What’s cheap, free and fun in Zürich?
Welcome to my series on My Zürich. That’s Cheap Zürich, Cool Zürich and a feature in the works on Veggie Zürich!
Yes, you heard me correctly. Believe it or not, a day out in Zürich can be accomplished without breaking the bank. Here are my suggestions:
Take a Walk
You really can’t go wrong walking in Zürich and it’s such a small city that you can cover a lot of ground in an afternoon. One of my favorite walks is along the Limmat toward lake Zürich from Zürich HB. You’ll pass some gorgeous landmarks like Grossmunster’s Church, Bürkliplatz, and Bellevue, and if it’s a clear day you’ll be treated to a stunning view of the alps.
Pack a picnic lunch and head upstream toward the Chinagarten. When the weather is nice there’s all sorts of street musicians along the lakeside promenade, adding to the festive atmosphere.
Make the Most of Festivals
Acrobats strutting their stuff on the Theater Spektakel grounds
The Swiss do festivals right, and there’s a variety of free and low-cost attractions to visit throughout the year. Of course, my favorite is the Zürich Theater Spektakel, a vibrant mini-fringe festival on the banks of lake Zürich. In addition to the main stage ticketed shows there’s free outdoor entertainment, street performers and an eclectic assortment of food stalls from all over the world.
If you love thumping techno music and half-naked people in crazy costumes, then Zürich Street Parade might be for you. It happens every august and it’s the biggest techno-music party in the world.
Keep your eyes peeled for the Street Food Festivals that have been popping up all over the city every few months. These culinary shindigs offer opportunities to nosh on reasonably priced food while rubbing shoulders with foodies from all walks of life.
And no Zürich experience is truly complete without a visit to the Christmas Markets. Grab some Glüwein and wander from the main stalls in the HB, over to old town and over to the grand dame of them all, the Bellevue Christmas Market. There can buy fun funky trinkets, stuff yourself full of street food, even go ice skating!
Looking for another affordable European City Break? Check out my guide to Krakow, Poland!
Get Into Nature
A view of the Alps from the Uetliberg
If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em! The Swiss consider access to nature an inalienable right and therefor nature trails are easily accessible and well-marked. One of the most accessible mountains from Zürich is the Uetliberg, in fact, you can take the train right to the top! Once there you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of the city, the lake and the alps. Do expect fresh air but don’t expect solitude. Chances are that the rest of the population will be up there on a sunny Saturday enjoying the breeze too!
So what are your favorite ways to explore your city on the cheap?