Zurich may not be the capital of Switzerland, but it is certainly the most renowned tourist destination for international visitors. The heart of the city is of course the Old Town, which continues to draw thousands of tourists each year – particularly at Christmas time for the famed Christmas markets. Swiss chocolate, glühwein and Christmas carols are all characteristic of this time of year and Zurich is certainly the place to be during the month of December. In a short one-day visit, I checked out the Old Town of Zurich to discover how one should spend just one day in the Old Town in Zurich, Switzerland.
One day in Zurich, Switzerland
Coming from the airport: Catch the train from the airport to Zurich Hauptbahnhof in just 11 minutes. Once here, you will find yourself in the immediate centre of town on the Bahnhofstrasse – Zurich’s famous shopping street in the Old Town.
Almost certainly your first point of call will be Bahnhofstrasse, the street immediately outside of the Zurich main train station (Zurich Hauptbahnhof).
Bahnhofstrasse is home to 1.4km of local and international designers, and is also renowned for being the most expensive street in Switzerland, as well as one of the most expensive streets in the world. The entire street runs from the Zurich Hauptbahnhof to Lake Zurich, so it is a great walk for the adventurous or you can easily hop on a tram for the journey to the lake.
Near to the train station you will find all of the highstreet and international brands like H&M and Zara, whereas on the Lake end of the street you will be greeted with highend stores such as Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Prada… amongst others.
After walking the entire length of the Bahnhofstrasse, you will find yourself at the Lakeside Promenade. Here you can truly get a sense of how beautiful and charming Zurich is beyond the crowds found along Bahnhofstrasse. It is here where you can view the special children’s Christmas tram during the festive season (pictured above).
For the best view of the Old Town, head to Lindenhof where you can also see the Grossmunster Church, City Hall, the Limmat river, the university and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology.
If you have more time…
Unfortunately my time in Zurich was limited to a few hours as I was just passing through en route to Arosa, a ski town a couple of hours away in the mountains. However if you have more time in Zurich and would like to discover the city further, I strongly recommend visiting the famous churches of Zurich, such as Fraumunster; Grossmunster; and the church windows of Sigmar Polke.
Whilst in the city, be sure to sample some local chocolate and cheese – Swiss specialties that will surely please even the fussiest palette.
For lunch and dinner recommendations, I would recommend checking the frequently updated tourism website at for gastronomic recommendations.
Thanks to Visit Zurich for welcoming WOW to your city! My opinion is as always, my own.