Skip Navigation

Zürich

Photo © Aeolos

Travel Guide Europe Switzerland Zürich

edit

Introduction

Zurich

Zurich

© All Rights Reserved skteddy

Zürich is the largest city in Switzerland and is considered the cultural and commercial centre of the country. Set up as a tax collecting town during the 1st century AD of the Roman Empire. The city slowly grew into a major center and in 1351 it joined the Swiss Confederation, although it was expelled from the federation from 1440 to 1451. The city kept growing and was spared most of the savages of both World Wars because of Swiss neutrality.

Today the city is home to great churches, museums and stunning culture. There are several city wide festivals that are worth checking out. From 2006 to 2008 this global city was named one of the best cities to live because of a great quality of life.

Top

edit

Districts

  • Altstadt is the 1st district and is around the old town, which crosses both side of the Limmat River.
  • District 2 is on the west side of Lake Zürich.
  • Wiedikon is District 3
  • Aussersihl is District 4
  • Industriequartier is District 5
  • District 6
  • District 7
  • Riesbach is District 8 and is on the eastern side of Lake Zürich
  • District 9
  • District 10
  • District 11
  • Schwamendingen

Top

edit

Sights and Activities

Photo not found

Grossmünster

The Grossmünster is an amazing Romanesque-style church and was extremely important place during the Protestant Reformation. The church was built in its present from in 1220 to add to the cities impressive architecture. In 1520 Huldrych Zwingli started the Swiss-German Reformation at this church and set the president for many changes for the church, such as the abandonment of lent, replacement of the Mass, disavowal of celibacy, eating meat on fast days and a band on church music.

Other Churches

  • The Fraumünster Abbey was originally built in 853 with several additions added later. The distinctive tall bell tower and the 5 Marc Chagall windows cannot be missed.
  • St. Peters is a wonderful church that is home to the world's largest church clock face in the world.

Museums

Other Sights and Activities

  • Lindenhof is the site of a Roman and medieval castle.
  • The Guild Houses are located along the river downstream of the Grossmunster.
  • The Old Town is a great place to explore on both sides of the river
  • Bahnofstrasse is the main shopping street in Zurich.
  • Parade-Platz is a stunning plaza and the centre for financial activity in the country.
  • Lake Zurich is a wonderful lake and great green space.
  • Fluntern Cemetery
  • Zurich Opera House is a wonderful opera house and one of the most famous in the world.

Top

edit

Events and Festivals

  • The Zürich Street Parade is one of the largest street parades in the world and a popular attraction for techno music fans.
  • Sechseläuten is a large festival sponsored by the guild houses. The festival is held every year in April and features the burning of the Böögg.
  • Zürcher Theater Spektakel is an international theater festival.
  • Kunst Zürich is an international contemporary art fair.

Top

edit

Weather

The warmest months are June to August with most of the rain happening during these months. Temperatures are between 23 °C and 25 °C. The coldest months are from November to March, between 2 °C and 5 °C during the day, -3 °C at night. Zurich is wetter than many other parts of the country, with especially much rain in summer. Some snow is possible in winter.

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Avg Max2 °C4.2 °C8.3 °C12.6 °C17.3 °C20.5 °C23 °C22 °C18.8 °C13.3 °C6.9 °C2.9 °C
Avg Min-2.8 °C-1.9 °C0.6 °C3.7 °C7.7 °C10.8 °C12.8 °C12.4 °C10 °C6.2 °C1.4 °C-1.7 °C
Rainfall67 mm70 mm69 mm87 mm103 mm124 mm117 mm133 mm92 mm69 mm82 mm73 mm
Rain Days1110111212121112881010

Top

edit

Getting There

By Plane

Zürich Airport (IATA: ZHR, ICAO: LASZH) is also known as Kloten Airport and is located 10 kilometres from the city. It is Switzerland's largest airport and hub for Swiss International Air Lines. It is possible to fly to every major and minor airport in Europe and most international destinations from here. There is a train station located under the airport making for quick and easy connections to the city.

To/from the airport
Zürich Airport railway station is located underneath the terminal. There are trains to many parts of Switzerland. There are frequent S-Bahn Zürich services on the lines S2, S3 and S16 and of the Glatttalbahn (Zürich tram line 10). Also, there are direct InterRegio and InterCity services to Winterthur, Bern, Basel, Brig, Sankt Gallen, Lucerne and Konstanz in Germany. It also has EuroCity services to Munich in Germany. By changing trains at Zürich Hauptbahnhof most other places in Switzerland can be reached in a few hours.

By Train

The Swiss Federal Railways (SBB-CFF-FFS) website has more details about schedules and prices.
Zürich Hauptbahnhof is the main train station in Zürich and handles more then 2,700 trains daily with more then 340,000 passengers a day. The Zurich Hauptbahnhof is served by the local S-Bahn commuter trains, InterCity (IC and ICN) connections throughout Switzerland, Italy, Germany's IC, France's TGV Lyria, Liechtenstein, and various other direct night train services to/from as far as Amsterdam, Berlin, Prague, Budapest, Vienna and Belgrade.The station was originally opened in 1847 and has only grown. Tram lines 4, 11, 13 and 14 have stops at this train station. The large mall underneath the train station is a good place to go on sundays because it stays open and busy while the rest of the city tends to shut down.

By Car

Almost every highway in Switzerland leads straight into Zurich. This might be quite convenient for tourists who drive, but is also really painful if you have to cross Zurich on a daily basis.

By Bus

The bus station is next to the main train station, near the confluence of the Sihl and Limmat.
Many buses arrive from other European cities, mainly southern destinations such as the Western Balkans or Spain. There is a bi-weekly bus to Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina (look for "Cirih").
Zurich is also served by a number of German operators.

By Boat

As Zurich is located at the end of lake Zurich, it can be reached by boat from other lake villages, e.g. Rapperswil at the upper end of the lake.

Top

edit

Getting Around

By Car

Driving in Zurich is possible but it is painful as the city centre is not easy to navigate by car.
The taxis in Zürich are very expensive compared to New York, London and other major cities. Most of the taxi-drivers are unfriendly and uncommunicative. Better travel by tram, bus or S-bahn.

By Public Transport

Zürich is famous for its highly efficient, clean and safe public transport system, owned and managed by the http://www.zvv.ch/zvv/en/home.html|Zürcher Verkehrsverbund (ZVV)]] which covers the entire canton of Zürich as well as Rapperswil-Jona in the canton of St. Gallen and Pfäffikon SZ in the canton of Schwyz. The network includes trams, buses, S-Bahn (suburban trains), cable cars and boats. The size and complexity of the network may be daunting at first, but you will soon realize that there are dozens of ways to get from one place to another and following any of them will still be efficient.

The system is divided into numerous fare zones, with the city centre and innermost suburbs being in zone 110 and the outer suburbs located in other zones (Winterthur is in zone 120, for example), and the more zones you pass through, the more you'll have to pay for your journey. There are single tickets, day cards, monthly cards and annual cards. The monthly and annual cards are collectively referred to as ZVV NetzPass.

Tickets must be purchased from a ticket vending machine before boarding or from one of the ticket selling kiosks. The ticket vending machines are in German, English, French and Italian and offer almost all regular tickets available (not personal tickets though). You select the zones you wish to pass through upon buying the ticket, with a zone map on every machine as well as clear instructions coming to your aid, so feel free to choose! Once you've got your ticket it gives you access to all modes of transport.

If you're staying for a longer period, consider a monthly ZVV NetzPass, because even though there are no regular tickets valid for something between 1 day and a month, it takes only 10 "zone 110" day cards for a "zone 110" monthly card to be cheaper. When travelling in all zones, it takes only 8 day cards for the monthly card to be cheaper. A 24-hour ticket for zone 110 costs just the same as two single rides.

If you don't mind starting your travels after 09:00, the "ZVV-9-UhrPass" is the best option. It is available as both daily, monthly and annual cards and will save you a lot of money compared to regular similarities, especially given that the 09:00 rule does not apply on weekends.

By Tram and Bus
Several tram lines, trolleybuses and buses cover the city at street level. Like all other public transport in Zurich, you must purchase and validate tickets before boarding, or risk a fine if they decide to spot check. You can find a timetable at every stop which is usually accurate to the minute, however delays do occur due to heavy traffic, rerouting, or other factors.

By Rail
The 'S-Bahn' is Zürich's convenient and fast suburban rail system which covers nearly all suburbs of Zürich and beyond. Zürich's S-Bahn system provides convenient and fast service throughout the region. All lines except the rural ones pass through the Hauptbahnhof. The ZVV offers directions for a series of excursions on the S-Bahn. You must have a validated ticket before you board. If you do not have a ticket you will be liable for an on-the-spot fine of Fr. 80.

By Boat
There are two types of boat-based public transport operated in Zürich: river buses and lake steamers. The river boats operate in the summer months only and the lake boats operate on a much reduced schedule during the winter.

The river buses operate between the Landesmuseum (near the Hauptbahnhof) along the Limmat River and out in the Zürichsee (Zürich Lake) to Tiefenbrunnen. There are several stops along the Limmat River.

The Zürichsee Schifffahrtsgesellschaft (ZSG) operates lake steamers which leave from Burkliplatz (at the end of Bahnhofstrasse). The ZSG's website provides information on destinations and ships. The ZSG offers a variety of tourist-oriented trips (including Jazz Brunch, and historic restored steam ships), and a popular trip is to Rapperswil at the south end of the Zürichsee. The town has a beautiful castle overlooking the lake surrounded by a medieval town.

By Foot

The main train station, old town and the lake promenade and all nearby tourist attractions are easily walkable. You may find that you don't need transport for most of your tourist needs once you get into the city.

By Bike

You can "rent" bikes, skateboards, etc., for free from 07:00–21:20 daily May-Oct at several places in Zurich and year-round at the central train station. All you need is your passport and a Fr. 20 deposit as guarantee. This offer is called "Züri rollt" (German only). You can get and return the bikes at several locations: the bikegate just next to the central station, next to the "Globus City" shopping centre, next to the opera, or at the Swissotel in Oerlikon. If you can't find these places, don't hesitate to ask some locals, they should know at least the bikegate at the central station. The Zurich Transit Company, VBZ also provides information about these bikes in English. Nevertheless, you shouldn't count on it because sometimes the "rent" spots run out of bikes.

Top

edit

Eat

The quintessential Zürich dish is Zürcher Geschnetzeltes (Swiss-German: Zürigschnätzlets), sliced veal in a cream and wine sauce. Various kinds of grilled Wurst (sausages) are also popular. These are most often accompanied by boiled potatoes, Rösti, a Swiss potato pancake (grated potato, formed into a pancake then pan fried until crisp in butter or oil) or Chnöpfli, in German sometimes called Spätzle (small noodle dumplings).

Veal is still very popular, though the use of turkey and other meats as a substitute is growing.

While Fondue (melted cheese in a central pot, dip bread into it) and Raclette (cheese melted in small portions, served with potatoes and pickles) are not really local to Zürich (they come from the Western Switzerland) they are commonly available at restaurants aimed at tourists.

The bread available in Zürich is generally delicious. There are many varieties, and your best bet is to go to a bakery or a supermarket in the morning or just after work hours, when most people are doing their shopping and bread is coming out fresh.

Try grilled Bratwurst from street stands, served with a large crusty roll of sourdough bread and mustard, or sandwiches made with fresh baked Bretzeln (large, soft pretzels). A typically Swiss bread is the Zopf, a braided soft bread that is commonly served on Sundays (the other name for it is Sonntagszopf).

For breakfast, try a bowl of Müesli, which was invented as a health food in Switzerland. The Sprüngli confectionery store tea rooms serve a deluxe version of this fiber-filled cereal with whole milk, crushed berries and cream.

There are a huge variety of cheeses available at the supermarkets, specialty stores and markets, as well as all kinds of hams and dried sausages. Dairy products are generally delicious, especially the butter. Do not miss the supermarkets! You should take a thorough look through Migros or Coop and maybe even assemble your own lunch or dinner some time. Even the cheap, budget prepackaged desserts in the supermarket exceed the quality of what you may be used to.

For those with a sweet tooth, there's a huge variety of chocolates to enjoy, from the cheapest chocolate bar to individually hand-made truffles. (See the Shopping section above). The chocolate bar displays at the supermarkets will overwhelm you! Also enjoy pastries and cakes from the various Konditorei scattered around town. In pastry shops, you can also find special pastry from Zurich: The most famous of them probably is Tirggel, a rather hard pastry made of flour and honey. Although traditionally made and eaten during the Winter holidays, many pastry shops (including larger supermarkets) sell them throughout the year. Often, they've got sights of Zurich printed on the top, can be stored for months and thus make up a pretty good and cheap souvenir. Another famous type of pastry are Luxemburgerli exclusively sold by the confectionery chain of Sprüngli (part of the famous chocolatier Lindt & Sprüngli). A typical cake is the Mandelfisch, an almond cake shaped like a fish.

Top

edit

Drink

Zurich has a lot of places to go out. There are a lot of clubs, restaurants, cafés, bars but also many museums and theaters. The most common drinks in Zurich include: Beer, Swiss white wine (e.g. Fendant), Swiss red wine (is delicious), and Spanish red wine (is generally good value here). At apéro time (after work), you will find many people drinking a Cüpli (glass of sparkling wine).

For the best nightlife hit up the area of Niederdorf in the oldtown and Lanstrasse in the 4th and 5th district. Areas that are becoming more popular are Zürich West in the 5th district near the Escher-Wyss swuare and S-Bahn Station of Hardbrucke.

Top

edit

Sleep

Zurich is the financial centre of Switzerland and most travellers come with an expense account. The hospitality sector focuses therefore mostly on the 4- and 5-star sector. Zurich is known for its superb hotels, but these won't come cheap. Best is to go on a company rate, because rack rates are sometimes ridiculous.

Budget

PropertyAddressTypePopularity
City Backpacker - Hostel BiberNiederdorfstrasse 5Hostel81
Hotel AllegraHamelirainstrasse 3 8302 KlotenHotel90
Hotel Arlette Beim HauptbahnhofStampfenbachstrasse 26Hotel90
Hotel Bristol ZurichStampfenbachstr.34 8035 ZurichHotel87
Hotel CoronadoSchaffhauserstrasse 137Hotel90
Hotel du ThéâtreSeilergraben 69Hotel-
Hotel LimmathofLimmatquai 142Hotel88
Hotel OtterOberdorfstrasse 7Hotel85
Hotel Welcome InnHolbergstrasse 1 8302 KlotenHotel90
Sorell Hotel SeefeldSeefeldstrasse 63Hotel-
X-TRA The HotelLimmatstrasse 118Hotel90
Youthhostel ZurichMutschellenstr. 114Hostel83
ZicZac Rock-HotelMarktgasse 17Hotel-
Zurich City Apartment 2KanonengasseApartment-
Pension fuerDichStauffacherstrasse 141Guesthouse87
Accademia ApartmentsLangensteinenstrasse 2Apartment-
Hotel ScheubleMühlegasse 17Hotel-
Hostellerie GeroldswilHuebwiesenstrasse 36 am Dorfplatz GeroldswilHostel-
Apartments Swiss Star KlotenObstgartenstrasse 24Apartment-
Swiss Star WiedikonDubsstrasse 30Apartment-
Swiss Star OerlikonFriesstrasse 8Apartment-
Swiss StarGubelstrasse 64Apartment-
Swiss Star Aussersihl - MorgartenstrasseMorgartenstrasse 15Apartment-
Swiss Star Aussersihl - BadenstrasseBadenstrasse 362Apartment-
Swiss Star Wiedikon2Zelgstrasse 19Apartment-
BeinanyKuttelgasseApartment-
LangstarsLangstrasse 120Hostel80
Motel FehraltorfLuppmenstrasse 13Hotel-
Hotel LowenBaumackerstrasse 47Hotel-
Park Inn by Radisson Zurich AirportFlughofstrasse 75 CH-8153 RümlangHotel-
Im SonnenbuehlIm Sonnenbühl 1 CH - 8143 ÜtlibergGuesthouse-
Fortuna Studio Downtown ZurichFortunagasse 36APARTMENT-
Hotel AltstadtKirchgasse 4HOTEL-
Hotel FranziskanerNiederdorfstrasse 1GUESTHOUSE-
Hotel PlatzhirschSpitalgasse 3GUESTHOUSE-

Top

edit

Learn

Top

edit

Keep Connected

Internet

Switzerland has a high rate of people with their own internet connection and computers, so internet cafes are not as common compared to other countries and compared to the past. But still you will be able to find a computer in the main cities and tourist areas, also at libraries, video rental shops, train stations or tourist information places. Wifi is widely available, though sometimes at a cost. A growing number of hotels, restaurants, coffee bars and fastfood joints now offer free wifi.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

Switzerland's country code is 41 and the emergency phone numbers are 117 (police), 118 (fire department) and 144 (emergency rescue service/ambulance). Swiss phone numbers consist of the area code and a local phone number. The area code has three digits and starts with a zero, such as 022 for Geneva. The local phone number has usually 7 digits, but there are numbers with only 5 or 6 digits.

If you stay for some time, it may be advisable to buy a pre-paid cell phone card that you can use in any phone that supports the GSM standard on the 900/1800 MHz bands - they usually cost around 10-40 CHF and are obtainable in the shops of the mobile service providers Swisscom, Orange or Sunrise in most cities. Mobile network coverage is close to 100% by area, even in the mountainous, non-populated areas. There are also a lot of cheap prepaid cards for local calls from other providers. The prepaid cards of the big supermarket chains Migros and Coop for example cost around 20 CHF and include already 15 CHF airtime. The cheapest prepaid card for calls within Switzerland is Aldi Mobile. The cheapest prepaid card for international communication is Yallo. The prepaid cards can be bought online (30 CHF with 30 CHF airtime inclusive), in most post offices (29 CHF with 20 CHF airtime inclusive) or Sunrise shops (20 CHF with 20 CHF airtime inclusive).

Post

Swiss Post is the national postal service of Switzerland and has fast and reliable services. For more information about prices to send postcards, letters and parcels, both domestically as well as internationally, they have a very useful Price Calculator. Domestically, there is priority mail (arriving the following day) and economy mail which takes 2-3 days to be send within Switzerland. Stamps can be bought at the post offices or from shops and kiosks that also sell postcards. In general, post offices are open from 8:00am to noon and 2:00pm to 5:00 or 6:00pm, with a lunchbreak in between. Opening times on Saturdays are usually only during mornings. Larger cities and central post offices might keep longer hours and skp the lunchbreak. If you want to send packages internationally, you might also consider international courier companies like TNT, DHL or UPS.

Top

Quick Facts

[edit]

Coordinates
  • Latitude: 47.3690239
  • Longitude: 8.5380326

Accommodation in Zürich

We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Zürich searchable right here on Travellerspoint. You can use our map to quickly compare budget, mid-range or top of the range accommodation in Zürich and areas nearby.

Contributors

as well as Sander (1%), Peter (<1%)

Zürich Travel Helpers

We don't currently have any Travel Helpers for Zürich

This is version 21. Last edited at 7:07 on May 8, 17 by Utrecht. 134 articles link to this page.

Creative Commons License
Except where otherwise noted, content of this article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License