5 Things to do and see in Zürich

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It’s not everyday you get the opportunity to study and live abroad in a different country for several months. So if you get the chance to do so, I would advise you to just say yes. If you were unaware, the University of Sheffield offer this in some departments, you can check out the Global Opportunities and Exchanges page if you want to know more.

I’m so glad I said yes, as I’m having such a wonderful time here in Zürich. In my month or so of living here I have done and seen a lot, so I feel qualified to recommend some places to go or things to see, should you be planning a trip to Zürich at some point. Here’s my list of five things to do in the city.


As the French name suggests, this place really is beautiful. From the university it is only two tram stops, so is super easy to get to if you’re a student here. It’s probably best if you see it on a sunny day. When a friend from home visited me, the two of us had a picnic there and the weather was so gorgeous it felt almost Mediterranean.

Mountain Uetliberg

You may well have heard of this one before, as it is essentially Zürich’s own mountain. You can get the train from Zürich HB (central station) and within about 20 minutes you arrive, having passed through some simply breathtaking scenery on the way. There is a cable car which you can take one of the ways up or down the mountain, but my family and I decided to walk both ways. It’s a very pleasant and moderate hike, so if you’re not much of a walker then this would probably be okay for you. In some places it can be very steep though, so be warned! However, the views from the top are amazing, so it is definitely worth the climb.

Day trips to other nearby cities

If you decide you want to go a little further afield than Zürich, then there are some really lovely little Swiss towns and or cities which would be fun to explore. Personally I would recommend a day trip to a place called St Gallen, which is about an hour and a half from Zürich by train. Despite the rainy cold weather on that particular day, I thought it was very cute and there was quite a bit to do there too, such as several cathedrals (thankfully free!) to visit and shelter from the rain, and the Textilmuseum is fun too, coming in at only 5 CHF for students.

This was taken on a day trip to the nearby city, Luzern. It was a gorgeous day.
This was taken on a day trip to the nearby city of Luzern. It was a gorgeous day.

Cathedrals/Old Town

As the two are in very close proximity, you could definitely see both in one trip. The three main cathedrals in Zürich are Fraumunster, Grossmunster, and St Peters Kirche – all unique in their own way. I find cathedrals such enchanting places, as you can really sense so much history there, and often you will experience an inexplicable feeling of peace, whether religious or not. If you’ve had a busy day looking round the city, with lots of walking and sightseeing, taking a break by popping into a cathedral for twenty minutes or so is bound to help you feel relaxed and refreshed. The Old Town here is also lovely, with several cobbled streets to just stroll about in. There’s also a fabulous hilltop viewpoint, in which you get a great view of the city.

Botanical Gardens

Attached to the uni, this space offers a really lovely little oasis of green and calm. As with most things here, I’d recommend seeing it on a clear and sunny day. Perhaps take a picnic?

So, the next time you’re planning a city break, I hope you will consider Zürich! It’s such a lovely city and there’s certainly plenty here to keep you busy.

Words by Hope Elliott

Saya and Hope are your lifestyle editors.

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