Things to see and do - Zürich
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ZurichPedestrian, 16 km, 3 days
No, Zürich isn’t a bank! It’s a pretty town where everything is designed to please: its lake and docks, its old quarter, its trendy area and plenty of museums. Allow us to guide your exploration of the largest city in Switzerland!Customise this route and add it to My travel book
Bahnhoffstrasse, stretching between the main station and the lakeside, is the city's busiest thoroughfare. Along this fine avenue, lined with lime trees, are a succession of luxury shops, department stores, impressive banks and modern buildings.
This church, built between the 12 and the 15C, replaced a convent founded by Louis the German (853). It is definitely worth a visit to see the beautiful stained-glass windows by Chagall (chancel and south transept) and Giacometti (north transept). The remains of the Romanesque cloister include frescoes by Paul Bodmer (1921-1941) and relate the legend of the founding of the abbey.
Built in the 11 and 13C, supposedly on the site of a collegiate church founded by Charlemagne, this imposing cathedral was the cure of Zwingli who preached there from 1519 until he died. Framing the façade are two high towers topped with wooden cupolas covered with sheets of metal. The south tower is decorated with a huge statue of Charlemagne (the original is in the crypt). The modern stained-glass windows are by Giacometti (1932).
The museum's collections are arranged on two floors in chronological order. The rich array of objects represents the nation's history from prehistoric times onwards. They include Europe's oldest wheel (3,000 BC), Zwingli's bible, the celestial globe developed by Bürgi in the 16C, statues, tapestries, weapons, everyday objects and a large collection of costumes from the various cantons (18 to 20C).
Located in the former Wesenbrock villa, the museum houses the precious exhibits collected by Baron von der Heydt: sculptures and paintings from the Far East, Africa and Oceania, engravings from Japan, objets d'art from the Near East, Tibet and pre-Columbian America as well as Swiss masks.
The quays along the banks of the River Limmat and Lake Zurich with their magnificent expanse of greenery and a host of small boats beckon invitingly. A little further on, from the Mythenquai, there is a panoramic view of the Lake and the Alps.
The ground floor of the E.G.Bürhle Foundation contains 18 and 19C paintings, including canvases by Hals, Rembrandt, Boucher, Fragonard, Greuze, Ingres, Tiepolo, Canaletto and Goya. Antiquities are carefully housed in the winter garden. The extraordinary gems of the collection are located in the Pink Room and the Music Room where works by Renoir (Little Irene), Monet (Poppies near Vétheuil), Manet ( The Swallows) and Cézanne ( Boy with a Red Waistcoat) are displayed. The staircase is hung with canvases by Delacroix, Courbet, Dufy, Chagall, Rouault and Modigliani. The Cubists (Braque, Gris, Picasso) and the Fauves (Matisse, Derain, Marquet) share the limelight on the first floor. Other rooms are devoted to Monet, Manet, van Gogh, Sisley and Bonnard, respectively. Finally, a fine collection of religious sculpture dating from the 12 to the 16C is displayed on the second floor.
In an attractive green setting, Zurich's zoo is home to over 2,000 species. The monkeys' and elephants' morning bathtime is a daily event not to be missed.