Whether you’re looking for outdoor adventures, cultural attractions, or picturesque scenery, you’ll find the best day trips from Zurich with my tips below.
Lucerne is one of the most popular destinations for those looking for an easy, enjoyable day trip away from the hustle and bustle of downtown Zurich.
This picturesque city in Central Switzerland offers breathtaking views over Lake Lucerne and plenty of activities and attractions you can enjoy during your trip.
You can visit historical sites in Lucerne’s old town, such as Chapel Bridge and Lion Monument.
The Chapel Bridge is a 14th-century wooden bridge that crosses the Reuss River, while the Lion Monument is a dramatic sculpture dedicated to Swiss mercenaries who died in France during the Revolutionary War.
You can also join lake cruises and cable car rides that offer stunning views of Lake Lucerne.
Or try shopping along cobblestone streets and exploring renowned museums such as Kunstmuseum Lucerne.
If you like more adventure, take an excursion on one of Switzerland’s famous paddle steamer boats across Lake Lucerne.
How to get to Lucerne
For a hassle-free experience, join a day tour from Zurich to Lucerne! If you have a short time, you can also combine a trip to Lucerne and another town or mountain.
Renting a car is the perfect way to explore all Switzerland has to offer.
With your car, you’ll have the freedom and flexibility to stop anywhere to take in the stunning scenery whenever you want.
Another way to travel from Zurich to Lucerne is by train. Head to Zurich HB station with a ticket bound for Lucerne.
The journey takes approximately 45 minutes, and once you arrive at Lucerne Station, you have reached your destination!
If you visit many places in Switzerland by train, I recommend getting a Swiss Travel Pass to save money on your trip. This pass offers unlimited access to trains, buses, and ferries, including some rides to the mountain peaks.
Liechtenstein is a small yet charming country located between Switzerland and Austria, making it an ideal stopover for anyone looking to explore places to visit near Zurich!
This charming country is one of Europe’s least populated countries, offering plenty of chances to take in its beautiful landscapes and culture.
On your day tour, you can visit Castle Vaduz, perched on top of the hill overlooking the city. This stunning monument has been home to the Prince of Liechtenstein since 1939.
I recommend exploring Liechtenstein’s natural beauty as well. You can hike up the mountainside or take a leisurely walk along the Rhine River.
Or even take boat rides along Lake Constance for breathtaking views of Switzerland and Austria!
How to get to Liechtenstein from Zurich
The easiest way to travel to Liechtenstein is by tour. You can join a day tour from Zurich and visit Vaduz, the capital of Liechtenstein.
By train and bus
If you want to get from Zurich to Vaduz (the capital of Liechtenstein), the quickest and most convenient way to travel is by train. Regular departures throughout the day run directly from Zurich Hauptbahnhof station to Sargans station, located on the Swiss-Liechtenstein border.
From there, you can catch a connecting bus or taxi to the Vaduz city center. This takes approximately 15 minutes.
Located in the High Rhine, Rhine Falls is one of the largest waterfalls in Europe and makes for a stunning sight. The falls are located just across the border from Switzerland in Schaffhausen.
This impressive natural landmark is a great spot for a day trip from Zurich and an ideal way to experience the stunning beauty of the Swiss countryside.
When visiting Rhine Falls, you can expect a spectacular view of nature’s power. The thundering waters cascade down over 23 meters into the depths below, with an impressive show of white water and misty air.
There’re several viewing platforms around Rhine Falls where you can take plenty of photographs and admire this breathtaking site.
You should also take a stroll along Lake Zurich’s banks nearby.
Ferry boats can take you on closer voyages beneath the falls, offering mesmerizing views from below. You can take a boat tour in Neuhausen am Rheinfall, a town close to the Rhine Falls.
There are also two castle ruins – Laufen Castle and Wörth Castle. Those castles are open for guided tours, and you can view amazing panoramic scenes over Rhine Falls and the surrounding landscape.
How to get to Rhine Falls
Taking the 45-minute train is a convenient option to get from Zurich to Neuhausen Am Rheinfall.
Driving to Rhine Falls takes about 40 minutes. It’s an excellent option for those who prefer to avoid public transport and enjoy flexibility.
Alternatively, for a hassle-free experience, you can join tours visiting Rhine Falls and the surrounding areas.
Stein am Rhein
Stein am Rhein is another great day trip from Zurich. It’s an old, picturesque medieval town located at the northern tip of Lake Constance in Switzerland.
This small town has something for everyone: beautiful architecture, colorful frescoes, and many quaint shops.
In Stein am Rhein, you can explore the historic center with its cobblestone streets or admire the many half-timbered houses adorned with frescoes that date back to the 16th century.
A visit to the Old Town Hall will give you a glimpse into Stein am Rhein’s past and ancient traditions.
The Rathausplatz Square is home to plenty of restaurants, cafes, and bars where you can enjoy regional dishes like bratwurst or rösti while admiring views over Lake Constance.
In addition, Stein am Rhein boasts beautiful meadows full of wildflowers, lush green fields, and several historic castles dating back centuries.
If you want more adventure, try water sports on the nearby lake or check out one of Stein am Rhein’s many hiking trails.
How to get to Stein am Rhein
The easiest way to get to Stein am Rhein from Zurich is by train. It will take you one hour and fifteen minutes to reach Stein am Rhein on the S8 line from Zurich main station.
Alternatively, you can also join day tours from Zurich to Stein am Rhein. You’ll get to see explore the Old town and medieval landmarks in this beautiful town.
Grindelwald & Interlaken
Grindelwald and Interlaken are two stunning locations in Switzerland’s Bernese Oberland region.
Under a 2-hour drive from Zurich, Grindelwald & Interlaken make for the perfect day trip to explore some of Switzerland’s most beautiful scenery.
Grindelwald is located in the Bernese Oberland region and has an incredible mountain backdrop. It’s a charming mountain village surrounded by snow-capped peaks, lush green meadows, and glaciers.
These make this mountain village a picture-perfect location for hikers, photographers, skiers, or anyone who loves the outdoors. It’s also home to some of Switzerland’s most popular ski resorts and has many quaint Swiss villages to explore.
Meanwhile, Interlaken is a vibrant town nestled between two beautiful lakes that provides plenty of opportunities for exploration.
Visiting this town, you can enjoy white water rafting on the Aar River or cruise on Lake Thun or Lake Brienz. There’re plenty of local attractions, such as museums, churches, and galleries.
How to get to Grindelwald and Interlaken
Driving a car from Zurich is also a great idea to explore the idyllic Bernese Oberland. The distance between Zurich and Grindelwald is 138 km (86 miles), taking about 2 hours to drive.
Another way to travel between Zurich and Grindelwald is by train. The trip from Zurich to Grindelwald only takes 2 hours and 40 minutes on the regional trains that run throughout the day.
This train to Grindelwald will pass through Interlaken, so if you want to visit Interlaken, you can also take this train.
Bern, the capital of Switzerland, is a great day trip destination from Zurich.
Located in the canton of Bern and situated on a peninsula formed by the Aare River, Bern has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1983. It’s brimming with history and culture that you can’t miss.
One must-see spot in Bern is the historic Old Town. This area features picturesque cobblestone streets that wind through colorful buildings which date back hundreds of years.
The iconic Zytglogge tower stands out prominently in the city center, making it an ideal spot for taking photos and creating lasting memories!
Other popular attractions include Gurten Park, where you can enjoy stunning views over the city. Or Einstein House – the former home of Albert Einstein. Or BearPark, where you can observe brown bears in their natural habitat.
How to get to Bern
By train and bus
The fastest and most direct way to travel from Zurich to Bern is to take the train. Usually, the train trip takes around an hour, making it a great choice if you’re in a hurry.
Alternatively, you can opt for a regional bus service between Zurich and Bern every two hours during peak times.
If you travel by car, the driving distance between Zürich to Bern is about 122 km (76 miles), taking about 1 hour and 20 minutes. You can drive via A1 in the west direction.
Alternatively, sign up for a day tour to Bern from Zurich and let everything be taken care of for you. On this tour, you’ll have a chance to see the best of Bern old town, visit a dairy farm and enjoy Swiss delicacies.
Baden is a lovely day trip destination from Zurich, located in the canton of Aargau in Switzerland.
With its winding cobblestone streets, historic buildings, and attractive parks, Baden offers an array of things to do and see.
If you want to soak up some culture, visit the city’s impressive castle ruins, stroll around Hallwyl Castle, or explore the local museums.
Baden is also home to many historical landmarks, such as the Badener Castle, St Vincent’s Church, and the Ziegelei Museum. Those interested in art can visit Kunsthalle Baden or participate in one of their workshops.
If you want more physical activities, there’re plenty of hiking trails that lead through forests and rolling hills, golf courses, and swimming areas near the river. Not to mention all kinds of shopping opportunities!
Plus, during your stay at Baden, do not miss the opportunity to try out Baden’s famous thermal baths. Or visit local farmers’ markets, concerts, and festivals throughout the year.
How to get to Baden
The fastest and most convenient way to get from Zurich to Baden is by train or bus. The journey takes about 20 minutes by train and 30 minutes by bus.
Winterthur is a great day trip destination from Zurich. The city has plenty to see and do for those who want to take a break from the hustle and bustle.
This picturesque city is home to several museums, including the Oskar Reinhart Foundation’s Am Römerholz art museum, which houses an impressive collection of European art from the sixteenth century to the present day.
Winterthur is also home to other famous Swiss locations, such as the Oskar Reinhart Collection. This place offers an incredible selection of 19th-century European artworks from renowned painters like El Greco, Picasso, Monet, and more.
When in Winterthur, I recommend exploring the Old Town to admire its medieval architecture and picturesque streets. Or shop in one of the many boutiques around Old Town Square.
You should also consider taking one of the guided tours available to learn more about Winterthur’s rich history, culture, and architecture.
How to get to Winterthur
The most common way to get from Zurich to Winterthur is by train. The journey takes under half an hour and regularly departs throughout the day.
Alternatively, you can rent a car in Zurich and drive directly to Winterthur in around 20 minutes, depending on traffic conditions.