Things to do in Zurich

Zurich is full to the brim with attractions and sightseeing opportunities for travellers, who can visit wonderful monuments, museums and churches, and wander through the cobblestone streets of Niederhof and enjoy a light meal or cup of coffee while being entertained by the street performers and buskers. Culture vultures will love the Swiss National Museum, the Fine Arts Museum and the Museum of Design Zurich, and children of all ages will love the Zurich Zoo, where endangered species such as snow leopards and red pandas can be seen. Visitors keen on doing a lot of sightseeing in Zurich should purchase the Zurich Card, which includes access to transport services of Zurich Public Transport and offers free admission to over 40 museums, reduced admission to the zoo, a complimentary welcome drink in over 20 restaurants and a number of other benefits. The card can cover a period 24 hours or 72 hours.

Fraumunster Church photo

Fraumunster Church

Of the church spires that characterise Zurich's skyline, the thin blue spire of Fraumunster is the most graceful. Overlooking the historic old square of Munsterhof, the former pig …

Fraumunster Church

Of the church spires that characterise Zurich's skyline, the thin blue spire of Fraumunster is the most graceful. Overlooking the historic old square of Munsterhof, the former pig market, the church was founded in 853 and its convent inhabited by German noblewomen until the 13th century. Important architectural features include the Romanesque choir and the enormous elaborate organ, but its chief attractions are the five beautiful stained-glass windows designed by Marc Chagall in 1970.

Website www.fraumuenster.ch

Swiss National Museum photo

Swiss National Museum

A fascinating exploration of Swiss national history, the Swiss National Museum has an impressive and varied collection of ancient artefacts, providing visitors with a richer unders…

Swiss National Museum

A fascinating exploration of Swiss national history, the Swiss National Museum has an impressive and varied collection of ancient artefacts, providing visitors with a richer understanding of Swiss life and consciousness through the centuries. Housed in an exquisite castle-like building, with a distinctive tower, the permanent collection contains a comprehensive anthology of artefacts from the Stone Age to modern times. First stop is the archaeology exhibit where tools and articles dating back to before 800BC are on display. Highlights at the museum include the Celestial globe of Jost Bürg (1594), a groundbreaking symbol of European thought, religious reliquaries from the 13th to 16th centuries and ancient wheels, considered to be among the earliest ever found. Another major drawcard is the Armoury, where historic Swiss weaponry used in combat between 800 and 1800BC can be found. Visitors can expect to see crossbows, swords and suits of armour.

Website www.nationalmuseum.ch

Kunsthaus Zurich (Fine Arts Museum) photo

Kunsthaus Zurich (Fine Arts Museum)

Devoted for the most part to 19th and 20th century artwork, the Kunsthaus Zurich (Zurich Fine Arts Museum) is a cultural drawcard for any art lover. Holding one of the largest coll…

Kunsthaus Zurich (Fine Arts Museum)

Devoted for the most part to 19th and 20th century artwork, the Kunsthaus Zurich (Zurich Fine Arts Museum) is a cultural drawcard for any art lover. Holding one of the largest collections of works by Edvard Munch outside Norway, as well as works by renowned modern artists such as Chagall, Picasso, Monet, Rothko and the Expressionists, Kokoschka, Beckmann and Corinth to name a few, there is a whole host of quality artwork at which the visitor can marvel. Visitors can also view the creative talents of cutting edge Swiss artists such as the sculptor and painter Alberto Giacometti, and well-known Swiss duo Fischli and Weiss. Situated in a sophisticated building with contemporary exhibitions, a trip to the Kunsthaus Zurich makes for a very rewarding cultural day out.

Website www.kunsthaus.ch

Polybahn and Rigiblick Funiculars photo

Polybahn and Rigiblick Funiculars

Trains, buses, trams and bikes are common ways of getting around Zurich. To get above the bustling streets and cobbled walkways, travellers should hop onto either the Polybahn or R…

Polybahn and Rigiblick Funiculars

Trains, buses, trams and bikes are common ways of getting around Zurich. To get above the bustling streets and cobbled walkways, travellers should hop onto either the Polybahn or Rigiblick Funicular for panoramic views of the city and Lake Zurich. The traditional Polybahn was first opened in 1889 to solve the transport problem of students travelling from central Zurich to the University of Technology, which is situated on the towering Zürichberg hill. The Polybahn has maintained its classic Swiss appearance and continues to haul students and tourists to the Polyterasse viewpoint. Serving an attractive neighbourhood north of Zurich, the Rigiblick Funicular rewards travellers with a sweeping panoramic view of the city and the unmistakable Mount Rigi (1797m).

Museum of Design Zurich photo

Museum of Design Zurich

Known for sophisticated designs such as the internationally recognised symbol of the Red Cross, it is no wonder that Switzerland has a museum dedicated solely to design. With four …

Museum of Design Zurich

Known for sophisticated designs such as the internationally recognised symbol of the Red Cross, it is no wonder that Switzerland has a museum dedicated solely to design. With four separate collections, visitors can indulge in the designs of the Poster Collection, Design Collection, Graphic Collection and Decorative Arts Collection, spanning the past century or visit one of the temporary exhibits where works of acclaimed industrial designers, photographers, graphic artists and architects are regularly shown. Designed by the progressive Swiss architects Adolf Steger and Karl Egender as a Functionalist manifesto, the Museum of Design Zurich is a great example of modern architecture in Switzerland and is a gallery not to be missed.

Website www.museum-gestaltung.ch

Niederdorf photo

Niederdorf

Situated in the old town across from central station, the narrow lanes of Niederdorf wind through towering 14th century buildings revealing small plazas where restaurants spill ont…

Niederdorf

Situated in the old town across from central station, the narrow lanes of Niederdorf wind through towering 14th century buildings revealing small plazas where restaurants spill onto cobbled streets and buskers entertain diners and passers-by with miscellaneous music. This charming district has an interesting array of fashion stores, bookshops and antique dealers, as well as superb independent cheese, wine and pastry shops. In the evening the area transforms into one of Zurich's buzzing nightlife venues, and there are a wide selection of bars, restaurants and clubs to be explored.

Zurich Zoo photo

Zurich Zoo

Unlike the dubious reputation of zoos worldwide, the Zurich Zoo is refreshingly dedicated to nature conservation, maintaining ecosystems and protecting animal species, and runs man…

Zurich Zoo

Unlike the dubious reputation of zoos worldwide, the Zurich Zoo is refreshingly dedicated to nature conservation, maintaining ecosystems and protecting animal species, and runs many projects aimed at reintroducing animals into the wild. Offering guided tours and in depth information tools, the Zurich Zoo does its best to educate the public. With over 340 different species and 4000 animals, visitors will get the unique chance to view endangered animal species such as snow leopards and red pandas. Recreating ecosystems from exotic Madagascar to the rugged Ethiopian Highlands and housing the various animals in spacious enclosures, a visit to the diverse Zurich Zoo is a pleasurable and invigorating excursion. Travellers should visit the website to see feeding times and to discover whether new pups have been born.

Website www.zoo.ch

Pavillon Le Corbusier photo

Pavillon Le Corbusier

The final work of the renowned Swiss architect who pioneered modernism and laid the foundation for Bauhaus, the Pavillon Le Corbusier in Zurichhorn Park is the epitome of modern de…

Pavillon Le Corbusier

The final work of the renowned Swiss architect who pioneered modernism and laid the foundation for Bauhaus, the Pavillon Le Corbusier in Zurichhorn Park is the epitome of modern design. A conglomeration of his life's work, the former Centre Le Corbusier and Heidi Weber Museum unify Le Corbusier's architecture, paintings, furniture, sculpture and writings, all in one space. Created in the 1960s, the contemporary building has strong references to Mondrian and is a jumble of cubic structures made of coloured panels, glass and steel, protected by a detached angular roof. Initially designed as a private house, the many spaces of the Centre Le Corbusier have fared well as an exhibition and learning centre. While travelling to this illuminating masterpiece, tourists can take a stroll alongside the Limmat River in picturesque Zurichhorn Park and should look out for the sculptures of Jean Tinguely and Henry Moore.

Swiss Alps photo

Swiss Alps

The tradition of skiing goes back two centuries in Switzerland and, today, with more than 1,700 mountain railways and ski lifts, renowned ski schools and instructors, the best ski …

Swiss Alps

The tradition of skiing goes back two centuries in Switzerland and, today, with more than 1,700 mountain railways and ski lifts, renowned ski schools and instructors, the best ski equipment in the world, and outstanding slopes and facilities catering for all levels of ability, it deserves to be called 'Europe's winter playground'. The ideal resort for beginners or families is Grindelwald in the Jungfrau region, while intermediates and snowboarders should head for the twin resorts of Davos and Klosters, where there are miles of excellent ski terrain. Expert skiers can enjoy the challenge of 7,200 ft (2,700m) vertical drops on the Klein Matterhorn at Zermatt, and the ski valley of Verbier is ideal for shoulder-season skiing, as its location provides early snow that lingers late into the spring. Grindelwald has long been the capital of summer hiking in the Bernese Alps, and has a network of groomed trails for winter hikers.


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