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  • Writer's pictureKrista the Explorer

2 Days in Zurich, Switzerland

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The economic centre of Switzerland, Zurich, has a lot to offer would-be travellers despite its reputation as a banking city as well as being one of the most expensive cities in Europe. Zurich is packed with fancy chocolatiers, high-end shops, and overall extravagance, but if you’re hoping to visit Zurich on a budget you’re in luck because many of the main attractions in Zurich are either free or cost very little to enter. And let’s not forget about the food, because there are too many great places to eat in Zurich to count.


Zurich’s status as a powerful city can be traced back thousands of years, to the time of the Romans. They initially built a town in the exact location where the modern city stands today, which was established to help oversee trade passing through the Alps. Since then the site has been continuously inhabited, and by the 13th century Zurich had been incorporated into the Holy Roman Empire. As the centuries wore on, the city underwent numerous changes that saw its wealth and prosperity grow, and today it’s still one of the wealthiest cities in Europe. There’s a lot of history to dive into if you’re spending 2 days in Zurich, and the walkability of the city makes it easy to get through a full itinerary.


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Things To Do in Zurich

Zurich is often used as a short stopping point by people heading elsewhere in Switzerland or Europe, so many people don’t get to see the true depth of this beautiful Swiss city. Spending 2 days in Zurich is enough to see the main attractions in and around the old town as many of the points of interest are only a few minutes walk from one another. In terms of public transportation in Zurich, the trams are very frequent and will take you where you need to go in no time. Here’s a look at the top things to see in Zurich in 2 days.


Niederdorf

Niederdorf area of the old town in Zurich from a viewpoint.
View of Niederdorf

Niederdorf is one of the best areas of Zurich’s old town to explore on foot. Its quaint medieval cobbled streets, small boutique shops, and beautiful historic architecture easily captivates anyone who visits it. There are a lot of small alleyways here which often hide restaurants or shops, so you never know what you’re going to come across. This is a lively old town area during the day, and in the evening it’s great for nightlife. If you’re only spending one day in Zurich then this area needs to be at the top of your list.


Napfplatz

Historical fountain in the middle of a small courtyard in Zurich.
Napfplatz

One of the things I loved the most about visiting Zurich was coming across hidden courtyards and squares that weren’t overcrowded with tourists. The Napfplatz wasn’t originally on our list, but we found it while looking for Cabaret Voltaire, the home of Dadaism. This small historic square is popular for its fountain that once stood for over 300 years, but the fountain seen today only dates back to the 20th century. This is a great spot for photos in Zurich that sits in the heart of Niederdorf.


Limmatquai

View of the Rathaus in Zurich along the river.
The Rathaus

Walking along the Limmat River is a must-do in Zurich. A great way to see the river and the historic old town all at once is to take a stroll down the Limmatquai which is lined with shops on one side and the river on the other. The Limmatquai is where you’ll also find the Rathaus, which is a beautiful building dating back to the Renaissance that was built over the water.


Fraumünster

View of the Fraumünster church from cross the Limmat River.
View of the Fraumünster

No Zurich city break is complete without taking in the beauty of the Fraumünster. This church is a relatively new construction, although it has a rich history that dates back over 1000 years. It was built on the remains of a 9th century abbey which wasn’t dissolved until the 16th century, and today it’s most visited by tourists wanting to catch a glimpse of the stunning stained glass windows inside. The church was unfortunately closed for a private event when we were there, but entry costs only CHF 5 so it’s worth visiting during a 2 day trip to Zurich.


Don’t forget to take a walk around Münsterhof too. This historic square is located next to Fraumünster and is very picturesque, surrounded by medieval buildings.


Grossmünster

View of a large church across a bridge in Zurich.
Grossmünster and Münsterbrücke

Sitting across the river from Fraumünster, accessible by crossing the Münsterbrücke, is one of the best places to visit in Zurich in one day - Grossmünster. This incredible Romanesque-style church was completed in the 13th century, and is said to have been built on the site of a Carolingian church commissioned by Charlemagne. Entry to Grossmünster is free, but there is a charge of CHF 5 to climb to the top of the tower. The view from the top of the tower is obstructed by iron bars however, so if you’re short on time I would recommend skipping it.


Lindenhof

Lindenhof park area in Zurich old town with view over city.
Lindenhof

If you’re looking for the best view in Zurich, you really can’t beat Lindenhof. This park area was once the site of a 4th century Roman fort and a 9th century royal residence, as well being a meeting place for the people of Zurich in later years. Despite Lindenhof’s location right in the heart of the Altstadt (old town), it’s a very peaceful place and is popular with the locals too. The view overlooking Niederdorf and the Limmat River from Lindenhof is unbeatable.


St. Peterhofstatt

A medieval square with white painted buildings in Zurich.
St. Peterhofstatt

Zurich isn’t short on pretty historic squares to visit, but one that you can’t miss out on is St. Peterhofstatt. It’s very easy to locate if you’re heading towards St Peter’s Church (free to enter), as the square sits behind it. You’ll find that it’s not as busy as other squares in the city since it’s located between the very busy Münsterhof and Augustinergasse. If you have 2 days in Zurich then it’s certainly worth visiting, and there are a lot of boutique shops in the area as well.


Storchengasse

Marble patterned arches of the entrance to a historic building.
Storchengasse

There are plenty of beautiful streets to explore in Zurich’s old town, and one of the most popular is called Storchengasse. The name translates to Stork Alley, which is based off of an inn that’s been in the same location since the 15th century. Storchengasse runs along the river from Münsterhof towards Weinplatz and is lined with high-end shops with stunning storefronts that are definitely worth snapping a photo or two of.


Love Lock Bridge

A pedestrian footbridge in Zurich's old town with locks on railings.
Love Lock Bridge

A unique thing to do in Zurich is to visit the Love Lock Bridge. Of course, you can always put a lock on yourself, but that’s not mandatory and most people just enjoy walking across the pedestrian footbridge and taking in the views of the Limmat River. The bridge is located across the road from the main train station so it’s very easy to access.


A short walk from the bridge is also where you’ll find the Swiss National Museum which costs CHF 10 to enter. It’s the most visited museum in Switzerland with many fantastic exhibitions of the culture and history of the country up until the present day.


Chocolate shops

Bachmann logo with chocolate running down the walls.
Bachmann

Switzerland is known for its chocolate production, so during your 2 days in Zurich you need to visit at least one chocolate shop. Zurich is packed with both large and boutique chocolatiers, so it’s really up to you which ones you’d prefer to visit. Some of the most popular are Confiserie Sprüngli, Bachmann, and Max Chocolatier, but don’t forget to visit one of the Lindt shops too if you can’t make it to the factory.


Bahnhofstrasse

A high-end shopping street in Zurich with banks and shops.
Bahnhofstrasse

For those of you who enjoy high-end shopping, Bahnhofstrasse needs to be added to your Zurich itinerary. It’s one of the world’s most expensive shopping streets, and is home to various chocolate shops as well as the famous Beyer Clock and Watch Museum. It’s also been given the name “Swiss Wall Street” due to the high number of global banks that have their offices here.


Augustinergasse

A medieval street with wooden painted buildings along cobblestone.
Augustinergasse

Located off of Bahnhofstrasse is the beautiful Augustinergasse - a narrow medieval historic street with colourful buildings. During your 2 days in Zurich you’ll no doubt walk along here several times because it’s stunning. In the Middle Ages this street would have been dominated by local artists, and many of the wooden buildings have been beautifully preserved and given a second life with vibrant paint and patterns. Augustinergasse is one of the best places to see in Zurich so you won’t be disappointed.


Im Viadukt

Shopping street built into railway viaduct in Zurich.
Railway viaduct turned into shops

One of the most unique shopping experiences in Zurich has to be Im Viadukt. We came across this area by chance while we were walking from our hotel to the old town, and it has a great mixture of restaurants, fashion, homeware, and outdoor shops to choose from, all built into the viaduct of the railway above. The shops are numbered, and there are maps located at various arches that outline where all of the shops are located so it’s easy to navigate. If you plan on exploring outside of Zurich’s main tourist areas, this is a fun place to start.


Lake Zurich

View of a large lake with boats on in Zurich.
Lake Zurich

As you make your way through Zurich’s old town, I’d recommend following the Limmat River until it opens up into Lake Zurich. It’s one of the biggest lakes in Switzerland and is very popular for swimming and water sports. If you’re visiting Zurich in the summertime, you can take full advantage of the Lake Zurich cruises that are on offer here.


Jucker Farm

A display of pumpkins in the shape of large jellyfish.
Jucker Farm

My favourite time of the year is autumn, so I was really excited to find out about Jucker Farm, located a short drive from Zurich’s city centre. Near Halloween they offer a very unique experience with thousands of pumpkins used to make themed displays that change on a yearly basis. You can also purchase all types of pumpkins here and buy fresh produce. There are a few different farms to choose from, and the easiest way to get to them is by car as the bus can take quite a long time to get to them.


Lindt Factory

Inside the Lindt Factory with large chocolate fountain.
Lindt Factory

A great option for a day trip from Zurich is the Lindt Factory. If you’re planning on driving in Switzerland, then it should take no more than 30 minutes to drive to the factory from Zurich’s city centre, depending on traffic of course. The factory is located in Kilchberg and has been operating there since 1899. The Lindt chocolate tour is amazing! It’s very interactive so not only do you learn about the process of making chocolate and the history of Lindt in general, but you also get to taste a lot of chocolate. You can literally spoon the melted chocolate into your mouth and walk away with your pockets full of free Lindt chocolates.


Tickets for the Lindt Factory Chocolate Tour cost only CHF 15, and you will definitely get your money’s worth of free chocolate by the end of the tour so it’s worth it. There’s a shop on site, as well as a cafeteria and underground parking which isn’t too expensive. Plan for around 2 hours here at a minimum.


Where To Eat in Zurich

As I’m sure you can imagine, Zurich’s popularity with the wealthy members of society means there are a lot of incredible eateries to choose from. But don’t worry, there are also some great restaurants in Zurich if you’re travelling here on a budget too. We tried a wide variety of restaurants during our 2 days in Zurich and were blown away by not only the quality of the food but also the presentation and options available.


LÈ Cuisine

LÈ Cuisine is located a 10 minute walk from the main train station in Zurich. This isn’t your average Chinese restaurant though. They pride themselves on making food that’s authentic and homemade, so you’ll find dishes and flavours here that you’ve never seen before. The restaurant is very intimate, and gets fully booked at almost all times of the day so I would highly recommend making a reservation. We arrived just when they had opened but by the time we left there weren’t many tables available.


We started our meal off with some delicious homemade dumplings which came recommended by the owners. For our mains we tried the Swiss ribeye in Sichuan soup and the Hainanese Chicken which were both cooked to perfection and very flavourful. We also had to try their famous Roast Duck which takes days not hours to make - it’s that good! For dessert we had their mochi that came served in a warm tea which is something we had never tried before and thoroughly enjoyed. LÈ Cuisine is one of the best restaurants in Zurich, and in Switzerland too, so you won’t want to miss out on its delicious food.


Enzian Vegan

Looking for vegan restaurants in Zurich? Enzian Vegan is a popular vegan bakery and restaurant located a short walk from Grossmünster. They offer a nice selection of smaller dishes, or larger ones if you’re feeling very hungry, and have a big focus on sustainability too which is always nice. We started with their spring rolls which are wrapped in rice paper and come served with a salad and sauces. Our mains were a delicious vegan curry served with white rice, and a crispy tofu stir fry that was packed with vegetables. It’s sometimes difficult to eat healthy while travelling, which is why Enzian Vegan is a nice option to have.


Stamped Burgers & Fries

We always try to support local businesses while travelling, so we were very pleased to come across Stamped Burgers & Fries located along Augustinergasse. They’re not only local but sustainable too, using locally sourced meat and other products in all of their burgers - and that includes the sauces too which are homemade. Their current location is a pop-up restaurant so double check that they’re open before visiting as sometimes they only offer pickup and takeaway. All of their food is incredible though, so whether you can sit in or not I would recommend eating here.


The menu isn’t massive, but the burgers they make are incredible. If you love cheese then you’re definitely going to want to try the Smoked Swiss which is oozing with raclette cheese, mushrooms, and onions. For bacon lovers, the Bacon Cheddar is another great option which I really enjoyed, especially with the light and fluffy burger bun. On the sweet side of things, make sure you try one of their brownies! Whenever we’re in Zurich next, we’ll be heading straight for Stamped Burgers & Fries first.


Lady Suzette

For a culinary dining experience you won’t soon forget, Lady Suzette is pulling out all of the stops. The restaurant is inspired by the Steampunk movement, and many of the inventions you see inside still function. Their aim is to take you on a culinary experience around the world and that’s exactly what they do with both the design of the restaurant and bar, and the food itself. Let’s not forget about their unique cocktails too!


Our evening started in a colourful way with their multi-coloured blinis which are one of their most popular dishes. The beef tartar was very tasty and came served with pickles and fresh bread. For vegetarians, I would recommend the Crespelle Suzette which is a crispy roll of ricotta and spinach. If you’re feeling adventurous then the sliced veal served in a creamy sauce is a must-try, or you can opt for their tomato gnocchi which is set in a very delicious homemade sauce.


Their dessert options are equally unique so make sure you leave some room! The crêpe is served in small fried rolls with a filling inside, which isn’t what we were expecting but we were pleasantly surprised. We had an incredible dining experience at Lady Suzette and would love to return to see what quirky dishes they add to their menu next.


Raclette Stube

You can’t visit Switzerland without trying either fondue or raclette, and if you’re only spending 2 days in Zurich then the best place for you to try both at once is Raclette Stube. The restaurant is designed in a traditional Swiss setting, and they predominantly offer only fondue and raclette, apart from the starters and desserts. And they definitely know a thing or two about cheese!


For starters we had the Vaud sliced sausage plate that was served with bread and the field salad with egg. The main stars of the evening though were the half and half fondue and the raclette. The fondue includes bread and potatoes, but you can also add other sides such as pickles, fruit, and peppers which offer a more unique tasting experience. The raclette is all you can eat and is brought fresh to the table whenever you ask for more.


Raclette Stube also offers a good variety of desserts. If you want something a little lighter after eating all of the cheese, then the meringue is a good option to finish the evening. You can’t go wrong with a cheesy dinner at Raclette Stube, so make sure you arrive with an empty stomach.


Where To Stay in Zurich

ibis Zurich City West

Zurich is notorious for being one of the most expensive cities in the world, so picking the right accommodation that isn’t going to completely break your budget is a little tricky. Luckily, Zurich is home to a few ibis hotels that are perfectly located to base yourself from. We stayed at the ibis Zurich City West, situated very close to the Technopark business centre and sitting in between the airport and the old town. There are very quick and easy transport options from the hotel to all of the main attractions, with a tram stop just across the road from the hotel.


We stayed in one of their spacious modern double rooms which had plenty of spots to hang our clothes and store our luggage, a large TV on the wall, a writing desk, and a walk-in shower. A great way to save money while in Zurich is to fill up at the buffet breakfast here, which offers a wide variety of continental food and some hot dishes too. Overall we loved our stay at the ibis (as always), both for the convenience it offered to get into the city centre and the comfort of our room. ibis Zurich City West is the perfect option for a budget friendly stay in Zurich that still offers all of the modern amenities that you’d expect at a high-end hotel.


>> Click here for the most up to date prices at ibis Zurich City West <<


Spending 2 days in Zurich is a great way to get to know the city and see all of its main attractions. Zurich is much more than just a stopping point, it’s a beautiful modern city that’s filled with history everywhere you look, and it boasts some of the best places to eat in Switzerland too, so it’s a dream destination for both history lovers and foodies. Whatever your reason is for visiting Zurich, it’s one destination in Switzerland that you won’t tire of easily.


Have you had the chance to visit Zurich yet? Or maybe you've been to Geneva, Bern, or Lausanne? Let me know what you thought about it in the comment section below. I’d also love any other recommendations for the next time we visit Zurich. You can follow my travels on Instagram too where I’ll be posting more travel tips to help you plan your next trip.


 

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