One of Zurich's must-dos is a stroll along the sleek storefronts of Bahnhofstrasse. Stretching across Old Town from Hauptbahnhof station to Lake Zurich, Bahnhofstrasse features a variety of high-end shops, including Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Chanel and Giorgio Armani. Swiss shops like the dessert-focused Confiserie Sprungli and the jewelry-centric Gubelin AG can also be found here.
According to recent travelers, if it's budget shopping you're after, head to the Niederdorf and Langstrasse areas instead of Bahnhofstrasse. Though Bahnhofstrasse is free to visit, this shopping area is better suited for window shopping, unless you're prepared to drop some serious cash during your visit.
Backing lower Lake Zurich is a tangle of parks and gardens, collectively known as the lake promenade, that make for a picturesque place to spend an afternoon. And in warm weather, the lake is peppered with boats, while the banks are filled with picnickers and sunbathers. If you're a jogger, the area is also one of Zurchers' favorite places to pound the ground.
For some of the best views of Zurich and the nearby Alps, travelers suggest taking a boat ride on the lake. One-and-a-half-hour boat tours are available throughout the year and are free for Zurich Card holders.
Zurich's Old Town is the historic part of town – and by historic, we mean medieval. Winding cobblestone alleys run alongside quintessential Zurich attractions like the Great Minster. You'll also find several acclaimed museums – such as the Swiss National Museum and the Museum of Art – and hotels in and around the district.
Though all of the neighborhood's buildings are worth admiring, when visiting Old Town, be sure to check out Muhlesteg Footbridge. This bridge, which is famous for its array of love locks, comes highly recommended by past travelers. But those traveling with kids should consider visiting during the day. Old Town boasts the highest concentration of nightclubs in Switzerland, which come alive once the sun goes down.
The Grossmünster church is a landmark of Zurich. According to legend, Charlemagne discovered the graves of the city’s patron saints Felix and Regula and had a church built as a monastery on the spot.
In the first half of the 16th century, the Grossmünster church was the starting point of the Swiss-German Reformation led by Huldrych Zwingli and Heinrich Bullinger. The theological college then annexed to the monastery spawned what is now the University of Zürich.
The stained glass windows by Sigmar Polke, the Romanesque crypt, choir windows by Augusto Giacometti, bronze doors by Otto Münch and the cloister Reformation Museum are just some of the highlights see here.
Standing an impressive 2,858 feet above sea level, Uetliberg Mountain offers some of the best views of Zurich and the surrounding Alps. Once at the top, travelers will find multiple trails for hiking, biking and sledding. Paragliding at the mountain's peak is another popular pastime here.
Though traveling to and from this local attraction will set you back about an hour, visitors rave about Uetliberg Mountain's stunning views and superb hiking paths. For an educational twist on your average hike, take the mountain's Path of the Planets, which is designed to mimic the sizes of and distances between the solar system's planets. The trail stretches between Uetliberg and Felsenegg mountains and takes about two hours to complete.
Whether you want to play a game of chess, relax after exploring Bahnhofstrasse or take in some superb views of Old Town, the Great Minster and the Limmat River, odds are you'll appreciate Lindenhof. What was once the location of a fourth-century fort is now an elevated park with Linden trees, benches and giant chess sets.
To truly make the most of your time at Lindenhof, visitors recommend packing a picnic lunch to enjoy beneath the park's Linden trees. And remember to bring your camera since the park offers stunning city and water vistas. Keep in mind, though, that the park's elevated position means a short uphill climb is required. Once you get to the park, you'll find flat, wheelchair-friendly terrain.
Lindenhof is accessible by foot and tram. The closest tram station is Rennweg, which sits a couple blocks west. Street parking is limited in Kreis 1, so walking or riding the train to Lindenhof is recommended. Although the tram system charges a small fee per ride, free public transportation is provided to Zurich Card users. Other than park benches and giant chess sets, Lindenhof does not offer any on-site facilities, but restaurants, bars and shops are a few blocks away on Bahnhofstrasse. Lindenhof is free to access 24 hours a day.
Known to Zurchers as the Fraumunster, the Minster of Our Lady church is popular to visit thanks to its graceful spire (which tops Zurich's skyline) and its Marc Chagall stained-glass windows. The church was founded in the ninth century by Emperor Ludwig, Charlemagne's grandson, though the property's iconic spire wasn't added until 1732. And in 1970, Chagall's famous stained-glass windows were added.
Some previous visitors said the church's exterior isn't much to look at. However, most agree the interior's stained-glass windows are well worth a visit. In addition to the newer Chagall windows, some featuring designs by Augusto Giacometti, who is famously linked to the stained-glass windows at the Great Minster, are also located inside.
The Swiss National Museum resides within a historic, castle-like building in the northern tip of Kreis 1. The museum surveys Swiss art, history and culture from as far back as the fourth century B.C. Exhibits cover everything from medieval and religious frescoes to weapons and Swiss furniture. There are also several ornate rooms to explore during your visit.
According to many past visitors, the Swiss National Museum's architecture alone is worth seeing. However, should you decide to go inside, expect to find a comprehensive overview of Switzerland's history.
Rapperswil Castle is the landmark of the picturesque “City of Roses”, which lies on the shores of Lake Zurich. The castle, which was built towards the end of the 12th century and subsequently renovated on a number of occasions, can be seen from far away.