European Moving: An Expat Guide to Zurich, Switzerland

The lively city of Zurich, Switzerland is well known as the banking capital of the world. However, there are a host of non-money-related treats in store for visitors who venture to this quaint Swiss locale. Zurich is the city where James Joyce wrote Ulysses, and its Museum of Fine Arts houses one of Europe’s most extensive art collections. Put on your walking shoes and spend the day exploring Zurich’s charming cobbled streets, take a leisurely stroll along the shores of the lake, or enjoy a day of people-watching at one of the numerous outdoor cafes.
Here are a few noteworthy things to see and do in Zurich, Switzerland:

The Swiss National Museum

The Swiss National Museum features a comprehensive collection of intriguing artifacts from ancient times to modern inventions. Inside this magnificent castle-like building are carved altarpieces and stained glass windows from old convents and churches, medieval relics, exhibits on Swiss clock making and Swiss culture, and a display of antiquated Swiss weapons.

The Swiss National Museum

Fraumunster Church

The thin blue spire of Fraumunster Church is a beautiful representation of the towers that the Zurich skyline is known for. Fraumunster Church overlooks the historic old square of Munsterhof, and its architectural wonders include five exquisite stained glass windows, a Romanesque choir, and an ornate organ.

Fraumunster Church

St Peter’s Church

St Peter’s Church is one of Zurich’s oldest, with an outside clock that is thought to be the largest clock face in all of Europe. The Grossmunster is a beautiful Gothic Cathedral with two towers that dominate the skyline of Zurich. You can ascend the tower to view the city scenery. The entry cost is about 50 CHF which is comparable to the cost of living in Switzerland.

St Peter's Church zurich

Bontainesher Garten

Bontainesher Garten has a large collection of beautiful plants and flowers, definitely worth the stop for any gardener. This is a great place for a wedding if you are planning to get married in Switzerland. The Fountain Cemetary is the burial place of author James Joyce and his wife, Nora. Last but certainly not least, the free Zurich Toy Museum is a great place to see some of the toys this country is famous for.

Bontainesher Garten zurich

The Rhine Falls

The Rhine Falls is the largest waterfall in Europe, with a thundering cascade of water that is especially impressive during the late spring runoff. This magnificent natural wonder near the town of Schaffhausen makes a good day trip when visiting Zurich. If you’re in the country on Swiss National Day (August 1), a visit to the Rhine Falls will also include a fireworks display – call your friends in the UK and tell them about it!

The Rhine Falls

Situated on a hill above the Rhine Falls is Schloss Laufen, an enchanting medieval castle that has a restaurant and shops. Nearby, three different lookout platforms provide spectacular views of the falls.

Events in Zurich, Switzerland

Zurich’s Festspiele is an annual celebration with classical music, opera, dance, theatre, and art. Special concerts and performances by local and internationally known artists are held at various locations throughout the city in June and July.

The Zurich Theatre Spectacle features cutting-edge performing arts productions by more than 20 theatre groups in a variety of venues, including open-air stages next to the lake. One of the top cultural events in Zurich, the Theatre Spectacle takes place in August and September.

The Zurich Street Parade

The Zurich Street Parade takes place on August 11 and is the city’s biggest party. Modeled after the Berlin Love Parade, this techno-music street party features colorful floats, beautifully costumed dancers, loud music, and thousands of spirited revelers from all over the world.

Zurich is a fascinating Swiss city rich in architecture and culture. It may not be the most popular European destination, but it’s definitely worth a visit. If you are an expat and planning to move from London to Zurich – this is a great idea.