Visit Switzerland – Things to do in Zurich

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After an amazing train journey traveling through Italy using the Eurail Pass, we decided to base ourselves in Zürich for a few days so we could explore everything Switzerland has to offer. After experiencing Bern, Interlaken, Lucerne and Lugano, we spent our final day in Zürich and want to share all of the amazing attractions that make this city an integral part of the Swiss nation. With so many things to do in Zurich, allocating enough time to see everything is a real challenge!

One of the best ways to explore any city is to visit the local tourist information office and see if there are any passes or discounts available. Zürich has an awesome tourism office and the ZürichCARD is their version of the one (or multiple) day pass to explore everything in and around this city.

ZürichCARD

What better way to explore Zürich’s finest architecture, historic museums and gorgeous scenery than by purchasing a ZürichCARD. There are two options available to tourists when looking at this card – a 24 or 72 hour pass.

After purchasing your ZürichCARD, you need to validate this at one of the many machines scattered throughout the city. This is what triggers the card to start and the expiration is either 24 or 72 hours from the point of validation.

The ZürichCARD is the ideal ticket for culture lovers and urban explorers who would like to transform their short stay into a journey of discovery at a minimum of cost.

Here are some of the key benefits of purchasing a ZürichCARD along with pricing for the different options available:

  • Unlimited 2nd class travel on all public transportation around Zürich and surrounding area.
  • Free admission to a variety of museums throughout Zürich.
  • Discounts in various local stores.
  • Discounts on Zürich city tours.

Prices are as follows:

24-Hour Pass

ADULTS – CHF 24 (24 EUROS)

CHILDREN – CHF 16 (16 EUROS)

72-Hour Pass

ADULTS – CHF 48 (48 EUROS)

CHILDREN – CHF 32 (32 EUROS)

Zürich Museums

Forget London, forget Rome and forget Athens! If you have any interest in museums then Zürich is certainly worth visiting because there is a plethora of history and fascinating places to explore here. One of the regrets I already have is that we didn’t spend more time in the city centre of Zürich so that we could have explored all of these museums.

With Switzerland being such a hot spot for watches, it is no surprise that the Clock and Watch Museum on the Bahnhofstrasse is a popular attraction. Home to one of the world’s largest clock collections, the Beyer Museum is definitely a place worth exploring to see some really cool vintage designs along with elaborate mechanics that make the Swiss such legends in this industry.

Are you an art enthusiast? If so, head over to the Kunsthaus Zürich and experience a myriad of collections, most notably works by Alberto Giacometti.

things to do in zurich

However, one of the most impressive designs has to be the National Museum Zürich which is located in the heart of the city by the main train station. Dubbed as the home of Swiss history in a fairytale castle setting, it is unsurprising when you see the gorgeous architectural design on the outside. Standing at over 100 years old, this museum provides a history of Zurich through a variety of sculptures and crafts to the more mundane everyday objects that typify Swiss culture.

Stroll along the Bahnhofstrasse

Walking around any city is one of our favorite pastimes, so naturally the moment we arrived in Zurich’s main station we headed out and started to wander!

things to do in zurich

Visiting on New Year’s Day, taking a stroll along the main street (Bahnhofstrasse) was eerily quiet with very little open aside from McDonald’s and a few restaurants. Window shopping, finding hidden gems down side streets and taking in the surrounding architectural brilliance were the highlights of our stroll as we made our way to the lake front.

things to do in zurich

Renowned as one of the world’s most lucrative and exclusive shopping avenues, the Bahnhofstrasse is highlighted by a number of leading establishments on every street corner and Zurich’s metro system that runs directly through the heart of this street. If you have a fond interest in fashion then I am confident in saying that Zurich is THE place to go, with designer shops to be found everywhere.

things to do in zurich

The water fountain inside the courtyard just off the main Bahnhofstrasse was certainly a popular attraction for those hardy souls braving the elements and celebrating the New Year with a walk around Zurich. The majority of the fountain was frozen over, though part was still flowing as the lingering water fought to survive the freezing cold temperatures.

things to do in zurich

One of the most intriguing aspects about walking around Zurich is allowing yourself to get lost among the Swiss culture. The quintessential side streets provoke a stereotypical resemblance of European lifestyle, with the cobbled streets and narrow gaps a perfect spot for an evening stroll.

Lake Zurich Tour

After strolling around the Bahnhofstrasse and being amazed by the gorgeous Swiss architecture that resides through Zurich, what better way to end your day by hopping on a cruise and taking a tour of Lake Zurich. This is a great way to see the city from a distance plus also have the opportunity to experience some of the surrounding neighborhoods that are close to Zurich.

things to do in zurich

It was a little chilly on the top deck outside but we were still able to capture some shots of the lake and also looking back on the city. However, the most rewarding aspect of this tour was meeting a friendly Swiss lady who gave us our very own guided tour and pointed out some of the landmarks as we made our way around the lake. It’s these types of encounters that really make a difference and convince us that we couldn’t be doing anything better with our time than traveling around the world.

things to do in zurich

Taking a cruise on Lake Zurich is classified as a form of ‘public transportation’ so you can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that this 90 minute tour is included in the purchase of your ZürichCARD.

Summary

Let’s face the facts, there are a whole bunch of things to do in Zurich! Whether it’s strolling along the Bahnhofstrasse, taking a cruise around Lake Zurich or visiting the myriad of museums around the city, there is something that will likely fit your interests.

Our recommendation is to purchase a ZürichCARD for 72 hours and take your time exploring everything this beautiful city has to offer. Regardless of where you are staying, whether it is in the heart of Zurich or even at the airport as we did, the public transportation around the city is second to none in Switzerland and all included with the ZürichCARD.

If you would like to see more of our pictures from our experience exploring Zurich, you can visit our photo gallery here: Zurich 2015.

Disclaimer – We would like to thank Zürich Tourism for providing us with complimentary ZürichCARD’s. The content of this post are solely our personal opinions/experiences and we were not financially compensated for this post. 

5 COMMENTS

    • Awesome Erin! We are already itching to get back to Europe also and it’s only been a few weeks since we were there 🙂 That’s the attraction of Europe though right. Hopefully this post will help you and your friends when heading to Zurich next. Let me know if you need anything else and we will be glad to help.

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