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How To Maximize Spending One Day in Zurich
Zurich is a bustling city nestled in northern-central Switzerland. As Switzerland’s largest city, Zurich offers many fun and exciting things for tourists to do. Because there’s so much to do, the country recorded a whopping 12 million tourist visits in 2019. That puts Switzerland on the map as the 21st most visited destination globally.
The city boasts a population of approximately 1.4 million people. According to Nations Online, more people live in Zurich than in New Hampshire, Maine, and eight other US states. Of that population, 32 percent were non-Swiss natives who traveled from 172 different countries.
One of the best things about this unique city is its multi-cultural influence steeped in a variety of art, culture, and food. As a result, visitors from all over take to the city streets to explore all that it has to offer. And there’s a lot to explore.
There’s so much to explore that many tourists spend multiple days in the city to trek its snow-capped mountains and take in its scenic landscape. However, spending more than a day in Zurich is not an option for some people.
Travelers with limited time can still experience much of Zurich, even in a single day. Fortunately, the city offers plenty of ways for visitors to tour its most beautiful and historic sites. From cable cars to train rides, tourists can make their way around the city in record time. As a result, planning a short trip to Zurich is now easier than ever. Here are seven things to do on a full day trip to Zurich:
1. Ride a Cable Car Through the Country
Although Zurich is a pretty walkable city, riding a cable car is a popular activity on many travelers’ to-do lists. Once inside, guests can take pictures of fantastic panoramic views of the city and parts of nature. Some cable car companies even offer meals for longer car rides.
One of the more popular cable car rides is the Matterhorn glacier ride. The Matterhorn is home to many Olympic skiers, who take to the slopes to train for their next big competition. This ride is the highest of all cable car rides in Zurich, reaching nearly 4,000 meters above sea level. At the top, riders can see spectacular views of the highest mountains in Italy, France, and Switzerland!
2. Sing Along at an Opera House
Another great place that tourists like to visit is the Zurich Opera House. Built in 1891, the opera house is home to many live performances, including operas, ballets, concerts, and song recitals. It’s the perfect place to sit back and enjoy some incredible Swiss talent.
Even though many people see a night at the opera as a regal event, Zurich Opera House doesn’t enforce a dress code. In fact, the venue is reasonably lax, offering wine and other alcoholic beverages at their on-site cafe. Speaking of dining, their exclusive restaurant, Bernadette’, offers traditional Swiss meals to guests as they overlook the city on its sun terrace. Be sure to set up reservations for a sunset dinner after your show!
3. Learn About Switzerland’s History at the Swiss National Museum
The Swiss National Museum in Zurich is Switzerland’s most popular museum. Frequented by locals and tourists alike, the museum provides lots of information the explains the country’s rich history. From art to history to culture, this national museum shows visitors the many reasons why Switzerland is worth exploring.
The Swiss National Museum is an architectural masterpiece. Its medieval castle-like design contributes to the history that it tells inside. It houses more than 860,000 artifacts, art pieces, and other historical items. Visitors get to see each piece up-close-and-personal as they make their way through the museum’s 14 exhibits.
For avid readers, the museum offers a public library and study room where visitors can read exhibition catalogues and the latest volumes of a collection of journals.
4. Explore the Popular Swiss Alps
The Swiss Alps is one of the most popular destinations for tourists to visit on their trip to Zurich. It’s home to many fantastic ski resorts with tons of shops and eateries where tourists can try traditional menu items such as Switzerland’s world-famous cheese fondue or Älplermagronen.
Visitors worldwide travel to the Swiss Alps to enjoy the snowy landscape during their visit, from walking tours to hiking. Its numerous peaks and slopes provide the perfect terrain for snow activities like skiing, snowboarding, and sledding.
A trip to the Swiss Alps is one that anyone can enjoy. People of all ages can find the beauty in its majestic, snow-capped summits and grandstanding Conifer and Spruce trees. For a picture-perfect selfie, take a guided tour to the Matterhorn to capture the towering mountain in all of its glory.
5. Listen to the Choir at St. Peter’s Church
Next on the Zurich itinerary is St. Peter’s Church, a must-see site while visiting the city. As the oldest standing parish church in Zurich, it attracts tourists from all over the world.
Part of its draw for many visitors is the church’s well-preserved history. The church’s clock has the largest face in all of Europe, with a dial that measures 8.7 meters in diameter. Its five large bells date back as early as the late 1880s, with the largest bell weighing approximately six tons sans its clapper.
Inside, crystal chandeliers hang from the ceiling, while its pipe organ with 53 stops plays traditional hymnal songs. Don’t forget to sit in on one of the church’s regular services to listen to the angelic voices of the oldest church choir in Zurich.
6. Try Some Traditional Swiss Chocolate
When it comes to chocolate, Swiss chocolate is arguably the best, with many calling it the creamiest chocolate in the world. Known for its smooth texture and subtle cocoa flavor, Swiss chocolate is a treat that keeps tourists coming back for more.
There are so many chocolate and dessert shops in Zurich, making finding the best one challenging. Fortunately, it’s nearly impossible to find a chocolate shop in Zurich that isn’t delicious. Max Chocolatier is a famous chocolate shop that sells handmade chocolates and other confections. They source their cacao beans from places all over the world like Madagascar and Bolivia. Their white chocolate bar with dried raspberries and yogurt is fan-favorite, as is their box of gingerbread chocolates made with berry jam, marzipan, ganache, and dark Grand Cru chocolate.
Another popular chocolate shop is Teuscher, best-known for their Champagne truffles. This longstanding storefront first opened in 1947. Its quality chocolate truffles infused with Dom Perignon keep generations of customers returning to the store today.
7. Take a Boat Ride Over Lake Zurich
There are different types of cruises for guests to enjoy. For example, visitors who don’t have much time can take a short trip over the water so that riders can catch the best views of the city’s most beautiful destinations, including Old Town Zurich and the Zurich National Museum. Longer rides can last nearly four hours and take guests across the entire lake, from Zurich to Schmerikon.
Whichever you decide, a boat cruise along the lake is the best option for taking in Zurich’s impressive landscapes.