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What to do with a full day each in Geneva and Zurich?

We are spending a week in Switzerland in early June. We start with 2 nights in Zurich and end with 2 nights in Geneva. I'm looking for what to do with our full day in each area. We like a mix of everything, cities and nature, the usual tourist traps and the lesser known. What's your favorite things to do, places to go, or stuff to eat in Geneva or Zurich?

In Zurich, we arrive in the afternoon and I was planning to do the Zurich walk from the Rick Steves book. I'm not sure for the next day, maybe the Rhine Falls or something shorter and maybe some of the museums. I'm up for any suggestions. We will be stopping in Luzern for the day on the way to the Berner Oberland area.

In Geneva, our hotel is near the airport. Does it make sense to stop in Gruyeres for a few hours on the way from Interlaken? I think we would need to store our luggage in Bulle? I was thinking that or just go all the way to the hotel to drop off the luggage and spend the rest of the day exploring Geneva and area. Then our full day could be either Gruyeres or keep exploring the area (Chateau de Chillion, boats or biking). I saw white water rafting in the area and my husband is interested in that. I'm not one to need every hour planned out, but I do like to have ideas and nail down things that might need reservations.

Posted by
5009 posts

From Zurich, I go to Lucerne for a day trip.
Actually, I'd rather stay in Lucerne, as it's an easy 1+ hr train ride away. The train station is in the Zurich airport. Are you committed to staying in Zurich?
Enjoy my favorite county!

Posted by
3025 posts

Sleep in Luzern as Pat suggested.
There are a minimum of two connections if not three if traveling by train from the Lauterbrunnen Valley to Genève. Guryères is less convenient with a minimum of three transfers if not more so go straight to Genève. Gruyères isn’t convenient by public transportation so I would visit Chillon Castle instead.

Posted by
1567 posts

I believe based on some research that the Geneva airport is only 4 km from town and about a 10 minute tram ride. I will be there in late August to do the tour du Mont Blanc and decided to stay in town rather than at the airport. Also I believe most hotels provide you with a travel card that can get you to the airport for free. Hence, possibly something to consider - stay in town rather than near the airport unless you have a non refundable reservation

Posted by
2 posts

Our accommodations are set and we plan on stopping in Luzern for several hours after leaving Zurich. Side note, favorite lunch spot in Luzern?
Looks like staying around Zurich and the lake will keep us busy. I also have Lenzburg Castle and Castle Hallwyl on the list if we do decide to day trip.
Now to figure out Geneva.

Posted by
82 posts

I heartily recommend buying the 24 hrs Zurichcard, which entitles you to a reduced price on a guided tour, a 90 minute Lake Zurich boat cruise + a few other small amenities.
Unless you already know Zurich, this is a great intro to highlights and neighborhoods.