A French croissant in the morning, delicious Italian pasta for lunch and a hearty Swiss fondue in the evening… how does that sound?
When you only have a handful of precious vacation days per year, you want to make the most of every
day minute, right? Double that when you’re coming from far off destinations or you have a book-long bucket list to get cracking on.
For some, “making the most” of a holiday means thoroughly experiencing one single country. For others, it means getting a taste of a few different cultures – especially when travelling to Europe where everything is so accessibly close together.
The good news is that Switzerland is heaven-sent no matter which of the two you are. The former can easily spend weeks discovering our cities, mountains and meeting our local storytellers.
And the latter can hop across to our five friendly neighbors: France, Germany, Lichtenstein, Austria and Italy. As they are all within quick reach and crossing the borders is as easy as going to the supermarket, Switzerland’s ideal location gives way for some incredible day trip opportunities and holiday add-ons.
Our Favorite European Day Trips From Switzerland:
Distance: 40 minutes from Geneva
Why we love it: They call it the “Venice of France” for good reason. We often go to Annecy over the weekends to walk along its romantic canals, go shopping in the French boutiques, and eat a crêpe for lunch. We also love the lakeside in the summer time: you can go for a dip in its turquoise waters, take a pedalo for a spin, or just stroll around the boardwalk while enjoying the views. The winter is also a cozy time to visit, when the Christmas market brings festive cheer and you can stop at Le Fidèle Berger for their mouth-watering hot chocolate.
- L’auberge du Père Bise: a 2-star Michelin restaurant located in Talloires, just 20 minutes from Annecy, on the shores of Lake Annecy… French gastronomy at its finest!
- Le Petit Paradis: Also located in Talloires, this is a more relaxed little French restaurant that serves delicious local produce and incredible views
How? Effortlessly explore Annecy with an exceptional insider’s perspective by letting Max whisk you away for a fully-customised private day tour. Click here to start planning!
Distance: 1h30 from Geneva
Why we love it: Lyon is a foodie’s paradise, known worldwide as the food capital of France. It has more restaurants per capita than any other city in the country, including the iconic “Bouchons Lyonais” (local restaurants) and is home to a number of renowned chefs.
In terms of the city itself, you can basically think of it as a smaller, less stressful version of Paris. Just like its big sister, you’ll fall in love with the historic architecture, the small French boutiques, the impressive museums, the smell of fresh bakeries, and the delightful cafés at every corner. You should also not miss a stop at the Basilica “La Fourvière” which reigns over the city.
- Les Demoiselles de Rochefort: a romantic little place a little off the beaten track, serving the most delicious French cuisine. On the menu, you’ll find a number of seasonal local specialties.
- You can’t leave without trying one of the “brioches” at Aux Merveilleux de Fred… they are to die for.
How? Max lived in Lyon for many years, before moving to Switzerland. Step into a local’s shoes and see what makes this city tick as you follow him on a bespoke private day tour. Click here to start planning!
Lake Como, Italy
Distance: 40 minutes from Lugano
Why we love it: Just a quick drive from the Italian-speaking region of Switzerland you’ll find the world-famous Lake Como, with its charming Mediterranean-style villages scattered around its shores and the mountains serving as the most romantic of backdrops. It’s pretty much the “Dolce Vita” at its best. And of course, it’s Italy, so there’s nothing like hopping across the border for the best plate of pasta you’ll ever have, right?
- Hidden in the backstreets of the tiny village of Lenno, you’ll find the Antica Trattoria del Risorgimento – a family-owned Gem serving the most tasty homemade specialties.
Distance: Around 1 hour from St. Gallen (drive to Romanshorn, and then take the ferry across the lake)
Why we love it: You know the fairy-tale like village you always dreamed of? Well, this pretty darn close to it. The architecture is stunning, the views over the lake are astonishing, and its medieval charm will have you strolling around the village in awe. The town is also said to be home to German’s oldest resident castle!
- If you decide to reach Meersburg by car, we suggest that you also visit the incredible baroque-style Birnau Basilica, just 10 minutes away. Its intricate and profuse interiors are honestly breath-taking, you can’t help but be overwhelmed by its beauty.
Distance: 4 hours from Montreux or Geneva
Why we love it: So this one’s not a day trip per se. However, it is a noteworthy add-on to any Swiss experience! We recently visited the region for a much-needed getaway, and we were blown away by its generous locals, amazing wine, endless sea of vineyards, delicious homemade cuisine and historic hilltop villages. You’ll find the region to be very reminiscent of Tuscany, but with fewer crowds. As a bonus point, on your way to/from Switzerland, you have the option of driving the (very) scenic route through the iconic Saint Bernard Pass and the valley of Aosta… “Che Bella!”
- The Piemonte is especially known for its truffles and the annual Alba Truffle Festival. Don’t miss a private truffle-hunting experience, it was the highlight of our trip!
- Stay at La Villa Hotel, a stylish little boutique hotel set amidst the vineyards and boasting a perfect location to explore the region.
How? We know just the right person to design the ultimate Piemonte experience for you! Together, we’ll design the most memorable customised Swiss-Italian luxury travel experience for you. Just contact us by clicking here to get started.
About Chantal & Max Switzerland Travel Design
Because your holidays are too precious not to be extraordinary, we at Chantal & Max Switzerland Travel Design save you the time and stress of internet research, and seamlessly connect you to the heart of Switzerland with our bespoke private tours, unbiased local insight and uniquely-crafted experiences. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by clicking here for your custom-designed luxury vacation to Switzerland that you will never forget!