You want to visit Zurich? You’re right! With its charming historical center, its lake that gives the impression of being in a city immersed in nature, its beautiful museums and its excellent gastronomy, Zurich is a very pleasant destination.

What should you absolutely visit in Zurich? What are the best addresses? What are the best ways to enjoy the city at a lower cost? Here is a complete travel guide to prepare your stay in Zurich!

Zurich in short

  • How to get to Zurich? Opt for the train! You will arrive in the city center, ready to start a day of sightseeing!
  • When to go there? Ideally located with its large lake and the proximity of the Alps, Zurich combines the advantages of the city and nature, so that each period of the year has its advantages! In winter you can enjoy the Christmas atmosphere or skiing; in summer you can swim in the lake; all year round you can enjoy the beauty of the historical center and the museums of the city… in short: all seasons are good to go to Zurich!
  • Who is it for? Whether you’re a solo traveler, a couple, a group of friends or a family, there are so many activities to choose from that you’re bound to find something to please both young and old.
  • How to get around? The historic center is very easy to visit on foot, and you can do most of the must-see things without having to take public transport. But Zurich also has a very good streetcar network that allows you to get around quickly while admiring the city. I recommend you to take the Zürich Card which allows you to use public transport (streetcar, bus, train, boat and cable car) in an unlimited way while enjoying free or reduced rates in most of the tourist places.
  • How do I get around? Zurich is located in the German part of Switzerland, so German is the predominant language here. But almost everyone speaks English, so you will be able to make yourself understood if you have some knowledge of the language of Shakespeare and it is not rare to find French speakers.

The best way to visit Zurich: the Zürich Card

Valid for 24 or 72 hours, the Zürich Card is a must-have pass to visit the city at a lower cost. It offers several advantages:

  • Free and unlimited use of streetcar, bus, train, boat and cable car in Zurich and surroundings
  • A cruise on the lake
  • Free or reduced admission to most museums
  • Half price on guided tours of the old town

Adult rates: 27 CHF for 24 hours; 53 CHF for 72 hours
Rates for 6-16 year olds: 19 CHF for 24h; 37 CHF for 72h


Enjoy the Christmas atmosphere in Zurich

If you love Christmas then you’ll love Zurich at Christmas time! With several Christmas markets, lights everywhere, carols every night in the streets of the city and then the good smell of fondue around the restaurants, it is THE perfect destination to hope to see Santa Claus! Here are 5 things to do in December in Zurich…

Sleep in a room at the Hotel Noël

Until December 26, 10 artists have redesigned 10 rooms in 10 Zurich hotels on the theme of “The Christmas Paradox”. And you can sleep in these rooms! Here are some examples:

At the Ameron Hotel, the artists Huber Huber offer you to sleep – literally – under the stars since a mobile made of 100 meteorites is suspended above the bed!

At the Krone pop-up hotel, Ingo Giezendanner has created lots of little drawings with boxes that you can open to discover what is hidden behind them, like an advent calendar.

In the Hotel Neues Schloss, the ceiling was covered with neon lights by Veli and Amos, a creation that can be admired while lying in bed.

Going to a Christmas market

In Zurich there is not one but 5 Christmas markets! In the train station, in front of the opera or in the old town, it will be impossible to miss.

All Christmas markets in Zurich:

Wiehnachtsdorf, on Sechseläutenplatz (from November 24 to December 23, 2022)
Christkindlimarkt, in the main station Zürich HB (from November 24 to December 24, 2022)
Dörfli, on Niederdorfstrasse (November 24 to December 23, 2022)
Münsterhof, on the Münsterhof square (from November 24 to December 24, 2022)
City, on Bahnhofstrasse and Lintheschergasse (from November 24 to December 24, 2022)

Listen to the Christmas carols

To get into the holiday spirit, head to the “Singing Christmas Tree”, a Christmas tree-shaped stand where choir members sing songs from the holiday repertoire every evening.

Werdmühleplatz
Monday to Thursday, 5:30 pm and 6:30 pm
Friday, 5:30, 6:30 and 7:30 pm
Saturday and Sunday, 2:30 & 3:30 pm / 5:30 & 6:30 pm (sometimes 8 pm)

Eat a fondue

In Switzerland, cheese is an institution, so it’s impossible to come to Zurich during the holidays without tasting a delicious fondue! Several restaurants open their doors temporarily, allowing you to enjoy this dish in a chalet, a streetcar or even in a cable car cabin!

Skating

Built in 1930, the Dolder ice rink is one of the largest outdoor ice rinks in Europe: it covers 6,000 m2!

Dolder Sports
Adlisbergstrasse 36
Prices: 9 CHF for adults; 7 CHF for 17-20 year olds; 5 CHF for 4-16 year olds
Monday to Saturday, 9 am to 10:30 pm
Sunday from 9 am to 5:45 pm


Interactive map of Zurich

Find all the addresses mentioned in this article on this map! Use the menu on the left to select the type of addresses (museums, restaurants…) you want to see.


10 must-do activities in Zurich

Stroll through the historic center

As soon as you leave the train station, you’ll see that there are many beautiful things to see in Zurich! Cobbled streets, churches, walks along the river… take time to stroll in the historical center to soak up the (good) atmosphere of the city.

The center is car-free, which makes it very pleasant to stroll around in peace and quiet.

Take a picture from the Lindenhof

In the past, a military fort stood on this square. Today it is a very popular place for tourists for the view it offers over the city. From here you can enjoy a magnificent panorama of old Zurich, it is the perfect place for a souvenir photo!

On a clear day, you can even admire the Alps on the horizon.

Admire the stained glass windows of Chagall in the Fraumünster church

At the beginning of the 16th century, the Protestant reform introduced a great rigor in the places of worship and a vast iconoclast was initiated to destroy the organs, paintings and other ornaments likely to distract the parishioners.

As a result, most of the churches in Zurich have a very sober interior, but the Fraumünster church is an exception to the rule. In the 1970s, Marc Chagall created a series of stained glass windows in the church.

Münsterhof 2
Entrance fee: 5 CHF
Tip: this visit is free with the Zürich Card

Walk by the lake

Lake Zurich is a real lung for the city, very popular with the people of Zurich who come to the lakefront to walk or jog.

This place is particularly soothing and deserves to be visited for a while. On your way you will find an amazing Chinese garden, free of charge, which is a must-see – a change of scenery guaranteed!

Take a boat cruise

The Zurich ZSG shipping company offers cruises on the lake that allow you to discover the city while taking the sea! Several cruises are available, you can consult the list and schedules on this website: https://www.zsg.ch/en/

Departure of the cruises, information and ticket office at Bürkliplatz
Tip: some cruises are free with the Zürich Card

Visit the Lindt Museum (Lindt Home of Chocolate)

If you take a boat cruise, get off at the Kilchberg ZH stop to visit the Lindt Home of Chocolate museum.

This museum is a must-see for all chocolate lovers! As soon as you enter the hall, you will be greeted by the largest chocolate fountain in the world: it is 9 meters high and 1400 kg of chocolate are permanently flowing.

The interactive tour is done with an audioguide. You will discover the methods of cocoa cultivation and its transformation into chocolate; the evolution of chocolate consumption over the centuries; as well as the history of Swiss chocolate.

The visit ends with the discovery of a Lindt chocolate production line, where you will have the opportunity to taste unlimited chocolate with self-service white/milk/dark chocolate fountains as well as Lindt mini-bars dispensers.

There is also the largest Lindt store, with an area of 500 m2.

Schokoladenplatz 1, Seestrasse 204, 8802 Kilchberg
Website: https://www.lindt-home-of-chocolate.com/
Accessible in about 15 minutes from the city center with bus 165 or 161, stop Kilchberg ZH, Lindt & Sprüngli
Prices: Adults: 15 CHF; 8-15 years: 10 CHF; free for children under 8 years
Tip: 10% discount with the Zürich Card, including in the store!

Admire the view of the city from the Grossmünster tower

The Grossmünster (“great abbey”) is the largest church in Zurich, easily recognizable by its twin towers.

If you have good legs and the physical condition to climb a hundred steps, it is possible to go to the top of one of the towers to enjoy a 360 degree view of the city. Unfortunately, a protective glass prevents you from fully enjoying the landscape but you will still have a nice view of Zurich.

Grossmünsterplatz
The entrance to the church is free, but you have to pay to go up the tower.
Adult rate: 5 CHF; 2 CHF for 6 to 16 years old
Tip: this visit is free with the Zürich Card

Visit the Kunsthaus

The Kunsthaus is Zurich’s art museum. It has one of the largest art collections in Switzerland and the world’s largest collection of works by Alberto Giacometti.

The richness and variety of the works is impressive! Miro, Kandinsky, Lichtenstein, Chagall, Braque, Picasso, Magritte, Munch, Van Gogh, Monet, Canaletto… fill the walls of the Kunsthaus, one could spend hours admiring each painting.

The museum also offers high quality temporary exhibitions. Visit the museum’s website to find out which exhibition is on display at the time of your stay.

Heimplatz
Website: https://www.kunsthaus.ch/
Open every day except Monday, from 10 am to 6 pm
Nocturne on Wednesdays and Thursdays until 8 pm
Prices: 18 CHF for the permanent collections only; 23 € with the temporary exhibitions; free for children under 17 and for all Wednesdays
Tip: this visit is free with the Zürich Card

Get off the tourist trail and go to the old industrial district (west)

The old industrial district of Zurich has been modernized a lot in the last few years, but still retains the pride of its history! Older buildings have been rehabilitated or stand alongside more contemporary constructions.

It is here that you can find a younger and more popular side of Zurich. Less touristic than the city center, the western district gathers houses, schools but also museums and many shops.

Take the streetcar and get off at the Löwenbräu stop to discover the Viaduct whose arches have been transformed into stores and restaurants.

Visit the Museum für Gestaltung

The Museum für Gestaltung is Zurich’s museum for design and visual communication. It preserves exceptionally well-designed utilitarian objects that can be used as models for teaching and industry. Over the past 150 years, 500,000 objects have been collected, a collection so large that the museum is spread over two sites: Ausstellungsstrasse and Toni-Areal.

Museum fur Gestaltung
Museum fur Gestaltung

The Ausstellungsstrasse presents the jewels of the collections, with representations of the ideal habitat over the course of the eras and a few posters which allow us to see the evolution of this art over time.

In the Toni-Areal, the museum is housed in a former yogurt factory. It is located next to the Zurich University of the Arts, where it bridges the gap between teaching and research. The museum’s impressive storerooms are located here and can be visited on a guided tour, as well as several temporary exhibitions.

Location Ausstellungsstrasse: Ausstellungsstrasse 60
Site Toni Arel: Pfingstweidstrasse 96
Website: https://museum-gestaltung.ch/
Open every day except Monday, from 10 am to 5 pm
Nocturne on Thursdays until 8 pm
One site only: 12 CHF; both sites: 15 CHF; free for children under 17
Tip: this visit is free with the Zürich Card


Best places in Zurich

Where to sleep? Find a hotel in Zurich

Zurich has a great range of hotels. Here are a few hotels that I recommend:

Hotel Ameron

I love the Ameron hotel! Located by the lake, the view from the rooms is magnificent. Redone only a few months ago, the decoration is chic and modern and the bedding is very comfortable. As for the breakfast, in the form of a buffet with fresh products, it is a treat!

The view from the hotel

Sorell Hotel Rütli

The Sorell Hotel Rütli is a good plan: it is located at only 6 minutes walk from the train station and in the historical center, ideal to visit everything on foot. The rooms are small but very well equipped, it’s clean, quiet and modern, a very pleasant place.

Book a hotel in Zurich

Find the rates of the different hotels in Zurich by entering your travel dates:

Booking.com

Where to eat in Zurich?

There is no lack of good addresses in Zurich! Find a selection of restaurants in this article:


Did you like this article? Pin it on Pinterest!


Article realized in collaboration with Zürich Tourism
A big thank you to the Zürich Tourism team, and especially to Anita Berardi for their welcome

Do you like Antoine Vitek's articles? Follow on social!
Comments to: What to do in Zurich? 10 must-sees!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Abonnez-vous à la newsletter

Abonnez-vous à la Newsletter

Chaque mois, recevez le meilleur de Culturez-vous dans votre boite mail !

Merci ! Consultez votre boite mail pour valider votre inscription.