Zurich Itinerary: The Perfect Two Day Guide from a Travel Expert

You’re in the right spot if you’re looking for the perfect Zurich itinerary for two days.

Two days in Zurich, Switzerland might not sound like enough, but with the right itinerary, you will have the perfect trip!

When I visited Zurich for the first time I felt like there was so much to see in so little time. After spending more time in Switzerland’s biggest city I found the best way to maximize time.

A view from a bridge in Zurich of the river and city on both sides.

Is Zurich Worth Visiting?

Before my first trip to Switzerland, I had dreamed of visiting for years. Let me tell you, Switzerland is worth all the hype!

To this day it is still one of my favorite countries. I usually spend the first and final days in Zurich while visiting other cities in Switzerland in between.

Zurich is worth visiting for the food, architecture, things to do, and more!

This is a perfect two-day Zurich itinerary for those who are first-time visitors.

Bird eye view of the city of Zurich and Lake Zurich.

Favorite Accommodations In Zurich

Old Town is one of my favorite places to stay in Zurich because it is a quaint and charming area. You don’t have to worry about the hustle and bustle of the city and you can get a solid night of sleep in this area.

Luxury: Small Luxury Hotel Ambassador Zurich or Storchen Zürich

Mid-Range: Motel One Zürich or Zurich Swiss Chocolate by Fassbind

Budget: Green Marmot Capsule Hotel Zürich

Traveler’s Tip: Zurich has many visitors every day, book your accommodations early to ensure you’ve got a place to stay.

The Dodler Grand hotel at the top of a hill in Zurich, Switzerland.

The Perfect Zurich Itinerary

Nestled on the shores of Lake Zurich and framed by the majestic Alps, Switzerland’s largest city beckons travelers with its rich history, culture, and natural beauty.

In just two days, you can uncover the essence of Zurich, immersing yourself in its historic cobblestone streets, exploring its vibrant districts, and escaping to the tranquil embrace of nearby mountains.

Join me as I craft the perfect itinerary to make the most of your time in this enchanting Swiss metropolis, where every moment promises adventure and discovery.

From the moment you set foot on its cobblestone streets, anticipation builds for the multitude of experiences awaiting discovery.

Wander along the Limmat River, where each twist and turn reveals a new vista, each alleyway a hidden gem waiting to be unearthed.

In the Old Town, history comes alive and captivates the imagination. Meanwhile, Zürich West with its vibrant energy, offers a glimpse into the city’s innovative spirit.

With every step, excitement mounts as you plunge yourself in Zurich’s dynamic blend of past and present, ensuring an unforgettable day of exploration and adventure.

Morning:

Grab breakfast at Delish cafe

Walking into this cafe will immediately make your mouth water with the smell of fresh cinnamon rolls and coffee. There is an outside patio where you can enjoy the morning warmth and have a relaxing start to your day.

A fresh cinnamon roll on a white plate.

Head to Old Town (Altstadt)

This is one of my favorite areas of Zurich. The historical buildings, narrow alleyways, and culture of the heart of Zurich are captivating.

Visit the Grossmünster and Fraumünster churches. I recommend stopping at these churches early in the day to beat the rest of the tourists. If you are looking for photo opportunities, these are places you don’t want to miss!

Traveler’s Note: General admission is free at the Grossmünster. However, if you want to go up in the tower there is a fee.

Grossmunster church photo taken from a bridge.

Bahnhofstrasse, the famous shopping area in Zurich is next on the morning itinerary. Even if you don’t like shopping, this is still a fun area to explore with delicious Swiss chocolates and restaurants to poke your head in.

Afternoon:

Enjoy a stroll along Lake Zurich

After a busy morning of sightseeing and shopping, let’s take an afternoon to relax.

Stop at one of the lakeside cafes for lunch and enjoy the views. My favorite restaurant is Napule, this is the best pizza in all of Zurich. For my repeat readers who know I am strictly gluten-free, this is the best gluten-free pizza you will ever have!

Take a boat cruise

Book a boat cruise in advance to explore Lake Zurich and soak up the sun and stunning views of the city skyline and surrounding Alps.

This cruise shows visitors why Zurich has the world’s best quality of life.

A boat cruise on Lake Zurich.

Evening:

Head to Zurich West

Ships were once built in this area and engines were bolted together. A huge transformation happened. Bars and shops were built into the arches of old railway viaducts, blending the city’s old styles with modern vibes.

Zurich West was once an industrial district and transformed into a trendy atmosphere.

A person in the Limmant River with a paddleboard.

After exploring art galleries, and boutique shops, a walk along the Limmant River, and admiring the vibrant street art, it’s time for relaxation!

Relax & unwind at Hürlimannbad & Spa Zürich

I highly recommend Hürlimannbad & Spa Zürich for all first-time visitors and those who have visited a few times.

The spa is a bit on the pricey side, but the experience for the money spent is worth it. There are Irish/Roman baths, a rooftop pool, and massages, making this spa a tranquil and rejuvenating experience.

After finishing up at the spa, it’s time for dinner!

One of the most delicious restaurants in Zurich West is a vegan Moroccan restaurant called DAR. The fried mushrooms are a favorite among guests!

Head back to your hotel and get a good night’s rest before the exciting and adventurous Day 2 on your Zurich itinerary.

Escape the urban bustle for the serene beauty of Uetliberg Mountain, where you will get lost in panoramic views and trails.

Once you return to the city refreshed and invigorated, you’ll be ready to seek deeper into Zurich’s cultural must-visits.

Tourists on top of Uetilberg Mountain in Switzerland.

Morning:

💎 Start your day at Uetilberg Mountain

Put on your sneakers and head to the best gluten-free cafe in Zurich, Zufreeden. Everything in the cafe is gluten-free, they also have vegan and lactose-free options as well.

*I highly recommend the vegan Cinnamon cake and hazelnut latte.

After a sweet treat and caffeine, it’s time to visit the car-free mountain of Uetilberg. The easiest way to get there will be by train from Zurich’s main station. Take the Uetilberg-Bahn SZU on platform 22 for a 20-minute ride to the destination.

Train ride to Uetilberg from Zurich.

Note: The train ride costs about $10.

Once you arrive at the top of Uetilberg Mountain, take in the breathtaking panoramic views of Zurich and the surrounding area.

Traveler’s Tip: If you want to be a bit more active. You can also hike to the top of the mountain! This takes about 40 minutes. I love using Alltrails to choose which scenic path I like the most.

💎 Explore the Swiss National Museum

Time to make your way to the Swiss National Museum. The architecture alone is worth the visit. This museum is a place to gain a deeper understanding of Switzerland’s history and culture.

Following a stop at Uetilberg and an overview of Swiss culture, stop at Roots for a fresh acai bowl with toppings of bananas, blueberries, goji berries, or other options you love!

Acai bowl with a variety of berries and other toppings.

Afternoon:

💎 Climb the Freitag Tower

This is one of the most unique towers that many have ever seen. This tower is also a store and is made from recycled shipping containers. You can guess that this marvel stands out in Zurich’s skyline.

Freitag Tower in Zurich, Switzerland.

The Freitag brand is known for stylish bags and accessories made from recycled materials. There is also a cafe where visitors can relax and enjoy a refreshment and views.

If you like innovation, sustainability, shopping, and scenic views, this is worth the stop.

💎 Enjoy a picnic lunch at Lindenhof

Soak up the natural beauty, historical significance, and good food and wine at Lindenhof. This is one of my favorite viewpoints in all of Zurich to witness the city and Alps.

Girls having a picnic with sweet treats, fruit, and rose in Switzerland.

Lindenhof dates back to the Roman times and ancient settlements can still be found here. The square was once the site of a Roman castle and later served as a royal court and gathering place. It’s a fun and memorable place to sit down on a checkered blanket with friends and take in the blend of beauty.

Evening:

💎 Take part in a chocolate adventure

Have you really been to Switzerland if you haven’t been on a chocolate tour?

Zurich is home to one of the most delicious chocolates in the world, Lindt. If you’re a chocolate lover, the Lindt Home of Chocolate Museum is a must for your itinerary. Plus, you get tastings during the tour…SCORE!

💎 Grab one final dinner in Zurich

Time to indulge in one of the best restaurants in Zurich, Hitl. Since 1898 this vegetarian restaurant has been standing as the oldest vegetarian restaurant in the world.

Even if you aren’t vegetarian, this comfy and Mediterranean a la carte-style restaurant will make you want a doggy bag for more!

Following a filling family-style dinner, go for a walk over to Barfussbar for a drink. This fun atmosphere is the perfect final stop on your Zurich itinerary.

A sunset overlooking the city of Zurich and Lake Zurich in Switzerland.

Travel Tips

Travel planning is a lot of work. From deciding what to pack, travel dates, how to get around, and more. These are my favorite resources:

🩷 Hostelworld – Traveling solo or on a budget? Hostels are a great way to meet other like-minded travelers.

🩷 Booking.com – Quickly search recommended hotels in the area and then view locations, activities nearby, and hotel amenities within seconds.

🩷 Rentalcars – This website scans competitors for price, availability, and car type to provide the best price and car type needed for your trip.

🩷 GetYourGuide – Guided tours & excursions that are unique and perfect for any traveler

Travel planning with a journal, polaroid pictures, coffee, and a laptop.

What To Pack For Zurich

Comfortable Walking Shoes – Trust me, you will be doing a lot of walking and don’t want to have to sit out adventuring around the city.

Reusable Water Bottle – One of the best parts of Switzerland is all of the freshwater fountains around the cities. Bring a reusable water bottle to cut down not only expenses but also take care of Mother Earth.

Baseball Cap / Wide-Brimmed Hat – Don’t be like me and skip out on this one… I learned the hard way that the sun is a bit intense there.

Sunglasses – This is a trip necessity for any trip.

Swimsuit – A glistening lake to swim in, hotel pools, or spas in the area are the perfect way to relax with your swimsuit!

Light Sweater – This is perfect for a morning walk, a cool day on the lake, or a dinner on the patio.

Sunscreen – I learned the hard way that you need sunscreen if it’s cloudy or sunny in Switzerland.

Daypack – An easy and efficient way to carry everything you need for your excursions without having to take the extra time to go back to your hotel in between.

** Season Specific Items:
– Winter – Layers, layers, layers!
– Summer – Lightweight & airy and quick-dry tops and bottoms, & sandals


How To Get To Zurich

There are multiple different ways to travel within Switzerland. I primarily use the train or walk. Consider getting a Swiss Travel Pass, which offers unlimited travel on the Swiss Travel System network, including trains, buses, and boats.

Whether you’re traveling from the airport, other cities in Switzerland, or nearby countries, these are the best ways to get to Zurich:

A plane landing during a sunset.

🎟️ Plane:

I use CheapOair to find the most affordable flights.

🎟️ Car:

Renting a car is a good choice if you want the flexibility to explore remote areas or prefer a self-paced journey.

🎟️ Train:

Switzerland is famous for its extensive and punctual train network.

Traveler’s Tip: The trains also have wifi if you need to check in with family or friends or get some work done.

A Swiss train traveling through Switzerland's beautiful Alps.

Zurich Itinerary FAQ:

1. Is Zurich a walkable city?

Yep! You can get anywhere you need to go within the city on foot.

2. Do they speak English in Zurich?

Yep! English is a widely understood language and I haven’t had any issues with language barriers while speaking English in Switzerland.

3. What is the best time to visit Zurich?

Zurich is one of those cities you can visit year-round; it’s a magical experience. If you want warmer weather, walking around in shorts, and swimming in the lake, summer is the time for you.

Visiting Zurich in the winter is also a “hot” time to visit with the Christmas markets, twinkly lights, and the magic of a winter wonderland.

A Christmas Market in Zurich, Switzerland.

Zurich Itinerary Wrapped Up

Zurich packs a punch with its mix of history, culture, and natural beauty, making it a fantastic spot for a two-day trip.

Whether you’re wandering through the old cobblestone streets, checking out famous landmarks, or treating your taste buds to local delights, there’s something for everyone here.

Take a leisurely stroll by Lake Zurich, explore fascinating museums, and don’t forget to indulge in some delicious Swiss cuisine.

With a bit of planning and a spirit of adventure, you’re sure to have a memorable time soaking in the charm and energy of this Swiss gem.

Happy Trails,
Mindful PNW Trails


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