Exploring Switzerland | The Best Day Trips from Zurich
Nestled in the heart of Europe, Zurich is not only Switzerland’s largest city but also a gateway to some of the country’s most stunning natural and cultural attractions. Switzerland is one of the Best Countries to visit in Europe, and if you plan for your trip to Switzerland properly, a Budget Trip to Switzerland is also possible. While Zurich itself offers a myriad of activities and sights, it’s worth venturing beyond the city limits to discover the breathtaking landscapes, charming towns, and historical treasures that Switzerland is known for; to tick off these 10 Best Day Trips from Zurich. In this thrilling article, we’ll take you on a journey through the Best Day Trips from Zurich, ensuring you make the most of your Swiss adventure.
- 10 of the Top Day Trips from Zurich | Switzerland
- 1. Lucerne – A Fairytale by the Lake
- 2. Interlaken – Adventure Capital of Switzerland
- 3. Zermatt – The Matterhorn’s Majesty
- 4. Bern – Switzerland’s Capital of Culture
- 5. Appenzell – A Taste of Swiss Tradition
- 6. Rhine Falls – Europe’s Largest Waterfall
- 7. Lausanne – A Lakeside Gem
- 8. Lugano – Switzerland’s Mediterranean Paradise
- 9. St. Moritz – Glamour in the Swiss Alps
- 10. Zurich Zoo – A Wildlife Adventure
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10 of the Top Day Trips from Zurich | Switzerland
1. Lucerne – A Fairytale by the Lake
Photo by Ricardo Gomez Angel on Unsplash
How to Get There: Visiting Lucerne is an easy and one of the best day trips from Zurich. Take a direct train from Zurich HB (main station) to Lucerne, which runs every half-hour and takes about an hour.
Best Things to Do in Lucerne
- Chapel Bridge (Kapellbrücke): Step into a fairytale as you stroll across the iconic covered bridge adorned with enchanting historical paintings.
- Lion Monument (Löwendenkmal): Gaze in awe at the powerful sculpture carved into a rock face, telling a story of valor and loss.
- Lake Lucerne: Embark on a journey of tranquility with a boat ride on the pristine lake, surrounded by the mesmerizing embrace of the Swiss Alps.
- Old Town (Altstadt): Lose yourself in the cobbled streets of the Old Town, where history and charm await around every corner.
2. Interlaken – Adventure Capital of Switzerland
Photo by Paul Lackford on Unsplash
How to Get There: Reach Interlaken by taking a train from Zurich HB to Interlaken Ost station. The journey takes approximately two hours.
Best Things to Do in Interlaken
- Paragliding: Feel your heart race as you soar above the picturesque landscapes, embracing the thrill of adventure.
- Jungfraujoch: Ascend to the “Top of Europe” on the Jungfraujoch railway, where breathtaking glacier vistas will leave you speechless and tick off one of the Best Bucket List Thing to do in Switzerland.
- Hiking: Discover the hidden gems of Interlaken as you traverse the numerous hiking trails with varying levels of difficulty.
- Water Sports: Dive into the beauty of nature with kayaking, paddleboarding, and boat trips on the crystal-clear waters of Lake Thun and Lake Brienz.
3. Zermatt – The Matterhorn’s Majesty
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How to Get There: Travel to Zermatt by taking a train from Zurich to Visp, and then change to the Zermatt-bound train. The journey typically takes around three hours.
Best Things to Do in Zermatt
- Matterhorn: Marvel at the iconic Matterhorn mountain, a majestic sentinel guarding the Swiss Alps and Switzerland’s most famous peak, which is also one of the Best places to see in Europe.
- Gornergrat Railway: Embark on a journey to the heavens as you take a ride on one of the world’s highest cogwheel railways, offering sweeping and awe-inspiring mountain vistas.
- Hiking and Skiing: Whether you’re chasing summer adventures or winter thrills, Zermatt offers a treasure trove of activities, including hiking trails and world-class skiing.
- Zermatt Village: Immerse yourself in the car-free charm of the town, where every street corner reveals a delightful surprise, from quaint Swiss chalets to gourmet delights, making Zermatt one of the best day trips destination from Zurich, and a must visit destination on this Switzerland Travel Itinerary.
4. Bern – Switzerland’s Capital of Culture
Photo by Andreas Fischinger on Unsplash
How to Get There: A direct train from Zurich HB will take you to Bern in about an hour.
Best Things to Do in Bern
- Zytglogge Clock Tower: Witness the intricate astronomical clock and the animated figures, where time itself seems to dance.
- Swiss Federal Palace: Step into the heart of Swiss politics with a guided tour of the federal government building.
- Bear Park: Connect with Bern’s spirit animal, the brown bear, at the spacious Bear Park, a symbol of the city’s rich history.
- Bern Historical Museum: Embark on a journey through time and culture at this captivating museum, where art, artefacts, and exhibitions unlock the secrets of Switzerland’s past.
5. Appenzell – A Taste of Swiss Tradition
Photo by Pascal Debrunner on Unsplash
How to Get There: Travel to Appenzell by train from Zurich HB with a transfer in Gossau. The journey takes approximately two hours.
Best Things to Do in Appenzell
- Appenzell Town: Wander through the picturesque town, where every house seems to have a story to tell, and the air is filled with tradition.
- Cheese Making: Witness the ancient art of Swiss cheese-making at a local dairy, where the secrets of Swiss fondue are revealed.
- Hiking: Follow the call of the hills as you trek through the rolling landscapes, where Swiss traditions and natural beauty coexist harmoniously.
- Appenzeller Brewery: Raise a glass and savour the famous Appenzeller beer, a testament to Switzerland’s vibrant brewing heritage.
PS – Useful Travel Resources to use while ticking off these Best Day Trips from Zurich –
- Book your Europe train tickets at Omio or Trainline
- Book your Rental Car in Switzerland on Discover Cars and RentalCars.com
- Book the best Switzerland Tours at GetYourGuide or Viator
- Book your Accommodation in Switzerland on Agoda or Booking.com
- Get an eSIM by Airalo to stay connected and Save on Roaming Fees
- Sign up for a Priority Pass before flying to Switzerland
- Sign up for a Travel Insurance to enjoy a hassle free vacation in Switzerland.
6. Rhine Falls – Europe’s Largest Waterfall
Photo by Hasmik Ghazaryan Olson on Unsplash
How to Get There: Reach Schaffhausen by taking a direct train from Zurich HB, which takes about one hour.
Best Things to Do in Rhine Falls
- Rhine Falls: Stand in awe of the thundering power of Europe’s largest waterfall, whether you choose to take a boat trip or hike to viewpoints.
- Schaffhausen Old Town: Meander through the medieval streets of the town, where time has woven a tapestry of history and charm.
- Munot Fortress: Ascend to the formidable 16th-century fortress, offering a commanding view of the town and the majestic Rhine River, a journey through Switzerland’s fortified past.
7. Lausanne – A Lakeside Gem
Photo by Delia Giandeini on Unsplash
How to Get There: Take a direct train from Zurich HB to Lausanne, which takes around two hours.
Best Things to Do in Lausanne
- Olympic Museum: Dive into the world of sporting excellence at the Olympic Museum, a testament to Switzerland’s deep-rooted passion for sports.
- Lausanne Cathedral: Ascend to the heavens as you visit the stunning Gothic cathedral, offering breathtaking views from its tower.
- Ouchy Promenade: Surrender to the serenity of Lake Geneva at Ouchy Promenade, where picturesque views, inviting cafes, and lush parks await.
- Collection de l’Art Brut: Embark on a journey of artistic discovery at the Collection de l’Art Brut, where outsider art reveals the captivating mysteries of the human soul.
8. Lugano – Switzerland’s Mediterranean Paradise
Photo by Antonio Sessa on Unsplash
How to Get There: Travel from Zurich to Lugano by train, including a scenic journey through the Gotthard Base Tunnel. The trip takes about two and a half hours.
Best Things to Do in Lugano
- Parco Ciani: Delight in the tranquil beauty of Parco Ciani, where lakeside strolls reveal lush gardens and Mediterranean flora.
- Monte Brè: Ascend to the heights of Monte Brè with a thrilling funicular ride, granting panoramic views of Lugano and the azure Lake Lugano.
- Swiss Miniature: Embark on a whimsical journey as you explore Swiss Miniature, a park where meticulous replicas of Switzerland’s iconic landmarks come to life.
- Gandria: Step into the enchanting world of Gandria, a charming lakeside village known for its narrow streets and the scenic beauty that beckons from every corner.
9. St. Moritz – Glamour in the Swiss Alps
Photo by Sepp Rutz on Unsplash
How to Get There: Reach St. Moritz by taking a train from Zurich HB to Chur and then transferring to the scenic Bernina Express train. The journey typically takes around four to five hours.
Best Things to Do in St. Moritz
- Lake St. Moritz: Immerse yourself in the serenity of Lake St. Moritz, where leisurely walks along the stunning lake promenade offer moments of tranquility.
- Bernina Express: Embark on a journey of wonder aboard the Bernina Express, one of the world’s most scenic train routes, winding through the dramatic landscapes of the Swiss Alps.
- Engadin Museum: Connect with the rich tapestry of Engadin culture and history at the Engadin Museum, where captivating exhibitions reveal the essence of the region.
- Winter Sports: In the winter, surrender to the allure of world-class skiing and snowboarding on the pristine slopes that have lured winter sports enthusiasts for generations.
10. Zurich Zoo – A Wildlife Adventure
Photo by Robbin Grimm on Unsplash
How to Get There: Make a short journey within Zurich to the Zurich Zoo, conveniently located in Zurichberg. Easily accessible by public transport.
Best Things to Do in Zurich Zoo
- Animal Encounters: Embark on a wildlife adventure and connect with over 360 species from around the globe, including rare and endangered animals.
- Masoala Rainforest Hall: Step into the lush green world of the Masoala Rainforest Hall, where a tropical paradise awaits with exotic plants and animals.
- Penguin Parade: Witness the delightful Penguin Parade, a daily spectacle that captures the hearts of visitors both young and old.
- Children’s Zoo: Delight in the Children’s Zoo, a haven where little ones can interact with friendly farm animals, making it an educational and heartwarming experience for the entire family.
With these incredible day trip options, your Swiss adventure from Zurich, which is one of the Best Cities to visit in Europe, will be nothing short of extraordinary. From fairytale towns to Alpine marvels, cultural gems to heart-pounding adventures, Switzerland’s treasures are yours to explore. So, pack your bags, embrace the allure of these Best Day Trips from Zurich, and create unforgettable memories in the heart of Europe.
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