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Geneva, Lugano, Zurich or Basel for day trips?

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Hello friends,

I am limited to the above four cities in Switzerland for a 2 day-in-total trip (half day--full day--half day, travel excluded). Many have recommended that I go to the mountains instead of spending time in the city, but I'm not sure which of the above cities would be the best place to fly into and then straightaway take a bus/train to a mountainey place? I am quite limited to a backpacker's budget, and my interests are mostly in wandering old cobbled streets, views of mountains and enjoying the foreign experience. Not interested in food or museums so much. A big castle to visit would be nice.

Any suggestions? I speak French and passable Italian, so have been looking at day trips mainly from Geneva e.g. to Guyeres, but am open to any suggestion!

Thanks!

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