5 Top Rated Tourist Attractions in Zürich
The city of Zürich is a melting pot of cultures. Small, cosmopolitan, and highly-regarded as a cultural hub, Zürich attracts several million visitors a year, with more than 70 percent of those coming from abroad. There's no better way to experience the unique charm of this city than on foot. Zürich's old town is an ideal place to begin a guided walking tour of the city's past, pastel-hued old townhouses and medieval buildings.
There's always more to do in Zürich than simply meander through the city's charming and peaceful back streets. Check out the world-famous sites of Switzerland's early banking industry and learn about the epic events that took place there with a visit to the Swiss National Museum, as well as the historic Glarner Museum, one of Zürich's oldest and best collections.
Zürich is also known as a convention city, hosting a wealth of trade fairs, conferences, and conventions year-round, from jazz festivals to horse shows to expositions. In fact, there are more people traveling to Zürich for conventions than for vacations.
With activities to occupy a sports fan, a foodie, an art lover, and a traveler, Zürich is a place where anything can happen, and you don't need to spend much money to do it. Plan your trip with our list of the top attractions in Zürich.
Swiss National Museum
Swiss National Museum (Vézelay) is home to a wealth of unique exhibits and a collection of art that includes the greatest collections of historical costumes, sculptures, and jewelry ever assembled in one place. The museum is housed in a former cathedral with a neoclassical façade that itself dates back to 1760. The edifice was designed by Johann Rudolf Ueli and restored in 1993. Outside on the square, the Old Town Hall was built in 1760 and houses Swiss objects such as furniture, tapestries, paintings, and embroidery. The Richental, a delightful little stream, runs along one wall, while the spot where President Ueli was executed in 1825 in the wake of the Uetliberpetz Uprising lies next door.
Bordered by a number of hilly peaks, Lake Zurich is surrounded by lush green mountains and is located in an almost untouched part of the country. A great venue for picnics and romantic escapes, the lake is ideal for water sports such as jet skiing, windsurfing, kayaking, and canoeing. Most of the shops and the only bank of the city are located near the western edge of the lake, making this a convenient base for exploring the nearby towns of Uster, Uetikon, and Schwyz. There is a choice of day cruises from Uster to the rest of the lake, or you can charter a private boat.
The most visually stunning building in Zürich is the Kunsthaus, a masterpiece by architect Peter Zumthor. With floor-to-ceiling glass walls, light-filled spaces and winding corridors, the building is defined by its stunning setting. Open to the public in the evening, visitors have the option of following various trails through the exhibition halls and roof gardens. A must for fans of modern architecture, the Kunsthaus, Zurich is one of the city's best attractions, regularly ranked as one of the best museums in the world.
One of the few World Heritage Sites in the world, Fraumünster, or Fraumünster Abbey, is a stunning example of Swiss Gothic architecture with a well-preserved interior, including the 15th century altarpiece "Madonna and Child with Saints" by Rogier van der Weyden. Surrounding the main building is a huge cemetery with oriel windows and a refectory that served as a hostel for wandering monks. Inside the main building are displays of woodcarvings and other artifacts from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. The Fraumünster City Museum is located on-site and includes a museum and art gallery, showing more than 300 paintings, sculptures and decorative arts. Outside the walls of the abbey, a museum houses rotating exhibitions of modern art.
Located 10 km (6 miles) west of Zurich in the southwestern suburb of Wiedikon, the Domino Museum is a life-size recreation of the Roman amphitheater where Christians were beaten and sometimes thrown to their death in the 1st century. In the basement, a 14 meter-long model of the city of Rome is reminiscent of the Imperial Roman period, with original fountains, stairs, vases, statues, columns, and other treasures. Today the park and museum are one, attracting almost 2.5 million people a year.