In this blog article, you will find places to visit in Zurich, some of my favourite restaurants, price comparison and other useful tips and recommendations.
Zurich is well known to be one of the major financial centres in the world. Being Switzerland's biggest city with the largest population, Zurich, funny enough, is not the capital of Switzerland. Bern is. Zurich embraces a beautiful lake, has a lovely old town, and thanks to its neutrality during WW2, it has preserved some incredible historical sights.
Everything you need to know about Zurich!
1. Travelling to Zurich and getting around
2. Best places to visit in Zurich
3. Two things you have to try when in Zurich
4. How expensive is to travel Zurich?
5. A few personal recommendations
to Zurich and getting around
Zurich’s airport is one of the best airports in the world because it offers a lot of international flights. Also, my personal first impression was great and if I would need to choose a transfer airport, I would definitely not hesitate to put Zurich airport high up on the list of destinations. We flew from Spain to Zurich with Swiss Airlines, and again I have to preach about Switzerland’s standards. The flight was pleasant, we got free water and a cookie. Small things, but they matter.
Once you land you, of course, can take a taxi to the city centre, but if you are budget travelling then your options are train or tram. In general, train and tram are the two most popular methods of transport within the city. The train is a very popular way to travel within Switzerland too. From the airport to the city centre of Zurich you can take a train line ’S-Bahn’ - S2 or S16. They go daily from 5am until midnight and will take you approx. 5 to 10 minutes. The ticket costs CHF 6.80. If you are travelling during the day and want to choose more of a scenic route then tram is your best option. You will need to pick ‘Line 10’ and the ride will take you approx. 35 minutes. Both tickets will cost around CHF 6.80.
This is where my first tip comes: If you are planning to use the tram a lot to get around the city often or, for the whole day, your best option is to get a 24h tram day ticket for CHF 13.60. So if you arrive in the evening and you know you will be “traming” a lot during the morning to explore Zurich it might be worth getting a day ticket as your first trip from the airport. Therefore, saving on travel expenses the next day!
If you are just planning to stay in the city, the tram will be the best option for you. The train is more convenient if you are going further out in the suburbs or even doing some day trips from Zurich to other towns and cities.
Best places to visit in Zurich
Grossmunster Church, one of the most iconic landmarks that shape Zurich. It is one of the 4 major churches in Zurich.
Fraumunster Church you will find opposite Grossmunster Church, just need to cross the bridge that connects them both.
Zurich Lake, another iconic landmark of Zurich that you will definitely not miss throughout your trip as it is a massive part of Zurich and accessible via different points in the city. You can always have a relaxing walk by the lake, feed the swans or take a boat trip. However, if you want a special ambience, then I highly recommend the restaurant ‘Lake Side’ - https://lake-side.ch/ . It offers a Mediterranean kitchen, a brilliant atmosphere and most importantly a spectacular view over the surrounding lake.
Zurich Opera House you will find by Lake Zurich in the Sechseläutenplatz square which is the largest city square in Zurich.
Swiss National Museum, which not only offers interesting exhibits but also has a lovely outside area where different concerts and parties are hosted regularly (subject to Covid restrictions).
Kunsthaus Zurich, offers one of the top artworks from Europe.
Bahnhofstrasse, it is all about shopping in Zurich! This street is iconic itself because it hosts all the major brands and is one of the most expensive streets in the world, because of its property pricing. You will find the most expensive and luxurious brands as you walk through. Switzerland, in general, is famous for having the best watch brands. Therefore, you’ll find some of the most extravagant and expensive timepieces on that street too.
Zurich Old Town gives off a quintessential European old town vibe. Small, windy pedestrian roads will get you lost, as you admire the romanesque and historic architecture and enjoy the boutique shops and cafes.
Uetliberg - top of Zurich. Is the highest point in Zurich which offers beautiful views to Zurich city and the lake. It is 870 meters high and has a tower at the top that gives you a few extra metres. To get to the top of the tower will cost you CHF 1.00 and I warn you; you should only attempt this if you are not scared of heights! The floor and steps are see-through and even I developed a bit of vertigo at the summit. At the top of the mountain, you will also find a hotel and a cafe where to relax and have a drink after your hike up. If you do decide to hike up that is. You can always take a bus or train up there. The train you will need to choose is the S10 or buses: 32, 33 or 89. Train ticket, the round trip will cost you CHF 17.20, but the bus will cost you only around CHF 4. The train will take you closer giving you a shorter trip to the top.
Going around the city of Zurich with the tram. This is purely my personal recommendation that might not be a very popular option, but I believe it is one of the best ways how to see all city itself. You’ll be able to get the feel of people and experience the atmosphere in all areas of Zurich, not just the historical city centre. The tram itself is very cute and a bit old school. Apparently, they are already implementing the new trams and over the years they will replace all the old trams, so you might want to catch the last opportunity to enjoy the ride with the old historical Zurich tram.
Other places that I personally didn’t visit, but might be of interest to yours are:
FIFA World Football Museum
Lindt Home Chocolate, which is a chocolate museum but also offers workshops.
Two things you have to try when in Zurich
Switzerland, in general, is famous for its good quality chocolate and different type of cheeses, so while visiting Zurich you definitely need to use the opportunity and try chocolate and cheese there.
There are many different chocolate brands and most of them will have shops all over Switzerland so options are plenty. The big brands also do workshops and some have museums with their best pieces over time. If you want to try a true Swiss chocolate, then the oldest brand (since 1819) is called ‘Cailler of Switzerland’.
When it comes to cheese you have to try one of these so-called ‘Cheese places’. A popular way how to enjoy different cheeses are via fondue and these places usually will offer you plenty of different types and styles of cheeses with extras like pieces of bacon, mushrooms or others.
If you don’t smell like cheese after you leave then the place wasn’t good enough!
Here are my top 3 cheese places in Zurich:
My absolute personal favourite: Chasalp
How expensive is to travel Zurich?
You probably know that Zurich is not a cheap travel destination and I can tell you from my personal experience that compared with other European countries it is expensive. It is hard to explain, so I have put together a table that will give you an indication -->
A few personal recommendations in Zurich
If you are a fan of cocktails, you have to visit ‘Bar Am Wasser’! Their concept is very unique - the menu presents all continents and you can choose a cocktail based on the location. Cocktails themselves are different too. Only 10% of the menu are standard cocktails, the rest are new unique ones. Also for my second cocktail, I chose Pina Colada and it was nothing like the standard Pina Colada you would have imagined, the consistency was completely different, but amazing, the best Pina Colada I have ever had! More about the place: https://www.baramwasser.ch/
Another place I would like to recommend is the ‘Metrapol’ cafe, great for a coffee break in between exploring Zurich. It has a wonderfully historic ambience, as it is surrounded by a neo-baroque facade. It offers an inside and outside area. I am all about the details, and I just loved how the coffee and beer was served. Coffee came with a brownie and beer with popcorn, which both were amazing not just something on the side. I appreciate those small things. It also has the restaurant part which offers sushi, but we were there during the day for a short break.
I travelled Zurich during summer 2021, and although, we did catch rain one of the days, it was very warm and pleasant weather throughout my journey. Travelling in summer is always a safe bet, but I can highly recommend travelling to Zurich in December too when the Christmas Market is on (subject to Covid restrictions).
I have put together a video about my Switzerland trip, which covers Zurich too. If you are just interested in Zurich skip to minute 4.24.