Switzerland's Lake City: 13 Best Things To Do In Zurich - Updated 2021

things to do in zurich switzerland

A vibrant mix of the archaic and the modern day, Zurich is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, having absorbed them both blazingly. As one of the leading global financial centres, Zurich attracts world attention as a pristine, scenic city and is home to a multitude of banks and financial institutions.

An exquisitely gorgeous city, here is where the tranquil Lake Zurich meets the placid river Limmat. The lofty and verdant Felsenegg Hills are located to the south-west of this picturesque city and the swirling streets and the tall church spires remind us of medieval Europe. State of the art living can be seen throughout Zurich and is a living testimony to this culture-rich, marvellous Swiss city!

1. Boat rides at Limmatschiffaahrt - Cool cruises!

Limmatschiff 'Felix' - Limmat - Limmatquai - Quaibrücke 2012-08-23 12-51-28 (P7000)
Source: Photo by user Roland zh used under CC BY-SA 3.0

A buoyant boat cruise across the Limmat River is a welcome reprieve and a chance to make your perfect holiday, memorable. The river cruise takes you from Zurich Landesmuseum, towards the lake, all along the old town, reaching back to the town centre.

The shortest boat cruise takes about 90 minutes. You can also choose longer cruises, lasting from two to four hours, depending on the route. Awesomely picturesque sights await you, as the scenic cruise takes you under many marvellous, arched bridges, with a stunning view of the green and gleaming hills in the distance.

A fascinating ride indeed!

Limmat Cruise

Address: Zürichsee Schifffahrtsgesellschaft, Mythenquai 333, Postfach 624, CH-8038 Zürich

Website: Limmat Cruise

2. A walk along Niederdorf - The old town of Zurich - A joyful walk!

Zürich - Niederdorf - Stüssihofstatt - zur Schnidern IMG 1375
Source: Photo by user Roland zh used under CC BY-SA 3.0

The old town of Niederdorf is a remarkable period setting. The dainty, cobblestone streets and cosy houses, make it a super walk through this part of the city. Shopping on the Niederdorf is good fun and offers a variety of choices and there are many popular shops and pubs, here.

This place is also popular for Fondue restaurants and a stretch of souvenir shops. Niederdorf, together with Oberdorf, spaced between Central and Bellevue, is locally referred to as the ‘Dorfli’.

Gear up with your range of shopping choices here!


Address: Niederdorf, Niederdorfstrasse, 8001 Zürich

Website: Niederdorf

3. Fun times on the shopping stretch of West Zurich

Zürich - Sihlcity IMG 0911
Source: Photo by user Roland zh used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Zurich is well-known for it’s upmarket, suave fashion choices, widely available at the West Zurich shopping hub. The city is also popular for its varied range of classic options. The most popular shopping outlets are found around the Hauptbahnhof, near Lake Zurich and the Bahnhofstrasse, close to the main station.

Luxury brands such as Chanel and Dior are big sellers here, besides standard brands, like Grieder. The West Zurich shopping stretch is famously known as the ‘Industriequartier’ or the 'Kreis 5’ and the 'Viadukt’ is a big attraction here, which also houses a variety of restaurants, shopping outlets and bars.

Another place mentioning is ‘Frau Gerolds Garten’, known for globally acclaimed, charming shopping outlets such as 'Edition Populaire’.

Have a great time exploring the high street hub of Zurich West!

4. A pleasant stroll along Bahnhofstrasse - The high street hub

Bahnhofstrasse Zürich - Bürkliplatz-SNB 2010-09-21 15-07-56
Source: Photo by user Roland zh used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Bahnhofstrasse, Zurich’s high street, holds an endless list of exciting choices for the avid shopper. Home to popular retailers, such as ‘Zara’ and 'H&M’, as well as high-end brands, like 'Rolex’, 'Louis Vuitton’ and 'Cartier’, this part of the city is an instant favourite with visitors.The 'Globus’ is a good competitor to some of the best European retail stores. You will marvel at the chic and dazzling wares in these shops, where window shopping is all the rage!

This place is also a vital Business hub of Zurich and is very well connected to all corners of the city. You will certainly find this to be the priciest shopping street, globally! Bahnhofstrasse, the ‘Rodeo Drive’ of Switzerland, is a shopping joy you must explore!


Address: Bahnhofstrasse, 8001 Zürich (By Zurich’s main railway station, Zurich Hauptbahnhof)

Website: Bahnhofstrasse

5. A relaxing journey uphill on the train, to the Uetliberg!

Bahnhof Uetliberg Zurich 2011 086
Source: Photo by user Chris j wood used under CC BY-SA 3.0

The Uetliberg is a super Swiss mountain setting and a popular adventure spot of the Swiss Alps. For example, you can go mountain biking at this popular location or for those of you who are paragliding enthusiasts, you need to look no further! You can be rest assured you will be well taken care of by the Skyjam Zurich Paragliding Club, who will help you enjoy your paragliding session at Switzerland’s ultimate holiday destination.

The mountain views from the Uetliberg offer a panoramic view of the great city of Zurich and a train from Zurich Bahnhof takes you to the mountain in just 20 minutes. It costs 17CHF (16.92 USD) for this train journey and a five-minute walk from Uetliberg Station will take you to your destination on the mountain.

At the peak, you can totally unwind at the Uto Kulm Hotel and Restaurant, where you are treated with regal luxury! While many other lavish restaurants offer the best of food and facilities, this 4-star hotel is also well-known as a favourite location for weddings and as a venue for grand banquets. A delicious menu, combined with marvellous views of this charming lake city, gleaming Lake Zurich and the beautiful landscapes, are refreshing treats you will certainly want to come back to!

The Uetliberg is also a favoured hiking destination of the Swiss Alps. The hiking trails here will leave you with nostalgic memories, as you walk along the Uetliberg Felsenegg (meaning, ‘the path of planets’).

Uetliberg Mountain

Address: 8143 Uetliberg

Website: Uetliberg Mountain

6. Fraunmunster - The period cathedral

7500 - Zürich - Fraumünster and Münsterbrücke
Source: Photo by user Andrew Bossi used under CC BY-SA 2.5

The 13th-century cathedral of Fraunmunster is a place of historical and architectural eminence, in the city of Zurich. The light blue spire of this cathedral is a common sight in Zurich.

The stained glass windows of this cathedral were designed by the Russian-Jewish architect, Marc Chagall, who lived between 1887 and 1985. He designed the five windows of the choir stalls, in 1971 and the rose window in the southern transept, in 1978. The five glass windows are a great sight during mornings. Chagall’s choice of colours were symbolic, with green representing the Earth and red and yellow representing the heavens.

You will be astounded by the thematic design of the yellow ‘Zion’ window, on the extreme right. This symbolises the end of days, as the angel blows the trumpet, marking the dawn on new Jerusalem, as it descends from heaven. Below this, you can see the images of King David and his mistress, Bathsheba, who were the parents of King Solomon. King Solomon built the temple of Jerusalem.

The myth and history surrounding this cathedral take you to an ancient era!


Address: Fraumünster, Stadthausquai 19, 8001 Zürich

Website: Fraunmuster

7. Zurich's Botanical Garden

Zürich - Alter Botanischer Garten IMG 0684
Source: Photo by user Roland zh used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Bright and blooming alpine roses, fragrant, colourful, tropical greenery and marvellous Mediterranean vegetation - all of these welcome you at the Zurich Botanical Garden. This green patch of incredible vegetation is maintained by the University of Zurich. The greenhouse is specially constructed to nurture the tropical flora here and the entire green space is a refreshing get away from rush hour!

The grass in the park is sprayed with starry flora, in various hues of bright yellow, light lilac and pleasant white. The hill-like slopes surrounding the green park are adorned with scarlet coloured tulips and the green space is spotted with white Magnolia blossoms and filled with the melodious chirping of birds all around!

The Botanical Garden provides a guided tour, which is indeed educational for those with a keen eye for botany and gardening techniques. All the naturally beautiful sights in the park will be sure to take you to a quiet and sublime setting, in this picturesque, alpine city!

Zurich's Botanical Garden

Address: Alter Botanischer Garten, Pelikanstrasse 40, 8001 Zürich

Website: Zurich’s Botanical Garden

8. Kunsthaus Zurich

Kunsthaus Zürich Heimplatz
Source: Photo by user Photo: Andreas Pr... used under CC BY 3.0

For any modern art enthusiast, the Kunsthaus Zurich is a must visit. This place is home to a popular modern art collection. The Kunsthaus also conducts exhibitions, several times a year. Here, you can view the famed creations of Alberto Giacometti, the Swiss sculptor and painter. A range of exquisite sculpture, belonging to the medieval age, is also showcased here. The Baroque period, from the late 16th century to the early 18th century, was a remarkable period of art, in Italy and this museum owns collections from Italian and Dutch Baroque masters.

The museum also houses a library, with collections of modern art. All credit to the top quality modern art collection at the Kunsthaus Zurich, go to David M. Koetser, an art dealer, along with the chemist professor and Nobel prize winner, Leopold Ruzicka. As well, the museum proudly owns the best of the Venetian Settecento, from the 18th century.

The most amazing creations from Ruisdael, Van de Cappelle and Rembrandt, will leave you spellbound at this museum of art! Those of you who are connoisseurs of art will cheerfully appreciate that this museum is also home to the creations of Cornelis de Heem, whose name is proudly associated with some of the glorious works from the Flemish Baroque and the Dutch Golden Age of painting.

In all, the Kunsthaus Zurich is a great museum, that houses the best of global collections!

Kunsthaus Zurich

Address: Kunsthaus Zürich, Heimplatz 1, 8001 Zürich

Website: Kunsthaus Zurich

9. Schweizeirisches Landesmuseum

Zürich Landesmuseum 1000418
Source: Photo by user Flominator used under CC BY-SA 3.0

One of the main attractions, in Zurich, is the National Museum, also known as the Schweizeirisches Landesmuseum. A remarkably enormous monument, this place houses displays focused on the history of Switzerland. The museum recently celebrated the inauguration of its archaeological wing, in 2016.

The Schwiezeirisches Museum is also known to showcase exhibits related to current topics and the modern and trendy interior of the building will leave you totally mesmerized! Apart from incredible detail into the Swiss history, the Swiss National Museum offers you exclusive exhibits on a range of topics, which include Metallurgy, Painting and Art, Jewellery, Fashion, Technology and much more! The vast information available in these exhibits and displays are profoundly impressive and interesting. Your quest to learn about Switzerland’s ancient history will astonish you, with innumerable facts about the transformation of this great country from its earlier age of economic despair into the present-day, rich European nation. The organisation of data related to the Soviet era, with specific emphasis on Swiss history, art and culture are exemplary.

The museum is located very close to the Zurich Hauptbahnhof, which is the largest railway station in Switzerland. This indeed makes the place very accessible to visitors. The Schweizeirisches Landesmuseum is ranked as one of the best in the world and is definitely a must visit on your holiday list of landmarks, in Zurich!

Schweizeirisches Landesmuseum

Address: Swiss National Museum, National Museum Zurich, Museumstrasse 2, 8021 Zürich

Website: Schweizeirisches Landesmuseum

10. The Rietberg Museum

Museum Rietberg & Villa Wiesendonck - Rieterpark 2011-08-15 16-39-26
Source: Photo by user Roland zh used under CC BY-SA 3.0

The Rietberg Museum takes you on a sprightly tour of exquisite collections of art and sculpture from Oriental, American and African Nations. This museum is very different from other Swiss museums, which focus on the art and history of Switzerland and other European countries. The building boasts a grand and gleaming emerald glass entrance and is set in an ambience of greenery, measuring 69,000 square metres (742,709.8 feet) and offers a chic cafe, complete with luxury picnic baskets during the summer. You are all set to spend a pleasant afternoon in the midst of one of the most educative and vast museums in the world.

The museum is housed in several buildings, including the Wesendonck Villa, the Remise, the Rieter Park Villa, the Schonberg Villa and the Smaragd. Some of the very interesting collections include ancient 6th and 7th-century Buddhist sculptures and antique enamelled vases, from China. Super fine silk drapes created using the Ikat technique and Japanese Edo art, from the period between the 17th and 19th century are also creatively showcased.

Fascinating classic photographs from Indian temples, exhibiting exclusively rare pieces of the architecture and colourful culture of India, are all a splendid part of this amazing museum.

A magnificent mix of the best of the Orient, the American and the African, awaits you at the Rietberg Museum!

Rietberg Museum

Address: Museum Rietberg, Gablerstrasse 15, 8002 Zürich

Website: Rietberg Museum

11. Dinner at Vapiano

Vapiano is an extremely popular chain of Italian restaurants and is a big draw, in Zurich. At Vapiano, delicious desserts, such as strawberry mascarpone and melt in your mouth chocolate fudge, are universal favourites. You might find scrumptious food in other restaurants, but the best thing about Vapiano is, although a shade expensive, it offers customised service, not very common at the other eating outlets.

One of the reviews quoted that Vapiano was the place where excellent and authentic Italian food is prepared in front of the customer, adhering to directions regarding their preference of the perfect toppings and garnishes and catering to individual choices! Generally, public opinion regarding Vapiano, favours the pasta and the risotto options from this global chain, rating them as some of the best available at any Italian restaurant. In addition, Vapiano is a vegetarian-friendly restaurant.

This place is rated as a great pick for good dining, even by Zurich’s standards and the expensive cost of living. In Zurich, there are two branches of Vapiano - Vapiano Bellevue and Vapiano Sihlcity.

A warm and welcoming Vapiano awaits your arrival, in Zurich!

Vapiano Restaurant

Address: Two locations in Zurich, check website for more information

Website: Vapiano

12. Guild halls - Self-guided walks

Limmatquai - Zunfthaus zur Zimmerleuten 2010-10-08 14-48-50 ShiftN
Source: Photo by user Roland zh used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Zurich’s medieval history is well-preserved in the old town of this marvellous city. This is the ancient place where the merchant guild tradition can be traced back to the Middle Ages. You will be amazed to find 14 ‘Zunfte’, from Zurich’s medieval history. The Zunfte were the guilds that existed then, in addition to the Gesellschaft zur Constaffel, which housed all of Zurich’s nobles. These guilds were part of the ‘guild revolution’, established by Rudolf Brun, the then first independent mayor of Zurich, in 1336.

The array of guild houses as well as the guild halls in this part of Zurich, such as the Zufthaus zur Waag, are historical architectural treasures of Zurich, dating to 1303. A leisurely walk through these lanes will take you to the Grossmunster Church, Lindenhof Square and the Opfelchammer Restaurant, located in Niederdorf.

The chiming of the bells at the Grossmunster Church, at 6 o'clock, each day, mark the celebrations during spring. A special feature during the traditional spring celebrations here is the mouth-watering delicacy ‘Zürcher Geschnetzeltes’, which are served exclusively to commemorate the onset of Spring!

Indeed, this is an enchanting walk through a period setting!

Guild halls self-guided walk

Address: Zürich Tourismus Tourist Service, Im Hauptbahnhof, 8001 Zürich.

Website: Guild Halls

13. Delightful Zurich city tour, inclusive of Lake Zurich and the pristine Lindt Chocolate Factory (from USD 80.0)

Zürichsee - Kilchberg Lindt & Sprüngli IMG 0227
Source: Photo by user Roland zh used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Your city tour of Zurich will remain etched as one of the most refreshing memories of your Swiss Holiday! This five-hour tour includes a one hour cruise on Lake Zurich. Your journey on a luxury coach will take you around the landmarks of Zurich, beginning with the National Museum and Zurich’s financial district. Make the most of your delightful shopping stint on the Bahnhofstrasse, Zurich’s high street. A brief stop over at Enge harbour treats you to the most amazing vistas of Lake Zurich’s placid waters.

Your fascinating tour also takes you through the opera house, in the district of Zurichberg. You will be treated to an uphill ride by the cogwheel train, the ‘Dolderbahn’, to a vantage point. Gorgeous views of the snow capped Swiss Alps and a pit stop at the 5-star hotel, the Dolder Grand, will leave you reminiscing about the most awesome moments of your Zurich tour!

The stop through the old town of Zurich take you to check out some of the period architecture and the Limmat cruise is the ultimate relaxing boat trip across the coolest waters of Lake Zurich. Next, a visit to the Lindt Chocolate Factory (Lindt & Sprungli), at Kilchberg, is one of sheer joy. Kids are treated to the best, luscious and sweet chocolates and desserts in the world at the Lindt Chocolate Shop! The listless varieties and flavours of Lindt’s melt in your mouth chocolates are a temptation you must savour!

Your Zurich tour finally ends with a journey back on the coach to Sihlquai coach parking, your original departure point.

This lively Zurich city tour awaits you!

Zurich Tour with Cruise and Lindt Home of Chocolate Visit

Duration: 5 hours 15 minutes

10 reviews

Zurich - A Swiss paradise!

Zurich is a pleasant and subtle mix of the classic and the contemporary. The city is an ideal holiday destination for young and old. Located in a striking, beautiful setting, the city not only has a rich heritage to showcase but is home to a host of global financial establishments and banks.

The shopping options in downtown Zurich will leave you spoilt for choice -apparel, watches, chocolates, or pastries, you can get the best here!

The ever-so-relaxing boat cruise across the Limmat, an air of freshness in the Botanical Garden, or a stroll through the Old City, the cool and pristine ambience in every part of Zurich takes you on a totally enthralling adventure that will beckon you back - time and again!

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