As I stepped out of the airport, to spend 24 hours in Zurich and have my first Couchsurfing experience, I was more sceptical than ever. I was under the impression that a Couchsurfing experience in Zurich may feel sterile, bounded by house rules (because Dutch people can be strict with rules sometimes) but it wasn’t anything like that.
My 24 hours in Zurich were just as enjoyable as I wanted them to be.
My Couchsurfing host turned out to be one of the amazing people I’ve ever met in life.
Also, while planning my 2-month trip across Europe, I decided to spend the first 24 hours in Zurich because that’s how most European trips from India have always begun. For Indians, Zurich is the must-see and the first-see.
And then I realised, it was the best decision ever.
I had the best Zurich Couchsurfing host ever I think and before I go crazy and end up writing a 2000-word article about her hospitality, I’ll return to the topic in hand and share some of my favourite tourist spots in Zurich.
You can, for the time being, watch the youtube video of the experience. Watch the first and the last 2 minutes to see my Zurich Couchsurfing experience, or watch it all to see a bit of that and a bit of my Mount Titlis tour.
As time permitted, I had only one dedicated day to explore and experience Zurich, hence a 24 hours in Zurich blog as I thoughtfully spared the other day (I stayed in Zurich for two days) to explore the beautiful Swiss Alps and do a day trip to Mount Titlis.
So if you too are bound with time and are struggling with the idea of how to see Zurich in a day, then read ahead.
Here are my favorite moments, and some suggestions, from my experience…
24 Hours In Zurich Travel Guide
Because it’s very likely that you will be starting your tour from the central train station, make Landesmuseum (or Swiss National Museum) your first stop, as it’s located only a few steps away from the central train.
Starting your tour with a museum is moreover a good idea as this helps you learn a bit about the culture and history of the place.
A tour of the museum will help you gain some insights into the country’s history and set you ready for your 24 hours Zurich tour.
With over 820,000 exhibits presented in an interesting way, the Landesmuseum gives you a fresh perspective and a clear idea of Zurich’s origin and achievements as we know them today. Once done, start by exploring the colourful old town of Altstadt.
Old Town Of Altstadt
Just like those romantic European towns, I have grown up watching Indian Bollywood movies, Zurich, with its dreary skies, and well-driven roads surprised me with all its colors. I just had to look. Beautiful buildings of all shapes and colors erecting straight out of the ground, everywhere.
The best among all, however, were the buildings in the old town of Altstadt, and in Altstadt, Augustinergasse street. Walking through this historic part of the town and exploring the narrow cobbled streets is definitely a highlight.
Walk uphill to Lindenhof park, the most ancient part of the city, where Zurich’s first few buildings (as we know them today) were constructed back in the 19th century.
Just stroll through its streets on your own, and in a romantically beguiling fashion, or take the Zurich City Walk Tour (for CHF 25), for an in-depth experience.
Please note that the prices mentioned in this blog might have changed. I suggest you check the tourism website for the recent prices/timings of all tours/experiences mentioned in this 24 hours in Zurich blog.
Fraumnster Church in Old Town Zurich is home to five world-famous Chagall windows.
Created by a Russian-French artist, these magnificent stained glass windows bathe the chapel in a rainbow of light, grabbing you in a moment of interrupted awe, with each window located in the choir depicting a different story.
Drink At Rooftop Bar
If you think Zurich has enough to offer from down its street, brace yourself. Because it gets better as you climb high and probe the bird’s view.
High above the rooftops, where the noise of the city is far away and sometimes a slight breeze blows, you get to marvel at Zurich’s beautiful architecture.
Though there are dozens of rooftop cafes to explore Zurich with a birds-eye view, the place I ended up having my beer, with my Couchsurfing host, was called Jules Verne Panorama Bar. It cost us 8 CHF to get a pint of beer, and 16 CHF for two, with great views over the city.
Zurich In A Tram
One of the best and easiest ways to explore a city (any city, in any continent) when you have little time and no agenda, is by making yourself comfortable in its public transport and going to the end of the line. And when it comes to the limited time of only 24 hours in Zurich, trams are the best way to do that.
As people hop on and hop off, you slowly explore the town and its surrounding suburbs — getting a closer look at the city’s everyday life. Start your journey in any direction from the main station, and get to the other side of the town. Take the same tram to get back and end the show.
Drink from a Water Fountain
One of the most cultural things about Zurich is its unique drinking water fountains that are spread all over the city of Zurich. An estimated figure says that over 1200 such fountains can be found across the city, most of which spill drinkable water 24 hours a day.
So when in Zurich, there is no need to purchase bottled water, just stick your reusable bottle under one of the flowing spouts and drink from an iconic Swiss fountain.
Buy Zurich City Card
If you’re in Zurich for a limited short time and are going to be travelling by public transport one of the easiest and quickest way to save time (and moreover money) is by investing in a 24 or 72-hour city card, which offers you free travel in all public transport and a free or a discounted access to most of the tourist attractions, including many museums.
I have mentioned how to buy a city card across Europe and how they help in saving a lot of money in this Europe budget travel tips blog.
Though the city lets you hire free bikes at all major stations, it’s just too much of a hassle to locate (and moreover drop) the bike at their desired station. So invest in a Zurich card, skip the lines and all confusion, and get going!
Do you have anything to add to this 24 hours in Zurich Travel Guide? Let’s share in the comments below!