What to See with One Day in Zurich


Zurich is one of Switzerland’s best known cities and is a major centre for business. It boasts a medieval Old Town that spans both sides of the river Limmat as well as the hip Zurich West district. Whilst you could easily spend a whole week here exploring the centre and the surrounding area, we’re sharing tips for what to see when you only have one day in Zurich.

One Day in Zurich – Altstadt

Zurich Altstadt, as the old town is known, should be your first port of call. Start in the Lindenhof quarter in District 1, where you’ll find Münsterhof. It’s the largest square in the old town and has a contemporary fountain as well as some very attractive medieval buildings housing boutiques and restaurants. When I visited, there was a spectacular temporary artwork suspended over the square,
“Black and White Circles in the Sky”, by Swiss artist Claudia Comte.

Spectacular temporary art installation by Claudia Comte in Munsterhof, Zurich, Switzerland
On the side of the square you’ll find Fraumünster Church, famous for its stained glass windows created by Chagall and Giacometti. The entrance to the church is round the corner on Stadthausquai. You can’t take photos of the interior, but it’s definitely worth a look at these colourful masterpieces. Construction of Münsterbrücke, the bridge that connects Münsterhof to Limmatquai, began in 1835. This cobbled bridge is still in constant use today and there are great views over the river from here.

Lovely views from Munsterhof Bridge in Zurich, Switzerland - read what to do in Zurich on our luxury blog, Luxurycolumnist.com
A couple of streets away on Paradeplatz, there’s the 15th century Zeugskeller, built as an arsenal and now a vibrant and casual restaurant. It’s one of our favourite places to eat in Zurich. Also on Paradeplatz, there’s Confiserie Sprüngli, which dates from 1836 and is renowned for its Luxemburgerli macarons. A few minutes walk from here on Schlüsselgasse, you’ll discover Max Chocolatier,  one of the best chocolate shops in Zurich. Their hand-made chocolates use natural ingredients and the flavours vary depending on the seasons. The cobbled street on which its located reminds me of Montparnasse in Paris. Head up past St Peter church and you’ll come to Lindenhof, one of the most famous Zurich attractions. This historical hilltop square was a Celtic and Gallo-Roman settlement and is listed as a Swiss heritage site of national significance. The Hedwig fountain dates from 1688 and commemorates the actions of the women of Zurich who defended their town in 1292. From Lindenhof there’s a panoramic view over Zurich.

View from Lindenhof, Zurich, Switzerland
A few minutes from Lindenhof, there’s a great place to eat on Rennweg, Boucherie AuGust. They specialize in meat dishes but have a good selection for non-meat eaters too. Head back down via Schlüsselgasse and you’ll come to a narrow stairway, Thermengasse. It takes its name from the Roman baths discovered in 1983, the remains of which can be seen through a metal grating under your feet. You’ll arrive on Storchengasse, an attractive pedestrianized street with cobbled stones and colourful flags decorating the luxurious shop facades. There’s a branch of another well-known Swiss chocolate shop here, Teuscher.

Colourful flags in the Altstadt of Zurich, Switzerland - read our suggestions on the best things to do in Zurich on Luxurycolumnist.com
The five star Hotel Storchen is at the end of the street. It’s a lovely place to stay, with great views over the river and 66 stylish rooms and suites as well as a newly redecorated bar where you can get a coffee with a photo of your face on it!

Storchen lounge, Zurich, Switzerland
Cross over the river at Weinplatz via Gmüesbrugg bridge to explore the rest of Zurich old town. Most of it is pedestrianized and it’s a pleasure to wander around. You’ll spot decorative enclosed balconies, wall frescoes and buildings adorned with flowers.

Tour of Zurich Altsadt in Switzerland - read on luxurycolumnist.com
Cabaret Voltaire, on Spiegelgasse was the birthplace of the Dadaism anarchic art movement in 1916. It’s still open to the public, as an exhibition space and bar.

Cabaret-Voltaire-Zurich-Switzerland
Nearby on Napfgasse, Cafe Schober is a historic coffee shop which has some delicious cakes and sweet treats. Also on Napfgasse, the My Muesli store is actually part of a Swedish chain but they have muesli boxes decorated with a Zurich photo that would make a great souvenir or gift. If you’re looking for somewhere stylish to eat on this side of the river, Kronenhalle on Rämistrasse is an excellent choice. It’s famous for its art collection, with paintings by Picasso, Chagall, Matisse as well as its delicious Swiss cuisine.

Zurich-West

After lunch, get a taste of the city’s contemporary side, with a visit to Zurich-West. It’s a trendy area with lots of cool bars and shops. Frau Gerolds Garten is an oasis of greenery on Geroldstrasse. This casual eatery also holds events and is open until midnight in Summer.

Frau Gerolds Garten in Zurich West, Switzerland
Don’t miss the colourful umbrellas next to Gerold Cuchi restaurant, in the alleyway just off Geroldstrasse. It’s a very popular Zurich Instagram spot!

Colourful Gerold Cuchi umbrellas in Zurich, Switzerland
One of the most fun things to do in Zurich is  Citywave® , an urban surf experience tucked away on Geroldstrasse and open in Summertime. Whether you’re a surfer or not, it’s a fun place to grab a drink and watch the action. At the end of Geroldstrasse you’ll come to Im Viadukt on Viaduktstrasse. These former railway arches were built in 1894 and have been given a new lease of life with fashionable boutiques, delicatessens and a Market Hall gathering 20 local food vendors.

Surfing in Zurich, Switzerland
10 minutes walk from here, you’ll come to Schiffbau on Schiffbaustrasse. This former ship-building factory has been converted into a cultural centre where the Zurich Schauspielhaus theatre company holds performances on three stages. There’s also an upmarket restaurant, LaSalle, Moods Jazz Club, and NietturmBar.

Schiffbau in Zurich West, Switzerland
How to Get to Zurich

There are regular flights from most international airports to Zurich airport. I travelled with Swiss from London City airport and the journey took only 1 hour and 45 minutes. From the airport it’s only 10 minutes by train or 15 minutes by taxi.

As you can see, there’s a lot to fit in with just one day in Zurich, so why not spend longer there? Another great place to visit is Thermalbad, a luxurious spa in a former brewery with a rooftop pool and fantastic views over the city. And if you happen to visit the city in September, then the Zurich Street Food Festival is a must. During this week-long celebration of all things foodie, there are events throughout the city and a huge selection of different cuisines of the world. We hope that we’ve inspired you to visit Zurich and to explore the different facets of this fascinating city. Check out Visit Zurich for more suggestions, as well as our guide to 24 hours in ZurichHave you ever been to Zurich and if so what were your highlights?

Zurich - What to See and Do in Zurich, Switzerland

In association with Visit Zurich

  • Great tips on what to see and do in Zurich in just one day. I have been years ago but would love to revisit. Have a nice weekend, Suze!

    Miriam x

    • Suze

      You too, Miriam and I’m glad you found the post interesting!

  • Cindy Collins

    Thanks for sharing. Great post and I love all your photos. Zurich looks really nice especially Zurich Altstadt with its colourful buildings. I’d really love to see the umbrellas too that looks awesome.

    • Suze

      The contrast between the Altstadt and Zurich-West is surprising and something that I really appreciated. I hope you get to visit soon

  • Always thought this colourful city needs at least three days to scratch the surface. But when time strung guess you still can fit in a few spots as you suggest. Nice pics too! Loved the colorful umbrellas against the beige!

    • Suze

      I agree, one day is a bit optimistic but I know that people are short of time. The umbrellas are so cool, and luckily the sun was streaming down when I visited them

  • Gokul Raj

    The place looks so colorful. The whole city is like one giant artwork 😀

    • Suze

      That’s true actually, there’s definitely a lot of emphasis on the arts there

  • Linda de Beer

    I have always thought of Zurich as rather expensive but I guess it doesn’t have to be if one simply walk the streets and let your eye take in all the interesting buildings and art as you describe. The umbrella picture is very cool.

    • Suze

      It depends where you eat and stay but there are lots of free events and sights so with a bit of planning it can work well for all budgets

  • Drew

    Zurich is a fun city, and definitely worth a day or two for a quick visit. I love your photography by the way. You really make those adorable Swiss streets pop with color. Great work. I love spending time in Switzerland, but wish it wasn’t so darn expensive, because that landscape is mezmerizing

    • Suze

      That’s very kind, thanks Drew – I’m a big fan of color.

  • I’ve never been to Zurich but it looks so colourful and lots to do!

    • Suze

      You would enjoy it I’m sure as there are great restaurants, a lovely lake and the medieval centre to explore!

  • Wow, I had no idea there was so much to do and see in Zurich! The interior design at Hotel Storchen looks very special and I love the umbrella installation!

    Gabrielle | A Glass Of Ice x

    • Suze

      Yes the Storchen has a really cool vibe now and the umbrellas over in Zurich-West are great too

  • Zurich looks like a fun city and worth a visit! You captured it beautifully. I can see myself roaming around those streets and dream of visiting to go hiking as the nature here i’m sure is breath-taking.
    Karen http://chocolatyprints.com/

    • Suze

      That’s my only regret, that I didn’t manage to go hiking. I had a trip up the mountain planned but the weather wasn’t great so I stayed in town. Definitely a reason to return!

  • Mel B

    I love Zurich and Switzerland in general, it is beautiful, clean place with amazing food. I told my husband if we ever won the lotto we would definitely move there. Great posts, it definitely shows some of the amazing things that you can do there. Those colourful umbrellas look cool, I don’t think they were there last time I visited and Hotel Storchen just looks lovely.

    • Suze

      Ha ha, I wouldn’t mind moving there either if I won the lottery! The Hotel Storchen made a fantastic base and the umbrellas in Zurich-West were very funky

  • I have never been to Zurich but it looks like so much fun!! I love the wave, I’m fairly sure I would crash into a wall if I could manage to stand up haha

    Ash | http://www.liakadatravel.com

    • Suze

      Me too, though I’m tempted to try it next time I’m there!

  • I actually did only had one day in Zurich two years ago but I managed to see a lot! Wish I had this list though.

    Hadas | The Fashion Matters- Luxury travel and fashion blog

  • I’ve never visited Zurich before, but didn’t realise it was so colourful! The old town section looks very quaint, and again was something I didn’t realise it had. Perhaps a city to add to my ‘must visit’ list for next year!

    • Suze

      Yes it’s a lot more colourful than I would have guessed too. Hope you get to visit

  • Cat Lin

    I didn’t know Zurich is such a colorful city. There are so many artsy corners to explore. The decor at Hotel Storchen is beautiful, would be nice to stay there!

    • Suze

      Hotel Storchen was such a great place to stay, very central yet quiet

  • megan_claire

    Zurich is one of my favorite European Cities – great itinerary of things to do in a day. I loved spending time in Zurich Altstadt – so many incredible medieval buildings, loved jumping between the many different boutiques and restaurants. I visited during winter, so it was a bit more grey than your beautiful photos depict – I would love to get back in summer and spend time along the waterfront. Citywave sounds pretty fun too – they didn’t have that running during my trip!

    • Suze

      Yes I’d love to try Citywave too, though I reckon I’d be rubbish at it!

  • beautiful old town!

    • Suze

      You’re right, Tanja

  • Zurich is such a great city, full of history and good food. I love the umbrellas, you’re right such an Instagrammable shot. <3 How marvellous are those decorative balconies? /Madison

  • Lucy

    Zurich looks so picturesque. So vibrant and clean. I would love to visit Lucy x

    • Suze

      Hope you get the chance, Lucy

  • Paige Brown

    What a stunning city! I’ve not explored this part of Switzerland yet, but it’s on my list! I’ve never heard of Citywave, but that sounds SO cool! I can see why those umbrellas would be a massive IG spot. Thanks for sharing!

    • Suze

      It’s my pleasure, Paige! Citywave looked brilliant, and the umbrellas were so cool

  • I’ve been twice and I love the city, especially during the summer where it really seems to come to life!

    • Suze

      It’s lovely to visit in Summertime, the lidos are great to swim in

  • I’ve only spent one day in Zurich myself and didn’t get half this much done!!

    • Suze

      Well to be fair I was staying overnight so it was a full day