Wondering how to spend 2 days in Zurich? You’re in the right place!
Zurich is Switzerland’s largest city, an enticing combination of scenic landscapes and vibrant contemporary culture.
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It has one of the best standards of living in the world – not to mention one of the most exclusive shopping areas. Zurich boasts everything from world-class art museums and a beautifully preserved Old Town to breathtaking Alpine views and waterfront promenades.
What’s more, this is a destination that can be enjoyed at almost any time of the year. The beautiful summer weather attracts countless visitors from June to August, while the Alpine ski slopes and twinkling Christmas markets make it a wonderful place to visit between December and February.
If you are planning what to do in Zurich in 2 days, you may be wondering if you can see the best of its attractions in that time.
Well, the good news is that you certainly can!
This itinerary for 2 days in Zurich is designed to give you a little taste of all the things that make this city so wonderful. You’ll get time to appreciate its history, culture, and natural scenery, and we’ve even suggested some great places to eat and stay while you’re there.
Tip: One way to save money when spending a weekend in Zurich is to invest in the Zürich Card.
It gives you free travel on public transport – including buses, trams, trains, boats, and cableways – plus free or discounted admission to over 40 museums. Discounts on certain souvenirs, tours, and restaurants are also available.
The card is only available for 24 or 72 hours, so you might want to buy two 24-hour passes if you’re seeing Zurich in 2 days.
The first of your two days in Zurich will be spent experiencing the medieval charm of the Old Town, followed by a spot of retail therapy and a lakeside stroll.
After lunch, you’ll pay a visit to one (or two) of the city’s finest art museums, take in the views from Lindenhof Hill, then cruise along the Limmat River.
The buildings in Zurich’s Altstadt (Old Town) are perfectly preserved. Taking a stroll through its narrow cobblestoned streets is a wonderful way to start your Zurich adventure.
Begin with breakfast at one of the many cafes in the pedestrian-only Niederdorf area on the left bank of the Limmat river. Then it’s just a short stroll to the city’s most iconic landmark – Grossmünster.
This 13th-century Romanesque cathedral is believed to have been built on the graves of Felix and Regula, Zurich’s patron saints.
For a small fee, you can climb the 187 steps to the top of one of its towers. Here you can enjoy some truly spectacular views across the city, Lake Zurich, and the Alps.
Another great spot for views (and memorable photos) is from the Münsterbrücke – the pedestrian and road bridge that straddles the Limmat.
The next stop is Fraumunster – the Church of our Lady – which is located just on the other side of the bridge. Dating back to the 9th century, it features beautiful frescoes and stunning stained glass windows (although these were a much later addition)!
Having taken in some of the best of the city’s architecture, it’s time to head to its most popular shopping street – Bahnhofstrasse. Lined with everything from high street stores to exclusive designer names like Chanel and Louis Vuitton, you can admire the merchandise or indulge in some people-watching!
To round off the morning, take a stroll along the lake promenade area – Burklisplaz. It is a lovely spot to relax with some nice views of the city.
It’s now time for some culture, with a visit to an art museum. You have two to choose from, both quite different in terms of what they have to offer.
The Kunsthaus is the largest art museum in Switzerland. It contains works by the Old Masters, Impressionist or contemporary pieces, and exhibits by Swiss artists like Giacometti.
The museum is also home to the largest collection of Munch paintings outside Norway. The recently added cube-shaped Chipperfield building is quite fascinating to see if you are interested in modern architecture.
An alternative is to visit the Museum Rietberg, composed of three villas surrounded by beautiful parkland. Here the focus is on artwork from outside Europe, with pieces from America, Asia, Africa, and more.
If you happen to be visiting in the summer, you can call into the cafe and buy a picnic basket to enjoy on the grounds! Once you’ve had your fill of art, head towards Lindenhof, a stunning park and hill near the city’s center.
This was once the site of a Roman castle and was the center around which the city developed. The views of the Old Town and river from the top of the hill are quite stunning.
Finish your afternoon by exploring the River Limmat. You can either take a stroll along its banks or – for a different perspective – book a river cruise.
Available from April to October, these cruises in motorized boats take you past ancient guild houses, Zurich’s Town Hall, the Lindenhof, and the Grossmünster church. The glass roofs ensure you don’t miss a thing!
The legendary Kronenhalle is a great place for dinner. Once a meeting place for various artistic types, it is adorned with artwork that was often given in place of cash as payment for meals.
That means you can now admire original pieces by the likes of Picasso and Chagall as you enjoy the fine dining and wonderful atmosphere that this restaurant has to offer.
The second of your two days in Zurich will be spent exploring the city’s very own ‘mountain’, then discovering the many attractions of Lake Zurich.
Uetliberg Mountain is part of the Albis chain and is an excellent place to visit at any time of the year.
In the summer it attracts hikers and mountain bikers, its gentle slopes perfect for people of all abilities. In the winter, the hiking trails become sledding runs and tobogganing takes over as one of the most popular activities!
If you prefer not to hike, then Uetliberg can be easily reached by train in just 20 minutes from Zurich’s central station.
The views from the peak are the best you’ll have experienced so far, taking in the entire city and the lake, with the snow-capped Alps providing the perfect backdrop.
Not to be missed during the warmer months is the Planet Trail. This easy hike for the whole family runs to Felsenegg and is designed to show the vastness of the solar system.
Each meter of the path represents 1 million kilometers, leading you from the sun past the eight planets to the dwarf planet of Pluto.
You’ll also find a couple of restaurants at which to stop for lunch, including the Restaurant Hillz at the station of the Uetliberg-Bahn and the Restaurant Felsenegg at the end of the hike.
When seeing Zurich in 2 days, spending time at its famous lake is a must!
One of the city’s most popular attractions – especially in the summer – it offers all sorts of activities.
You can stroll along its promenade – watching the geese drift by – or swim in its clear waters. Indeed, there are numerous lidos all around its shores, from The wooden “Bathing Palace” on Utoquai to the Seebad Enge, a popular meeting point for locals.
You can also cycle around it, with Cycle Route 66 being the most leisurely option. This trail makes its way from Zurich to Rapperswil along the right bank of the lake, passing through scenic neighborhoods and vineyards.
But one of the best ways to enjoy it is on board one of its historic paddle steamers!
The Lake Zurich Navigation Company offers daily tours in the summer, including short, 1.5-hour tours to Thalwil and Erlenbach and longer tours to Richterswil and Rapperswil. Some of these continue to operate in the winter months.
The perfect way to end your 2 days in Zurich is to indulge in the Swiss national dish – fondue!
Made from melted Swiss cheese and wine served in a communal pot with bread for dipping, this yummy treat was traditionally served during the winter but is now available at any time of the year!
One of the best places to enjoy it is at Le Dézaley, a whitewashed restaurant open since 1903. Located at the foot of the Grossmünster, its world-famous fondue is so popular that it is often fully booked – so be sure to reserve your table in advance!
Are 2 Days In Zurich Enough?
It is very easy to see the best of Zurich in 2 days. In part, this is because many of its highlights are located near the city center, so it is easy to walk from one to another.
But Zurich’s transportation system is also very reliable, so even when you need to travel a little further afield, it’s easy to do so!
Do remember that this itinerary for a weekend in Zurich is based on spending two full days in the city. If your arrival time is very late – or your departure time particularly early – then you might want to think about adding an extra night to your stay.
Consider reading our guide to find out how many days you’ll need in Zurich.
Where To Stay In Zurich
Ideally, you will want to stay in Zurich’s Old Town when visiting for the first time. However, this can be quite expensive, so you may prefer to opt for accommodation a little further out if you are on a budget.
Here are some of our favorite places to stay.
Best Budget Accommodation
easyHotel Zürich City Centre is in a good location close to the Zurich HB train station and with many restaurants and cafes within walking distance. The Helvetiaplatz Tram Stop and the Kanonengasse Bus Stop are just 2 minutes away.
The rooms are simply furnished and include a flat-screen TV, a bathroom with a shower, and free toiletries.
Best Mid-Range Accommodation
The charming Hotel Adler enjoys a wonderful location in the heart of the Old Town.
The building dates back to the 16th century, its walls decorated with stunning city views. The rooms and suites are comfortable, with private bathrooms and free wifi.
There is also an excellent onsite restaurant offering a variety of traditional Swiss cuisine. Be sure to try the fondue and the delicious Rösti potato pancakes.
Best Luxury Accommodation
If you feel like splashing out a little, spend your two days in Zurich at the beautiful Hotel Storchen. It is located right in the heart of the city, with its own boat pier on the Limmat River and within easy walking distance of all the main attractions.
The classically furnished rooms offer river or Old Town views, and a tasty Swiss buffet breakfast is included.
Final Thoughts On This Itinerary For Two Days In Zurich
We hope that this itinerary will help you see the very best of Zurich in 2 days.
With its combination of good food, history, art, and culture, this is a welcoming city and the perfect destination for a memorable weekend break.
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