Zürich – A Paradise for Hikers and Nature Lovers

Zürich – A Paradise for Hikers and Nature Lovers

Zürich – A Paradise for Hikers and Nature Lovers

Zürich has much to offer: an active cultural scene with over 50 museums and more than 100 galleries, leading hotel and catering establishments, shopping facilities featuring international labels and sophisticated Zürich brands, as well as a vibrant nightlife. But it’s also a place where you can encounter nature in numerous spots right in the middle of the city as well as in the surrounding region. The opportunities are endless, ranging from countless parks, public gardens and nature experiences such as visiting the zoo or exploring Zürich’s local mountain, the Uetliberg, to boat cruises on Lake Zürich and the Limmat River lasting between one and seven hours. Whatever you choose to do, Zürich is a pure delight for nature lovers. The surrounding forest is accessible in under 10 minutes from anywhere in the city. Follow interpretive nature trails and hiking paths to lakes and rivers, in and out of forests, over hills and through valleys and take a break at one of many designated barbecue areas along the way. After returning to the city from your day’s outing, enjoy the wide range of culture, gastronomy and nightlife that Zürich has to offer.

Hiking Tips in and Around Zürich

SchweizMobil provides information about the best routes throughout Switzerland for hikers, cyclists, mountain bikers, inline skaters and canoeists, and combines it with countless services. Atwww.schweizmobil.ch, individual routes and their sections are described in detail and illustrated with a map. There is also a category entitled “Interesting Facts About the Stops Along the Route,” as well as numerous accommodation and sightseeing possibilities along the way. The maps and guides for each section can be ordered with just one click of your mouse.



Zürich-Zugerland Panorama Route: From Zürich (Triemli) to Zug

Nowhere are nature and culture nearer than in the urban greenbelts. And it’s no different between Zurich and Zug. Except that with Sihlwald, a primeval reserve has actually been created at the gates of Zürich. To hike through it on this route is both a pleasure and a rewarding learning experience, as the Nature Centre is full of fascinating facts.

Zürich Oberland-Höhenweg (Elevated Hiking Trail): From Winterthur to Rapperswil

The trail leads from Winterthur through a beautiful pre-Alpine hiking area with rugged valleys, lakes and ridges with wonderful views, crowned by the highest point in Canton Zurich, the Schnebelhorn, and on to Obersee and Rapperswil with its attractive Old Town. The route is comprised of four sections that are also suitable for day excursions.

Via Jacobi : From Rapperswil to Einsiedeln (4thsection)

At the narrowest and shallowest point of Lake Zürich, a 919-yd-long wooden bridge – the longest in Switzerland – spans the lake. Opened in 2001, this crossing revives the centuries- old tradition of a footbridge over the narrowest part of the lake at Rapperswill. The hike leads over this wooden bridge from Rapperswil to Hurden and over the Etzelpass to Einsiedeln. Along the way to Switzerland’s most important pilgrimage destination, you will be particularly impressed with the splendid view of Lake Zürich.

Jura Höhenweg (Elevated Hiking Trail): From Dielsdorf to Brugg (1st section)

The route winds gently uphill through vineyards to the small town of Regensberg and Lägern with wonderful views. Then a descent to Baden, and the Gebenstorfer Horn with views of Switzerland’s natural water resources, Brugg on the River Aare and nearby Windisch.

ViaRhenana: From Schaffhausen to Rheinau (4th section)

Along Feuerthalen Rhine promenade and the Flurlingen filigree Rhine bridge to the Rhine Falls with Laufen and Wörth castles, and the «Rheinfallbahn» Rhine bridge dating from 1857. Along idyllic footpaths to Rheinau with its Klosterinsel (monastic island), Bergkirche church, and covered wooden bridge.

Top Tip: Lake Zürich Trail

The landscape around Lake Zürich is not only one of the most sought-after residential regions in the world, it is also superb walking and hiking country, offering plenty of enjoyment and surprising contrasts.

The basin in which Lake Zürich is located was formed 12,000 years ago by the Linth glacier. The Romans, the Alemanni, and the Habsburgs all valued this picturesque, fruitful legacy of the ice equally, and today it has become one of the world’s most privileged residential areas.

The Lake Zürich Trail offers one of the best views of this area, for along the way are found historic towns and villages, castle parks and villa districts, as well as unspoiled shoreline scenery, large tracts of woods, and wild gorges. The trail has more to offer along its ten sections: many restaurants, from simple country taverns to sophisticated eating places, as well as first-class wine cellars, are located literally alongside the trail. In addition, there are sports and recreation areas, museums, movie houses and theaters.

This is a trail for hiking purists, nature lovers, culture addicts and history buffs, gourmets, sports enthusiasts, and children. You can start from any one of the ten departure points. The idea is not to reach a particular goal, but rather to enjoy the trail with all that it has to offer.

Parks and Gardens

Whoever pays a visit to Zürich should not leave without first seeking out some of the city’s green hideaways. Throughout the entire city, there are green oases perfect for relaxing and letting your soul be refreshed. The Bäckeranlage is one of the most beautiful green spaces in the city of Zürich. It is situated in the center of Kreis 4 (city district 4) and offers exceptional opportunities for recreation for all – not just for local residents. The China Garden, a traditional southern Chinese garden on the Zürichhorn, was a gift from Zürich’s sister city Kunming. Behind the wall, a microcosmic area of pavilions, open galleries, and a water palace with terrace, is revealed. Covering almost 80 acres, Irchel Park was created as a natural landscape park around the new university buildings at the beginning of the 1980s. The expansive Platzspitz Park lies in the middle of the city, yet it is still wonderfully peaceful. You will find it behind the National Museum alongside the Limmat River, with countless trees that provide cool shade in the summer. During the summer months, there is always something happening in the green space around the lower lakefront area. Inline skaters, water lovers, jewelry vendors and street artists meet here in a colorful clash of friendliness. The Rieter Park is Zürich’s largest and most impressive landscape garden. In good weather, the Glarner Alps create a stunning far-off mountain panorama giving the impression that the world continues on without end. Flower fans will get their fill in Zürich’s Stadtgärtnerei (City Gardens). Thousands of flower varieties can be admired, and with the ZürichCARD, you won’t even have to pay to enter.

Nature Experiences Visiting Zoo

Zürich is always a new and fascinating experience. Approximately 4000 animals from around the world live here, on nearly 70 acres. You can enjoy views of snow leopards in their rocky Himalayan landscape, observe the Spectacled Bears as they climb and search for food in their mountainous cloud forest enclosure, and admire the swimming giant tortoises in the Masoala Rainforest. It is warm, humid and deliciously scented all year long in this 13,150-yd² tropical green oasis – experience a glimpse of Madagascar live! The Sihlwald Wildlife Park and surrounding forests form the largest continuous mixed deciduous forest in the Swiss midlands. No logging has taken place here for ten years, and the trees’ natural processes of germination, growth and death happen without any human intervention. An interpretive nature trail introduces visitors to the phenomena of forest and nature. The gateway to the Sihlwald forest is the Visitor Center, where you can receive tips and advice about Zürich’s Wildlife Park. The adjoining museum features two rotating exhibitions and displays the process from “commercial forest to natural forest.” Free admission with the ZürichCARD.

At the Langenberg Wildlife Park, you can observe elk, bears, wolves, wild boar, lynx and many more animals in a natural environment. Admission to both the Sihlwald and Langenberg Wildlife Parks is included with the ZürichCARD.At the Jucker Farmart farm, young and old alike can experience unforgettable hours in the heart of the idyllic village of Seegräben on Lake Pfäffikon. You can enjoy delicious lunch and dinner entrees (June to October) made with regional and seasonal products while the kids romp in the straw, explore the farmyard, or jump on the trampoline. Something that you definitely shouldn’t miss when you visit Zürich is an “ascent” of Uetliberg, Zürich’s local mountain, which soars over the rooftops of the city at 2850 feet above sea level. The peak offers a spectacular panorama view of the city, the lake, and the Alps in the distance. There is much to discover on the four one-hour hikes, as well as on the mountain bike route. With the ZürichCARD, you can reach Uetliberg for free using public transport.

  • Zoo Zürich with the Masoala Rainforest, Zürichbergstrasse 221, 8044 Zürich
  • Sihlwald Wildlife Park, alte Sihltalstrasse 38, 8135 Sihlwald
  • Langenberg Wildlife Park, Wildparkstrasse 21, 8135 Langnau am Albis
  • Jucker Farmart – Adventure Farm Seegräben, Dorfstrasse 23, 8607 Seegräben Uetliberg, 8143 Uetliberg

City Walks

During a walk through the Old Town, guests will experience Zürich’s many facets. From the Main Station you cross the Bahnhofbrücke bridge via Central and enter Niederdörfli, a charmingly quaint city quarter with narrow, winding streets full of shops and studios. Passing by the Grossmünster Church, visitors reach Bellevue where the opulent Opera House is located. Following the shore of the lake, you come to Quaibrücke bridge and cross to the other side, passing the Fraumünster Church and then turning onto cosmopolitan Bahnhofstrasse, one of the world’s best-known shopping boulevards. A final stroll through the Old Town’s lanes leads to Lindenhof, a beautiful treed square where Zürich was founded long ago. Afterwards, you return to Bahnhofstrasse, which takes you back to your starting point, the Main Station. Visitors will discover the true heart of Zürich on this walk. It is described in the Zürich city map, which is available for free from the Tourist Service at Zürich’s Main Railway Station.

Zürich Tourism offers numerous exciting city tours through all the city districts and with different themes, both for individuals and for groups. On request, Zürich Tourism can organize tailor-made tours for visitors in 14 different languages – historic sites and countless anecdotes included.

More information and bookings: www.zuerich.com

Boat Cruises

The sparkle of sunbeams on the water, the lapping and swirling of waves and the heady scent of fresh breezes are a pleasure for all the senses. The Lake Zürich Navigation Company offers cruises between one and seven hours. Choose from a river ride on the Limmat boat under seven bridges through the Old Town, or a lake cruise on a nostalgic steamboat or a modern motorized ship. Lake cruises begin at the easily-accessible pier at Bürkliplatz.

At night, the magical ships of the Lake Zürich Navigation Company set sail and provide a great party atmosphere. From the “oldies boat” with hits from the 80s, to schlager-party, salsa, and tango boats, there is something to suit everyone’s taste. Special holidays like the August 1st national holiday, New Year’s, and many more are also celebrated on board with music, dancing, and culinary delights.

For private boat tours, a good choice is Lago boat rental at Utoquai, which rents out Zürich’s first solar boat. In addition, you can rent out boats here for wakeboarding, as well as motorboats, sailing yachts, aqua scooters, electric boats, and other small watercraft. At the boat rental at Seefeldquai, there are motorboats, paraboats, catamarans, rowboats, kayaks and pedalos available, while Pier 7 offers rowboats and pedalos for rent. Further addresses include boat rentals at Bürkliplatz and Enge.

More information: www.zsg.ch

Interpretive Trails

The Sihlwald interpretive nature trail imparts exciting facts in a playful manner to both young and old. Enjoy tree-ring counting, the tree telephone, humming stones, balancing, boardwalks through the bog forest, “how high is the tree?”, a forest tepee and wooden animals, “see with your feet”, “who jumps the farthest?”, forest sounds, a forest mobile, and forest memory. Two hours of fun await those who have a desire to learn more at the Sihlwald Wildlife Park. The Planet Trail on Uetliberg also promises amazing discoveries: Whoever hikes from Uetliberg, Zürich’s local mountain, to Felsenegg in Adliswil (approx. 1.5 – 2 hours) will not only be treated to more stunning views of Zürich, the lake and the Alps, but will also gain fascinating insights into the solar system. Every meter (approx. 3 feet) that you cover on the Planet Trail from Uetliberg to Felsenegg corresponds to one million kilometers (approx. 621,000 miles) from the sun to Pluto. There is interesting information about each planet along the way. From Adliswil, you may choose to extend your hike over the Albispass to the idyllically-situated Lake Türler.

Sihlwald Interpretive Nature Trail, alte Sihltalstrasse 38, 8135 Sihlwald Planet Trail on Uetliberg: Take the S10 transit line on the Sihltal Zürich Uetliberg Bahn SZU railway, Europe’s steepest normal-gauge adhesion railway, from Zürich Main Station to Uetliberg Station, a ten-minute walk from the summit. The journey is free with the ZürichCARD.

Equipment and Provisions

Proper equipment for hiking is indispensable for a successful excursion, and it should be individually prepared according to the difficulty, location and length of the hiking route. It is essential that your backpack contain sturdy footwear suitable for hiking, rain gear, a first-aid kit, a topographical map, a cell phone with emergency numbers and sun protection (sunglasses, hat and sunblock) and sufficient food and drink. And a Swiss hiker’s backpack always contains a Swiss Army knife, too, of course. When you start feeling hunger pangs, it will come in handy for slicing and serving a cervelat, the Swiss national sausage.

The Story of Cervelat

Cervelat is a short and thick smoked, boiled sausage and a Swiss national recipe. It is produced and consumed all over Switzerland and is made of beef or pork, bacon, pork rind broth, and ice water. Fresh onions, pepper, coriander, nutmeg, garlic and cloves are used for seasoning. Cervelat in the delicious boiled-sausage form we know today has been around for nearly 200 years. It was the introduction of the meat grinder in the middle of the 19th century that made it possible to produce relatively finely-ground sausage meat. The large quantities of sausages churned out by such machines were also a novelty and this development had an influence on the price of sausages. This meant that cervelat went from being a holiday sausage to an everyday sausage. At the World Fair in Paris in 1900, cervelat was on the menu at the Châlet Suisse alongside Emmental cheese, saucisson, Landjäger sausage, sauerkraut and chocolate.

Today, cervelat is invited to every Swiss national celebration, is a popular sausage for summer barbecues and is also enjoyed cold with a piece of bread as a mid-morning snack. When filled with cheese and wrapped in bacon, cervelat is known as the “workman’s cordon bleu,” and no Swiss hike is complete without a cervelat that has been sliced cross-wise at both ends, stuck on a hazel branch and then roasted over a fire and eaten with great relish.

Cervelat has almost reached the status of a Swiss staple food and is devoured with great gusto all over Switzerland. Around 160 million cervelats are produced each year, and they are the main seller particularly during the summer months for the large industrial producers as well as in butcher shops all over the country.

By the way, in Switzerland the rich and beautiful are called “cervelat celebrities”. It is not clear whether this honors the sausage or brings the celebrities closer to the people. The only thing that is certain is that cervelat is an integral part of everyone’s life in Switzerland.

ZürichCARD: So much pleasure for so little money!
Holders of the ZürichCARD can enjoy the city to the fullest and at the same time get great value for money. The principle is very simple: You purchase a ZürichCARD that is valid for either 24 or 72 hours and let the discovery tour begin. With the ZürichCARD in your pocket as the ideal travel companion, you will enjoy the following benefits:


  • Free rides on the streetcars, buses, trains, boats and funiculars in Zürich
  • Free admission to 37 Zürich museums
  • Free admission to the Langenberg and Sihlwald Wildlife Parks
  • 10% discount on admission to Zoo Zürich (incl. Masoala Rainforest)
  • Discounts on souvenirs and tours from Zürich Tourism
  • And much more…


The information on our Zurich pages has been compiled with the help of Zurich Tourismus – ”http://www.zuerich.com”  – to ensure quality, up-to-date information on the wonderful city of Zurich Switzerland.

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