Zug is the capital of canton Zug which is situated right next to the big lake named Zugersee and has a perfect view to Mount Rigi, so let’s have a look what can you do in Zug.
Fun fact if you do not speak german: Zug means train in german 🙂 But the names of the city doesn’t come from the train itself as the city was established back 9th century and got first city walls back in the 13th century, so no trains at that time. The names comes from middle ages and ZUG actually meant the right to pull up the fish (the right to fish). The right to fish then was Zug.
These days the city is a very well established business community as it offers the lowest taxes in Switzerland for companies. But none of that is seen, city is humble and no unnecessary posh things in the city is seen.
I have visited this capital quite a few times as it is very close to Zürich and on the way to the Swiss Alps. Let us discover the top things you can do in there.
How to get to Zug
The city is very well connected by trains and very easily reachable by car.
It is just 34 kilometers from the biggest city and airport in Switzerland – Zürich. It would take you just 35 minutes by train to get to this destination. Check all the latest schedules and prices right here: Swiss trains.
If you come by car, it is the best to park in underground parking. There you can pay by card. I have parked in Parkhaus Casino in this address: Zugerbergstrasse, 6300 Zug. Old town, theater and other attractions is only 2 minutes away from the Casino parking.
What to do in Zug
I would like to organize visit in the city into 5 parts:
- Visit the old town and the lake shore. The old town of Zug is not big, so you can spend 15-30 minutes just strolling around, but if you combine it with walk by the lake: add at least another 30 minutes.
- Museum Burg Zug. It is a museum in the old castle. You can spend there 1-2 hours.
- Kunsthaus Zug. It is always a good idea to explore the art. You can spend there 1-2 hours depending on how interested in art you are.
- Hike to Zugerberg. Well, hiking is always included 🙂 Zugerberg gives a pretty nice views of the city, lake and surrounding places.
- Trip on a lake Zugersee. I think Switzerland has the most crystal clear lakes in the world. They are crystal clear even in the cities. So why not do that?
Zug old town tour
The old town is a small cozy place just wander around. It is situated right next to the lake, so you can easily combine history and the lake together.
I have started my tour right next to the Zug theater: Artherstrasse 4, 6300 Zug. It is 2 minutes from the Casino parking.
If you go the right, you enter the old town.
Once you enter the old town, you can feel the history and buildings start to tell you the stories. I was lucky enough to visit the city right before Christmas, so it was pretty full of Christmas trees.
Almost every Swiss city and village is full of Christmas trees. They don’t have just a few, mostly Christmas trees are on every corner.
This tree below is full of wishes:)
There are lots of beautiful historical houses in the old town.
Just how much work and details are put into each house, it always amazes me.
I am not sure if this statue on the fountain welcomes you or tries to scare you 🙂
Above you see the main old town street. As well, right in the old town of Zug you can visit the Fishing museum (remember that the city names comes from fishing rights? 🙂 ). All info about the museum is here: Zug fishing museum.
As you wander in the old town, the lake is always just 50 meters from you.
You can simply take a turn and you will be get to the lake.
It was a bit foggy, but that mountain in far away (at the end of the lake) is Mount Rigi. Very famous Swiss destination. Actually, I really advice going there: I once hiked to the top from the city called Goldau. Goldau is just 16km from Zug and it is one of the most popular destinations in this area.
In the picture above you can see that some mountains already have snow. These are not high mountains, up to 2000 meters, so they are green all summer long and get snow just in late fall.
In the picture above you can see the “skyline” of Zug city, it is mostly new city, no old town.
The lake shore is very well maintained. There is a public toilet right next to this “beach”.
Right next to the lake is Fasanerie und Voliere: there are quite a lot very exotic birds. It is free and if you are interested in birds, that is a must place for you in the city.
Later on I have wandered a bit into the new part of the city and found this pretty cool looking mall. It is a small copy of Milan shopping street. As well, you can see, that they are ready for Christmas.
The whole walk in the old town and by the lake took me around 45 minutes, but you can always extend the walk by the lake as much as you want, you can even walk to Cham (next city on the lake).
Museum Burg Zug
This museum is located in a very cool looking castle and actually is very close to the parking place I recommended before: just 2 minutes walk.
Address of the castle: Kirchenstrasse 11, Zug.
It is a historical museum and is perfect for families.
In the picture above you even see a rocket (not the one which goes to the space, but a weapon) next to the castle. The castle and this rocket is not from the same era, but I guess this rocket is a history already.
The prices for adults are 10 CHF, for children it is free.
You can find all information about the museum here: Burg Zug.
Zug art museum is very close to Burg Zug museum: Dorfstrasse 27, 6301 Zug. 2 minutes walk.
The museum was established in 1990 and is situated in the house which was built back in the 16th century.
You can find art there not just from Switzerland, but from all around the world. Please check all information right here: Kunsthaus Zug.
Hiking to Zugerberg
Zugerberg is maybe the closest mountain peak to the city. It is not very high, a bit lower than 1000 meters, so it is an easy hike to the top.
Let us have a look at the hiking map below.
As you see, the hike is only 4 kilometers long and it really depends where you park in the city or you start from the train station. You can even go to the outskirts of the city and start there, so it will be much shorter hike.
I must mention that you can get to Zugerberg by car or by funicular (it is perfect if you wish to go down by bike), but it is much more interesting experience to walk all the way up.
As you can see, if you start in the city, you are going to gain 400 meters in elevation, so nothing too hard, but do not rush it. The overall hike is pretty easy, have at least 1 liter of water for each person. I would say that you can do this hike easily with running shoes (if you do not have hiking shoes with you). The temperature differences should not be big during all the hike, but there’s no harm to take extra jacket. If you are hiking up there in summer, I would definitely take a cap, sunglasses and sunscreen. Sun is pretty hard in the mid summer in Switzerland.
On the top you are going to get great views to the lake, there’s restaurant up there, so you can rest. As well, if you are coming there by kids, you can walk a bit further to Abenteuerspielplatz Schattwäldli. It is very close to the Zugerberg top. If you walk a bit further, another views to white mountains will open up as well and the choices of hiking trails are unlimited.
Trip on a lake Zugersee
Trips on lake Zugersee are very popular as you can see quite a lot of surrounding mountains and small towns on the shore.
In my opinion, the best trip is to Arth. Arth is very close to Mount Rigi, so you will see the biggest peak in the area from the boat. You can even jump out of the boat, walk around Arth and maybe get to the base of Mount Rigi, maybe even hike a bit.
You can find all timetables and prices right here: Lake Zug ferries. Do not forget to buy the tickets both ways 🙂
Zug being the capital of the canton has a lot of historical value and has quite a lot of to offer to a tourist who would like to spend whole day in the city.
My recommendation would be to plan your day like this:
Wander around the old town and by the lake for at least an hour, maybe get a cup of coffee to keep you company while enjoying the views to the lake and far away mountains.
Later on I would visit at least one museum to get the feel of the city and its culture.
As the third activity I would choose hiking to Zugerberg or taking the ferry on the lake. The ferry one is much easier and you get to see quite a lot. You will get a perfect shot of Mount Rigi and visit another small town on the shore of the lake. But if you are looking for some exercise and would like to spend more time in the nature around the city, this hike offers all of it.
If you have any questions about the city, please let me know, I will do my best to help you.
If you would like to spend more time around this area and to flex your muscles, check out my hike to Mount Rigi. It is not an easy one, but really worth the muscle pain 🙂
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