There’s plenty to see and do in Zurich, and some of its best sights and activities are free. Wonderful monuments, museums and churches adorn the city, and wandering the charming streets of areas such as Niederhof will take expats past chic cafes and talented street performers.
Expats planning on doing a lot of sightseeing should consider buying a Zurich Card, which gives the bearer free use of local transport, admission to museums, and free drinks at several bars for up to 72 hours.
Recommended attractions in Zurich
The distinctive blue spire of Fraumünster is one of Zurich’s most emblematic sights. Founded in 853 AD, it stands sentinel over the old Münsterhof square. Look out for the Romanesque choir and its Chagall-designed stained glass windows.
Famed for its Munch, Chagall, Picasso, Monet, Rothko and Expressionist collections, the Kunsthaus holds many treasures within its attractive premises and is the perfect outing for a rainy day.
The traditional heart of Zurich is home to intimate cafes, old bars and street performers. Some of the buildings date back to the 15th century and host fashion stores, bookshops, boutique stores and antique dealers.
Take a day trip to the little town of Schaffhausen, home to the spectacular Rhine Falls – Europe’s largest waterfall. This natural spectacle is at its most impressive after the snow melts in late spring. On the hill above it is the medieval Schloss Laufen, and it’s one of the best places to watch the fireworks on Swiss National Day.
Swiss National Museum
The Swiss National Museum provides an illuminating study of Swiss life over the centuries. The building itself is impressive and, once inside, visitors will find Stone Age tools, medieval treasures and gilded weaponry.
This eco-friendly centre is dedicated to nature conservation and preserving endangered species. The zoo houses hundreds of species and several thousand animals within authentically recreated ecosystems, such as the exotic Madagascan Rainforest and Ethiopian Highlands.