If you landed in Zürich and look for a great day trips from Zürich, I have prepared you a list of 7 Top places to do a trip from Zürich.
You can do the travel two ways: rent a car or go by train. If you are a bigger group of people, I highly recommend renting a car, it will be cheaper for each of you. Trains are really good in Switzerland and you can just relax while enjoying amazing views, especially in the Alps, but it can get more expensive than renting a car.
Switzerland actually have hundreds (I am not hyperbolizing) of places to visit and see, many mountain peaks, cable car stations, valleys, small villages (check out the best villages in Switzerland: most charming Swiss villages), big cities, architecture, culture, events and so on, but I would like to present 7 great location where you can as well get to see some Swiss culture, try Swiss cuisine, some mountains and many other great things.
In the description of each place I am going to recommend at least one thing to do there, how to get there, what is the distance (kilometers and time) from Zürich and some other nice details.
Let us dive in into the list ?
7 Day trips from Zürich
Grindelwald is one of the most popular destinations in Switzerland although it is a small village resting in the huge Swiss Alps valley, surrounded by big mountains.
Grindelwald is very well developed tourist destination with many shops, restaurants, hotels, hiking routes, cable car stations, mountain stations and many many more. But on the other hand, although the village is so beloved by tourists and locals, you don’t feel like in a crowded place: you see the mountains from pretty much everywhere in the village. It is a very cool and vibrant place to be.
For me personally, Grindelwald is a great hiking place as it offers many many hiking paths, you can check out the best: Best hikes in Grindelwald, with great views, very well maintained trails with restaurants and so on.
If I would have to do just one or two things in Grindelwald, I would definitely go to Kleine Scheidegg: hike or by train; or I would go even higher to Jungfraujoch station (winter is all year round up there). If you decide to hike to Kleine Scheidegg, you are going to save at least 40 CHF and will get to see a lot of great views, Swiss cows, meadows, peaks, houses and so on. The train ride to Kleine Scheidegg is very cool as well. If you decide to go to Jungfraujoch, be prepared to spend more, about 200 CHF (price gets higher and higher each year), but you will get to one of the highest mountain stations in the world. In mid July it is surrounded by glaciers and snow.
Time and distance from Zürich: 137 kilometers, 2 hours.
If Grindelwald is not the most famous village in Switzerland, then Zermatt definitely is. It is a remote Swiss village right next to Italy (but you can reach Italy only by hiking, skiing or going to the mountain station) which has the famous Matterhorn in they back yard. If you don’t know what is Matterhorn, check the Toblerone chocolate package. Yes, it is right there. I am pretty sure that Matterhorn is the most photographed mountain in Switzerland, probably in all the Alps; or at least very close to Mont Blanc – which you can actually see from Zermatt mountain station. In a clear day I saw it myself: in the sea of mountain peaks Mont Blanc sticks out as a lonely big guy ?
You can not reach Zermatt by your own car as it is forbidden there to drive one. Only local electric cars which are owned by local businesses can drive there, so the air quality is as good as it can get over there.
So you can get to Zermatt by train or you can hike there from the last village you can go by car: from Täsch. You can check out my hike from Täsch to Zermatt as well. The hike is pretty easy, with no big altitude changes, so it is great for beginners. The hikes in Zermatt are mostly pretty steep, because as you get out from Zermatt, the trails go straight up.
Best things to do in Zermatt: I highly recommend getting to Matterhorn glacier paradise (price around 100 CHF as prices usually go up every other year). It is the highest mountain station in Europe with amazing views to glaciers, mountains and valleys. There’s a great restaurant, ice room and corridors, viewing point and amazing mountain vibe. If you are lucky, as mentioned before, you get to see Mont Blanc. Be ready for lower levels of oxygen, so if you get little dizzy or tired, don’t worry, it is the air. I felt pretty slow up there ?
Time and distance from Zürich: 214 kilometers, 3 hours 30 minutes.
Other places to check out: Gornergrat, Matterhorn, Matterhorn museum, Hängebrücke.
If you have landed in Zürich airport, you have probably seen the famous advertising: Welcome to Zürich, a pretty little suburb of Schaffhausen. I really love this commercial. It shows the balls and soul of this smaller city right next to Zürich.
Schaffhausen is a much smaller city than Zürich with population of over 80 000 people, but with great beautiful old town and amazing waterfalls.
Best thing to do in Schaffhausen: without a doubt it is the Rhein Falls. It is the most powerful waterfall in all Switzerland with huge amounts of water pouring down. It is in a very beautiful location and you can really get close to it or even touch it if you take a bout trip to the middle of it and climb on rocks which are standing right in the waterfall.
I highly recommend walking around the waterfall from all possible directions and just observe that huge nature power.
You can get tickets to come closer to the waterfall if you wish, I have done it once and I would say it is really not worth it as you can see it perfectly from the other side (you will have to cross a bridge, but it is 10 minutes walk from the parking). The boat trips is more expensive, but you experience much more as well.
Time and distance from Zürich: 49 kilometers, 44 minutes.
Other places to check out: Munot castle, Allerheiligen Museum, IWC museum, Old town.
Have you ever heard of Vaduz? Do you know that it is the capital city? No, not of Switzerland. It is Bern in Switzerland ? Vaduz is the capital of one of the smallest country in the world: Liechtenstein. It is really not that far from Zürich, speaks same language, have the same currency, has huge mountains, hiking trails: all you would ever need for a nice day trip.
Liechtenstein is a really fascinating little country right next to Switzerland and Austria with many things to offer for a fellow traveler.
I have done some hiking myself in Liechtenstein and really loved it, even met a wild mountain goat up there.
Vaduz is a small little capital city with very beautiful old town, great quality of life and crystal clean streets.
Best thing to do in Vaduz: Gutenberg castle. It is a castle located a bit further from Vaduz which is a breathing history monument. If you want to know a bit more about the history of Liechtenstein, it is a great place to visit and get a little bit more knowledge about this piece of Europe. You can visit their website right there: Gutenberg castle.
Time and distance from Zürich: 108 kilometers, 1 hour 8 minutes.
Other places to check out: Kunstmuseum, Malbun, Vaduz castle, Landesmuseum.
Glarus is yet another canton and city of Switzerland. I have chosen Glarus as one of the day trips from Zürich to travel to, because it is one of the closest location with big mountains.
You can visit the city of Glarus, which is very beautiful and nice, but I would really like to suggest you doing some hiking in Glarus canton. It is time to spend time in nature ?
Best places to hike in Glarus: really close to Glarus city is Klöntarelsee – a beautiful long lake surrounded by mountains. It even looks like Norwegian fjords up there. You can do a nice hike around the lake or climb up the mountains next to it so you get a higher up look to the lake.
If you want to get to even more remote lake, you can hike to Oberblegisee which is not that far from Luchsingen village. Actually Glarus is pretty full of such small hidden places, paths, lakes, mountains, peaks.
Time and distance from Zürich: 70 kilometers, 55 minutes.
Other places to check out: Glarner Alpen, Muttsee, Klausenpass.
Lucerne is one of the most beautiful Swiss cities with a crystal clear lake in it and surrounded by big mountains. Lucerne is a very popular destination with all you need: amazing old town, shops, restaurants, local food, Harry Potter looking bridges over the lake, hotels, watch shops and many other things.
You can spend hours just wandering by the lake and the old town. It is a really beautiful city. Do not forget to buy local ice cream next to the lake – one of the best in the whole Switzerland.
Best thing to do Lucerne: you should get to Mt Pilatus. It is an amazing mountain with huge mountain stations, restaurants and hotels up at 2128 meters elevation. You can get there three ways: cog wheel train, cable car station or hike up there. The hiking part is the longest one, as the mountain is pretty big and the hike in the end gets very steep. I chose the cable car option myself and it takes up to 20 minutes to get to the top.
The views from the top are pretty fascinating. There are many viewing points as you will see people up there going right and left to higher places on the mountain or just relaxing on a meadow a bit below the mountain station. The food up there is really good as well.
Time and distance from Zürich: 52 kilometers, 45 minutes.
Other places to check out: Mt Rigi, Kapellbrücke, Richard Wagner Museum Lucerne.
Basel is very well known as the capital of museums in Switzerland. It has over 40 different museums and hosts the famous Basel Messe where different artists from all around the world comes together to show their art. I have visited that place and the amount of amazing art is overwhelming, you can spend hours just walking and walking, looking and looking. I have chosen Basel as one of the day trips from Zürich, because it is full of art.
Basel has a lot to offer to art, history, nature lovers. It has it all. In the summer time you can have a nice swim in Rhein river and enjoy the sunset sitting with the locals on the river banks. It is a really relaxed beautiful city.
I really like that Basel is the home to very rich companies as Coop, Novartis, Roche and many others, but at the same time it is a humble place, no unnecessary luxury or waist of money.
Best thing to do in Basel: that is a hard one to choose, but I think the amazing Tinguely museums would be the one really outstanding one in Basel. In the museum you can find a lot of very strange, difficult, fascinating moving constructions which were made my the artist Tinguely. One construction is so big, that you can even walk on it and it takes all the space in one huge hall. I personally really liked the museum and I can honestly say that it is one of the most exceptional ones I have visited.
If it is summer time, right next to Tinguely museum, next to the river, is a starting point for many swimmers. All the people in Basel just jump into the water (you need to get a special bag, there you can put your stuff, clothes in; close the bag, it fills with air and floats all the time) and swim till the old town. If you like swimming, that is a must in Basel.
Time and distance from Zürich: 83 kilometers, 1 h 8 minutes.
Other places to check out: Kunstmuseum, Basler Münster, Basel Paper Mill, Basel Messe.
You can get to a lot of amazing places from Zürich as Switzerland is a pretty small country. Germany is right there, Austria is right there, France is just 90 kilometers away and you can reach Italy in three hours. It is in a fascinating location.
You can choose of many places and if you want to do a longer day trips from Zürich, you can even visit Geneva or Sion or Davos or many other beautiful locations in Switzerland.
In the list I have prepared here you can choose from a pretty wide variety of things to do: if you want culture, go to Basel; if you want mountains: go to Grindelwald; if you want uncrowded nature – go to Glarus; if you want to visit another small country – go to Vaduz, and so on ? Switzerland has something to offer to any of you. Day trips from Zürich has something for every traveler.
If you have any questions about parking in other places, train tickets or car renting in Switzerland or day trips from Zürich, please let me know, I will do my best to help you.
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