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8 Fantastic Day Trips From Zurich (2024)

While Zurich, Switzerland’s bustling metropolis, has its charms, true Swiss magic awaits beyond its city limits!

Switzerland’s natural wonders and quaint villages are where the real adventure begins. Embark on these fantastic day trips from Zurich to uncover the country’s most iconic landscapes and experiences, promising an exhilarating escape into the heart of Switzerland!

1) Lucerne

Nestled in the heart of central Switzerland, Lucerne (Luzern) is just a stone’s throw away from Zurich. Zip there in 40 minutes by car or enjoy a scenic 45-minute train ride. This can be part of the legendary Golden Pass Train for added charm.

Perched on the shores of Lake Lucerne, this gem of a town embodies quintessential Swiss charm. Renowned as one of Switzerland’s most stunning destinations for travelers, Lucerne is sure to capture your heart.

The lake serves as a stunning backdrop for a leisurely stroll along its charming promenade. Reminiscent of the majestic Scandinavian fjords, it mirrors the awe-inspiring landscape, showcasing iconic peaks like Mount Pilatus and Mount Titlis.

From the city center on a clear day, you can spot a whopping 72 other mountain peaks on the horizon! And when the weather’s fine, why not hop aboard a boat to explore neighboring towns and villages dotting the lake’s shores?

Don’t miss crossing the iconic Chapel Bridge (Kapellbrücke), Lucerne’s crown jewel attraction. This historic covered footbridge boasts enchanting paintings adorning its interior ceiling, making for a delightful stroll through history and art!

Flowers cascading down the sides of the old covered wooden walking bridge in Lucern.
Chapel Bridge (Kapellbrücke)

Another famous monument is the Lion Memorial, commemorating the Swiss guards who lost their lives during the French Revolution. A glacier museum is nearby that displays natural remnants from the last Ice Age 20,000 years ago.

Another fascinating museum is the Swiss Transportation Museum, making it a favourite destination for family trips. Two days in Lucerne are highly recommended if you can spare more than a day. 

2) Stein am Rhein

Just an hour by train from Zurich, Stein am Rhein shines as one of Switzerland’s most charming medieval towns.

Nestled in the northeast of Switzerland along the banks of the Rhine, this picturesque riverside gem is a sight to behold, boasting timeless beauty at every turn.

Brightly painted medieval timber houses in Stein am Rhein in Switzerland.

Step into a vibrant tapestry of history as you stroll through Rathausplatz in the old town of Stein am Rhein, where beautifully maintained half-timbered medieval buildings adorned with framed bay windows, flower boxes, and colorful frescoes add splashes of glorious hues to the cityscape. Transport yourself back to medieval times with ease!

Delve into the town’s rich history, dating all the way back to the 3rd century in Roman times, with a visit to Hohenklingen Castle. Perched majestically on a hilltop since 1225, this fortress offers sweeping views down the river and across the quaint city.

Venture to the riverbank to explore the well-preserved Medieval Benedictine Monastery of St. Georgen, steeped in centuries of tradition.

Accessible in less than an hour by car from Zurich or just a little over an hour by train, Stein am Rhein makes for the perfect day trip.

3) Jungfraujoch

Jungfraujoch – the Top of Europe, home to the highest railway station on the continent and a whole lot more.

Nestled in the heart of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch, Jungfraujoch guarantees snow and ice adventures all year round. From the iconic Sphinx observation building to the enchanting Ice Palace and the vast plateau for leisurely walks in eternal snow, there’s no shortage of attractions to keep you entertained. And in the summertime, brace yourself for thrilling adventure programs that promise fun in the sun-drenched snow.

But wait, there’s more! With four restaurants, a bustling cafeteria, and an array of shops and souvenir stores, your cravings for food and mementos will be more than satisfied.

Jungfraujoch in Switzerland
Jungfraujoch – Sphinx Observatory

Did you know? Jungfraujoch is home to Europe’s highest permanently manned research and weather station! And if that’s not enough, prepare for a whirlwind of excitement with summer skiing, snowboarding, the exhilarating Snow Disk Run, a heart-pounding Tyrolienne, and the epic Glacier Trek – hiking across the glacier like a true explorer.

But the adventure doesn’t stop there! Jungfraujoch serves as the gateway to thrilling mountain hikes to the Mönchsjochhütte and a plethora of guided high-mountain ski tours and glacier hikes, promising unforgettable experiences for every adventurer. For an adventure packed day tour from Zurich, check out this top Jungfraujoch experience!

4) The Rhine Falls

Get ready for an adventure to remember at the world-famous Rhine Falls, just a stone’s throw away from Zurich! Hop in your car for a quick 35-minute ride or jump on the train for an hour of scenic views.

Picture this: fifteen thousand years ago, epic tectonic shifts and a couple of major river reroutes came together to create the awe-inspiring wonder that is the Rhine Falls. This beast of a waterfall, Europe’s largest, never fails to leave visitors in absolute awe with its raw power. And in the summertime, brace yourself for a mind-blowing sight as the water roars at a staggering rate of 600,000 liters per second!

People atop a rock in the middle of the cascading Rhine falls

There are two ways to see the falls in their full might – via a Rhine Falls boat ride or from the viewing platforms. Boats and cruises can take you to castles, the Rhine Falls Basin, and even the mighty rock that has stood the test of time.

Tourist boat heading towards the spray and mist of the rushing Rhine Falls

The viewing platforms on both sides offer a spectacular view of the waterfalls. They are so close, during summer, you will get wet from the powerful flow of the falls. There are two different sides to the falls, and the Northern side platform has a free entrance.

5) Bern

The ‘official’ Swiss capital, Bern—a charming riverside gem waiting to be explored! Just 90 minutes by car or an hour by train from Zurich, this vibrant city is built around the scenic river Aare.

Step into the UNESCO heritage old town of Bern, where history comes alive amidst a backdrop of historical buildings, whimsical fountains dating back to medieval times, and the iconic Zytglogge, better known as the ancient clock tower—a must-see for any visitor! Dive into the secrets of time as you explore the inner workings of the tower and uncover the fascinating ancient clock mechanism. Get ready for a journey through time and tales in this enchanting city!

Arched stone bridges and terrace houses lining the river in old town, Bern

Visit the house of Albert Einstein who lived in Bern while working at the university. Towards the end of the street, you will find Bear Park, where you can see brown bears, the symbol of Bern. The Natural history museum in Bern is also worth visiting; kids will especially love it.

Overall, Bern is a wonderful day trip from Zurich. 

6) Lausanne

Venture a bit further from Bern, and you’ll stumble upon the hidden gem of Lausanne, nestled along the pristine shores of the Swiss Riviera! Whether you’re cruising by car (a scenic 2-hour-and-20-minute drive from Zurich) or hopping on the train (a swift 2-hour journey), Lausanne is worth the trip!

As the lively capital of Vaud canton, Lausanne boasts a youthful vibe, thanks to its vibrant student population. Perched on the sloping hills overlooking Lake Geneva, this charming city treats you to breathtaking vistas of the shimmering lake and the majestic Alps. Get ready for an adventure filled with panoramic views and picture-perfect moments around every corner!

Lausanne Cathedral a hidden gem on the Swiss Riviera

Don’t miss the medieval cathedral, boasting stunning stained glass windows and jaw-dropping views of the city, Lake Geneva, and the French Alps. Climb to the tower’s peak on a clear day, and you might even catch a glimpse of Mont Blanc, Europe’s tallest peak and a legendary hiking hotspot!

And hold onto your hats, because Le Flon is about to steal the show! This vibrant district, once a hub of warehouses, has transformed into the beating heart of Lausanne.

Walking along you will see old ship and rocky banks of the Lausanne Ouchy

On the banks of Lake Geneva, Ouchy is the favourite walking path for Lausanne residents and visitors. You can take ferries from Lausanne-Ouchy to other destinations in the Swiss Riviera such as Geneva, Montreux, and even some parts of France.

Lausanne Tour Recommendations

Once you arrive in Lausanne, there is a multitude of fascinating tours and cruises you can take. Make the most of your day by pre-arranging your visit.

Choose from Riviera cruisescity walking toursphotogenic Lausanne toursart and culture, there’s even an Instagram worthy Lausanne locations tour. See the full range of Lausanne tours here.

7) Grindelwald

Nestled in the heart of the Jungfrau region, Grindelwald is a quaint alpine town bursting with charm! With its cozy Swiss chalets, picturesque pastures dotted with grazing cows, and majestic snow-capped peaks in every direction, it’s like stepping into a real-life postcard.

But wait, there’s more to Grindelwald than meets the eye! This delightful town isn’t just a pretty face—it’s also the perfect launchpad for exploring the surrounding area. Whether you’re a snow bunny or a sun seeker, Grindelwald has you covered. Strap on your skis and hit the slopes at Grindelwald-Wengen or Grindelwald-First, where you’ll find endless winter fun. And if skiing isn’t your thing, fear not! Grindelwald-First offers a plethora of activities for every season, from thrilling mountain biking to scenic hikes with breathtaking views.

Speaking of hikes, lace up your boots and get ready to explore! Hiking is practically a national pastime here, with trails ranging from easy strolls along flower-strewn lakes to challenging treks that’ll test your mettle. And wherever you roam, the iconic face of the Eiger looms large, serving as a stunning backdrop to your alpine adventures.

And the best part? Unlike some of its neighbors, getting to Grindelwald is a breeze—just hop in your car and hit the road! Once you’re here, embrace the adventure with tramways, gondolas, and other unconventional modes of transport, whisking you away to endless alpine activities. So pack your bags and get ready for a Swiss adventure like no other in charming Grindelwald!

Grindelwald Village

8) Mount Titlis

Over 3,000 feet above sea level, Mount Titlis offers some of Switzerland’s most spectacular alpine views and glacier activities. 

Ninety minutes by car or a little under two hours by train via Lucerne, Mount Titlis is an exhilarating day trip from Zurich. 

The ascent to the summit sets the scene with a ride in the TITLIS Rotair cable car that rotates a full 360° as you climb, revealing the magnificent landscape in every direction. 

Snow covered views over Lucerne Switzerland

At the top, there are loads of activities in any season – skiing and snowboarding in winter and hiking and biking in summer. But there are also some very noteworthy attractions, including Europe’s highest suspension bridge. The Titlis Cliff Walk is a 100m suspension bridge connecting the two summits. 

Mount Titlis Day Trip from Zurich Tour Recommendation

If you don’t want to self-guide, you can take an all-inclusive round trip tour from Zurich to Mount Titlis. The full-day tour is approximately 9 hours and includes a city tour of Lucerne.

The tour includes:

  • Transfers from Zurich with a professional guide.
  • City tour of Lucerne with free time. 
  • Aerial cableway to Mt Titlis’ summit with Rotair Gondola
  • Snow tubing at Glacier Park (May to October, in winter at Trübsee. Subject to snow conditions)
  • Ice Flyer chair lift (weather permitting)
  • Titlis Cliff Walk & Glacier Cave (weather permitting)

See here for full tour details and cost.

Discover More of Switzerland

2 Days in Switzerland Itinerary: Only got 2 days in Switzerland, this itinerary gives you the best of Zurich and Lucerne.

Viking Cruises Paris to Swiss Alps Christmas Market River Cruise: Why not add a Rhine cruise tour to your Swiss itinerary.

About the Author

Nisha Dalal

Nisha has spent the last eight years is fulfilling her dream to see the world, one step at a time. She works full time as an engineer and uses all possible weekends, short breaks and holidays to explore the world near and far. She is a big advocate for having a balance in professional and personal life and believes you don’t need to leave your job to see the world. How? By efficient planning of your time and money resources. Follow her journey and mantra at And there she goes again.