Although Switzerland is well connected via Swiss Rail and the public transportation is convenient on a Swiss Travel Pass, but we love driving. Also, it helps that it is one of the prettiest places for a road trip! So, we decided to split our 7 days itinerary between a road trip and a ride on the Swiss Rail.
In this article, I have come up with a list of places to see and things to do, if you’re planning a road trip around Zurich in Switzerland.
#1 Head to Rhine Falls and Schaffhausen
We picked up our rental car from the airport, checked-in to a hotel, and set off to Schaffhausen; home to Europe’s largest waterfall – the Rhine Falls.
Most of the tourists like to enjoy the activities at the falls during the daytime. However, we wanted to soak in the grandeur of the cascading falls illuminated by night lights. We loved watching the falls changing colors as the evening sky gave way to night. With hardly any tourist crowd, we got an exclusive view of the falls at our own pace.
#2 Explore the Schaffhausen city
The drive from Zurich to Schaffhausen city is approximately 40 minutes. It’s really beautiful surrounded by vineyards and meadows.
This old Swiss city is quite a popular destination for day trips from Zurich. It’s a small traffic-free town where you can see houses with beautiful Oriel windows and, surprisingly, encounter a decent nightlife. We loved our dinner at the cozy restaurant which also housed one of the oldest breweries in town.
#3 Drive to the Chapel Bridge City – Lucerne
Lucerne is around an hour from Zurich by car. It’s another charming town nestled in the lap of nature, surrounded by The Alps from all the sides. When you’re there don’t forget to visit the famous 700-year old chapel bridge on the crystal-clear Lake Lucerne.
Cross the wooden pedestrian walkway, and head to the famous Jesuit church. The wooden bridge promptly reminded me of Harry Potter movies (yes! I am a Potter-head). It felt like walking on the famous Hogwarts wooden bridge.
Lucerne is an interesting town. We were not done with it after visiting the Chapel bridge and church, so we decided to explore more. We opted not to visit the Lion monument, as it’s usually very crowded over there. Instead after lunch, at one of the restaurants near the bridge, we decided to shop for, what else but those elegant Swiss watches.
Eur0ping TIP: I would suggest you avoid the restaurants and bars near the chapel bridge as they are usually very expensive and low on food quality as well. In fact, we found an interesting bistro – Bourbaki. We found out later that it has a revolving floor too!
After a long day of sightseeing, this café was pretty comfortable, had clean washrooms, and served great food and coffee at an affordable price compared to others in the city. The quantity of food was also good. It is basically a cinema café, so it can be empty or full depending on the show hours.
#4 Ride to Mt Pilatus
Switzerland is world famous for its advance and hi-tech world-class cable cars, which are naturally costly. But, if you’re traveling to Switzerland, I would suggest you to go up at one of the peaks. Just to experience the breathtaking rides and views from the top.
While we were saving up our ride for the Matterhorn peak, if you’re near Zurich or Lucerne, you could go to Mt Pilatus for one the stunning gondola views and steepest cogwheel train rides. However, if your plans are different and you want to end your day with another scenic view, you can head to Weggis and enjoy an evening view of Mt Pilatus.
Weggis is around 30-minute drive from Lucerne and has got some of the best views of Lake Lucerne and Mount Pilatus from ground level.
#5 Lake Bath in Zurich
As the water in cleaner and fit for swimming in Switzerland, Zurich has a lot river bath and lake bath points. Zurich has around 11 official swimming baths on the lake and river provided with proper cloakroom and toilet facilities.
For most of them, entrance is free, but a locker or using the facilities might cost you around 7-8 Swiss Francs. Especially at the Lake Zurich swimming area. According to me, it was one of the most interesting things to do in Zurich, as by the night time, these swimming areas, usually turn into open-air bars and offer exciting nightlife.
So, I think I’m done with the list of my road trip in and around Zurich. The attractions, things to do listed in this video have been suggested keeping in mind the budget-friendly attractions, so I guess, these ideas would help you in planning your itinerary of your Switzerland trip.
For more details on my Switzerland road trip around Zurich and Lucerne, have a look at my latest vlog on Youtube below.