Day trips in Switzerland

Fun outdoor activities to do in Switzerland

The world’s got insane things for insane people to do. Like plank-walking in China (no thanks) or climbing along a 270m tall tower in OZ (Bye Felicia). And then you have Switzerland, a Lonely Planet dream come to life; one that includes mountain slides, ziplines that hang 200ft above the Alps, and insanely steep railways akin to roller coasters.

We’ve covered the easy stuff to do in Switzerland, but here’s a treat for the troopers who are ready for a real adventure around the country. Plus, all of these activities can be covered in day trips from major Swiss cities like Zurich, Bern, and Lucerne.

Ok, enough stalling. Los geht’s (let’s go)!

5 Outdoor Activities You Can Do On Day Trips In Switzerland

From ziplines that hang 200ft above the ground to whizzing through the Swiss Alps on a mountain coaster, here are 5 outdoor activities to do in Switzerland on day trips! Check out other things to do in Switzerland on Klook here (/read/switzerland-day-trips) and take $5 off your first booking with TSL5!

Posted by TheSmartLocal.com on Tuesday, 25 September 2018


Psst, we booked some of these activities with Klook, a reliable one-stop shop you’ll thank the travel gods for bookmarking before any trip. Stay till the end to find out how we did it.

1. Whizz through the Swiss Alps on a mountain coaster

Oeschinensee Alpine Slide Switzerland

All it took was a 1-hour train ride from Bern to the sleepy town of Kandersteg to get to the Oeschinensee Toboggan Alpine Slide, where the legendary mountain coaster awaited in all its speedy glory.

Once at Kandersteg, we had the option of:

  1. A 1.5-hour hike up to Oeschinen
  2. An 8-minute cable car ride up to Oeschinen

To save some energy (i.e. we were not prepared for a hike), we went with the cable car. Lucky for us, we scored a discount on our ride up thanks to our Swiss Travel Pass, getting it for CHF25 (~S$35 | U.P. CHF28, ~$S39). The pass can also score you discounts on a bunch of attractions all over the country, so make sure you’ve got it handy all the time.

As for the slide, I got us a 5-ride pass. Tickets are valid for an entire year, which means you don’t have to worry about not being able to nab a slot for a particular day during your trip. That’s rad news for those going free n’ easy.

Mountain Coaster in Switzerland

We didn’t scrimp on the speed while on the ride, but if you’d rather go slow, all you’ve gotta do is to relax the handles of the luge. That simple. There are speed markers along the way to tell you when to slow down too, so follow those and you won’t find yourself in a painful pickle.

Forest in Oeschinensee Switzerland

Serving some serious Tumblr vibes on our hike down

Lake Oeschinen in Switzerland

Lake Oeschinen

Just 20 minutes from the slide area is Lake Oeschinen, where visitors can try watersports like paddle boating and kayaking. We packed lunch and had a picnic here instead to wind down from all the fun.

Gotta-do-it factor: 9 out of 10 mountains

Get your Alpine Slide tickets here.

Oeschinensee Toboggan Alpine Slide
Price:

Adults: 1 ride: CHF5 (~S$7) | 5 rides: CHF20 (~S$28) | 10 rides: CHF35 (~S$49.50)
Ages 6-15: 1 ride: CHF4 (~S$6) | 5 rides: CHF15 (~S$21) | 10 rides: CHF35 (~S$35)
Address: 3718 Kandersteg, Switzerland
Telephone: +41 33 675 11 18

Getting here: [From Bern] Take the RE train towards Spiez to Kandersteg. From here, it’s a 10-min walk to the Oeschinen Cable Car station and hike point. For more info, click here.

2. Zipline off a mountain at Grindelwald First

Grindelwald First First Flyer in Switzerland

BRB, gotta plunge down the Alps 

Imagine this: you’re strapped tight to a cable about 200 feet off the ground. Palms are sweaty. Knees weak, arms…feelin’ like spaghetti. The latch in front of you swings open and before you know it, you’re zooming through the air at a speed of 84km/h down an 800m zipline.

Ziplining in Grindelwald First, Switzerland

That was how I felt on the First Flyer, the very first activity we checked off our list while at Grindelwald First. If you’re looking for a full day of thrills, this is the place to be.

First Glider in Grindelwald First

Here’s the group of bravehearts that took on the First Glider before we did

Up next on our agenda was the First Glider, a huge eagle-shaped contraption that sent the 4 of us zooming backwards up the length of Mount First – only to zoom back down in full speed.

I won’t lie, going backwards was a little disconcerting because we were getting further away from the ground, but having my buddies beside me to scream and laugh with made this one heck of a ride I’ll never forget. 100% no regrets.

Cliff Walk Grindelwald First

Take the cliff walk before you make your way down 

Though we headed up to Mount first via cable car, there’s a better way to make your descent. Mark the third activity off your list with the Mountain Cart, a luge ride that’ll bring you down to your final pitstop: Bort. Here’s where the last leg of your journey awaits: the Trottibike Scooter. Admire the Bernese Alps in all its glory as your cycle back to the foot of Grindelwald.

Mountain Cart | Video credit: Annina Berweger

Gotta-do-it factor: 10 out of 10 mountains

Get your Grindelwald First Top Of Adventure tickets from Klook here.

Klook’s package is inclusive of:

  • Guided coach tour from Lucerne to Interlaken and Grindelwald
  • Cable car ride to Mount First
  • Train from Grindelwald to Interlaken
  • Activities: First Flyer, First Glider, Mountain Cart, Trottibike Scooter

Meeting Point: Hotel Monopol, Pilatusstrasse 1, 6002 Lucerne, Switzerland
Nearest Station: Luzern Bahnhof (1 min walk)

3. Take the steepest cogwheel train in Switzerland

Also known as the Mountain of Dragons, there’s no doubt a present-day Dany Targaryen would make a day trip to Mount Pilatus. Legend has it this mountain’s home to mythical dragons with healing powers, so obviously, we had to pay a visit.

Mount Pilatus Gondola ride

Panoramic views on the way up to Pilatus

Alas, our oohs and aahs from the gondola ride up came to an unfortunate stop once we got to the peak. Mother Nature had decided to do her thing, enveloping the entire area in a thick fog. No dragon spotting for us. 🙁

Mount Pilatus in the fog, Switzerland

2 words: Silent. Hill. 

Yet, I struggle to find the words to describe the other-worldly vibe the fog lent to Mount Pilatus. It seemed to bring a little bit of the mystical legend to life, and we savoured every bit of our time exploring the mountain despite not being able to enjoy the views we were hoping for.

Soon it was time for us to get onboard the Pilatusbahn, which is famed for being the steepest rack railway in the world. You can take it 2 ways; an ascent from Alpnachstad Station, or a ride down from Mount Pilatus like we did.

Pilatusbahn Cogwheel Train in Switzerland

Mount Pilatus Cogwheel Train view

The descent took 40 minutes and passed rolling hills and grazing cows – nothing like you’ll see from Tampines to Tuas. 

Lake Lucerne Cruise, Switzerland

The icing on the cake was a cruise over Lake Lucerne from Alpnachstad to the city centre- the perfect end to our day.

Lake Lucerne Cruise ride

Gotta-do-it factor: 8 out of 10 mountains

Book your day trip to Mount Pilatus via Klook here.

Klook’s package is inclusive of:

  • Guided coach ride from Zurich to Lucerne
  • Cable car ride
  • Cogwheel train ride
  • Lake Lucerne cruise
  • 1-hour pitstop at Lucerne

Meeting Point: Sihlquai Car Park, Limmatstrasse 4, 8005 Zürich
Nearest Station: Zurich HB (5 min walk)

4. Become a human drone while paragliding over Lucerne

When my colleague and travel buddy Nick insisted suggested we go paragliding, saying I went into shutdown mode would be an understatement. But hey, if Casey Neistat can climb down a helicopter mid-flight, then I can go paragliding. Right?

Paragliding over Lake Lucerne in Switzerland

Right.

The shenanigans began once our pilots from SkyGlide Paragliding drove us 30 minutes away from the city centre to Lucerne’s mountainsides. Let me break down what happened next ‘cuz honestly, I was running solely on adrenaline at this point:

  1. We drove till there weren’t any more roads to drive up. Read: we were up h i g h
  2. We had to take a cable car up to the peak.
  3. Dani, SkyGlide’s founder, asks me to be his partner. “I’ve been flying for 32 years,” he says. I trust him with my life immediately.

Roller coaster tricks while paragliding, Skyglide paragliding

We tried some sick ‘roller coaster’ tricks mid-air. This meant twisting the glider in all directions – defo the best part of the entire ride. 

Whatever fear I had vanished instantly as Dani gently manoeuvred us to fly over Lake Lucerne, which was even more breathtaking from up above. Now, I’m not sure what I can say to convince the terrified lot of you to have a go at this, but I’ll leave you with some wise words from our creative, Gab:

“Fear is not in my dictionary. I’m horrified.” – Gab, before paragliding | “CAN WE DO THAT AGAIN?!” – Gab, 15 minutes later

Paragliding over Lake Lucerne in Switzerland

All smiles, no problem. 

Gotta-do-it factor: 100 out of 10 mountains. Guys, if Gab can do it, so can you.

Book your paragliding session with SkyGlide Paragliding here.

Meeting Point: Luzern Bahnhof Main Entrance

Read more about our paragliding experience and 14 other must-do things in Switzerland here

5. Travel up a 106% incline on the Gelmer Funicular

Gelmer Funicular, Switzerland

The Gelmer Funicular is sorta like a roller coaster for babies. I’m talking steep AF inclines and views for days, minus the speed. We were even parallel to the mountain at one point!

Tip: Be there at least 15 minutes before your slot so that you can be first in line to snag seats at the front row.

Gelmersee Lake in Switzerland

Feel free to take a cool dip into Gelmersee

Once at the top, we were greeted by Gelmersee and its ridiculously blue waters. The hike around the lake takes roughly 2 hours – remember to factor that in when booking your funicular trip down. There also are no restaurants around the area, so pack some lunch and have a picnic by the lake instead.

Rock climbing at Gelmersee

We climbed some rocks around the area too

Handeggfall Hanging Bridge, Grimselwelt

Cross the Handeggfall hanging bridge once you’ve completed the hike

Gotta-do-it factor: 7.5 out of 10 mountains

Book your Gelmer Funicular ride here.

Grimselwelt Gelmerbahn
Price:

Adult: Single: CHF16 (~S$22.70) | Return: CHF32 (~S45.50)
Ages 6-16: Single: CHF6 (~S$8.50) | Return: CHF12 (~S$17)
Opening Hours: 9AM-4PM (Jun, Sep, Oct) | 9AM-5PM (Jul, Aug)
Address: Grimselstrasse 19, 3862 Innertkirchen, Switzerland
Telephone: +41 33 982 26 26

Getting here: [From Lucerne] Take the IR train towards Interlaken Ost to Meiringen. From here, take bus 161 towards Oberwald to Handegg, Gelmerbahn.
The journey can take 2-3 hours depending on what time you depart, so be sure to check the train timetables here.

6. Visit Rhine Falls – the largest waterfall in Europe

If your heart rate has managed to go up from all the high-element shenaniganry, you’re in luck. Let the nerves take a back seat with a visit to Rhine Falls: the largest waterfall in the whole of Europe.

Rhine Falls, Switzerland

The falls were formed in the last ice age, making it around 14,000-17,000 years old

Rhine Falls boat tour

Hop on a boat to get as close as possible to the roaring waters

Right by the falls is Laufen Castle, which dates back to the year 858. It took us awhile to spot the castle though we were standing right in its courtyard – it looked like a humble cottage more than anything.

Laufen Castle courtyard, Rhine Falls

Laufen Castle’s courtyard

Stein am Rhein, medieval town in Switzerland

A 15-minute drive away from Rhine Falls is the town of Stein am Rhein. Unlike major cities like Zurich or Bern, this town transported us back in time a little with its medieval architecture and intricate frescos.

Gotta-do-it factor: 6.5 out of 10 mountains

Book a Rhine Falls and Stein am Rhein Half Day Tour via Klook here.

Klook’s package is inclusive of:

  • Guided coach ride from Zurich to Rhine Falls and back
  • Admission to Laufen Castle and Rhine Falls
  • Guided walk in Stein am Rhein

Meeting Point: Sihlquai Car Park, Limmatstrasse 4, 8005 Zürich
Nearest Station: Zurich HB (5 min walk)

Spice up your itinerary with Klook’s Swiss travel packages

The view from Grimselwelt, Switzerland

Searching for things to do in a place you’ve never been to usually involves 743895 open tabs and having to scour through multiple websites for the top picks in each city.

Instead of going through all of that hassle, simply book your activities through Klook, one of the world’s leading travel activities and booking platforms. It also has a best price guarantee, beating out tonnes of online resellers – that aren’t always authorised – out there. Each purchase made via Klook will earn you credits too, which you can put towards your next booking.

Klook's website search - Switzerland products

You can tailor your search according to the type of activity you’d like

From Klook’s Swiss travel packages, we picked the day trips depending on the cities we were going to be in: Zurich and Lucerne. We were also able to adjust the price range and availability based on our budget and trip dates respectively.

Klook Switzerland travel products

You’ll get your tickets sent straight to your email after booking – just show them to the information counter on tour day to collect your physical tickets

And even if you don’t get to enjoy what Switzerland has to offer in the summer, Klook’s got a bunch of winter packages like day trips to the snowy Mount Titlis and an alpine tour around Jungfraujoch.

Klook is also having an exclusive promo for TSL readers who are first-time Klook users. Head on to their website and use the code <TSL5> for $5 off any activity!

Note: Promo ends 31st October 2019

Check out things to do in Switzerland on Klook here!

Other handy travel essentials we got from Klook for our Swiss getaway:

Download the Klook app on the App Store or GooglePlay today.

Check out our other Europe guides here:


This post was brought to you by Klook.