Things to do in Zurich in one day
Ready to see the best of Zurich in 1 day? Let’s begin!
1. Stroll through Niederdorf, part of Zurich’s old town
The first thing you should do on your visit to Zurich is strolling the streets of the old town. I recommend you start with the Niederdorf neighborhood, located to the east of the Limago River, which divides the city into two parts. In this area full of pedestrian streets you will find numerous bars, restaurants and shops, as well as plenty of corners full of history and charm.
Among the most attractive places in the neighborhood is the Cabaret Voltaire, a century-old tavern where painters, musicians, dancers and authors used to meet. Dadaism was born in this neighborhood. There is a bar-cafeteria inside, so it can be a great place to have the first coffee of the day.
2. Grossmünster Church, a must if you spend one day in Zurich
Very close to the Niederdorf neighborhood, we find the main church of Zurich: Grossmünster. The origins of this building go back to the year 1100. Since then, it has been renovated and reformed on different occasions. The church is Romanesque in style with Gothic elements and stands out especially for its two twin bell towers, which were built between 1487 and 1492.
It is possible to go up to the towers. The entrance costs €5.
3. Kunsthaus Zürich, one of the best museums in all of Switzerland
If you want to add a visit to a museum during your time in Zurich, Kunsthaus should be the one. It is one of the best art museums in Europe. It has a large collection of works by various artists, including Charles Munch, van Gogh, Beckmann, Alberto Giacometti, Chagall, Picasso and Monet. Likewise, numerous temporary exhibitions are held.
If you are interested in visiting the museum, I recommend that you see more information about it on the Kunsthaus Zürich website.
4. Walk along the lake until you get to the Zurich Opera
After visiting the Grossmünster Church ands the Kunsthaus museum, continue along the river and lake until you reach the Sechseläuten Square. It is one of the most beautiful and popular squares in the city. It occupies a total of 16,000 m² and has numerous benches and trees. During Christmas, a Christmas market is held here.
Zurich Opera is located in the square, which occupies a neoclassical building. Despite being one of the smallest opera houses in Europe, it has one of the largest cultural programmes.
5. Fraumünster Church
It is time to cross the river to visit the Lindenhof neighborhood, also located in the old town of Zurich, Switzerland. We begin our tour of this part of the city with the Fraumünster Church, another of the main churches in Zurich. Its location on the banks of the Limago River and next to the Munster Bridge gives the place a special beauty.
This church dates back to the 9th century, when it opened its doors as an abbey for women of the European aristocracy. The building stands out especially for the set of five intensely colored stained glass windows created by Marc Chagall. The frescoes by Paul Bodmer that decorate the cloister and the organ with 5,793 pipes are also stunning. They are the the largest in the canton of Zurich.
6. Church of St. Peter
Another very interesting place to see in Zurich in one day is the Church of Saint Peter. Together with Grossmünster and Fraumünster, it is one of the most important churches in the city. It is also the oldest parish church in Zurich. A fun fact about this place is that its bell tower has the largest clock face in Europe, which it acquired in 1538.
7. Lindenhof Hill, places to visit if you’re spending one day in Zurich
From St. Peter’s Church, it will only take you three minutes on foot to reach the next stop, which will become one of your favorite places in Zurich. I’m talking about Lindenhof Hill, a small esplanade located on top of a hill. This place has very good views of the old town and other parts of the city, such as the University of Zurich.
This small but cozy space has several benches and trees that provide some shade, which you will appreciate if you visit the city during the summer. It is the perfect place to take a break or to have a small picnic. Switzerland is a very expensive country and sometimes eating fast food on the street is very convenient. Specially with these views!
8. Stroll through Bahnhofstrasse street
Shopping in Zurich? Even if it isn’t part of your plans, a walk along Bahnhofstrasse, the main shopping street in Zurich, cannot be missing in your itinerary. This street runs from Zurich Central Station to Bürkliplatz Square, next to Zurich Lake.
In it you will find a large number of boutiques and luxury brand stores, as well as cafes, restaurants and art galleries. Even if you don’t intend to buy anything, I’m sure you’ll still enjoy strolling through this street.
A street called Augustinergasse branches out from this avenue. Do not miss it!
9. Zurich National Museum
If you like to visit museums, you can take a look at the Zurich National Museum, which explains the history of Switzerland, from the origin of the country to the present. It does so through the exhibitions “Swiss Archaeology”, “Swiss History” and “Gallery Collections”. There are also temporary exhibitions on various current issues. The museum is located in a historic building from 1898.
General admission costs €10.
10. Visit the Langstrasse nieghborhood
To conclude your visit to Zurich in the best possible way, I recommend taking a walk through Langstrasse, the fashionable neighborhood. It has a very youthful vibe and in it you will find one of the best nightlife in the city. Bars, clubs, restaurants… Langstrasse has everything to have a good time.
Where to stay in Zurich
Now that you have decided to visit this city, you may be wondering which is the best area to stay in Zurich. The best place to stay is the historic center, since almost all the tourist attractions of the city are located here. If you want to find cheaper options without going too far from the center, another good alternative is to sleep in Langstrasse.
I stayed at the 25hours Hotel Zürich Langstrasse, located in the last neighborhood that I mentioned. The hotel is great, both the rooms and the common spaces are amazing. I also liked the breakfast. I highly recommend it!
If you prefer to stay in the historic center, check out the following hotels: Zurich Swiss Chocolate by Fassbind, Hotel St. Josef and Hotel Adler Zürich. They offer the best options in terms of value for money.
Map of places to visit if you spend one day in Zurich
Do not miss my Switzerland travel guide to know all the information about this country.
I hope this article about what to see in Zurich in one day has been very useful for you to organize your trip to this beautiful Swiss city. If you want to tell me about your experience or have any questions, feel free to leave a comment or write me by email. Until next time travelers!