THINGS TO DO NEAR ZURICH – BEST DAY TRIPS FROM ZURICH, SWITZERLAND
- 1 THINGS TO DO NEAR ZURICH – BEST DAY TRIPS FROM ZURICH, SWITZERLAND
- 1.1 Where to Stay in Zurich
- 1.2 Best Transport for Short Trips from Zurich
- 1.3 Best Zurich Day Trips
- 1.3.1 1) HEAD TO RHINE FALLS AND SCHAFFHAUSEN / STEIN AM RHEIN
- 1.3.2 2) TAKE A DAY TRIP FROM ZURICH TO BERN
- 1.3.3 3) GO FROM ZURICH TO KLEINE SCHEIDEGG AND JUNGFRAUJOCH
- 1.3.4 4) SPEND A DAY ON MOUNT PILATUS AND VISIT LUCERNE
- 1.3.5 5) TRAVEL TO MOUNT RIGI AND LUCERNE
- 1.3.6 6) ENJOY A DAY TRIP TO INTERLAKEN FROM ZURICH
- 1.3.7 7) FLIMS DAY TOUR FROM ZURICH
- 1.3.8 8) DAY TRIP FROM ZURICH TO APPENZELLERLAND (THE AESCHER AND APPENZELL)
- 1.4 More Information On What To See Near Zurich
If you’re heading on a Switzerland vacation anytime soon, the financial capital is the ideal place to base yourself. The city may have a reputation for being luxurious and rich, but the surrounding areas offer picturesque scenery and incredible adventures. Which is why day trips from Zurich are so popular.
There are many places near Zurich that are within a short distance and offer a day of fun. This article contains a list of my favorite day trips and tours near the city.
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Where to Stay in Zurich
The city is not a cheap destination but a great base for getting to all the best things to see near Zurich. Read my accommodation guide and find the perfect place to stay while you explore the surroundings.
Best Transport for Short Trips from Zurich
It is easy to do your Zurich day trips by train. Or you can rent a car and drive to the places mentioned below.
Best Zurich Day Trips
Ready to hear about my favorite Zurich day tours? I’ve listed them all below – by the way, you can do these by train, car, and some as guided tours.
1) HEAD TO RHINE FALLS AND SCHAFFHAUSEN / STEIN AM RHEIN
Travel time by car: ± 30 – 40 minutes
By Train: ±1 hour
The Rhine Falls near the German border makes a great trip from Zurich and so far I have visited these spectacular falls three times – and with every visit, I have enjoyed it more.
The Rhine Falls are great to visit on both sunny and rainy days (the falls were crazy once when I visited a day after some really, really heavy rain). The falls are impressive (after all it is the biggest waterfall in Europe) and make a perfect day trip from Zurich.
You’ll pay about five euros to get on the visitor’s platform and see the waterfalls from above. To visit the platform you need to get to Schloss Laufen.
I suggest you do a boat tour on the Rhine River to get close to the waterfalls (there are different prices for different tours – starting at about five euros). A tour on the Rhine is a great way to get really close to the falls and to do a boat trip you need to get to it via Schlössli Wörth.
There are some restaurants and cafes on both sides, so if you visit plan in at least three to four hours so you are not stressed.
Click here to read more about the Rhine Falls – how to get there, how much to pay etc.
Afterward, it’s time to visit either Schaffhausen or Stein am Rhine, both are very cute towns close by. Stein am Rhine impresses with the most stunning facades while Schaffhausen is extremely colorful and has a few more sights to see.
2) TAKE A DAY TRIP FROM ZURICH TO BERN
Travel time by car: ± 2 hours
By Train: ±1 hour
Switzerland’s capital, Bern (Zurich might be the financial capital but it is not the official one) is a beautiful city about a one and a half-hour drive from Zurich.
I once read that Bern is one of the most beautiful capitals in the world, and I definitely agree that it is a gorgeous place to visit. I also agree that it’s a great day trip from Zurich and that it should be on every Switzerland itinerary.
The Old Town of Bern is quite big and charming and for the best views of Bern visit the Rosengarten.
Oh, and do not forget to say hi to the bears (yes, there are bears living in Bern next the Aare river, but do not worry the area is fenced off so you stay at a safe distance). And stroll along the Aare – which is, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful rivers here in Europe (let’s face it rivers are not normally that pretty).
3) GO FROM ZURICH TO KLEINE SCHEIDEGG AND JUNGFRAUJOCH
Travel time by car: ± 3 hours
By Train: ± 4.5 hours
Getting up Jungfraujoch is probably one of the most recommended tours in Switzerland. I did the trip while I stayed in the region of Interlaken for a couple of days, but it is not much more expensive if you do it as a day trip from Zurich.
A day trip to the one and only Jungfraujoch, the place where snow is guaranteed throughout the year, is one of the best trips you can take from Zurich.
It will definitely take a full day and you’ll be sitting a lot on the train/trams. But, believe me, train riding in Switzerland is a highlight and so you’ll have amazing views and will see the highest train station in Europe.
Things to See in Jungfraujoch
There are a few more things to see up Jungfraujoch – these include an Alpine museum, an Ice Palace, and once up there you can even do a few more sporty activities.
There are also tons of different restaurants to suit every taste (even Indian food is available)!
Also, the train stops several times along the way. Often the five-minute break gives you enough time to hop off and have a quick look but you might like to stay longer at the Kleine Scheidegg (and then take the next train).
Jungfraujoch Tour Packages
Here are different tour packages – click on the links to find out more about the prices:
- Interlaken to Jungfraujoch (you can get to Interlaken individually and then use this ticket to get up Jungfraujoch Click here to find out about prices
- Zurich to Jungfraujoch – Click here to find out about prices
- With a Swiss Travel Pass you get a discount – click here to find out about the tour with a Swiss Travel Pass
4) SPEND A DAY ON MOUNT PILATUS AND VISIT LUCERNE
Travel time by car: ± 40 minutes (to Lucerne)
By Train: ± 5 hours (to the mountain)
Lucerne is a beautiful city just 45 kilometers from Zurich and is considered to be one of the most gorgeous places in Switzerland. Though Lucerne is indeed very pretty, do not skip the mountains close by and also visit at least one of them.
I was determined to write a bad review about my trip to Mount Pilatus but now I am recommending that you go and visit this gorgeous place.
Why? I visited and at the ticket shop I found out that the waiting line was two hours and there was not any free Wi-Fi anywhere.
BUT I am happy that I still went up because my trip to Mount Pilatus was one of the highlights, and I am sure that you´ll enjoy it as much as I did (at least on a sunny day).
The views from there were beyond amazing and on a sunny day, you can spend all day there doing all kinds of things – including some great activities, people watching, eating, and so on.
I went on a very busy day and I do not think the lines are always that long – additionally, I would like to emphasize the beautiful surroundings and the option to have a snack in one of the several restaurants or just the option to chill at Lake Lucerne while waiting for the cogwheel.
If you have some time left you could either do a short trip to Lucerne – there pass the famous Chapel Bridge and stroll along Lake Lucerne. You´ll find plenty of cafes and restaurants to take a break!
Trip Packages to Lucerne and Mt Pilatus
You can either get to Lucerne yourself and book the Mount Pilatus ticket individually or buy packages from Zurich.
5) TRAVEL TO MOUNT RIGI AND LUCERNE
Travel time by car: ± 1 hour (to Mount Rigi)
By Train: ± 2 hours (to Mount Rigi)
If you have less time, or want to enjoy the great views from Mount Rigi, you can get to Lucerne and then either take a bus or hop on a boat. This will get you to Vitznau station to enjoy majestic views from Mount Rigi.
Afterward, you can head to Lucerne and enjoy several hours there before going back to Zurich.
Mount Rigi offers great views of Lake Lucerne and, if you ask me, it is one of the best places to see near Zurich. The view is great, the ride up is great, it feels like everything is great.
There is not so much to do up Mount Rigi as on Mount Pilatus, but since it takes less time getting up there is a great place to visit near Zurich. Especially if you want to spend more time in Zurich.
It is free to visit with a Swiss Travel Pass.
- Click here to find out about prices for a 4-day Swiss Travel Pass
- Click here to find out about prices for an 8-day Swiss Travel Pass
6) ENJOY A DAY TRIP TO INTERLAKEN FROM ZURICH
Travel time by car: ± 1.5 hours
By Train: ± 2 hours
While I am writing this my heart is shattering into a thousand pieces because I actually recommend spending at least a few days in Interlaken.
The region of Interlaken, located in the Bernese Oberland, is extremely beautiful and I definitely recommend staying there for a few days. The Bernese Oberland is the most beautiful region in the world. Yes, it is (take my opinion as fact :)).
However, I know sometimes this is not possible, so if you have limited time and your base is in Zurich you have to do a day trip to Interlaken. Doing a day trip to Jungfraujoch is one option (which takes a full day), another option would be to visit many places within one day.
Things To Do In Interlaken
Visit St. Beatus Caves, do a trip to Brienzer Rothorn, get on Schynigge Platte, visit Lauterbrunnen and do something adventurous (Interlaken is the most popular place for adrenaline junkies) or explore the cute town of Thun with its gorgeous castles.
7) FLIMS DAY TOUR FROM ZURICH
Travel time by car: ± 1.5 hours
By Train: ± 2 hours
When I visited Flims for the first time, I was astonished…. This place is often overlooked, even though it indeed makes a great day trip from Zurich.
You should plan a full day to experience this calm place that is not full of tourists.
I heard about several of the lakes in Flims but it seems they are not that famous and so I did not get to see many foreigners and I mostly stumbled upon Swiss people who were enjoying this beautiful place.
Flims was so beautiful and though the weather was not perfect I fell head over heels in love with it.
The best thing about Flims is that there are three gorgeous sights that you can visit with only one hike. Yes, it’s true! So, for lazy people who like efficiency, this is a pretty important aspect and comes in quite handy.
There is an entry fee to spend time at Lake Cauma and Lake Cresta (read more about it here) which is a few Euros. But it’s worth it if you like to spend time directly at the lakes or even swim in them.
8) DAY TRIP FROM ZURICH TO APPENZELLERLAND (THE AESCHER AND APPENZELL)
Travel time by car: ± 1.5 hours
By Train: ± 2 hours (± 3 hours to The Aescher)
Appenzellerland is a beautiful canton in the German-speaking part of Switzerland and is, in my opinion, often overlooked even though the Aescher has become world-famous.
Stars like Ashton Kutscher (and bloggers like me, haha) have promoted this guest house on the Ebenalp mountain and so the Aescher has made it on the bucket list of many. Getting there from Zurich does not take too long (by car it’s about one hour, by public transportation about one and a half hours).
Standing at the summit, you will also have great views of the beautiful Lake Seealpsee – I recommend getting a single ticket for the cable car. You can either get up via cable car (about 15 euros one way) and then hike down and stop by beautiful Seealp and rest by the lake.
Or, if you are sportier you can hike up and down which would make it a full day trip and probably won’t leave much time for a short visit to Appenzell.
Afterward, if you’re not hiking, head to Appenzell to end your day.
I definitely recommend a short stop at Appenzell, the town of the canton Appenzellerland, and discover one of the cutest towns in Switzerland. Though the town itself is really tiny (seriously it is small) it is a nice place for a short stroll and to finish your day.
More Information On What To See Near Zurich
As you can now see, there are many things to do outside Zurich, including incredible mountain-top scenery and exploring quaint villages and towns.
However long you plan your vacations in Zurich, be sure to add at least one of these day tours to your itinerary.
Visiting Zurich in the winter? Then check out my Zurich winter travel guide.
Best places to stay around Lake Thun and Interlaken: Here are my top tips
What do you think? Are any of these things to do outside of Zurich on your list for a vacation in Switzerland? Let us know!