With only one day to spend in Zurich, I felt overwhelmed with what to put on my itinerary. There’s so much to see and do in the city and I wanted to see it all!
Zurich may not be the capital of Switzerland, yet Zurich is Switzerland’s largest city. Famous for its super-secret Swiss banks and the low tax rates attract multinational companies to set up their headquarters there, including my ex-employer LafargeHolcim headquarter.
Approximately 30% of Zurich residents are foreign nationals and don’t be surprised if you could easily found Malaysian expat in the city. The best part of Zurich is most of the people are so helpful, polite and smiling every time we asked for directions. It’s time to hit Zurich!
Check out my Muslim Friendly day trip itinerary to Zurich!
#1 The Best Place to Start Your Zurich City Tour by Walking Along the Limmat river at Limmatquai
This is the best place to start your visit to Zurich. Start here as an introduction to the entire city and the history. You are standing at Zurich’s New Town and facing Zurich’s Old Town which divided by Limmat river.
If you are coming from Zurich airport, catch the train from the airport to Zurich Hauptbahnhof in just 11 minutes. Once here, you will find yourself in the immediate centre of town on the Limmatquai – Zurich’s famous restaurants and Rathaus (City Hall) street. Alternatively, find Parkhaus Hauptbahnhof in your GPS to park your car if you are driving, it is just next to Sihlquai bus parking. The main reason we parked our car there is because it is very near to Toplumu Külliye Mosque (Mosque in Zurich), so we can perform our prayer on the way back.
#2 Pass by Zurich’s iconic landmark Grossmünster and Fraumünster churches
Grossmünster and Fraümunster churches are the most distinctive landmarks on Zurich’s skyline, standing tall on each side of the Limit River.
The twin towers of the Grossmünster is one of the architectural icons in Zurich. You can climb up to the top of the Grossmünster tower for only few Swiss Francs and have views over the city. The photo of these towers is one of the most famous shots taken in Zurich by both locals and tourists alike.
#3 A Great Entrance Way into Zurich Old Town is by Crossing Rathausbrücke
Where to Eat
Finding halal food in Zurich is fairly easy. Thanks to the mushrooming Döner Kebab all over the city and there is one nearby the Rathausbrücke (Zurich City Hall Bridge). Their main courses are pizza, falafel, diner kebab and everything you can see on the picture. Döner kebab is the number one street food found mostly everywhere in Germany and I noticed the trend is coming to Zurich city. We had our early lunch there and continue wandering the city.
#4 Roam the Old Town at Zurich Altstadt
The old town of a city is usually one of the best parts to visit if you’re there as a tourist, and Zurich’s Old Town or Altstadt in German is no exception. Architecture in the Old Town ranges from medieval masterpieces to beautiful Renaissance buildings, making it a nice mix of different styles and stunning to stroll through. Zurich’s Old Town is divided into four parts, Rathaus (City Hall), Hochschulen (Universities), Lindenhof (lime tree courtyard) and City. Each of these have their signature famous landmarks which distinguish them from each other.
You can take a guided tour to learn more about the history of Zurich’s Old Town or just take a quick look around on your own. Other great ways to see the highlights of Zurich is by bus tour, cruise or ferry and cable car ride.
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#5 Admire the View from Lindenhof
Walk up to Lindenhof which is a pretty little square on a hill in the city centre. Sit on one of the benches and enjoy a beautiful view over the Limit and the Old Town, with it’s flat-roofed pleasure boats and the busy Limmatquai. You can also see the Grossmünster church, Zurich City Hall, Limit river and the university. It is definitely a romantic, peaceful spot and the best place for taking photos of the city.
#6 Go Shopping and People Watching along Bahnhofstrasse
Bahnhofstrasse is home to local and international designers, also renowned for being the world’s most expensive shopping streets. The entire street runs from the Zurich Hauptbahnhof to Lake Zurich, so it is great walk or you can easily hop on a tram for the journey to the lake. Near the train station you will find the usual high street brands like Zara and H&M, meanwhile on the Lake end of the street you will be greeted with high end stores such as Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Patek Philippe, you name it.
There are numerous cafes or parks where you can sit down and relax, watching the elite of Zurich stroll by. The street is mainly pedestrianised, making it really enjoyable to walk down. The Bahnhofstrasse is a must-see for every visitor!
#7 Enjoy Boat Cruise on Lake Zurich
Take a boat cruise at the end of the famous Bahnhofstrasse at Zurich Bürklipatz. Take a leisurely boat ride on Lake Zurich and be rewarded with views of the beautiful Zurich’s Old Town buildings and see Zurich city from another angle. Complete boat route and price can be found on Zurich’s Official Website.
#8 Perform Prayer Comfortably at Toplumu Külliye Mosque (Mosque in Zurich)
On the way back to our parking lot at Parkhaus Hauptbahnhof, we drop by Toplumu Küliyye Mosque and perform our prayers before heading back to airport. As far as I can recall it is located on Level 3 of the building. Ladies praying room is locked and look for the mosque staff for the key to the prayer room. Interestingly, there is halal grocery store and barber shop in the men praying hall. It was very kind of them when I saw my nephews came out of the door with smiling faces and junk foods on their hands, they got it for free from the grocery store.
Be sure to follow me on Instagram for more places from my adventures in Switzerland and be sure to read my blog posts on Mount Titlis, Matterhorn Zermatt, Mount Pilatus, Lucerne, Basel and Rhine Falls in Switzerland!
Recommended Tours from Zurich