Zurich is a lovely city that is imbued with the spirit of Switzerland. The historic Old Town offers distinctive architectural styles and beautiful old religious structures. There are pubs and bars for a drink in between sightseeing expeditions, and also excellent restaurants where you can have some hearty Swiss cuisine. At night, the streets become centers of entertainment that showcase the city’s famous street artists and performers. In the famous Bahnhofstrasse of Zurich, you will find everything your heart desires — from delicious pastry shops to expensive designer stores and luxury watch shops. At any time of the year, this street is busy, but especially so in winter when the Christmas decorations and lights are hanging and the festive atmosphere of the holiday season prevails everywhere.
When To Go:
The ideal time to engage in a tour of Zürich is between the months of June and August. This is when the normal temperature range shoots up to the mid 70s, making a dip in the lake conceivable. Nonetheless, summer’s warmer weather likewise makes it the most expensive season to visit. Yet even in the winter off-season, lodging rates still stay high in light of the adjacent skiing in the Swiss Alps. If you plan to visit in the spring or fall season, you may have the opportunity to discover affordable room rates, but will need to be prepared for the cold climate.
Here are the top
things to do
when in the city of Zurich:
Old Town (Altstadt)
Strolling along the Limmat River and through the Old Town is very relaxing. You can find various shops, bars, restaurants, and pubs. Spectacular buildings that you will see along the way are the Grossmünster with its tall towers and the Fraumünster that stands on the west bank of the river — also known for the colorful stained glass windows by Marc Chagall. Also fascinating are the inevitable bell towers with clocks. In the evening, the atmosphere changes as lights reflected on the river surface make everything more magical and romantic.
A simple loop allows you to easily visit the main parts of this old town around the Limmat canal: the view of the city from the square of Liedenhof; the steeple of the church of St. Peter; the Abbey Fraumunster with those original stained glass windows; the walk to the Burkiplatz with sea views of Zurich and hundreds of seagulls; then up to the small tower in front of the Opera on the other side. Also interesting and highly recommended is a quick visit to the Rietberg Museum with its beautiful park. The atmosphere of the old town of Zurich is very pleasant, with the typical small houses of the Swiss, narrow streets with restaurants and boutiques, and even a small park that offers a beautiful view of the other side of the city.
Museum of Art (Kunsthaus Zurich)
Museum of Art
holds a rich collection of paintings and sculptures with a good collection of works by artists from different eras. It is one of the most important art museums in Europe that focuses mainly on the 19th and 20th centuries, though there are also some paintings and sculptures from the most recent times. The museum was founded in the Victorian era and was renovated in 1976. Today, it is one of the most modern museums in the world. Near the entrance to the museum you will see Rodin’s sculpture of “The Gates of Hell”.
The museum contains masterpieces of another famous Swiss sculptor and painter named Giacometti. The collection of works in the Art Nouveau style includes works by such great artists as Bonnard, Braque, Chagall, Marini, Mondrian, Picasso, Van Gogh, Warhol, and Rouault. The gallery has the largest collection outside Oslo of works by the Norwegian artist Edvard Munch. Two old masters, Rubens and Rembrandt are also presented. To brighten a rainy day, come and see the paintings done by Cezanne, Degas, Monet, Toulouse-Lautrec and Utrillo. The museum is certainly worth visiting for art lovers as it inspires and leaves a very rewarding experience.
One of the top things to do in Zurich is to walk along the promenade area of the
. Start with a walk at the Central Station where on most days you can happen upon an organized fair of agricultural products — check it out, as you can probably buy fresh cheese and honey. Next, go outside and head towards the lake. The street is full of jewelry and watch shops bearing Switzerland’s most famous brands. Somewhere in the middle of the street on the right is a small space with a shopping center that carries cheaper brands and budget items. Closer to the lake, you can find the street restaurants.
If you walk a little further you will get to an area with old buildings on the riverbank. In this area there is a very cozy old square with pubs and dining areas. The busy street ends at the lake where you can sit on a bench or stroll along the pier while admiring the beautiful views.
The busiest street in Zurich connects the central railway station and the lakefront promenade. The length of the street is about a mile. The European classical architecture of the buildings on the left and the right gives the street a majestic feeling. It also highlights the buildings that are full of bright-colored fashion apparel, shoes and accessories by world-famous fashion designers. In building 21, you can enjoy fragrant tea and delicate cream cake, or buy gourmet gifts for friends and relatives.
Church of Our Lady (Fraumunster)
is adjacent to the old Munster Square, where in the 9th century the abbey was founded. The church was built almost immediately after the founding of the abbey and became its main Cathedral. The main attractions of the Fraumunster are the five stained-glass windows created by Marc Chagall in 1970. Tourists come here not only to touch history but also for the sake of these impressive stained glass windows.
Unfortunately, taking pictures is not allowed and visitors can only gaze at this gorgeous feature. Nevertheless, it is definitely worth a visit and best of all on a sunny day when the windows are properly illuminated. In 1534, the cathedral became a Protestant church and has remained so until today. Zurich is now the center of the Protestant religion in Switzerland. The large cathedral inside is all modest and simple, without a lot of icons, statuary, or elaborate decorations.
Great Church (Grossmunster)
Built in the 12th century, the
(“great monastery”) is a Romanesque church that was originally a convent; as such it played a significant role in the history of the Protestant Reformation in Switzerland. It has beautiful architecture and dignified interior decoration. According to legend, Charlemagne founded the Grossmünster after his horse fell to its knees over the graves of Felix and Regula, the patron saints of Zurich. Grossmünster is easy to recognize (even from afar) by the presence of the two towers of the cathedral.
If you want to see the whole city from a good height, you need pay $4 to climb the 187 steps (wear comfortable shoes). In the facade of the cathedral is a copy of King Charlemagne’s golden crown, created after the collapse of the Roman Empire united the separate land of the Novorimskuyu Empire of Germany. Inside the cathedral everything is modest and majestic, and the main attractions are the stained glass windows. There is a small souvenir shop within the church grounds. If you do not have a fridge magnet depicting Grossmünster, then you have not been in Zurich.
is one of the most interesting museums in Zurich with a nice park and a pleasant atmosphere. The entire collection is presented in several sections, and was gradually gathered from all around the world. You will find art works, ceramics, masks, sculptures, drawings, paintings, carpets and a bit of everything else too. Exploring this museum is a perfect way to spend half a day in Zurich. Located in a beautiful park open to the public, the art museum has an especially wonderful collection of Asian ceramics. Do not miss the exhibition called “Picasso Buddha,” it is very well organized with pieces of considerable interest.
The museum has a vast collection of non-European art, which is not easily found elsewhere in Europe. The center of the museum has huge meadows, picturesque buildings and the underground area is full of memorabilia — you will have the impression of almost discovering a secret lying under the roots of the world. Occasionally, they also organize special events in the park of the museum such as concerts and the like.
of Zurich is definitely one of the major attractions of the city, not so much for its architecture (from the late nineteenth century) but due to its baroque interior decorations and the neoclassical style design of the façade. The orchestra is very good and completely professional. The theater is also located on the lakeshore, which allows you to exit onto beautiful large terraces where you can enjoy the views of the city and its surroundings as you breathe some fresh air.
Add to this the convenience of having a good restaurant attached to the terrace overlooking the lake, and most importantly, the ease of access, thanks to the perfect urban transport system that allows you to reach virtually the front door by a tram (that no one is ashamed to even take in an evening gown.) The only drawback is the high cost of tickets but it is all worth it because it is now easier to enjoy a beautiful opera even if the location is less than three hundred miles from Milan.
is a nice place for a walk with children, or as a couple. It is very attractive in the spring and summer because of the beautiful flower gardens. It is a great spot to relax, enjoy the nature, watch the seabirds, and unwind or spend an afternoon having a picnic or a barbecue party. The parking area is very spacious. The lakeside location is absolutely stress-free and creates a special charm. In the cold months, the lakeside resort of deep wells in addition to the park is open and invites you to extended walks.
As soon as the first ray of sunshine strikes, there is a lot going on, from a mobile ice cream stand up to the endless stream of locals and guests. Especially cool is to find a public electric grill that is accessible to everyone and can even be actively used on a warm November day. In good weather, you can have a glimpse of the beautiful Swiss Alps on the left side of the site.
is very innovative and offers something for everyone. The Masoala Hall is sensational because it gives a feeling of being in the tropical forest right in the mountains of Zurich. Credit goes to the zoo staff that makes all the effort to keep the animals as comfortable as possible and real as in the wild nature. You can go on to spend half a day and observe the many animals. In addition, there are tropical plants and huge trees that provide enough shade on a sunny day. The entire zoo is well maintained and beautifully designed for any wildlife fan. Everything is done to make the animals comfortable with their species-appropriate enclosure.
Swiss National Museum
Swiss National Museum
is ideally located next to the main train station in Zurich. The museum is very large so you should reserve enough time to explore its noteworthy features. It has many different topics and eras covered. The strategic location and building are already worth a visit. With the audio guide each visitor learns almost everything about Swiss history.
The museum is also great for children and they find it very interesting, especially the section with the vintage dresses and of course the armory in the tower. A lot of information is made available in English. Particularly interesting are the artifacts from different eras, and products of world-famous Swiss brands. In addition to specific information about Switzerland, you can also learn much about European history in general.