Landing in Zurich on a Thursday morning, flying out of Zurich a Sunday morning in July. Suggested itenary? Train travel please. Also will be traveling solo.
I almost always travel alone and have visited 30+ countries.Travelling as a solo female is just as safe (and probably safer) in European countries than it is in the US. The real risk is of pickpocketing and opportunistic petty theft rather than anything more serious (e.g. mugging, physical attack), So just take the same commonsense precautions I hope you'd take anywhere else: never keep all your cash & cards in your bag or in external pockets, stay alert when using ATMS and your phone, don't leave bags hanging on the back of cafe chairs, avoid dimly-lit and deserted places after dark etc etc.
Day 1: check into your hotel then spend the rest of the afternoon/early evening walking central historical Zurich, which is compact, safe and easily walkable. Maybe walk Limmatquai down to the lake, explore the area around St Peterhofstatt, take the Polybahn funicular to the top for excellent views of the city. Don't miss the ancient Grossmuenster and Frauenmunster, the latter famous for its Chagall windows. If you're into museums, the Swiss National Museum next to the Hauptbahnhof (main station) is well worth a visit.
Days 2 & 3 (interchangeable):
Train times, details and fares in English on the official Swiss railway website:
ZVV provides info and tickets for transport network in and around Zurich (train, bus, cablecar, ferry). English site:
1. Take a round-trip ferry across the lake to Rapperswil, a fascinating and historical small town with a castle, pleasant walks and good places to eat. You'll have ample time to explore before the ferry leaves or you can make a one-way trip and then get the train back from Rapperswil to Zurich. When I visited Zurich the ZVV '9-uhr-tageskarten' covered the whole of the trip, though only allowed one ferry departure time and it's well worth checking out to save quite a few francs.
On your return take the train up Uetliburg, Zurich's very own mountain. Fantastic views, lots of lovely walks (if you're into hiking you could easily spend a whole day walking Uetliburg)..... If you're lucky, like me, you may even come across people practising the alpenhorn! :-)
2. Take the train to lovely, historical Lucerne. Walk the ancient city walls, walk through both covered Medieval bridges, explore the many painted buildings of the historical centre, visit the Loewendenkmal (Lion Monument), sit by the lakeside.......
Switzerland certainly isn't cheap but there's plenty of free things to explore and enjoy in Zurich, Rapperswil & Luzern.
Enjoy your planning! :-)