Zurich the magnificent city of Switzerland settled on the shores of a glistening lake is full of amazing attractions. Zurich attractions are not only beautiful but are also very informative. The city is the financial powerhouse of Switzerland with a high-class quality of life. The cities and towns of Switzerland are always blessed with fantastic views of lakes and mountains that surround them.
Zurich is the biggest city in Switzerland which is built along the River Limmat. The city provides all kind of tourist attractions from the variety of natural wonders, lakes, mountains to amazing shopping and night life. There are historical buildings, churches outdoor pools, cool nightspots, many restaurants, cafes, and shops all across the city.
The archaeological finds suggest the presence of humans from 6,400 years in this area, but the evidence of permanent settlement dates back to 2000 years old which is still very old. German is the official language of Zurich while locals speak a different variant of German which is known as Zurich German. Even with a small population, Zurich is well known as one of the largest financial centers of the world which houses many banking and financial institutions.
24 Wonderful Things to do in Zurich Switzerland
Altstadt (The Old Town of Zurich)
The beautiful Old Town of Zurich is divided into half by the River Limmat and is filled with medieval and early modern streets. These streets of Old Town are filled with culture, shopping, food, and nightlife. You can enjoy strolling in these cobble stone streets while watching and praising historic monuments and exploring the squares. There are many one-of-a-kind shops in this area and many cute cafes as well.
The 17th century town hall and the medieval churches of Altstadt are going to fascinate you especially the Limmat River waterfront where you can see beautiful medieval guild houses which represent carpet, spices, and trading industries. Altstadt is also known as District 1 and is a small area but concentrated with a lot of sites and facilities including universities.
You can enjoy more if you join a group walking tour of the area which will help you explore the whole area in detail. There are free walking tours as well and if you prefer more private experience and an exploration for longer hours, you can book a private tour as per your need.
Lake Zurich - Zurich Attractions
Zurich city is also blessed with this beautiful long and crescent shaped lake which is very eye catching. The Zurich lake is ideal for many activities including cruising and water sports. You can stroll around the lake by walking on the 3-kilometer-long promenade along the east shore in the Seefeld Quarter. The corners of the city with the lake view are one of the most amazing places where you can also find some lovely cafes with the view of Zurich Lake.
There are plenty of yachts and boats available at the shore and you can easily book a cruising tour if you like to explore the lake in detail.
Museum of Art - Zurich Attractions
The fantastic Museum of Art in Zurich is a splendid attraction for tourists located near the Schauspielhaus on Heimplatz. The Museum of Art houses a large collection from the 13th century to the 21st century. The collections include variety of art works including Swiss art, romantic paintings, symbolists work, contemporary art and works from many internationally renowned artists. The museum has the largest collection of art by Edvard Munch outside Scandinavia and also has collection of work by Van Gogh, Monet, Picasso, Max Beckmann and Marc Chagall. The museum also has some collection from the old masters like Domenichino and Rembrandt.
Lindenhof - Zurich Attractions
Lindenhof is a very nice and heighted spot near the Old Town of Zurich from where you can have the best views of the historic city center. Lindenhof was a hill that had a Roman Fortress for defensive purpose and later had the palace of Louis the German in the 9th century.
You can enjoy panoramic views of Zurich’s oldest quarters on the right bank of River Limmat. The atmosphere is great with a shade of lime trees that also provide great opportunity for photographers.
Zurich West is the former industrial zone of the city which now boasts the creative and stylish side of the city. It is also known as District 5 and was once a hub for industrial machinery manufacturing which stopped by the end of 20th century. After the closure of industries, the place started to ruin and became unpleasant.
The city quickly re-developed the site and the Viadukt captured the attention of people right away. Viadukt was the old railway viaduct which has been renovated and its brick arches are now filled with stylish shops, restaurants, and bars. The old factories are replaced with cinemas, parks, and entertainment sites.
Swiss National Museum
Swiss National Museum presents the largest collection of historical facts and figures of Switzerland. It takes you on a fantastic trip of the country’s past and lets you explore the traditions and the Swiss culture. The interesting items include the pre-historic weapons, pottery and tools and you will be amazed to know how they were made and used.
The historical art from the medieval period of Switzerland and the collection of Renaissance is amazing. You will also find many carved altars and triptychs which are collected from different chapels and churches around the Switzerland. The galleries also have collection from the former Swiss armory.
Grossmünster - Zurich Attractions
Grossmünster was built between the 12th and 13th century by Romans and its two towers are the most prominent landmarks of Zurich. Grossmünster attracts many history and architecture lovers with its amazing structure. The oldest part of the church, the crypt is still original where you can see faded frescoes that were created by Hans Leu the Elder in 1400s.
There is a museum about the interesting events that happened in Grossmünster. This church was a ground zero for the Reformation in Switzerland in the 16th century. The visitors love the views from the top of the towers because they offer panoramic views of the city of Zurich. These towers look like two salt and pepper shakers and hence the church is also known as Salt & Pepper.
Niederdorf- Zurich Attractions
Niederdorf is a beautiful neighborhood of car-free cobblestone alleys under the towers of Grossmünster. The locals also call this place Dörfli because of its congested atmosphere located at the right bank of the Limmat River. The area is famous for food, designer shops, trendy boutiques, and late-night entertainment. There is a traditional café in Niederdorf called Conditorei Péclard which has a centuries old décor.
The zoo in Zurich is a wonderful place for the persons who love animals and want to see them in a well-cared environment. The zoo of Zurich provides the best care standards for animals by synthesizing the whole ecosystem and allowing the animals to roam freely.
The zoo has around 4000 animals from approximately 340 different species. The elephant park is perhaps the most impressive place where you will be fascinated by the Indian elephants. You can also watch them taking dips in water from an underwater viewing point. You can also meet the emperor penguins and watch many domestic animals in the petting zoo area.
Uetliberg - Zurich Attractions
Uetliberg is the spectacular mountain near the Zurich where you can reach by taking a train from the center of the city. You can reach the summit of this mountain in 25 minutes by taking the S10 from the Hauptbahnhop station. After taking off from the train a brief walk will take you to the peak of the summit where you will be rewarded with breathtaking views of the surroundings.
You will be enchanted by the beautiful scenery of Zurich from the top that is surrounded by the rivers and the beautiful lake with a backdrop of Swiss Alps. There is also a nice restaurant at the summit where you can eat and enjoy the views of surroundings. You can also enjoy hiking around at the Uetliberg or can hike back down towards the city if you want some more entertainment.
There is also a cable car between Felsenegg and Adliswil that takes you to Felsenegg, which is around 800 meters above the city which makes it the best lookout point to admire the city of Zurich from the top.
Cruising in Limmat River
Limmat is the main river that flows around the city and also divides the Old Town into half. Cruising in this river is also one of the most loved activities by tourists. You can go to the quay in front of the Swiss National Museum and choose from variety of available cruise options. The cruise timings depend on the season and weather conditions in Zurich.
The cruise experience is amazing because the river passes from the middle of the Old Town and you will have some wonderful perspective of the historical center from a different point of view. There are seven bridges on the River Limmat and the boats are designed in a way that they all can easily pass from under these bridges.
Rietberg Museum is a good place to explore art and archaeological find from around the world. This museum is located in Rieterpark in a group of palatial villas and a modern annex. There are impressive ancient Egyptian statues, old Buddhist art from East Asia, African Sculptures, and different religious objects.
The museum offers permanent and temporary exhibitions with a huge variety of art materials and objects from different areas of the world. The Rieterpark is also famous for sweet picnics in the summer and the museum also provides picnic baskets in the season.
Bahnhofstrasse - Zurich Attractions
Bahnhofstrasse is the prime shopping street of Zurich city and also one of the most expensive commercial property areas in the world. The street is filled with the most expensive and well-known international luxury brands like Prada, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and Burberry. The street is car free and is reached by a tram service.
Bahnhofstrasse is a great place to explore the rich culture of Zurich especially in December when it looks the most beautiful because of the wonderful Christmas decorations.
Beyer Clock and Watch Museum
Beyer Clock and Watch Museum is an inspirational but hidden treasure that you will find under the Beyer Jewelry and watch shop in Zurich. Many tourists miss this place because of lack of advertisement and clear boards, but the museum is worth a visit because it has a huge collection of navigational equipment, pendulums, clocks and automata from the 16th and 17th centuries.
You will see some amazingly crafted pocket watches and initial version of the first ever quartz wristwatch. When you enter the museum, you are provided with an iPad that has complete information about the timepieces as old as 3,400 years.
Fraumünster - Zurich Attractions
Fraumünster is a church in Zurich which was founded by Louis the German in the 9th century. The church has been extensively renovated and most of the present architecture is now from the 12th century to the 15th century. There is a beautiful stained-glass window in the church which you can find in the north transept. Five more windows were added in the church in 1970 and are titled as Prophets, Jacob, Christ, Zion, and Law.
FIFA World Football Museum
FIFA World Football Museum was opened in Zurich in 2016 and is located in the Enge quarter. The museum is a great attraction for the football lovers where they can learn about the game in its earliest days. Visitors can also get information about all the world cups since the first one in 1930. The museum displays interesting artefacts and stories from all these world cups.
There are more than 500 videos for the visitors who can watch or play interactive football themed games to learn more about the FIFA World Cup.
St Peter Church - Zurich Attractions
St Peter Church is located in the Old Town (Altstadt) of Zurich and is as old as the 8th century. The church has been extensively renovated and most of the present structure is from the 12th and 18th centuries. There are some parts of the church which are from the 9th century but they are fewer and can be seen in the foundations under the chancel.
One interesting thing about the church is that it belongs to the Canton of Zurich Church Body but its tower is owned by the city of Zurich and the reason for that is the purpose of the tower was to protect the city and to keep an eye on fires. There is also a very large clock on the tower which has a diameter of 86.4 meters.
Zurich Opera house
The Opera House in Zurich is a superb venue where around 250 performances are held each year by the world’s renown artists. The Neoclassical structure of the opera was built in 1890s and has an impressive façade with pictures of famous cultural figures including Shakespeare, Mozart, Wagner, Goethe, and Schiller.
The Zurich Opera also won the best Opera Company award in the International Opera Awards in 2014. You can also take tours of this opera where you will be explained about its history, its functions and major contribution towards the Opera.
Botanical Gardens - Zurich Attractions
The Botanical Gardens of Zurich are free to visit and have more than 8000 plant species in its indoor and outdoor facilities. You can identify this botanical garden by the three dome-shaped greenhouses which were built in 1970s. These three greenhouses have different climate conditions which allow the growth of different types of plants. The largest green house has the tropical species of plants on display while the other two display subtropical and savannah plants.
The outdoor facility has some special plants which are used for medicine and color making processes. The botanical gardens are inside the university which also has an open canteen for public.
Outdoor Swimming - Zurich Attractions
Just like Geneva, Zurich also has high quality open and outdoor swimming facilities. The water quality in Switzerland is always very good and Zurich also enjoys the great quality of swimming water. The women have a separate swimming place at Faruenbad am Stadthausquai and Males have their place at Schanzengraben.
Both of the outdoor swimming pools are located near the center of the city and are easily accessible by the residents and visitors. These places also have bar facilities and are ideal for late night entertainment in the summers.
Schanzengraben - Zurich Attractions
Schanzengraben is the city’s old moat on the west side of the Old Town of Zurich. This defensive structure is a huge project that was started in 1642. The long and zigzag waterway was redesigned for pleasureful strolling as part of the system of promenades in Switzerland. You can visit the Schanzengraben for peaceful walks along the lake and some beautiful flower beds.
Zoological Museum is a free attraction for the visitors in Zurich and is located near the city center. The museum displays many skeletons and taxidermies for thousands of species of animals. The museum is also family friendly and interactive where you can check out the microscopes and strange body parts of animals. Visitors are delighted by the sounds of many birds which create a musical effect in the museum. Visitors are also allowed to examine and touch some of the specimens as it encourages the learning process.
Dolderbahn - Zurich Attractions
Dolderbahn is a rack railway single coach train which will take you to the lower reaches of Adlisberg, which is one of the highest peaks around Zurich. There is a recreation area and a hotel on the top which is an amazing place to enjoy the panoramic views of Zurich and its surroundings. The ride is also very impressive, and you will be thrilled at the incline levels of 20%.
Street Parade - Zurich Attractions
On every second Saturday of August, Zurich’s streets are crowded by one of the world’s biggest electronic parties. This is a great event and venue for all the electronic music lovers since 1992. The street parade of Zurich was inspired by the Love Parade of Berlin.
The event has become very famous and each year more and more people flock to Zurich to attend the amazing event. Around 30 “Love Mobiles” are set around different points around the shores of Lake Zurich. These mobiles are equipped with display sets and heavy-duty sound systems. So, if you are looking for a street party time in August, Zurich is the best choice.
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