48 Hours in Zurich

How to spend two days in Zurich, Switzerland, with the top sights to see

Zurich, the city known as the financial epicenter of Europe… maybe the world?  By far one of the most efficient cities I’ve been to that has up to date convenience mixed with extravagance (which you’ll notice on your wallet) and an old-world charm.  Upon exiting the train station you’ll see that this European city has the best of both worlds; winding cobblestone streets mixed with flourishing businesses and modern design.  Even if you only have 48 hours to spend in Zurich, you should visit this beautiful city. Whether you decide to take the efficient train from the airport and walk to your lodging or hire a car to do so, you’ll witness the city transform from a hustling business center to the easily accessible, albeit booty working, walkable European town.

With so much to explore, here are the

Top 10 things you need to see & do in 48 hours in Zurich, Switzerland

Wander the Aldstadt (Old Town)

Old Town is the most charming neighborhood of Zurich.  It has that wonderful historical European charm that is expected from a Western European destination with many quaint and unique shops and restaurants (and bars!). 

Grossmunster Church 

One of four major churches in Zurich, Grossmunster Church stands out with its neo-Gothic towers.  This church is free to enter, and has a simplistic interior.  You can pay to climb the tower which I’ve read has good views of the city.

Fraumunster Church 

With its iconic teal-blue spire and clock tower, Fraumunster Church is by far the most stand out church in Zurich.  Mostly known for its Chagall stained glass windows, this site was originally home to an abbess (get it ladies!  …Is that inappropriate to say?)  Go in the early morning to witness the morning light shine through the windows.  However, keep in mind that there is a small fee of to enter. (*there was a wedding the day of our visit so we weren’t able to get inside) *Image directly above is of a different church 


If you’re a fan of stunning vistas than trek up to Lindenhoff.  A great viewpoint for Zurich with a bit of a climb, but worth it for the views of Aldstadt Zurich.  Be sure to head there early in the day as this attracts many visitors; we could see Lindenhoff from our Airbnb and there were large crowds even at the end of the day.


When you walk down Bahnofstrasse you’re walking down one of the world’s most exclusive & expensive shopping streets.  Best of luck not spending a paycheck’s worth on goodies here… if that’s not in your budget you can act like I and long after an item or two while you window shop.

Have lunch at Hiltl 

Let me do my celebratory dance for Hiltl because it is a veggie lovers dream come true!  I’m quickly learning that Europe is transitioning to please a vegetarian palate and my fellow veggies could not be happier!  Amazing for vegetarians… it’s amazing even if you do eat meat.  Hiltl is the oldest vegetarian restaurant in the world!  It did not disappoint.  Going there for lunch instead of dinner will make your visit a bit cheaper.  We chose to eat from the buffet.  But, be warned that the buffet price is based on the weight of your plate.  Regardless, there were so many options and everything was delicious.  The atmosphere was great as well as the staff.  What a wonderful opportunity to try a variety of foods you may have never heard of.

Fondue at La Dezalay

 La Dezalay is a Swiss restaurant known for their fondue… trust me, it’s worth it.  Located in the Aldstadt neighborhood of Zurich and you can see the Grossmunster church from outside. Fun fact: fondue is considered to be part of your meal, however we chose to eat it as our meal.  Sometimes living your best life means devouring a bowlful of carbs dunked in warm cheese. (I would have placed a picture of our fondue here… but to be honest I was trying to live THE moment of cheese heaven and forgot to take one.  Oh well, worth it!) 

Lake Zurich

Take a boat tour around Lake Zurich.  There are multiple options for length of time, where the boats dock, etc.  We chose to do the medium length trip which took about 4 hours; choose based on your time available.  It’s a stunning excursion that can make a hectic day of walking around end with a serene afternoon.  *My suggestion- buy drinks/snacks at a grocery or liquor store (Migros stores do NOT sell alcohol) to bring on the boat.  Drinks on the boat are expensive… as is most everything in Switzerland.

 Enjoy a night out on Langstrasse 

The nightclubs and more popular bars are on or around this street.  We went to Fat Tony’s based on a friend of a friend’s recommendation (with the assumption it would be a dive bar based on its name) and really enjoyed it.  Hip place with good music.  If you walk along this street you’ll be sure to find many places for a great night out.

As a great hub location for Switzerland, you can embrace all that Zurich has to offer within a short time period of time without feeling rushed.  This city is one where a slow pace as a visitor will provide an exceptional day (or two!).  Because short and sweet can leave you feeling ready to explore other places this stunning (and efficient) country have to offer! If you visit Zurich and use this list of places let me know!  And comment with any additions you feel were just as great.  More importantly if you found that eating fondue multiple times made you happier than the free range cattle in Switzerland let me know so we can be best friends.

 TIPS for visiting Zurich, Switzerland

  • As like most other European cities, not much will be open on Sunday, so plan accordingly
  • Switzerland is an expensive country, if you are on budget I would pack your own snacks/protein bars so you don’t need to stop at a restaurant for every meal (or hit up a grocery store)
  • Swiss people speak many different languages (german, italian, english), depending on the location and the person so you won’t insult anyone if you say ‘hello’ in german, and ‘thank you’ in italian

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