Tourist information about Zurich
Zurich is a byword for international banking and the Swiss city has an importance that belies its size. It is located on the banks of the River Limmat on Switzerland's central plain at the northern tip of Lake Zurich.
Its origins date from 15BC when a Roman customs post was set up here. Its heyday was the 16th century Reformation which kick-started its growth. By the 19th century the city had become a major commercial and financial centre.
Modern Zurich is a city of bankers in a country of banks and its wealth is altogether obvious in the fine buildings, elegant shops and trendy bars and cafes that fill the largely traffic-free city centre areas.
The compact city centre and modest size makes it an ideal tourist destination and promenades along the lakeside are popular as are cruises on the lake.
Churches and burgher houses of the Old Town are clustered on either side of the River Limmat, between the Hauptbahnhof and Lake Zurich with the left bank noted for its lively nightlife, clubs and bars.
Key attractions are the twin towers of Grossmunster cathedral, which dates back to the 11th century, and the Fraumunster church which has stained glass windows designed by the artist Marc Chagal.
The Zurich Art Gellery boasts works by major international artists and the Swiss National Museum is also housed here. Other attractions are Zurich zoo with 1,500 animals, the Botanical Gardens and a cable car ride to Uetliberg, the highest point in the city with panoramic views over the lake.
There is a very efficient bus and tram network plus ferry services across the lake. Motorways skirt the city centre making it easy to get to but parking in the city can be difficult.
The A1 passes through Zurich’s outskirts from Geneva and Berne to Winterthur and St Gallen. The A3 skirts the shore of Lake Zurich from Lucerne and the A136 to Innsbruck joins the E17 north to Munich and south to Basle.
Trains run frequently to all major Eurpean cities including Stuttgart, Frankfurt, Hanover and Hamburg. Trains also run to Dresden, Berlin and Amsterdam with a sleeper service to Barcelona. There are services from Rome, Venice, Vienna and Budapest.
Zürich-Kloten Airport is 11km north east of the city centre and ranks ninth among Europe’s largest airports. Flights arrive from 197 cities in 82 countries with 75 scheduled and 50 chartered airlines. Trains run from beneath the airport to the city centre every 10-15min and the A51 connects Zurich with the airport with bus services.