Zurich has a special historical charm, the narrow streets of the city centre take you back to times long gone, making you forget that you are in an ultra modern city. And in this travel guide we'll give you the reasons why you should visit, as well as transport, accommodation and restaurant options!
- What you drive around Zurich with
- Accommodation Zurich
- Attractions Zurich - What and how to visit Zurich
Zurich airport is 10 km from the city centre and you have 3 transport options: tram, train and taxi. Travelling by train (between 5-00) is the most convenient as it takes only 10-15 minutes and the ticket costs about 6.80 Swiss francs/adult (i.e. about 7 euros) and 3.5 euros/child. Travelling by trams (between 5-00:30) with numbers 10 and 12 are still priced at 7 euros, but last around 35 minutes. Obviously taxi (24/7) is the most convenient option, the journey takes only 10-20 minutes and the comfort is superior. The price is between 45-70 euro and varies depending on the number of passengers and the time or day of arrival. The taxi rank is located in front of arrival terminals 1 and 2.
What you drive around Zurich with
All public transport companies in Zurich are part of ZVV (Zurich Transport Association), so one ticket allows you to travel by tram, bus, train or boat. But there are types of tickets that allow you to travel in different parts of the city (because the city is divided into zones) and for a certain period of time. Tickets start at around 2-3 euros in the central area and are valid for 30 minutes, and for 1-2 areas the ticket costs 4,40 euros and is valid for 1 hour.
Zurich City Travel Pass
Zurich Card is a convenient way to save budget and avoid queues in Zurich. For 24 hours (approx. 28 euro) or 72 hours (approx. 53 euro), the card gives you free access to trams, buses, trains and boats in Zurich. You get free access to 43 museums, up to 50% discount on certain tours and other discounts at sights, restaurants, clubs and spa areas. Find all the details on https://www.zuerich.com/en/zurichcard/benefits and you can also buy it here online.
On AirBnb and Booking, prices for accommodation per night start at around 90 euros for rooms with shared bathroom and 105 euros for a room with private bathroom. The closer you want your accommodation to the centre or to a particular tourist attraction, the higher the price. But wherever you stay, you can easily get where you want to go quickly thanks to modern and well-equipped public transport.
We recommend you to stay at Hotel Bristol Zurich 3-star hotel, about 1 km from the city centre. The location is modern and clean, and the train station is a 5-minute walk away. Rooms include private bathroom, air conditioning, Wifi and TV, but there are also larger rooms for families. Breakfast is included in the price of 130 euro/night.
Attractions Zurich - What and how to visit Zurich
Legend says Grossmunster Cathedral was built in the 12th century on the tombs of the city's patron saints, Felix and Regula. Its Romanesque architecture is just one of the reasons why you should visit this place, besides the impressive stained glass windows, Romanesque crypt and bronze gates.
Access to the cathedral is free, and to visit Karlstrum tower and to see the view of the city from above, you will have to pay 5 euro/adult and 2 euro/child between 6-16 years. The Zurich card gives you free access to the tower. The Cathedral is open Monday to Saturday from 10-18 (March-October) and 10-17 (November-February). On Sundays, access is allowed after the end of Mass, i.e. between 12:30-18:00. The location is in the southern part of the centre (district 1) and in the area east of the Limmat river.
Lake Zurich starts south of the Quaibrucke Bridge and is about 40 km long. Wherever you choose to admire it from, the best way to do it is to take a boat ride on it. And besides the pleasure of walking on one of the 5 largest lakes in Switzerland, you can discover impressive landscapes of the city and its surroundings.
You can find boat tours on the lake lasting between 1-4 hours. The longest trip gives you the chance to reach the other end of the lake in the southern part. Prices for a 1-hour trip start at about 3,50 euro per person, while a 1,5 hour trip will cost you about 4,40 euro. Four-hour trips start at 15 euros. Find details on https://www.zsg.ch/en/ . Obviously there will be many other passengers on these tours. If you want a private boat tour, prices start from 40 euro/person on Trip Advisor - https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g188113-Activities-c61-t167-Zurich.html .
Kunsthaus Gallery Zurich
Kunsthaus Gallery has numerous international exhibitions and one of the largest art collections in Switzerland. Here you will find art objects dating back as far as the 13th century. There are over 4000 paintings and sculptures, 95,000 prints and drawings and over 1000 permanent works in the gallery.
Tickets start at 23 euros/adult, and children up to 16 years old have free access as long as tickets are booked online at https://www.kunsthaus.ch/en/shop/tickets/buy, in one place with other adult tickets. The gallery is closed on Mondays, on Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays it is closed between 10-18, and on Wednesdays and Thursdays between 10-20. The gallery is located in the eastern part of Grossmunster Cathedral, just 500 m away. With the Zurich Card you get up to 30% discount on tickets.
Swiss National Museum
Swiss National Museum will surprise you from the moment you approach it. Built in the historicist style, the museum is the largest in Switzerland and probably the most important. With 14 collections holding over 800,000 historical and cultural objects from the country's beginnings to the present day, it is well worth a visit.
Admission costs 10 euros per adult, and children up to 16 years are free. With the Zurich Card, access is completely free. There are often some exhibitions with free admission. You can buy tickets online at https://www.landesmuseum.ch/de/ihr-besuch/tickets . The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday between 10am and 5pm, and we recommend that you spend at least 2 hours at the museum. The museum is located north of the city centre, and from the Grossmunster and Kunsthaus area you can get there in 10 minutes by bus 31 or trams 4 and 15.
Fraumunster Church in Zurich
Fraumunster Church stands on the remains of a monastery for noblewomen from all over Europe from 853. The style of the building today is a combination of Gothic and Romanesque, and the main attractions are the 5 Stained Glass Windows designed by Marc Chagall. These represent biblical stories and were designed in completely different themes.
From March to October, the church is open from 10am to 6pm, and from November to February from 10am to 5pm. Photography is forbidden inside, but the images you will see will surely stay in your mind. If you attend Sunday Mass, you can enter the church free of charge for the duration of the Mass. Otherwise, the ticket costs about 5 euro/adult. The church is located almost parallel to Grossmunster Cathedral, on the other side of the Limmat river. The distance between the two is only 200 metres.
Zurich Opera House
Zurich Opera House is among the most spectacular places of its kind in the world. In 2014, it received the Best Opera Company of the Year at the International Opera Awards. It opened in 1891 and presents ballet events, concerts, operas and more.
In addition to the regular performances, you can visit the Opera on a guided tour, starting at 10 euros/person. You can buy tickets directly on https://www.zurichticket.ch/ohz.webshop/webticket/eventlist?nogenre=13 . The location is about 650 m from Grossmunster Cathedral. Besides the beautiful riverside walk, you can take tram 4 or 15.
Church of St. Peter
Next to Grossmunster Cathedral and 2 other churches, Church of St. Peter is among the 4 main churches of the Old Town. It is also the oldest church in Switzerland, having been completed around 1000. It also has the oldest church clock face in the whole of Europe, these are just some of the reasons why it is worth visiting the church.
It is open Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm, Saturday from 10am to 4pm and Sunday from 11am to 5pm. Access is free and the church is in the centre of town. It is located on the same side of the river as Fraumunster, only 300 m away.
Zurich Zoo is an interesting and fun place for both children and adults. It was opened in 1929 and covers 10 hectares. It is home to over 350 species, including leopards, zebras, koala bears, hyenas, orangutans and rhinos. There's even an ecosystem created like a tropical rainforest. The Zoo is about 4 km from the centre, but you can get there in 20-25 minutes by tram 6.
From March to October, the garden is open from 9-18, and from November to February from 9-17. Tickets for adults over 21 cost about 28 euros, for young people aged 16-20 it costs 23 euros, for children aged 6-15 it costs 14 euros and children under 6 are free. This price is for tickets purchased online from the official website - https://www.zoo.ch/en/plan-your-visit/tickets while tickets purchased on the spot at the entrance will cost slightly more. There are even family packages, with a package for 2 adults and their children costing 75 euros, but you can also visit the zoo at lower prices. 90 minutes before closing time, all tickets are 40% discount, except for packages.
Zurich Chinese Garden
You probably wouldn't expect to find a Chinese garden in Zurich, but this place is not to be missed! The details created in its design make it one of the favourite places for tourists. Zurich Chinese Garden is actually a gift from the partner city of Kunming in China and among the most beautiful gardens of its kind outside China.
Access to the garden near Lake Zurich is free and you can visit it every day between 11-19. It is about 3-4 km from the centre and you can get here by tram number 4 in 20 minutes!
FIFA Museum is definitely an impressive place in the city and not an attraction you find anywhere. Ideal for sports lovers and beyond, its exhibitions and collections are laid out in a special way. For example, 211 jerseys of the national teams that are part of the FIFA Association are arranged in a so-called ''Rainbow'' of 35 meters. There are even entire galleries related to World Cups.
The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm. You can buy tickets online at the following prices: 25 euro/adult, 15 euro/child between 7-15 years old, 20 euro/senior. You have the possibility to buy the family package for 2 adults and 2 children between 7-15 years old for 65 euro. You can buy tickets on the official website - https://www.fifamuseum.com/en/plan-your-visit/tickets/ . The museum is located south of the central area, on the opposite side of Zurich Opera House. From the centre, you can get here by tram 5 or 13. You get 30% discount at the museum with the Zurich Card.
How does a more "delicious" experience sound? That's what it promises Chocolate Museum - a place you really must visit, because Swiss chocolate is unique. With areas where you can look for the tastiest chocolate and buy it, courses, a huge chocolate fountain and a tasting café, the museum covers 500 square metres.
Purchase your tickets online to get guaranteed entry as seats are limited. The chocolate tour costs €10 per person and you can book your ticket on https://tickets.lindt-home-of-chocolate.com/selection/timeslotpass?productId=101502126146&lang=en . To get here, you will have to take tram 5 and bus 65 or train S8 or S24. The bus journey will take 30 minutes and the train journey only 20 minutes as the museum is 8 km south of the centre. The Zurich card gives you 10% discount.
If time allows, we recommend you to go to Mount Pilatus just 60 km from Zurich. Not for nothing is Switzerland famous for its picturesque mountain areas! You can get to the mountains by cable car or even by train, but there are also walking areas. And the views from the top of the Swiss Alps are breathtaking!
Getting to Pilatus on your own can be a bit difficult, as you would have to change about 3 trains and have to go from one station to another. We recommend going to Pilatus with an organised tour as you will be able to choose from a wide range of activities. Day trips on Trip Advisor to Pilatus start from 120 euro/person and include both transport and a range of activities. You can find details on https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g188113-Activities-c42-Zurich.html .
In addition to classic Swiss preparations such as cheese fondueZurich has some pretty famous meat dishes. Zurich geschnetzeltes consists of veal strips in white wine sauce - a real delicacy. Zurich eintopf is a perfect preparation for cool days. It is a kind of stew of pork, onion, potatoes and carrots cooked in white wine. Try also Brunsli - Swiss chocolate chip cookies.
Where to eat in Zurich
Zurich's Old Town is full of restaurants and cafés: traditional, Mediterranean, international and every other kind of restaurant. We recommend you to try the local cuisine to make the most of Zurich. Try Different Hotel Krone Unterstrass (fish, beef, cheese platters) with prices between 12-60 euro/preparation or Kindli Restaurant (beef, desserts with gruyere cheese, fish and starters) with prices between 6-70 euro/preparation.
Zurich is in the top 5 most expensive cities in the world, but the experience is well worth it. You can visit many different types of attractions, from architecture and history to nature attractions, but also different and impressive ones, such as the FIFA Museum or the Chocolate Museum. A holiday in Zurich for even 3 days will make you love this city! You can plan it easily, because we have prepared below links that can help you.