As Switzerland’s largest city is Zürich, the city is the economic and cultural hub of the country and also one of Europe’s main financial and industrial capitals, but aside from the “real world”, Zürich boasts impressive natural beauty and fascinating attractions that could easily have tourists fall in love with its charm. As one of the finest Swiss cities around, Zürich is perfectly suitable for sightseeing on foot.
Top Attractions in Zürich
The Old Town
Lindenhof, the old town’s western half, has some of the best views over the old town area of Zürich. Heading up Münstergasse, you'll come to the Napfgasse, with the Brunnenturm, from there Spiegelgasse runs east into the Neumarkt, where you'll find the Shoemakers' Guild House among the scores of other historical buildings that are all well worth exploring.
The Swiss National Museum
Zürich’s Schweizerisches Landesmuseum is housed inside a castle-like building with neo-Gothic flourishes and showcases the cultural history of the entire Switzerland. The museum boasts the most important collection of Swiss historic and cultural artifacts, a whopping 820,000 items that cover prehistoric ages all the way through the 20th century.
Dating back to 1856, Sprüngli House is a renowned confectioners café that can be found on Paradeplatz and makes for a favorite among locals and visitors alike. The shop is well known for their decadent signature macarons called Luxemburgerli. There’s a retail shop downstairs where you can grab a delicious take-away and for a proper sit down feast you can head upstairs to the café-salon that serves breakfast, lunch and afternoon desserts.
Lake Zürich is where you’ll find the lake streamers that allow you the opportunity of gazing upon the pristine views of the Glarus Alps. The shoreline lined with its promenades and parks makes for a beautiful sight to see. From the Bellevueplatz you’ll find the Zürichhorn Park located about 1.5km away, and it’s a site best known for the National Exhibition that was established in 1939. Delight in the restaurant and the Chinese Garden or hop onboard a boat going to Limmatschiff for some stunning scenery.
The Limmatquai is a popular riverside shopping street in Zürich and boasts a number of elegant old guild houses with some of the most sumptuous interiors in the area. Most of the old houses have been converted into restaurants, which means you can get a great look inside popular sights like the 1719 Haus zur Saffran, the 1660 Haus zur Rüden and the two-storied Haus zur Zimmerleuten dating back to 1709. You’ll also see the Town Hall, Zürich's Rathaus overhanging the river at the east end of the Rathausbrücke. Try to make a point of seeing the Late-Gothic Wasserkirche, at the end of Münsterbrücke.
Just southwest of Zürich lies the Uetliberg, Albis Ridge’s most northerly summit that rises up 871 meters into the air. Running around all year from Selnau station to the upper station you’ll find the mountain railroad of Uetlibergbahn. Once you’re at the main walkway, head over to the lookout tower for views that stretch across the Valas, Bernese and Glarus Alps with the Black Forest to the north and the Säntis to the east.
Housing over 360 different animal species inside exotic enclosure, the Zürich Zoo is one of Europe’s finest. The natural enclosures here nearly perfectly resemble the environments these animals would live in in the wild, so you can really see what they would be doing outside of life in the zoo. Nearby you’ll find the Kaeng Krachan Elephant Park where you can watch the Asian elephant family going about their lives in their multi-environment outdoor complex that resembles the natural Thai habitat.
St. Peter’s Church
Just south of Lindenhof in the Old Town, you’ll find St. Peter's Church. Established in the early 13th century, it’s Zürich’s oldest parish church and is best known for its Romanesque choir under the tower and a Baroque nave with three-aisled galleries. The original 9th century foundations are still visible underneath the chancel and the enormous clock dial (the largest in Europe) measuring in at 8.7 meters in diameter is a sight that will leave you captivated.
Zürich's principal church stands on an open terrace above the river and dominates the skyline with its twin towers. The Grossmünster was built between the 11th and 13th centuries but boasts a basilica and a crypt that dates back to 1100. While the building has any fascinating features, the two modern bronze doors that were added in 1935, the sculptured Romanesque capitals, the Gothic wall-painting remains and the Late Romanesque cloister are among its most noteworthy sights to see.