Attractions Nearby Zurich, Day Trips and Excursions
Many of the best day trips outside of Zurich begin with a train journey, along the S10 line. The numerous attractions within Uetliberg can be reached in just over 20 minutes from Zurich by train, such as its famous Planetenweg (Planetary Path).
As you walk along this pathway, you will pass many rather unexpected attractions along the way, including scale models of the planets in the solar system, before reaching the cable car at Felsenegg, which descends to Adliswill, close to a conveniently situated train station. Other attractions near to Zurich come in the form of some of Switzerland's very biggest cities, such as Basel
The capital of Switzerland is home to an exceptional medieval town centre, which has been declared as a World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. Berne can be found around 125 km / 78 miles south-west of Zurich and is based around a U-shaped bend of the Aar River. Within Berne's historic town centre, the Zytglogge tower is amongst the main attractions and dates back to the early part of the 13th century. Also worth a look in Berne is the Münster cathedral, the Bear Pit (Bärengraben), the Rose Garden (Rosengarten) and the stylish fountains outside of the Bundeshäuser (Houses of Parliament) on the Bundesplatz. Although this is the capital city, it is actually Switzerland's fifth-biggest city, after Lausanne
, Basel, Geneva
and Zurich itself, featuring a population of roughly 130,000 residents.
Lucerne can be reached in under an hour by car from Zurich and lies just over 69 km / 43 miles to the south-west. This appealing city lies alongside the coast of Lake Lucerne and ranks highly as a Swiss tourist destination. The 14th-century Chapel Bridge (Kapellbrücke) spanning the River Reuss is one of the main attractions in Lucerne and is currently Europe's oldest wooden bridge, measuring more than 200 metres / 656 feet in length. Next to Chapel Bridge, the Water Tower (Wasserturm) is a tall octagonal structure and part of the historic city walls.
The third-largest city in Switzerland, Basel is sited around 82 km / 51 miles west of Zurich and has grown up around the River Rhine. Basel is unusual in that it is extremely close to both the French and German borders, and contains Switzerland's oldest university, which dates back as far as the mid-15th century. Regularly referred to as a European Capital of Culture, attractions within the city of Basel include a wealth of museums and galleries, a particularly beautiful botanical garden, and a truly enormous carnival (Basler Fasnacht), held each year at the end of February, which ranks as one of Europe's very best local celebrations.
Widely considered to be amongst the very best day trips from Zurich, Uetliberg is well connected by train (line S10), which runs twice every hour, with a journey time of around 20 minutes. Look out for Uetliberg's lengthy and unusual Planetary Path (Planetenweg), which runs along the mountain ridge and affords spectacular views across Lake Zurich, stretching as far as Felsenegg. You will probably kick yourself if you forget to bring your camera here.
An important town famous for both its financial services and art galleries, Winterthur stands around 26 km / 16 miles to the north-east of Zurich and can be easily reached in under 30 minutes by car. Within the centre of Winterthur are a number of ancient attractions and landmarks, such as the St. Laurenz Church, which was built in the middle of the 13th century. Close by, the River Eulach flows through the very heart of Winterthur. Most tourists come here from Zurich to visit the wonderful collection of paintings at the Sammlung Oskar Reinhart am Römerholz on the Haldenstrasse, which includes works by Monet, Rembrandt, Renoir, Rubens and even Van Gogh.