Zurich Self-Guided Walking Tour Switzerland JetSettingFools.com

Zurich Self-Guided Walking Tour

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Our two-day detour to Zurich, Switzerland was more about meeting up with longtime friends than it was about visiting the city itself. However, that didn’t keep us from discovering the best sights of the Zurich Old Town on a Zurich walking tour!

We devised a Zurich self-guided walking tour that would take us through the pristine city, down the shopping lanes, to a few churches and viewpoints  – while still allowing enough time for lunch, chocolates and a few beers. Come along with us and see the sights on our Zurich Self-Guided Walking Tour. 


About this Free Zurich Walking Tour

We love creating our own free walking tours in cities where we can set our pace, make detours and stop at any places along the route that catch our eye. Our outlined Zurich Old Town Walking Tour is ideal for visitors – like us – who enjoy discovering destinations on their own two feet. 


Zurich Walking Tour Map and Directions

What makes this one of the best walking tours in Zurich that you can complete on your own is that we include a link to Google Maps for each stop – making it easy to route your way from one sight to the next.

However, keep in mind that you will need an internet connection to use the links. We use a Pocket WiFi device to stay connected while traveling abroad (in fact, we wouldn’t travel without it!). 

Additionally, we have included a Zurich Old Town Walking Map at the end of this article that offers an overview of our sightseeing Zurich walk. 


City Tour of Zurich: Sight Info

To provide fun facts about each sight of our Zurich city tour, we have also included links for information. Visitors interested in learning about each Zurich attraction can simply click and read about it while on the self guided walking tour. 


More Walking Tours Zurich

Our Zurich Free Walking Tour is a self-guided adventure to the top sights in the city. Fellow travelers who would rather join a guided walking tour have many options. We highlight a few of the highly rated Guided Walking Tours of Zurich after we share the details of our Zurich Walking Tour Free Route. 

A Self-Guided Zurich Walking Tour by JetSettingFools.com


Zurich Self-Guided Walking Tour

Our Zurich sightseeing focused on the sights in the center of town. There are many Zurich tourist attractions – and our list includes 12 things to see in Zurich. Our Zurich walking tour route is about 3 miles long (mostly flat), which should take about an hour without any stops.

Even if you only have one day in Zurich, our walking tour is a great way to get an introduction to the city!


#1 Bahnhofstrasse

Bahnhofstrasse shopping street, Zurich, Switzerland JetSettingFools.com

We started our Zurich Self-Guided Walking Tour at the Paradeplatz tram station in the city center {MAP}. Heading north on Bahnhofstrasse, we gawked at the expensive watches glittering in the window displays.

Architecture of Zurich, Switzerland

The street is flooded with fashionable retailers, posh boutiques, fine architecture and a bevy of Swiss Banks. The famous shopping street is a Zurich must see! 


#2 Detour onto Augustinergasse and Rennweg Street

Augustinergasse Street, Old Town, Zurich, Switzerland JetSettingFools.com

On our Zurich city tour, we were sidetracked more than once by the colorful streets in the center. We turned right down the bright and colorful Augustinergasse {MAP}.

Historic Rennweg Street, Zurich, Switzerland JetSettingFools.com

At Widdergasse we turned left…and left again onto Rennweg {MAP}, which was the main thoroughfare during the Middle Ages and features quaint craft houses. We followed Rennweg north to where it meets back up with Bahnhofstrasse.


#3 Zurich Bahnhofplatz

Bahnhofplatz, Zuirch, Switzerland JetSettingFools.com

The Zurich Bahnhofplatz {MAP} is the next stop on our Zurich Self Guided Walking Tour. Ranking as the biggest train station in Switzerland and one of the busiest train stations in the world, the station marks the north end of Zurich Old Town (or Zurich Altstadt). 

Top Tip: If you are traveling to the city on a day trip and arriving by train, you can begin your Walking Tour Zurich Old Town route at the station. Continue from the station to the next sight – and then visit the first sights on our list at the end of the tour, which circles back to the heart of the Old Town. 


#4 Central Polybahn

From the main train station, continue our Zurich free tour by crossing the Limmat River on the Bahnhofbrucke Brigde. Head to the funicular, Central Polybahn {MAP}, for a ride up the hill to a lookout point. (Unfortunately, it was one of the few Zurich sights that was closed during our visit, so you will have to let us know how the view is!).


#5 Niederdorfstrasse

Niederdorfstrasse pedestrian street in Zurich, Switzerland JetSettingFools.com

Continuing our Zuirch Old Town walking tour, we turned south on Niederdorfstrasse {MAP}, a pedestrian street in the Zurich Old Town filled with cafes, restaurants and bars. It was perfect timing because we were getting hungry for lunch!

Sausage and Roll a cheap lunch in Zurich, Switzerland JetSettingFools.com

Kris decided on a kebab, and I found a café near Stussihofstatt serving traditional dishes, deli-style, which are loaded up into containers and paid for by weight. I opted for an inexpensive Zurich lunch special: bratwurst with a roll and mustard for $6.50 – and I couldn’t resist adding the creamy potatoes au gratin to my meal for about $2 more.


#6 Zurich Rathaus & River Views

Town Hall Rathaus on River Limmat in Zurich, Switzerland JetSettingFools.com

Walking back to the Limmat River, by the Zurich Town Hall (Rathaus) {MAP}, we couldn’t stop taking pictures of the idyllic waterfront buildings.

JetSetting Fools on River Limmat in Zurich, Switzerland JetSettingFools.com

There, we were approached by a woman who told us that the flag flying above the front door of Town Hall indicated that the local government was in session and that we were free to go in to watch the proceedings.

Town Hall in-session at Rathaus, Zurich, Switzerland JetSettingFools.com

We passed through security and then walked upstairs to a balcony overlooking a beautiful room filled with a (surprisingly) casual bunch of politicians. Taking a peek inside the Rathaus is one of the best free things to do in Zurich (besides our free walking tour Zurich, of course!).


#7 Grossmunster

Grossmunster Cathedral, Zurich, Switzerland JetSettingFools.com

Next up on our Zurich itinerary: the Grossmunster Cathedral {MAP}. Built in 1220, the Cathedral is one of the top Zurich tourist attractions. The two towers were added in 1787 and the 187 steps can be climbed for great views (for a small fee).

Zurich City View from Grossmunster Bell Towers, Zurich, Switzerland JetSettingFools.com

The interior of the Grossmunster is rather plain, but has bright stained glass windows. A crypt beneath the altar houses an original sculpture from one of the towers.


#8 Lake Zurich and Opernhaus Zurich

Man plays the alphorn on Lake Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland JetSettingFools.com

Continuing on our Zurich one day tour, we walked south to Lake Zurich and the Zurich Opera House (Opernhaus Zurich) {MAP}. On the lakeside, a man played the traditional Swiss alphorn for tips.

Swan on Lake Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland JetSettingFools.com

Behind him, on the lake, dozens of swans were gliding on the water and in the background the majestic snowcapped Swiss Alps completed the idyllic scene.


#9 Limmat Riverwalk and St. Peter Church

River Limmat and city view, Zurich, Switzerland JetSettingFools.com

We could have continued walking along the lake, but there were more Zurich Old Town attractions we wanted to see. We crossed back to the west side of the river at Quaibrucke Bridge {MAP} and strolled along the water.

Riverside walkway in Zurich, Switzerland JetSettingFools.com

We cut into the old city center near St. Peter Church {MAP}, which has the largest church clock in all of Europe.


#10 Lindenhof

Zurich City View from Lindenhof Park, Zurich, Switzerland JetSettingFools.com

We wound through the tangle of streets up to Lindenhof, {MAP} a raised park with views over the river and one of the best places to visit in Zurich. Two men played bocce ball, a younger group contemplated the next move on the giant chess board and several others sat along the wall enjoying the pleasant view of Zurich and the soaring Swiss Alps in the distance.


#11 Zuirch Chocolate Shop: Confiserie Teuscher

Colorful chocolate shop, Zurich, Switzerland JetSettingFools.com

There is a long history of chocolate production in the city – and touring Zurich wouldn’t be complete without a taste of chocolate! 

During your Zurich self-guided walking tour you will undoubtedly pass by numerous chocolate shops, but we recommend seeking out Confiserie Teuscher {MAP}.

Colorfully decorated for Easter, it was difficult to tell if it was a chocolate shop or a florist, but the sweet scent of cocoa floated out the door. Unable to resist the temptation any longer, we splurged for three truffles: caramel, Grand Marnier and the store’s signature Champagne. 

Top Tip: Join the Chocolate and Sweets Walking Tour for a more indulgent taste of Zurich!


#12 Zeughauskeller

Zeughauskeller Beer Hall, Zurich, Switzerland JetSettingFools.com

We ended our ‘Zurich in a day’ tour at Zeughauskeller {MAP} for a pint of local beer.

Pints of beer at Zeughauskeller Beer Hall, Zurich, Switzerland JetSettingFools.com

Built in 1487, the building was used as an armory, but in 1926 it was transformed into a place for social gathering and beer drinking. The old-time, Zurich beer hall atmosphere survives today.

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Thoughts on our Zurich Self-Guided Walking Tour

River Limmat and distant Alps, Zurich, Switzerland JetSettingFools.com

We felt we got a great introduction to the beauty of the city with our Zurich self-guided walking tour. In the bustling metropolis of historic buildings, clock towers and row houses, the people and trams move at a fast pace.

St. Peter Church and Clock, Zurich, Switzerland JetSettingFools.com

At the same time, the distant Alps, wide river, open squares and iconic fountains slow things down a bit. The scenic diversity creates a pleasant atmosphere that is ideal for a stroll on a Zurich walking tour.


Zurich Self-Guided Walking Tour Map

This Zurich city map highlights the top places to visit in Zurich in 1 day (as outlined above). Print (or screenshot) this Zurich sightseeing map to help you find your way on our Self-Guided Walking Tour Zurich. 

For a Zurich walking tour map with turn-by-turn directions, use this link to our Zurich Self-Guided Walking Tour on Google Maps.

Visitors can also pick up a paper map of Zurich, Switzerland at the Main Station Tourist Office – or buy one before you set off for your trip!

Zurich Self-Guided Walking Tour Map


More Zurich City Tours

A Self Guided Walking Tour Zurich by JetSettingFools.com

We have outlined an easy-to-follow Walking Tour of Zurich for visitors who would like to discover at their own pace. That said, there are several guided tours in Zurich that can enhance a trip to the city. 


Zurich Tours

These Zurich guided tours help tourists gain a better understanding of the history and sights in Zurich. We are highlighting a few of the most popular tours in Zurich. 


Guided Walking Tours Zurich

A highly rated Zurich Guided Walking Tour, participants are led through the picturesque streets by a local tour guide. The tour is in English and great for first-time visitors who want a guided introduction to Zurich. Find out more!


Private Tour of Zurich

Travelers who wish to have a private Zurich walking tour can hire a guide to uncover the sights with them exclusively. On a 2-hour private walking tour – like this one – visitors get to see the highlights with the focused attention of a local guide. 

That said, travelers with weary feet can also opt for a private Zurich tour by Tuk Tuk! The 1.5-hour Tuk Tuk Guided Tour Zurich features top Old Town sights in an eco-friendly ride. 


Self Guided Zurich Audio Tour

Visitors who want the freedom to tour at their own pace, but would like a voice to guide them through the streets can opt for the popular (and inexpensive) audio tour that you download to your mobile device. 


Free Tour Zurich

Want guided Zurich sightseeing tours for free? There are several companies that offers a free walk of Zurich, but the guides on these free Zurich walks do work for tips. If you forgo a Zurich Self-Guided Walking Tour in favor of a guided free walking tour Zurich, just be prepared to pay the guide a tip. 


Zurich Day Trips

With mountains, lakes and picturesque towns, there are many day trips from Zurich to the surrounding regions, which can be found (and booked in advance) with a trusted site like Viator.

Some of the most popular Zurich day tours include Coach Tours, a Swiss Alps Day Trip, Jungfraujoch, and a Lucerne and lake cruise trip

Also traveling to Basel, Switzerland!? Find the best things to do!

The top 5 things to do in Basel, Switzerland Other Than Visiting Museums by JetSettingFools.com


Travel Tips for your Trip to Zurich, Switzerland

Now that you know what to see in Zurich, we have a few additional Zurich travel tips that will help you plan your trip to Switzerland!


Zurich Card

The Zurich Card is available for 24 or 72 hours and includes free or reduced admission into museums, as well as free public transportation and other discounts. 


Where To Stay in Zurich

There are many places to stay in Zurich – from hotels to hostels to holiday apartments. While we think the best place to stay in Zurich is in the heart of the city, accommodations are pricey. 


Zurich Short Term Apartments

During our visit to Zurich, we stayed in a super Airbnb Apartment. In general, we have found that staying in apartments is less expensive than hotel rooms – with the added benefit of a kitchen and more space. 

However, short trips of just a few days can incur big Airbnb fees – so be sure to price out your options before booking. 


Hotels in Zurich

There are many Zurich hotels to choose from in (or close to) the city center – and you can start your search here.

You can also check rates and availability for these top-rated hotels (based on guest reviews) for your upcoming trip to Switzerland.


Zurich Hostels

For more affordable accommodations, check out the hostels in Zurich. These hostels get high ratings from guests: Zurich Youth Hostel and Oldtown Hostel Otter


Getting To Zurich

Ljubljana, Slovenia from the sky

Zurich can be reached by plane, train, bus or car. Our preferred method of getting anywhere is by flying (we are JetSetting Fools, after all!) and we flew into Zurich from Zagreb, Croatia and departed to Ljubljana, Slovenia.


Fly to Zurich

Zurich can be easily reached by plane from several top European cities like Amsterdam, London, Paris, and Frankfurt, as well as US gateways like New York, Chicago, Boston, Washington DC, and San Francisco!

The Zurich Airport (ZRH) is the largest international airport in Switzerland and is located 10km north of the Zurich Old Town. 

When we start our search for affordable plane tickets, we look for the best deals on airline tickets on Skyscanner.


Zurich by Train, Bus or Car

To get between destinations when flights are not feasable, we usually rely on public transportation and take trains or buses – of which there are several to Zurich.

Use Rail Europe to find train tickets and our preferred bus company is FlixBus – as it is economical, clean and comfortable (and sometimes has on-board wifi, seat-back entertainment, refreshments and a toilet).

We aren’t keen on driving abroad, but renting a car can often save time and money (especially when traveling with more than two people) – and having a car allows for greater discovery. Before making a reservation, read all of our Car Rental Tips.


Before You Go To Zurich: What To Pack

Our final tips cover what to pack for your Zurich trip. You can find our complete packing list and top packing hacks on our dedicated Travel Packing blog page. 


Walking Shoes

If you are embarking on a Zurich walking tour, you will need to pack a pair of comfortable travel shoes! I wear versatile, lightweight sneakers when I travel – and Kris is comfortable in his Merrell trail shoes (even for city navigation).


Travel Camera

Zurich is a beautiful city – so make sure you bring a travel camera that will take exceptional photos! We use a reliable and affordable camera – the Canon Rebel – with an 18-135mm lens. It’s great camera for beginners and comes with heaps of accessories. 


Zurich Map and Guidebook

It’s much easier to get around any city when you understand the layout – and a guidebook can help, too. We recommend buying a city map and guidebook before your vacation to Zurich.


Day Pack

Whether traveling with a backpack or suitcase, when out exploring cities, we like to carry a day pack where we can stow everything we need – like a water bottle and sunscreen – along with our camera, wallet and keys. Find out which we prefer in our Best Day Pack for Travel blog post. 


Switzerland Trip Insurance

Travel insurance may cover delayed flights, lost luggage and even illness abroad. If you haven’t already obtained travel insurance for your trip to Zurich, consider traveling protected with World Nomads.


Planning a Trip to Zurich, Switzerland

We have outlined a perfect Zurich City Walking Tour – but we know there is a lot more to planning a trip. As you make reservations and plan what sights to see, be sure to keep track of the details of your trip in a travel planner. With our Printable Travel Planner you can get started right now! 

Travel Planner Printables by JetSettingFools.com


Start planning your trip to Switzerland! Search for the lowest airfares, the best accommodations and fun things to do…then start packing!  Want more travel planning tips? Head over to our Travel Planning page for more information and tips on traveling – and for country-specific information, take a look at our Travel Guides page!


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Zurich, Switzerland Man Playing Alphorn 

20 thoughts on “Zurich Self-Guided Walking Tour

  1. Linda B

    I love your detailed walking map. I’ve found an airbnb outside in Uitikon. I’m going to be taking the bus/transportation into zurich, but where do you find out the fees? I find all the timetables and all, but can’t locate the amount needed. I found a web site that sells the passes but can’t tell if its for my zone. It’s not in English.

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  3. Jeanet

    We are going to Zurich in July.
    I really enjoyed reading your self guided tour of Zurich. Please tell me from which view point was the beautiful MAIN picture taken at the beginning of your post?

  4. Patricia

    Hello! I’m going to be in Zurich for a couple of days this summer and I’m really considering following your self-guided tour! About how many hours did it take to see everything on this map?


    • Hi Patricia –
      How exciting! We loved our time in Zurich. Our walking tour could probably be completed in 2 hours with stops for pictures only. If you plan on climbing the bell tower at Grossmunster, popping into Rathaus for a view of a session, riding the Polybahn or stopping for a few beers, I think I would plan on 5-6 hours. Hope that helps! Enjoy Zurich 🙂

  5. Anonymous

    Beautiful city!!! Got a question…….what was in the small package labeled HOMY next to your brat wrapper??

    • It’s mustard! We’ve seen mustard packaged in the small tubes like that – and tubes as large as toothpaste. Oh – and the T is cut off – It’s call Thomy. LOL!

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