BEST 2-DAY ZURICH ITINERARY
Are you planning your Zurich itinerary and wondering about the best places to visit in Zurich in 2 days? Well, then this post is perfect. Find out how to create the perfect 2-day itinerary for Zurich with tips on the best things to do + travel tips for your trip.
Without question, Switzerland is one of my favorite countries ever. There are so many stunning places to visit – but Zurich is a place I keep going back to. It feels a bit like home to me, and also, it is a great base for amazing day trips. If you plan a visit to Switzerland, you should definitely add a trip to Zurich to your Switzerland itinerary.
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WHAT TO DO IN ZURICH IN 2 DAYS
At the end of the post, you will also find some general tips for your 2-day Zurich trip, but let´s start with the best activities.
DAY 1 OF 2 DAYS IN ZURICH
If you start your day early, you can easily see all my suggestions and even do a bit more on day 1. If you arrive during the day, then the itinerary for day 1 is perfect anyway because it is not too packed.
Bahnhofsplatz – Bahnhofstrasse
- Free thing to do in Zurich
Forget Dubai or any other place. When it comes to luxury, Zurich is the place to visit! Why? Though it doesn’t look overly fancy, Zurich’s main shopping street, the 1.4 kilometers (0.87 miles) long Bahnhofstrasse, is actually one of the most expensive retail properties in the world.
You will find cafes and restaurants – including the famous Sprüngli cafe, luxury shops, and some more affordable stores – making it a perfect place for shopping addicts. However, even if you are not into shopping then it is still worth a trip.
I would not say it is a spectacular place yet it is a nice attraction – especially if you start at the train station and go towards Lake Zurich. When you walk towards Lake Zurich, stay on your left side and make a short stop at Lindenhof Hill first.
- Free Zurich activity
From Bahnhofstrasse head to Lindenhof Hill. Lindenhof offers a great view of the city and is of the best places to visit in Zurich. It is in the old town on Lindenhof Hill, where you can soak in the Limmat River’s view or relax and chill.
No 2-day Zurich itinerary would be perfect without getting up here!
- After a short 3-minute uphill “hike”, you can enjoy the pretty views. The walk up is not difficult but there are cobbled-stoned streets, so wear comfy shoes.
- When I visit during lunchtime, I often encounter locals who have their lunch break at Lindenhof Hill.
- They bring their own snacks or grab some takeaway food and enjoy their lunch here on nice days. Maybe you want to do as the locals do?
Then explore the rest of the old town in Zurich.
Zurich Old Town
- Another free activity to do in Zurich
Just walk down Lindenhof Hill and you are in the old town. Located between Lake Zurich, the train station, and the main shopping street (Bahnhofstraße) it is a great place to discover before arriving at Lake Zurich.
It has cobbled streets, and there are many cafes and restaurants, which makes it a great place to walk around aimlessly.
- Though it’s probably not the most beautiful old town in Switzerland, it is still colorful with charming houses.
- If you did not have lunch at Lindenhof, I suggest having it here, given the number of restaurants (you will find all kinds of cuisines here, even vegan ones). Also, the restaurants often have outdoor- and indoor seatings so it is perfect for any type of weather.
Grossmünster Church and Fraumunster Church
- Grossmünster Church is free to visit – but for the tower, there is a CHF5 entrance fee.
- Fraumunster Church charges for entrance fee (5 CHF) for tourists, but is free for people who pray
There are several attractions in the city center of Zurich, and two famous sights are churches. Legend says that Grossmünster Church was built on the graves of the city’s patron saints, Felix and Regula. So, whether you look at it from afar or visit during the opening hours.
Close to the Grossmünster – also located on the Limmat river but on the other side – is the Fraumunster Church. With its green steeple, it is one of the most distinctive sights in Zurich. It is also very well known because of five stained-glass windows prepared by Marc Chagall in the 1960s, and for the rosette in the south transept. “The Heavenly Paradise” (1945) by Augusto Giacometti, a stained-glass window, is another sight inside the church in the north transept.
- Free place to visit
- A cruise on the Limmar River is free with a Swiss Travel Pass or the Zurich Card
The Limmat River commences at the outfall of Lake Zurich, in the southern part of the city of Zurich. You will come across Limmatquai when you visit the churches mentioned above.
- There are also some small (boutique) shops which are quite charming.
- The Limmatquai Promenade is also one of the best places to have dinner. Often, the restaurants come with nice views of the river, so try to grab an outdoor seat.
Alternatively, the Old Town would be another place you could head back to for dinner.
DAY 2 OF 2 DAYS IN ZURICH
After the first, quite chill day in Zurich, it is time for day 2 in Zurich. However, of course, feel free to swap the days – especially if day 2 in Zurich is not a full day and day 1 in Zurich is.
Uetliberg in Zurich
- Free thing to do
- If you get up by train, you will need a train ticket. The train ride is, however, also included in the Swiss Travel Pass or the Zurich Card
You can start your second day in Zurich with a mountain excursion. If you enjoy hiking and appreciate great views, you will surely love the Uetliberg (Uetli Mountain) as much as I do.
Uetliberg is the “house mountain” in Zurich and part of the Albis chain, rising to 870 meters above sea level (2,850 feet) and towering around 450 meters over the city.
Btw: if you are looking for my great mountain views in Switzerland (that come without any hiking), click here. It is easily accessible via train – from the train station, it is just a few more minutes (uphill) walk.
At the top, you will find a restaurant and great views of Lake Zurich and the city with the mountains in the background. However, there is an extra platform on which you can walk. It is a few extra stairs but the views are even better from the very top. They charge CHF 2 for the platform (you can walk the first few steps for free and then have to pay if you want to get to the very top).
- You could spend a full day here, but with only 2 days in Zurich, I suggest only planning a few hours (3-5 hours) there and using the train for getting up and down.
- However, if you want to hike up and down and enjoy a picnic at Uetliberg, you need more time.
Lake Zurich / BuerkliPlatz
- Free activity
Then I suggest taking the train/tram to get back to the city. It is time to explore the area around Lake Zurich today.
Buerkliplatz is a little square on the northern shores of Lake Zurich. This is how I define “the starting point of Lake Zurich.” I do not think it is something official, but so that you know, “Rapperswil” (the southern shores) is my defining end of Lake Zurich.
Something you should know about me: I am all about lakes (and views), which is why I adore Switzerland. I am a Lake Chaser. There are stunning lakes everywhere in Switzerland. Lake Zurich might not be the most stunning lake compared to all the other lakes like Lake Brienz or Lake Oeschinen. However, it is definitely a lovely lake.
You might have seen Lake Zurich on day 1 already as it just is at the end of Bahnhofstrasse and near the old town, but now you are going to spend some quality time here.
- At Buerkliplatz, you have boats and beautiful views of the lake and the scenery.
- Close to the Bürkliplatz is also the (a) boat station. More on that later, so this is most likely the place where you will start a Lake Zurich boat cruise – if you have one planned.
Swim in Lake Zurich
- Swimming in Lake Zurich is free
On a warm day, swimming in Lake Zurich is a must-do activity. The lakes in Switzerland are pretty clean, and it was in Switzerland where, for the first time as an adult, I voluntarily hopped into the lake water.
- One of the best places to swim in Zurich is close to the Rentenanstalt.
- If you are at Bürkliplatz looking at the lake and the Ganymede Statue, take your right side and pass the boat station. Walk a few hundred meters and you will get to the Rentenanstalt.
- You could also take the tram from Bürkliplatz for one stop.
- There is plenty of greenery and space – bring a towel and your bathing suit. You get to enjoy a wonderful day at the lake.
- There are some kiosks selling snacks and drinks. Bring a water bottle and refill it at the water fountain near Bürkliplatz. Water from the kiosks is expensive!
Swimming in Lake Zurich or at least chilling here on a warm and sunny day feels like a beach vacation!
Places Around Lake Zurich
- With the Swiss Travel Pass you can do all of these boat tours for free (you might have to pay a surcharge of 5CHF).
Of course, I have to mention doing a boat tour on Lake Zurich (Zürichsee in German). Lake Zurich itself is one of the bigger lakes in the country – this almost banana-shaped lake is bordered by the cantons of Zurich, St.Gallen, and Schwyz. At the western end lies Zurich – and here we go with a Lake Zurich boat cruise.
- Here you have a few options. You can either do a short, medium, or long cruise on Lake Zurich.
- The short cruise is free with the Zurich Card.
- There are several stops where you can get off to have a break. Just make sure not to miss the last boat back to Zurich Bürkliplatz!
- If you do not visit Uetliberg, you should have enough time to get out at Rapperswil – which is on the southern shores of Lake Zurich (or the end of Lake Zurich as I normally call it). Rapperswil is a tiny cute village and might be a good place to add to your Zurich itinerary.
Lake Zurich in the Evening
To end your second day in Zurich, plan an evening at Lake Zurich. Normally, when I travel, I tend to go home quite early, but I try to stay out a bit longer in Zurich – because Lake Zurich is a wonderful place to end your day. Especially on a warm and sunny day, this is where you can enjoy a wonderful evening.
- On nice days, there is always a lot going on, with musicians playing music and many people walking around having a good time which creates a great atmosphere.
- To get here, you have to walk towards Bürkliplatz and then take your left side, passing the Opera District.
- There you will also find small pedalo boats to rent and more.
Dinner on Day 2
For dinner, I suggest grabbing a snack and having it at the lake or heading to the old town and choosing from the many restaurants there. Though Switzerland surely is not a vegan-friendly place, there are some great affordable vegan restaurants in Zurich.
TRAVEL TIPS FOR YOUR ZURICH ITINERARY
Here is some info for your 2-day Zurich trip.
How to Get Around
Let´s start with how to discover Zurich.
WALKING IN ZURICH IN 2 DAYS
- Zurich is a very walkable city. Most of the time, you can just get around on foot.
- If you are tired, you can hop on a tram for a stop or two.
- If you wear comfy shoes (also because of the cobbled-stoned streets) you should be fine with walking.
- The only time I highly recommend using public transportation is when you head to Uetliberg.
PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION IN ZURICH
- Zurich has amazing public transport. So I recommend getting around by tram/bus. With the Zurich Card, you can use public transport, which is great to explore much of the city. Public Transport is pretty good, and you can rely on it. You also have free entry to several museums in Zurich. Click here to find out more and check out prices for the Zurich Card.
- If you have a Swiss Travel Pass, you will not need an extra Zurich Card. With the Swiss Travel Pass, you can use unlimited public transportation, even use the boat, and get access to many museums and some attractions without any extra fee. Click here to find out more about the Swiss Travel Pass.
GETTING AROUND BY CAR IN ZURICH
- While I have driven by car many times, it actually isn’t my preferred means of transportation in the city. There is quite some traffic, and expensive and limited parking spots make driving in Zurich a bit problematic. However, public transportation is great, so there is no real need to consider getting around via car.
CYCLE AROUND ZURICH
- One of the fun things to do in Zurich is to rent a bike and explore this beautiful town on two wheels.
- The best thing about it is…it does not cost a dime. Nothing! Not one cent. This news is awesome.
- I have to find a way to make my dog stay in the basket to do some bike tours, but I am sure this is one of the cool things to do in Zurich.
Where to Stay in Zurich
As mentioned, Zurich is very expensive, and there are no real bargains.
I recommend staying close to the city center, but since public transport is pretty good, you can also book a hotel a bit further away, and you will still be mobile. My full accommodation guide for Zurich is here.
- Luxury Hotels in Zurich: Zurich has some great luxury hotels which are amazing to get spoiled and enjoy life. Baur au Lac is one of the best-rated luxury hotels close to the city center.
- Budget Hotels in Zurich: Warning, there are not many budget hotels in Zurich. I once stayed at this well-rated hostel in Zurich and was not disappointed. It is located right in the heart of the old town and you can get to many places within minutes.
Solo Female Travel in Zurich
I often visit a friend in Zurich but spend a lot of time on my own (and sometimes with my dog Puppygak). Zurich is one of the best places to travel solo as a female. Or to put it differently: Zurich is a safe place.
Though the Swiss people are not necessarily the most open-minded, it is still easy to make friends, and most important of all, I feel safe even at night.
I avoid side streets – as I do everywhere – but do not feel the need to take extra precautions.
MORE TIPS FOR YOUR 2-DAY ZURICH TRIP
- Bring a refillable water bottle. It helps the environment and your wallet because there are many water fountains throughout the city providing fresh drinking water.
- Switzerland is expensive – and Zurich is one of the most expensive cities in the world. Check out my post on tips to save money in Switzerland.
- Zurich is a great base for many fun day trips – check out my guide on the best things to do near Zurich. Here you will find many great day trip ideas from Zurich that you can easily access by train or car.
- Here are the best places to stay in Switzerland
- Looking for a perfect Switzerland itinerary? Here is the best 5-day itinerary for Switzerland.
CONCLUSION: ZURICH IN 48 HOURS
Zurich in 2 days is not a lot of time, but it will allow you to discover the main attractions of Zurich without being too stressed. Hopefully, this 2-day Zurich itinerary has helped you plan your trip. Enjoy your trip to this lively and lovely city!
Stay safe and have fun!