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Zurich Region - Urban Atmosphere and Pure Nature

Whether you are looking for a city trip, active or cultural holidays - the Canton of Zurich caters for all tastes. The region offers many entertainment and shopping opportunities as well as natural and cultural attractions. This why it is a great destination for family holidays.

Zurich's old part of town

Geography - Town, country, river and lakes

The Zurich Region (also called the Canton of Zurich) is one of the seven greater regions as well as one of the 26 cantons of Switzerland and lies on the Swiss Plateau for the most part. Only its south-east is located in the Prealps. It has an area of 1,792 km² and is the most densely populated canton with 1,408,575 inhabitants. The region's capital is the city of the same name (Zurich). The canton is divided into several smaller regions and although some of these are still rural, urbanisation is on the increase. Zurich Region borders on the Canton of Schaffhausen and on Germany in the north, on the cantons of Thurgau and St. Gallen in the east, on Zug and Schwyz in the south as well as on the Aargau in the west. The climate is mostly temperate with a lot of precipitation, which is brought by the west winds. The average yearly temperature is about 9 °C.

View of a hiking trail from the Albis

Nature - Of mountains, lakes and green hills

The most important body of water is Lake Zurich, parts of which belong to Eastern Switzerland. In the Zürcher Oberland ("Zurich highlands"), you find two more great lakes: Lake Greifen (German: Greifensee) and Lake Pfäffikon (German: Pfäffikersee). The Limmat is the region's most important river. It has its source in Lake Zurich and flows towards the Canton of Aargau to unite with Reuss River, the Aare and the Rhine later on. The highest peak is the Schnebelhorn with a height of 1,292 metres and the lowest point is the High Rhine near Weiach with 330 metres. Other mountains which are worth mentioning are the Uetliberg (part of the Albis chain) right at the gates of the city of Zurich and the Lägern, which are both foothills of the Jura Mountains, as well as the Bachtel and the Hörnli. Although urbanisation dominates in this canton, there are several rural regions with green meadows and hills. Travellers should definitely visit the Rhine Falls (German: Rheinfall) in the north of the canton, which lie right on the border of the cantons of Zurich and Schaffhausen.

A farm in the Canton of Zurich

Culture - Cultural diversity for all age groups

The official language in the Canton of Zurich is German but Swiss German in also spoken in informal contexts. Due to an increasing immigration to the cities and the fact that more and pore people are non-denominational, the canton is multi-religious nowadays. However, about a third of the population are members of the Evangelical Reformed Church and another third are members of the Roman-Catholic Church. The Canton of Zurich traditionally belongs to the Reformed Church because Zwingli's Reformation gained acceptance in the city of Zurich and spread from there. Lovers of culture are in the right place in Zurich as it has a great variety of sights. Especially in the cities and along the Limmat, you find a number of castles, churches and other architectural attractions. Examples are the Fraumünster in Zurich, the city church of Winterthur, Aarburg Castle, the Bahnhofstraße in Zurich and the Römerpark (a park and tennis court) in Winterthur. On rainy days, you can visit some of the numerous the museums such as the Swiss National Museum, the Zoological Museum, the Kunsthaus Zurich (an art museum) and Fotomuseum Winterthur (a photographic museum). A highlight for children is the Toy Museum in Zurich (Zürcher Spielzeugmuseum).

Aarburg Castle near Zurich

Experience - Tasting the original Zürcher Geschnetzeltes

The canton's cuisine offers a number of culinary specialities. One delicacy is the Zürcher Geschnetzeltes, a ragout made of veal, calf's kidney and mushrooms in a cream sauce. At Christmas you can get Tirggel, dry honey biscuits. The world-famous Bircher muesli, which was developed by the Swiss physician Maximilian Oskar Bircher-Benner, also comes from the Zurich Region. Visitors who love Swiss chocolate should not miss out on a visit to the Lindt & Sprüngli factory outlet in Kilchberg, where you get sweets for almost half of the original price. Zurich also holds the second biggest casino, the Swiss Casinos, which offers high-end entertainment. Furthermore, the cities offer many facilities for travellers who want to go shopping, for example the indoor market Im Viadukt or the Bahnhofstraße in Zurich. Winterthur impresses with its abundance of markets such as the fish market, St. Martin's market (Martinimarkt), the children's flea market, the suitcase flea market or the Chlaus market. Zurich's nightlife is lively and the city has the highest density of clubs in the whole of Switzerland.

Delicious Zurich Ragout

Activities - Leisure activities at Lake Zurich

Zurich Region offers a great variety of sporting and leisure activities in both summer and winter. In summer, you can go hiking, for example on the Uetliberg, in one of the many parks, along the rivers and lakes or in the forests and valleys with their smooth hills. These routes are also suited for mountain biking tours. Travellers can cruise Lake Zurich by boat and enjoy the fascinating nature at the edge of the lake. A family highlight is the Atzmännig leisure park, which offers a rope adventure park, a chairlift, a play-hike and many spectacular hiking trails. In addition, the rivers offer excellent conditions for canoeing and rafting tours. Visitors looking for a rush of adrenaline should go to the BodyFlying in Rümlang. In winter, you can go skiing, snowboarding, ice skating and tobogganing.

Lake Zurich with Boats


Zurich Region can easily be reached in a number of different ways. If you want to arrive by plane, you can fly to Zurich Airport (ZRH) and continue your journey to the surrounding holiday region of your choice by car, bus or train.

Zurich Region is an impressive combination of urban atmosphere and breathtaking nature. While the cities are full of culture, the rural regions and Lake Zurich offer a great variety of leisure, sports and entertainment facilities.

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