In a previous post, I wrote about 25 one day trip ideas from Zurich. That list includes day trips from Zurich in Switzerland and to neighboring countries. This is a more in-depth article about the day trips from Zurich to Germany. Some of these trips are easier to do by car, but many of them are also doable by bus and train.
Day trips from Zurich to Germany by bus, car, and train
Lake Constance is the third largest lake in Central Europe and is shared by three countries: Germany, Switzerland, and Austria. There is a popular cycleway that takes you through all three countries. Lake Constance is a popular holiday destination, especially during the warmer months. There are some interesting places on the German side that you can visit on a day trip from Zurich.
Constance is the largest city on Lake Constance and it is located right on the border with Switzerland which makes it a perfect day trip from Zurich to Germany. It’s a popular shopping destination for people who live in Switzerland (prices in Germany are much lower than in Switzerland). But Constance also offers lots of cultural activities that travelers will enjoy.
Things to do in Constance
- Explore the Old Town and climb up the main cathedral for the view of the city and the lake.
- Visit Constance harbor and see the local landmark – the statue of Imperia.
- Kids will enjoy discovering the underwater world at SEA LIFE Constance.
Zurich to Constance by bus
Constance is one of a few day trip destinations in Germany that are easy to reach from Zurich by bus. German bus company Flixbus has more than 10 connections between Zurich and Constance every day. The ride takes around one hour and ticket prices start from 8 Euro one way. This makes Constance one of the cheapest day trips from Zurich to Germany.
Zurich to Constance by train
If you don’t like busses, it is also possible to reach Constance by train. There are many direct trains as well as routes with changes. The train ride takes up to 1,5 hours, but keep in mind that train tickets are usually more expensive than bus tickets.
I like to use Go Euro to compare bus and train ticket prices and see what is the best way to reach my destination.
Zurich to Constance by car: less than an hour.
The ‘flower island’ of Mainau is located next to Constance. You can combine it with a day trip to Constance, but it is also a great day trip destination on its own. There are a Butterfly and a Palm houses, and in summer season gardens are full of different flowers. It’s a great place to visit with children. You can do a free treasure hunt and visit a petting zoo where kids can get very close to animals and even touch them.
Zurich to Mainau by bus and train: you can reach Mainau island from Constance by local bus. The journey takes around 15 minutes.
Zurich to Mainau by car: around 1-hour drive, you can park your car on the mainland and cross the pedestrian bridge to the island.
A lovely medieval town Meersburg is a nice day trip destination on the Lake Constance. There two castles and many museums in this small town. You can spend the whole day here or combine it with a visit to other places on this list.
Zurich to Meersburg by bus: Flixbus has direct daily connections between Zurich to Meersburg, travel time is around 2 hours and tickets cost from 8 Euro.
Zurich to Meersburg by train: There is no train station in Meeresburg, so traveling by train is not convenient.
Zurich to Meersburg by car: around 1,5 hours from Zurich.
In Friedrichshafen, you can visit the unique Zeppelin museum or even take a sightseeing flight on a Zeppelin. The 22 m high viewing tower in Friedrichshafen port offers great views of the city and Lake Constance.
Zurich to Friedrichshafen by bus: around 2,5 hours, tickets start from 8 euro one way.
Zurich to Friedrichshafen by train: 2- 2,5 hours with one or two connections.
Zurich to Friedrichshafen by car: less than 2 hours.
Lindau is a small town on the Lake Constance close to the Austrian border. It has a very pretty pedestrian-only Old Town with well preserved old houses. The Old Town is located on the island that is connected to the newer part of the town on the mainland with a bridge.
Zurich to Lindau by bus: at the moment of publishing this post there were no good bus connections from Zurich to Lindau, but it might be different in summer because Lindau is a popular summer destination.
Zurich to Lindau by train: from 2,5 hours with one or two changes.
Zurich to Lindau by car: up to 2 hours.
If you visit Lake Constance in the summer season, you can take a boat trip and visit some of the places not only on the German but also on the Austrian and Swiss sides.
6. Freiburg im Breisgau
Freiburg is a beautiful German city that is famous for having more sunny days than any other city in Germany. It is also called the green capital of Germany because of its eco-conscious residents. Freiburg is located on the edge of the Black Forest. And while you will need a car to visit the Black Forest on a day trip from Zurich, the city of Freiburg is a great destination for a one day trip. The historic Old Town is very walkable and easy to explore. Just make sure to wear comfortable shoes for walking on cobblestone streets.
Things to do in Freiburg:
- visit the Freiburg Münster and climb the tower for the view of Old Town.
- Hike the local hill Schlossberg for the view of the city
- Enjoy typical South German food like Flammkuchen, Spätzle and Maultaschen.
Zurich to Freiburg by bus: around 2,5 hours, tickets from 8 Euro.
Zurich to Freiburg by train: around 2 hours direct train or with a change in Basel. Tip: try to book train tickets on the website of Deutsche Bahn, they sometimes have cheaper tickets than SBB.
Zurich to Freiburg by car: around 2 hours.
Day trips from Zurich to Germany by car
All the above-mentioned places in Germany are easy to reach from Zurich by train and bus, as well as by car. The last 2 day trip destinations that I want to mention are much easier to reach from Zurich by car than by public transportation.
7. Black Forest
The Black Forest is a popular holiday region in South Germany that is becoming increasingly popular for international visitors. This is where the famous cuckoo clocks come from. There are many places to visit in the Black Forest, and one day is definitely very little time. This is one of those places where taking an organized private day tour with local guides is worth the money.
Some places worth visiting in the Black Forest area:
- Triberg falls (up to 2 hours by car from Zurich)
- Titisee (around 1,5 hours drive from Zurich)
- Schluchsee (a bit more than 1 hour by car)
- Feldberg – the highest peak in Black forest.
8. Europa Park
Europa Park is one of the most popular theme parks in Europe and the largest one in Germany. The park consists of country-themed sections, that’s why it is called Europa Park. The best time to visit Europa Park is probably summer when all the rides are open. There are also special Halloween events in October and the whole park is decorated with pumpkins. But the best festive decorations are during the Christmas season when Europa Park turns into a fairytale winter wonderland. Even if some rides are closed due to cold weather, this is a fun time to visit Europa Park and enjoy magical Christmas atmosphere.
It takes around 2-2,5 hours to reach Europa Park from Zurich by car.
Which place would you like to visit?