Zurich has the largest airport in Switzerland making it a relatively easy place to get to. From the airport, use the public transportation to get to the city center. Trains run every 5-10 minutes and only take about 15 minutes to reach the city center from the airport. Taking a taxi will be much more expensive and the train is quick, easy and efficient.
The easiest way to get around Zurich is on foot as the city is compact. If you are staying outside the city center or away from the attractions, leverage the tram system to get you closer to your destination.
If you plan to leave the city, plan to use the trains to access other towns or areas as the trains are easy to use and efficient.
If possible, stay in the Old Town area as this is very centrally located near restaurants, train stations, and sights. However, note that the convenience of location will come at a cost. Finding affordable places to stay in Zurich may be a challenge. If expense becomes an issue, plan to leverage the tram system to enable you to make the most of your time.
Climb the Grossmunster church located in Old Town. It costs 2 Swiss franc for students and is a quick climb with a nice view of the city
Hike up Uetliberg (mountain in Zurich) takes about 30-45 minutes and is a fairly steep incline so dress appropriately. There is an option to take a tram, but if you enjoy a bit of physical activity, the hike makes the view that much more rewarding. Plan for about 3 hours roundtrip between departing your accommodations and getting to the trailhead, hiking up and down with some extra time built in to enjoy the top. The panoramic view at the top is gorgeous because you can see the city, the lake, and rolling hills and mountains in the background.
This is a free, must-experience attraction if you like the outdoors. You can get to the beginning of a nice series of trails by taking tram 13 from Zurich HB all the way to the end, Albisguetli. Walk by the bathroom and dog park on your right and head up the hill, and continue straight on the sidewalk for about 3 minutes. You will come upon a map and a series of hiking trails. The short trail up Uetliberg is the main one in the center with lampposts that are on at night. Walk passed the map and head straight (do not veer left or right). You will then be on the main path (keep an eye out for lampposts and then you know you are on the right path). It is a steep, gravel path with a few stairs on very steep parts. The steep part ends with an overlook and restaurant on the right.
Note: slightly before the restaurant, you need to veer right at a fork in the road and continue up a bit more before seeing the restaurant. Continue past, and take the stair way on the right. That brings you to another restaurant/hotel and an observation tower (2 francs to go up) you can climb. Bring water as it is strenuous at times.
Catch the train from the main station in Zurich (Hauptbahnhof) to Lucerne. The trains run about every 30 minutes and the trip takes 50 minutes to travel from Zurich to Lucerne. In Lucerne, take a walk along the river that flows into Lake Lucerne, find the Lion that is carved into the side of a rock wall, and notice the very old timber bridges. You can also walk along the old castle’s walls and explore the town.
One of the most expensive shopping streets in the world
Spend time in the Old Town area
Walk along the water
Cute little square that has a nice view over the river. Nice to just do a quick stroll through
Try out paragliding in the Swiss Alps for some spectacular aerial views and a thrilling adventure. We used http://www.paragliding-luzern.ch/ and loved it. To reach the place where we were going paragliding, we took a train from Lucerne and met our guides at a specific train station. They drove us to the bottom of the cable car on a mountain, which we took up and then hiked to our take-off point. The guides placed the parachutes out on the hill and they set-up your harness with them. Then, you begin to run down the steep part of the mountain and the parachute goes up and lifts you both off the ground.
Swiss Chocolate shop (there’s one of these on Bahnhofstrasse).
Street with a variety of restaurant options
Nightclub and entertainment venue
Zurich is perfect for a short weekend trip as there is not a lot to keep you busy in the city itself. The surrounding areas outside of Zurich make for nice day trips so be sure to look into getting out of the city for a day and visiting a quaint town or doing something active in the Alps.
In Switzerland they use the Swiss franc and it is known for being expensive. Do not expect to make a cheap trip to Switzerland as it was difficult to find convenient, affordable accommodations and also challenging to find quick or cheap meal options.
Transportation and Accommodations
Things to do and see
Food and Drinks