Zurich is not only the most important financial and business capital of Switzerland, but also one of the best European cities to invest and live, with numerous places to visit and enjoy. If Switzerland is on your travel itinerary and you don’t know what to do in Zurich, this article is for you. We have the TOP of the 25 best destinations in the city that you cannot miss. Below is the list with the best things to do in Zurich!
Let’s start our tour of a Unesco World Heritage Site, Bellevue Square.
Bellevue Square, built in 1956, is a Unesco World Heritage Site. “Una Hermosa Vista”, how it is translated into Spanish, has a varied area of restaurants and small shops to buy and take home souvenirs. One of its main attractions is having a coffee or tea at sunset, in one of the places in the vicinity.
The Zurich Opera
The Zurich Opera, in neoclassical style from 1890, has a good collection of busts that are among the most important attractions of a visit to the opera.
Among the figures on display are Mozart, Wagner, Schiller, Goethe, among other composers. It averages 250 shows a year of national and international talent and an award for Best Opera Company.
Le Corbusier Pavilion
One of the most important modern art museums in the country, created at the end of the 20th century by the artist Le Corbusier, to preserve his works on the east shore of Lake Zurich. In addition to its collections, you will see the architecture of the place that by itself is a work of art. Learn more about the Pavillon Le Corbusier here .
The Money Museum
A visit to the mint cannot be missing among the things to do in Zurich. At the Money Museum you will enjoy a private collection of exclusive world coins. You will also know the interesting history of how money was established in society. Switzerland is considered one of the most expensive countries to live in and a world reference, thanks to its economic model. Also read our guide on the 15 cheapest destinations to travel to Europe
The Zurich Zoo, operating since 1929, has more than 1,500 animals of at least 300 species for the public. As you can visit it in parts, in the seasons or stages created, you will be able to enjoy the Masoala rainforest and a little piece of Mongolia. Its elephant area is great fun for the whole family, especially for children. Learn more about the Zurich Zoo here .
The Kunsthaus Zurich Art Gallery
Art continues to be an attraction among the things to do in Zurich. In the Kunsthaus Zurich Art Gallery you will see one of the most important art collections in the city, which collects works from the Middle Ages to Contemporary art. Among the featured artists you will be able to appreciate works by Van Gogh, Monet, Munch and Picasso. Learn more about the Kunsthaus Zurich Art Gallery here .
Lindenhofplatz is a historic city in the old town of Zurich, where in addition to getting closer to Switzerland’s historical past, you can enjoy views of the Limmat river and escape the bustle of the city.
Important events in the history of Europe occurred at Lindenhofplatz, being a city with Roman fortresses and a royal palace in the 4th and 9th century, respectively. Currently it preserves a fairly classical architecture.
Get to know Lake Zurich
Although their main activity continues to be merchandise traffic, in Lake Zurich they also have several tour packages with excursions and tours, which include boat tours through its calm waters, swimming or enjoying a romantic dinner.
The Ghosts of Zurich
From the hand of the paranormal artist, Dan Dent, you will be able to visit areas and buildings of the city considered attractions of the “afterlife”, due to the stories of blood and terror. On the tour, secrets of the ghostly and criminal life of the country will be discovered, because it is based on real and documented events that tell the anecdotes of hundreds of suicides and murders.
FIFA World Football Museum
Among the things to do in Zurich you cannot miss a visit to the FIFA World Football Museum, even if you are not a football fan. Its exhibitions portray the trajectory of the soccer World Cups, both for men and women, thanks to a preserved collection of photographs, balls and artifacts that were part of each World Cup. The museum is owned by FIFA and has a cafe, sports bar, library and souvenir shops. Learn more about this spectacular sports venue here .
Take a tour of Niederdorf
One of the best tours in the historic center of Zurich. When walking through the streets of Niederdorf you will see local, small establishments, kiosks and populated corners, which offer a variety of souvenir shops, crafts and above all, an excellent culinary selection. Niederdorf is transformed at night into a lively area with bars, clubs and events by street artists in the open air, which enlivens shopping.
Tour the historic center
Touring the historic center of Zurich is a pleasant experience due to its historical content, its great cultural contribution and the intense party nights. When walking through its streets you will see houses with medieval airs that are part of the cultural heritage. Also churches, historic buildings and wide paths, with artisans who offer the best souvenirs in the city.
The streets are tinged with young people at night and are usually packed with music. You will have bars or pubs from the simplest, to impressive and exclusive discos in the country.
The Rietberg Museum
The Rietberg Museum opened its doors thanks to the donation of the art collection of Baron Eduard von der Heydt. Today it adds double the space and exhibits different works and/or figures of European and world art. This art house also has a workshop where visitors, especially children, learn basic artistic techniques with which they can create their own works. Although the official guided tours are in German, with prior booking you will have them in English or French.
What to do in Zurich in winter
Winter reaches minus 15 degrees Celsius with thick layers of snow on some days, making it the most difficult season in the country. Even with these conditions you can walk around Zurich. Let’s continue our list of things to do in Zurich, now including activities in the winter.
A tour of some Churches
You can start the tour of the churches of Zurich by the Grossmunster Romanesque-style cathedral, the largest and most referential in the city. Fraumunster Abbey follows, a small building with Romanesque architectural lines and often lonely. The Church of San Pedro has the largest clock in Europe, and is also the oldest in the city.
Get to know the town hall
Knowing the town hall is one of the things to do in Zurich in winter. This building with clearly Renaissance lines on the Limmat River was the seat of what used to be the government of the Republic of Zurich, until 1798. In addition to keeping the power lines of the city, it has some baroque-style collections with excellent finishes in its halls, which are a reason to visit.
Enjoy a bath in a spa
Zurich has rich spas or spas that offer alternatives to steam and warm water, so that winter is not an obstacle to enjoying the city during the cold. Most of these spas are affordable and with a little more money, you can include excellent skin treatments.
Shopping on Bahnhofstrasse
Bahnhofstrasse is one of the most exclusive and expensive streets in Europe. As you walk through it, you will see luxurious gourmet restaurants, world-renowned brand stores, and the banking center of the country. In addition, you can drink a beer in its bars and breweries overlooking the river. Its buildings rest on the bases of the fortifications that originally made the path from the train station to the lake.
What to do in Zurich for free
Considering that it is the most expensive city in the world, having the possibility of having free entertainment and tours is always an excellent option. Let’s see!
Visit the James Joyce Foundation
The James Joyce Foundation was created in honor of this illustrious resident and lover of the city. Its objective is to transmit the legacy of the Irish writer, one of the most influential of the 20th century. You will be able to learn about his life story, his works and participate in reading workshops coordinated by members of the University of Zurich, oriented towards literary analysis of various kinds. It is a free visit and tour.
Get to know the natural pools
The inhabitants of Zurich enjoy their 2 rivers and lake to which they have access by the edge of the city. They are alpine waters and free to enjoy on a sunny day.
Riding a bike
Riding a bike is another of the activities to do in Zurich without spending money. It is an alternative to the relatively expensive transportation system and how boring walking can be. You will only have to give a deposit that will be returned to you when you deliver the bicycle.
Take a walk on the Uetliberg
The only mountain in Zurich has wide paths that allow you to enjoy its vegetation, exercise, explore its nature and above all, relax at no cost.
Free Walking Tour
On Saturdays and Sundays you have a free option to tour the city and meet people. It is a meeting in the Paradeplatz square from where a walk through Zurich starts, in which stories are told about its places, traditions and monuments. Although it is a voluntary job, it is worth tipping the guides.
Drink water wherever you want
Zurich is one of the few cities in the world where you can drink water from any dispenser without getting sick. It adds up to approximately 1,200 fountains distributed in squares, parks and places of interest, which supply water from the Alps to the public. The custom of free water is so established that you will not be charged for it in restaurants or other establishments in the city. The locals carry with them recyclable containers to store water and refuel from one of the sources whenever necessary.
Tour of the botanical garden
Its more than 52,000 square meters of extension and 8,000 representations of flora make the botanical gardens of the University of Zurich a comforting experience. You will learn a little about the city’s plants, some hybrids and even specimens from other countries. The university guarantees the maintenance of spaces to practice scientific studies, to preserve the flora and apply care techniques in agriculture and other areas.
What to see in Lucerne
Between Zurich, Basel and Bern, is the small town of Lucerne, a city that dates back to 1000 AD and that maintains most of its buildings in their original state. You will see the Chapel Bridge, the oldest wooden bridge in Europe with more than 650 years of validity, which connects the new part with the old part of the city, separated by the Reuss river. Inside you can enjoy some paintings that tell the history of Lucerne, while from the outside you will admire the wooden construction always adorned with flowers of many colors. Also take advantage of seeing the Water Tower, whose octagonal shape has been the background of countless photographs, being one of the most important icons of Switzerland. The historic center of Lucerne is full of facades of important premises and brands, which, in addition to not altering the medieval line of the construction, still preserve paintings that tell stories of the time and passages from the Bible. You should also take a look at the Lion of Lucerne, a 6.80 meter high stone sculpture, built in honor of the Swiss Guards who fell during the French Revolution. It is one of the most visited places in the city and the country.
How to get around Zurich
One of the most important parts of what to do in Zurich is knowing how to get around the city. For this you must know some tricks that will also help you not spend your budget. In addition to the free bikes provided by the state, you can use the perfectly working train transportation system. With the purchase of a ZürichCARD you can enjoy free travel on the bus, tram and boat system, as well as take walks and have free entrance to museums. Taxis will be your last option because they are expensive. They are also unnecessary due to the good public transport service.
What to do in Zurich 2 days
Zurich is perfectly designed to show you a lot in a short time, in case your case is a two-day itinerary in the city. Thanks to its excellent connections by train, the favorite transport system for the Swiss, you can leave the airport and be in the city center in 10 minutes. From there you can start a tour of the town hall, the old town and, of course, the most important churches and buildings in the city. Afterwards you could delight in the dishes of the surrounding communities and perhaps take a night walk to the museum. If you are more adventurous and partier, you can spend the night enjoying the nightlife. The next morning, when you take the train again, you will be ready for the rest of the tour, where you can dedicate time to other museums or even have a picnic on the shores of the lake.
What to do in Zurich in a few hours
Due to its efficiency and the level of traffic it receives, Zurich airport is in seventh position in the ranking of the best airports in the world. For this reason, it is not uncommon that on a trip to any other destination you have to enjoy a stopover in this city. If this is your case, you can enter and arrive by train to the historic center where you will find a handful of places to see or simply walk through the streets, where you will learn a bit of history, its customs, gastronomy and buy some crafts to remember. . The punctuality and excellent service of the train system ensures that you will be back at the airport on time. Zurich is a wonderful city that brings together beautiful natural sites, important art museums and a rich nightlife that mixes with the culture of this city.