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10 Best Day Trips from Geneva

Last Updated on May 21, 2024 by Darla Uhl

Geneva is home to many international organizations, making it one of the most visited cities in Switzerland. This city on Lake Geneva is the second-most populous in Switzerland and the most populous in Switzerland’s French-speaking region. Though Geneva has so many activities to offer, those who spend several days there might still want to take day trips from the city. Below are some suggestions for the best day trips from Geneva for those based there.

These day trips are typically two hours away from Geneva by train. If you would rather stay closer to Geneva, check out our other article on the must-see places to visit on Lake Geneva: 8 Best Places on Lake Geneva.

This article discusses the 10 best day trips from Geneva. Let’s go!

1. Gruyères

A 90-minute drive with a car can take you from Geneva to Gruyères, which is just 121 kilometers away. Gruyères is one of the best day trips from Geneva due to its picturesque medieval town and castle.

Gruyères, a medieval town with a rich history, is one of the most popular attractions in the Gruyères region. It is located in the canton of Fribourg, Switzerland. Apart from being famous for its cheese, the town is also a wonderful place to visit.

This town truly looks like something out of a fairytale, as it has been preserved well from the Middle Ages. A Swiss national landmark, Gruyères Castle, sits atop a hill. It is one of Switzerland’s finest castles.

Don’t miss these attractions in Gruyères
* Entire Town of Gruyères
* Town Fortifications
* Gruyères Castle
* Saint-Germain Castle (and HR Giger Museum)
* Houses at Rue du Bourg 7, 39, and 47
* La Maison du Gruyère Cheese Factory

If you would like to learn more about Gruyères, check out our article Gruyères, Switzerland: A Romantic Little Town.

How do you get from Geneva to Gruyères?

To get from Geneva to Gruyères, take the Interregio train to Palézieux. In Palézieux, take the regional train to Gruyères. The total travel time is around 2 hours. Gruyères is 121 kilometers away from Geneva by car.


2. Les Diablerets – Glacier 3000

Les Diablerets – Glacier 3000 is an easy day trip from Geneva, located 134 kilometers away by car. It will take you about an hour and 48 minutes to get there. This is the best day trip from Geneva if you want to see glaciers.

Les Diablerets in Gstaad is one of the most beautiful and nearest mountains to Geneva
Image by Adina from Flickr

Literally meaning “the abode of devils”, Les Diablerets is a village and ski resort in Ormont-Dessus. It is located in the canton of Vaud and surrounded by the Diablerets Massif.

From Les Diablerets, it takes only 18 minutes to reach Col-du-Pillon. From there, the cable car takes visitors up to Glacier 3000 mountain station. Scex Rouge offers spectacular views of the high alpine landscape stretching from Bernese Oberland to Valais and Mont Blanc.

Don’t miss these attractions in Les Diablerets – Glacier 3000
* Col-du-Pillon
* Alpine Coaster – the highest-situated toboggan run in the world
* Peak Walk by Tissot Suspension Bridge – the only mountain bridge in the world that connects two mountain peaks.
* Hiking in summer
* Skiing or glacier walks in winter

How do you get from Geneva to Glacier 3000?

From Geneva, take the train to Aigle. This ride takes around 1 hour 22 minutes. From Aigle, transfer to the train heading to Les Diablerets. The total trip for the best connection from Geneva to Les Diablerets takes 2 hours and 3 minutes including transfer time. From Les Diablerets, the bus takes an additional 18 minutes to Col-du-Pillon, Glacier 3000, where the cable car awaits. Les Diablerets is 134 kilometers away from Geneva by car.


3. Interlaken

Despite not being exactly nearby, Interlaken is still worth a day trip from Geneva. Located 216 kilometers away, Interlaken is 2.5 hours away from Geneva by car. As you ascend Harder Kulm, you’ll be rewarded with a panoramic view of the Bernese Alps, Lake Thun, and Lake Brienz.

Image of Harder Kulm by TouringSwitzerland.com

Interlaken, Switzerland is an incredibly popular tourist hub in the Bernese Oberland. In Interlaken, you will find walking trails along the River Aare, many souvenir shops, a Japanese garden, and the local mountain Harder Kulm for spectacular views. A red funicular takes you from Interlaken to Harder Kulm in 10 minutes, with one departure every half hour.

As one of Switzerland’s most popular tourist spots, Interlaken is also a hot spot for outdoor sports enthusiasts. It is also conveniently located between two beautiful lakes – Lake Thun and Lake Brienz.

For those who are into fun adventures, below are some of the most popular outdoor activities in Interlaken:

  • Tandem Paragliding (GetYourGuide): Experience pure serenity as you float weightlessly alongside an experienced pilot and witness the breathtaking beauty of the Jungfrau region from the sky.
  • Adventure Park (GetYourGuide): Conquer 9 thrilling rope courses and zip lines soaring up to 23 meters above the ground, with the assurance of a comprehensive safety briefing and top-notch safety gear.
  • Kayak Tour of Lake Brienz (GetYourGuide): Paddle through the crystal-clear waters of Lake Brienz with the guidance of an experienced coach, as you soak in the stunning views, including the picturesque Rinngenberg Castle. You may also book this activity in winter (GetYourGuide).
  • Canyoning (GetYourGuide): Dive into the ultimate adrenaline rush with a canyoning expedition in Chli Schilere, featuring challenging rappelling, high jumps, fast slides, and an unforgettable adventure in one of the region’s top canyons.
  • Scenic Jetboat Ride (GetYourGuide): Experience an exhilarating 45 to 50-minute jetboat ride on Lake Brienz near Interlaken, culminating at Giessbach Falls.
Don’t miss these attractions in Interlaken
* Harder Kulm
* Höhenweg
* Interlaken-Harder Alpine Game Park
* Lake Thun
* Lake Brienz

How do you get from Geneva to Interlaken?

From Geneva, take the Interregio train to Bern. In Bern, change to the connecting Intercity train to Interlaken Ost. The total travel time between Geneva and Interlaken is between 2 hours 44 minutes and 3 hours 16 minutes. Interlaken is 216 kilometers away from Geneva by car.


4. Bern

With 159 kilometers to cover, Bern is just two hours away by car from Geneva. A day trip to Bern, Switzerland’s de facto capital, is probably one of the most important day trips you can do from Geneva.

Image of Bern by TouringSwitzerland.com

Nestled along the banks of the Aare River, Bern offers a variety of attractions for all tastes, whether you enjoy history, art, animals, or simply relaxing in a beautiful setting. It is the federal city of Switzerland. There is much more to discover when you take the time to explore this charming city.

There is no better place in Bern to start your day than the Old Town, located across the Aare River. The Old Town of Bern, which consists of a number of well-preserved buildings from the medieval era, was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. A famous symbol of Bern, which dates back to 1218-1220, can be seen right at the entrance to the Old Town: the Zytglogge.

Don’t miss these attractions in Bern
* UNESCO World Heritage Old City of Bern
* Parliament Building
* Bern Minster Cathedral
Historic Museum
* Bern Bear Pit (Bärengraben)
* Bern Zoo (Tierpark Dählhölzli)
* Zentrum Paul Klee
Gurten
* Museum of Communication

If you would like to learn more about Bern, check out our article How to Spend 1 Day in Bern, Switzerland.

How do you get from Geneva to Bern?

Every hour, Geneva and Bern are served by two direct trains. It takes 1 hour 44 minutes to 1 hour 57 minutes to travel from Geneva to Bern. Bern is 159 kilometers away from Geneva by car.


5. Solothurn

A 2.5-hour drive from Geneva takes you to Solothurn, which is around 200 kilometers away. Solothurn is one of Switzerland’s most picturesque cities and well worth a day trip from Geneva.

Solothurn is generally regarded as Switzerland’s most beautiful Baroque city. Solothurn is a city, municipality, and the capital of Solothurn, a canton in Switzerland. The city is situated along the Aare River and at the southern end of the Jura mountain range.

Combining French charm with German practicality, Solothurn is a fascinating small city. The old town is a pleasant place to walk among historical monuments, patrician houses, and strong fortifications. It is closed to cars and has many small shops and hotels. Aside from its impressive past, Solothurn offers a wide range of contemporary art and entertainment.  

Those looking for a place with a stunning view should visit the St. Ursus Cathedral. With beautiful stained glass windows and interiors, this stunning Cathedral was built between 1762 and 1773 by the architects Gaetano Matteo Pisoni and Paolo Antonio Pisoni. It is the city’s main attraction.

Don’t miss these attractions in Solothurn
* St. Ursus Cathedral
* Historic Old Town
* St. Verena Gorge and Hermitage
* Jesuit Church of Solothurn
* Solothurn’s Clock Tower
* Museum of the Old Arsenal
* Weissenstein Mountain

If you would like to learn more about Solothurn, check out our article Solothurn – 9 Best Things to Do in this Beautiful Baroque City.

How do you get from Geneva to Solothurn?

There are direct trains from Geneva to Solothurn that depart every hour. It takes around 1 hour and 44 minutes to get from Geneva to Solothurn. Solothurn is 200 kilometers away from Geneva by car.


6. Neuchâtel

The city of Neuchâtel is 123 kilometers away from Geneva and offers everything you need for a fantastic day trip. It takes 90 minutes to get there by car.

Image of Neuchâtel from Wikimedia

Neuchâtel is a picture-perfect city with a medieval center. It lies at the northern end of Lake Neuchâtel, the largest lake located entirely in Switzerland. As home to creative watchmakers, it is also an established Swiss watchmaking center.

There are many historical landmarks in the city, including Neuchâtel Castle, the entire old city, and the urban village of Corcelles. Located here is the Laténium, a museum dedicated to prehistoric times in Neuchâtel and Hauterive, focusing primarily on La Tène culture.

Chaumont, a mountain peak easily accessible from the city, provides fantastic panoramic views of the region.

Don’t miss these attractions in Neuchâtel
* Neuchâtel Castle
* Old City of Neuchâtel
* Corcelles
* Laténium Park and Museum
* Collegiate Church, Neuchâtel
* Lake Neuchâtel
* Chaumont Mountain

How do you get from Geneva to Neuchâtel?

Direct trains connect Geneva with Neuchâtel easily. You can get there in 1 hour and 9 minutes with one direct train per hour. Neuchâtel is 123 kilometers away from Geneva by car.


7. Thun

In just over two hours and fifteen minutes, you can drive 188 kilometers to the lovely town of Thun from Geneva. As a picturesque lakeside city with an old town, Thun is one of the best day trips that you can do from Geneva.

Described as the gateway to Bernese OberlandThun in Switzerland is also one of the biggest cities in Canton Bern. You can find it on the northern part of Bernese Oberland sitting on the northern edge of Lake Thun. Thun boasts of beautiful castles, the reformed town church on the Schlossberg, an old church, a park, an accessible lower bridge, and majestic views of the mountains.

Between April and October, you can take passenger boats on Lake Thun. Boats in Lake Thun stop in Interlaken West, Neuhaus (Unterseen), Beatushöhlen-Sundlauenen, Leissinge, Beatenbucht, Merlingen, Faulensee, Spiez, Gunten, Einigen, Gwatt Deltapark, Längenschachen, Oberhofen am Thunersee, Hilterfingen, Hünibach, and Thun.

Don’t miss these attractions in Thun
* Old Town of Thun
* Thun Castle
* Lake Thun
* Schadau Castle and Park
* Wocher Panorama
* Art Museum
* Scherzlingen Church
* Aare River
* Thuner Wasserzauber (September/October)

If you would like to learn more about Thun, check out our article 10 Best Things To Do In Thun, Bernese Oberland.

How do you get from Geneva to Thun?

You can get from Geneva to Thun via Bern. Every hour, Geneva and Bern are served by two direct trains. In Bern, you can change to the connecting Intercity train that will bring you to Thun. The total travel time from Geneva to Thun is 2 hours 10 minutes to 2 hours 24 minutes. Thun is 188 kilometers away from Geneva by car.


8. Fribourg

In just two hours, you can drive 140 kilometers to the lovely town of Fribourg from Geneva. It is one of the most interesting day trips that you can do from Geneva. In this city, you will see the cultural bridge between the country’s German- and French-speaking regions.

Image of Fribourg by TouringSwitzerland.com

In Switzerland, Fribourg is a bilingual city that serves as a cultural border or bridge between German and French-speaking areas. The city has a picturesque alpine setting, an ancient castle, and many historically significant buildings. The city is also home to Fribourg University, the only bilingual university in Switzerland.

Located on the banks of the Sarine River, the city features both a preserved old town and modern structures. One of Fribourg’s most famous landmarks, St. Nicholas Cathedral is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture.

For fantastic views of the city, you can walk up to Chapelle de Lorette, a Baroque-style building dating back to 1648.

Don’t miss these attractions in Fribourg
* St. Nicholas Cathedral
* Pont du Milieu
* Old City of Fribourg
* City Fortifications
* Chapelle de Lorette

If you would like to learn more about Fribourg, check out our article How to Spend 1 Day in Fribourg, Switzerland.

How do you get from Geneva to Fribourg?

Direct trains connect Geneva with Fribourg easily. Two direct trains per hour can take you from Geneva to Fribourg in 1 hour 21 minutes or 1 hour 34 minutes, depending on which train you take. Fribourg is 140 kilometers away from Geneva by car.


9. Sion

In just two hours, you can drive 160 kilometers to the lovely city of Sion from Geneva. Sion is one of the best day trips from Geneva thanks to its sunshine, unique landscape, history, and wine culture.

The city of Sion is the capital of the Swiss canton of Valais, located in the southwest region of the country. The region is known for its wine, fruits, sun, and proximity to some of Switzerland’s highest mountains. Sion’s history goes back to the first century when the Romans called it Sedunum.

The Sion plateau lies north of the Rhone, dominated by the Valeria and Tourbillon hills. The old town with cobblestone streets is filled with markets, shops, and restaurants. Sion has many historical buildings that can be explored on foot. Weather permitting, visitors and locals often eat outside and sip wine.

The underground lake of St. Leonard is a wonderful gem near Sion that I highly recommend visiting.

Don’t miss these attractions in Sion
* Chateau de Tourbillon
* Valère Basilica
* Old Town of Sion
* Musée cantonal d’histoire
* Musée cantonal des beaux-arts
* Musée cantonal d’archéologie
* Sion Cathedral
* Tour des Sorciers
* St. Leonard Underground Lake

How do you get from Geneva to Sion?

Direct trains connect Geneva with Sion easily. Three direct trains per hour can take you from Geneva to Sion between 1 hour 46 minutes and 2 hours 12 minutes, depending on which train you take. Sion is 160 kilometers away from Geneva by car.


10. La Chaux-de-Fonds

The best day trip from Geneva for watch lovers is to La Chaux-de-Fonds since it is famed for its watchmaking industry. In just under two hours, you can drive 140 kilometers to the lovely city of La Chaux-de-Fonds from Geneva.

Located just a few kilometers south of the French border, La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, is the ideal place for this watchmaking. In contrast to other parts of the country, the region’s land is not arable, which factors into its importance as a watchmaking region. Watchmaking has always been the main reason for this area’s survival.

Since 2009, La Chaux-de-Fonds and Le Locle have been UNESCO World Heritage sites, recognized for their contribution to watchmaking around the world. The watch museum in nearby Le Locle is also worth a visit.

If you’re passionate about watches or watchmaking, you might enjoy visiting the watch museums in this city and nearby Le Locle.

Don’t miss these attractions in La Chaux-de-Fonds
* Musée international d’horlogerie
* Musée d’horlogerie du Locle

The Musée international d’horlogerie is an interesting and educational experience. Here, you can expect to learn a great deal about watches.

How do you get from Geneva to La Chaux-de-Fonds?

Getting from Geneva to La Chaux-de-Fonds is easy via Neuchâtel. When traveling via Neuchâtel, it takes 1 hour 42 minutes to travel between the two cities. La Chaux-de-Fonds is 140 kilometers away from Geneva by car.


Summary: Best Day Trips from Geneva

For those who are staying for a couple of days in Geneva, Switzerland, and wish to venture out to other places, we hope that this list was helpful.

To summarize, if you are looking for large cities with lots of activities, Bern, Fribourg, and Neuchâtel are great choices. Thun and Sion are for those who want something a bit smaller and more laid back.

In Solothurn and Gruyères, you can get some of the most picturesque shots. Les Diablerets and Interlaken are suitable choices for those who want to visit the mountains. Lastly, watch lovers will enjoy a visit to the museums in La Chaux-de-Fonds and nearby Le Locle.

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Darla Uhl is the owner of TouringSwitzerland.com. Her home is in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. Having lived almost 20 years in Switzerland, she's traveled extensively all over the country.

Darla's favorite regions to visit in Switzerland include Engadin, Lake Geneva, Bernese Oberland, Ticino, and Valais. She loves spending time with her family, hiking, visiting museums, and reading books.

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