Welcome to the amazing city of Zurich, Switzerland’s beautiful gem! This city is packed with stunning views, interesting history, and fun things to do for everyone. We’ve put together a guide with the top 10 must-see places in Zurich just for you. Grab your friends and family, and let’s dive into the unforgettable experiences waiting for you in this fantastic city!
Table of Contents
1. Old Town (Altstadt)
History and Charm
Meandering through Zurich’s Old Town is like stepping back in time. The narrow, cobblestone streets are lined with well-preserved medieval buildings, while picturesque squares invite you to linger and relax. The Old Town is divided into two parts by the Limmat River: the west bank, which is home to the Lindenhof Hill, and the east bank, where you’ll find Grossmünster and Fraumünster.
- Grossmünster: This iconic, Romanesque-style church is not only an architectural marvel but also holds significant historical importance as the birthplace of the Swiss Reformation.
- Fraumünster: Known for its stunning stained-glass windows designed by Marc Chagall, this church is a must-see for art lovers.
- St. Peter: Boasting the largest clock face in Europe, St. Peter’s Church offers breathtaking views of Zurich from its tower.
2. Lake Zurich
Lake Zurich, a stunning natural oasis in the heart of the city, offers a variety of leisure activities. The picturesque promenades along the lake are perfect for strolling, jogging, or biking. You can also enjoy a refreshing swim in one of the lake’s many public bathing areas during the summer months.
One of the best ways to enjoy Lake Zurich’s beauty is by taking a boat cruise. There are several options to choose from, including short round trips, themed cruises, and longer excursions to the picturesque towns along the lake’s shores.
Bahnhofstrasse, Zurich’s main shopping street, stretches from the main train station (Hauptbahnhof) to the tranquil Lake Zurich. Here, you’ll find an array of luxury boutiques, department stores, and shops catering to a variety of tastes and budgets.
Located along Bahnhofstrasse, Paradeplatz is a bustling square known for its financial institutions, including the headquarters of Credit Suisse and UBS. Don’t forget to stop by the iconic Confiserie Sprüngli for some delicious Swiss chocolates and pastries.
4. Swiss National Museum
The Swiss National Museum, housed in an impressive castle-like building, offers a comprehensive look at Switzerland’s history and culture. With its fascinating exhibits and artifacts, the museum provides a unique insight into Swiss traditions, art, and everyday life throughout the centuries.
The museum also features interactive displays and hands-on activities, making it an engaging and educational experience for visitors of all ages.
5. Uetliberg Mountain
A Panoramic Retreat
For stunning panoramic views of Zurich, the lake, and the snow-capped Alps, head to Uetliberg Mountain. Accessible by train, this popular destination offers scenic walking trails and a lookout tower at its summit. During winter, you can also enjoy sledging and skiing on its slopes.
The Planet Trail
For a unique experience, follow the Planet Trail from Uetliberg to Felsenegg. This 6.2-mile (10 km) path represents the solar system on a smaller scale, with each meter
corresponding to one million kilometers in reality. Along the trail, you’ll find informative panels and models of planets, offering both an educational and enjoyable hike.
6. Zoo Zurich
Zoo Zurich is home to over 4,000 animals representing around 380 different species. The zoo focuses on conservation and sustainability, making it a great place to learn about wildlife and their natural habitats.
Masoala Rainforest Hall
One of the zoo’s highlights is the Masoala Rainforest Hall, a huge indoor rainforest where you can observe diverse flora and fauna up close. Don’t miss the daily feeding sessions, where you can learn more about the animals from knowledgeable zookeepers.
7. Kunsthaus Zurich
Art Enthusiasts’ Haven
Kunsthaus Zurich is one of Switzerland’s most important art museums, housing an extensive collection of works from the Middle Ages to contemporary pieces. The museum features works by renowned artists such as Monet, Van Gogh, and Picasso, as well as an impressive collection of Swiss art.
Kunsthaus Zurich regularly hosts special exhibitions, showcasing both international and local artists. Be sure to check their website for the latest exhibitions during your visit.
8. Lindenhof Hill
Panoramic Views and Roman Ruins
Lindenhof Hill, located in the heart of Old Town, offers fantastic views of the city and the Limmat River. This peaceful, tree-shaded park is a perfect spot to relax and enjoy the scenery. Lindenhof has a rich history, with Roman ruins and remnants of a medieval fortress that can still be seen today.
For a bit of fun, join locals and tourists in a game of giant chess on one of the large chessboards in the park.
9. Botanical Garden
A Green Oasis
Operated by the University of Zurich, the Botanical Garden is a verdant retreat from the bustling city. With over 9,000 plant species from around the world, the garden is a paradise for nature lovers.
The garden’s three distinctive glass-domed greenhouses showcase a variety of exotic plants, including cacti, succulents, and tropical flora.
The Landesmuseum, also known as the Swiss National Museum, is a striking architectural blend of old and new. The original historic building, designed in the style of a French Renaissance chateau, is connected to a modern extension by an underground passage.
The museum’s exhibits focus on Swiss history, art, and culture, with a collection that includes everything from prehistoric artifacts to contemporary design. Interactive displays make the museum an engaging experience for visitors of all ages.
Zurich Attractions Map
This map shows the location of the different attractions in Zurich.
Zurich is a city filled with rich history, stunning scenery, and diverse attractions. This travel guide has provided you with a glimpse of the top 10 must-visit places in Zurich, ensuring you have an unforgettable experience. So pack your bags, and get ready to explore this charming Swiss city!
Good to Know: Essential Zurich Tips
Zurich is known to be one of the more expensive cities in Europe. Here’s a rough estimate of some average costs to help you budget your trip:
- Budget meal: CHF 20-30 ($21-32, £16-24, €19-28)
- Mid-range restaurant meal: CHF 40-70 ($42-74, £32-56, €38-67)
- Public transport day pass: CHF 8.80 ($9.30, £7.10, €8.40)
- Regular cappuccino: CHF 5 ($5.30, £4, €4.70)
*Please note that these costs are approximate and may vary depending on various factors.
Travel Around the City
Zurich’s public transport system is efficient, clean, and easy to navigate. It includes trams, buses, and trains. A day pass for zones 110 (city center) and 121 (airport) costs CHF 8.80 ($9.30, £7.10, €8.40) and allows you unlimited travel within these zones for 24 hours.
- Trams: Zurich’s trams are the most popular mode of public transport in the city. They are efficient and cover most of the city center.
- Buses: Buses serve areas not reached by trams and are a convenient way to travel around the city, especially during off-peak hours.
- S-Bahn: The S-Bahn is Zurich’s suburban train system, which connects the city center to outer suburbs and nearby towns. It’s an ideal way to explore beyond the city.
The official currency in Zurich and the rest of Switzerland is the Swiss Franc (CHF). However, some businesses may accept euros, but it’s always best to carry Swiss Francs for a hassle-free experience. It’s also a good idea to have a small amount of cash on hand, as not all places accept credit cards.
Tipping is not obligatory in Switzerland, as service charges are generally included in the bill. However, if you receive exceptional service, it’s customary to round up the bill or leave an extra 5-10%.
When in Zurich, it’s essential to have some important phone numbers handy for emergencies or general inquiries. Here are a few useful contacts:
|Zurich Police (non-emergency)
|+41 44 247 22 11
|Zurich Tourism Office
|+41 44 215 40 00
|Swiss Federal Railways (SBB)
|+41 900 300 300
|Zurich Airport Information
|+41 43 816 22 11
|Medical Emergency (Zurich)
If you enjoyed our guide on the top 10 must-see places in Zurich, be sure to check out another fantastic travel destination, Madeira. Discover the magic of Madeira and its top attractions in our article, Magic of Madeira: A Guide to the Top 10 Must-Visit Places.