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First Timer's Guide To Zurich, Switzerland

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Noelle Ong

Klook Travel Curator

The first timer’s guide to Zurich

The largest city in Switzerland is definitely a stop to make on your trip to the Swiss country. Zurich is home to beautiful European architecture and one of the most luxurious malls in the world, we’d recommend taking a day or two to explore this city.

Klook activities to check out

1. Zurich City Half Day Tour

Explore the city from a local’s point of view through the the Best of Zurich Half Day City tour! Let the local guide take you from point to point in an air-conditioned bus, pointing out the city’s most famous landmarks. Walk along the famous lake and ride the cogwheel train uphill to enjoy the views from the top!

Attractions covered in the tour are marked with “[City Tour]” below.

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Zurich Highlights

1. Lindenhof Hill

Head up to Lindenhof for great views of the old town, Grossmunster Church and the Limmat river! Lindenhof stands on the ruins of the an old Roman castle and holds great significance to a series of historical events. Stroll around and you’ll spot the locals engaging in a game of chess in the public square. We’d recommend packing lunch and sitting up on the hill and enjoying the view.

From the main Zurich train station Bahnhofplatz, walk along the street parallel to the Limmat river until you reach Lindenhofstrasse.

Address: Lindenhof, 8001 Zürich, Switzerland

Opening Hours: 24 hours

2. Grossmunster Church Tower

Legend has it that the Grossmunster Church was built on the graves of the city’s patron saints, Felix and Regula. Some highlights not to be missed include the stained glass windows, bronze doors and the reformation museum. Climb up 187 steps to the top of the tower vantage point for great views of Zurich and even the alpine summits in the distance. Admission to the vantage point costs CHF 5 whereas tour of the church is free.

Address: Grossmünsterplatz, 8001 Zürich, Switzerland

Opening Hours: March to October: Monday to Saturday 10.00am – 6.00pm | November to February Monday to Saturday 10.00am – 5.00pm | Sundays after service

3. Opera House [City Tour]

Home to the Zurich Opera and the Zurich Ballet, the beautiful exterior of the Zurich Opera House or Opernhaussure makes for a great picture stop. We’d recommend coming in the evening when it’s all lighted up!

If you’re a fan of the performances, be sure to check out the schedule and book your tickets online before heading down. Definitely worth watching is the Zurich Ballet’s version of Faust and operas by Gaetano Donizetti or Giuseppe Verdi!

To get there, take the S3 tram and alight at Zurich Stadelhofen and the opera house is 2 minutes away.

Address: Opernhaus ZürichFalkenstrasse 18008 Zürich

Photo credit :

4. Mount Uetliberg

Experience Zurich’s local mountain - Mount Uetliberg from 871-metres above the city. If you don’t want to hike up, take the S10 train from the main station to Uetliberg and the peak is just a 10-minute walk away. Climb up the lookout tower for incredible views of the city and the famous Swiss Alps!

Address: Uetliberg, 8143 Zürich, Switzerland

Nearest Station: Uetliberg Station on the S10 train

5. Lake Zurich [City Tour]

A walk along the shores of Lake Zurich is a must if you’re in Zurich. Start at Bellevue and walk along the promenade, taking in the sights of the Swiss capital. You should also consider hopping onto a boat to take in the sights of the lake.

If you’ve got the Swiss Rail Pass, the cruise rides on the river are free! The river cruises depart from 'Zürich Landesmuseum' and are about 90 minute round trips. These take you on the river Limmat, along the Old Town, and onto the lake.

6. Fraumunster

You can spot the green steeple of the Fraumunster Church from miles away! One of Zurich’s most prominent landmarks, the glass windows by Marc Chagall and Augusto Giacometti are one of the reasons for its popularity. Hidden in the basement of the church is a monumental stone church from the 9th century which all archaeology fans will definitely love. The entry fee into the church is 5 francs and grants you entry to the Crypt museum.

To get there, take tram no 11,13 or 17 from the Zurich main station and alight at Paradeplatz and the church is a 2 minute walk away.

Address: Münsterhof 2, 8001 Zürich, Switzerland

Opening Hours: 1st of November to 29th of February 10am - 5pm | 1st of March to 31st of October 10am - 6pm

Photo credit: myswitzerland and wikipedia

7. Bahnhofstrasse [City Tour]

Zurich’s main downtown street is one of the world’s most exclusive and expensive shopping avenues. For shoppaholics who love luxury items, this would be your haven! Otherwise, for the rest of us, just strolling along the avenues of shops is also a beautiful sight. Order a cup of hot chocolate or mulled wine and people watch if shopping is not your thing.

To get there, take tram no 11,13 or 17 from the Zurich main station and alight at Rennweg, Bahnhofstrasse is 2 minutes away.

Address: Bahnhofstrasse, 8001 Zürich, Switzerland

Photo credit : mycityhighlight

8. Kunsthaus - Museum for Modern Art

The Kunsthaus Museum for Modern Art in Zurich is the museum of fine arts housing over 4000 paintings, sculptures and installation. This place is a must for all art-enthusiasts! With pieces spanning the Middle Ages to contemporary art, immerse yourself in European culture for a day. This makes a great bad weather plan!

To get there, take tram no 31 from the Zurich main station and alight 3 stops later at Kuntshaus.

Address: Heimplatz 1, 8001 Zürich, Switzerland

Opening Hours: 10am to 6pm closed on Mondays

Photo credit : wikicommons

9. St Peter’s Church

The St. Peter church in Zurich is home to the largest clock face in Europe! Previously used as a fire watch post, the original 9th century foundation walls are still seen today. This is the only baroque church in the city and is Zurich’s oldest.

Take tram no 4 from the main station and alight 3 stops later at Rathaus, the church is 2 minutes away.

Address: St. Peterhofstatt 2, 8001 Zürich, Switzerland

Photo credit: pinterest

10. Bruno Webber Skulpturepark Spreitenbach

For the uninitiated, Bruno Webber is a famous Swiss award winning architect and painter. The sculpture park features beautiful vibrantly colored concrete sculptures made entirely of mosaic tiles. Dive into a fantasy world with two-winged dogs and other mythical creatures, but remember, do not touch the art!

To get there, take tram S12 for 5 stops and alight at Dietikon before transferring to bus service 325 to Latten. The park will then be a 8 minute walk away.

Address: Zur Weinrebe 3, 8953 Dietikon, Switzerland

Opening Hours: 11am to 6pm | Closed on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday

Photo credit : wikipedia

Must-try foods

1. Sprungli

You definitely have to try the Luxemburglis, also known as macarons in one of Zurich’s most renowned coffeehouses Sprungli. Other favorites include melt-in-your-mouth chocolate truffles, tartlets, cakes and all things that make your pants a tad bit tighter.

Photo credit : Instagram

2. Cheese Fondue

You can’t say you’ve been to Switzerland without having some cheese fondue! This classic Swiss dish is a must try. Dip your meats, bread and potatoes into a bubbling pot of melting cheese in the heart of winter and not only will it warm your body up but also your hearts.

Try out the cheese fondue at Fribourger Fondue for an authentic and traditional taste!

3. Rosti and Pork Shank

While we know that eating in restaurants in Zurich can be quite costly, we think it is definitely worth having an authentic Swiss meal out. The famous Rosti potatoes - fried thinly shredded potatoes as well as braised pork shank are a must try!

Head to Restaurant zum Kropf located conveniently in the city center for some authentic Swiss food! The high vaulted ceilings and artistic frescos make dining in this restaurant ideal for both tourists and locals.

Address: In Gassen 16, 8001 Zürich, Switzerland,