Classic meets cool in Switzerland

In some ways, Zurich is just what you’d expect – an appealing, industrious city with fine museums and a great riverside setting. But Switzerland’s biggest city is also a fresh, surprising place, brimming with energy and an infectious sense of fun. On Zurich holidays you can expect to find cool food halls, daring modern art and wild nightlife.

The Old Quarter, with its cobbled alleys, churches, twisting lanes and swish shopping streets is the place to experience classic Zurich. Here you’ll find the Fraumunster – an elegant 13th-century church – and cafés offering macaroons, fondue and frothy beers. Just east of here, the Kunsthaus has an impressive selection of fine art, with works by Monet, Van Gogh and Rodin. Zurich’s success was built on merchant guilds and banking, but many former industrial sites have now been taken over by bars, clubs and markets. In Zurich-West, you can enjoy street food and art installations by day, before settling down to cocktails amid fairy-lit shipping containers at night.

Outdoors, holidays to Zurich can include scenic river and lake cruises, and the nearest ski resorts are only an hour away. Uetliberg, the city’s own mountain, has trails for hiking and mountain biking, or sledging, and an observation tower at its summit – perfect for gazing back at a city that bubbles with life.

All resorts in Zurich

Three tips for a top trip

Snap up a Zurich Card

Trams, trolley buses and trains make Zurich easy to get around on public transport. A Zurich Card covers travel and offers discounts in museums and some shops.

Explore the suburbs

Central Zurich is packed with attractions, but don’t neglect the suburbs. A 10-minute bus ride takes you to Wipkingen, with its village vibe and great places to eat and drink.

Jump in the river

The Limmat river is a big part of city life. There are several places to swim, but centrally-located Letten is good for river dips and al-fresco beers.

Best attractions to see in Zurich

Kunsthaus

Visitors to what is arguably Switzerland’s best gallery can gaze on fabulous Gothic and Venetian paintings, Swiss works and modern art from around the world.

Lake Zurich

Zurich curls around the northern tip of Lake Zurich, and you can gaze on its calm and rather lovely waters from waterfront gardens or rooftop restaurants.

Viadukt

This former railway viaduct is a great place to see Zurich’s alternative side. It’s filled with boutiques, coffee shops and bars, with a market hall and restaurants.

Your Zurich questions, answered

Swiss chocolate is world-renowned, and you’ll find it everywhere. Hardcore chocoholics should visit the massive Lindt Chocolate Shop in Kilchberg, at the edge of the city.
Switzerland has four official languages – in Zurich they speak Swiss-German – but this is an outward-looking, international city where English is also widely spoken.
The best time to visit Zurich is probably summer when temperatures reach highs of 25℃, making it ideal for swimming and the watersports of Lake Zurich. However, if you are looking to avoid the crowds, spring and autumn are a better choice. Temperatures can reach 20℃, though rainfall is not uncommon.
The world’s largest electronic dance procession, the Street Parade attracts up to a million house and techno fans to a route along the lake shores in mid-August.
Zurich is best known as the home of financial and banking organisations, as well as a popular destination for high-end shopping. The main shopping street of Bahnhofstrasse is lined with luxury boutiques and is regarded as one of the most expensive shopping destinations in the world. The city is also famous for its location between the Alps and Lake Zurich, making it a popular holiday spot for outdoor activities.
Zurich has a great nightlife scene with some of Switzerland’s best spots for an evening’s entertainment. The ideal option for a romantic night out, the old town district of Neiderdorf has charming inns and restaurants down its winding streets. Once the city's industrial centre, Zurich-West is now a trendy hotspot that has a mix of uber-cool bars and restaurants. The former red-light district of Langstrasse is the destination of choice for those after a big night out.
Typically, three days should be enough to see the best of what Zurich has to offer. This should give you time to explore most of the city’s landmarks while also being able to visit several of the city’s best bars and restaurants. However, if time is not an issue, then a week in Zurich will afford you plenty of opportunities to get to know the city and its beautiful surroundings.
Well known as an upmarket shopping destination, Zurich is a good option if you want a little retail therapy. Zurich’s main shopping street of Bahnhofstrasse is famous for its luxurious retail stores. If you don’t quite have the budget, there are still the Viaduct Arches. Here there are contemporary clothing stores alongside galleries and delis, The old town area also has independent boutiques and traditional Swiss watchmakers.
With plenty of fun-filled activities and welcoming restaurants, Zurich makes a great holiday destination for all ages. Kids are sure to love Zoo Zurich, housing over 300 species of wild animals. Football fanatics won’t want to miss the FIFA World Football Museum and its variety of interactive exhibits. With plenty of green space to explore, hiking trails and incredible views, Uetliberg mountain is a popular spot for enjoying the great outdoors. If you just want a relaxed afternoon, Zurich also has several outdoor swimming pools.