Zürich is the capital of Zürich canton and the largest city in Switzerland. The city is located in the northern central region and at the northwestern tip of the famous lake Zürich. The municipality has around half a million inhabitants and it is a hub for air, roads, and railway traffic. Zürich railway station and Zürich international airports are the busiest and largest in the country. Since it is a famous city people from around the globe visit the city throughout the year. The city has numerous destinations that you can enjoy visiting while on your holiday.
It has some of the most unique tourist destinations in Europe which include delightful museums, a well-preserved town with renaissance and medieval buildings and state of the art architecture. Although the city is buzzing with a lot of business activity, the city is one of the finest swiss towns that you can visit and enjoy your stay. Besides, it is a perfect base for your other visits across Europe
How to get to Zurich
The most important aspect when looking for visiting Zurich is to know how you can get to this beautiful place. Major airlines fly to Zürich and Zurich has one of the busiest international airports. Therefore, you can book a flight and land in Zurich international airport. From the airport, you can get a train at the central railway station which can take you to any destination you would like. The train ride from the airport to Zürich center will not take longer than 15 minutes.
On the other hand, if you want to go by coach there are numerous long-distance coaches which arrive from other European cities. However, these are numbered and you should plan adequately if you want to use them. Most highways or autobahns lead to Zürich therefore it could be easier for the driver there. Alternatively, you can choose to use the train to get to the destination. If this is your mode then you can get trains from any European city heading to Zürich. Numerous trains visit the destination daily and you are sure of accessing one.
Parking in Zürich is quite costly, especially in the underground parking lots next to city center, so better park outside city center. Most of the not UNDERGROUND parking in Zürich requires cash payments, so have a few coins just in case.
What To Do In Zurich
1. Visit the Zürich old town
Amid the modern financial times, Zürich has become one of the most visited cities in Europe. The old town is a neighborhood that is filled with narrow streets and it is rich in history. Heading up to the east side of the river you will arrive at Napfgasse and here you will find renaissance style rooms with money changers around the region. During your visit to the old town, you will see ancient architecture as well as some of the fun activities that people in the ancient era used to do. You can wall through the narrow streets to Linderhof Park where you can get a full glimpse of the city. The city is also filled with modern cafes and shops and you are sure that you can enjoy some time in the city.
I have made a short map of where to go in the old town and do a short 1 hour walking tour.
But if you wish to spend more time, you should definitely get a bit more lost in narrow old town street, visit small boutiques and enjoy the local coffee in medieval houses.
If you want to enjoy the best view of the city and the lake it takes tome to walk to Uetliberg. This is the most popular destination s many people summit the ridge and there is a railroad that runs from the upper station to Selnau. From this location, you can walk for 10 minutes to the summit. The broad walkway is usually well lit during the night and you can enjoy a meal at the restaurant in the location while enjoying the beautiful views of the city. During winter you can enjoy your dinner of fondue as you see the amazing views of the city with lights reflected on the snow. How magical can this be?
If I have to choose day or evening visit on Uetliberg, I would always choose evening. It is a magical view once the whole city and other villages and settlements are lit around huge Lake Zürich.
Please visit the official website of Uetliberg for more information, there’re lots of other activities you can do up there: Uetliberg.
3. Visit lake Zurich
This is the focal point of Zurich and it is a popular spot for both the tourists and the locals as well. The entire shoreline is lined up with amazing parks, promenades, and areas where you can jog, catch the sun, picnic, or enjoy a swim in the lake.
However, the best way that you can enjoy the lake is through a cruise which gives you a chance to see the exceptional views of the Glarus Alps. You can look at the steamer landing at Bürkliplatz where Limmat flows from the lake. Besides, the national exhibition center built-in 1939 is a place that you should miss while on your tour around the lake. There is a large flea market that occurs every Saturday and you can get to buy antique merchandise from time to time. It usually runs from May to October.
4. Visit the museum of fine arts
One of the most amazing things about Switzerland is that you will never miss a place to visit. Kunsthaus Zurich is one of the elite museums in Europe. It has a large collection of arts from major artists across the globe. The center was founded in the year 1787, this shows how rich the museum is and you cannot miss something to enjoy. It has more paintings of some of the famous artist such as Charles Munch and Monet. The emphasis of the museum ahs always to show the best work of an artist in large quantities. The museum is quite impressionable and you will have a good time visiting the region.
5. Bahnhof and Bahnhofstrasse
Zurich’s main street is one very busy street in Europe and it has been pedestrianized because of the unique features it presents to the residents as well as the visitors. The 1.2-kilometer stretch is covered by unique shops enlivened by arts, fountains, trees, and exceptional buildings. Although a majority of the shops are fashion you can get nearly anything that you want along this street. This has made it more famous than in other locations in Europe.
The mid-section of the street was built in the year 1867 and it has maintained its rich history and diversity throughout this period. There are numerous buildings which date back to the 20th century and ou can get to see the amazing features of the city. In the lower part you will see a collection of watches and clocks and just to keep true to Swiss culture you will get to know the history of these watches and brands.
This is often mistranslated as the church of Our Lady. However, it is important to note that the Fraumunster means women’s church and this is about the founder Hildegard. Until the Middle Ages, the area has been used as a popular spot for history. The church has 23 aisles and it has a pillared basilica with a gothic nave constructed around the 13th century. The church itself is worth seeing and you can get a glimpse of the ancient stained glass windows. They depict various messages from Elijah’s ascent to heaven and scenes of the life of Christ.
In the old Zurich town on the left bank of Limmat, you will find a quiet location filled with trees. This is the region where the Romans built their fortified settlements to help them combat enemies. Five centuries later the grandson to Charlemagne built a royal residence and these structures remain visible until today. The incorporation of the structures into the landscape of the region makes it so unique that tourists visit it annually.
8. Visit the town hall
One popular destination is the town hall. It is located on the Limmatquai a shopping street that is filled with elegant modern houses with exquisite interiors that reflects the wealth of the residents of the old town. Many of the government structures house cafes now and you can miss a good meal while in the area in these restaurants. The town hall is a simple spot as it overhangs the river and it is supported by arches that were constructed during the renaissance period. At the furthest end of the Musterbrucke, there is late gothic Wasserkiche and this was exclusively surrounded by water before the construction of Limmatquai. There are exhibitions held in this location from time to time.
9. Swiss national museum
This is a castle-like building that has a rich history of the nation and with its elegant neo-gothic finishes the museum is a perfect tourist destination. It is a popular spot as it showcases numerous artifacts and artwork from artists in Switzerland and others across the globe. There is over 820,000 art showing different subjects and you are sure that you will never miss something exciting to see. The entire collection covers textiles, costumes, jewellery, metalwork, rural life, scientific instruments, clocks, musical instruments among others. The main display is done in four themes, religious and intellectual history, early migration and settlement, economic development, and political history of Switzerland. You will get to enjoy over 20 collections showing unique Swiss handicrafts and products.
The Collections Gallery provides an overview of 20 displays showing Swiss handicrafts and products. A series of reconstructed period rooms, for which the museum is best known, shows furnishings and decorative arts in room settings following the evolution of living spaces through the centuries as needs and tastes changed. Swiss furniture from the 20th century is displayed as well, highlighting the contrasts.
10. Explore the great minster
Standing above the river in an open terrace Zurich’s principal church explores the city line with its major twin towers. The church was built in the 11th and 13th centuries and the Romanesque 3- ailed basilica has crypts over from the 1100s. High on the tower is a seated figure of Charlemagne who is thought to be the founder of the church. You can see the original statue and how times have changed the original structure and how modern construction has changed over time. Besides, there is a lot of history that you can learn in the area.
11. Visit Rietberg museum
This is a neoclassical villa that is modeled on the Roman villa Albani. The villa was built in the year 1857 and over time it has withstood changes in weather and other elements. It remains as one of the best locations that you can visit in Switzerland as you will get to know more about European art, Swiss collection, Buddhist stele, Chinese creations, and Tibetan temple pictures of the Bronze Age. It is the only museum in Switzerland that does not have European art in its gallery. In its collection, you will find arts from pacific, near east, America, and African carvings.
12. Take a stroll to Zurich zoo
This is one of the most exceptional zoos in Europe. It is home to over 360 animal species and these creatures live in the exotic world of the Zurich zoo. You will find snow leopards, penguins, flying foxes, Asian elephants, and other animals from the tropical rainforest. The zoo is modelled as per the animal’s natural habitat therefore you will get to see them in their wild.
13. Visit St. Peter’s church
In the southern part of Lindenhof in the old town, there is a unique church called St. Peter. This is a church that has a rich history of the location and the religion of the local people. It is made of 3 aisles and it one of the oldest parishes in Zurich. You will get to explore the 9th-century foundation underneath the chapel and understand how the forefathers of the nation did their construction work.
14. Get to know more about Bellerive Museum
Bellerive is one of the top-notch museums in Switzerland. The diverse artwork shown in the location is a perfect display of different themes such as art and design. The theme traverses various periods and it is the synergy between the olden time and modern times that differentiates the museum from the rest. It is popular for the art novel era which deals with valuables such as ceramics. Other specialties in the museum include marionettes, textures and handmade artifacts of the 20th century.
15. Enjoy Some Sweets at the Confectioner’s Café
Sprüngli house was opened in the year 1856 and it has become popular for exhibiting confectionaries as well as giving tourists a taste of the Swiss culture. It is a one-stop-shop for all your confectionery needs. You will see truffles that are made daily as well as macarons, cakes, bonbons, and other confectionaries. The retail shop is on the street and on the upper floor you can enjoy some lunch or dinner.
You can find all information about opening times right here: Sprüngli in Zürich.
Top things to do in Zürich conclusion
In summary, Zurich is a city that is rich in diversity and you will never miss something fun to do in this location. It is a perfect tourist destination for individuals and families as well. Most top-rated destinations are around the city; therefore, you will have an exceptional tour of the region.
Once you have visited Zürich, I highly recommend some of the best destinations which you can reach from Zürich right here: Top day trips from Zürich.