Zurich free activities

Things to do in Zurich: our top 5 free activities

Visiting Zurich on a budget couldn't be easier! Follow our guide to free sites of interest and things to do.

Stroll through the Old Town
Switzerland's economic capital is more than just banks and luxury boutiques. The city boasts an unmissable historic centre packed full of charming medieval streets. Wander around the Niederdorf district and visit the Grossmünster cathedral, Zurich's best-known monument. Push on past the colourful house fronts in the Schipfe neighbourhood and admire the stained glass windows painted by Chagall in the Fraumünster church.
Free sites
Zurich is overflowing with museums and sites of interest, some of which are free. Zurich University's zoological museum is perfect for a family holiday and is a great introduction to over 1,500 species of animals from around the world. It also offers activities for visitors of all ages. If observing animals in the wild is more your thing, head to the Langenberg animal park on the outskirts of Zurich to watch wolves, elk, bears and even bison in their natural habitats.
Water fun in Zurich
Water is a prominent feature in Zurich, which is home to the eponymous lake and the River Limmat. In the summer, there's nothing more relaxing than lounging on one of the public beaches set up along the banks of the river and going for a dip. The free beaches include the Flussbad Oberer Letten and the Flussbad Unterer Letten, complete with river pool on the Limmat. A little further away from the city centre, rolling green spaces offer up opportunities to soak up the sun and enjoy a dip, such as on Werdinsel island, which is tucked between two arms of the river, or the Seebad Katzensee, which is nestled on the shores of Lake Zurich.
Free cycling
Zurich is a manageable city you can enjoy exploring by bike. Stop off at one of the Züri roule bike borrowing stations, where you can pick up a free bike to use throughout the year. You'll find these docking stations scattered around town, particularly near the Swiss National Museum or the Bürkliplatz in the summer. All you need is proof of identity and a deposit of 20 CHF, and you're good to go!
The mountain of Zurich
For spectacular panoramic views over Zurich, its lake and the surrounding Alps, head up to Uetliberg, a little mountain rising up 871 metres. Several hiking trails lead down from its summit, and you can even enjoy sledding here in the winter.
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