Whether you are looking for Alpine scenery, cultural attractions, or fine cuisine, you’ll find it in this vibrant destination. But how many days in Zurich do you need to really make the most of all that it has to offer?
Well, the answer to that depends on the type of break you are looking for. If you don’t mind a hectic schedule where you are constantly on the go, then you could see the city’s main highlights in 2 days.
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But if you were hoping for a more relaxed visit, with a little downtime to relax and get a feel for the city’s atmosphere, then plan to spend 3 days in Zurich instead.
The upmarket city of Zurich has lots to offer its visitors so let’s dive into how many days in Zurich is enough for your vacation preferences.
How To Decide How Long To Stay In Zurich
The main consideration when visiting any new destination is ensuring that you get to visit all its main attractions. But there are other things you need to think about, too, which may influence the length of your stay.
In this guide, we’ve listed everything to take into account when putting together your itinerary. This will help you make the most of your visit and ensure that the pace is comfortable for you and your group.
We’ve also included our recommendations for the best things to see and do in Zurich, and roughly how much time to set aside for each.
To help you figure out exactly how long you’ll need in Zurich, make a list of the things you want to do in Zurich, and consider the time of arrival and departure. Then, look at the distance between places to keep it realistic.
At the end of this exercise, you’ll know how many days in Zurich you’ll need.
Time Of Arrival, Hotel Check-In Time, And Time Of Departure
If you arrive in Zurich early in the morning, then you’ll certainly be able to do some sightseeing that day. If you arrive after lunch, however, your time might be limited.
You might want to consider adding an extra night to your stay if your first day in the city is a short one. The same would apply if you have an early departure on your final day.
To save time on arrival, you could book a private transfer to your hotel.
Next, think about the times at which you check into and out of your hotel. If they don’t match the times at which you arrive in and depart from Zurich, you may find yourself stuck with your luggage!
Fortunately, most hotels or accommodation providers will take care of your bags for you. This isn’t always the case, though, so do check ahead.
If your hotel doesn’t provide this service, your best option is to take your bags to the main railway station, where there are plenty of lockers accessible daily. Although they come in various sizes, they are only suitable for items up to 52.5 x 94.5 x 85.5 cm.
If your bags are larger – or if they contain anything valuable – then we’d recommend taking them to the manned luggage storage facilities at the SBB Travel Centre within the station.
You can find other, private companies offering luggage storage online. These can be booked and paid for ahead of your visit, which might be a good idea if you are visiting the city during peak season.
Activities In Zurich
It’s a good idea to make a list of all the things you most want to see and do in Zurich, then work out how long you will need. Our list of the city’s main attractions (below) will help with this.
You will need to allow extra time for traveling from one attraction to the next. To keep this to a minimum, aim to see attractions that are located close together on the same day.
You should also allow for time spent queuing, particularly if you are visiting during Zurich’s high season (from June to August).
Note that many travelers prefer to book tours and activities in advance to save time, skip the queues and make the most of their holidays.
Pace Of Activities
When deciding how many days in Zurich you will need, your preferred pace really matters! It’s easy to plan a non-stop day of activities in order to fit everything in – but in reality, you might find such a hectic pace more stressful than enjoyable.
If you like to have the freedom to spend longer at your favorite attractions – or just to relax, do nothing, and soak up the atmosphere – then it is worth adding an extra night to your stay.
Knowing how you will get around the city will help you plan how many days for Zurich you will need.
Fortunately, it is very compact in size and many attractions are easy to reach either on foot or by bike. There are lots of places to rent a bike and cycle paths marked in yellow to keep you safe.
For longer journeys, you can take advantage of the excellent public transportation system.
Comprising a network of buses, trams, trains, and cruise boats, it has all areas of the city and surrounding regions covered. We recommend buying a Zürich Card for the duration of your stay, which covers all these forms of transport and saves you money.
What To Do In Zurich
Here are our recommendations for the very best things to see and do in Zurich. To help you plan your itinerary, we’ve also suggested how long you should set aside for each attraction.
Enjoy A Guided City Tour And Cruise
Combining a city tour with a boat trip, this experience makes a great way to see Zurich from different perspectives.
You’ll be taken on a picturesque journey through the Zürichberg district on a comfortable, air-conditioned coach. Some of the highlights you will see include the shopping avenue of Bahnhofstrasse, the famous financial district, and the imposing National Museum.
After a stop at the harbor of Enge for some fabulous views of Lake Zurich, you’ll move on to see more city highlights and beautiful architecture. These are followed by a 30-minute boat cruise and a stop at the brand new Lindt Home of Chocolate.
The visit includes an unlimited chocolate tasting and the chance to see the tallest free-standing chocolate fountain in the world.
Suggested time: 5 hours
Explore Lucerne And Take A Ride Up Mount Titlis
This tour makes it possible to see the best of Zurich’s surrounding regions in a short amount of time.
After a scenic bus ride along the shores of Lake Lucerne, you’ll get time to explore the city itself and take a short tour of its most important sights.
From there you’ll travel to Engelberg to start your exciting ride up into the glaciers of Mount Titlis on board a Rotair revolving cable car. The views of the crevasses are spectacular, and the Ice Flyer chairlift at the top takes you right up close to the glaciers.
A Titlis Cliff Walk and look inside a glacier cave are included if the weather allows.
Suggested time: 9.5 hours
Relax In Zurich’s Thermal Waters
In this unique spa circuit, you’ll get to experience the fresh thermal waters that bubble up from the legendary ‘Aqui’ springs deep under the city.
Combining Irish and Roman bathing cultures, the spa is located under the vaulted ceilings of a former brewery.
After relaxing in the emerald bath, the meditation bath, and the steam room, you’ll finish your visit with a soak in the rooftop pool. Here you can enjoy stunning panoramic city views as you unwind.
Suggested time: 3 hours
Visit Europe’s Biggest Waterfall
With a width of more than 150m (492ft), the Rhine Falls are truly spectacular and a ‘must-see’ attraction on a visit to Northern Switzerland.
This coach trip from central Zurich will take you close to this amazing natural feature that dates back to the Ice Age.
Along the way, you will pass through Marthalen, a lovely little village with traditional and charming houses. You’ll also see the 16th-century Munot Fortress.
Whilst at the falls you can enjoy a restful hour on the river bank, or take an optional boat ride to the very center of the cascade.
Suggested time: 3.5 hours
Experience Traditional Swiss Cheese Fondue And Wine
This fun tour allows you to enjoy Swiss specialties and a tuk-tuk ride all in one day!
Your personal, electric tuk-tuk meets you at the central station, then drives to pick up your ‘valaisanne’ (fondue).
Enjoying this culinary treat as you go, you’ll journey on through the Old Town to some of Zurich’s most beautiful areas. You will also get to taste some Swiss wine, as your guide tells you more about the sights around you.
Suggested time: 1.5 hours
Stroll Through Niederdorf And Visit Grossmünster
Young and vibrant, the neighborhood of Niederdorf is made up of car-free cobblestoned alleys, lined with designer shops and trendy boutiques.
Home to the Conditorei Péclard – a popular and traditional cafe – it is filled with great places to eat and drink. It’s also famed for its exciting nightlife!
You can visit the Romanesque Grossmünster church whilst you’re here – one of the city’s most well-known landmarks. Containing a museum that describes its history, it boasts fascinating medieval architecture and an ancient crypt with 15th-century frescoes.
Suggested time: 2 to 3 hours
Final Thoughts On Zurich Getaways
I do hope that this guide has helped you determine how many days in Zurich are enough to see the best of the city’s sights and enjoy a taste of its exciting atmosphere.
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