The photography guide to Zurich
Zurich photography guide
Our contributors have added 31 photo spots to this Zurich photo guide. Have you discovered an amazing new location in Zurich?
Zurich is a vibrant city nestled in the heart of Switzerland. It is a global financial and cultural hub that captures the essence of both history and modernity. Zurich boasts a population of over 400,000 inhabitants, making it the largest city in Switzerland.
Covering an area of approximately 30 square miles, Zurich is a relatively compact city compared to other major European cities. Much of the city can be explored on foot, and the rest can be seen by making use of the city's excellent public transport infrastructure.
Situated in the north-central part of Switzerland, Zurich lies at the northwestern tip of Lake Zurich, with the Limmat River flowing through its core. The city's strategic location has been vital to its historical and economic significance, as it serves as a major transportation and trade hub in Europe. The Alps surround Zurich to the south, providing a stunning backdrop to the cityscape.
Photographers visiting Zurich will love the architecture, history, cultural venues and lakeside scenes, as well as some excellent tourist attractions.
Most popular Zurich photo spots
Zurich is well-connected to major international destinations through its modern and efficient airport with direct flights to various cities around the world. Upon arrival, visitors are greeted with a well-organized public transportation system, including trams, trains, and buses, which makes getting around the city and its surrounding areas a breeze. Additionally, Zurich's compact layout and pedestrian-friendly streets make it an ideal city to explore on foot, allowing tourists to discover hidden gems and charming neighbourhoods at their own pace.
Outside Zurich, tourists can embark on enchanting day trips to explore the breathtaking Swiss countryside. A short train ride takes visitors to the picturesque town of Lucerne, known for its iconic Chapel Bridge and stunning mountainous backdrop. The Swiss Alps are also easily accessible from Zurich, allowing nature lovers to venture into the mountains for hiking, skiing, or simply taking in the majestic scenery. Furthermore, travelers can visit charming villages like Stein am Rhein, known for its well-preserved medieval architecture.
With its convenient transportation network and an abundance of nearby attractions, Zurich HB serves as an ideal base for exploring the captivating beauty of Switzerland or even neighbouring countries by train. One lesser-visited destination is the principality of Liechtenstein, a small landlocked European country with no airport and few train stations. Zurich is the nearest major city to this small nation, which can be visited as a day trip just 80 minutes from Zurich.
The must-visit landmark for photographers is the Munsterbrucke, or the Zurich Old Town Bridge. This historic bridge spans the Limmat River, providing breathtaking views of churches on either side of the river.
For those with a sweet tooth and a love for chocolate, the Lindt Home of Chocolate is an absolute delight. Located just outside the city in Kilchberg, this chocolate factory and museum takes visitors on an immersive journey through the history of chocolate-making. It features a life-size chocolate fountain and wonderful modern architecture.
Another gem on Zurich's tourist map is Zoo Zurich, which is renowned for its dedication to wildlife conservation and habitat preservation. The zoo, situated on the lush Zürichberg hillside, is home to hundreds of animal species from around the world, including exotic creatures such as snow leopards, elephants, and penguins.
Zurich boasts a wide array of galleries and museums that cater to a wide range of interests, making it a haven for culture enthusiasts. The Kunsthaus Zurich stands out as a premier art museum, featuring an impressive collection of Swiss and international masterpieces, from classical to contemporary works. History buffs can delve into Zurich's past at the Swiss National Museum, housed in a stunning castle-like building, which chronicles the country's cultural and historical heritage through fascinating exhibits. The Zurich FIFA Museum is a must-visit attraction for football fans, offering an immersive experience into the world of soccer with interactive exhibits, historic memorabilia, and insights into the rich history of the beautiful game.
Last but not least, the picturesque Lake Zurich is a central attraction that adds natural beauty to the city's charm. The lake offers a serene setting for leisurely boat cruises, lakeside walks, and picnics with a backdrop of the Swiss Alps. During the warmer months, locals and tourists flock to the lake's shores to sunbathe, swim, and partake in water sports. The promenade along Lake Zurich is dotted with cafes and restaurants, making it an ideal spot to unwind and enjoy the enchanting views.
Zurich hosts many public events throughout the year, drawing both locals and tourists to celebrate the city's rich culture and traditions.
One of the most anticipated events is the Zurich Street Parade, held annually in August. This vibrant techno music festival transforms the city into a dance floor, attracting electronic music enthusiasts from all over the world. Revelers, adorned in eccentric costumes, dance to the beats of renowned DJs while parading through the streets.
During the summer months, Zurich also hosts the Sechseläuten, a traditional spring festival celebrated on the third Monday of April. The centerpiece of the festival is the "Böögg," a snowman-shaped effigy stuffed with explosives. As the parade marches through the city, the Böögg is set ablaze in a grand bonfire at Sechseläutenplatz. Legend has it that the time it takes for the Böögg's head to explode determines the length of the upcoming summer.
As the winter season approaches, Zurich transforms into a magical winter wonderland with its renowned Christmas markets. Beginning in late November and lasting through December, the city's streets and squares are adorned with twinkling lights and festive decorations. The Christmas markets, such as the one at the main train station (Zürich Hauptbahnhof) and in the Old Town (Niederdorf), offer a delightful array of handcrafted gifts, festive treats, and warming drinks like mulled wine and hot chocolate.
Zurich experiences a pleasant, temperate climate that offers distinct seasons throughout the year. As a visitor, you can expect a diverse range of weather conditions, each presenting unique opportunities to explore the city.
Summer in Zurich is generally mild and comfortable, with average temperatures ranging from 18°C to 25°C. It's an excellent time to enjoy outdoor activities, such as boat trips on Lake Zurich or strolling through the charming Old Town.
Winter, from December to February, transforms Zurich into a winter wonderland with temperatures averaging between -2°C and 4°C. Snowfall is common, creating a picturesque setting and opportunities for winter sports enthusiasts to hit the nearby slopes in the Swiss Alps. The city's Christmas markets add a touch of magic, where visitors can savor traditional treats and shop for unique handicrafts.
Spring and autumn offer mild and crisp weather, with temperatures ranging from 8°C to 15°C (46°F to 59°F). These transitional seasons are ideal for exploring Zurich's cultural attractions, museums, and art galleries as rainfall is frequent. Both seasons offer a burst of colour as flowers bloom in the parks and gardens in spring, while autumn graces the city with golden foliage, creating picturesque scenes.
As a tourist in Zurich, it's advisable to pack layered clothing to adapt to the changing weather. Don't forget to bring comfortable walking shoes to explore the city on foot, as Zurich's compact layout makes it easy to navigate.
Explore more photo spots in Switzerland
If you want to explore beyond Zurich, we have 107 photo spots that you can visit in Switzerland.
Mathew Browne Team
We hope you enjoy this guide to photographing Zurich - don't forget to share your images on PhotoHound and tag us on social media using hashtag #photohound