Zurich
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Cityscape of downtown Zurich in Switzerland during sunset.

Things to do in  Zurich

Welcome to Zurich

On the tip of Lake Zurich in the foothills of the Bernese Oberland lies Zurich. With its historic churches and cobbled alleyways, Switzerland’s largest city is straight out of a fairy tale. But look closer and you’ll see a vibrant, modern city whose districts are abuzz with creativity. Visiting Zurich Old Town and taking a Lake Zurich cruise are among the top things to do in town. For travelers less pressed for time, the city’s contemporary art galleries, Bahnhofstrasse boutiques, and Dolderbahn mountain railway aren’t to be missed. And of course no trip to Zurich is complete without a visit to the Lindt & Sprüngli Chocolate Shop, located just outside of city limits. For the adventurous set, Alpine activities range from Mt. Titlis and Mt. Pilatus cable car rides to Jungfraujoch and Grindelwald day trips.

Top 15 attractions in Zurich

Lake Zurich (Zürichsee)

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Fed by clear glacial waters that flow down the Swiss Alps, the crescent-shaped Lake Zurich (Zurichsee) forms the scenic backdrop to Zurich, Switzerland’s largest city, which spreads along the western tip of the lake. Measuring 25 miles (40 kilometers) in length and 1.9 miles (3 kilometers) in width, this alpine lake offers an easily accessible escape to nature for those based in the city, with plenty of swimming spots, hiking routes, tranquil islands, and picturesque mountain scenery.More

Rhine Falls (Rheinfall)

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At Rhine Falls (Rheinfall), sheets of white water tumble from a height of 75 feet (23 meters) across a 492-foot-wide (150-meter-wide) rock ledge. Created by the movement of the Earth’s crust about 15,000 years ago, this natural wonder is among Europe’s biggest waterfalls. The riverbanks near it are laced with walking and biking trails.More

Zurich Opera House (Opernhaus Zürich)

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The Zurich Opera House (Opernhaus Zurich is one of the busiest classical music venues in the world and is a delight for both classical music lovers as well as architecture enthusiasts. Opened in 1891, the building was designed by Viennese architects and incorporates neoclassical and rococo styles.More

Bahnhofstrasse

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One of the most expensive strips of retail space in Europe, Zurich’s Bahnhofstrasse is known for its many luxury shops that sell designer fashion, jewelry, perfume, chocolate, and, of course, watches. While many visitors only go to window shop, the street is one of the city’s main commercial areas, frequented by both locals and travelers.More

Zurich Old Town (Altstadt)

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With its striking 19th-century buildings and winding cobblestone lanes stretching along both sides of River Limmat, Zurich’s Old Town (Altstadt) is the most atmospheric part of the city and home to many principal tourist attractions.More

Mount Rigi

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Nicknamed the “Queen of the Mountains,” Mount Rigi has long captured the hearts of writers like Mark Twain and painters like JMW Turner. Encircled by a trio of lakes—Lake Lucerne, Lake Zug, and Lake Lauerz—and adjacent to the neighboring peaks of Mount Pilatus and Brunnistock, Mount Rigi is the enduring postcard star of Central Switzerland.More

Grossmünster Church

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As the birthplace of the Swiss Reformation, this Romanesque church remains one of Zurich Old Town’s most iconic landmarks, thanks to its blend of medieval architecture and modern features. The south tower’s observation deck offers sweeping city vistas, while an 11th-century crypt and small museum reveal more about the site’s rich history.More

Fraumünster Church

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One of Zurich’s most distinctive and popular sights, Fraumünster Church is the green copper-spired building that is easily visible in Zurich’s skyline. The church itself dates back to the 9th century, but the building’s famous stained-glass windows are 20th-century additions.More

St. Peter Church (Kirche St. Peter)

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St. Peter’s Church (St. Peterskirche) is one of Zurich’s most distinctive landmarks. The building is a combination of the original 9th-century edifice, 13th-century additions, and 18th-century reconstructions. Its clock face is the largest in Europe, and its spire rises high above the surrounding buildings.More

Lindt & Sprüngli Chocolate Shop

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Switzerland is famous for many things, including mountains, clocks, and, of course, chocolate. Legendary Swiss chocolatier Lindt & Sprungli has been churning out smooth and delicious confections since 1845. Today, visiting the Lindt & Sprungli Chocolate Shop, just outside of Zurich, is a must for any chocolate lover.More

Lindenhof

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This Old Town district is thought to be where Zurich began as a Roman fort in the second century. For years, its hilltop location played an important role in defending and governing the city. Today, its main square is a popular spot for visitors and locals alike, known for its open-air chess boards, leafy avenues, and panoramic city views.More

Paradeplatz (Parade Square)

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The home of Swiss banking at the heart of Zurich’s luxury shopping street, Paradeplatz is one of the most powerful financial centers in Europe. The former 17th-century pig market is now a major transit interchange and home to the headquarters of UBS and Credit Suisse, as well as the flagship Confiserie Sprüngli chocolate store.More

National Museum Zurich (Landesmuseum Zürich)

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A visit to the National Museum Zurich is included on many sightseeing tours along with other Zurich highlights including St. Peter’s Church, Lindenhof, and Lake Zurich. Purchase tickets to the museum online to save time, or pick up the Swiss Travel Pass, which includes unlimited use of public transportation and admission to over 500 museums. You can also combine admission to the National Museum with a Zurich trolley sightseeing tour.More

Appenzell

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This picturesque village in the valley of Sitter is the capital of Switzerland’s smallest canton, Appenzell Innerrhoden. In addition to its heritage-listed landmarks, including its parish church, 16th-century town hall, and castle ruins, the settlement is known for its strong sense of tradition and observation of age-old ceremonial events.More

Stein am Rhein

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The picturesque Swiss town marks the spot where the Rhine River meets Lake Constance. Overlooked by the towering Hohenklingen Castle, the town draws sightseers with its medieval abbey, traditional architecture, and convenient transport links, making it an ideal destination for a day trip from Winterthur, Zurich, and beyond.More

Trip ideas

Swiss Alps Adventures from Zurich

Swiss Alps Adventures from Zurich

How to Spend 2 Days in Zurich

How to Spend 2 Days in Zurich

Top activities in Zurich

Swiss Alps Day Trip from Zurich: Jungfraujoch and Bernese Oberland
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Mount Titlis and Lucerne Day Tour from Zurich
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Zurich Tour Including Lake Cruise and Lindt Home of Chocolate
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Glacier Express Panoramic Train Round Trip from Zürich With Private Guide
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Rhine Falls Tour from Zurich

Rhine Falls Tour from Zurich

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Jungfraujoch: Top of Europe Day Trip from Zurich
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Glacier Paradise Mount Titlis Guided Tour from Zurich Including Lucerne
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Heidiland and Liechtenstein Tour from Zurich: Two Countries in One Day
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Zermatt Village Matterhorn area and Mt. Gornergrat Small-Group Tour from Zürich
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Zurich City Tour Experience

Zurich City Tour Experience

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Mount Rigi Winter Day Trip from Zurich
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Mount Rigi Winter Day Trip from Zurich

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Rhinefalls (Private Tour)

Rhinefalls (Private Tour)

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Operators have paid Viator more to have their experiences featured here

Recent reviews from experiences in Zurich

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Wonderful tour
LISA_S, Nov 2022
Zurich City Highlights Tour with Felsenegg Cable Car and Ferry Ride
Seeing the different areas gives us a great about where we would like to visit next time we come to Zurich!
star-5
GREAT CITY TOUR
TCK_S, Oct 2022
Private Tour: Central Zurich and Surroundings Tour by Electric Tuk Tuk
We were just 3 days in Zurich and this was a perfect way to see the city.
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Amazing experience!
Jennifer_T, Sep 2022
Zurich Tour: 6 hours on shore, on water, in the air!
I highly recommend booking this tour to be able to see many different parts of Zurich, as well as learn some history of Switzerland and the city.
star-5
Excellent, breathtaking
Ashley_P, Jul 2022
Supersaver: Zurich Highlights Tour, Rhine Falls and Stein am Rhein from Zurich
Stein am Rhein and the Rhine Falls were spectacular!
star-5
Terrific
Faisal_M, Jul 2022
Mount Pilatus Summer Day Trip from Zurich
Love to recommend this trip to people who stayed in Zurich and wanted to see all activities in Lucerne and Mount Pilatus.!
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Zurich Tour!
Natalia_F, Jun 2022
Zurich Tour Including Lake Cruise and Lindt Home of Chocolate
I recommend this tour for anyone wanting to see the city in one day.
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A great tour
Midori_C, May 2022
Heidiland and Liechtenstein Tour from Zurich: Two Countries in One Day
We managed to see so much in one day.
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A MUST READ FOR YOUNG PEOPLE!
Sylke_G, Nov 2022
Mount Titlis and Lucerne Day Tour from Zurich
The only downfall was that we didn’t get to do the snow tubing (not sure why) which we were excited about!
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Amazing trip, captivating scenery
Abdulrahman_A, Nov 2022
Heidiland and Liechtenstein Tour from Zurich: Two Countries in One Day
Of course I got the ticket and visited (1) Heidi’s house, (2) the cottage house, (3) the school/city hall, and finally (4) the studio, which unfortunately I did not have enough time to visit.
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Efficient Trip to Top of Europe
Abdulrahman_A, Nov 2022
Swiss Alps Day Trip from Zurich: Jungfraujoch and Bernese Oberland
As I mentioned above, it is a very good trip if you’d like to visit the top of Europe with limited amount of time.
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Awesome Zurich Tour
Ash_S, Oct 2022
Zurich Tour: 6 hours on shore, on water, in the air!
This was a great start to our stay in Zurich and Greg gave us lots of information about things to do, restaurants and food to try.
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Great half day tour to...
Paul_A, Oct 2022
Zurich City Highlights Tour with Felsenegg Cable Car and Ferry Ride
Great half day tour to see the city highlights, Lake Zurich, a ferry ride and a gondola trip to the top of a mountain with incredible views.
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More for everyday tourists than history buffs
Marcus_W, Sep 2022
Supersaver: Zurich Highlights Tour, Rhine Falls and Stein am Rhein from Zurich
The part I preferred was the Rhine Falls and Stein am Rhein tour.
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Good overview of Zurich
Rachelle_S, Sep 2022
Touristic highlights of Zurich with Cruise & Chocolate (halfday tour with local)
there is plenty of information to read in german and english, and an audio guide in multiple languages.
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Best thing I did from Zurich
Vee_G, Aug 2022
Zurich Super Saver 2: Rhine Falls including Best of Zurich City Tour
The waterfall was amazing and I did not feel the boat tour was oversold as other reviewers noted.
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Fun, enjoyable and a good day
Wayne_F, Aug 2022
Zurich Tour Including Lake Cruise and Lindt Home of Chocolate
I would suggest going back for a longer one afterwards to see the full lake.
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Way to get to the falls
Sharon_M, Aug 2022
Rhine Falls Tour from Zurich
This tour offers a way to get to the falls from Zurich with a commentary along the way.
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Wonderfully organized trip to the Alps
Cody_R, Jul 2022
Mount Titlis and Lucerne Day Tour from Zurich
Strongly recommend if visiting Zurich, but really want to see the Alps
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Marc took us an this...
Prakash_P, Jul 2022
Private tour to the most breathtaking insider spots in Switzerland (1 day)
We were able to see some serene landscapes and how locals lived and relaxed.
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Fabulous Experience
Akash_K, Jul 2022
Swiss Alps panorama Tour with private guide from Zurich
You will get to see the stunning sceneries and spend time in remote towns of Switzerland.
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A local’s pocket guide to Zurich

Sílvia Ferreira Santos

Born and raised in Zurich, Sílvia has lived in Lisbon for over a decade now. The only way to get back in her good graces if you’re running late is by bringing along a piece of cheese.

The first thing you should do in Zurich is...

learn how to say grüezi (hi). Swiss people appreciate punctuality but also politeness.

A perfect Saturday in Zurich...

starts with a walk by Augustinergrasse and includes stops at Lindenhof Square and Fraumünster Church. Then, cross the river and head to the lake. From Bellevue to the Chinese Garden, you’ll feel like you’re in another world.

One touristy thing that lives up to the hype is...

Swiss chocolate, what else? Zurich is a paradise for chocoholics.

To discover the "real" Zurich...

get to grips with the two sides to the city. Discover traditional Zurich in Niederdorf—locals call it “Dörfli,” or “little village”—and modern, cosmopolitan Zurich on Viadukt shopping street.

For the best view of the city...

head to Üetliberg. Take the train or hike up to enjoy the view of the city and—of course—the lake. If the weather plays nice, you might even catch a glimpse of the Alps.

One thing people get wrong...

Zurich is not Switzerland’s capital. It is the country’s biggest city but the capital is actually Bern.

People Also Ask

What is Zurich famous for?

Switzerland's largest city, Zurich is often misidentified as the capital, though this de facto title belongs to Bern. Nonetheless, Zurich is a world-famous financial center, drawing visitors with its upscale shopping opportunities, Old Town charms, picturesque lake, and montane surroundings.

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What is there to do in Zurich?

From all-night parties and fondue restaurants to laid-back lake cruises and Alpine hiking, there's always something to do around Zurich. The Old Town is worth a wander too, while the Kunsthaus, FIFA Museum, and Swiss National Museum are all great options for a rainy day.

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Is 2 days enough for Zurich?

Yes. Two days is enough time to experience Zurich's best. Get your bearings on a city tour, then visit a museum before reenergizing over fondue. Afterwards, dance on Langstrasse or discover the alternative industrial areas. Next day, take a morning cruise, then ascend Uetliberg for a birds'-eye view.

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Is Zurich the capital of Switzerland?

No. Because Switzerland is a confederation, it technically doesn't have a capital city. However, Bern is widely considered to be the de facto capital, as it's where the Swiss parliament meets and several embassies are situated. Banking center Zurich is often nicknamed the financial capital of both Switzerland and the world.

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What is there to do in Zurich in the summer?

Swimming—in lakes, rivers, and outdoor pools known as badis—is a popular Swiss summer pastime. Summer is also ideal for exploring Uetliberg, Zurich's home mountain for hiking, biking, and picnics. In the city, Old Town terraces and Zurich West industrial zone are popular, while Zürichhorn open-air cinema offers evening entertainment.

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Is Zurich really expensive?

Yes. Zurich is among the world's most expensive cities, but there are ways to save. Locals often get their meals to go, eating by a picture-perfect lakeside or park spot. Deals like certain city passes include entry to attractions along with travel.

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Frequently Asked Questions