier Park snow slide. Once you've had your fun then the real thrill seekers will want to check out the Mount Titlis Cliff Walk which is a moderate hike that will bring you suspended up to 500 meters above the ground! On your adventure you will also get to see a 5,000 year old glacier in the Glacier Cave and you can walk across Europe's highest suspension bridge.
How to get to Mount Titlis
You can get to Mount Titlis from Zurich using the train, although you will have to hop off at Lucerne to change tracks. You can take advantage of this opportunity to check out both places at once! The train ride will take a bit under two hours.
From Zurich to Stein am Rhein
Take a trip back to medieval Switzerland by walking through the cobbled streets lined with half timbered houses in Stein am Rhein. It is one of the best preserved medieval towns with beautiful and colorful traditional houses that are reminiscent of the middle ages. As you wander down the narrow pedestrian streets of the medieval old town you will feel like you are in a picture postcard.
Make time to stop by the Rathausplatz town square which is a very cute and cozy place with flower boxes hanging from nearby window boxes, and the nearby Rhine River is the perfect place to take a walk. One of the best things to do is visit the medieval castle called Hohenklingen Castle from 1225 which will impress you with its ancient beauty as well as its incredible views of the city below you. The Monastery of St Georgen is definitely worth a visit as well!
How to get to Stein am Rhein
As usual, the trains can get you to Stein am Rhein from Zurich quickly and comfortably making them the best way to get from one place to the other. The journey will only take you about an hour and a half, and you can sit back and watch the gorgeous scenery go by as you make your way to the city.
Venturing Outside of Zurich
If you decide to go on day trips from Zurich you will find a variety of places that you can visit in Switzerland. Each place has its own charm and personality, and every city that you visit can offer you something new.
Whether you are looking to take a ride on cable cars up one of the beautiful mountain peaks or you want to explore a medieval village, there will be something amazing located nearby. Overall the best way to travel is by train, and Zurich's railway network is your gateway to exploring other stunning cities that will make it the trip of a lifetime.