Types of Girls about the Globe – Arty & Museum GatG, City GatG, Shopping GatG
Zurich is such a cool city! Having visited this city six years ago, I returned last week for the Zurich Street Parade, a day and evening full of party trucks and DJs. If you’re a party Girl about the Globe I definitely recommend going for this event next year which is said to attract half a million party dwellers. Although I wasn’t solo for this event, I have spent time here solo in the past and recommend this Swiss city for women travelling alone.
Follow my guide below on where to eat, drink, sleep and sightsee and also where to meet others in this vibrant city. Just don’t forget to take your credit card as the city isn’t cheap!
Stay for – 2/3 nights
Safety in Zurich – Zurich is a really safe city but just be careful of pickpockets. You may find tourist touts at the main train station so be firm if you don’t want to interact with them. Anywhere there are crowds keep an eye on your bag and purse, especially in Langstrasse, the Red Light District and near the train station and lakefront at night.
Did you know? Zurich is the wealthiest European city.
Languages spoken in Zurich – German, English and French.
Zurich is on the shores of Lake Zurich and is just one of the Swiss cities with a lake. If you do spend time in Zurich, this city is ideal for a shopping spree. Head to Bahnhofstrasse for the famous shopping mile. Known as a banking and finance hub, the city also offers river cruises which are a different way to see the city. You can even jump on an old steam ship.
Bikes here are free so grab yourself one and cycle around the city for some sightseeing and exercise rolled into one, or join the free walking tour to meet others. Summer is a great time to visit here with open-air bars and restaurants. Stroll along the lake promenades and feed the swans or just enjoy the harmony of the old blended with the new.
When it’s hot and sunny you’ll find people hanging out by the water so take your bikini and sarong to join them. If you prefer the solitude, head to the east side of the lake to lose yourself in a picturesque garden of roses. As you’ll find all over Switzerland, this city has beautiful scenery, and it perfect for hiking. We think it has everything that a city needs and more.
Zurich Attractions: Top Must-Sees For Solos
The Church of Our Lady is one of Zurich’s quintessential landmarks. It has beautiful Chagall stained windows and was once an old abbey for aristocratic ladies known as the “Women’s Minister.” You have to pay to enter but you do get entrance into crypt museum and information explaining the history of this beautiful church with a unique turquoise spire. Time your visit for when a choir is performing for an ethereal experience. (Time = 1-2 hours)
This is perfect for art lovers with its impressive collection of sculptures and paintings from numerous artists. You’ll find all the faves here from Van Gogh to Kandinsky and can easily spend hours pondering your thoughts amongst exquisite art. (Time = 3-4 hours)
Zurich Old Town
Explore the narrow medieval lanes of Zurich’s Old Town and wonder past hidden gems, stopping off at one of the restaurant en-route to people watch and rest your weary feet. The route is flat and you can easily navigate yourself with the route highlighted on a Zurich city map. Just pick one up from the train station or tourist office or take a Zurich Old Town walking tour instead. (Time = 1/2 day)
Go to Uetliberg
It may be 20 minutes outside of the city but the train ride is worth it for the breathtaking panorama view of the Limmat River and Zurich. Once you’ve snapped stunning photos treat yourself to a Swiss dessert at the restaurant before you take a cable car back down. It’s worth paying to climb to the top of the observation tower. Take the Bahnhof SZU track 21 and 22 from Zurich HBF and either cycle or hike up. (Time = 1/2 day)
Another one of Zurich’s famous landmarks with great views from the top. This Evangelical Protestant church dates back to 1100 and has impressive neo- Gothic towers which were added in the late 18th Century. The stained glass windows and Romanesque crypt are definitely worth a look. You may want to avoid climbing the 187 stairs if you are a bit claustrophobic. There is an entrance fee. (Time = 1-2 hours)
Things To See in Zurich
Escape the crowds
The Botanical Garden at the University of Zurich. – relax amongst the palm trees, pond and exotic plants in this peaceful garden with 9000 different plant species. Visit in the Spring to hear the frog chorus within this 53,000 m2 nature garden.
The Chinese palaces and pavilions in the Chinese Garden, near Lake Zurich. Zurichhorn – A place where you can see the whole coast of the Zurich Lake. Take tram 4 from the main train station and get off at Frohlichstrasse.
Best view in Zurich
The Lindenhof hill – Enjoy views of the Limmat river, Old Town and Grossmunster Church on the top of this hill known for its linden trees. Here you’ll find a statue dedicated to female soldiers, a Roman tombstone and locals playing chess.
Places to enjoy the sun
Just 10 minutes from the centre of Zurich is Flussbad Oberer Letten, a public beach where you can swim or sunbathe. You can also swim in one of the lake baths and catch some rays along the lake promenades.
Zurich has many markets. Whether you are into flea markets or fresh fruit and veg, there are enough markets in Zurich to keep you busy.
- Wednesday mornings – Head to the Fruit and Veg Market Oerlikon – The biggest fruit and veg market. Stop for a coffee at Marktplatz Square to people-watch.
- Wednesdays (most) – Find organic produce at Bahnofmarkt, a farmers market.
- Thursdays & Saturdays – Head to Rosenhofmarkt in the Niederdorf area for handcrafted jewellery and trinkets. This hippie-style market also offers different cuisine.
- Visit Zurich at Christmas time for the Christmas markets.
What To Do in Zurich (for all Girls about the Globe)
- Stroll along the lake promenades or go for a run on the jogging trail in Irchelpark.
- If you want some company for your run – join a running tour around the city.
- Pick up a tourist map and follow the green trail around the city.
- Rent a rowing boat and see Zurich from the lake. Rent boats from the Enge side of the lake, and at the river side of the Quaibrucke at Bellevue.
- Rent a bike from one of the locations around the city (you’ll need yourpassport and a deposit)
- Cycle around the city with company on a 2 hour bicycle tour.
- Go cruising – Head out on a lake cruise or hop aboard a paddle steamer for a nostalgic ride on Lake Zurich. You can opt for different cruises from 90 minutes to 4 hours.
Solo’s Tip – “Take a day trip to Stein am Rhein – this small town on the shores of the Rhine is such a picturesque spot.”
Arty & Museum GatG
If you love art and museums, there are over 50 museums in Zurich to choose from. Not to mention the 100 art galleries. Here are our favourites:
- Sammlung Oskar Reinhard Am Römerholz – Has one of the finest art collections in Switzerland with art from as far back as the 16th Century.
- Don’t miss Kunsthaus Zurich with 19th century sculptures and paintings.
- Catch a Van Gogh, or Rembrandt at the Museum of Fine Art.
- Stiftung Sammlung E.G. Buhrle – Lose yourself in a Monet amongst others (only open on the 1st Sunday of the month.
- The Rietberg Museum was a former villa now turned museum. With a collection of paintings and sculptures from other parts of the world.
- Visit the Swiss National Museum, one of the most important art museums of cultural history, which is inside a castle.
- Enjoy free admission at some of the city’s museums.
- Stroll around the old town and window shop through the lanes.
- Watch open air movies, concerts and other activities at the MFO Park • Listen to a street musician on the lake promenades.
- Grab a free bike and cycle around the city.
Head to Sprüngli chocolatiers. or one of the Läderach’s chocolate shops. Being a land of chocolate makers you won’t just find ordinary Lindt chocolate at Wollishofen-Enge; where you can indulge in a champagne truffle or two. Combine your chocolate tasting with an hour cruise and a Zurich city tour, or zip around the city on a chocolate tasting tuk-tuk tour.
- Landesmuseum – discover the history and culture of the Swiss people and see ancient artefacts.
- Swiss Traditions Tour – Experience the Swiss traditions. Visit a cheese dairy, and learn about the traditions and culture at Appenzell before heading to the heritage museum.
- Zurich Food Tours – Experience the eating and drinking culture of Zurich (great if you want some company for dining).
Discover the fascinating history of Zurich on a historical walking tour.
There are so many gorgeous nature spots from Zurich. Allow a whole day each to experience these stunning spots:
- Head out of the city to see Europe’s largest waterfall, Rhine Falls. You can see the falls from both sides of the river.
- Combine amazing views with a trip on a steam train. Take a train to the alpine summit of Bringer Rothorn for a view of the Berne Alps and Lake Brienz.
Watch the sunset – in Zug, a charming village on Lake Zug (also known for its delicious cherries).
Shopping in Zurich – Shopping GatG
Splurge at one of the city’s high-end boutiques at Bahnhofstrasse or head to the hip and trendy area of Im Viadukt area. Explore four floors of vintage at Zurcher Brockenhaus to pick up an antique. There is shopping for every taste but don’t expect to shop on Sundays when most shops are closed.
Get pampered in a former brewery at Hürlimann Areal thermal bath and spa and indulge in an Irish-Roman spa ritual. Or pamper yourself in a fairytale castle at the Dolder Hotel – one of Switzerland’s most exclusive spas with day spa offers.
Don’t have much time? Take the tram around the city to see all the sights then go back to visit the ones that you really want to see.
Where to Meet Others
- One of the parks in Zurich Nord – an industrial area where you won’t find that many tourists.
- Learn about Zurich’s culture and life and meet expats to gain insider tips into Zurich on a free walk. Meet every 2nd and 4th Thursday at 7pm at Paradeplatz for a two hour tour.
- In the residential area of Wiedikon. Pop into the Falcone on a Thursday night for the open jam sessions.
- Take your bikini and sarong and head down to the lake in the summer or do as the locals do and float down the river.
- On one of the free walking tours.
- Join others and experience the nightlife on a bar tour.
- On a riverboat dinner cruise.
Local’s Tip – “In Summer you can find parties at people's rooftops, just bring something to grill and drink, and enjoy people, music and view from the top.
Zurich Day Tours
Free walking tours are a great way of getting your bearings when you first arrive in Zurich. You don’t need to book any of the following tours, just turn up and give a donation at the end depending on how much you enjoyed the tour.
- Zurich Downtown tours everyday at 11am Paradeplatz – Check the website for more information.
- Explore the trendy areas of Zurich west every day at 3pm at Prime Tower, the highest building in Switzerland on a walking tour.
- If you are here on a weekend, find out more about the history of Zurich at 11am both Saturdays and Sundays.
- If you prefer not to be in a group, Zurich day tours also arrange private paid tours such as the War, Terror and Revolution Tour, Jewish Tour, and The Reformation in Zurich.
- On a lake cruise – Enjoy Zurich from the lake whether for just a short cruise or half a day You can even see the mountains in the east on a clear day.Have a tourist moment – Hire a pedalo and pedal yourself around the lake, or take a classic trolly tour around the city.
Where to wear your heels – At a ballet, opera or classical concert at Opernhaus Zurich – Zurich’s gorgeous opera house. Or at Club Q – A famous music spot which will eat into your travel budget.
Things to do in Zurich at Night
- Meet expats to gain insider tips into Zurich nightlife and learn some of the local lingo. Every 2nd and 4th Thursday at 7pm at Paradeplatz for a two hour free tour (just pay your donation at the end).
- Explore Zurich’s red light district on an educating one hour tour. Meeting every second Saturday of the month at Helvetiaplatz at 8pm. The tour is free, just make a donation afterwards.
- Watch an opera, ballet or classical concert at Opernhaus Zurich, a small but beautiful venue. Pre-book a ticket online beforehand.
- Head for some shopping and dinner in the Kalkbreite area before watching a movie at the cinema here.
- Explore the beauty of the old town at night and walk around on foot.
Zurich has a buzzing nightlife with clubs closing between 2-4am. If you feel confident and ready to party with the locals, you’ll find the party animals at bars and nightclubs at Im Viadukt. Head to Jules Verne Panorama Bar for great city views, then onto Club Indochina or Rohstofflager to meet some locals to party with for the evening.
If you are visiting Zurich on a weekend you’ll find arranged pub crawls which are great for solos. Not only are they a way of experiencing the nightlife of a place without the awkward feeling of walking into a bar by yourself but they are also ideal to meet others to sightsee with the day after.
Join Zurich Pub Crawl – Held every Friday and Saturday nights at 9pm. Pay CHF 20 for welcome shots, one shot in every pub and entrance into the club. Go to Zurich Pub Crawl for more details.
Local Girl’s Tip – Some nightclubs have entry fees but one which has free entrance is PurPur. Just don’t forget to take ID. (It’s also a coffee-bar and lounge during the day).
Where To Stay in Zurich
The Old Town is an ideal location to stay in with gorgeous medieval architecture or stay in the artisan area of Niederdorf with pedestrian-only streets and lots of places to eat.
Offers a magical oasis at Lake Zurich in traditional Swiss houses amongst a waterfall, ponds and streams. Experience an intercultural exchange, learn new skills and be part of a vibrant international community. Choose a dorm room, or upgrade to a studio, single or double room.
- Prices from £21 per night for a bed in a mixed dorm
- To book, check prices or availability for Synergy Village
Youth Hostel Zurich
In a quiet location near the lake, Youth Hostel Zurich offers female-only dorms and a buffet breakfast. There’s an inner courtyard for getting to know others, a 24 hour reception so there is always someone there at night and friendly staff. Rooms vary from a 4/6 bed dorm or single/double rooms.
- Prices start from £38 per night for a 4 bed dorm
- To book, check prices or availability for Youth Hostel Zurich
The Flag Zurich, Zurich
With an arty concept in each room, you’ll also find art exhibitions in the reception area. If you are planning to shop in Zurich this is close to luxury brand shopping so you can shop til you drop. Perfect for arty, shopaholic solos.
- Prices start from £89 per night
- To book, check prices or availability for The Flag Zurich
Where to Eat & Drink
Best Restaurants in Zurich for Solos
Zurich has a mix of restaurants and bars. Head to the Im Viadukt area for an alternative area to eat, drink and be merry.
$ – Za’atar. This is more of a bakery than a restaurant but it’s perfect for those who feel awkward when dining alone. Serving Lebanese and Middle Eastern food you’ll find humous and vegetarian mezze as well as pastry options. Find at Brauerstrasse 78.
$ – Restaurant Ach’i. If you are missing Asian food this clean, light restaurant offers quick Chinese and Thai dishes with bench-style seating so you can strike up a conversation with others as you eat. Find at Brauerstrasse 4.
$$ – La Fonte. For some tasty Italian dishes, La Fonte is a taste of Italy in Zurich. It’s near a tram station so easy to reach on public transport. Run by Italians you can order the classic Italian dishes. They even have gluten-free pizza but make sure you make a reservation before you go so you don’t miss out. Find at Duebendorfstrasse 223.
Restaurants for typical cuisine
$$ – Le Dezaley. If you fancy a Swiss fondue this Swiss and European restaurant is ideal to try the local delicacy. The restaurant is cosy and welcoming with friendly service and there is more than fondue on the menu including some traditional desserts. Find at Roemergasse 7/9.
$$ – Differente Hotel Krone Unterstrass. You are guaranteed to find something that you like in this restaurant which has a large selection of dishes to choose from. Choose from seafood or tartar dishes which the restaurant is known for. The staff are really accommodating and there is a good selection of wines to wash down your meal. You can even treat yourself to lobster. Find at Schaffhauserstrasse 1.
Vegetarian Restaurants in Zurich
Tibits – For all different types of international cuisine Tibits is a good choice. This vegetarian and vegan restaurant has more than one store in Zurich with a variety of hot and cold food. You choose your food and pay by weight. Find stores here.
Hiltl – This is no ordinary restaurant, in fact Haus Hiltl has more than one location in the city and is a restaurant, a bar, a takeaway, a buffet, and a club (amongst others). It’s a complete veggie experience. Visit their website for details.
Enjoy a Coffee and a Cake
Confiserie Sprungli – There’s a reason that this is one of the best dessert places in the city because it literally is. Locals even frequent this place as it’s that good. Choose from an afternoon cake and hot chocolate or a scrumptious breakfast. Find at Bahnhofstrasse 21.
Street Food – If you can’t find any local food stands, pop into a bakery and order a Wurstweggen. If you fancy cooking your own meals or taking a picnic down to the lake, you’ll find fresh ingredients in a Migros or Coop.
Where to Drink
Bars in Zurich
Barflyz – Sophistication with friendly staff and a very-welcoming cocktail list. You can also grab a cheap bite to eat early evening. Find at Gotthardstrasse 21.
Widder Bar – A welcoming bar where you can enjoy one of the 250 malt whiskies (or a cocktail) whilst listening to the sounds of jazz or piano music. Find at Widdergasse 6.
Old Crow – A cosy bar with a relaxed vibe and friendly bar staff. Tucked away in a small alley away from the busy bars. Find at Schwanengasse 4.
Getting Around Zurich
Switzerland is known for its efficient transport system but with Zurich not being that big, it is easy to walk around and navigate on foot.
Trams – Trams run all day, starting in the early hours (from 5am until 1am) and cover more of the city than the trains. If you are planning to do more than one return trip, purchase a day pass instead from one of the tram stops.
Buses – If you don’t fancy the tram, take the bus instead. These run from 5am until midnight. Just buy your ticket at the bus stop beforehand. Taking a 2 hour sightseeing bus tour is also a good way to see the sites.
Budget GatG – If you are staying in Zurich for 24 to 72 hours, it’s worth looking at a Zurich card. This offers unlimited 2nd class travel and free or reduced admission to many of Zurich’s museums.
From Zurich Airport
The best way to get from Zurich Kloten Airport to the city is with the train. Trains run frequently and only take 15 minutes, costing CHF 7. These are near check in.Taxis costs CHF 70 and are available from Terminals 1 and 2.
The train system in Switzerland is fantastic. Zurich is one of the biggest hubs with trains to the rest of Switzerland as well as its European neighbours. Head to Hauptbahnhof in the city centre where the trains and trams interconnect. Buy your ticket for your onward journey out of Zurich at one of the self-service machines.
TIP – If you are planning on seeing more of Switzerland, consider a Swiss Pass from 3 days to 15 days. As well as access to rail, bus, boat and some trams, it also includes 50% on most cable cars and entrance into hundreds of museums.