Last summer, a friend of mine asked me to join her to the beach the next day. At the time, it shocked me a bit since Madrid is 300 km away from the closest beach and she wanted us to spend just a day there. We did it though, and it was a great day-trip.
Now, I live in a country that I can almost cross in 3 hours (Well... I may be exaggerating a little, but Switzerland is ranked on the 135th position of 247 countries and the bottom 50 are pretty much all islands).
Given this fact, I should be allowed to refer to this is country as cozy and cute! Plus, there are an infinite number of natural, historical or plainly amusing places to visit within just 1 - 1.5 hours from Zürich. The highways and the punctual railway system spread a thousand different ways to help visitors reach their destination of the day in a breeze (and still sleep in the same hotel that night).
For those in the Zürich area, why not check out my city day-trip recommendations below?
Basel by the River Rhine
Basel is the third largest Swiss city, located at the border of Germany and France. It is known for the headquarters of two of the five largest pharmaceutical companies, Novartis and Roche. For those of you who are history buffs, Basel is certainly rich with history.
The old town is rich in colors and beautiful facades, and the cathedral and its cloister have a kind of magical atmosphere. When it comes to museums, Basel beats most other Swiss cities. From contemporary art museums to a natural history museum or even a paper museum, Basel has close to 40 museums.
The best part about Basel? The patchwork-like historical remains, scattered here and there. Do not skip Workroom Warteck, a creative hub with panoramic views from its roof-top restaurant. And finally, the BSL airport serves several low cost airlines, making it a better alternative for getaways than ZRH...
Bern with its UNESCO World Heritage old town
Bern is where Switzerland's parliament is located. It is the de-facto capital of Switzerland, and it is obviously a must for any visitor. The views from the cathedral are very picturesque. And in Bern, one really has the feeling that time has come to a standstill.
If I had to pick up one of the three cities based on the charms of their streets, I would no doubt pick Bern. There are many statues, fountains, towers, traditional shops and boutiques below street level.
From the widest avenue to the narrowest alley, Bern's old town is all cobblestone. The streets are lined by arches full of ivy and flowers, and the covered shopping arcades are perfect for meandering on rainy days. The cherry on top of this cake? Coming across unexpected street markets and marveling at all the small details.
And last, but definitely not least, there is my beloved Lucerne
Lucerne in central Switzerland attracts more visitors per year than most other Swiss cities. With its fairy-tale bridges and still standing city wall, Lucerne is somewhat the medieval brother of Zürich. (It could be the perfect setting for a grandiloquent knight adventure...)
A snaky maze of streets lined by houses adorned with colorful murals end up by the river and the lake. There, near the iconic Chapel Bridge, the views open up to Mount Pilatus and the serene Lake Lucerne.
What not to miss when in Lucerne? Surely, pay a visit to the Lion Monument which commemorates the death of 700 mercenaries of the Swiss Guards. Also noteworthy is the Glacier Garden, an eclectic museum built around archaeological remains where you can enjoy a maze of mirrors.