Things to Do in Zurich in Summer: Exploring the city's sun-kissed secrets

18 May 2024
Summer in Zurich – a melange of scenic splendour and cultural highlights that lures adventurers, foodies, and culture connoisseurs alike. Picture blue-skies flanked by alpine vistas, and cobblestone streets brimming with eclectic charm under the sun's tender kiss. Whether it's your maiden voyage or you're back for more of Zurich's summer allure, pack your shades and your sense of adventure – we're about to whisk you through a Zurich Summer Escapade!

Zurich in June - The City's Sunlit Symphony Begins

The very air in Zurich vibrates with summer energy as June ushers in balmy days perfect for outdoor explorations. Laden with the fragrance of blooming alpine meadows, this month is your cue for urban strolls along the glittering Lake Zurich, attaining Instagram-worthy panoramas at Uetliberg Mountain, and savouring those warm, sunlit evenings at the city’s rooftop bars. But Zurich in its summer splendour offers much more than just scenic vistas.
Zurich in the summer: Seen here doing its best Venice impersonation © Pentapfel, Pixabay

Must-Visit Attractions

Stroll the Lakeside Serenity
Pledge your morning to the shores of Lake Zurich. The glints of the rising sun against the water put on a mesmerising show. Here, serenity serenades you as you sit by its banks, sail on its azure waters, or partake in the many summer events held near the shores.

Conquer the Uetliberg Mountain
Rise above the city's skyline for a 360-degree view that's nothing short of breathtaking on a clear day. Whether you hike, bike, or arrive by the cogwheel train, the top of the Uetliberg paints a postcard-perfect picture of the city, the lake, and the Alps blending into the horizon.

Get Lost in Old Town's Marvels
Old Town is a labyrinthine mix of medieval and modern. Here, every curve reveals a historical intrigue, a vibrant café, or an artisanal boutique. The ancient cobbled streets lead you up to Grossmünster church, a signature monument that affords a dominant view of the city.
Heading up to a nearby mountain top is always a great idea in the summer © Neringy, Pixabay

Hidden Gems

Explore the Rietberg Museum and Park
Tucked away, Rietberg beckons you with its lavish gardens and diverse art collections from around the globe. This is where cultural awareness meets natural beauty, where sculptures harmonise with flora, creating a tranquil oasis at which Erasmus would nod approvingly.

Engage with the Local Art Scene
Amble down to the quaint alleyways of Niederdorf to discover Zurich's thriving art scene. Galleries quietly lure you inside to witness cutting-edge Swiss creativity. Don't shy away from striking up conversations with the artists themselves – it's that kind of local charm that makes Zurich a gem.
How many beers would it take for you to strip down and run through a public fountain? It's usually 3-4 for us © Pixabay

Culinary Exploration

A Festival of Flavours at Helvti's BBQ Nights
Helvti Diner takes your taste buds on an American adventure with its themed BBQ nights throughout summer. From succulent ribs to zesty slaws, the vivid flavours pair perfectly with the city's lively vibe, treating you to finger-licking pleasure in a cosmopolitan setting.

Sip at Sunset at the Frauenbadi Bar
After you've indulged your palate, award your other senses at this women’s-only lido turned hip waterfront bar. The vibe here is pensive rather than pulsating, as you sip a crisp glass of local vintage and watch the sun bow out gracefully behind the Alps, casting the sky in pastel hues.
An free, openair performance of People Watching, outside the Zurich Opera House © Pixabay

Summer Events and Festivals

Partake in Classical Concerts at The Tonhalle
Wear your classy hat for the Classical Concerts at The Tonhalle. Immerse yourself in the solace of sound as the Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra engulfs you in aural escapades. This is where the city's historic beauty interlaces with contemporary retreats, creating an ephemeral experience fit for the wandering soul.

Zurich Openair Music Festival
If you're a festival fiend, sink your teeth into Zurich Openair. This multi-genre affair, set in the scenic Glattal Valley, hosts an array of international and local talents that infuse the summer evening with electric vibes. It's not just a festival; it’s a happening that tightens the community strings and hands out joy to bystanders.
Rest assured, there's much more to Zurich than watches and chocolate dodgy banks! © Walti Göhner, Pixabay

Outdoor Activities

Mountain Biking at Dolder Waldhaus
Spend a sun-kissed afternoon mountain biking through the woodland trails of Dolder. This is where adventurers and nature enthusiasts meet. Breathe in the crisp mountain air as you pedal your way through a tapestry of green, revelling in the thrill of the descent and the sanctuary of the ascent.

Watersports on Lake Zurich
The city’s heart beats a little faster in summer, and so does Lake Zurich. Embark on a paddleboard adventure, glide over gentle waves, or seize control of a sailboat as the breeze whispers through the rigging. The lake may be a cool blue, but the memories you'll make here are bound to be warm.

Practical Tips for Summer Travel in Zurich

Weather Wisdom
While Zurich's summer is mostly sunny, a surprise shower is not out of the ordinary. Packing a light raincoat or an umbrella is always a smart move. Warm clothing, particularly for evenings, might also come in handy, although the days are generally warm and pleasant.

Accommodation in the Sun
Zurich’s accommodation spoils you with choices – from luxury hotels that pamper you to budget hostels that welcome the frugal traveller. For that quintessential Zurich experience, consider staying in the Old Town, where history meets hospitality, or close to the lakeside, for an instant connection to nature’s soothing beauty.

Navigating the City
Zurich's public transport system is as efficient as it is extensive. For ease of travel, consider getting a Zurich Card, offering unlimited travel on public transport and free or reduced admission to most museums and attractions. Cycling is also a popular way to explore the city, with bike lanes crisscrossing the urban landscape.
Zurich's airport is just a short ride away on the city's super efficient public transport © Jörg Möller, Pixabay

In Summation – Why Zurich in Summer is a Must-Do

Zurich in summer unleashes its full potential, appealing to a smorgasbord of interests and offering experiences that resonate deeply. It’s a season of serendipitous encounters, of savouring the present under a backdrop of picturesque settings, and weaving a tapestry of memories that warm the heart long after the season has bid adieu.

Summer is a fleeting visitor in Zurich, and therein lies its charm. It's a reminder to live in the moment, to seize the day – or the season, in this case. The Zurich I describe is not the touristy facade; it's the tapestry of 'little things' – coffee undeniably smoky at the old guild houses, the conversation you have with a local over centuries-old cobblestones, and the experience of listening to a Swiss yodel, wrapped in an evening breeze.

Zurich is more than a destination; it’s a narrative set to the tune of your footsteps. And in summer, that narrative crescendos to perfection. The city's secret to being unforgettable? It's simple. It becomes a part of your own tale.


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