Things to see and do in Zurich, Switzerland

What to see in Zurich for a day

Here is a mild climate, comfortable pace of life, the Alps, Lake Zurich, the river Limmat and a sense of total security: Switzerland is not involved in the world’s conflicts and wars.

I have been to Zurich three times. The first time I didn’t understand the city: it seemed gray and gloomy to me. The second time, I changed my mind, and the third time, I fell in love.

In one day in Zurich you can see the main sights. I made a route for a walk of 12 km. It starts from the Bahnhofstrasse and ends at the Allianz Cinema. On the way you will see the Lindenhof quarter, St. Peter’s Church, Grossmünster, the Polibahn funicular, the Freitag store, the Uttliberg mountain and the FIFA Museum.

Switzerland uses Swiss Francs (CHF)

If you want to see as much as possible in Zurich, you should consider buying a Citypass. It is a public transport card that gives you 24-72 hours of free travel on public transport.

It also gives you discounts at exhibitions, in some restaurants and stores. For example, a visit to the FIFA Museum with the card is 30% cheaper than without it, and the National Museum with the Citypass is generally free.

Itinerary

Bahnhofstrasse (Station street) stretches from the main train station to the lake. In my opinion this is the ideal place to start an acquaintance with the city. It has typical Zurich landscapes and a lot of stores, restaurants and cafes.

The street gives a special flavor to the streetcars, which slowly ride between the walking people. Wagons look as if moved out of the souvenir postcards and waiting to be photographed.

Bahnhofstrasse is the main street of the city. From here you start to get to know Zurich if you come to the city by train

Lindenhof – Zurich quarter on the banks of the river Limmat. The small square overlooks the city and the river. Locals come here for lunch and tourists come here for the view and photos.

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Despite the crowds, the Lindenhof is peaceful: it’s easy to get away from the hustle and bustle and just admire the city. In the evening you can watch the sunset and catch the last rays of the sun on the towers of the church of Grossmünster.

The Limmat River flows through the center of Zurich. In summer, residents and tourists sunbathe and relax on the small piers

The church of St. Peter was built in the 9th century. It is not as conspicuous and pompous as they usually build in Europe: everything is understated, but with taste. Most of all I remember the concert hall, where they listen to the organ. Concert schedule is at the entrance of the church.

On the tower of the church hangs the main clock of Zurich. They are accurate and you can use them to check the time. The tower itself can be climbed only as part of the tour, which are signed up for in advance on the website of the church. It is free. If you do not have free time, do not worry: you can look at the city and other sites – I’ll tell you about them next.

Grossmünster is one of the main churches of the city. Despite the modest interior, I like its style. There are bare walls, bright stained glass windows and an organ, which seems to be the center of the whole temple.

Grossmünster has two towers. They rise above Zurich and make the city panorama even more glamorous. I recommend climbing up to the observation deck of the church. It is small, but it offers a great view of the city center, the lake and the small port.

The entrance to the Grossmünster observation deck is worthwhile.

The Polibahn funicular is the oldest in Zurich: it has been carrying passengers since 1889. Inside you feel as if you’ve been transported a few centuries back.

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The Freitag store is my favorite example of a small business with a global following. The two brothers make bags out of old awnings that used to cover trucks. They purposely leave dirt and scuffs when they process the material.

The store itself is built out of containers. Not only is it interesting to look at the different bags there, but also to go up to the top floor. From the top you have a view of the residential streets of Zurich and the outlying districts.

Now Freitag stores are starting to open all over the world. The bags look messy and sloppy, but they’re finding their fans, and that’s a joy.

Uttliberg Mountain is located in the suburbs of Zurich. By the standards of Switzerland, it is not high – about 870 meters. If you don’t have time to go far, it is worth going up there: the view from the top is spectacular at any time of the year.

I was on the mountain in summer and winter. It’s easy to get there by public transport: from the main station take the S10 train. You can already enjoy the beauty from the window of the train. I love looking at the clean, cozy neighborhoods of the city and the changing terrain as the train starts to ascend the mountain.

It takes about 10 minutes to walk from the terminal station to the observation platform. The place is popular and there are a lot of tourists, but I don’t feel discomfort: everyone has enough space and clean mountain air. From the observation decks one can see the city, lake, river and snow-covered Alps.

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If you have a few days to spare, I suggest climbing the mountain on foot. The round trip trip will take about 5 hours.

I advise to visit the FIFA Museum of World Football even if you are in the city only for one day. The museum is interactive, beautiful and colorful. Even not ardent soccer fans will like it.

On the first floor, the uniforms of all the national teams of the world are on display. Big stained glass windows replaced by screens showing players’ trainings. It feels like looking through a window and seeing a bright green lawn of a soccer field and real athletes.

I liked the wall, which displays all the world championships and winners in chronological order. In one of the rooms there is a big screen with a world map. If you click on any country, you can find out information about the national team: the name of the coach, statistics on participation in major competitions, and so on.

The museum also has a game room, where children and adults can play a playstation, table soccer, and practice goal scoring.

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