Walking Tour of Zurich, Switzerland
Zurich, Switzerland, bustles with business men and women during the work day, bustles with students at night, and bustles with tourists at all times. There is fantastic shopping along Bahnhofstrasse, and access to the lakeshore and associated boat tours at Burkliplatz. Religious attractions include the Grossmunster (Great Cathedral) with its twin towers that symbolize Zurich, and Fraumunster, a Gothic church with modern stained-glass windows by Marc Chagall.
My walk begins at Bellevueplatz, located near the mouth of the Limmat River, where it empties into Lake Zurich. Walk north from the square, along the eastern bank of the river, on Limmatquai, to reach the Wasserkirche, a church built in 1479, and also the Helmhaus (#31).
You can climb the stairs on your right to the terrace, location of the Gross Munster (Great Church). It dates to the 12th century, on the spot where a previous church, founded by Charlemagne, existed. Climb the tower for great views.
Now, descend to Limmatquai and continue northward. Along the riverfront are several of Zurich’s noteworthy Guild Houses, 13th century palaces which exhibit the wealth of their time. These include the Zunfthaus zur Zimmerlauten, Zunfthaus zum Ruden, and the Zunfthaus zur Saffran.
On the left side of the Limmatquai is Zurich’s Town Hall (Rathaus), a beautiful Baroque building, which dates to the late 17th century.
Now, cross the river on Rathausbrucke, and turn right on the opposite bank to reach Lindenhof, a lovely belvedere above the river, with shade trees, a commemorative fountain, and fantastic views.
From here, walk north along Rennweg and then merge onto Bahnhofstrasse, and take your first right, onto Uraniastrasse, where you will find the Urania Observatory. Even if it is not open, there are great views of the city and the Alps.
Return to Bahnhofstrasse and turn left. This is the major shopping street in the city, filled with high-end merchandise, especially Swiss watches and jewelry. When you reach St Petergasse, turn left to reach St Peter’s Church, a 13th century structure with a huge clock on its tower.
Now, continue south on Schusselgasse to get to Munsterplatz, home of Zurich’s famous Frauminster, one of the city’s major landmarks. Also on the square are two more of the elegant Guild halls, Zunfthau zur Waag and Zunfthaus zur Meisen.
From here, walk east on Poststrasse, across the Munster Bridge, and then turn right on Limmatquai. Bear right onto Utoquai to return to Bellevueplatz, where the walk began.