27 Best Sights in Zürich, Switzerland


Kreis 1 Fodor's choice

Of the church spires that are Zürich's signature, the Fraumünster's is the most delicate, a graceful sweep to a narrow point. It was added to the Gothic structure in 1732; the remains of Louis the German's original 9th-century abbey are below. Its Romanesque choir is a perfect spot for meditation beneath the ocher, sapphire, and ruby glow of the 1970 stained-glass windows by the Russian-born Marc Chagall, who loved Zürich. The Graubünden sculptor Alberto Giacometti's cousin, Augusto Giacometti, executed the fine painted window, made in 1930, in the north transept.

Buy Tickets Now


Kreis 1 Fodor's choice

This impressive cathedral, affectionately known to English speakers as the "Gross Monster," features plump twin towers (circa 1781) on which are classical caricatures of Gothic forms bordering on the comical. The core of the structure was built in the 12th century on the site of a Carolingian church dedicated to the memory of martyrs Felix and Regula, who miraculously carried their own severed heads to the spot. Charlemagne is said to have founded the church after his horse stumbled over their burial site. On the side of the south tower an enormous stone Charlemagne sits enthroned; the original statue, carved in the late 15th century, is protected in the crypt. In keeping with what the 16th-century reformer Zwingli preached from the Grossmünster's pulpit, the interior is spare, even forbidding, with all luxurious ornamentation long since stripped away. The only artistic touches are modern: stained-glass windows in the choir by Augusto Giacometti, in the western nave by Sigmar Polke, and ornate bronze doors in the north and south portals dating from the late 1940s.

Buy Tickets Now

Kunsthaus Zürich

Kreis 1 Fodor's choice

With a varied and high-quality permanent collection of paintings—medieval, Dutch and Italian baroque, and Impressionist—the Kunsthaus is Zürich's best art museum. The collection includes some fascinating Swiss works; others might be an acquired taste. Besides works by Ferdinand Hodler, with their mix of realism and stylization, there's a superb room full of Johann Heinrich Füssli paintings, which hover between the darkly ethereal and the grotesque. And then there's Pablo Picasso, Paul Klee, Edgar Degas, Henri Matisse, Wassily Kandinsky, Marc Chagall, and Edvard Munch, all satisfyingly represented. A breathtaking modernist expansion of the museum by British architect David Chipperfield was added just across the street in 2021; the two buildings are linked by an underground tunnel. The new wing houses contemporary works and installations.

Recommended Fodor's Video


Kreis 1 Fodor's choice

On the site of this quiet square, overlooking both sides of the river, a Roman customhouse and fortress and a Carolingian palace once stood. It's believed that Hallstatt-era Celts first built the site from glacial remains and turned it into a fortified oppidum long before the Romans took over. The fountain was erected in 1912, commemorating the day in 1292 when Zürich's women saved the city from the Habsburgs. As the story goes, the town was on the brink of defeat as the Habsburg aggressors moved in. Determined to avoid this humiliation, the town's women donned armor and marched to the Lindenhof. On seeing them, the enemy thought they were faced with another army and promptly beat a strategic retreat. Today, the scene could hardly be less martial, as locals play bocce and chess under the trees.

Buy Tickets Now

Museum Rietberg

Kreis 2 Fodor's choice

Dancing Indian Shivas, contemplative Tibetan thangkas, late 18th-century literary paintings from China, and royal Benin bronzes from Nigeria—these are just a few of the treasures in the prodigious gathering of non-European art on view. This is the only museum of its kind in Switzerland, with the main focus on Asia, Africa, and ancient America. The main collection is on view in the huge underground Smaragd building. The Villa Wesendonck, the famous neoclassical jewel that was once a fabled home to Richard Wagner (it was for the lady of the house that he wrote his Wesendonck Songs) houses objects from India, the pre-Columbian Americas, Australia, and the Pacific Islands; there's more Indian, Islamic, and Asian art in an adjacent museum, the Park-Villa Rieter.

Sammlung Oskar Reinhart (Am Römerholz)

Fodor's choice

Lucas Cranach's Portrait of Johannes Cuspinian, Pieter Breugel the Elder's Adoration of the Magi in the Snow, Peter Paul Rubens's Decius Mus, Edouard Manet's Au Café, Toulouse-Lautrec's Clownesse Cha-U-Kao—you get the picture. This is one of the greatest private art collections in Switzerland, perhaps rivaled only by the Sammlung E. G. Bührle in Zürich. The jewel in the crown of Winterthur's art museums, Am Römerholz is virtually wallpapered with legendary paintings. Private collector Oskar Reinhart's most magnificent treasures are housed in his former villa Am Römerholz, built in 1915 on the hill overlooking town. The collection ranges across five centuries, with pride of place going to 16th-century German and early Dutch paintings, 17th-century French and Flemish paintings, and impressionist masterworks. Works by Gerard David, Nicolas Poussin, Honoré Daumier, Vincent van Gogh, and nearly 200 other artists stagger the eye.

Schweizerisches Landesmuseum

Kreis 5 Fodor's choice

An original neo-Gothic building dating from 1889 paired with a new sculptural wing comprises the Swiss National Museum, which displays an enormous collection of objects dating from the Stone Age to modern times. It also has a library, bistro, and gift shop. A renovation in 2019 gave the museum a fresh look and an outdoor courtyard connecting it to the Limmat River.

Buy Tickets Now

Seebad Utoquai

Kreis 8 Fodor's choice

This historic 19th-century wooden badi (lido) on Lake Zurich is arguably the city’s most popular summer spot. Perfectly placed on the sun-kissed Goldküste (Gold Coast), it’s a charming and inclusive spot bursting with local character, where swimmers glide alongside SUP boarders and swans. The bathhouse itself dates back to 1890 and is today divided into three sections: men-only (especially popular with gay men), women-only, and a mixed section popular with couples and families. It’s also equipped with a diving board, hot showers, and a café and bar where you can start your morning with a hot coffee and cold lake plunge followed by a bowl of birchermuesli. Or wait for the midday crowds to disperse around 5 pm and sip a glass of rosé during sunset.


Kreis 1 Fodor's choice

One of Switzerland's most delicate late-Gothic structures, this church displays stained glass by Augusto Giacometti. Both the church and the Helmhaus stand on what was once an island where martyrs Felix and Regula supposedly lost their heads.


Kreis 1

Reputedly "the most expensive street in the world"—thanks to all of its extravagantly priced jewelry stores—Zürich's principal boulevard offers luxury shopping and hulking department stores, while much shifting and hoarding of the world's wealth takes place discreetly within the banks' walls. You can enjoy your window-shopping here in relative peace: the only vehicles allowed are the municipal trams.

Buy Tickets Now
Zürich, Zurich, 8001, Switzerland

Graphische Sammlung

Kreis 1

The impressive collection of the Federal Institute of Technology includes a vast library of woodcuts, etchings, and engravings by such European masters as Albrecht Dürer, Rembrandt, Francisco Goya, and Pablo Picasso. Pieces from the permanent collection are often arranged in thematic exhibitions.

Rämistr. 101, Zürich, Zurich, 8001, Switzerland
sights Details
Rate Includes: Free, Closed between temporary exhibitions


Kreis 1

From the bustling main concourse of this immaculate 19th-century edifice you can watch crowds rushing to their famously on-time trains. Beneath lies a shopping mall, open daily (an exception to the closed-on-Sunday rule), with everything from grocery stores to clothing boutiques and bookstores.


Kreis 1

Changing exhibitions of contemporary, often experimental, art by Zürich-based artists are hosted at this museum, the open court of which once served as a linen market. In spring the museum hosts an exhibition of works from the city's annual competition for young artists.

James Joyce's Grave

The inimitable Irish author not only lived and wrote in Zürich, but died here as well. The city's most famous literary resident is buried in the Friedhof Fluntern (Fluntern Cemetery). Atop his grave sits a contemplative statue of the writer, complete with cigar. A few steps away is the grave of another renowned author, Nobel Prize–winner Elias Canetti. The cemetery is adjacent to the Tram 6 terminus.

Zürichbergstr. 189, Zürich, Zurich, 8044, Switzerland

Kirche St. Peter

Kreis 1

Dating from the early 13th century, Zürich's oldest parish church was built on a site that has been occupied by a church since the 9th century. The existing building has been considerably expanded over the years, in styles ranging from a Romanesque choir to a baroque nave. The tower, for example, was extended in 1534, when the clock—which has the largest clockface in Europe—was added. Keep an eye out for inexpensive or even free classical concerts.


Antiques, art, and book enthusiasts will delight in the shops on this street, and those interested in history or religion should note that No. 13 was Zwingli's last home before he was killed in battle (1531) while defending the Reformation.

Kirchgasse, Zürich, Zurich, Switzerland


Kreis 5

Set in West Zürich, this is one of two major modern art venues on the top floors of a former brewery. The gallery hosts exhibitions presenting new local and international artists, and works are always cutting-edge: you can say you saw it here first.

Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst

Kreis 5

One floor below the Kunsthalle, this airy, white loft has the same focus—up-and-coming contemporary artists—but is privately funded by Switzerland's largest department store chain, Migros. Shows of recent work are interspersed with exhibitions from the extensive Migros collection, which includes works by Andy Warhol. The museum sponsors regular discussions with the artists.

Museum für Gestaltung

Kreis 5

The main repository for Switzerland's important legacy in graphic design, posters, and applied arts, this vast collection has been rehoused in a fully renovated former milk-products factory. The museum was originally envisioned as an academy devoted to design and applied arts, and while it has a robust series of education programs, it remains primarily a museum. Innovative temporary exhibitions focus on architecture, poster art, graphic design, and photography. This location also allows visitors, with a reservation, to admire not only the exhibitions but also the museum's collection of product and packaging design, graphics, and poster art (500,000 pieces). The core of the collection is in a freestanding high-bay warehouse on two floors, which operates as a display storage area.

Museum Haus Konstruktiv

Kreis 1

Housed in a former electrical substation set by the River Sihl—an impressive 1930s modernist architectural statement in its own right—this collection traces the history of constructivist art, which became one of the vogues of the 1930s and ’40s and had a big following in Switzerland (especially among its trailblazing graphic-art designers). The showpiece is the Rockefeller Dining Room, a 1963 salon designed by Swiss artist Fritz Glarner and looking very much like a pop-up Mondrian painting. Over the years the collection has broadened to include minimal art, concept art, and neo geo work. During the year there are several temporary shows.

Buy Tickets Now


Kreis 1

The hub of Bahnhofstrasse and a tram junction, this square is called parade for a reason: it's a great place to observe a microcosm of the local upper crust, including sharply dressed bankers striding to and from work at UBS and Credit Suisse.

Buy Tickets Now
Intersection of Bahnhofstr. and Poststr., Zürich, Zurich, 8001, Switzerland


Kreis 1

In Zürich's striking baroque government building, dating from 1694 to 1698, the interior remains as well preserved as the facade, with a richly decorated stucco ceiling in the banquet hall and a fine ceramic stove in the council room. Visits are by appointment only, or by viewing sessions from the gallery.

Limmatquai 55, Zürich, Zurich, 8001, Switzerland
sights Details
Rate Includes: Free, Closed except to view sessions from the gallery, or by appointment


Kreis 1

Fans of Gottfried Keller, commonly considered Switzerland's national poet and novelist, will want to visit this street. The 19th-century writer's former home, at No. 9, became famous thanks to his novel Der Grüne Heinrich (Green Henry). Opposite is the restaurant Zur Oepfelchammer, where Keller ate regularly.

Between Marktg. and Neumarkt, Zürich, Zurich, 8001, Switzerland

Schauspielhaus Pfauenbühne

Kreis 1

During World War II this was the only German-language theater in Europe that wasn't muzzled by the Nazis, and it attracted some of the continent's bravest and best artists. It has been presenting plays ever since it was built in 1884; today its productions aren't always so risky, but they are stunningly mounted and performed, in German, of course. There are private tours, but the best way to see the interior is to catch a show.

Zoo Zürich

Kreis 7

This is one of Europe's outstanding zoos, with more than 1,500 animals, including Asian elephants, black rhinos, seals, and big cats. Two of the more unusual attractions are a huge dome stocked with flora and small free-range fauna you might encounter in a jungle in Madagascar, including lemurs and the endangered Bernier's teal; and the elephant park, Kaeng Krachan, which allows you to see the elephants swim underwater. Set in a tree-filled park, the zoo is just east of the city center and easily reached by Trams 5 and 6.

Buy Tickets Now
Zürichbergstr. 221, Zürich, Zurich, 8001, Switzerland
sights Details
Rate Includes: SF26

Zoologisches Museum

Kreis 1

Engaging and high-tech, the Zoological Museum allows you a close look at its accessible displays on Swiss insects, birds, and amphibians. You can examine butterflies and living water creatures through microscopes and listen to birdcalls as you compare avian markings.

Zunfthaus zur Saffran

Kreis 1

Portions of this guildhall for haberdashers date from as early as 1389. The modern restaurant downstairs has outdoor seating underneath medieval arches facing the river.