Top 10 Places to Visit in Zurich

Sightseeing in Zurich: These are the 10 must-see spots and sights in Zurich.

#1 Grossmünster

The Grossmünster church is a landmark of Zurich. Legend has it that the church was built on the graves of the city’s patron saints, Felix and Regula.

According to legend, Charlemagne discovered the graves of the city’s patron saints Felix and Regula and had a church built as a monastery on the spot.

In the first half of the 16th century, the Grossmünster church was the starting point of the Swiss-German Reformation led by Huldrych Zwingli and Heinrich Bullinger. The theological college then annexed to the monastery spawned what is now the University of Zürich.

The stained glass windows by Sigmar Polke, the Romanesque crypt, choir windows by Augusto Giacometti, bronze doors by Otto Münch and the cloister Reformation Museum are just some of the highlights see here.

#2 Fraumünster

Church in the Old Town With Windows by Chagall and Giacometti

Founded in 853 by King Louis the German, this church with its convent was inhabited by the female members of the aristocracy of Europe. The convent enjoyed the patronage of kings and the abbess the right to mint coins in Zurich until well into the 13th century. Ownership of the church and convent passed to the city of Zurich after the Reformation.

Important architectural features include the Romanesque chancel and the high vaulted transept. The nave was last renovated in 1911.

Its most stunning treasures are the stained glass windows: those in the north transept are by Augusto Giacometti and the five-part cycle in the chancel and rosette in the southern transept the works of Marc Chagall. The cloister also reveals a series of frescos by Paul Bodmer.

#3 Uetliberg

Uetliberg is Zurich's very own "mountain", from where you have beautiful views of the city and lake – and perhaps even a glimpse of the Alps.

At 2,850 feet above sea level, Uetliberg towers over the rooftops of Zürich. The mountain affords an impressive panoramic view of the city, the lake and the Alps.

The Uetliberg is particularly popular in November, as its summit is often above the blanket of fog that can cover the city at this time of year. In the winter, the hiking trails to the summit are converted into sledding runs.

In summer, there’s plenty to discover on well-marked hiking routes, a mountain bike route, and on the Planet Trail. This two-hour walk from Uetliberg to Felsenegg (Adliswil) takes you on a fascinating tour through a model of our solar system.

#4 Bahnhofstrasse

You can find everything that your heart desires in Bahnhofstrasse: fashion, art and Zurich specialties attract local residents as well as visitors.

The world-renowned shopping boulevard was created after construction of Zurich’s Main Railway Station. At the spot where city moats were 150 years ago, today it connects Lake Zurich with the Main Railway Station on a length of 1.4 kilometers (0.87 miles).

You find numerous boutiques, department stores and timepiece stores here, as well as at Paradeplatz – the Swiss banking center. Bahnhofstrasse is just as popular with locals and visitors, and it is always worth a visit. You can stroll relaxed along the lake in the summer as well as enjoy mulled wine or hot chocolate at every corner in the winter.

Rennweg and Augustinergasse lead off from Bahnhofstrasse into the picturesque old town.

#5 Lake Zurich

Lake Zurich was once above all a transport route. Today, it is a popular excursion point for swimming, boating or having a picnic on the lake's banks

After Lake Geneva, Lake Neuchâtel, Lake Constance and Lake Lucerne, Lake Zurich is one of Switzerland’s “Big Five” in terms of lakes. In the past, it was mainly used as a traffic and transportation route, but today it is a popular excursion destination for swimming, sailing, boating, and picnicking on the shore.

There are four islands in Lake Zurich. The tiny islands of Lützelau and Ufenau, with its St. Peter and Paul parish church, and Saffa Island, are particularly worthy of note. The last of these is connected to the mainland by a short footbridge and is a popular place to visit.

In summer, Lake Zurich is a paradise for bathers. The outdoor bathing facilities in Wollishofen, Mythenquai, Enge, Utoquai, and Tiefenbrunnen are very well frequented in the bathing season – but there are still plenty of other spots along the lake to take a refreshing dip.

#6 Sechseläutenplatz

Combines Tradition With Modernity Sechseläutenplatz is a place for relaxing between Bellevue and Zurich's Opera House.

The "Sechseläuten" (Spring Festival) takes place at Zurich's most popular fairground directly adjacent to Lake Zurich every spring. Then the "Böögg" – an artificial snowman effigy, which is placed on a stake – is burned to say goodbye to winter and welcome the summer. The annual performances of the National Circus Knie and a Christmas market also takes place here.

The opera and the "Bellevue", an important tram stop in Zurich, are also located here. This is one of the largest city squares in Switzerland – created with 16,000 m² of elegant quartzite. Trees, places to sit and water elements make it a very attractive and really cozy spot.

#7 Lindenhof

From Roman Fort to Green Vantage Point Over Zurich
Lindenhof is an oasis at the heart of the city that looks back on a moving history.

This spot provides a glorious view of the Old Town, Grossmünster Church, City Hall, the Limmat river, the university and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology.

Lindenhof was also the scene of numerous historical events. In the 4th century a Roman fort stood on Lindenhof – and in the 9th century the grandson of Charlemagne built a regal palace as place of residence on the very same site.
This area continued to be a place for gatherings for Zurich’s inhabitants right up to the beginning of the modern era. For example, the oath sealing the Helvetic Constitution was taken on the Lindenhof in 1798.

Today, Lindenhof is a haven of peace and tranquility in the heart of the city and a meeting point for passionate chess players.

#8 Zurich Old Town

The historic heart of the city beats on both sides of the Limmat river, where guild houses, churches and historic places line the romantic little streets and adorn the hidden corners.

Starting at the Zurich Main Station, you can easily discover the Old Town – including the famous “Niederdorf”– on your own. The attractions listed below are the ultimate must-sees of Zurich’s historic city center.

Those who want to learn more about Zurich’s history and past, can participate in the most popular guided city tour, the “Zurich Old Town Walking Tour”. On this tour, professional guides offer fascinating insights on the origins of Switzerland’s biggest city, explain its significance for Switzerland through the ages and also report on famous Zurich personalities.

#9 Zurich-West

From Industrial Quarter to Trendy District
The district in the west of Zurich is full of contrasts, boasting an unpolished charm.

Where ships were once built and engines bolted together, art, design, food, culture shopping and architecture are now the center of attention. Factories have moved away, leaving their vast expanses of space that creative minds have taken advantage of.

Beneath the railway arches, design boutiques and market halls have moved in at what's know as "Im Viadukt" – and on the Gerolds-Areal you find Frau Gerolds Garten (Mrs. Gerold's Garden), a city garden and catering establishment. Besides the Freitag Flagship Store, diverse second hand furniture stores are also on the spot. On the other side of the Hardbrücke (bridge) the 126m Prime Tower reigns – boasting number-one place as Switzerland's highest building until the opening of the Roche Towers in Basel.

#10 Polyterrasse

Federal Institute of Technology and Zurich University
The Polyterrasse between the ETH and University offers top views over Zurich's old town

The imposing Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) building was constructed in 1864 from plans drawn up by Gottfried Semper. The University of Zurich (UZH) was established 50 years later in an adjacent and no less impressive edifice, visited by over 30,000 workers and students daily.

The Polybahn takes you up from Central to the panorama terrace in front of the main building of the Federal Institute of Technology in just three minutes. Here you enjoy superb views of the city.

Out of consideration for other visitors, the consumption of alcoholic beverages is prohibited between 6 pm and 9 pm. Littering, barbecuing and playing music are prohibited. Violations of these regulations will be penalized.

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