By: Rekha Bisht of Indian Holiday
Do you get that excited, butterflies flopping around your stomach feeling every time you think about top Zurich tourist attractions and planning a Switzerland budget itinerary in general? Or, perhaps you’re visiting Zurich after doing a bit of paragliding in Grimmelwald?
If you don’t then you should since Zurich, Switzerland is the perfect vacation destination for a romantic honeymoon or for a solo travel adventure.
But what makes Zurich so amazing any way?
Well, it’s a large city that is close to nature and that has a relatively small population.
As a result:
Residents enjoy a high quality of life that is only enhanced by the magical beauty of the city’s natural surroundings.
And while this city is predominantly known as one of the financial capitals of the world:
Zurich also has a rich and ancient history that offers travelers striking views of nature, drool-worthy foods to taste, and an assortment of amazing Zurich top attractions that you absolutely must check out.
Grab a cup of Swiss Miss cocoa (get it?) and relax because we’re about to take a look at some Zurich tourist attractions that you cannot miss when you visit this enchanting city.
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***Looking for some of the best hotels in Zurich? Then check out 25 Hours Hotel Zurich West, Hotel Welcome Inn, and Placid Hotel for great mid-range options. Also, check out Youth Hostel Zurich and Old Town Hostel Otter for more budget-friendly accommodations. ***
***For amazing discounts on top Zurich tourist attractions, as well as transportation, consider purchasing the Zurich Card. And if you have time, you can also check out some of the amazing things to do in Interlaken!***
1. Lake Zurich
Dripping with peace, tranquility, and natural beauty:
Lake Zurich is the perfect place to relax and take in the ever-changing skies and charming, snow-capped mountains all around you.
And if you’re not a big fan of relaxation:
Not to worry. You can always visit one of the many idyllic spots along the lake; areas that are perfect for boating, fishing, and swimming until the sun goes down.
Major Zurich tourist attractions like Bahnhofstrasse, Grossmunster, the Swiss National Museum, and Fraumünster are incredibly close to the lake and easy to visit after you’ve explored this amazing natural wonder.
Best Time to Visit: From June through August is an ideal time to tour the lake.
2. Uetliberg Mountain
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Rising to 2850 feet:
No visit to Zurich would be complete without a trip up Uetliberg Mountain.
Dotted with enchanting wildflowers in the spring and vibrant reds and golds throughout the autumn, Uetliberg Mountain is the perfect place to go if you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.
Whether you’re into hiking, jogging, or mountain biking, there are a ton of mountainside trails for you to explore.
Plus, at the top of the mountain:
You’ll find the Uetliberg Aussichtsturm, an observation tower (You do have to pay to visit the top of the tower) with stunning panoramic views of Lake Zürich and the surrounding city.
Bring your camera and visit at either sunrise or sunset, and I promise you will NOT be disappointed.
***If you don’t want to hike all the way to the top, you can take the train from the Hauptbahnhof ($10).***
3. Old Town
Filled with finely-crafted squares and quaint little alleyways:
Zurich’s old town brings the Renaissance to life with historic buildings that add to ever enchanting charm of this city.
Add in some modern cafes, clubs, and shops and you can easily spend the day meandering through this part of the city.
On a sunny day:
Also, try and visit the Fraumünster Church to see the magnificent Chagall, color changing windows.
During the warmer months:
You can even take a boat ride along the River Limmat and capture some splendid views of Zurich’s old town.
Best Time to Visit: The summer months are considered the best time to plan a visit here.
***You can also take an enchanting, 2 hour, guided tour through this magical part of the city.***
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Walk along Zurich’s labyrinth of cobbled streets, past the Zurich Railway Station, and you’ll find Bahnhofstrasse, one of the most expensive shopping avenues in the entire world.
Connecting Lake Zurich with Zurich’s Main Railway Station:
This 0.87-mile long avenue is home to Paradeplatz (the Swiss banking center), as well as 26 different boutiques and department stores.
So whether you take a lakeside stroll in the summer or try some of the city’s famous hot chocolate and mulled wine during the winter, you will definitely fall in love with this exclusive avenue through the city.
***You can also try a fantastic sightseeing tour with gourmet cheese fondue (I never met a piece of cheese I didn’t like.***
Best Time to Visit: Winters are the best time to visit this luxury lane.
5. Museum of Art (Kunsthaus)
Stealing the hearts of art-lovers across the world since 1910:
The Museum of Art, or the Kunsthaus Zürich, explores the timeless masterpieces of European artists from the middle ages through to the contemporary art of today.
And while an endless number of artistic treasures are on display:
Museum highlights include works by Edvard Munch, Jacques Lipchitz Pablo Picasso, and Alberto Giacometti.
My favorites are the masterpieces of Monet and van Gogh, as well as several Rodin sculptures that will amaze even the most unenthusiastic visitor.
Hours: Open Tuesday/Friday/Sunday: 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM, Wednesday/Thursday 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM and closed Mondays.
6. Lindenhof Hill
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Located in the historic center of Zurich:
Lindenhof hill is the place to go if you’re fascinated by ancient history and looking to escape the chaos of the city.
The site of prehistoric, Roman, and medieval ruins:
This modern-day oasis of greenery was once home to a 4th century, Roman fort that was later turned into a magnificent, 9th century, royal palace.
A city park is a haven of peace and tranquility that provided visitors with stunning views of the Limmat River, Old Town, City Hall, and Grossmünster Church.
*** If you have time, definitely visit Grossmünster Church.***
7. Swiss National Museum (Schweizerisches Landesmuseum)
Designed by Gustav Gull:
This stunning building looks more like a cross between a castle and a historic, French chateau than a national museum.
But walk inside and you’ll discover 6 centuries of Swiss history and see awe-inspiring exhibits that display everything from elaborately carved sleds to medieval frescoes to domestic furniture.
Also, visit the newly added archeological wing and learn not only about Swiss history but about Swiss cultural identity too.
***If you have time, visit the National Museum Zurich, the Château de Prangins and the Forum of Swiss History Schwyz, all of which fall under the umbrella of the Swiss National Museum (SNM).***
Hours: Tuesday through Sunday- 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM, Thursday- 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM, and closed Mondays.
Admission Fees: Tickets to the museum are free for children 16 and under or Zurich Card holders. Otherwise, tickets cost 10 francs.
8. Grossmünster / Great Minster
Among the top places to visit in Zurich is Grossmünster, one of the most important and magnificently beautiful churches in the entire city.
Located in Zurich’s charming Old Town:
This Evangelical Protestant church was founded by Charlemagne in the 9th century and showcases two, neo-Gothic towers that have been an iconic part of the city skyline since 1100 AD.
Walk inside and you’ll be amazed by the stained-glass work of Augusto Giacometti.
You can even climb to the top of the Southern tower, the Karlsturm, for fantastic panoramic views of the city (this costs 4 Francs).
***If you’re interested in religious history, you can also visit a monument to and the home of Huldrych Zwingli (sadly you can’t go inside), a revolutionary preacher who spoke out against the Catholic Church and, in so doing, brought the Reformation to Zürich.***
Hours: Monday through Saturday 10:00 AM -5:00 PM/ 6:00 PM (Varies seasonally)
Admission Fees: Free
9. Zoo Zurich
Started in 1929:
Zoo Zurich currently has over 380 animal species, in state of the art enclosures, like elephants, lemurs, chameleons, camels, yaks, penguins, etc.
With an emphasis on animal conservation:
Zoo highlights include Kaeng Krachen Elephant Park, Masoala Rainforest, and the Pantanal South American wetlands, just to name a few.
One of many Zurich tourist attractions that families will enjoy:
Be sure to spend at least a four-hour visit since the park is rather large.
Hours: 9:00 AM to 5:00 or 6:00 PM (Depending on the month)
Admission Fees: Tickets are free for children under 5, 13 Swiss francs for children between 6 and 15, 21 Swiss francs for young adults between 16 and 20, and 26 Swiss francs for adults.
10. Minster of our Lady/ Fraumünster
While not much to look at from the exterior:
This 13th century will amaze you once you step inside and see the assortment of stunning stained glass windows within the choir stalls.
Installed in 1971:
These 5 windows were designed by Marc Chagall and represent 5 distinct bible stories (along with the rose window in the southern transept which was installed in 1978).
The rose window in the northern transept is also worth seeing and was created by Augusto Giacometti in 1945.
Admission Fees: Entrance is free to worshippers and 5 Swiss Francs for visitors 17 and older.
11. FIFA World Football Museum
If football is the great love of your life then this is the museum for you.
Openned in 2017:
The Fifa World Football Museum has 3 floors of intriguing football exhibits that provide you with everything you ever wanted to know about football and the World Cup.
Start off at the Planet Football exhibit, on the ground floor, which features jerseys from all 211 Member Associations of FIFA.
Explore The Timeline exhibit, which takes you back through the entire history of FIFA and the World cup, with exciting, hands-on displays that children will really enjoy.
But before you leave:
Be sure to see the original World Cup Trophy and test your skills on a giant, World Cup-themed pinball machine.
Definitely one of the
Hours: Tuesday through Thursday- 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM, Friday through Sunday- 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM, and closed Mondays.
Admission Fees: Tickets are free for children 6 and under, 14 Swiss France for children between 7 and 15, 19 Swiss Francs for sniors, and 24 Swiss Francs for adults.
12. Limmat River Cruise
Doing some Zurich sightseeing? Then why not make your vacation to Switzerland even more memorable by booking a Limmat River Cruise in Zurich?
Hop aboard a beautiful, glass roof boat and marvel at some of the most beautiful sight’s in Zurich’s Old Town.
Your journey will start at the National Museum:
Here, the boats Felix and Regula will head down river and glide past historic guild houses, Zurich’s Town Hall, the Lindenhof, and the Grossmünster church.
You’ll then continue up the River Limmat, to Lake Zurich, and then back again, for a trip that takes approximately 50 minutes.
Whatever you do though:
Be sure to bring a camera because these views are unlike anything you’ll see on land.
Best Time to Visit: Tours only run between April and October.
***Discover Switzerland’s business and cultural hub with a combined walking tour and cruise of Zürich to see why this city has one of the highest qualities of life in the world.***
13. Beyer Clock and Watch Museum
Tucked inside the premises of one of the finest timepiece creators in the world :
It’s a tiny but amazing museum that examines horology, or the study of time measurement).
With over 300 clocks in their private collection:
Beyer Clock and Watch Museum gives visitors a unique insight into the golden history of time-keeping.
From Sundials to striated medieval candles to hourglasses to grandfather clocks to modern watches, this museum chronicles the evolution of timekeeping from 1400 BC until the present.
To see videos of the most creative clocks in the world, like Moses striking a rock with his staff to bring forth water, and a magician who lifts cups to reveal ever-changing geometric shapes, ask a staff member for a loaner iPad.
Hours: Monday through Friday- 2:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Admission Fees: Tickets are free for children 12 and under, 3 Swiss Francs for students, 5 Swiss Francs for seniors, and 8 Swiss Francs for adults.
You made it to the end of this epic list about all the fun and exciting things to do in Zurich, Switzerland!
How does it feel? Did you know that Zurich was this awesome?
Well, if you didn’t then you do now after reading about these 13 amazing things to do in Zurich. And with this list, you can now plan the perfect Zurich itinerary and experience some of the more unusual things to do in Zurich.
So if you’re ready to start planning a trip to Zurich, then pin this now and read it again later!
About the Author:
Rekha Bisht is a travel enthusiast who loves to visit both popular and offbeat places in the world. She also enjoys sharing her travel experiences with fellow travelers. For planning memorable holidays in India, or any world destination, you can follow all of her write-ups.