The Perfect Weekend in Zurich
Collected by Ratha Tep, AFAR Local Expert
Three days might just be enough time to sample the delights Zurich has to offer. Take the Polybahn up to ETH University's terrace for its vistas overlooking the city. Explore Lake Zurich, take a swim in a riverside badi, grab a beer at Zurich's oldest preserved pub, taste its world-famous chocolate, visit an art museum, and calorie-splurge on traditional Swiss cuisine.
Limmatquai 144, 8001 Zürich, Switzerland
The terrace at ETH Zurich—where Einstein was an alum—lords high above the city for catch-your-breath views beyond to the lake and the Alps. A number of trams will take you to the terrace, but the most fun way to get there is on the fire-engine red...
Paradepl., 8001 Zürich, Switzerland
This square on the left bank of the Limmat serves as the very crux of the city, a must-visit for understanding the Zurich way of life in all its elegance and efficiency. It’s home to the headquarters of its largest banks (Credit Suisse takes up...
8001 Zürich, Switzerland
A stroll along the serene Limmatquai, the street along the right bank of the Limmat River from Central to Bellevue, will surely seduce any visitor to Zurich. It will take you past the city’s numerous bridges, Grossmünster Church, the stately...
Limmatquai 2, 8001 Zürich, Switzerland
My favorite places in the world are those which transport me to eras of history that I am inspired by or curious about — in the case of Café Odeon, it is where my artistic heroes spun great works and rulers caffeinated their power. Odeon has seen...
Mühlebach, 8008 Zürich, Switzerland
Locals are fanatic about the lake. They boast the water is clean enough to drink; boating is a favorite pastime, whether it’s on a sailboat, paddleboat, yacht or public boat from the ZSG network (included in the cost of a daily tram card); and...
Marktgasse 10, 8001 Zürich, Switzerland
This stunner of a shop in the Altstadt isn’t just all good looks. Changemaker specializes in design goods with a conscience, whether it’s Karlen Swiss tote bags made with wool felt from old Swiss army blankets or wooden watches by WeWood, which...
Bahnhofstrasse 21, 8001 Zürich, Switzerland
There are 14 outposts of the famed chocolate shop in and around town, but the one to go to is its flagship, which occupies a prime corner perch on Paradeplatz. There are gorgeous displays of Sprungli’s signature sweet, the Luxemburgerli,...
Geroldstrasse 17, 8005 Zürich, Switzerland
Viaduktstrasse 65, 8005 Zürich, Switzerland
The striking Im Viadukt opened in 2010 beneath century-old stone arches with Zurich’s first permanent covered market and 50 vendors. At Berg und Tal, owners Simon Rietschin and Daniel Rufli stock their food shop with items sourced mostly from...
Rämistrasse 4, 8001 Zürich, Switzerland
Open since 1924, Zurich’s most esteemed classic restaurant exudes wealth—mahogany wood paneling, glittering chandeliers—and patrons would need a lot of it to dine here, too. (The veal steak with morel sauce and spätzli, a favorite, is an...
Seestrasse 395, 8038 Zürich, Switzerland
This silk mill turned cultural center on Lake Zurich’s left bank hosts over a hundred concerts, parties and festivals a year and is home to 60 art studios. It’s also a popular bar, especially come summer, when locals flock to the communal outdoor...
Gasometerstrasse 24, 8005 Zürich, Switzerland
This Josefstrasse mainstay serving delicious, imaginative tapas-sized dishes is more appropriate as a prelude to a big night out than a quiet romantic dinner: the hipstery crowd surrounding the bar usually spills out the door on warm evenings. ...
Stadthausquai 12, 8001 Zürich, Switzerland
Situated on the left bank of the Limmat River in the Old Town, this is the badi to go to if you want to swim with a postcard-worthy backdrop (Grossmünster Church is diagonally across). In the daytime, it’s women-only in the Art Deco bathhouse;...
Badweg 10, 8001 Zürich, Switzerland
A midsummer night’s fantasy—Zurich-style. Tucked away near the stock exchange, the city’s oldest badi, the men-only Männerbad Schanzengraben, transforms into the popular Rimini Bar come evening. The scene is surreal: a mixed crowd mingling along...
Spiegelgasse 1, 8001 Zürich, Switzerland
Hugo Ball read the Dada Manifesto at this Altstadt cabaret in 1916, and an art movement was born. After extensive repairs, Dada’s birthplace reopened in 2004 with a bar along with exhibitions, readings, and a small lending library that pays homage...
Höschgasse 8, 8008 Zürich, Switzerland
The Swiss-born modernist giant was many things: architect, painter, sculptor, graphic artist, furniture designer, and writer. This museum, also known as the Centre Le Corbusier, is located in the Zürichhorn park, and offers a chance to view...
Gablerstrasse 15, 8002 Zürich, Switzerland
Housed in a grand villa in a gorgeous park, Rietberg is the only art museum in Switzerland dedicated to showcasing work from outside of Europe, the most treasured of which is its early Buddhist sculptures from China, with pieces dating from the...
Talstrasse 1, 8001 Zürich, Switzerland
This esteemed, five-star hotel, set in its own park overlooking Lake Zurich and the Alps, has a remarkable history. Opened in 1844 by Johannes Baur, the property hosted the world premiere of Wagner’s Die Walküre (Wagner himself...
Built on the site of Roman and Celtic ruins, the unassuming 5-star Widder Hotel comprises nine medieval townhouses that were painstakingly renovated over a 10-year period by Swiss architect Tilla Theus. The results are jaw-dropping, from the...
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