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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)

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)

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 Old Town (Altstadt)

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

Lindt Home of Chocolate

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


One of the most expensive strips of retail space in Europe, Zurich’s Bahnhofstrasse is known for its many luxury shops selling 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

Grossmünster Church

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 as the birthplace of the Swiss Reformation.More

Mount Rigi

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

Fraumünster Church

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


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)

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


At an altitude of 2,600 feet (800 meters, this scenic lookout on the Albis chain is one of Zurich’s most popular recreational spots. Its many hiking routes attract active sightseers from across the region, while its restaurant and outdoor terraces provide a perfect spot to soak up views of Lake Zurich and the snow-capped mountains beyond.More

National Museum Zurich (Landesmuseum Zürich)

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

Mt. Titlis

Reaching 10,626 feet (3,239 meters) above sea level, Mt. Titlis is Central Switzerland’s highest peak and probably its finest vantage point. The mountain has a cutting-edge transportation system—including, most famously a revolving cable car that turns 360 degrees during the ride to the top station at 9,908 feet (3,020 meters). Those lucky enough to be inside the car are graced with stunning panoramic views of Alpine peaks, sheer rock faces, and an icy crevasse-cracked glacier.More


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


Running along the east bank of the Limmat River, Limmatquai is a popular street for visitors, home to many restaurants, hotels, and shops. You will most likely find yourself somewhere on the street during your exploration of Old Town (Altstadt).More

Trip ideas

A Drag Queen’s Guide to Zurich

A Drag Queen’s Guide to Zurich

Don’t-Miss Dishes in Zurich

Don’t-Miss Dishes in Zurich

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

Rhine Falls Tour from Zurich

Rhine Falls Tour from Zurich

Zurich Old Town Walking Tour
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Zurich Old Town Walking Tour

Jungfraujoch: Top of Europe Day Trip from Zurich
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Zermatt Village Matterhorn area and Mt. Gornergrat Small-Group Tour from Zürich
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Zurich Tour: 6 hours on shore, on water, in the air!
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Zurich City Tour Experience

Zurich City Tour Experience

Operators have paid Viator more to have their experiences featured here

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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