Zurich, Switzerland

A- Overview:
Zürich is a stunningly beautiful city that circles around the northern end of Zürichsee (Lake Zurich), from which the Limmat River flows, bisecting the city. In the distance, magnificent snow-clad peaks overlook the waters of the lake, and the shores are dotted with stately 19th century mansions.

Its charming Old Town, comprising a substantial part of the city center, is filled with beautifully restored historic buildings and narrow, hilly alleys.

The city is crisscrossed by lovely, low bridges. On the left bank are the Altstadt (Old Town); the Hauptbahnhof (the main train station); and Bahnhofplatz, a major urban crossroads and the beginning of the Bahnhofstrasse. The right bank constitutes the livelier older section, divided into the Oberdorf (Upper Village) and the Niederdorf (Lower Village).

Zurich is said to have begun at the Lindenhof, which is where many begin their orientation to the city. This square is the architectural center of historic Zurich. From there, you can look out over the city as it rises on both banks of the Limmat from Bahnhofbrücke (Brücke means bridge) to Quailbrücke

Below this square runs Bahnhofstrasse, one of the most elegant and expensive shopping streets in the world Old Town, or Altstadt, was developed during the early medieval period . It expanded to Weinplatz, the oldest market square, and Strehlgasse. By the 11th century, the city continued its development on the right bank with such centers as Kirchgasse and Neumarkt.

State-operated “Heimatwerk” shops present a high-quality selection of ‘cottage industry’ goods including wooden, hand carved objects and lace .

Zürich has a free bicycle rental program. For a small, refundable deposit and your passport, you can borrow a bike. More than 300 bikes are available. The most central pickup points are at Platform 18 of the Hauptbahnhof, the Globus department store on the Bahnhofstrasse, and at Theaterplatz/Stadelhofen. Bikes are available from the train station year-round; the other locations distribute bikes May through October. A great place to bike is the path along the river starting at the Hauptbahnhof and running along the left bank of the Limmat, downriver.

Zürich’s tram service, VBZ-Züri-Linie, is rapid and on time. It runs from 5:30 AM to midnight, every six minutes at peak hours, every 12 minutes at other times. All-day passes can be purchased at the stops that post maps and sell one-ride tickets. Free route plans are available from VBZ offices, located at major crossroads.

Switzerland is rich in natural attractions, which seems to make it a ‘natural’ for families with children. Exploring the mountains and lakes provides endless hours of enjoyment.

Getting around is likely to be as much an attraction as the destination. The train, bus, boat and mountain transport infrastructure are usually very attractive to children. They’ll find steam trains and steam ships, and mountain lifts of all sorts: large cable cars, four person cable cars as in Disneyland, chairlifts, and many ancient funiculars.

Zürich is a central point allowing one-day excursions almost anywhere in the country. Luzern and Bern are only 75 minutes away. The Rhein, the medieval village of Stein, and the Rhein Falls are also close.

Swiss cooking deserves its reputation of being delicious, clean and wholesome. The Swiss National Dish is Rösti: a sort of Swiss-style hash browned potatoes, which cannot be imagined until they have been tasted. There are many regional variations on Rösti (with eggs, cheese, bacon, onion, etc.), especially in the mountains.

One of the most popular excursions out of Zürich starts with a train ride to Uetliberg. From there, there is a panoramic two-hour Planetary Path (Planetenweg) running along the mountain ridge overlooking the lake to Felsenegg. En route you pass models of some of the planets in the solar system: These and the distances between them are on a scale of one to 1000 million.

Along the shores of Lake Zürich, concrete walkways give way to trees and lawns in the Arboretum on the west bank, making the area perfect for strolling. Designated areas for outdoor swimming and sunbathing are open May to September. Well-known spots are Utoquai on the east shore of the lake and Mythenquai on the west shore. There are also various free swimming spots, such as the one just north of the confluence of the Sihl and Limmat Rivers.

A day in the Jungfrau region is easily arranged through tour services in Zurich. It is an incredible experience. Travelers are given a range of choices as to stops and activities. One option is to buy a Jungfrau pass and plane to spread the experience over several days. That allows time to stop for an afternoon in the alpine village of Grindalwald and just relax and revel in the beauty of the mountains and the quiet beauty of the village.

A second day can be spent taking the tour of the glacier farther up the mountain. Both are experiences to be savored and enjoyed at a relaxed pace.

Switzerland’s largest city is surely among the most beautiful in all of Europe. Even today, Zurich retains much of its 19th-century charm. Zurich is also considered to be one of the best shopping destinations in the world. The city is both large enough to offer all amenities to its visitors and small enough to make the visitor feel at home.

B- City Information:
Population: 380,000.

960,000 inhabitants in the Zürich city and suburbs

1.2 million inhabitants in the entire canton of Zürich (city plus 100 surrounding localities)

Time Zone: GMT/UTC plus one hour. When it is noon in Zurich, it is 6am in New York City.

Language: Most speak a form of German called Schwyzerdütsch (Schweizerdeutsch, in standard German). In Zurich, people in the tourist industry usually speak English.

Geographical position

The city of Zürich is situated at the northern end of the lake of Zürich on Switzerland’s central plain, in the heart of Europe. The city is clustered around the banks of the Limmat River. The city covers a total area of approx. 92 km, its highest point is 871 m above sea-level (Üetliberg/Uto Kulm).
















Zürich has a temperate climate, but frequently finds itself in the path of warm, moisture-laden winds blowing from the Atlantic ocean. This results in a milder climate than its northern latitude of 47° might otherwise suggest. If you will be in the mountains the weather is unpredictable and often changes suddenly. Most first-time visitors will be surprised by the 20-40F difference in temperature between where they began the day and the mountain peaks that they visit. (Dress in “layers”)

Be prepared, even on overcast or cloudy days, for a faster suntan (or burn) at high altitude. The thin air in the beautiful higher elevations not only makes breathing and staying warm harder, it blocks less of the suns rays. Sunscreen or sunblock is a must!

When to Go

In July and August, Zurich’s best weather coincides with the heaviest crowds. Summers in Zurich are not as warm as on the French Riviera, but the lake is usually warm enough to swim in during July and August (70-72F). June and September are still pleasant, and hotel prices can be slightly lower, especially in resorts. Winter is cold throughout, and in low-lying areas it is frequently overcast and damp. Many days are chilly, and spring and fall can be quite cold. In winter, however, the temperature rarely goes below zero.


Jan. 1 New Year’s Day

Mar/Apr (varies) Good Friday

Mar/Apr (varies) Easter Monday

May 1 Labor Day

May (late May) Ascension Day

May/June (varies) Pentecost Monday

Aug. 1 Swiss National Holiday

Dec. 25 Christmas Day

Dec. 26 St. Stephen’s Day

Business Hours

Banks & Offices

Some businesses still close for lunch in Switzerland, from 12:30 to 2, but this is changing, especially in larger cities such as Zurich. All remain closed on Sunday, and a few stay closed through Monday morning. Banks are open weekdays from 8:30 to 4:30.

Museums & Sights

Museums are usually closed on Monday. Increasingly, they open late one night a week, usually on Thursday or Friday evening.


Shops are open every day but Sunday, though a few stay closed through Monday morning. Smaller stores close for an hour or two for lunch. Stores in train stations often stay open until 9 PM; in the Zürich airport, shops are open on Sunday.

Emergency Contacts

Ambulance: 144

Police: 117

Fire: 118


the current is AC, 230V, 50 Hz. The standard plug is three-prong, but you may, in older buildings, run across some others. The Swiss plug is used nowhere else in Europe. While a general purpose “European-style” conversion plug may work, we’d hold off buying more than one of those (no kits, etc.) until you get to your ho The hotel or a nearby hardware or variety store will be able to help you if you don’t have with you what you need. Most laptops operate on 110 and 220 volts and so require only an adapter.


The country code for Switzerland is 41. When dialing a Swiss number from abroad, drop the initial 0 from the local area code.

Zurich Area Code: 01

Directory & Operator Information

Dial 111 for information within Switzerland All telephone operators speak English and instructions are printed in English in all telephone booths. Precede the area-code number with 0 when dialing long-distance within Switzerland.

Anglo-Phone ( 1575014) is an English-language information service that gives details on hotels, restaurants, museums, nightlife, skiing, what to do in an emergency, and more. Lines are open weekdays 9-7 and 9-1 on Saturday.

Medical Emergency

Doctors and dentists can be referred in case of emergency by the English-speaking operators at Notfalldienst (Emergency Service) phones (01/2616100).

Hospital (Zürich Universitätsspital, Schmelzbergstr. 8, 01/2551111).


Switzerland’s reputation for cleanliness is well-earned. Even at the foot of an icy-pure glacier you’re likely to find locals drinking bottled mineral water.

If you’re traveling with a child under two years old, you may be advised by locals not to take him or her on excursions above 6,560 ft. Check with your pediatrician before leaving home. Adults should limit strenuous excursions on the first day at extra-high-altitude resorts, (those at 5,248 ft and above). Adults with heart problems may want to avoid all excursions at high altitudes.


Postal codes precede the names of cities and towns in Swiss addresses.


The unit of currency in Switzerland is the Swiss franc (SF), available in notes of 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, and 1,000. Francs are divided into centimes (in Suisse Romande) or rappen (in German Switzerland). There are coins for 5, 10, and 20 centimes. Larger coins are the half-, 1-, 2-, and 5-franc pieces. Switzerland has not joined the European Union.

Exchanging Money

For the most favorable rates, change money through banks. Although ATM transaction fees may be higher abroad than at home, ATM rates are excellent because they are based on wholesale rates offered only by major banks. You won’t do as well at exchange booths in airports or rail and bus stations, in hotels, in restaurants, or in stores.

Internet Access: Internet Café, Uraniastrasse 3 01/210-33-11), in the Urania Parkhaus. Open Monday 10am to 6pm, Tuesday and Thursday 10am to midnight, Friday and Saturday 10am to 2am, and Sunday 10am to 11pm.

Passport Offices

The best time to apply for a passport or to renew is during the fall and winter. Before any trip, check your passport’s expiration date, and, if necessary, renew it as soon as possible.

U.S. Citizens


Restaurant checks and hotel bills include all taxes.

Value-Added Tax

Switzerland’s value-added tax is 7.6%.However, on any one purchase of 550 francs or more from one store, refunds are available to nonresidents for clothes, watches, and souvenirs, but not for meals or hotel rooms.

To get a VAT refund, pay by credit card; at the time of purchase, the store clerk should fill out and give you a red form and keep a record of your credit card number. When leaving Switzerland, you must hand-deliver the red form to an officer at the customs office at the airport or, if leaving by car or train, at the border. Customs will process the form and return it to the store, which will refund the tax by crediting your card.


Tipping is expected at the same rate as in the US.


is the two-letter country abbreviation for Switzerland and is displayed on currency and cars. Switzerland has four official languages, French, Italian, German and Romantsch

Hence, the choice of a Latin construct, Confoederatio Helvetica.

(The Helvetii were one of the native tribes in the area of Switzerland in Roman times, and Helvetica a Roman province.)

Arriving & Departing

By Air

Zürich-Kloten (ZRH) 7 mi north of Zürich, 1571060, is Switzerland’s busiest airport and the 10th busiest in the world.

Flying time is just under two hours from London, seven hours from New York, 10 hours from Chicago, and 14 hours from Los Angeles.

Airport Transportation

Fares to downtown Zurich: Taxi $35; Train $5; Bus: $4. From Kloten Airport our preferred (and fastest) method of travel is by train. The airport station is below ground and adjacent to terminal 5; trains depart for the 12-minute trip to Zurich several times an hour, dropping passengers at Central Train Station. The considerably slower City Bus #768 departs every 10 minutes during peak hours – by bus the trip into Zurich takes 1 hour.

By Boat

The Zurichsee-Schiffahrtsgesellschaft, Mythenquai 333 01/482-10-33), offers regularly scheduled service on modern passenger ships as well as old steamers plying both sides of Lake Zurich. The service is operated from Easter to October, going from Zurich as far as Rapperswil.

By Car

From Basel, take N3 east, and from Geneva, take N1 northeast, going via Bern, where you’ll connect with E4 and E17 heading east into Zurich.

By Train

Several trains bound for Switzerland leave from the Gare de l’Est in Paris. Without a stop, a train departs Paris at 10:43pm daily, arriving in Zurich at 6:45am. Other connections are via Basel. One train leaves Paris daily at 2:43pm, arriving 9:22pm in Zurich; yet another leaves Paris at 5:19pm, also going via Basel, arriving in Zurich at 12:06pm. From Munich, the Gottfried Keller Express departs daily at 6:15pm with a 10:23pm arrival in Zurich. The Bavaria leaves Munich daily at 8:15am, arriving in Zurich at 12:26pm. All trains arrive at the Zurich Hauptbahnhof 01/157-22-22).

By Bus

Zurich’s bus routes function only as feeder lines from outlying suburbs, which lie off the train lines, into the vicinity of the town’s railroad station.

slopes of the Z|richberg and Kdferberg hills into the Glatt River valley.

Finding an Address

In a system that developed during the Middle Ages, all Swiss cities, including Zurich, begin their street-numbering system with the lowest numbers closest to the center of town. In Zurich, the center is the Hauptbahnhof. All even numbers lie on one side of the street, and all odd numbers are on the other.

Getting Around Zurich

By Bicycle

Biking is a good way to get around Zurich, especially in the outlying areas. Bicycles can be rented at the baggage counter of the railway station, the Hauptbahnhof 0512/22-29-04). Hours are daily from 6:45am to 7:45pm.

By Car

the city is too congested for automobile use, and parking is scarce and expensive. If you have a car with you, plan to drive only when exploring the environs.

On Foot Zurich and its quays are ideal for walking, and many of the places of interest, such as the sights of Altstadt on both sides of the Limmat, are conveniently grouped together.

Bus & Tram

Zurich’s combination of buses and streetcars, operated as the Swiss VBZ system, is terrific: efficient and inexpensive. Buy your single tickets, valid for 5 stops – at the vending machines situated at each stop. At Central Station you can purchase a 24-hour pass, which allows unlimited travel on the buses and trams.


Taxis are not easily found in Zurich and are among the most expensive in Europe.

Public transport in Zürich

S-Bahn commuter railway, bus, trams, ships and local excursion trains make up the extensive transportation network, known for its high level of comfort and unique tariff system based on fare zones. While your ticket is valid you are entitled to an unlimited number of rides in all directions on all public transport within the designated zones.

By Train

The Swiss Federal Railways, ( 0900/300300), has an extensive network; trains and stations are clean and service is prompt. There are straightforward connections and several express routes leading directly into Zürich from Basel, Geneva, Bern, and Lugano.

All roads lead to the Hauptbahnhof ( 0900/300300) in the city center.

Trains described as Inter-City or Express are the fastest, stopping only in principal towns. Regionalzug/Train Régional means a local train. If you’re planning to use the trains extensively, get the official timetable (“Kursbuch” or “Horaire

By Tram

VBZ-Züri-Linie, the tram service in Zürich, is swift and on time. It runs from 5:30 AM to midnight, every six minutes at peak hours and every 12 minutes during non-peak times. All-day passes can be purchased from the same vending machines at the stops that sell post maps and one-ride tickets; tickets must be purchased before you board.

There is a comprehensive and unified bus, tram and S-Bahn service in the city, which includes boats on the Limmat River. Tickets allow you to switch between modes of transport as you like. A 24-hour city pass is available, and a 24-hour pass valid for unlimited travel within the whole canton of Zürich saves additional money.

Biking and Swimming on the Lake. In July and August, one can bike from Seebach station through the forest to Katzenruti where there are several places ideal for a picnic. After lunch, cycle to the Katzensee with its sandy beach, returning later via Affoltern. It takes about 1 1/2 hours to go the full 8 miles.

Road Conditions

Swiss roads are well surfaced but intricate and curving, especially in the mountains. There is a well-developed highway network.

A combination of steep or winding routes and hazardous weather means some roads will be closed in winter. Signs are posted at the beginning of the climb.

Drive on the right in Switzerland, except when merging into traffic circles, when priority is given to the drivers coming from the left.

Children under age seven are not permitted to sit in the front seat.

C- Attractions/Things To Do:

Zurich is divided by the Limmat River into the following two general areas:

West or Left Bank–This district is dominated by Bahnhofplatz, center of rail connections, and Bahnhofstrasse, which is the main commercial and banking thoroughfare.

East or Right Bank

Opposite Fraumünster, on the other side of the river, rises Grossmünster, on Grossmünsterplatz; its two Gothic towers are an east-bank landmark. The historic guildhalls of Zurich, such as the Zunfthaus zur Saffran, rise on the east bank of the river. So, too, does the Rathaus, the city’s town hall, completed in 1698. On the east bank you can explore the eastern part of Altstadt (the old town), and stroll along Neumarkt, one of the best preserved of the old streets.

Altstadt (Old Town)

Tram 4,6,7,15

Both sides of the Limmat River.

Zurich’s Old Town is one of Europe’s great old quarters. Houses and squares here date back to the 13th Century. Delightful shops & restaurants abound.


Called the “most beautiful shopping street in the world”. Begins opposite Zurich’s Central Station and continues to the Lake.

Stiftung Sammlung E. G. Bührle (Foundation E. G. Bührle Collection)

Zollikerstrasse 172


Admission charged.

Take Tram 11 from Bellevueplatz, then Bus 77 from Hegibachplatz.

Tues., Fri., and Sun. 2-5, Wed. 5-8.

One of Switzerland’s best private art collections is owned by the E. G. Bührle Foundation. Though it’s known especially for its Impressionist and post-Impressionist works, the collection also includes Spanish and Italian paintings from the 16th to 18th centuries. There is a limited but very special section of 24 religious sculptures from the Middle Ages.

Friedhof Fluntern (Fluntern Cemetery)

Zurichberg district

James Joyce, the author of Ulysses, lived in Zurich from 1915 to 1919, at Universitatsstrasse 38. In 1941 he returned to Zurich from Paris, only a month before his death. Near his tomb is a statue depicting the great Irish writer sitting cross-legged with a book in his hand. Elias Canetti, winner of the Nobel Prize for literat ure in 1981, died in August 1994; his grave lies to the left of Joyce’s. The grave of Johanna Spiri (1827-1901), who wrote the famous story Heidi, is in the Central Cemetery.

Fraumünster (Church of Our Lady)


May-Sept., Mon.-Sat. 9-6; Oct., Mon.-Sat. 10-5; Nov.-Feb., Mon.-Sat. 10-4; Mar.-Apr., Mon.-Sat. 10-5.

The delicate Fraumünster church spires are Zürich’s signature. Its Romanesque choir is a peaceful spot for meditation beneath the ocher, sapphire, and ruby glow of stained glass windows designed by the Russian-born Marc Chagall, who loved Zürich. Augusto Giacometti, executed the fine painted window in the north transept.




This Romanesque and Gothic cathedral was, according to legend, founded by Charlemagne, whose horse bowed down on the spot marking the graves of three early Christian martyrs. Despite the legend, construction actually began in 1090 and additions were made until the early 14th century. The choir contains stained glass windows completed in 1932 by Augusto Giacometti. In the crypt is a weather-beaten, 15th-century statue of Charlemagne, a copy of which crowns the south tower.

The cathedral was once the parish church of Huldrych Zwingli, one of the great leaders of the Reformation. He urged priests to take wives (he himself had married) and attacked the “worship of images” and the Roman sacrament of Mass. In 1531, Zwingli was killed in a religious war at Kappel. The site of his execution is marked with an inscription: “They may kill the body but not the soul.” In accordance with Zwingli’s beliefs, Zurich’s Grossmunster is austere, stripped of the heavy ornamentation found in the cathedrals of Italy. The view from the towers is impressive.

Kunsthaus Zurich (Fine Arts Museum)

Heimplatz 1

01 251 67 65

Tue-Thu 10-21 Fri-Sun 10-17

Mon closed

Paintings, sculpture and drawings, predominantly 19th and 20th centuries.One of the most important art museums in Europe, the Zurich Kunsthaus is devoted mainly to the 19th and 20th centuries, although the range of paintings and sculpture dates back to antiquity. The museum was founded in Victorian times and was renovated in 1976. It is one of the most modern and sophisticated museums in the world, both in its lighting and its display of art.

Schweizerisches Landesmuseum (Swiss National Museum)

Museumsstrasse 2

01 218 65 11

Tue-Sun 10.30-17 Mon closed

Museum of Swiss culture, art and history. This museum offers an epic survey of the culture and history of the Swiss people. Its collection, housed in a 19th-century building behind the Zurich Hauptbahnhof, contains works of religious art, including 16th-century stained glass from Tanikon Convent and frescoes from the church of Mustair. Some of the Carolingian art dates back to the 9th century. The altarpieces are carved, painted, and gilded.

The prehistoric section is also exceptional. Some of the artifacts are from the 4th millennium B.C.. A display of weapons and armor shows the methods of Swiss warfare from 800 to 1800. There’s also an exhibit tracing Swiss clockmaking from the 16th to the 18th centuries.


Seefeldstrasse 231

01 422 76 60

Tue-Sat 14-17 Sun 13.30-18

Working mill from 1913; exhibition of mills and the miller’s craft, grain and bread, slide-show with commentary.

Museum Rietberg Zürich

Gablerstrasse 15

01 202 45 28

From the city center follow Seestrasse south about 13⁄4 km (1 mi) until you see signs for the museum; or take Tram 7 to the Rietberg Museum stop.

Tues.-Sun. 10-5. Mon closed

Many fine works of non-European art from India, China, Africa, Japan, and Southeast Asia are displayed in the neoclassical Villa Wesendonck, once home to Richard Wagner.

Gathered from the South Sea islands, the Near East, Asia, Africa, and pre-Columbian America, the rich collection ranges from Cambodian Khmer sculptures and jade Chinese tomb art to Japanese Nô masks and Tibetan bronzes. It was was assembled by Baron Eduard von der Heydt and donated to the city of Zurich in 1952.

Paläontologisches Museum

Karl Schmid-Strasse 4

01 634 38 38

Tue-Fri 9-17 Sat and Sun 10-16

Free admission

Aquatic dinosaurs and fishes from Monte San Giorgio, and other Swiss fossil finds

Rathaus (Town Hall)

Limmatquai 55

no phone.

Free. Tues., Thurs., and Fri.10-11:30.

Zürich’s striking baroque town hall dates from 1694-98, and its interior remains as well preserved as its façade. There is a richly decorated stucco ceiling in the Banquet Hall and a fine ceramic stove in the government council room.

St. Peterskirche (St. Peter’s Church)

St. Peterhofstatt

no phone.

Weekdays 8-6, Sat. 8-4.

Dating from the early 13th century, Zürich’s oldest parish church has the largest clock face in Europe. A church has been on this site since the 9th century. The existing building has been considerably expanded over the years. The tower, for example, was extended in 1534, when the clock was added; the nave was rebuilt in 1705. Keep an eye out for inexpensive or even free classical concerts.

Schauhäuser der Stadtgärtnerei

Sackzelg 25-27

01 492 14 23

Daily 9-11.30, 13.30-16.30

Free admission

Tropical and sub-tropical plants


Mythenquai 88

01 201 45 54

Daily 9-11.20,


Free admission

Cacti and other succulents from all over the world

Urania Observatory

Uraniastrasse 9


The observatory is halfway between Bahnhofstrasse and the Limmat River on Uraniastrasse. Call in advance for hours (based on weather). The observatory has been at this site since 1907. Because of its central location, it offers a panoramic view not only of Zurich but of the lake and the distant Alps. You can see the stars, planets, and galaxy through a 20 ton Zeiss telescope.


Haldenstr. 95, Winterthur


Admission charged.

Tues.-Sun. 10-5.

Winterthur is a half hour from Zürich by train, on the main rail route to St. Gallen; fast trains depart daily from the main train station, about every half hour. From the train station, take Bus 10 to Haldengut or Bus 3 to Spital and follow the Römerholz sign up the hill. By car, follow the autobahn signs for Winterthur-St. Gallen. Take the Winterthur-Ohringen exit onto Schaffhauserstrasse into town, then left on Rychenbergstrasse to Haldenstrasse.

A wealth of fine art was donated to the textile town Winterthur by prosperous local merchants. One of these was Oskar Reinhart, whose splendid home on the hill overlooking the town now contains the huge Am Römerholz collection of paintings from five centuries, including works by Rembrandt, Manet, Renoir, and Cézanne.

Zoologisches Museum

Karl Schmid-strasse 4

01 634 38 38

Tue-Fri 9-17 Sat and Sun 10-16

Free admission

Swiss fauna from the ice age to the present day

Zoologischer Garten (Zoological Garden)

Zurichbergstrasse 221


Mar-Oct daily 8am-6pm; Nov-Feb daily 8am-5pm

Tram 6 from the Hauptbahnhof;

Admission charged

One of the best-known zoos in Europe, Zurich’s Zoological Garden contains some 2,200 animals of about 260 species. It also has an aquarium and an open-air aviary. You can visit the Africa house, the ape house, and the terrariums, along with the elephant house and the giant tortoise house. There are special enclosures for red pandas, otters, and snow leopards, and a house for clouded leopards, tigers, Amur leopards, and Indian lions.

D- Family Fun Attractions:
There are 80 playgrounds in Zurich. For the nearest one, inquire at your hotel. Most boat trips leave from the end of Bahnhofstrasse on the right. You might also combine a train ride with a trip to an attraction outside Zurich.

Select theaters also offer changing programs for children. Check a copy of Zurich Weekly Official, available at most newsstands.

Zürcher Spielzeugmuseum (Zurich Toy Museum)

Fortunagasse 15


Mon-Fri 2-5pm, Sat 1-4pm

Tram 13

Free admission

This museum, in one of the oldest parts of the city, contains more than

1,200 antique toys from all over Europe. The collection is displayed on the fifth floor of a house.


It lies at Churstrasse 111, in the village of Pfdffikon on Lake Zurich,

daily 10am -10pm. Mon-Fri

Admission charged. Children under 6 enter free, but children 2 and under are not allowed in the water.


Europe’s largest water park as certified in the Guinness Book of World Records. offering year-round fun in and around the water on four body flumes and both indoor and outdoor tube slides. There’s also an indoor swimming pool with breakers, a bubbling hot spring, an open-air pool with underwater music and massage jets, as well as 300 feet of lazy river and an outdoor thermal pool.

Zoologischer Garten (Zoological Garden)

Zurichbergstrasse 221


Mar-Oct daily 8am-6pm; Nov-Feb daily 8am-5pm

Tram 6 from the Hauptbahnhof

The zoo is in the eastern sector of the city, called Zurichberg, on a wooded hill

Admission charged.

One of the best-known zoos in Europe, Zurich’s Zoological Garden contains some 2,200 animals of about 260 species. It also has an aquarium and an open-air aviary. You can visit the Africa house, the ape house, and the terrariums, along with the elephant house and the giant tortoise house. There are special enclosures for red pandas, otters, and snow leopards, and a house for clouded leopards, tigers, Amur leopards, and Indian lions.

Botanischer Garten

Universität Zurich

Zollikerstrasse 107


Park: Mar-Sept Mon-Fri 7am-7pm Sat-Sun 8am-6pm; Oct-Feb, Mon-Fri 8am-6pm, Sat-Sun 8am-5pm.

Greenhouses: daily 9:30-11:30am and 1-4pm

Tram 11 to Hegibachplatz, or 2 or 4 to Höchsgasse. Bus: 33 to Botanishcer Garten

Free admission

The gardens contain 15,000 living species, including some rare specimens from New Caledonia and Southwest Africa. The herbarium contains three million plants. The gardens, owned by the University of Zurich, were laid out on the site of a former private villa. Adults and children enjoy the beauty of the lush and colorful gardens.

Swiss Technorama

Technoramastrasse 1. Winterthur


Admission charged. free for children 5 and under.

Tues-Sun 10am-5pm. Closed Dec 25.

Take motorway N1, exit at Oberwinterthur, and drive a mile toward Winterthur. Or take a train to the Winterthur main station and switch to bus no. 5 marked technorama.

Technorama is the Swiss National Center for Science and Technology. Its permanent exhibition is divided into eight areas, with many interactive experiments:

Physics, Energy, Water/Nature/Chaos, Mechanical Music, Mathe-Magic, Materials,Textiles, and Automation. In the hands-on Youth Laboratory, children can learn from some 100 experiments about science, mathematics, and biology. A self-service restaurant is at the site, and a big park features a steam train and manually powered flying machines.

Franz Carl Weber

Bahnhofstrasse 62


The largest toy shop in Europe is named for the famous toy collector.


Weinplatz 3


This is a specialist toy shop, Pastorini specializes in wooden toys and is one of the largest toy stores in Zurich. It is spread over five floors.

Kinderbuchladen Zurich

Oberdorfstrasse 32


The best-stocked children’s bookstore in Switzerland is, which carries many English-language books.

Family Sightseeing Near Zurich

Zurich is surrounded by some of the most interesting sightseeing areas in Switzerland.

The Dolderbahn

Take the Dolderbahn for a short aerial cable ride to the

Dolder Recreational Area, 1,988 feet above the city.

Trains leave every 10 minutes from Rvmerhofplatz, ( reached by tram no. 3, 8, or 15).

Admission charged.

The recreational area is open year-round and has restaurants, nature trails, rustic taverns, a path to the zoo, a miniature golf course, and from October to March, an ice-skating rink.

Dolder Schwimmbad


A swimming area carved into a hillside with a stunning view of Zurich. It is a 5-minute walk along a forest trail from the end of the cable-car line;

The Forchbahn


The Forchbahn is a short-haul railway line originating in downtown Zurich at the Stadelhofen Bahnhof, (at the junction of the Bellevueplatz and the Limmatquai)

Trains on the Forchenbahn run without conductors. Buy a ticket from a machine at whatever point you get on.

The area is noted for its sunlight and beautiful homes and gardens.

You can get off the train at the stops of your choice and walk any of the signposted trails to nearby points of scenic interest.


Frequent (every 25 minutes) trains from Zurich’s Hauptbahnhof make the 14-minute run to the residential suburb of Adliswil, 6 miles south;

From Adiswil, ride for a 10 minute uphill climb to an aerial cable car,

the Luftseilbahn Adliswil-Felsenegg (LAF)


Then enjoy a 6-minute uphill ride to the top of Felsenegg, at 2,650 feet above sea level.

From there, it is a 10 minute hike to an alpine restaurant with a spectacular view. Call for prices and schedules.


4 miles from Zurich along the southwestern shore of the lake.

Train S8 departs from Zurich Hauptbahnhof station every half hour for an 11 minute ride to the village.

By car: proceed along the southwestern shore route of Lake Zurich following the signposts to Kilchberg.

Thomas Mann spent the last years of his life in this village and was buried on the south side of the small church in 1955. His wife died there in 1980. Locally, Kilchberg is associated with the 19th-century Swiss author Conrad Ferdinand Meyer.


Southwest of Zurich, Uetliberg, the northernmost peak in the Albis ridge


This popular excursion from the city takes only 15 minutes. Take the mountain railway, Uetlibergbahn, from the Selnau station in Zurich. The round-trip takes half an hour and arrives near the Sihl River, at an elevation of 2,800 feet .

From the station, hike 10 minutes to the summit, where there is a cafe and restaurant. The tower is a climb of about 170 steps. From the lookout, on a clear day, it is possible to see as far away as the Black Forest.


Exploring Rapperswil

A lake steamer from Zurich travels to the “town of roses,” on the northern shore of Lake Zurich, 19 miles away, in about half an hour.

Another option is to travel to Rapperswil from Zurich, on the conventional train, S-5, from the Hauptbahnhof to Rapperswil. It is a 30 minute ride.

This is an unforgettable experience and many recommend it as “not to be missed” for short-term visitors to Zurich. Rapperswil is a charming, ancient Swiss town. It has kept its medieval appearance in its upper town, and is an ideal place for walks and drives around the north shore of Lake Zurich.

Rathaus (town hall)

in the main square, dates from 1471. It has a richly embellished Gothic portal. Many of the town’s streets date from the Middle Ages.


Herrenberg, 40.


Admission charged. free for children under 6.

Mid-March- Oct only. Sat 2-5pm, Sun 10am-noon and 2-5pm; July-Aug also Wed 2-5pm.

Located east of the parish church, this museum is devoted to local history. The museum reflects the history of Rapperswil from the time knights in armor passed through the town to the present. The museum is located in the former residence of a noble family. It contains Roman artifacts, a weapon collection, paintings, and antiques.

Knie’s Kinderzoo (Children’s Zoo)



Admission charged. Free for children under 4.

Daily 9am-6pm.

Closed Nov to mid-Mar.

On the north side of the castle hill is a children’s zoo, run by the Knie National Circus. Trained dolphins and other acts perform there. Children are offered pony rides and a ride on a miniature railway. Nearby is the Hirschgarten (or deer park).

Rapperswil Castle.


Castle and museum

Admission charged.

Apr-Oct, daily 1-5pm. Closed Nov-Mar.

Built by the young Count of Rapperswil when he returned from the First Crusade in about 1200, Rapperswil Castle is an imposing medieval stronghold on a rocky hill above the town. In 1875, it became the home of Graf Plater, exiled leader of the resistance against the 19th-century occupation of Poland by the Russian tsars. From Rapperswil, Graf Plater continued to play an active role in Polish politics for another 40 years. Today, the castle contains a museum devoted to mementos of 19th and 20th century Polish political life, including portraits of Chopin and Kosciuszko. Occasionally, the castle shows art exhibits on temporary loan from museums in Warsaw or Crakow.


From Zurich’s Hauptbahnhof, trains depart about every 20 minutes throughout the day (trip time: 20 to 26 minutes).

This industrial town in the Toss Valley, 12 miles northeast of Zurich, is also a music and cultural center, with an outstanding art collection.

Winterthur was once a Roman settlement and became the seat of the counts of Kyburg. It later was a stronghold of the Hapsburgs, until it was sold to the city of Zurich.

Winterthur is best explored on foot.

The skyline of Winterthur is dominated by the twin towers of its parish church, the Stadkirche, built from 1264 to 1515 (the towers were added later).

Museum Oskar Reinhart am Stadtgarden

Stadthausstrasse 6.


Admission charged.

Wed-Sun 10am-5pm, Tues 10am-8pm.

Bus: 1,3 or 6.

Oscar Reinhart, a famous art collector who died in 1965, willed many of his treasures to the city. Displayed in this gallery are works of Austrian, German, and Swiss artists, with a representation of the Romantic painters, including Blechen, Friedrich, Kersting, and Runge. There are some 600 works in all, from the 18th to the 20th century.

Kunstmuseum. Museumstrasse 52.


Admission charged.

Tues 10am-8pm, Wed-Sun 10am-5pm.

Bus: 1, 3, or 6 to Stadthaus.

Located a 10-minute walk north of the Stadthaus on Stadthausstrasse and Lindstrasse, this fine-arts museum contains an impressive collection of European and American art and sculpture from the late 19th century to the present. Giacometti and such French artists as Bonnard and Vuillard are well represented. Highlights are works by van Gogh, Mirs, Magritte, Mondrian, Kokoschka, Calder, and Klee. There are sculptures by Rodin, as well as works by Medardo Rosso and Maillol. The permanent collection is on display from June to August; temporary exhibits are presented the rest of the year.

Schloss Kyburg

Kyburg 8314.


Admission charged. free for children 5 and under.

Feb-Nov, Tues-Sun 10:30-5:30. Closed Dec-Jan. From Zurich

take the Winterthur rail line, get off at the Fretekon stop, and transfer to a bus for the 10-min. ride to the castle; buses depart every hour throughout the day.

The castle is not on a street (or road) map.

Four miles from Winterthur, Schloss Kyburg is the largest castle in eastern Switzerland, dating from the Middle Ages. It was the ancestral home of the counts of Kyburg until 1264, when the Hapsburgs took over. It was ceded to Zurich in the 15th century and is now a museum of antiques and armor. There’s a good view from the keep. You may also visit the residence hall of the knights, parapet, and chapel.

Swiss Technorama

Technoramastrasse 1. Winterthur


Admission charged. free for children 5 and under.

Tues-Sun 10am-5pm. Closed Dec 25.

Take motorway N1, exit at Oberwinterthur, and drive a mile toward Winterthur. Or take a train to the Winterthur main station and switch to bus no. 5 marked technorama.

Technorama is the Swiss National Center for Science and Technology. Its permanent exhibition is divided into eight areas, with many interactive experiments:

Physics, Energy, Water/Nature/Chaos, Mechanical Music, Mathe-Magic, Materials,Textiles, and Automation. In the hands-on Youth Laboratory, children can learn from some 100 experiments about science, mathematics, and biology. A self-service restaurant is at the site, and a big park features a steam train and manually powered flying machines.

E- Events & Entertainment:


The Zürich Carnival


Zürcher Sechseläuten (Spring Festival)

For information: 01 853 17 77

Zürich’s traditional spring festival – begins on a Sunday with a big parade featuring more than 2,000 children. The actual festival takes place on Monday. Guild members have an early start with a lunch at their own guildhall, and follow it with the big Parade of the Guilds. Thousands of spectators will line the streets along the parade route in the Old City. The highlight is Burning the Böögg, an effigy of winter, on the Sechseläuten field near the Zürich Opera. The Böögg woodpile is lit when the bells of St. Peter sound at 6 o’clock. The Böögg turning to ashes signals winter’s final departure.

Late June-Mid-July

The Zürich Festival hosts dance, opera, theater, and more in several venues throughout the city.

During the Züri Fäscht, held once every three years at the start of July, a huge fairground is set up in central Zürich. Festivities are topped off with a lavish fireworks display.

August 1

Swiss National Holiday celebrates the confederation’s birth in 1291 with fireworks and bonfires.

on August 1, the Swiss national holiday, while spectacular displays of fireworks explode in sizzling colors over the cities and towns, the mountain folk build the bonfires that glow quietly, splendidly, on every hillside of every Alp, uniting Swiss citizens as they celebrate their proud independence, their cultural wealth, and above all their diversity. It’s that diversity and those quirky contradictions that make Switzerland a tourist capital – the folksy, fiercely efficient innkeeper to the world.

Street Parade, a large-scale electronic music event with international DJs.

During late August and early September the Theaterspektakel takes place, with circus tents housing avant-garde theater and experimental performances as well as theater troupes from around the world on the lawns by the lake at Mythenquai.


Züri Jazz Woche (Jazz Festival) takes the stage in early September.


For information: 01 462 99 55, Fax 01 462 99 65 or

One of Zürich’s oldest festivals is the prize-shooting on the Albisgütli for 12 to 17 year old boys and girls. A marksman king or queen is chosen every year. A colorful three day market accompanies the event; the largest of its kind in Switzerland.


Expovina, held on boats on the Bürkliplatz, offers samples of international wines, and food.

Fasnacht brings lively musicians and a large, costumed procession.

Late November/early December

Zürich Six Day Race


New Year’s Eve Race

Arts & Entertainment

Zürich supports a top-rank orchestra, opera company, and theater. Check Zürich News, published weekly in English and German, or “Züri-tipp,” a German-language supplement to the Friday edition of the daily newspaper Tages Anzeiger for weekly events throughout the year.

Zurich Opera House

Falkenstrasse 1





is widely recognized and booked well ahead, but single seats can often be had at the last minute. The season is from September through July.


Claridenstrasse 7


The Zürich Tonhalle Orchestra, which was inaugurated by Brahms in 1895, enjoys international acclaim. There are also solo recitals and chamber programs here. The season runs from September through July; and tickets sell out quickly.



Rämistr. 34, 01/2655858.

has a long history of cutting-edge performances. During World War II, this was the only German-language theater in Europe that remained independent. Today, its main stage presents German-language works in addition to experimental works produced in the Keller (cellar).

Year Round Organized Tours

Tram (Trolley) Tours

The quickest and most convenient way to get acquainted with Zurich is with a two hour trolley tour through neighborhoods of interest. Riders are given a headset, which provides commentary in seven languages. Between May and October, for a fee per person, there are tours daily at 10am and 2pm. The tour covers the commercial and shopping center and Old Town, and goes along the lakefront for a visit to Fraunmünster or one of the historic guildhalls beside the Limmatquai.

Boat Tours

Full tour and shorter versions are offered

For more information contact the Zürichsee Schiffahrtsgesellschaft by calling 01/487-1333.

To take a lake steamer for a tour around Lake Zurich.: Walk to Bahnhofstrasse’s lower end and buy a ticket at the pier anytime from late May to late September. Most of the steamers contain simple restaurant facilities, and all have two or three levels of decks and windows designed for wide-angle views of the Swiss mountains and shoreline.

During the summer, boats depart every thirty minutes.

A full-length, round-trip tour of the lake from Zurich to Rapperswil will require two hours travel each way. Travelers may leave the boat to explore towns en route. Shorter boat rides cover the northern third of the lake with the total trip taking about 90 minutes.

Walking Tours

Meet the tour in the main hall of Zurich’s railway station for a two hour guided walk through the Old Town. Telephone 01/215-4000 for prices and times. Tours are offered in English daily.