Zürich Walking Tours Several tours I wrote in 2007
Bahnhofstrasse is Zürich’s main street. Seven different tram lines run up and down the street between Zürich’s Hauptbahnhof (main train station) and Burkliplatz on the Zürichsee (Zürich lake). No visit to Zürich would be complete without a walk and window shopping on Bahnhofstrasse.
Start at the south exit from the Hauptbahnhof. Cross the square, be careful of all the traffic and trams. Bahnhofstrasse is mostly dedicated to public transit vehicles although delivery trucks and taxis are allowed on many segments of the street (a good compromise between public transit priority and business). Bahnhofstrasse has some of the highest rents in the world, look at the prices in the windows and you will see why!
At Uraniastrasse private vehicles are allowed to use Bahnhofstrasse for one block to access a bridge across the Limmat River. The Urania building located on Uraniastrasse 9 has the Jules Verne Panorama Bar in the observation tower. The bar has great views over the city and is especially beautiful at night.
Continuing down Bahnhofstrasse, you will see Rennweg branching up to the left (this is part of the Altstadt tour outlined above).
This section of Bahnhofstrasse includes many small pedestrian streets opening on the left side, the Augustinergassegasse is particularly interesting with many renovated medieval buildings. Return to Bahnhofstrasse and continue to Paradeplatz.
Paradeplatz is a major interchange point between different tram lines. The shelter has been renovated to its 1950s glory. Also on Paradeplatz is the Sprüngli chocolate shop with a restaurant one floor above the street. This is a wonderful place for breakfast and people watching.
After your chocolate experience continue walking down Bahnhofstrasse towards the lake. There are two ‘Hofs’ on the left side of the street. These are office/retail blocks with a central open space. You might want to wander into one of them to take a look, they both have fountains and cafes on the interior courtyards.
Bahnhofstrasse ends at Bürkliplatz. Here you can catch a cruise on a Zürichsee boat (see for more information).
There is also a farmers market at Bürkliplatz every Tuesday and Friday morning (from about 7 am until 11 am). It is a great place to watch people and pick-up picnic food.
Zürichsee Walking Tour
The Zürichsee, Zr0069006300680027s lake, is one of the most popular places in the city. The entire lakeshore within Zr0069006300680020is a public park with many different attractions. Start you tour by taking a Tram, S-Bahn or riverboat to the Tiefenbrunnen station. If you have come by tram or train, walk across Bellerive Strasse to the lakeshore path and turn right.
Walking back towards the city from Tiefenbrunnen, you will pass a public beach. (In winter you can simply walk through; in summer you need to pay to enter.) The public beach is a classic facility with lockers, showers, and different water-play areas for all ages. Note that you can swim anywhere on the lake, so you don’t need to pay unless you want to use the
Continuing along the lakeshore, you will pass the Zürichhorn Casino, a restaurant and exhibition hall. Walk straight to the Zürichhorn point, where the Fischstube Restaurant is located in a building (rebuilt following a fire) from the Swiss National Exhibition held in Zürich. The views from the restaurant are incredible and you can eat outside just inches above the water.
After the Fischstube, return to the path and continue walking towards the city. On your right will be the China Garten. Just past the China Garten is the Heidi Weber Pavilion a museum/exhibition center designed by Le Corbusier. (You will need to look hard to find it, it is in the trees; also, check the website for opening hours.) Continuing north you will pass the Museum Bellerive, a mansion formerly owned by the Jacobs (of coffee fame) family. The museum includes a collection of coffee items and also has exhibitions.
As you get closer to the city centre, you will find more and more people. On a summer weekend, the park land
will be filled with people sunbathing, playing ball, picnicking, and just hanging out.
Soon you reach the Utoquai Bad, a floating swimming area in the lake. This building is a classical floating building that surrounds an area for swimming. The building includes lockers, showers, massage and spa treatment rooms, and a restaurant. The building is owned by the city and rented to private operators. The graffiti-art makes an odd contrast
with the classical building.
The next section of the lakeside walk is the most popular part. Most of the people seem to simply be out to see and be seen. There is a nice kiosk restaurant serving wurst and beer at outdoor tables. It’s a great place to enjoy a beer and watch people on a sunny day.
Continue walking and you reach Bellvueplatz. You can end your tour here or continue to explore the other side of the lake. To continue, cross the Quaibrücke to Bürkliplatz. Bürkliplatz is where the
Zürichsee steam ships leave (see Getting Around: Public Transit in Zürich).
The west side of the lake is a bit less developed with attractions than the east side, with more space for sports and recreation. There is a lakeside walking path and several beaches and small boat harbors on this side, as well as restaurants and bars.