The Zurich Travel Guide

Written: The Top Thing Staff | May 15, 2023

1. Explore Altstadt (Old Town)

Discover the charm of Zurich‘s Old Town by strolling through its medieval buildings and narrow streets. Immerse yourself in the city’s history as you visit landmarks like St. Peter’s Church in the old town, known for having Europe’s largest clock face.

Experience the vibrant atmosphere of this historic part of Zurich, the old town, where you can indulge in a walking tour that offers a captivating historic overview while exploring local attractions such as sleek storefronts and picturesque squares.

The Old Town serves as an excellent starting place to delve into the city’s culture and heritage, offering an array of local legends and stories waiting to be uncovered. The entire historic area is steeped in rich history, making it a great place for visitors seeking an authentic glimpse into Zurich’s past.

With its blend of endearing shops, expensive shopping streets, and wooden bathhouses dating back centuries, Altstadt, the city center, provides a unique mix of old-world charm and modern-day allure. Whether you’re interested in architecture or simply want to soak up the ambiance, this old town has something special for every visitor.

2. See the views from Grossmünster

Admire panoramic views of Zurich and Lake Zurich from the top floors of Grossmünster church. The church’s tower offers superb, sweeping views that capture the essence of Zurich’s beauty and the old town area.

Grossmünster is not only a magnificent church but also an essential part of Zurich’s history. Visitors and travelers can learn about its significance and architectural marvels while taking in the distant alpine views.

The opportunity to capture stunning photos of the church is unparalleled; modern visitors can appreciate the austere yet striking design, characterized by its distinctive spires and ornate bronze doors.

From atop this iconic landmark, travelers get a comprehensive overview of both historical and modern Zurich, making it an unmissable experience for anyone seeking to understand the city’s essence.

3. Stop by Lindenhof Hill

Lindenhof Hill offers a peaceful retreat with stunning scenic vistas, making it an ideal spot to unwind and take in the beauty of Zurich. The picturesque park is adorned with charming linden trees and features Roman ruins, adding historical charm to its natural allure.

Visitors and travelers can enjoy breathtaking views of the Limmat River and Old Town from this elevated vantage point. The friendly terrain makes it accessible for all travelers, offering a relaxing escape from the bustling town below.

Lindenhof Hill boasts “Café am Lindenhof,” an upstairs restaurant that provides a perfect setting for savoring delightful refreshments while soaking in panoramic views of Zurich’s iconic landmarks.

4. Check out Fraumunster

Marvel at the stunning stained glass windows designed by Chagall in the church, creating a mesmerizing kaleidoscope of colors that bathe the interior in ethereal light. The church’s history dates back to the 9th century, and its Romanesque architecture is a sight to behold.

The Fraumunster church also boasts an impressive organ, making it a must-visit for music enthusiasts. Attend a concert at the church to experience the acoustics and immerse yourself in the spiritual ambiance of this historical landmark.

Not only does Fraumunster church offer architectural marvels and musical experiences, but it also provides visitors with an opportunity to delve into Zurich’s rich cultural heritage.

5. Walk Bahnhofstrasse

Discover Zurich’s renowned shopping street, Bahnhofstrasse, offering an array of luxury boutiques, flagship stores, and attractions for visitors. This bustling avenue is a shopaholic’s paradise, providing visitors an opportunity to indulge in high-end retail therapy.

Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere while strolling along Bahnhofstrasse. Experience the fusion of Swiss sophistication and international flair as you peruse the upscale shops and designer outlets that line this iconic street.

Spend time people-watching as you explore this popular destination. The lively ambiance and diverse mix of locals, tourists, and visitors create a captivating backdrop for leisurely walks or window-shopping excursions.

Bahnhofstrasse represents more than just a shopping district; it encapsulates Zurich’s cosmopolitan essence, making it an essential stop for visitors seeking to spend time absorbing the city’s culture and lifestyle.

6. Eat Fondue

Visitors delight in Switzerland‘s traditional melted cheese dish, fondue evenings are a must-do in Zurich. You can savor an authentic fondue experience at local restaurants, where visitors can spend time enjoying the rich and creamy cheese complemented by various dippables such as bread, meat sticks, and small snacks.

Embrace the cozy ambiance while spending time enjoying this classic Swiss cuisine. Whether it’s a romantic dinner or a casual gathering with friends, indulging in fondue creates a warm and convivial atmosphere that perfectly complements the delightful flavors of this iconic dish.

Zurich offers an array of options for visitors experiencing fondue; from quaint restaurants serving up traditional fondues to innovative twists on this beloved dish. Some establishments even offer sweet offerings like chocolate fondue with rich chocolate truffles and heavenly concoctions.

7. Spend Time at Lake Zurich

Visitors spend time relaxing by the tranquil lakeside promenades, offering a peaceful escape from the city buzz. The idyllic setting of Lake Zurich provides an ideal place for visitors to unwind, spend time, and soak in the natural beauty.

Engage in water activities such as swimming or boating, where visitors can spend time embracing the refreshing waters while taking in breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains. Visitors spend time at this spot for both relaxation and adventure.

Enjoy picnics with a backdrop of serene lake views, creating memorable moments amidst nature’s splendor. Whether alone or with loved ones, visitors can savor leisurely moments at sea level.

Lake Zurich is not just any river; it’s a picturesque sanctuary that invites visitors to immerse themselves in its tranquility. It’s like having your own Louis Vuitton ad moment – only better – surrounded by authentic Swiss charm and natural allure.

8. Peak at Uetliberg Mountain

Visitors hike to the summit of Uetliberg Mountain for breathtaking panoramic vistas of Zurich and its surrounding areas. The superb hiking paths offer outdoor adventures amidst nature trails, attracting many hikers and visitors, from beginners to seasoned enthusiasts. The average hike to the top takes around an hour, making it a feasible activity for most visitors.

Capture stunning sunset or sunrise views over Zurich from the northern tip of Uetliberg Mountain. The nearby Alps and visitors add to the scenic peaks visible from this vantage point, creating a picturesque backdrop for photography enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.

The mountain boasts a 72-foot tower that provides an even more elevated view of Zurich and its surroundings for visitors. For those seeking an ultimate fan experience, visitors can explore a mile trail that stretches across the area, offering ample opportunities for appreciation of Switzerland’s natural beauty.

9. Visit a Museum (or Two!)

Immerse yourself in art, history, or science at world-class museums in Zurich. The city boasts an array of museums that cater to diverse interests, from the Kunsthaus for modern art enthusiasts to the Swiss National Museum for those fascinated by Swiss heritage.

Explore interactive exhibits and educational experiences offered by these museums to visitors. Visitors can engage with hands-on displays, making the experience both enriching and enjoyable. For instance, the FIFA World Football Museum offers interactive opportunities for football fans and visitors to test their skills and knowledge.

Zurich’s museum complex is a popular choice among visitors due to its varied offerings and engaging exhibition spaces. Many visitors opt to explore multiple museums during their trip as each offers a unique perspective on different aspects of culture and history.

10. Enjoy Zurich’s Nightlife

Experience the vibrant nightlife of Zurich by exploring its diverse range of bars, clubs, and live music venues. Whether you prefer unwinding with cocktails in a sophisticated lounge or dancing the night away to pulsating beats, Zurich offers entertainment options catering to various tastes.

Zurich’s nightlife scene is known for its eclectic mix of establishments, from chic rooftop bars with panoramic city views to underground clubs hosting renowned DJs. For those seeking a laid-back evening, cozy pubs, wine bars, and visitors are scattered throughout the city.

One must-visit area is Langstrasse, famous for its lively atmosphere and an array of trendy bars and nightclubs. It’s a melting pot where locals and tourists converge to revel in the energetic ambiance.

If you’re a sports enthusiast, immerse yourself in the excitement at one of Zurich’s sports bars that cater to soccer fans. You can also find affiliated FIFA sports bars where you can catch live matches while enjoying Swiss hospitality.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the must-see attractions in Zurich?

Zurich offers a variety of must-see attractions, including Altstadt (Old Town), Grossmünster for stunning views, Lindenhof Hill for a peaceful retreat, Fraumunster with its iconic windows, Bahnhofstrasse for shopping, Lake Zurich for relaxation, and Uetliberg Mountain for panoramic vistas.

Is trying fondue a must-do in Zurich?

Absolutely! Indulging in traditional Swiss fondue is an essential experience when visiting Zurich. The rich and creamy melted cheese paired with crusty bread creates a delightful culinary adventure that shouldn’t be missed. It’s an integral part of immersing yourself in the local culture and cuisine.

How can I make the most of Zurich’s nightlife?

To make the most of Zurich’s vibrant nightlife scene, explore trendy bars like Clouds Bar or Jules Verne Panoramabar to enjoy cocktails with breathtaking city views. Consider checking out renowned clubs such as Hive or Kaufleuten to dance the night away amid energetic atmospheres and diverse music selections.

Are there any unique activities to do around Lake Zurich?

Yes! You can rent a paddleboat on Lake Zurich for a leisurely cruise while taking in picturesque lakeside scenery. Alternatively, embark on a scenic lakeside walk or indulge in lakeside dining at one of the many charming restaurants offering exquisite views – perfect for romantic evenings or tranquil moments alone.

Which museums should I prioritize visiting during my time in Zurich?

When exploring museums in Zurich, prioritizing visits to Kunsthaus Zürich for art enthusiasts and Swiss National Museum to delve into Switzerland’s cultural history is highly recommended. Both offer captivating exhibits that provide valuable insights into artistry and heritage within an engaging museum setting.