Overview & Brief History

Zurich, the largest city in Switzerland, is a global financial hub known for its vibrant cultural scene, high quality of life, and picturesque setting along the shores of Lake Zurich. As the capital of the canton of Zurich, the city plays a crucial role in the political, economic, and cultural landscape of Switzerland. It boasts a well-preserved medieval old town, a wealth of museums and galleries, and a thriving arts and music scene. Zurich is also a major center for education and research, home to the prestigious University of Zurich and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology.

A Brief History

Zurich’s history dates back to Roman times, when it was known as Turicum. A customs post was established here around 15 BC to collect taxes for goods traveling along the Limmat River.  By the 9th century, Zurich had become a prominent commercial center. The city’s strategic location made it a key trading hub in medieval Europe. In 1218, Zurich gained the status of an imperial free city, which allowed it to operate with a high degree of autonomy.

In the early 16th century, Zurich played a pivotal role in the Protestant Reformation. Huldrych Zwingli, a leading figure in the Reformation, was based in Zurich, and his influence led to significant religious and social changes in the city.

 Zurich’s economy flourished during the 18th and 19th centuries, driven by the textile industry and the establishment of banks and financial institutions. The city’s infrastructure expanded, and Zurich became a major transportation hub with the construction of railways.

Zurich continued to grow and modernize in the 20th century. The city emerged as a global financial center, home to numerous multinational corporations and international organizations. Zurich’s banking and financial sectors became renowned worldwide. The city also experienced a cultural renaissance, with a vibrant arts scene, numerous festivals, and a diverse array of cultural institutions. The Zurich Film Festival and the Zurich Art Weekend are just two examples of the city’s rich cultural offerings.

Today, Zurich is consistently ranked among the cities with the highest quality of life in the world. Its excellent public transportation system, clean environment, and safe neighborhoods contribute to its appeal. The city is also a leader in sustainability and innovation, fostering a dynamic and progressive atmosphere.

Things to See & Do

Old Town

Zurich’s Old Town is a charming area filled with narrow, winding streets, historic buildings, and picturesque squares. Highlights include the Grossmünster, an iconic twin-towered church with stunning views from its tower, and the Fraumünster, known for its beautiful stained glass windows by Marc Chagall. The area is also home to the Lindenhof, a peaceful hilltop park offering panoramic views of the city.


Lake Zurich

Lake Zurich is a major attraction, offering a variety of activities such as boat tours, swimming, and lakeside walks. The promenades along the lake, like the Seefeld and the Mythenquai, are perfect for a leisurely stroll. In summer, the lake becomes a hub of activity, with locals and tourists enjoying the scenic beauty and recreational opportunities.



One of the world’s most exclusive shopping streets, Bahnhofstrasse runs from Zurich’s main train station (Hauptbahnhof) to Lake Zurich. It is lined with high-end boutiques, department stores, and cafes. Even if shopping isn’t your main interest, a walk down Bahnhofstrasse is a must to experience the vibrant commercial heart of Zurich


Uetliberg Mountain

For breathtaking views of Zurich and the surrounding region, a trip to Uetliberg Mountain is a must. Easily accessible by train from the city center, Uetliberg offers panoramic vistas, hiking and biking trails, and in winter, opportunities for sledding. The summit’s observation tower provides an even higher vantage point.

Local Dining

Rich Culinary Tradition

Zurich boasts a rich culinary tradition that blends hearty Swiss fare with modern gastronomy. One of the most iconic dishes is zürcher geschnetzeltes, a creamy veal dish often served with rösti, a crispy potato pancake. 

For a sweet treat…

Try Luxemburgerli, delicate macaron-like pastries from Confiserie Sprüngli, or Bircher Muesli, a healthy Swiss breakfast dish invented in Zurich. 

Insider Tips

Ditch the rental car! Zurich boasts a fantastic public transport system. Purchase a Zurich Card for unlimited rides on trams, buses, and even some ferries on Lake Zurich, plus discounts on museums and attractions. Explore the trendy and youthful quarter of Zurich West by hopping off at the otherwise easily missed Schiffbau tram stop.

Take a scenic ferry ride across Lake Zurich for stunning cityscapes and a unique perspective. Consider a ferry ride to Wollishofen for a lakeside lido experience.


Don’t miss the breathtaking stained glass windows by Marc Chagall in the Fraumünster church – a true masterpiece of light and color.

Virtual Tours

Zurich Walking Tour

Lake Zurich Aerial View

The Grossmünster


Interactive Maps

Stroll along the shops of Bahnhofstrasse

Enjoy the views of Lake Zurich


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