Whether you’re living in Zurich or just visiting for a few days, you should definitely take advantage of its great location to explore more of Switzerland and the neighboring countries.
But there are so many beautiful places in and around Switzerland that it can be hard to know where to start from.
Day trips from Zurich:
Less than one hour from Zurich, Schaffhausen is a picturesque medieval town on the northeast corner of Switzerland, and one of the most beautiful swiss old towns I’ve ever visited.
From Schaffhausen you can also easily reach the impressive Rhine Falls, the largest waterfalls in Europe.
Read more about my day trip from Zurich to Schaffhausen and the Rhine Falls here.
Bern is the de facto capital of Switzerland, as the seat of the federal government and parliament.
Its gorgeous and unique old town is a feast for the eyes, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Located less than one hour away, it makes for the perfect day trip from Zurich.
Find out all about my visit to Bern here.
Basel is one of my favorite cities in all Switzerland, and a highly recommended day trip from Zurich.
Located on the shores of the Rhine River, on the borders with France and Germany, Basel is a young and cosmopolitan city, due to its renowned university (the oldest in Switzerland), its pharmaceutical industry, and its vibrant art scene.
You can get from Zurich to Basel in about 50 minutes with the TGV.
Read more about my day tour from Zurich to Basel here.
If you’re looking to try the best cheese fondue in Switzerland, look no further.
Considered the most beautiful village in French-speaking Switzerland, and home to the world-famous cheese with the same name, Gruyères is a delight to the senses.
Alien fanatic? There’s a museum (and a bar!) for you too here.
Lovely and delicious, Gruyères is totally worth the 2-hour drive from Zurich.
Check out what to do, see and eat in Gruyères here.
I visited St Gallen on a rainy day, but that didn’t prevent me from falling in love with this charming swiss city near Lake Constance.
Just one hour from Zurich by car or train, St Gallen hides one of the oldest and most beautiful libraries in the world, a magnificent UNESCO World Heritage Site, and a wide range of art museums.
All good reason to visit St Gallen regardless of the weather.
Read all about my day trip from Zurich to St Gallen here.
#6 Constance, Germany
A short 45-minute drive from Zurich, the city of Constance, in southern Germany, is a favorite shopping destination for many Zurich inhabitants, attracted by its malls and cheaper prices.
For any Zurich visitor, it’s also a great opportunity to set foot in neighboring Germany.
Constance has a lovely and well preserved medieval district. But its top sight is scenic Lake Constance (or Bodensee), the largest lake on German territory.
Lake Constance is actually shared by Germany, Switzerland and Austria. Take a boat ride through the three countries and visit the towns around the lake, as well as its islands.
#7 Colmar, France
The small French town of Colmar is the only place on this list of day trips from Zurich that I haven’t visited yet.
But Colmar has been on my travel bucket list for so long that I decided to also include it here, in the hopes that I’ll finally go there soon.
If you’ve ever seen a picture of Colmar, you know what I’m talking about: a lovely old town, with cobblestone streets, colorful facades and romantic canals, located less than two hours from Zurich.
Colmar is also famous for its Christmas market, so now it’s a good time to visit.
Best known for its university and as the entry point to the Black Forrest, Freiburg, in south-west Germany, makes for another great day trip from Zurich.
Considered the warmest and sunniest place in Germany, the city has an undeniable French flair and a charm of its own.
A 2-hour drive from Zurich, Freiburg is closer to France and Switzerland than to any other larger German city.
Find out all about my day tour from Zurich to Freiburg here.
Liechtenstein is one of the smallest and least visited European countries.
This tiny country, tucked between Switzerland and Austria, has always exercised a fascination over me.
So, this year, I finally made the one hour and a half train and bus trip from Zurich to Vaduz, the capital of Liechtenstein.
And I was not disappointed.
From beautiful nature and a picturesque old town, to a busy modern center, Vaduz has all the qualities of a European metropolis in a small, exquisite package.
Check out my day trip from Zurich to Vaduz here.
Considered by many as one of the most beautiful cities in Switzerland, Lucerne is a mandatory day trip from Zurich.
Located on the shores of Lake Lucerne, overlooking the Swiss Alps, less than one hour from Zurich, Lucerne is also one of the most touristic swiss cities, and it’s easy to understand why.
The 14th century Chapel Bridge over the Reuss River is its most famous landmark.
The city is also the gateway to the nearby Rigi, Pilatus and Stanserhorn mountains.
Of course there are many other possible day trips from Zurich, especially if you’re a mountain lover. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it’s certainly a good starting point for exploring Switzerland and its bordering countries.
Have you done any of the above day trips from Zurich? Which one would you like to take? Share in the comments section below.
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