15 Best Things to Do in Zurich in Winter (+ Christmas Tips!)

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A visit to Switzerland, especially Zurich, in the wintertime is an absolute must! These are the best things to do in Zurich in winter! 

Are you planning your trip to Zurich last minute?

If youʻre booking your trip to Zurich last minute, we have you covered. Below are some of the top tours, hotels, and more!

Top Experiences and Tours in Zurich:

  1. Mount Titlis Day Tour (top-selling tour!)
  2. Day Trip to Jungfraujoch (another can’t-miss!)
  3. Zurich city highlights tour (best-rated city tour!)
  4. Lindt Chocolate Museum Entry Ticket (skip the line)

Top Hotels in Zurich:

  1. FIVE Zurich Lifestyle Hotel (luxury city resort)
  2. Motel One Zürich (mid-range – is so much better than its name!)
  3. Hotel Marta (budget 5 minutes from train station)

Switzerland features some of the best ski resorts in the world, fabulous ice skating rinks, and astonishing views that you won’t find anywhere else.

In Zurich, you’ll be sure to get into the spirit of the winter season with the festive lights, wintry events, ice skating rinks, and cozy smells.

These are some of our top picks for how to spend winter in Zurich (and even what to do during Christmas in Zurich)!

Beautiful Zurich in winter
Beautiful Zurich in winter

Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments!

Winter in Zurich Quick Facts

Zurich Winter Temperatures

In Zurich, you will experience the winter season between November and March, with average temperatures ranging between -2 C and 7 C (28 – 45 F) throughout the season.

The coldest month of the year is January, and this is the month when the city experiences the most snow and ice.

Here are the average temperatures throughout the winter in Zurich:

  • Zurich in November: highs of 9C (47F), lows of 3C (38F)
  • Zurich in December: highs of 5C (41F), lows of 0C (33F)
  • Zurich in January: highs of 4C (39F), lows of -1C (31F)
  • Zurich in February: highs of 6C (43F), lows of 0C (32F)
  • Zurich in March: highs of 11C (51F), lows of 3C (37F)

Does it Snow in Zurich?

There around are 20.4 days of snowfall throughout the year in Zurich.

You’ll most likely experience some snow during your visit, especially if you visit Zurich in December or January, but some years get more snow than others.

Snow in Zurich
Snow in Zurich

In addition, the snow doesn’t tend to last very long.

With that being said, the winter season in Zurich tends to get cold and rainy, so be sure to pack your warmest and most waterproof clothes!

Best Things to Do in Zurich in Winter

Go on a Mount Titlis Day Tour

Mount Titlis is Switzerland’s most famous mountain, offering the world’s 1st rotating cable car.

During the day tour to Titlis, you will see the famed Astrid Chapel, commemorating the Princess of Sweden and Queen of Belgium Astrid, and the Lion Monument in the city Lucerne, which is hewn in rock relief and symbolizes the courage of the Swiss soldiers.

The next spot is Engelberg, an Alpine town known for its mesmerizing landscapes, ski slopes, and chocolate.

From here the famous TITLIS ROTAIR Cableways will lead you to the winter fairytale of the mountain glaciers.

Winter at Mount Titlis
Winter at Mount Titlis

The cave with a 150-meter-long walkway is an excellent spot for photos in the glacier cave bathed in a dim turquoise-blue light.

You can enjoy the mighty mountain and breathe in the refreshing air of the Alps from the Panorama restaurant on the top of the mountain, which you can reach via the Ice Flyer ChairLifts.

>> Click here for rates and availability

Enjoy Ice Skating in Zurich

One of the best and most festive things to do during Christmas in Zurich (and throughout the winter!) is ice skating.

The Dolder open-air ice rink is the largest open-air rink in all of Europe, with around 6000 sqm.

The giant Christmas tree in the center and seasonal catering around the rink convey a holiday spirit to its visitors.

Ice skating in Zurich at Dolder - lulu and isabelle - Shutterstock
Ice skating in Zurich at Dolder – lulu and isabelle – Shutterstock

Next is the Heuried Sports Center, with tremendous indoor and outdoor ice-skating rinks for athletes and the public in general.

While skating, you can see hockey players, families, and couples taking the ice.

In Eisanlagen Lido Rapperswil, while the Rapperswil-Jona Lakers train on the indoor rink, you can feel free to take the outdoor rink as it is open to the public.

They all provide the ability to rent skates varying from 5-10CHF for adults.

Take a Day Trip to Jungfraujoch

Explore the scenic mountains of Jungfraujoch with Alpine scenery, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

You can take a 15-minute ride to the Eiger Glacier by gondola from the Grindelwald Terminal.

During the ride to the top of the mount, you will marvel at the snowy peaks called Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau.

Jungfraujoch
Jungfraujoch

From the Sphinx Observation Terrace and Plateau, you can enjoy the breathtaking scenery of the Aletsch Glaciers.

Finally, the gem of the tour will be the Ice Palace in the heart of the glacier, where you will enjoy the exquisite combination of colors, architecture, and ice, creating a unique adventure worth experiencing once in a lifetime.

>> Click here for rates and availability

Get Cozy at a Zurich Coffee Shop

While it’s believed that Switzerland doesn’t stand out with its specialty coffee stores, Zurich turns out to be an excellent choice for coffee lovers.

Cafe MAME, opened by two barista champions from Japan and France, became the first to brew filter coffee exclusively with the GINA coffee maker for better consistency.

Next is COFFEE with simple branding but complex coffee flavors.

Cafes in Zurich are cozy during the winter!
Cafes in Zurich are cozy during the winter!

As they say, Swiss coffee culture is old-fashioned, so they try to stay progressive and always have several options for espresso and filters in the grinders.

After two years of driving a coffee truck around Zurich, two brothers established Miro Coffee, where they get the beans directly from Nicaraguan farmers.

Apart from espresso and filter options, including Kalita, V60, and cold brew, their menu also holds coffee cocktails. 

Go on a City Tour of Zurich

Take your comfortable sit in the air-conditioned bus and get ready for your 4.5-hour insightful tour along the streets and shores of Zurich.

During the tour, you’ll see the castle-like National Museum from one side and the modern shopping avenue and the famous financial district on the other side.

Zurich Opera House, Zurich Museum of Art, or the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology will tell you about the city’s glorious architecture and history. You’ll see Europe’s largest clock on the Romanesque Church of St. Peters.

One of the best things to do in Zurich in winter is to get lost!
One of the best things to do in Zurich in winter is to get lost!

Later, you will see the Grossmünster cathedral and Fraumünster church, whose stained-glass windows were made by Marc Chagall.

In the end, you’ll enjoy a 30-minute cruise along the pristine waters of Zurich and depart next to the Lindt Home of Chocolate, where you’ll see the world’s tallest chocolate fountain.

Join the tour along the museum offering unlimited chocolate tasting.

>> Click here for rates and availability

Warm Up with Hot Chocolate in Zurich

Zurich is famous for its hot chocolate, or “Heisse Schoggi,” as locals call it. Sprüngli Paradeplatz is believed to be the best in the town serving hot chocolate, but it’s better to taste it to agree.

One can meet there for breakfast, lunch, coffee, or cake and enjoy its delicious patisserie as well.

Hot chocolate and truffle in Zurich
Hot chocolate and truffle in Zurich

The next spot is Café & Conditorei 1842. This neo-baroque-styled place offers not only great hot chocolate but a superb range of tarts, cakes, and the finest patisserie.

To enjoy hot chocolate and the nice view of winter Zurich on River Limmat, one should definitely choose Barchetta on the ground floor of the Storchen Hotel.

Hot chocolate and the sparkling Christmas lights in the city center will convey a holiday mood and make your evening even cozier.

Peruse the Zurich Christmas Markets

Zurich is full of multifaceted Christmas markets during the holiday season. 

“Wienachtsdorf” at Sechseläutenplatz is the largest in the city directly in front of the Zurich Opera House.

The Christmas Village, decorated with sparkling lights and themed decors, is nestled around the 15-meter tree and offers 100 stalls offering various gift ideas and culinary delights to its visitors.

Dörfli in the Niederdorf is one of the oldest markets that will make you lose your time track even when just strolling around the market and drinking some mulled wine.

Christmas markets in Zurich - Victoria Kurylo - Shutterstock
Christmas markets in Zurich – Victoria Kurylo – Shutterstock

Christkindlimarkt at Zurich Main Station is one of Europe’s largest indoor Christmas markets.

Though train passengers immerse into Christmas right in the station with 140 market stalls, the gem of the market is still the 32-ft-tall Christmas tree decorated with thousands of sparkling Swarovski crystals.

Go to the Lindt Home of Chocolate Museum 

Explore the history and future of Swiss chocolate at the Lindt Home of Chocolate Museum right next to the famous brand factory.

The 30-ft-tall chocolate fountain, considered the world’s tallest, will meet you in the entrance hall.

There you’ll learn how cocoa beans conquered Europe and some other fascinating facts about chocolate.

You can't leave Zurich without chocolate!
You can’t leave Zurich without chocolate!

You’ll be able to see the production processes through the panoramic windows and watch how new products are created.

The audio-guided tours and multimedia exhibitions will tell you the most intriguing facts about chocolate.

However, the gem of the tour is the unlimited chocolate tasting available in the tasting room, with a variety of chocolate delicacies.

>> Click here for rates and availability

Spend New Year’s Eve in Zurich

Celebrating New Year’s Eve in Zurich will prove to be unforgettable.

Everyone gathers in the city center and as the Grossmünster bells sound rinses the city announcing the New Year’s coming, the most majestic fireworks decorate the city night skies.

Families, friends, and tourists, packed in their warmest clothes, are popping champagne and celebrating the moment.

Usually, hotels and restaurants offer festive dinners or galas.

NYE in Zurich
NYE in Zurich

However, if that’s too formal, you can head to the bars where people celebrate the holiday in a livelier fashion.

In any case, don’t forget to reserve a table. You can also enjoy the magic of New Year’s Eve at the parties organized in the party tents next to Zurich Lake.

Relax in the Thermal Baths and Spa 

Get refreshed and rejuvenated by spending some time in the famed Thermal Baths and Spa with panoramic views in Zurich.

You can either experience the Roman-Irish spa ritual with the emerald bath, the meditation bath, and the steam room or just dip in the spa’s rooftop pool and admire panoramic views of the city.

The thermal water in the hundred-year-old vaults of a former brewery is drawn from the prominent “Aqui” springs, deep beneath the city of Zurich.

The water is rich in essential minerals and has soothing warmth, promoting body relaxation and well-being.

Don’t forget to take swimwear and sandals with you.

>> Click here for rates and availability

Treat Yourself to One of Zurich’s Best Restaurants 

When it comes to food, Zurich knows no boundaries. Currently managed by the fourth generation of the Hiltl family, Haus Hiltl is the first vegetarian restaurant in the world.

This cozy place with diverse food that will satisfy both vegetarians and non-vegetarians is a 10-minute walk from Zurich Main Station.

Kindli is another fine restaurant with elegant wood furnishing that create a cozy atmosphere.

Enjoy one of the best restaurants in Zurich
Enjoy one of the best restaurants in Zurich

At Kindli, you can taste European cuisine with colonial influences, dishes made from fresh ingredients and served with delicious wine.

Your dinner will become a true pleasure in the relaxed ambiance of Kronenhalle Restaurant.

Here you can taste Swiss and French-inspired dishes accompanied by the genuine artworks of Chagall, Picasso, or Miro, where renowned artists used to dine and close the bill with their works.

Check Out the FIFA Museum 

Whether you’re a football lover or not, visiting the FIFA Museum in Zurich will become one of your most unforgettable tours.

There you’ll get acquainted with football history, catching photos on display that are as old as the late 1800s.

In the three-floor museum, you’ll be able to see the belongings of famous players and memorabilia, and most importantly, the genuine FIFA World CupTM Trophy.

FIFA Museum in Zurich - EQRoy - Shutterstock
FIFA Museum in Zurich – EQRoy – Shutterstock

The giant pinball machine invites the visitors to test their ball skills, guaranteeing much fun for both football fans and not only.

Over the 1,000 exhibits in the museum, you will also see the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup ball from the final in Vancouver.

Never hesitate to visit this museum when in Zurich just for $20.

>> Click here for rates and availability

Stop in the Grossmünster

Grossmünster is a Romanesque-style Protestant church in Zurich, one of the four significant cathedrals in the city.

The name means “Great Minister.” The church has been the starting point of the Swiss-German Reformation.

In the church area, you can see the collection of writings and Bibles, stroll around the garden with ornamental plants in the center of the cloister dating back to the 12th century.

Grossmunster and the Alps
Grossmunster and the Alps

The majestic monument with stained glass windows, Romanesque crypt, and bronze doors is an architectural marvel that you have to see when in Zurich.

Also, there is a legend that the church was built on the graves of the city’s patron saints, Felix and Regula.

Take a Swiss Cheese Fondue and Wine Tuk-Tuk Tour

An electric tuk tuk tour around the Old Town with a local driver will give you an opportunity to discover Zurich even better.

After starting the tour in the Main Station, a short stop will be made at the gastronomic partner as the fondue “valaisanne” will be loaded onto the eTuk.

So, this is precisely the point when your culinary tour begins.

Fondue in Zurich
Fondue in Zurich

During the tour, you’ll be shown the most beautiful parts of Zurich and get more insight into Zurich’s everyday life.

This 90-minute tour also includes wine serving from the best local winemakers to make your experience even more genuine.

>> Click here for rates and availability

Go Back in Time at the Swiss National Museum

The Swiss National Museum, founded in the 19th century, holds a unique collection of the cultural history, craftsmanship, and artworks of Switzerland from its beginnings to the present day.

The building itself is a combination of medieval and modern eras.

During your visit, you’ll be able to discover Switzerland from different angles, from the archeological treasures from the past to medieval fashion and state-building history.

Swiss National Museum
Swiss National Museum

If you’re eager for more information, the museum offers private or group guided tours as well.

The museum also has an extensive public library, which offers attractive workspaces with views of the Limmat and Platzspitz Park.

How to Get to Zurich

First and foremost, you can fly to Zurich via the Zurich Airport (ZRH), which is Switzerland’s largest international airport.

Then, to get to central Zurich, you can take a train from the Zurich Main Station, where trains run every day from 5 AM to 12 AM every 5-10 minutes.

As with most cities in Europe, Zurich has a well-connected train system that you can also use to reach the city.

Getting to (and around!) Zurich
Getting to (and around!) Zurich

You can get to Zurich easily by train whether you’re visiting another city in Switzerland or elsewhere in Europe.

You can check out Rail Europe for more information about pricing and train tickets.

Where to Stay in Zurich

If you’re looking for one of the top places to stay in Zurich, here are a few of our picks (for any budget!):

Did we miss any of the best things to do in Zurich in winter? Let us know in the comments!

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Are you looking for the best things to do in Zurich in winter? This guide covers the best restaurants, day trips, accommodation (and even Christmas in Zurich)! | Winter in Zurich | Zurich in December | Zurich in January | Zurich in November | Zurich in February | Snow in Zurich | Zurich in March | Christmas Markets in Zurich | What to do in Zurich during winter | Zurich winter day trips | Zurich day trips | Zurich itinerary

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