If you live in Zürich or just landed there, let’s explore the day trip to Swiss Alps from Zürich possibilities. Here I would like to recommend you my top 5 destinations which are very easily reachable by train or car from Zürich and you are going to have tons of fun!
Ok, so let’s jump in to my recommendations.
No. 1 Ultimate Swiss mountain passes trip
It is very doable in one day, but for this ultimate adventure, I recommend to rent a car, but believe me, it’s going to be worth it.
Why car? With public transport you would need two days to make it in not a crazy pace and if you want to enjoy each mountain pass a bit. With buses you would just go by to the next one, to the next one, no time to relax, jump out, explore.
Ok, so for this day trip I really recommend renting a car in the Zürich airport or Zürich city. You can rent a car from 60 CHF in the airport (without insurance), so that would be even cheaper than all train and bus tickets.
When to do this adventure? I recommend summer time. You can do it in late Spring and early/mid Fall, but it can get risky as some mountain passes can be closed or in a bad condition.
When you get out from the airport/city, go straight to Grimsel Pass (put it on your GPS). It is about 133 kilometers and you should cover it in 2 hours, but don’t go just straight up to the top, visit the Grimsel Pass Hospiz which is a very very cool hotel on the big Swiss Alps lake and huge dam. It’s a perfect place for you Swiss Alps photoshoot: #LoveSwissAlps 🙂
Once you are on the top, have a coffee, relax, enjoy the lakes, mountains, views.
After you experienced Grimsel Pass it is time to continue and go down the mountain to Gletsch and then back up to Furka pass. This is maybe the most famous Swiss mountain pass. Why you ask? Because James Bond kicked ass in there 🙂 It was filmed in one of James Bond’s movies.
While you are driving to the top, don’t just rush to the top: stop by the Belvedere Hotel – it has a crazy beautiful location. There’s parking lot next to it, so you can have a bit longer stop. As well, there’s entrance to Rhone Glacier via souvenir shop, use the opportunity to see the real glacier: #ClimateChange.
As you go up from the Belvedere Hotel, another valley unravels and you reach the top of this mountain pass. From there, it is very easy to continue your trip to the mountain pass No. 3 – Gotthard Pass.
Gotthard Pass is just 27 kilometres from Furka pass, so it’s a fast drive. In Gotthard pass as well are couple of restaurants, hotels and even a museum, which I recommend to visit.
I think now in Gotthard Pass is a perfect time for you to have dinner, eat a fondue and relax a bit, you’ve already visited 3 mountain passes and saw so much. I hope that at this point you are really loving this one day trip from Zürich.
Now, let’s head to the last mountain pass: Oberalp Pass. It is again just 24 kilometres from Gotthard Pass and you are going to cross one of the most popular skiing resorts: Andermatt. It’s a very nice mountain village with a lot to offer: hiking, skiing, restaurants, hotels and other attractions.
In Oberalp Pass you can even find a lighthouse and a very big chance to see many many Swiss cows. Time to take pictures of these beauties. If it’s still not too late, you can hike a bit or even hike to Tomasee – the source of Rhein river (the biggest in Switzerland).
It’s a long, but very mountainous adventure in the Swiss Alps.
Some statistics for you:
All distance: Zürich – All mountain passes – Zürich – 332 kilometres.
Time spent: depending on how much you stop, eat, hike, shop – 6-8 hours.
Costs: 60-80 CHF car rent, gas costs 35 CHF, food for each – 20 CHF, in total: around 135 CHF.
Experience: you can not put a price tag on that, it will be with you forever 🙂
No. 2 Trip to Mount Pilatus from Zürich
Let’s have a look at our second option. Now, to Mount Pilatus you can easily go by train. It is a very popular destination in Switzerland and you get to ride a cable car or a cogwheel train up there.
You can go there with a car if you wish to be more flexible, but then you will have to park it by cable cars in Kriens or cogwheel train in Aplnachstad.
You can get tickets to Mount Pilatus right in Zürich, but you will have to change trains a few times, but don’t worry, Swiss trains work like a swiss clock – very good.
Now, to check all the time schedules and the latest prices, I recommend checking the official website: Swiss train connections. In the second window put PILATUS KULM and as it stands now, the price from Zürich to Mount Pilatus and back should cost around 136 CHF.
You can as well do a detour to Lucerne if you wish and enjoy that beautiful city which has many attractions, very beautiful lake promenade, medieval bridges over the lake and very well maintained cosy old town.
Mount Pilatus sits at 2,128 m, so it’s a very beautiful location and you can go there all year round, but I think in summer it’s the most beautiful: many many beautiful views from up there. Mount Pilatus has restaurants, shops and a hotel, so all you need is up there.
To get to Mount Pilatus is possible with a cable car and a cogwheel train: both options are stunning, so you can choose, but if you come with a train from Zürich, you will go up with cogwheel train, as cable car station is reachable just by bus from Lucerne. I go into more detail how to get there in my other blog post: How to get to Mount Pilatus.
Ok, so some statistic of this day trip from Zürich.
Time: back and forth from Zürich, depending on how much time you will spend there: around 6-7 hours. I suggest even to prolong it and do a detour to Lucerne, so it will be 8-9 hours.
Costs: train costs would be 136 CHF plus whatever you spend for souvenirs, food and other stuff. If you are a bigger group of 3-4 people, I would then suggest to rent a car and then just pay the 72 CHF fee of cable cars or cogwheel train to get to the top.
Memories: will be with you forever 🙂
No. 3 Trip from Zürich to Grindelwald
Grindelwald is a very cute Swiss village literally in the middle of the Swiss Alps. It has huge mountains all around it: Eiger, Jungfrau, Männlichen and has a lot to offer.
One thought: Grindelwald is maybe the best location to take Swiss cows in their huge mountainous meadows 🙂
Ok, so how to get there: easiest way – by train or car. Grindelwald is very well connected, so no worries there.
Just check the latest Swiss train connections and prices. As it stands now, the ticket price would be 162 CHF back and forth, SO if you are a bigger party, rent a car, you will save tons of money.
Grindelwald has many parking lots, but to save money once again, park in GRUND (it’s a village below Grindelwald, but they are connected, you won’t even feel the difference).
Once you are in Grindelwald: just walk around it, enjoy the nature, architecture, fondue smell from the restaurants 🙂
I can suggest you to do two things in Grindelwald: hike or go to Jungfraujoch.
What is Jungfraujoch? It’s a huge mountain base sitting at 3,466 m – it is winter there all year round. It is reachable only by train from Grindelwald train station which goes in pretty fascinating places. Once it reaches Kleine Scheidegg (another mountain pass, mountain train station), it goes up into the mountain and you drive in the mountain for quite some time. Once you are in Jungfraujoch, it has the highest chocolate shop in Europe, the highest watch shop in Europe and many other things. It’s a really amazing place. What is the downside? It costs 164 CHF to go up there by train. I did it once, I don’t regret it, but it is a pricey attraction. To check all the schedules and prices go here: Jungfraujoch train.
If you wish to save up some money and still have a great time, you can hike around Grindelwald and it has many many hiking trails. I have written an article my 4 favourite hikes and each of them leads to great destinations, check it out: Best Grindelwald hikes.
Ok, so the statistic of No.3 day trip from Zürich.
Time: the train trip back and forth would take you around 5 hours and it really depends how much time you want to spend there. If you go to Jungfraujoch, add at least 3 more hours. The same applies to the hikes. So I would guess that the whole trip is 8-9 hours.
Costs: the train ticket is 162 CHF, so if you are not alone, better rent a car for that 60-80 CHF and save some money. Grindelwald is very easily reachable by car. If you wish to visit Jungfraujoch, add another 164 CHF for each.
Memories: make pictures of Swiss cows, Swiss mountains, Eiger mountain, Grindelwald village 🙂
No.4 Trip from Zürich to Zermatt
If Grindelwald is not the most famous Swiss village, Zermatt is.
It’s a small Swiss village next on the border to Italy and it has maybe the most famous mountain in the world after Mount Everest: Matterhorn. Haven’t heard about it? What about Toblerone chocolate? Yes, it is that mountain on the package.
Zermatt is a very special village and very much loved and preserved by Swiss people. It is only possible to drive there with electric cars. And you won’t be even able to go there with your Tesla. In that village, only the local services use their mini electric cars.
Ok, so how to reach Zermatt? By train or by car.
If you go by car, you will have to leave it in Täsch. It’s a village next to Zermatt and the last destination you can reach by car. You will have to park there and go from there by train OR hike. Once I did a hike from Täsch to Zermatt, it is very easy and beautiful. Have a look at my article about it: hiking from Täsch to Zermatt.
As always, check all the latest connections and prices of trains to Zermatt. The price can be a bit steep: back and forth it can go up to a whopping 250 CHF, so I would suggest renting a car, go to Täsch and go from there by train. Back and forth ticket is under 20 CHF.
Once you get to Zermatt you can as well explore the village, hike or go to the Matterhorn glacier paradise which is the highest cable car station in Europe: at 3,883 m. Once I was there, I fell that I am missing oxygen, it is that high.
If you choose to do this attraction, I really suggest to get out at each station and explore what is there: some places have beautiful old houses, lakes and maybe Swiss Alps sheep running around, you never know.
The price of the service to the top and back is 87 CHF, but please always check the latest prices here: Zermatt cable service.
As for hiking: it’s free. There is the Zermatt hiking map: Zermatt hiking routes. My suggestion: hike to Schwarzsee. It is amazingly beautiful up there.
Ok, so some statistic of this adventure:
Time: Zermatt is pretty far and the roads to it are not all just highways, so the total trip would be around 6 hours (back and forth with car or train), and then, if you choose hiking or cable cars, add 3-5 more hours.
Prices: If you go by car, you will save money. Then it would come to around 120 CHF for car rent and gas expenses. Add 10-15 CHF for parking, then train tickets from Täsch – 16CHF and you get to 150 CHF. You can hike from Täsch and save that 16 CHF. Cable cars would cost you 87 CHF. Hiking – free.
Memories: if it’s not cloudy, make as many pictures of Matterhorn as you can, it’s really beautiful and very well seen from Zermatt.
No. 5 From Zürich to Oeschinensee
I am not going to lie, I think Oeschinensee is the most beautiful Swiss Alps lake. Some are coming close, like Tomasee, but Oeschinensee is one of a kind.
Oeschinensee is very close to Kandersteg, and it is just a couple of hours from Zürich.
You can easily reach it by train, but from Kandersteg, I really recommend to take a hike to Oeschinensee.
Oeschinensee is just 5 kilometres from Kandersteg and the hike is very beautiful and not that hard: you will have to gain 500 meters in elevation. So if you go easy, no problem. I have done it once, have a look here: Oeschinensee hike.
The hike should take you 1h30 min if you take it easy.
You will be astonished by the end of your hike how beautiful the location and the lake is. It has some kind of strange colours, which are unusual to the eyes, it’s really cool. And as I was there: it was full of cows there. So picture time!
You can even do more hikes around the lake as it has big mountains all around or just enjoy your lunch by the lake. As well there is a restaurant, so no worries about the food.
Ok, so some statistics about this day trip from Zürich.
Time: if you go by car or train, back and forth would take you around 5 hours. The hike: another 3 hours. You can get there by train as well, but I would really suggest enjoying nature this time. So the total time of this adventure: 8-9 hours.
Costs: once again, I would suggest renting a car, so then it comes to 120 CHF total price.
Memories: if you are lucky and the cows are there: take pictures of them. It’s a really bizzare place to find them up there:)
These would be my 5 TOP suggestion for a day trip from Zürich. Of course, there are many more: you can go to Gantrisch Nature Park, Adelboden or Mount Rigi and so on and so forth. Switzerland has a looooooot to offer to everyone.
If you are a bigger group of friends or a family, I would suggest renting a car: then you are more flexible and you will even save some money. The prices for car rents I put is for the cheapest car, so if you wish to have a bigger car: prices can get to 100-150 CHF per day plus insurance, so be aware of that.
If you are in Switzerland just for a day, I would really suggest then to take the full package: take the cable cars, get up high in the mountains, see the white peaks, touch them, take pictures, it’s once in a lifetime opportunity to do so. If you are living in Switzerland, then take it easy, hike there, it’s really worth spending more time in those amazing places.
If you have any more questions about day trips from Zürich, please let me know, I will do my best to help you.
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