Things to do in Zurich | Where to Stay | Where to Eat | 2 Day Itinerary!
Updated: Jun 6, 2019
Switzerland is one of the most beautiful countries in the world, arguably the most beautiful! It's home to some magnificent nature, picturesque landscapes, fantastic mountainous ranges (The Alps), glacial lakes, charming villages and bustling medieval like cities, it's so incredible that such a small country has so much beauty, charm and magic!
If you have the opportunity to spend more time to explore this magical country, you need to do so, I think two or three days is the perfect amount of time to explore Zurich, but there is just so many other amazing places to see in Switzerland!
Arriving at the City Centre
I did not fly into Zurich as I was travelling around Europe by train, which is just extremely more convenient, depending on where you are going! But for me I was travelling to Zurich from Paris, it seemed like a no brainer to take the train and take in the amazing scenery along the way.
If you're like me and taking the train, you'll have the added benefit of arriving directly into the city centre by train, and if you choose to stay in the old town, it's roughly ten minutes walking from the train station.
However, for those of you that are flying into Zurich, you'll find that the airport is not so far from the city centre, roughly a 30 minute drive away. There are three main options for arrival in the city.
The cheapest and most convenient of the four options! The airport has a train station that is very easy to find, located just beneath the main terminal, this method transportation is not only the fastest way of arrival to the city centre, but it is also the cheapest.
Cost = 6 Euro
Travel Time = 15 - 20 Minutes
There is also the option of a shuttle bus, you can book this option online or with a service representative at the airport. This is a popular choice amongst visitors looking to arrive directly to their hotel, the service operates at least every hour and is the most time consuming of the four.
Cost = 22 Euro
Travel Time = 40 Minutes
Another popular choice amongst visitors and locals is to use the public transport system, there is a tram stop just outside of the terminal, the tram is constantly in operation, you may have to wait 10 or so minutes for the next one to arrive.
Cost = 6 Euro
Travel Time = 40 Minutes
I never recommend anyone take a taxi from any airport anywhere in the world, unless you absolutely need to do so, or have so much money that you just want to give it away! There are so many people out there trying to scam you and rip you off, and the airport is the number 1 spot for these guys, don't give them the chance.
Cost = 60 - 70 Euro
Travel Time = 15 Minutes
Where to Stay
There are just so many fantastic places for you to choose from, you can find everything from high-end hotels, boutique stays, luxury apartments all the way to budget hostels with all-inclusive!
The old town is definitely one area to consider, its an ideal location for you as it's located only 10 minutes walking from the train station which most people tend to arrive to. I'll recommend two accommodation options, one hotel and one hostel for you to consider.
Hotel Scheuble is a fantastic choice! It is in the perfect location, only 10 minutes walking from the train station in the Niederdorf quarter (old-town). The staff and management are really what makes this place shine, they go above and beyond to make your stay a memorable one! Rooms can go for around 150 USD per night.
Youth Hostel Zurich is also ideally located in the old town and is quite the charming choice of accommodation, this hostel doesn't only serve up some amazing breakfast, but it's also free! This a great alternative for those with cheaper budgets.
How to Get Around
The best way to see and experience everything in this city is by walking! The fact is that the town is so small that you could have it all explored in 3 hours or less without the help of any maps!
You really don't need to worry about finding public transport, you have the choice of bus or tram and either one can be found at the very most every 300 meters throughout the city.
I recommend that you look at getting the Zurich Travelcard or Swiss Travel Pass, as both of these cards will save you money in the end, you also have the added benefit of just hopping on or off the bus or tram in whichever time or place.
Where to Eat
You have to try some of the local Swiss cuisines, there is a ton of different delicious offerings in Zurich for you to indulge yourself in! Be wary in this beautiful medieval-like city, it is easily one of the most expensive places to eat in all of Europe.
There are many fantastic restaurants for you to choose from, you can find everything from 15th-century beer halls to more luxurious fine dining experiences, with everything in between! I mean everything, there is no kind of food or restaurant that you won't find here!
Old Town Street Food, so Switzerland isn't exactly famous for its street food, but it does have some heavenly mouth-watering dishes that you have probably never tried before! If you're looking for a quick bite to eat for very cheap, keep a look out for what's called a Wurst! (curry sausage).
Zeughauskeller is a 15th-century armoury turned beer hall, and has some delicious traditional food offerings alongside some excellent draft beer. Be sure to try the sausage sampler to see for yourself just how hearty Swiss food can be.
Café Henrici is no secret amongst the locals or tourists, this cafe does be busy all day long! And for a good reason, not only can you expect to get some of the best coffee in all of Zurich, but they serve some pretty damn good grub too!
Lindenhofkeller provides an outstanding fine dining experience that is to be had! I would say this is a meat lovers paradise, the food was to die for! Everything about this place was fantastic, the restaurant is small and cosy with a great atmosphere! Located in the heart of the old town this restaurant is situated inside the cellar of a house that was built in the 13th century, this is a great choice for a date night, but be prepared, it is not cheap!
What to Do
The old town is the perfect place to hang around if you want to relax and soak up some culture, I spent the majority of my time here as most of the things worth seeing or doing are located in and around the old town.
It is here that you will find the highest concentration of clubs and bars in Switzerland, one of the most famous shopping avenues in not only Switzerland but the world, and to top it all off, the old town is just bursting with famous culture and heritage!
Here is my list of things you should do in Zurich in two days!
Is one of the most expensive shopping avenues in the world, even if you are not there to buy something, It's definitely worth the time to stroll through and witness how beautiful and peaceful this place is, make sure to explore the alleyways woven in and out of this magnificent high street.
One of the most prominent landmarks in Zurich, this Roman era cathedral is famously known for its two twin towers (salt & pepper) and it's medieval architecture, it's worth the time to take a look at and can be spotted from the Limmat River.
Is another prominent landmark, located in Zurich old town, this is a 9th-century church famously known for the works of Marc Chagall on its stained glass windows. Both this and Grossmunster are open to the public, giving you the opportunity you to witness the fantastic architecture from within, both can also be seen relatively fast, with an hour usually being the duration for both tours.
A hotspot for tourists, locals and students! It has grown to be quite the popular place for excursions. The best way to explore and see Lake Zurich is by taking a boat trip! You can find different sailing companies all around the shore of Lake Zurich, providing the opportunity to take the trip out onto the peaceful waters of the lake.
There are tons of different kinds of excursions for you to choose from, but the one that really stood out to me was "Sonnenuntergangs-Schiff" a sunset sailing tour of the lake, you get to witness to spectacular views, that help make this visit that much more memorable!
This is the part of the old town that really comes to life! During the day you can expect to find thousands of tourists and locals enjoying the beautiful architecture in this historically significant part of the city.
You can find hidden gems all throughout this amazing area of the old town, it's full of traditional restaurants, sleek bars, trendy cafes and beautiful little gift shops. Niederdorf does be bustling all day long! Come nightfall is when the party starts, this place is full of clubs, bars for you to choose from, as for the street itself, you will find street artists and late night snack vendors all come out to play at this time!
The Swiss Alps (One Day Excursion)
One of the most breathtakingly beautiful places in all of the world, this vast mountain range is something of what dreams are made of, full of charming villages, spectacular views, beautiful lakes, and exciting culture to say the least. This is one place that everyone needs to visit, at least once in their lifetime!
You have one day to visit, and this is nowhere near enough time needed to experience everything this amazing place has to offer if you have more time or intend on spending more time in Switzerland, Zermatt is one of the best ski locations not only in Switzerland but all of the planet.
There are many different tour packages available to you in Zurich, which will provide you with transportation to and from the Swiss Alps, it usually takes just over an hour of travelling from the city.
There is one tour I highly recommend, which can be booked via Viator, found here.
With this tour, you only need to arrive at the train station once again, where you will meet your tour guide and leave on a coach bound for the Swiss Alps.
The coach will take you through the Bernese Oberland until you arrive in the resort town of Grindelwald. This journey provides you with some fantastic video and photograph opportunities, the scenery is beyond spectacular!
This is where the magic really starts to happen, you will need to board the cogwheel train to arrive in the mountain region of Jungfrau, the highest point in Europe. There are very few words I can use to describe the feeling one has on this journey, it's something that just needs to be experienced by everyone! Prepare yourself for some of the most amazing and spectacular sights you'll ever see!
There are tons of companies in Zurich that provide this kind of tour/package deal, do your research and shop around for what's best for you.
2 Day Itinerary
If you can see and do most if not all of the things mentioned on this list, you are sure to have a great time! I didn't fill this article with endless time-consuming things to do, in fact, I think it should be relatively easy for you to do everything within the 2 days, I would generally give you the exact time and place for each and everything you should do, but the city is so small that you should choose where and when you would like to do these things for yourself!