Not every country can boast breathtaking beauty year-round, but Switzerland’s glacial lakes, fairytale villages, and scenic mountain ranges are picture-perfect in every season. This makes Switzerland the ultimate road trip destination and this Zurich road trip covers many of the top highlights.
Hire a campervan from our Zurich depot, lace up your trainers, and get started with a refreshing hike at Lake Walensee. The medieval Old Town in Chur beckons, along with la dolce vita in Switzerland’s Italian-speaking Ticino region.
Finally, the cosmopolitan and oh-so Swiss city of Lucerne makes a worthy final stop on this essential road trip itinerary.
One of the most popular day trips from Zurich is also the perfect first stop on your Zurich road trip. Just over an hour’s drive from our campervan rental depot is Lake Walensee.
Walensee is a prime example of Switzerland’s natural beauty, a large, fjord-like lake with bright blue water bordered by beautiful mountain ranges. We hope you remembered to pack your trainers!
Close to your campsite is a ferry terminal from which you can rely on highly efficient transportation across the lake -- this is Switzerland, after all. Head to Quinten and follow the hiking trail towards Betlis, admiring the vistas along the way.
The highlight of this route is the cascading Seerenbach Falls, the country’s tallest free-standing waterfall. After huffing and puffing your way through this considerably moderate hike, your reward is a crisp beer and a brat or two with a view.
From there, simply grab the next ferry back to Murg and rest up for tomorrow’s adventure.
The main attraction, fjord-like and bright blue
Tallest free-falling waterfall in Switzerland
Scenic beers and brats after a long hike
Park at campsite and catch the ferry
Lakeside campground by ferry terminal
Next on this Zurich road trip is the Alpine city of Chur, the oldest settlement in Switzerland, dating back over 5,000 years. It’s historic Altstadt (Old Town) is one of the best preserved in the country, though now completely car-free.
Leave the campervan behind at lakeside Camp Au Chur, take advantage of the city’s public transportation, and explore on foot.
The Old Town’s winding cobblestone streets give way to pretty pastel buildings and lovely, open squares dotted with outdoor cafés. Chur itself looks like a work of art, but if you’d like to see some actual paintings, the spectacular Bündner Kunstmuseum is the place to go.
While in town, catch a glimpse of the iconic, red Bernina Express train as it departs Chur bound for the Italian border. For a better vantage point, take a ride up the Brambrüesch cable car and enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding ski slopes and mountain ranges.
Chur’s Old Town, one of the oldest & best-preserved
Art collection stored in villa and modern annex
Chur Bergbahnen (Brambrüesch)
Scenic aerial cablecar running year-round
Vegan and Mexican food in pretty square
Restaurant & Bar Calanda
Bar with contemporary Swiss food
Parkhaus Otto & Alex
Parking garage at train station, max height 2.90 m
Camp Au Chur
Lakeside facilities, reach town by bus
Heading south from Chur is a scenic stretch of highway that Zurich road trip dreams are made of. Try to keep your eyes on the road, but enjoy passing snow-covered mountain ranges and pretty little villages as you make your way into southern Switzerland’s canton of Ticino.
We hope you’ve brushed up on your Italian!
You’ll find that glacial Lake Lugano attracts a certain glitterati, not unlike its Clooney-approved Italian neighbour, Como. Stay overnight and enjoy the luxe Mediterranean vibes while sipping espresso alfresco and strolling the palm-lined promenade.
Next on this road trip itinerary, venture north to Locarno, also known as the sunniest town in Switzerland. Its art-filled Catholic sanctuary offers stunning panoramic views of Lake Maggiore and the surrounding Alps.
On your third day in Ticino, head to the regional capital, Bellinzona, and spend the day exploring its three iconic medieval castles before driving onward to the next stop on your Zurich road trip itinerary.
Rent a boat & ogle some prime lakeside real estate
Madonna del Sasso
Art-filled Catholic sanctuary overlooking Locarno
The three castles of Bellinzona
Trifecta of medieval castles in the Ticino capital
La Cucina di Alice
Trendy, cheerful spot with lake views
Loads of authentic charm, rotating menu
Popular, local pizza joint in Locarno
Autosilo Piazza del Sole SA
Parking garage near Bellinzona castles
Autosilo Piazza del Sole Via Mollinazo
Street parking, only 7 spots available
TCS Camping Lugano
Clean, modern facilities on Lake Lugano
Lakeside campsite near center of Locarno
After exploring the Italian-speaking Ticino region, arriving in Lucerne marks your return to a place that feels distinctly Swiss.
This lakefront locale is perched among snow-capped mountain ranges, boasting beautifully preserved medieval architecture and a colourful Old Town.
Feel free to leave your campervan at the lakeside campground and take advantage of the efficient ferry system to cross Lake Lucerne and explore the town on foot.
For a truly Instagram-worthy photo, head to Kapellbrücke (Chapel Bridge) to snap the iconic wooden footbridge and its stone water tower, with the medieval Old Town and mountain ranges beyond.
No Zurich road trip with Lucerne on the itinerary is complete without an excursion up to the top of Pilatus, the steadfast mountain peak standing guard over the city for centuries.
You could hike or take a modern cable car, but our preferred route up to the top is by vintage train, along the steepest cogwheel railway in the world. Don’t look down!
Lucerne’s landmark wooden bridge, built in 1333
Medieval city wall with 9 iconic, turreted towers
Take the vintage cogwheel train up to the top
Low-key place for breakfast & brunch
Wirtshaus Taube Luzern
Cosy vibe, with authentic local cuisine
Simple salads & smoothies, affordable
Small parking lot, 15 spaces
Another small car park, 16 spaces
Camping International Lido Luzern
Convenient to town via ferry
from Zurich depot