Nestled in the heart of Switzerland, Zurich is one of the top places in the world to venture to during the winter. Not only is the climate perfect for mountain climbing, skiing, and tobogganing, but the city is a great place to explore. Because of the vast amount of things available to try, it can be difficult to pinpoint the best places to visit and things to do when spending only two days in Zurich. If you’re planning on spending 2 days in Zurich, you’ll find a great itinerary you can follow below. Not only will you be able to hit all the top spots, but visit some unique out-of-the-way places as well.
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A 2 day winter itinerary in Zurich
2 days in Zurich: Day one
Bahnhofstrasse is Zurich’s main street and is lined with shops and cafes. In fact, the street is packed with some of the top stores in the country which sell everything from handcrafted watches to gourmet chocolates. While strolling along the street, you can stop by a hot chocolate or mulled wine stand which are lined down the sidewalks during the winter.
This road was one of the most important streets during medieval times. It was also one of the widest streets in Zurich making it an easy place to get around in. It also has a special pedestrian zone which blocks traffic off from the most popular parts of its shopping district so you can safely walk around.
Take a Walk at Lindenhof
Situated in Zurich’s Old Town, Lindenhof is known mainly for being home to a majestic Roman castle that rests on the historic Lindenhof hill. In addition to history, the area is a great place to go for a stroll no matter what the season. You can walk around the winding sidewalks to get panoramic views of the city below or watch some chess players practicing their skills.
See the St. Peter Church
This church is one of the four main churches in the city. Built in 1,000 A.D., the Church of St. Peter is considered to be the oldest of the four churches and is known for having one of the biggest clock faces in all of Europe. You can take a tour of the church to view its historic interior as well as to see bells from the late 1800s that rest in its bell tower.
Stroll Around Paradeplatz
Paradeplatz is a square situated inside the Bahnhofstrasse and is home to an important tram station in the city. Mainly known for being a financial hub, the area is also near Lake Zurich which is a popular place to visit during the winter for photo-ops and ice skating. You can also stop by a local bakery, known as Sprüngli, which is known for its mouthwatering selection of Luxemburgerli, a type of macaroon.
This historic church was built in 853 A.D. and was known for being a convent where royal females of the time would stay. Besides its history, the church is also known for its stunning architecture. In fact, some of the top highlights to view while in the church are its massive stained glass windows created by artists like Augusto Giacometti and Marc Chagall. You can also stop by to view its high-vaulted transept.
Take a Boat Ride at Bürkliplatz
Built during the 1800s, the Bürkliplatz serves as a boat dock in Lake Zurich. While here, you can hop on a boat to take a 90-minute tour around the lake and view some of its stunning landscapes. This boat tour will take you on a relaxing cruise before taking you back to the dock. However, if you want, you can get off at Kilchberg, a stop made before returning back, to visit the iconic Lindt Chocolate Factory. Only the Lindt Chocolate shop is open to the public but here you will find a bigger selection of Lindt chocolate and many offers. To get back to the city centre you can either take the bus, it is only a 15 minute ride or the next boat.
As the largest town square in Zurich, the Sechseläutenplatz is situated next to Lake Zurich and is also home to the Zurich Opera House which is one of the smallest opera houses in the world with only 1,100 seats. Even in the winter, the square is home to towering trees and winter-hardy plants that make visiting here an even more enjoyable experience. During the winter, many of Zurich’s Christmas Markets are located here making it a great place to venture to while in the city.
2 day in Zurich: Day Two
Walk Around the Old Town
As your second day in Zurich begins, you can start it out by taking a refreshing walk around Zurich’s Old Town. This section is a stunning mixture of old and new with historic buildings housing many modern shops and cafes. Its cobblestone streets are another highlight of it which date back to centuries ago.
Climb to the Top of Grossmünster for Unbelievable Views of the City
For those looking for exquisite views of the city or places to take some memorable photos, you can climb to the top of Grossmünster. This church was once an important meeting spot during the Reformation. Today, you can learn more about this historic event here while also climbing up its tower to get incredible views over the city.
Visit the Museum of Art
To escape from the bitter cold temperatures, you can stop in the Museum of Art. Known locally as Kunsthaus Zürich, this museum is considered to house some of the most important art collections in all of Switzerland. You can view everything from Middle Ages art to more modern pieces making it the perfect place for all art lovers to visit. In addition to this, the museum also showcases video and photography collections from some of the world’s most famous artists, like Robert Frank and Jeff Wall. When you’re done exploring the building, you can stop by its shop where you can buy some art-related merchandise.
Take the S-Bahn from the Central Station to Uetliberg
You can take the Zurich S-Bahn from the Central Station to visit Uetliberg. This mountain offers breathtaking views of both the city and Lake Zurich. In addition to the view, you’ll find that Uetliberg is a great place to go hiking thanks to the numerous trails winding around it. When you’re done exploring the mountain, you can stop by a local hotel to grab some food, like the Uto Kulm which offers a variety of local specialties you can try.
Shop at the Christmas Markets
For those who are planning to visit Zurich during the holiday season, you’ll find that it’s home to numerous Christmas markets that sell everything from handcrafted goods to delicious holiday treats.
One of the most popular markets to visit is the one in Old Town. This is not only Zurich’s oldest Christmas market but one of its biggest. You’ll find an impressive amount of stalls you can shop at as well as a handful of beautifully decorated Christmas trees and other holiday decorations scattered around. There’s also a market lined around Lake Zurich which serves as a stunning background as you walk around the lake to visit the different stalls. No matter which market you decide to visit though, some of the best holiday treats to try while exploring them are fondue, mulled wine, and raclette.
Check here the dates for the Swiss Christmas markets.
The Weather in Zurich During the Winter
The weather in Zurich in the winter varies depending on the month. While most of the winter is chilly, January in particular is when some of the most brutal temperatures hit with some being as low as 5 degrees Fahrenheit. However, for those who are hoping for some snow, December is the perfect time to visit. So, no matter which month you decide to visit during your two days in Zurich for winter, make sure to bring a heavy coat and some gloves.
While in Zurich we used the Zurich Card that offers many benefits like free 2nd class travel by tram, bus, train, boat and cableway in the city of Zurich and surrounding region. A free 90 minute boat trip in lake Zurich, free or discounted entry to more than 40 museums around town and many more benefits.
Where to eat in Zurich
Here are some places that we enjoyed eating during our 2 day trip to Zurich with my best friend. Zurich is an expensive place for food but we really enjoyed it.
A beautiful restaurant with a baroque atmosphere serving traditional dishes. I got the fillet mignon and it was amazing. Reservations are a must. Expect to pay around 50 euros per person.
In Gassen 16,Zurich
A traditional cafe located in Rennweg street, perfect for a coffee stop, dessert or light lunch.
Rennweg 53, Zurich
You cannot visit Switzerland without trying some fondue or raclette. In this restaurant you will fiind one of the best fondue in Zurich. You need to make a reservation. The fondue costs around 30 euros per person.
Zähringerstrasse 16, Zurich
This Spanish wine tavern serves food since 1874. We went there for some tapas and wine and we really enjoyed it.
Münstergasse 15, Zurich
Where to stay in Zurich
This 3 -star hotel is perfectly located in the city centre of Zurich, on the Limmat river and just 400 m away from Zurich’s main train station. It offers clean rooms with free wi-fi and bathroom toiletries. Other amenities include tea and coffee making facilities, a safe and a mini bar. Click here for more information and the latest prices.
If you are looking for a 5-star hotel Baur au Lac is the one. Located in its own private park in the heart of the city it offers great views of lake Zurich. It offers luxurious rooms with free Wi-Fi and mini bar use. Other amenities include a fitness centre, 2 restaurants, one of which was awarded 1 Michelin star and 18 points by Gault Millau. Click here for more information and the latest prices.
Winter Day Trips from Zurich
If you find you have more days to spend in Zurich, you can try to take some Zurich in winter day trips to these areas.
Soaring above the city of Lucerne at 9,800 ft. is Mount Titlis. You can climb inside a revolving cable car which will take you to the top of this mountain while slowing turning around giving you unique 360-degree views. When you reach the top, you can also visit the Ice Grotto which is an ancient ice cave with turquoise-colored pathways inside you can explore. Click here for more information and to book this tour.
Jungfraujoch is a famous saddle situated inside the Bernese Alps and is home to Europe’s highest train station. To get here, you can take a train trip up to the top of this natural landmark which will not only give you stunning views of this mountain, but of Eiger and Mönch. While at Jungfraujoch, you can also take a ride in the Sphinx Observation Terrace which will give you incredible views of the Aletsch Glacier, the largest glacier in the Alps. Click here for more information and to book this tour.
Two days in Zurich certainly isn’t enough time to experience all the city has to offer. However, with this 2 day Zurich itinerary, you can be sure you’ll discover some of the top highlights on your trip here. It might be a chilly destination, but the journey to this historic city is well worth it.