Become a member!

SIGN UP
Sign up for your free Privateupgrades membership and benefit from VIP perks as Room Upgrades, free breakfast and 100 USD with every booking!

Benefit from exclusive promotions and VIP perks
Free Membership!


Book the best 5 Star Luxury Hotels in Zurich

VIP Experience
Room Upgrades
Free Breakfast
Personal Travel Designer
From 541 USD
Widder Hotel

WIDDER HOTEL

Comprised of eight national monuments-turned-townhomes, the Widder Hotel sits in the heart of Zurich. Medieval touches pair effortlessly with modern c...

From 673 USD
Baur Au Lac

BAUR AU LAC

Baur au Lac is an elegant luxury hotel in Zurich that has been proudly owned and run by the Baur family for six generations. Opened by Johannes Baur i...

From 608 USD
Park Hyatt Zurich

PARK HYATT ZURICH

The Park Hyatt Zurich opened in 2004 and was the city's first luxury hotel built on purpose and remains one of the city's best establishments. Many hi...

From 757 USD
The Dolder Grand

THE DOLDER GRAND

The Dolder Grand Zurich appears like a fantasy castle with turrets reaching into the clouds above Lake Zurich. However, it is a 175-room 5-star modern...

From 503 USD
Hotel Storchen Zurich

HOTEL STORCHEN ZURICH

As a legacy bearer, the Hotel Storchen Zurich has welcomed visitors since 1357. It has offered comfort, extended shelter, and gifted a heartwarming vi...

From 546 USD
La Reserve Eden au Lac

LA RESERVE EDEN AU LAC

Nestled on the banks of Lake Zurich and a recent addition to the Michel Reybier-owned La Reserve stable of fine hotels is the outstanding La Reserve E...

Hotel Promotions for Zurich

Map view

Weather Forecast for Zurich

Zurich

Good to know about Zurich

Zurich is one of Europe's most beautiful, vibrant, and exciting cities. With stunning architecture, breathtaking views, and a rich history, it is a destination that should be on every traveler's list. Whether you're looking for a weekend escape or an extended stay, this Zurich travel guide will provide you with all the information you need to plan the perfect trip. We'll take you through everything you need to know about Zurich.

History 

Zurich, Switzerland's biggest city, has a population exceeding 370,000. It is, without a doubt, the country's most important economic and financial center.

It was here that the Romans first established a settlement around 58 BC. Zurich became an imperial city after the Holy Roman Empire disintegrated. Moreover, the center of Reformation in German-speaking Switzerland was established in Zurich during the 16th Century. Zurich also provided refuge for Catholic-Protestant families. The city's industry flourished in the 18th Century.

Zurich is also the home of major banks, mechanical engineers, and the textile industry. It is relatively unpolluted, and there are also many attractions for tourists.

Best time to visit

While Switzerland's image might depict snow-capped mountains, it is hard to find snow in Zurich. However, there are many microclimates throughout the country. Therefore, winter is a great time to visit.

Temperatures rarely dip below freezing, making it a pleasant time to visit. Besides, it can be very sunny and cool in spring, but it is also often wet. Therefore, the best time to visit the area is in summer and early autumn when the water is warm enough to swim in.

Places to Visit & Things to Do

These are some of the best places to visit and things to do in Zurich.

Street Parade

This is the most famous open-air electronic music festival in Europe. It takes place every Saturday in August. At this point, trucks that act as mobile sound systems start to drive along the lakeside. Moreover, this event attracts almost a million people every year.

Kunsthaus 

The Kunsthaus collection is an exceptional art collection. It opens before you even get in. There is Rodin's colorful Gate of Hell right beside the main entrance. You will also find Moore, Maillol, and other sculptures throughout the grounds. Moreover, one whole wing in the building is dedicated to permanent displays of Alberto Giacometti's sculptures.

Old Town

On both sides of the Limmat River is the Old Town. It also has many historic churches and guild houses. Stop by any of the numerous restaurants and bars, grab a drink in one of the many pubs, or walk around sampling the unique cheeses and chocolates. But, of course, it would be best if you tried Confiserie Honold truffles. 

Lake Promenade

The promenade that runs around Lake Zurich dates back to 1800. Also, the Bellevue boardwalk runs approximately 3km (2 miles) along Lake Zurich towards Tiefenbrunnen. It is always bustling with bicyclists, walkers, and skaters. Also, at Burkliplatz, you'll find a quiet meadow where you can relax. Besides, if you want to meet locals, stop by the street artists or jewelry sellers lining the promenade and chat.

Celebrate Swiss National Day

You can be there on August 1st to celebrate the founding of the 1291 Swiss Confederation. Evening festivities take place, while fireworks are launched at night. A popular display is also the one over the Rhine Falls, located just one hour by S-Bahn. Many buildings and homes have the Swiss flag everywhere. Besides, friends and families gather in parks or public spaces to enjoy barbecues and picnics.

Boat Tour

Take a boat ride on Lake Zurich if the weather is fine to take in the stunning views. Mini tours are also available. You can book your mini-tour online or at Bahnhofstrasse's pier. Besides, with a variety of themes, tours/cruises are more elaborate from there.

Rietberg Museum

Visit the Rietberg museum for a full day of international art. It is the third-largest city museum and the only one in the country that exhibits non-European art. Besides, the museum houses collections from across the globe, including Africa and Asia. For example, the Meiyintang collection contains miniature Indian paintings, ceramics from Meiyintang, and Swiss masks.

The collection includes a Persian wall hanging and a shaman's eagle mask. To visit the collection, 18 CHF is required. There are also special exhibitions. Furthermore, the museum's location in Lindenhofplatz is also a beautiful spot to spend a few hours.

Culture and Customs

Don't litter while visiting this lovely Swiss city. Zurich is proud of its 16th-century Protestant past, as it is displayed throughout the city. Zurich is so clean you can refill your water bottle right at the lake or from one of the fountains in the city.

The official languages of Switzerland are German, Italian, French, and Romansh. Although the majority of Zurich residents speak German, phrases such as ("hello") and ("merci") ("thank you") are common. Moreover, most residents speak English. But it's a good idea if you have a German dictionary or phrasebook.

Also, Switzerland doesn't use the euro to pay its currency. American dollars are not acceptable in Switzerland, either. Instead, stock up on Swiss Francs before arriving. While some shops and restaurants accept euros for payment, others only accept francs. Also, check the exchange rate for the Swiss franc against the U.S. dollar before going.

Furthermore, visitors do not have to tip. But, it is customary to list for exceptional service. All bills include sales taxes.

What to Eat

You can eat fondue or bratwurst here for all your meals, but you should also try some lesser-known dishes like raclette and rosti. Zurcher Geschnetzeltes is the traditional Zurich dish of pan-fried chicken with glaze. Zurich's food scene is also more than cheese, meat, and potatoes. It also offers fine dining, an internationally inspired vegetarian menu, and fish dishes using Lake Zurich's fresh catch. The city also offers several Michelin Starred restaurants.

Moreover, there is an endless selection of chocolates available. Zurich is also a beer-loving town. Try a TurbinenBrau brew. While you're there, try some wines from grapes grown around Zurich.

Where to Stay

Here are some top places to stay in Zurich for tourists and other visitors. Many boutique hotels with views of the city, Michelin stars, or a room with a view of the lake are waiting for you. 

Altstadt/Old Town

Altstadt is the ideal choice for first-timers due to its central location. It is the perfect place to stay in historic Zurich while still being able to explore the city. Altstadt is a city with rich historical and cultural significance. It was initially Zurich's original capital. It is also home to the Limmat River, which runs through it.

Moreover, Altstadt is a pedestrian-only area in the city center. It boasts architectural marvels on both ends of the streets that are only for pedestrians. You can also stroll the streets, stopping at the bars, theaters, shops, and restaurants.

Altstadt is also an excellent place to stay in Zurich for historians. Its history goes back to pre-Roman times. The hypocaust and Roman castle are two of its most prominent attractions.

Langstrasse/District 4

Langstrasse is in District 4. This area has had a distinct, more party-oriented image in recent years. It is most famous for its Langstrasse quarter. The site is lined by bars or clubs, which remain open until late into the night/early morning the next day.

Some restaurants and cafes worth checking include the Schwarzes Scha - Bistrolino & Bar and Caduff's Wine Loft. Gamper, and Gonzo Nightclub. District 4 also hosts many festivals throughout each year.

Furthermore, there are numerous places to visit nearby, such as Kasernenareal Park and Backeranlage. You can also find a wide variety of accommodation options in this region.

Enge-Kreis 2 (District 2)

Enge offers a wealth of green space to help you connect with nature. The Arboretum, swimming beach, and botanical gardens are just a few of the many amenities available in Enge. Enge is also the best place to stay in Zurich.

Moreover, this is the perfect place to stay in Zurich if you are traveling with a family. You will find Enge south of Old Town on the Lake Zurich shores. It is famous for its lively lifestyle, outdoor activities, and beautiful scenery.

Zurich West

Zurich West has a lively nightlife. It is home to artist lofts, high-end flats, and galleries. This area is now the hippest and trendiest. Zurich West was originally a business place. But it is now an eating, shopping, and housing area. It is the heart of the city.

Moreover, Zurich West is the place to go for first-time shoppers. It draws both city residents and tourists. Zurich West also offers a more affordable lifestyle than other parts of the city.

Riesbach (District 8)

Riesbach is on its eastern shore, opposite Lake Zurich to District 2. It is a beautiful area to stay in, Zurich. Known for Quaianlagen, the stunning views and opportunity to take trips out onto Lake Zurich draw people from all over the globe.

Moreover, this was where the first and only bathhouse was located. It was destroyed when the quay was built in the late 1800s. They made two new bathhouses to replace them. The former bath was rebuilt over the past decade. However, the original bathroom and its stilted "bathing pavilion" structures remain intact. Although it is stunning, it is also a historic location because it was the first place in the city that allowed men and women to bathe together.

Many attractions in the area go beyond the lake's watery heritage. You can also see the Klaus Stud Pillar, which once stood in the lake's water, the Heidi Weber Art Museum, and the Henry Moore Sheep Piece sculpture.

Besides, heading to the waterfront will take you to the peaceful lakeside district of Seefeld. The promenade has shops and restaurants. Seefeld doesn't have any other landmarks. This makes it a popular spot for families and makes Zurich a great place to base. Additionally, the Zurich Opera House is in Seefeld. A visit to the Museum of Design is also worthwhile.

The Zurichhorn Park and the Muhlebach quarter are just a few other attractions. There are also various accommodation options in Seefeld, including apartments and hotels in the mid-range and AirBnBs.

Schwamendingen (District 12)

Also known by the name Kreis 12, Schwamendingen (or "Zurich North"), Schwamendingen lies in the newest district of Zurich. This district is adjacent to District 11. Together they are called Zurich North. It's in Zurich's northeastern corner. It is in the Glatt Valley, a river valley just outside the city. It is relatively densely populated.

However, it offers more traditional Bavarian architecture, fields, meadows, rivers, and streams. The Glatt, a Rhine tributary, also makes this an excellent destination for anyone who wants to experience the city in a more natural setting. Besides, it is easy to get downtown because of the size of Zurich. 

How to Get Around

You can get around Zurich's neighborhoods by walking or biking. The city's tram system is also a great option if you are tired. Besides, the Swiss Federal Railways train can take you from Zurich Airport. Uber or taxi are also options.

How to Stay Safe

Although there haven't been any terror attacks in Switzerland in recent years, it is becoming more common for violent threats to be made in other Western European nations. In addition, there have been violent demonstrations in Switzerland in the past. Therefore, it is best to avoid large gatherings and protests. In general, Swiss cities can be visited safely. Zurich is not known for tourist-directed crime. However, pickpocketing can be a problem at airports and on public transportation.