Things to Do Zurich

Top day trips from Zurich [2024]

March 16, 2021 Last Updated on April 11, 2024

There’s much to see and do in Switzerland’s largest city but if you are looking to enjoy a day trip from Zurich, read on.  In this guide, we cover the most popular day trips from Zurich so you can choose which one is right for you.

Whether you’d prefer an excursion from Zurich to the Swiss Alps, would like to visit the Rhine Falls, take a trip to the famous Jungfraujoch, or enjoy one of the many day trips from Zurich to Germany, this guide is for you.

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Summary of Zurich day trips covered in this guide

Jungfraujoch> Check prices and information
Liechtenstein and Heidiland> Check prices and information
Lucerne> Check prices and information
Mt. Titlis> Check prices and information
Interlaken and Grindelwald> Check prices and information
Rhine Falls & Stein am Rhein> Check prices and information
Glacier Express> Check prices and information
Appenzell> Check prices and information
Basel and Colmar> Check prices and information
Bern> Check prices and information
4 countries in 1 day> Check prices and information
Zermatt and Matterhorn> Check prices and information

Top day trips from Zurich

Jungfraujoch day trip from Zurich

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A ride on the Jungfraubahn is one of the most popular excursions in Switzerland.

The day trip from Zurich to Jungfraujoch is widely regarded as one of the best. Although the trip between the city and the highest train station in Europe is a long one, the final destination gives visitors breathtaking views over the Swiss landscape.

The first part of the Jungfraujoch day trip from Zurich is the journey to Interlaken. This takes about 2 hours and 15 minutes by train, or 1 hour and 45 minutes when driving.

Next, visitors board a train for a two hour trip that comprises the final part of the Jungfraujoch tour from Zurich.

This rail journey is all part of the magical experience, as the train sweeps past snow capped mountains and alpine meadows en-route. The train then travels via a mountain tunnel before arriving at the train station – almost 3,500 metres above sea level. 

There are various activities to enjoy when taking a Zurich to Jungfraujoch day trip. At the mountain summit, visitors can try snow tubing or sledding, or take a ride on the flying fox (available during the summer months). 

Year-round, there are shops to browse, including a Lindt chocolate shop and you can visit the observatory. And of course, there are stunning Swiss views of the surrounding peaks and the Aletsch Glacier to enjoy. 

How to travel from Zurich to Jungfraujoch by train

The journey from Zurich to Jungfrau by train takes just over 4 hours. There are numerous train changes required en-route but all connections are timed to ensure there is little time spent waiting.

Cable car option

It is also possible to travel from Grindelwald to Eiger Glacier by a cable car called the Eiger Express.  At Eiger Glacier, passengers then transfer to the Jungfrau train for the final leg of the journey to Jungfraujoch.

Should you choose this option, the total journey time from Grindelwald is 51 minutes, and from Interlaken is 1 hour and 36 minutes.

How to travel from Zurich to Jungfraujoch by car

Visitors can drive the first part of the journey instead of taking the Zurich to Interlaken train if they prefer. It is also possible to drive as far as Lauterbrunnen or Grindelwald and board the Jungfraujoch train there.  

Journey times by car from Zurich are: It will take about 1 hour and 30 minutes to reach Interlaken; 1 hour and 45 minutes to reach Lauterbrunnen; and 1 hour and 50 minutes to reach Grindelwald. Paid car parking is available near each of the train stations.

Travel time by train to Jungfraujoch is two hours from Interlaken; 1h:35 from Lauterbrunnen; and 1h:20 from Grindelwald.

Organised day trips from Zurich

If all these connections seem a little overwhelming, an organised tour is the ideal way to enjoy one of the most popular Switzerland day trips. If you would prefer this simpler option, we recommend the ‘Jungfrau Top of Europe’ day trip. > Click here for prices.

Liechtenstein and Heidiland day trip from Zurich

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view of the Vaduz Castle
Vaduz Castle sits atop a hill overlooking the capital.

Taking a Zurich to Liechtenstein day trip is also one of the most popular Zurich day trips. Most visitors who travel either independently or as part of an organised tour head for Vaduz, which is home to the Cathedral of St. Florin, the City Hall, Government House and Vaduz Castle. 

Many visitors like to visit the Vaduz Tourism Office during their day, where your passport can be decorated with a Liechtenstein stamp for a few Swiss francs. ‘Museum Row’ in central Vaduz is also a top attraction, and the museums here include Liechtenstein National Museum, the Postal Museum, Treasure Chamber and a couple of art museums.

Coffee and wine tasting are also popular activities during any Liechtenstein tour from Zurich. Demmel Kaffe, Liechtenstein’s only coffee roastery, in Schaan is easy to reach by the number 11 or 13 bus from the Hofkellerei bus stop in Vaduz. 

The Prince of Liechtenstein Winery, meanwhile, is just a two minute walk from the Hofkellerei bus stop. Wine tastings and tours can be taken here.

How to travel from Zurich to Liechtenstein by train 

It is possible to take the train for most of the journey between Zurich and Liechtenstein. Visitors should purchase a ticket to Schann, the largest city in Liechtenstein.

Getting there will involve a couple of changes, and will take between 1 hour 20 minutes and 1 hour and 45 minutes. 

Then take an 11 or 13 bus for the 10 minute journey to Vaduz Post, making the total journey time around 2 hours.

How to travel from Zurich to Liechtenstein by train and bus

Taking a combination of train and bus can make the journey a little simpler. The first part is  a direct or indirect train journey to Sargans, which will take from just under an hour to around 1 hour 15 minutes.

Then you can take an 11 or 12E bus journey of around 30 minutes from the Bahnhof station to Vaduz Post. This combination also takes about 2 hours.

How to travel from Zurich to Liechtenstein by car 

The journey by car from Zurich Vaduz takes between approximately 1 hours 30 minutes and 2 hours. It’s a fairly straightforward route, and there are plenty of parking places close to Städtle, the main street. 

Organised day tours from Zurich

The day trip from Zurich to Liechtenstein can also be booked as an organised tour. The option we recommend is the trip to Liechtenstein and Heidiland. > Click here for prices. 

Lucerne day tour from Zurich

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Chapel Bridge, Lucerne
Lucerne’s medieval Chapel Bridge is a symbol of the city.

A Zurich to Lucerne day trip is particularly suitable for anyone seeking short trips from Zurich. The journey generally takes around 40 to 50 minutes – whether you travel by car or by train.

Lucerne is a picturesque city nestled in foothills of the Swiss alps and positioned on the banks of Lake Lucerne. It is surrounded by alpine peaks, so whether you take a cruise on the lake or a cable car trip to Mount Rigi, the magnificent and typically Swiss scenery is breathtaking.

Lucerne day trips will also normally involve exploring the Old Town district, where historic attractions like the Lion Monument and Chapel Bridge can be found.

Some visitors also like to combine a trip to Lucerne with visiting nearby areas. These include the pretty Swiss village of Vitznau, an open-air gondola ride to Mount Stanserhorn, the baroque town of Engelberg or the funicular railway in Stans.

How to travel from Zurich to Lucerne by train 

It is easy to travel between Zurich HB (main) station and Lucerne by train. The trip takes around 40 to 50 minutes.

How to travel from Zurich to Lucerne by car

A journey of approximately the same duration will take visitors into Lucerne by car. 

Zurich day tours to Lucerne

If you’d like to take an organised Lucerne tour from Zurich, > this one is a great choice.

The Mount Titlis trip mentioned below also includes a Lucerne city tour.

Mount Titlis day tour from Zurich

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Titlis Rotair cable car
The Titlis Rotair cable car whisks passengers to the Mt. Titlis summit in no time.

A Mount Titlis day tour from Zurich involves a couple of rather lengthy journeys, but the spectacular setting and views at the summit are worth the effort.

The train journey takes around 2 hours 45 minutes, or train and gondola rides can be combined to reach the summit in around 2 hours 30 minutes.

The glaciers of Mount Titlis are some 3,000 metres above sea level, and visitors can see these from a revolving cable car or the ‘Ice Flyer’ chairlift.

There are also panoramic views over the Swiss Alps, making this one of the best day trips from Zurich for those who want to see these majestic mountains. 

A visit to the Ice Grotto is also a must for many taking a Mount Titlis tour from Zurich. This sparkling, frozen cave is easy to access via Titlis mountain station, from which there is a direct corridor. 

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How to travel from Zurich to Mount Titlis by train 

The journey from Zurich to Mount Titlis takes around 2 hours and 45 minutes in total. This includes the train trip to Engelberg, then a short hop by bus to the cable car which forms the last leg of the journey.

How to travel from Zurich to Mount Titlis by car

As with the train journey, the trip by car takes you to Engelberg. You can park at the valley station here before taking the cable car ride to the top.

Organised Zurich excursions to Mount Titlis

The best planned Mt Titlis tour from Zurich is one that also includes a city tour of Lucerne. > Click here to check prices. There are photo stops at Astrid Chapel near Küssnacht and the Lion Monument, as well as free time in the city and at Mount Titlis. 

Interlaken and Grindelwald day tour from Zurich

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Two Lakes Bridge at Harder Kulm, Interlaken
Interlaken sits between two majestic lakes – Brienz and Thun – and you can get great views of both from Interlaken’s ‘house mountain’, Harder Kulm.

Interlaken is Switzerland’s adventure capital. Nestled between the Thun and Brienz Lakes, in the Jungfrau region at the foot of the Bernese Alps, this Swiss destination offers adventurous pursuits like bungee jumping, river rafting, paragliding and canyoning. 

Gentler pastimes such as lake cruises and shopping are also popular with those taking a Zurich to Interlaken day trip. Many visitors also like to combine their Interlaken tour from Zurich with a trip to Grindelwald.

It is an attractive Swiss mountain settlement with lots to see, and also offers activities such as zip lining, mountain carting, luge and scooter rides. 

How to travel from Zurich to Interlaken by train

How far is Zurich from Interlaken? It takes around 2 hours to travel by train to Interlaken. A change is required at Bern, and there are at least two trains per hour. The train journey to Grindelwald takes an extra 33 minutes.

How to travel from Zurich to Interlaken by car

How far is Interlaken from Zurich by car? The journey of 123 kilometres typically takes about 1 hour 35 minutes. Allow about 25 minutes to travel from Interlaken to Grindelwald if you also plan to visit the mountain town.

Organised Interlaken tour from Zurich

A full day trip can be taken from Zurich that includes visits to Grindelwald and Interlaken. > Click here to check prices. This includes travel from Zurich to Interlaken by bus as well as a ticket for the scenic train journey to Grindelwald. 

Rhine Falls and Stein am Rhein day tour from Zurich

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Couple overlooking Rhine Falls, Switzerland
The Rhine Falls, near Schaffhausen, are Europe’s largest waterfalls.

If you love the water, then the best of Switzerland tours from Zurich may be a trip to the Rhine Falls and Stein am Rhein. Of all places to visit near Zurich, this is also one of the closest to the city, and it typically takes under an hour to reach. 

Schaffhausen on the banks of the Rhine is an astonishing well preserved settlement dating from the Middle Ages. The Old Town is abundant in cobbled lanes, while many buildings feature original oriel windows and colourful frescoes. 

Within easy reach of central Schaffhausen are the Rhine Falls, or Rheinfall, famous as the largest waterfall in Europe. The volume and power of the thundering water is a truly impressive sight.

The falls are best viewed from Schloss Laufen, or the viewing platform that is accessible by boat. 

Many visitors also like to include a trip to Stein am Rhein, a small but pretty town situated right by the Rhine and Lake Constance. The fairytale medieval homes are adorned with frescoes here too, and Hohenklingen Castle is a majestic sight.

Water sports can also be enjoyed on the lake.

Getting from Zurich to Schaffhausen, Rhein Falls and Stein am Rhein by train

Those taking a one day trip from Zurich may reach Schaffhausen in as little as 38 minutes. A five minute train journey to Schloss Laufen am Rheinfall means it is then just a two minute walk to the waterfall. There are trains twice per hour to Stein am Rhein from Schaffhausen, with a 24 minute journey time.

Getting from Zurich to Schaffhausen, Rhein Falls and Stein am Rhein by car

The 52 kilometre drive between Zurich and Schaffhausen takes about 40 minutes. Allow around 20 minutes for the trip between Schaffhausen and Stein am Rhein. 

Organised trips from Zurich to Rhine Falls and Stein am Rhein

It is also possible to book an organised day tour, such as this Zurich one-day trip which also includes a tour of the city itself before heading out to Rhine Falls and Stein am Rhein. > Click here to check prices.

Glacier Express tour from Zurich

Glacier Express train
A journey on the Glacier Express is a trip of a lifetime.

This is one of the most scenic train rides from Zurich – or in fact anywhere in Europe.

With a total journey time of 8.5 hours for the full trip (St. Moritz to Zermatt), it is not one of the quickest Switzerland tours from Zurich, however.

Therefore we recommend taking a standard train to Chur, before joining the Glacier Express for the trip to Brig. You can then travel back to Zurich from Brig. 

There are at least two intercity services per hour for each route, while the Glacier Express from Chur to Brig takes just under 4 and a half hours. Zurich to Chur takes around 1. 5 hours, and Brig to Zurich a little over 2, making the whole round-trip excursion possible in around eight hours.

The incredible Glacier Express will take you past a range of breathtaking Swiss landscapes. It is sometimes referred to as the ‘slowest express train in the world’, and is certainly one of the most memorable day trips from Zurich by train. 

Take the train – or a private tour to ride on the Glacier Express

Visitors can choose between booking each trip separately as detailed above, or book a private tour which includes travel on the Glacier Express.

Appenzell small group cheese and chocolate tour from Zurich

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painted buildings in Appenzell
Appenzell’s brightly painted buildings are just one of the highlights of a visit to the town.

Perhaps less well known among things to do near Zurich, Appenzell is an idyllic destination adorned with colourful homes, frescoes and wrought ironwork.

The surrounding landscape is equally impressive, with fertile green pastures, brown cows and farmland surrounding the town. 

Appenzeller cheese comes from this region, and about 10 kilometres from town is the Show Dairy (Schaukaserei) at Stein, where the local produce can be sampled and is sold. 

How to get from Zurich to Appenzell by train

It takes just under two hours to make the journey from Zurich to Appenzell by train, and there are at least two trains departing per hour.

How to get from Zurich to Appenzell by car

The car journey to Appenzell from Zurich is a little quicker, at around 1 hour and 10 minutes. 

Appenzell chocolate and cheese tour

If you, like many, are seeking a Lindt tour from Zurich, then an organised Appenzell day trip allows you to sample cheese and chocolate as well as visiting Appenzell. > Click here to check prices.

Basel and Colmar day tour from Zurich

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Basel Switzerland in autumn
Basel has much to see and do and its proximity to France means that Colmar can also be visited in the same day.

While most tours in Switzerland from Zurich may not provide visitors with a flavour of France, a trip to Basel and Colmar does. As the two are so near one another, it makes complete sense to combine them in one day trip.

Basel is situated on the River Rhine. It has belonged to both Germany and France in the past, and dates back to the Roman era.

Sites of particular interest include the Gothic Gate, medieval cathedral, painted Town Hall and Historiches Museum. The French destination of  Colmar, meanwhile, is famous for its half-timbered, pastel painted buildings and canals.

How to get from Zurich to Basel and Colmar by train 

It takes about 55 minutes to travel from Zurich to Basel by train, with very frequent departures. An additional 50 minute journey will take you on to Colmar in France.

How to get from Zurich to Basel and Colmar by car 

About an hour’s drive will take you from Zurich to Basel. Add around 40 minutes for the extra trip to Colmar from there if you wish.

Zurich tours to Basel and Colmar

You can opt to take an organised trip instead, if you like. One of the few Swiss tours from Zurich that also takes in part of France, this day trip to Basel and Colmar is our recommendation. > Click here to check details and prices.

Bern small group tour from Zurich

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Aerial view of Bern
The attractive Swiss capital of Bern is nestled in a bend of the River Aare.

The Swiss capital has a surprisingly small and friendly feel, with under half a million inhabitants. Whatever the season, it’s one of the top day trips from Zurich in winter or summer alike.

The Old Town lies at the heart of Bern – an attractive area on the River Aare with cobbled streets, red roofs and lots of fountains.

One of the city’s best-loved landmarks is the Zytglogge, with an intriguing astronomical clock from 1530. Before the hour is struck, mechanical figures perform each time. 

Visitors to Bern can also see the Brown Bear, symbol of the city, enjoy world class shopping or explore the house where Einstein developed his theory of relativity.

How to get from Zurich to Bern by train 

There are numerous trains to Bern every hour, and the journey takes about an hour.

How to get from Zurich to Bern by car

Travel the A1 motorway between Zurich and Bern, and the trip will take around 1 hour and 20 minutes.

Switzerland day tours from Zurich to Bern

Combine a visit to the Emmental cheese factory with scenic Swiss countryside and a tour of Bern with this small group, full day tour. > Click here to check prices.

4 Countries in one day tour from Zurich

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the town of Stein am Rhein
The pretty town of Stein am Rhein is a highlight of the 4 Countries in One Day tour.

It is quite possible to visit Switzerland’s neighbouring countries on a day trip by car or public transport but for a hassle-free day out, why not join an organised tour taking in 4 countries in just a day trip?

Visitors who book this exciting tour will visit Stein am Rhein in Switzerland, Vaduz in Liechtenstein and  Bregenz in Austria. Not one but two German destinations are also included, namely Meersburg and Lindau in Germany. 

The tour begins when you are collected from your hotel by private coach. The journey will then take you past Lake Zurich and the green valleys and hills en-route to Vaduz, Liechtenstein.

The next stop is Bregenz in Austria, where you can see beautiful Lake Constance, the famous Kunsthaus Kub and Martins Tower. Then the road leads to Lindau in Southern Germany, a pretty place with fabulous views and an attractive lake harbour lined with colourful townhouses.

Stops at Meersburg in Germany and the Swiss town of Stein am Rhein round off this idyllic day trip.

At the latter, guests have some free time to explore the beguiling Old Town and admire its half-timbered and painted medieval houses. > Click here to check prices for the 4 countries in one day tour.

Zermatt and Matterhorn private day tour from Zurich

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Gornergrat bahn with Matterhorn view
The iconic Matterhorn attracts visitors to Zermatt.

Seeing the mighty Matterhorn first-hand is surely a must for every visitor to Switzerland.  This iconic mountain peak dominates the skyline of the village of Zermatt but it is also possible to get even closer by taking a cogwheel railway or cable car excursion.

Car-free Zermatt is an idyllic Swiss alpine town and its easy to spend hours wandering the pretty streets. If you have more time, hop aboard the Gornergrat train or the cable car to Matterhorn Glacier Paradise for outstanding views of the pyramid-shaped peak.

How to get from Zurich to Zermatt by train

It takes 3 hours and 12 minutes to travel by train, with at least one service per hour.

How to get from Zurich to Zermatt by car

As Zermatt is a car-free town, visitors arriving by car will need to leave their car in one of the parking lots in Tasch.  Shuttle trains operate every 20 minutes between Tasch and Zermatt.

Tours from Zurich to Zermatt and Matterhorn

It is also possible to visit Zermatt from Zurich on a private tour.

The tour will be designed to your exact requirements with sightseeing along the way. Your private driver/guide will accompany you and can also arrange tickets for the Gornergrat train or Matterhorn Glacier Paradise cable car.

If, when visiting Zurich a mountain trip is essential to you but you don’t want the hassle of making all the arrangements yourself, then a private tour to the Matterhorn region is the answer.

  • Find out more about private tours from Zurich > here.

Pilatus Kulm
A visit to Mt. Pilatus can easily be combined with a Lucerne day trip from Zurich.

Which of these are your top Zurich day trip destinations?

As you can see, there are plenty of day trips from Zurich to choose from.

We’ve highlighted the most popular Zurich day trips to help you choose the one that is just right for you.

> Click here to see the whole selection of day trips.

To read our full guide to Zurich, > click here and for our pick of the best hotels in Zurich, read > this article.


Top day trips from Zurich

Switzerland Travel Essentials