Discover Zurich on Foot – From Historic to Industrial

By Karen Bianchi, January 31, 2024

Even Zurich, Switzerland’s largest city, can easily be explored by foot as everything is close by. I take you on a walk through my well-loved, ever changing hometown where I like to stroll around any time of the year and I always explore something new. Every season has its own charm, be it walking along lake Zurich on a snowy winter day, swimming in the river Limmat in summer or admiring the foliage during an autumn stroll.

Limmat Walk

Make your way to Central, across the bridge from Zurich main station. There you take the historic red cogwheel train Polybahn up to Poly terrace ETH for amazing views over the city, Lake Zurich and the majestic Alps. From the terrace you take the path down many steps to Hirschengraben, further on to Seilergraben and continue straight on Mühlegasse into the old town. On Niederdorfstrasse turn left and stroll all the way through the Niederdorf to the church Grossmünster with its two towers, characteristic for the city.

Zurich Polybahn

TIP – If you like you can climb up the winding stairs in Karlsturm (one of the two towers) for great views over the old town with its rooftop terraces and narrow alleys and the lake.

Just a few steps down from Grossmünster is Limmatquai. Cross the river on Münster bridge towards another one of Zurich’s landmarks: The Fraumünster church is well known for its stained glass windows by Marc Chagall and Giacometti. From Münsterhofplatz, with the church behind you, head to St. Peterhofstatt. Enjoy the peace on this old town square and admire the St. Peter church’s dial, the biggest one in Europe. Continue to Lindenhof for nice views on Limmatquai and Niederdorf opposite the river. Lindenhof is more busy than St. Peterhofstatt but nevertheless a pretty square with old men playing chess under a roof of basswood trees (=Linden). On the other side of Lindenhof turn left on Fortunagasse and walk along Kuttelgasse which leaves you right on Bahnhofstrasse and at the tram stop Rennweg. Take tram number 13 and get off at the 2nd stop «Bahnhofquai».

Limmat Old Town

On Bahnhofquai walk towards the Swiss National Museum right behind Zurich main station. Walk into the riverside park Platzspitz and all the way to the very end where you take the small pedestrian bridge over the river.

TIP – The Swiss National Museum is always worth a visit. The majestic building is interesting for its exhibitions but also for the architecture, part of it like a historic fairytale castle, part of it minimalist modern. We recommend to visit the historical rooms as well as the special exhibitions about relevant topics and the permanent, free Zurich exhibit.

Now you follow the river Limmat downstream, past the river bath Oberer Letten, and to the beginning of the viaduct. In case you’re in need of a coffee we recommend Café Nude on the river bank below the viaduct.

Continue on the viaduct across the river and then down the ramp to the Markthalle – the public market – to have a look at the gourmet food. Stroll all the way along the viaduct with its fashion and lifestyle boutiques with many Swiss brands.

The Freitag Tower next door, consisting of various stacked shipping containers is the brand’s Flagship store and showcases their product range: Freitag bags and accessories, designed in Switzerland and known all over the world.

TIP – If you’re looking for a very relaxed location for a break, Frau Gerolds Garten is for you – an urban beer garden on an industrial site.

Zurich West