At a glance
- Largest town: Zurich (400 000 inhabitants)
- Specialities: Zürcher Geschnetzeltes, Tirggel
- UNESCO World Heritage: Zurich Lake Dwellings
- Hotel industry: 351 hotels (18'180 rooms)
- Overnight stays/year: 6.29 million
Full of attractions
People around the world are often surprised that Bern and not Zurich is the capital city of Switzerland. The city on the Limmat is by far the largest city in Switzerland, has the largest airport and is the country's economic and cultural centre.
When the Swiss parliament elected Bern as the capital city in 1848, Zurich was the second-placed candidate. The defeat was clear with 79 to 48 votes. Zurich is politically not the center of Switzerland, but economically. And also touristically: No other Swiss tourist region generates more hotel overnight stays. In addition, the Zurich region (after Graubünden) has the second highest number of hotel rooms.
Zurich is the cultural center of Switzerland
You won't be bored in Zurich so quickly. Given the number and variety of cultural opportunities, it's no surprise. The city is home to some of the most important museums in Switzerland: the National Museum, the Kunsthaus or the Rietberg Museum are just a few examples. Zurich is also the theatre city of the country: the Schauspielhaus, the Theater am Hechtplatz or the Neumarkt Theatre attract culturally interested people from Zurich and from all over Switzerland week after week. After a visit to a theatre or museum, you can end the evening in one of Zurich's many vibrant restaurants or bars.
Oldest vegetarian restaurant in the world
For those who can do without meat, we recommend a visit to Hiltl, the oldest vegetarian restaurant in the world. From the first menu in 1903, vegetarians could order dishes such as mushroom soup (13 centimes) or a mixed salad (20 centimes). Today the variety is of course much greater. And the prices are no longer the same either.
Diverse Zurich region
Zurich is also attractive for day trips and short holidays outside the city limits. The surrounding region is diverse. Excursions around or boat trips on Lake Zurich are popular, as are side trips to the Zurich Oberland. If you feel like going up in the air, you can escape the hustle and bustle of Zurich with an excursion to the Uetliberg. Other mountains in the Zurich region are the Schnebelhorn, at 1,292 metres the highest peak in Canton Zurich, the Bachtel or the Hörnli, which are ideal for hiking and biking.
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Zurich Region in summer
With the oldest steamboat in Switzerland across the Greifensee
Not only in Lake Zurich, but also for example in the much more idyllic Greifensee, one can have a wonderful bath. The Greifensee is located in the Zurich Oberland and is still unspoilt in many places as it is in a nature conservation zone. There are three lidos on the lake: the Badi Furren in Greifensee, the Badi Maur and the Strandbad Uster. The Greifensee Castle is also worth seeing, which used to be the residence of the imperial city of Zurich. On lake Greifensee you can also take a trip on one of the scheduled boats that operate between Maur and Uster. Tip: book a nostalgic trip on Lake Greifensee - on Switzerland's oldest steamboat, built in 1895.
Wine hiking tour Eglisau
The town of Eglisau with its 3,500 inhabitants is idyllically situated on the Rhine between Unterland and Weinland. A visit to the small, medieval old town is well worthwhile, as is a wine hike in and around Eglisau. Thanks to the southern exposure and the pleasant climatic conditions in the little town, the vines thrive particularly well here. The 1.2 kilometre long hike begins at the Weierbachhaus, where the local museum is located. The trail is lined with information boards where you can learn everything about the production of local wine from the vine to the bottling process.
Bathing with sea lions in Connyland
In Conny-Land a very special experience awaits you and your children. Under the guidance of professional trainers, you can swim there together with sea lions. Of course, the participants also learn interesting facts about the animals and their way of life. You must register in advance on the Conny-Land website. Conny-Land in Lipperswil was founded almost 40 years ago by the Gasser family and is now the largest theme park in Switzerland.
Zurich Region in winter
Romantic atmosphere high above Zurich
Every winter, the Dolder artificial ice rink is transformed into a fairytale landscape. A huge Christmas tree creates a romantic atmosphere during the Advent season. More than 11,000 LED lamps transform the ice rink into a sea of glitter. There is always a big rush, but the ice rink is also big enough with its 6,000 square metres. The Dolder ice rink can be easily reached with the Dolderbahn, which runs from the Römerhof tram station. The trip with the funicular, built in 1895, takes six minutes.
Sledding on the Hörnli
With its 1,133 m above sea level, the Hörnli is one of the highest points in the canton of Zurich. The mountain near Fischenthal (Steg im Tösstal) in the Zurich Oberland is a popular excursion destination in summer and winter. In winter there is a 4.5 kilometre-long toboggan run from the Hörnli inn, which leads down to Steg station. There is no railway, so you have to earn the downhill run with a winter walk. But it is quite easy and therefore also suitable for children. In summer, the restaurant rents out scooters, which also guarantee a rapid descent.
Winter magic on Zurich's local mountain
Zurich's local mountain, the Uetliberg, is not only worth a visit in summer. On a snow-covered winter's day, there is hardly a more beautiful place in the city to take a walk and look down on the houses with their snow-covered roofs from above. At the Hotel Uto Kulm, which has been working with Hotelcard for years, you can warm up with a cup of tea or coffee and enjoy the romantic winter atmosphere.
Hot spots in Zurich Region
The city Rapperswil-Jona belongs to the canton St. Gallen, but due to its situation at the upper Lake Zurich, it also somehow belongs to the region Zurich. Apart from the beautiful old town and its location, Rapperswil-Jona is also worth a visit because of the medieval church of St. Dionys-Wurmsbach or the end Rapperswil, which was built between 1220 and 1230. Tip for families with children: Visit Knie's children's zoo, which is always open from March to October.
The small town of Eglisau is one of the few municipalities in the north of Switzerland, situated on both sides of the Rhine, which otherwise usually forms the border between Switzerland and Germany. Eglisau is known for its charming medieval old town - the first mention of the town dates back to 892. In the surroundings of Eglisau, where wine is grown on the slopes above the Rhine, there are several beautiful hiking trails - also along the Rhine. Always have your ID or passport with you, as some trails lead through German territory.
With its approximately 350 inhabitants, Volken is the smallest community in the canton of Zurich. The village is located in the Zürcher Weinland, where the name is program. One way of getting to know the local wine and the landscape characterised by green heights, vines and rolling hills is a wine hike.
What our members say
"The mountains are our favourite destination. Switzerland has so many beautiful places to go and, thanks to Hotelcard, we can explore them at a discount."Oli Steffen
"I celebrated my 70th birthday with my husband in a pretty, charming hotel on Lake Constance thanks to the Hotelcard - a dream came true! For retired people like us Hotelcard is great hit."Verena Tanner
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