Looking for a holiday destination with something for everyone? We suggest flying from San Francisco to the magical alpine city of Zurich. The ‘gateway to Switzerland’ and the nation’s largest city is a striking blend of contemporary and historic, extreme and chilled.
Zurich resides over the pristine waters of Lake Zurich at the bottom of the Alps in the region known as the Swiss Plateau. Whether you’re an adrenalin junkie looking for fast-paced outdoor activities, a seasoned hiker and mountain climber or art buff and architecture aficionado, Zurich will not fail to deliver and impress. Jaw-dropping natural beauty, winter sports, fine dining and entertainment, architecture, art and museums, a vibrant cultural atmosphere and a lot of fun await.
Overlooking Lake Zurich and the Limmat River, anytime of the year is a good time to visit the beautiful Swiss city of Zurich. Throughout the year, the city is host to a number of street carnivals, parades and music festivals. For film buffs, the annual Zurich Film Festival is held in September.
For the outdoorsy, a hike up Üetliberg (elevation approx. 870 m/2854 ft) will be rewarded with spectacular and expansive views over the city and the lake to the snow-capped peaks beyond.
Discover the jewel in the Swiss crown and book your flight from San Francisco 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.
Is it easy to get to and from the Zurich airport?
The Zurich public transportation system includes rail, streetcar and bus services, all of which run between the city center and the airport. The train takes between 10-15 minutes and departs every 5-10 minutes. By streetcar, the journey is about 35 minutes (Line 10) and 30-40 minutes by airport shuttle bus. Cabs are also available.
What about getting around the rest of Zurich?
Zurich public transportation is simple, fast and reliable thanks to its unified fare system. This means one ticket works across all public transportation services including train, streetcar and buses. Another great way to get around is by bicycle rental. This allows you to explore at your own pace while getting some exercise.
Which time of year is the best time to visit Zurich?
Anytime is a good time to visit Zurich. During summer, the temperatures are warm enough for swimming in the lake, hiking in the mountains and exploring the city. During winter visitors come and play in the snow at the many mountain resorts located nearby Zurich.
Attractions in Zurich: Traditional meets modern
Zurich has something for everyone, and you will not be disappointed. Here are some of the most popular attractions:
- Le Corbusier House
- Prime Tower
- Grosser Haffner and Kleiner Haffner
- Ski resort Hoch-Ybrig
- Lake Zurich
Zurich's architectural heritage
The architectural heritage of Zurich is a striking blend of old and new, featuring Baroque, Classicism, Neo-Classicism masterpieces alongside contemporary works such as Le Corbusier House and Prime Tower
Altstadt (Old Town) is a great place to explore, stretching along both sides of the Limmat River and housing the four oldest churches in Zurich - Grossmünster, Wasserkirche, St. Peter’s and Fraumünster
Visit the nearby prehistoric settlements of Grosser Hafner and Kleiner Haffner, Neolithic UNESCO world heritage sites and believed to have been inhabited around 7,000 years ago
Winter or summer: Both will be fun
During the winter months, ski buffs and snowboarders can hit the slopes of the nearby Hoch-Ybrig ski resort to enjoy the deep, fluffy powder on satisfying runs.
Take a dip in the pristine waters of Lake Zurich. During the warmer months, the waters are a surprisingly pleasant temperature, despite its alpine location. Lake cruises are also available, during which you will have prime opportunities to witness the full splendor of the Swiss landscape.
Find out more attractions of Zurich in our Zurich guide and then book your flight from San Francisco to Zurich now.
Discover the Swiss cuisine
The Central European location of Zurich lends itself to a diverse culinary landscape, featuring local Swiss cuisine such as the savory Zürcher Geschnetzeltes (Swiss Ragout) or sweet Tirggel (Swiss Christmas biscuits), alongside foods from around the world and Michelin-starred gourmet dining experiences.
‘Chocoholics’ are truly spoilt for choice in Zurich. As the nation’s largest chocolate-producing region, there are chocolatiers aplenty, such as Confiserie Sprüngli and Confiserie Honold. Dance off those calories as night falls by heading to the epicenter of Zurich nightlife in the “Züri-West" area.
After a night of partying, why not start your day with the breakfast of champions that originated in Zurich: muesli. The healthy and tasty cereal breakfast was developed around 1900 by Swiss physician Dr. Max Bürcher-Benner.
As a university town, Zurich has no shortage of nightclubs and cozy bars. You can find live music of all varieties pretty much any day of the week. A great place to get your night started are –oddly enough - the public swimming pools, or “badis”. Tourists and locals alike come here to take a dip during the day and enjoy lakeside refreshments when the sun starts to set.
Find your original Swiss souvenirs
The most iconic Swiss souvenir is one that is not only nice to look at, but also serves many practical purposes: the Swiss army knife. This handy companion can be found in many shops all over the city, the Bahnhofstrasse being one of those places. The countless little shops here also offer jewelry, watches and clothing of the highest quality.
In the old town the little shops in the historical buildings lure locals and tourists alike. The Limmatkai, a boardwalk along the river Limmat, is shopping destination for the younger set. The Rosenhofmarkt, a market for arts and crafts, takes place twice a week near the Limmatkai.
San Francisco - ZurichFlight duration: 10:50 hrs total, Frequency: 6 x daily
Departure San FranciscoTerminal: InternationalCounter opening time: 3 h prior to departure
Boeing 777-300ERHeight: 18.50 mLength: 74 mSeats: 340
Crew:Pilots: 2Cabin crew: 14
Arrival ZurichDistance to city centre: 12 km