Though both London and Zurich are major European finance capitals, the Swiss city’s historic, cobbled streets are a welcome getaway for those looking for a quick escape from the bustling London surroundings. Zurich is a contemporary, culture-rich city that consistently ranks among the world’s most liveable and has a little something for everyone.
Inside the city, you’ll find fine dining, nightlife and an art and music scene that is sure to please, in addition to fabulous cityscape vistas from the Üetliberg mountain that borders the city. With the snow-dusted peaks of the Alps just a train ride away, Zurich is also a great starting-off point for a longer Swiss holiday.
Whether you find yourself passing a hot summer’s day by the riverside in the Lindenhof or sledging down the snow-covered slopes of the Üetliberg mountain, Zurich has something to offer in every season of the year. The twin cathedrals of the Grossmünster and Fraumünster are sure to attract your gaze as you stroll through the old city. Meanwhile, a trip on one of the Lake Zurich ferries or one of the hill-climbing funicular railways will afford you stunning views of the city.
The Altstadt, Zurich’s historic centre, is home to the Fraumünster cathedral and the wide Bahnhofstrasse shopping boulevard, as well as the city’s riverside Lindenhof park. The historic Niederdorf and avant-garde Züri-West neighbourhoods are other must-sees. Luckily, Zurich is eminently walkable, and its incredibly well-designed public transit network makes getting around a breeze. For the active visitor, the Züri Rollt programme offers free bike hires throughout the city.
Discover te enigmatic lakeside city and book a flight from London to Zurich now.
- All timetable details may be subject to change. Insofar as is permitted by law, SWISS accepts no liability for the correctness and completeness of the details provided.
What language is spoken in Zurich?
Good question! Though Switzerland has four (yes, four!) official languages, the main language spoken in Zurich is German. But never fear: English is a common language in the city, and most people who come into contact with holidaymakers will have some command of the language. However, a well-placed grüezi (hello) or danke schön (thank you) will certainly be appreciated and can help you stand out from your fellow travellers.
What currency should I bring?
Unlike other trips to the continent, it won’t be euros you’ll be procuring. The currency in Switzerland is the Swiss Franc, often abbreviated CHF. You shouldn’t have any trouble acquiring some before your travel, either from your bank or at the airport upon arrival. ATMs in the country also accept most credit and bank cards - but make sure to check about yours before you leave!
How long does it take to get to Zurich?
Daily direct flights to Zurich from London within 1.5 hours.
With its long history and vibrant cultural scene, Zurich has no shortage of things to do. The following is just a sampling of what your Zurich holiday could feature:
- Guild halls
- Grossmünster cathedral
- FIFA Football Museum
- Lake Zurich
Guild halls: starting in the 14th century, these historic structures held the guilds that helped put Zurich on the commercial map. They lend themselves to a walking tour or a gourmet lunch ensconced in history.
Grossmünster cathedral: nine centuries on, its twin spires dominate the skyline of the historic centre. The crypts and stained-glass windows are worth a look, and energetic travellers can climb the 187 steps of the South Tower for sweeping city views.
Hauptbahnhof: a train lover’s delight! The Central Station has nearly 3,000 departures each day, making it one of Europe’s busiest. Watch the trains or head down to the Bahnhofstrasse for some shopping.
FIFA Football Museum: for the little ones or the football fanatics, the headquarters of the international football organisation holds a museum with World Cup mementos and enjoyable activities for young and old.
Head down to the water: the cool, crystal-clear waters of Lake Zurich and the Limmat River are ideal for a dip on a summer’s day or a boat ride to take in the sights of the city.
Culture in Zurich
The cultural scene in Zurich is a surprise at first glance: the commerce-driven city that nonetheless gave rise to the countercultural Dadaist movement a century ago. The roots of this movement are still on display in the contemporary Kunsthalle or over drinks at the Cabaret Voltaire. For a glance further back into history, the Kunsthaus offers a sweeping view of centuries of European art. The Swiss National Museum has over 100 rooms with exhibits that showcase the country’s past from Roman times to the present.
Zurich is home to several noteworthy festivals, including the annual Street-Parade in August, a week-long extravaganza of floats, dancing and costumes. The stages and galleries come to life during the Festspiele in June and the Theaterspektakel in August. On a winter trip, be sure to check out the many Christmas markets that dot the city. The central train station hosts one of Europe’s largest indoor events, with a giant 15 m tree bedecked in Swarovski crystals. Your Swiss holiday is just a short flight away; let us or one of our partner airlines take you there today!
Find out more about Great Britain's capital in our London guide.
Enjoy Zurich’s culinary highlights
Residents of this prosperous city love to eat well and look their best, meaning that visitors will be spoilt for choice as they explore the city’s culinary delights and retail offerings.
Start your day right with a healthy and delicious breakfast specialty that originated in Zurich: muesli. Developed around 1900 by Swiss physician Dr. Max Büchner-Benner, muesli is now famous all over the world – and the ideal basis for an active day of sightseeing in the streets of Zurich.
Fans of hearty, traditional meals are in for a treat: the notorious cheese fondue and the raclette are perfect for cheese-lovers that like to share. The popular “Zürcher Geschnetzelte” combines veal with mushrooms and lots of cream. Especially in wintertime, the “Zürcher Zouftschriibertopf”, which loosely translates to “guild writer’s stew”, warms your belly after a cold day on the ski slopes. It consists of beef, pork and veal filets, bacon, liver and kidney together with carrots, peas and potatoes.
Shopping in Zurich
Zurich has no shortage of shopping options, with the areas around the Langstrasse and Bahnhofstrasse offering the best pickings. Haute couture, souvenirs and local delicacies are all on offer for the discerning shopper.
Begin your retail therapy on the Bahnhofstrasse, home to some of the city’s premier shops and restaurants. Traditional Swiss delicacies are on offer alongside cosmopolitan décor and a smorgasbord of the world’s most famous brands.
Beneath the arches of a viaduct in the Zurich-West neighbourhood is the Im Viadukt shopping centre, a great place to shop for the latest fashion or enjoy the gourmet offerings of its covered food market.
A “city within a city”, the Sihlcity mall extends over three buildings including a repurposed paper mill. The leisure and shopping paradise also contains a multiplex cinema and play areas for children.
London - ZurichFlight duration: 01:40 hrs total, Frequency: 8 x daily
Departure LondonTerminal: 2Counter opening time: 2 h prior to departure
Airbus A321-111Height: 11.80 mLength: 44.50 mSeats: 176-200
Crew:Pilots: 2Cabin crew: 5
Arrival ZurichDistance to city centre: 12 km