Are you looking for the best day trips from Zurich? This guide is here to help!
These are the top Zurich day trips – from excursions to the mountains to trips to small, charming Swiss villages – we have covered our favorites!
Did we miss any of the best places to visit near Zurich?
Let us know your favorite Zurich day tours in the comments. Thanks!
In this post...
Best Day Trips From Zurich
1. Mount Titlis and Engelberg
Distance from Zurich: 91.5 km (1 hour, 25 minutes)
A little over 90 km from Zurich, you will find a wonderful and peaceful place on the top of Mount Titlis.
Spend 9 hours touring and experiencing breathtaking views and thrilling activities, beginning with a scenic train ride from Zurich to Lucerne, the first stop on your journey to see the Lion Monument and stroll along the lakeside.
The tour will then take you to Engelberg, a picturesque town nestled in the foothills of the Alps. Here, you can stroll through the charming streets and admire the quaint buildings before continuing to Mount Titlis.
At Mount Titlis, the views are simply breathtaking. Take a cable car up to the summit and enjoy panoramic vistas of the surrounding snow-capped mountains and glacial valleys.
Another exhilarating experience on Mount Titlis is the Ice Grotto. Here, you can explore a maze of tunnels and caverns carved out of the ice, marveling at the unique formations and colors.
For an even more unforgettable experience, try the Ice Flyer, a chairlift that takes you over the glacier with amazing views.
2. Heidiland (and Liechtenstein)
Distance from Zurich: 108.9 km (1 hour, 12 minutes)
If you’re looking for a day trip from Zurich that combines scenic beauty with cultural attractions, Heidiland and Liechtenstein are the perfect destinations.
Take only an hour’s drive from Zurich (99 km) and find yourself in the rolling hills, quaint villages, and stunning mountain vistas.
Your first stop will be Rapperswil, with its rose gardens, medieval castle, and Lake Riviera
. While you continue your tour through Ricken Pass, you will enjoy the panoramic views of the Alps and the Toggenburg region before you finally arrive in Vaduz, the capital of Liechtenstein.
You will have time to explore the city, visit the famous post office for postage stamps, have coffee and snacks at a local cafe, and get ready to travel to Maienfeld.
The small village is closed during the winter, but you will have another, no less impressive trip to Werdenberg with its beautiful castles.
If you still manage to visit Maienfeld, you will have a unique chance to explore the charming village with the story of Heidi, stroll through the vineyards, and sample some of the local wines.
3. Mt Pilatus (and Lucerne)
Distance from Zurich: 61.2 km (53 minutes)
A visit to Mount Pilatus and the charming city of Lucerne is one great destination from Zurich for a day trip.
A short 55-kilometer trip to Lucerne will take you along the Lake of the Four Cantons with a quick stop at the Lion Monument of Lake Lucerne.
Once you reach Lucerne, take a stroll exploring a picturesque city with its medieval architecture, cobblestone streets, and iconic Chapel Bridge.
Spend some time visiting local shops and cafes before you hop on a gondola to Mount Pilatus.
This towering peak offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. Take the scenic cogwheel train up to the summit, which climbs steeply through alpine forests and past rushing waterfalls.
At the top, enjoy the panoramic views from the observation deck or hike along one of the many trails. For the more adventurous, try Pilatus Rope Park with the views of the Fräkmüntegg.
It is a challenging course of rope bridges and zip lines that is sure to get your adrenaline pumping.
4. Black Forest and the Rhine Falls (Germany)
Distance from Zurich: 141.5 km (2 hours, 4 minutes)
Ready to visit another country for unforgettable memories? Travel 140 km to discover two stunning natural wonders, the Black Forest and Rhine Falls in Germany.
Start your day by taking a comfortable bus from Zurich to the Black Forest, a region in southwestern Germany known for its dense forests, rolling hills, and picturesque villages.
Your first stop will be Titisee, a lakeside town where you will explore traditional crafts, such as cuckoo clocks and woodcarving.
You can also watch these clocks working in the Drubba watch showroom.
Before heading to the next destination, take a short stroll along the scenic lakefront to embrace nature and taste a piece of Black Forest cake in a local cafe.
Next, head to the Rhine Falls, the largest waterfall in Europe, located on the border between Switzerland and Germany.
Take a boat ride to the middle of the falls for a truly immersive experience, or take a stroll along the many trails that offer views of the cascading water from above before returning to Zurich.
5. Jungfraujoch (with Train Ride!)
Distance from Zurich: 135 km (approx. 3 hours and 40 minutes)
A day trip from Zurich to Jungfraujoch will take you on a scenic ride for 135 km through some of the most beautiful scenery in Switzerland.
The 12-hour journey starts with a train ride from Zurich to Interlaken, where you’ll switch to the Jungfrau Railway for the ascent to the top of Jungfraujoch, also known as the Top of Europe.
The train ride is an experience to remember, with breathtaking views of the Swiss Alps and the surrounding countryside. It is the world’s highest train station, operating at 3500 meters.
As you climb higher, you’ll pass through tunnels, over bridges, and past snow-capped mountains, making this one of the most scenic train rides in the world.
Once you arrive at Jungfraujoch, you’ll be greeted with stunning views of the surrounding mountains, including the famous Aletsch Glacier, the longest glacier in the Alps.
You can take in the panoramic views from the Sphinx Observation Deck, the highest point in Europe, accessible by train.
There are also several other activities to enjoy at Jungfraujoch, including a visit to the Ice Palace, where you can explore tunnels and rooms carved out of a huge glacier.
Distance from Zurich: 226.7 km (2 hours, 39 minutes)
Take a one-day trip to Lausanne, a beautiful lakeside city in the French-speaking region 174 km from Zurich, with a mix of history, art, and natural beauty!
Once you arrive, head to the old town with the central Notre Dame Cathedral, a beautiful example of Gothic architecture from the 12th century.
The first location to embrace the beauty of Lausanne is the Grand Pont, a 180-meter-long and 25-meter-high bridge in the city’s heart with remarkable views of the cathedral and the old town.
While it is still morning, you can enjoy a wonderful breakfast at one of the local cafes, like Ajò Café or Coffee Shop Sleepy Bear.
As part of the city’s history, visit the Bishop’s Palace, housing the Lausanne Historical Museum. If the museum is closed, you can still explore the surrounding area and enjoy coffee at the open-air cafe.
Next, head to the Olympic Museum for a fascinating glimpse into the history of the Olympic Games, its 10.000 artifacts, memorabilia, and interactive displays.
Finally, walk along the lakefront or cruise on Lake Geneva with stunning views of the surrounding mountains.
Distance from Zurich: 87.4 km (1 hour, 10 minutes)
You can’t plan your Switzerland itinerary and not include a one-day trip to Basel for its rich culture, 40 museums, and an incredible mix of old and new architecture.
Basel is a charming Swiss city located on the banks of the Rhine River, 87 km from Zurich, near the borders of France and Germany.
Once you arrive, head to the old town, where you’ll find a maze of narrow streets and alleys, lined with charming shops and cafes.
Take a stroll through the Marktplatz, a bustling square that hosts a farmers’ market every day except the weekend, and admire the striking red sandstone Rathaus, 16th-century city hall, and Basel Minster, the city’s most prominent landmark.
Next, visit the Kunstmuseum Basel, one of Switzerland’s most important art museums and the world’s oldest public art museum.
Take a short walk to the Pfalz viewing point to embrace old and new Basel, head to the Rhine riverfront, stroll along the promenade, and enjoy the rest of the day in Restaurant Kraft.
8. Stein am Rhein
Distance from Zurich: 55.3 km (45 minutes)
The quaint charm and stunning natural scenery make Stein am Rhein an excellent on-day destination from Zurich.
This picturesque town is 55 km from Zurich, situated on the banks of the Rhine River, near the border of Germany, and is known for its well-preserved medieval architecture, colorful frescoes, and stunning location.
The best start is a morning stroll through the charming old town, where you’ll find narrow streets lined with colorful houses and traditional shops.
Make sure to admire the stunning frescoes that adorn many buildings, including the 16th-century Town Hall in Town Hall Square.
Also, visit the 15th-century Weiser Adler building with early Renaissance mural paintings. Another impressive building to visit is the Thief or Witch Tower, which served as a prison.
By the way, witch-hunting was quite popular in Stein am Rhein.
Next, visit Hohenklingen Castle, dating back to the 13th century, which now houses a museum and a cozy restaurant with a terrace to enjoy the view.
Things not to miss in Stein am Rhein are St. George’s Abbey, Obertor Square, and the Rhine River cruise.
Distance from Zurich: 121.6 km (1 hour, 32 minutes)
One day in Bern is not enough to see and experience everything, but if you have only a day, make it as exciting as possible.
This picturesque city is 121 km from Zurich, so you’d better hit the road as early as possible to have more time to explore its well-preserved Old Town.
Make sure to visit the iconic Zytglogge clock tower and inside the clock to watch how it functions. A place not to miss in Bern is the Parliament Building, with incredible river views.
Next, head to the Einsteinhaus, the house museum where Einstein lived with his wife. You will have a chance to see some of his most significant works.
After a quick tour of the museum, visit Bern Cathedral, a magnificent Gothic-style church featuring intricate stained glass windows and breathtaking architecture.
Take a short break at Wein & Sein restaurant in the city center to enjoy lunch and then move to the next destination, Bear Park on the banks of the Aare River, which is home to a group of brown bears.
You can observe these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat and learn about their history and conservation efforts in Switzerland.
10. Mt. Rigi
Distance from Zurich: 50.4 km (49 minutes)
Zurich is a bustling city with much to see and do, but sometimes it’s nice to get away from the urban hustle and bustle and escape to the countryside.
Fortunately, the nearby mountain of Rigi is an ideal destination offering spectacular views of the Swiss Alps and lakes.
An hour’s drive (55 km) will take you to the town of Vitznau. From there, a cogwheel train will take you up the mountain.
Once at the top, you can take a leisurely hike along one of Rigi’s 120 km trails. Choose Staffelhöhe, Klösterli, Kaltbad, or Scheidebb to watch the lakes and the Swiss Plateau.
The trails are well-marked and offer a range of difficulty levels, making it easy for hikers of all skill levels to enjoy.
For those who prefer a more relaxed pace, the Rigi Bahn railway offers a panoramic tour of the mountain, stopping at several picturesque viewpoints along the way.
Winter is more crowded here. The mountain slopes have 5 lifts with 14 km of ski and snowboard trails and 35 km of hiking trails, perfect for adventure lovers.
Distance from Zurich: 151.5 km (1 hour, 49 minutes)
Everything in Switzerland boasts a unique vibe, but Fribourg is a totally different story with its many fascinating sights and peaceful atmosphere.
To start the journey, take a scenic ride from Zurich to Fribourg, which takes approximately 1.5 hours (152 km).
The first place to visit is the Old Town, home to the Gothic-style St. Nicholas Cathedral, an iconic landmark with its ornate interior and stunning stained glass windows.
The doorway is a separate masterpiece with unique carvings. Climb the 365 steps of the cathedral tower to see the endless tiles of roofs, bridges, and lush green.
Next, spend a couple of hours exploring some of the 17 bridges of Fribourg.
Make sure you visit St. Michael’s Bridge for panoramic views, the 13th-century covered wooden Bern Bridge, and Zaehringen Bridge with great views of the Auge district.
Time for a break and great views at Café du Belvédère, which offers separate brunch and evening menus. Enjoy your time embracing the views of the Sarine River and the Old Town.
Distance from Zurich: 95.7 km (1 hour, 9 minutes)
For postcard views from your Swiss trip, there is one name and one place not to miss. 96 km drive from Zurich will take you to Appenzell, a charming Swiss village with unique architecture and culture.
It is a car-free village so you will have maximum privacy without human-made noise.
Once you arrive in Appenzell, take some time to explore the village on foot. The narrow streets are lined with traditional Swiss houses, many of which are adorned with ornate frescoes.
One of the most popular activities in Appenzell is hiking in the Alpstein mountain range, forming the backdrop of Appenzell. As you hike, make sure you purchase Appenzeller cheese from farmers.
If you miss hiking, you can always shop for local cheese in the village.
For a bit of exercise, take a hike up the nearby Ebenalp mountain or take a cable car to the top to get that postcard view you’ve been seeking.
Once you reach the top, take a break at the Berggasthaus Aescher-Wildkirchli, a picturesque mountain inn that has been welcoming travelers for over 170 years.
Distance from Zurich: 184.1 km (2 hours, 10 minutes)
If you’re looking for a word to describe Gruyères, it may be “jaw-dropping” or “breathtaking.”
Located 184 km from Zurich, this medieval town has Swiss cheese, chocolate, stunning views of snow-capped peaks, rolling hills, and every other word you know about Switzerland.
Once you arrive in Gruyeres, walk through the medieval town center. The main street running through the center is only 300 meters long, with ancient buildings and picturesque houses.
Take your time to explore the town’s main attraction, the Chateau de Gruyeres, with its large courtyard and stained glass windows.
If you have come after cheese, visit Moléson-sur-Gruyères to witness traditional alpine cheese making or visit La Maison du Gruyère, a large-scale Gruyere cheese factory.
Finally, taste the famous cheese fondue at one of the local restaurants, like La Fleur de Lys.
One can hardly get tired of cheese, but if so, there is still chocolate you haven’t tasted.
Take a short drive from Gruyères to visit La Maison Cailler – a Swiss chocolate factory where you will touch cocoa beans, watch the process, and finally get to the sampling room to taste eight different flavors.
Distance from Zurich: 23.8 km (23 minutes)
Winterthur is the center of art culture. If you’re looking for a delightful day trip filled with impressive art and charming historic neighborhoods, Winterthur is waiting for you.
Only 25 minutes from Zurich (25 km), the small town welcomes you with neat streets and many boutique shops, cafes, and restaurants.
You’d better explore the Altstadt (Old Town) on foot to see the major sights such as the Stadtkirche church and Martgasse Street.
Spend most of your day exploring Winterthur’s museums. Start with the Oskar Reinhart Collection, housing an impressive collection of paintings and sculptures in a beautifully restored villa.
It offers visitors a chance to admire works by famous artists such as Van Gogh, Monet, and Degas.
Next, visit Technorama, a science museum providing a unique hands-on learning experience. You can participate in more than 500 experiments or watch how technology and natural phenomena work.
Other museums not to miss are Fotomuseum Winterthur, Naturmuseum, Kunst Museum, and more.
If you’re looking for outdoor activities, head to the nearby Kyburg Castle on top of a hill. The castle is surrounded by beautiful walking trails that offer stunning views of the Swiss countryside.
15. Colmar (France)
Distance from Zurich: 149.4 km (1 hour, 53 minutes)
Get ready to travel to France from Zurich to discover one hidden gem with show-stopping views in each corner.
Approximately 160 km and a 2-hour drive from Zurich, you will find Colmar, a dreamy provincial town full of history, culture, and picturesque scenery.
One of the first things you’ll notice in Colmar is the stunning architecture.
The town is famous for its well-preserved old town with colorful half-timbered houses, quaint cobblestone streets, and a number of beautiful canals.
A great way to start your day in Colmar is by taking a stroll through the town’s picturesque streets. The most adorable neighborhood is Krutenau Quarter, along the riverbank bridges and riverside cafes and restaurants.
Also, don’t miss St. Martin’s Church, the House of Heads with its 111 head sculptures, and the Pfister House with its wooden gallery and murals.
You can also find several sites dramatically contrasting the background of colorful houses, like the Unterlinden museum with works of art and historical artifacts and a Dominican church from the 14th century.
Finally, finish your day in one of the many restaurants in Comar, such as Kuifhus, Les Racines, or Le Petit Bidon, tasting local desserts and wine.
Where to Stay in Zurich
If you’re looking for one of the top places to stay in Zurich, here are a few of our picks (for any budget!):
- FIVE Zurich Lifestyle Hotel (luxury city resort)
- Motel One Zürich (mid-range – is so much better than its name!)
- Hotel Marta (budget 5 minutes from the train station)
Did we miss any of the best day trips from Zurich?
Let us know your favorite Zurich day trips in the comments! Thanks!
More Switzerland Travel Guides
- Zurich in winter
- Zurich to Mount Titlis
- One day in Zurich
- Interlaken in winter
- Paragliding in Interlaken
- What to do in Interlaken
- Kayaking in Interlaken
- Where to stay in Lugano
- Best attractions in Bern
- Winter trip to Bern
- Geneva in winter
- Day trips from Lucerne
- Winter in Lucerne
- Day trips from Lugano
- Small towns in Switzerland
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Aram is a travel blogger and writer from Armenia who spends his time between Spain and his home country. He is passionate about music and football (the European kind) and covers a lot of Western European destinations on the blog. Aram is a laidback traveler who enjoys meeting new people and finding the best food in each city that he visits (hence his frequent trips to France, Italy, and Greece!). He has been featured in (or written for) Forbes, BBC, The Guardian, Fodor’s Travel, and more.