Zurich Travel Guide

Set beneath snow-clad peaks on the shores of a glittering lake, Zurich is known for its typical Swiss neatness, scenic beauty and wealth, which resides in areas such Bahnhofstrasse, one of the most beautiful, expensive and exclusive shopping avenues in Europe, and a couple of metres below its streets, where unimaginable treasures lie in underground vaults. Though widely regarded as the world's banking capital, Zurich is also the city that gave birth to the avant-garde Dadaist movement, and where James Joyce wrote Ulysses. Its Museum of Fine Arts houses one of Europe's most extensive collections, which ranges from 15th century religious iconography to the modern art works of Dali, Arp, Hockney, Cezanne, Monet, Gaugin, Munch and Picasso.

Visitors can spend days exploring cobbled streets, wandering through museums, exploring flea markets or walking away with free gifts from chocolate factories. The quays, with their promenades, are made for walking, especially along the shores of the lake. Zurich has an active restaurant and cafe culture that's ideal for people-watching, and a lively, multi-ethnic population to rival any other major European city. The exacting order of the Swiss, with their passion for neatness and precision, may create an impression of a rather prim and staid society, but visitors will discover quite the opposite when exploring Zurich's nightlife. With more bars, clubs and restaurants than you can shake a stick at, and a calendar packed full of street parades and festivals, a holiday in Zurich can exhaust even the most energetic party animal.

Best time to visit Zurich

The best time to travel to Zurich for a holiday is during the height of summer, in July and August, when the best weather is experienced. Spring and autumn are also good times to holiday in the city, but winter is cold, overcast and damp.

What to see in Zurich

-Marvel at modern architecture in the Museum of Design.

-Take in the panoramic views while riding the Polybahn and Rigiblick Funiculars.

-Bring along the kids for a trip to the Zurich Zoo.

-Explore the narrow, winding lanes of Niederdorf.

What to do in Zurich

-Spend a few hours exploring the fascinating Swiss National Museum.

-Marvel at the spires of the beautiful Fraumunster Church.

-Soak up some high culture at the Kunsthaus Zurich (Fine Arts Museum).

-Stroll alongside the Limmat River to visit the Centre Le Corbusier.

Beyond Zurich

As a hub for railways, roads, and air traffic to both Switzerland and Europe in general, the city's importance as a base for travelling in and around the region is well recognised, and it often serves as the entry point for foreign tourists. From Zurich travellers have easy access to the Swiss Alps, as well as the other major city of Geneva.

Getting there

Flights to Zurich land at Zurich Airport, situated in the Kluton district on the outskirts of Zurich, a short ride to the city centre.

Did you know?

-The St. Peter church in Zurich has the largest clock face in Europe.

-Visitors will have the choice of 1,200 different fountains in the city to take their photograph.

-Albert Einstein attended the University of Zurich, where he later became professor.