Winter in Zurich: Top Things to Do on a Winter Holiday in Zurich

A winter holiday in Europe doesn’t really sound complete without a stopover at Zurich in Switzerland. Zurich is one of those cities that undergo a magical transformation in winter. It may be snowy and cold when it’s winter in Zurich, but it’s the kind of cold that you’ll want to stay outdoors for. So, what can you do on your Swiss holiday when it’s winter in Zurich? Check out this list.

Go museum-hopping

winter in zurich: fifa world football museum
FIFA World Football Museum | Wikimedia Commons

Zurich has over a hundred museums and galleries scattered all over the city. If you consider visiting local museums an essential part of your holiday, then you can easily fill your holiday with all the museums you can visit in Zurich. Museums you shouldn’t miss are:

  • Kunsthaus Zurich, or the Museum of Art, is considered the finest museum in Zurich. It is home to works by Swiss artists, as well as iconic works by Picasso, Van Gogh, Warhol, Monet, and others.
  • Swiss National Museum, which curates exhibits on Swiss art, history, and culture from the 4th century BC. Seeing the castle-like architecture of the museum alone is worth the visit.
  • The FIFA World Football Museum, a shrine to all things related to football.

Step back in time in Old Town

winter in zurich: zurich altstadt
Zurich Altstadt | Julian Hacker/Pixabay

Old Town or Altstadt, also known as District 1, is the core of Zurich. This is the original medieval town that made up Zurich before it expanded in the 1800s. Zurich has preserved much of Old Town’s original medieval features – from the architecture to the cobblestones – that passing through it seems like a walk back in time. But Altstadt is far from being a backward, old-fashion district of a burgeoning city. It is crammed with restaurants, shops, and bars, not to mention many of Zurich’s historical and cultural landmarks, including the Swiss National Museum.

Do some serious retail therapy at Bahnhofstrasse

One of the streets running through Altstadt is Bahnhofstrasse, one of the most popular shopping promenades in Europe. If you’re ready to drop some serious cash or run through your credit limit, the Bahnofstrasse is the place to do it. Here you’ll find some of the most expensive brands in the world. But even if you’re not into shopping, it’s easy to enjoy a stroll down Bahnhofstrasse even when it’s winter in Zurich. Just walk down the promenade and window-shop where you fancy. Stop by a café for some coffee and snacks. Or you can sit on one of the many benches along the promenade and watch people pass by.

Check out the Christmas markets

There’s nothing like the experience of shopping for Christmas gifts and trinkets at a European Christmas market. Zurich’s Christmas markets are no different. The city has around eight of them, and each has its own charms. The largest among them is the market at the Zurich Opera House, while the Niederdorf market is the oldest and perhaps the most picturesque. You don’t even have to buy anything while visiting the Christmas markets. Just browse through the goods, admire the bright lights and décor, and absorb the fun. If you get cold, you can always stop at a stall selling treats like mulled wine and roasted almonds.

Go ice skating

Zurichers are mad for ice skating. Once winter in Zurich sets in, you can expect Zurichers to be out on the ice skating rinks, twirling and gliding as they please. Many are even daring enough to drive to one of the lakes surrounding the city to see if the surface has frozen hard enough for skating. You can join them in the fun by going to any one of the eight ice skating rinks in the city. The largest and perhaps the most charming of them all is the Dolder Ice Rink, which has a Christmas tree right smack in the center. If you don’t feel up to skating and just want to watch people do their magic on ice (or fall flat on their face), you can just hang out at a café close to the rink.

Go skiing

winter in zurich: skiing
Skiing in Switzerland | Pixabay

What’s a holiday in Switzerland in winter without checking out the ski slopes? Thankfully, in Zurich, you’re never more than an hour’s ride away from a ski resort. So make a day trip of it and go skiing whenever you’re spending winter in Zurich. If you’re not into skiing, you can also try snowboarding or riding a toboggan.

Winter in Zurich is more fun than you may realize. So, if you’re planning a winter holiday in Europe, make sure that you make Zurich one of your stops.

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A winter day in Zurich | Pixabay


Anna is a wandering writer. If she isn't wandering, she's working on other blogs. And if she's not doing that, either she's reading or she's busy with a crafting project.