Top Free Things to do in Zurich

Top Free Things to do in Zurich

1. Take in knockout views for knock-down prices

Zürich has three prime viewpoints that cost nothing to visit. The Polyterrasse, a panorama terrace in front of the      Federal Institute of Technology, gazes out across the city’s soft surrounding hills and the spires and slanted slates of the Old Town. Across the river, the knotted narrow alleyways wend their way up to the Lindenhof, an old Roman fortification with views out across the blues of Lake Zurich.

2. Unwind in the city’s parks and gardens

Zürich has cultivated some spectacular gardens and parks, most of which are free to visit. All towering beech trees and trimmed lawns, leafy Rieterpark offers the glamour of 19th-century upper-class life, mainly thanks to its charming neo-classical villa from 1857.

3. Go behind the scenes at FC Zürich

If you prefer sports over science, check out the FCZ museum, which is devoted entirely to FC Zürich. Seven themed zones trace the football club’s history since 1896, exploring the team’s highs and lows as well as the development of football in Switzerland. It’s illustrated with photography, films, trophies and trouvailles.

4. Get schooled at the University of Zürich’s museums

Dinosaur skeletons, giant mammoths, stuffed sloths and countless insects – the hands-on Zoological Museum of the University of Zürich is home to 1500 animals with interactive exhibits that allow visitors to listen to whales sing or get up close to insects with a magnifying glass. Its in-house cinema shows free nature films twice daily. The university’s Archaeological Collection, Paleontological Museum, and museum of earth sciences, focusTerra, are all free too.

5. See the best of Zürich’s art without paying a cent

Thanks to Voliere Zürich, ornithologists don’t have to head into the wild for some prime birdwatching; instead they can stay in the city and see a number of exotic breeds for free. Taking in injured birds since its inception in 1898, this bird sanctuary on the Mythenquai has helped parakeets, toucans and everything in-between.

6. Go birdwatching in Downtown

Thanks to Voliere Zürich, ornithologists don’t have to head into the wild for some prime birdwatching; instead they can stay in the city and see a number of exotic breeds for free. Taking in injured birds since its inception in 1898, this bird sanctuary on the Mythenquai has helped parakeets, toucans and everything in-between.

7.Enter the wild in Langenberg Wildlife Park

For a break from the city roam the wilds of Langenberg Wildlife Park, west of Lake Zürich, where the wolves, brown bears, lynxes, deer and elks rove among large forest enclosures. A 2km-long Forest Adventure Trail leads visitors through the forest itself via 12 interactive stations.

8.Climb Uetliberg, Zürich’s nearest mountain

By lofty Swiss standards, Zürich’s local mountain Uetliberg stands nearer the shins of its contemporaries than their shoulders, but at 870m above sea level, the rolling, forest-roofed rumps are a pine-packed playground for hikers and bikers. It’s especially popular in autumn as its summit sits above the fog that sometimes encases the city.

9. Go cactus crazy at the Succulent Plant Collection

It sounds like the answer to a quiz question, but with more than 6500 species from more than 70 different families, Zürich is home to one of the largest collections of succulents in the world. With seven greenhouses, an outdoor rockery, and cacti, agaves, aloes and pennyworts in all manner of shapes, spikes and stature, the Succulent Plant Collection is free and full of surprises.

10. Savour the silence of a secret courtyard

Next to the Grossmünster church is a secret cloister not visible from the street. Accessed by a tiny door next to the church entrance, only the curious ever find the beautifully carved pillars of this serene cloistered courtyard, now part of the University of Zürich theological faculty. It’s the ideal spot to cool down on a sticky city day.

11. Make a splash in a river swimming pool

Visitors can swim in Lake Zürich for free, but the real action takes place in the city’s river pools. Catering to adventurous swimmers, the Lower Letten Pool makes the most of a quick current, while the Upper Letten Pool is a tad more relaxed with a 400m-long swimming canal and diving board. The historic Schanzengraben River Pool, which opened in 1864, is on a secluded river bend, but is men-only.

 

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