There are so many great things to say about Switzerland. Gorgeous mountain landscapes, world-famous cheese and chocolate usually come first but if you look at the map you will notice that Switzerland also has one of the best possible locations a country can have. Just look how perfectly it is located in the middle of Europe. Thanks to the expanded railway network it is easy to travel across the Switzerland and to the neighbor countries even if you have only one day for a trip. A car is also a good way to travel around but buses are much less common in Switzerland for a long distance travel, so possibilities of day trips by bus are quite limited in Switzerland.
Zurich is the largest Swiss city with the busiest train station and the main airport in Switzerland. It is a good starting point for a trip around the country and to the neighbor countries. From Zurich, you can easily take one-day trips to other Swiss cities and also to France, Germany, Liechtenstein, and even Italy. And while Swiss nature is undoubtedly gorgeous, I think a city trip is nice sometimes for a change, especially if the weather is not the best to go to the mountains. Here are some ideas where you can go for a day trip from Zurich.
You can easily reach Lucerne from Zurich by train in less than one hour or even faster if you decide to go by car.
Lucerne is one of the most visited Swiss cities. The famous Chapel Bridge, the pretty Old Town, Lake Lucerne and surrounding mountains make it a magnet for tourists.
Basel s located right on the border with Germany and you can reach the city by train or car in one hour. The bus takes just a little bit longer but it much cheaper compared to the train.
Basel is known for its internationally famous museums and is often called the “culture capital of Switzerland”. The city has around 40 museums and everyone can find something interesting to see but if you are really not into museums, Basel also has some pretty architecture. Also, Basel hosts the biggest carnival party in Switzerland in the end of February – beginning of March. The party lasts for 3 days and attracts thousands of visitors every year.
Bern is easy to reach by train or car from Zurich in one hour.
The city is known for a beautiful medieval Old Town that has been recognized by UNESCO as a Cultural World Heritage Site. There is an Einstein House where Einstein lived for a few years. There is also a Bear Park where visitors can see the live bears that are the symbol of the city.
Thanks to the newly finished Gotthard Base Tunnel the time for the journey between Zurich-Lugano had been cut by one hour and now you can reach Lugano by train in a bit more than 2 hours. The car journey will take the same time.
Lugano is the largest city in the region of Ticino and enjoys some of the best weather in Switzerland. Temperatures here are often higher than in the rest of Switzerland and sun is believed to shine more often. It is a great place to relax, walk along the lake or hike in the nearby mountains.
Lausanne can be reached from Zurich by car or train in 2-2,5 hours.
There are some activities to do in the city, but a real reason I would advise to visit Lausanne are the magnificent panoramic views that you can’t see anywhere else in Switzerland. You can take a boat trip or a downhill stroll to enjoy the view of the Lake Geneva and background mountains.
It takes around 3 hours to get to Geneva from Zurich by car or train.
The symbol of the city is a famous water fountain in Lake Geneva. You can visit the United Nations Office on the guided visit, stroll through the Old Town, take a boat tour and see some interesting museums.
A train from Zurich to Freiburg takes between 2-2,5 hours. Another comfortable and cheap way to get there is using Flixbus that runs a few times daily. It takes the same time, but tickets are much cheaper.
Freiburg has been my home for 1 year and I love this city. Freiburg has a very pretty Old Town and its most famous building is the Freiburg Cathedral. For a view of the city, you can take an easy hike to Schlossberg.
A train ride to Constance lasts 1, 5 hour. Tip: Flixbus is cheaper and sometimes takes even less time.
Swiss people like to go to Constance for shopping but there is more in Constance than shopping. The Old Town is pretty small but cute. A nearby “flower island” of Mainau attract visitors with beautiful gardens and butterfly house. Similar to Lausanne, you can enjoy views of Swiss Alps when walking around the Lake Constance.
There are direct trains between Zurich and Stuttgart and the trip lasts 3 hours. You can also find some bus connections but the journey usually takes longer and makes more sense if you stay overnight.
Stuttgart has a very nice zoo that will be interesting for kids, but I also enjoyed it as an adult. For car fans, there are a Mercedes-Benz and Porsche museums.
Train or bus to Colmar takes 2-2,5 hours. You can save up to 30-60 mins if you go by car.
Colmar is a fairytale city in the French region of Alsace. Old Town and Little Venice are easy and fun to explore on foot. The city is even more charming during the Christmas market when it is all decorated nicely, but it is also the time when Colmar is most crowded.
Train ride takes around 3 hours, and car a little less time. There are also some cheap but less convenient bus connections.
To see Strasbourg Cathedral and European Parliament, walk around the Old Town and Petite France, take a boat tour or visit museums.
For a day trip to Milan you will have to wake up early because the train ride takes up to 4 hours and a car a bit less. There are also many bus companies serving this route, but they take longer time.
The famous Duomo and shopping are the best reasons.