In the summer, Zurich comes to life, and since you don’t have to deal with adverse weather and cold you can explore the city center and its surroundings in a very alfresco manner.
We are going to run through everything you need to know about Zurich in summer from the weather you might expect in Switzerland’s largest city to what to pack and what to see when you visit Zurich.
The weather in Zurich over summer (June, July, August) is very predictable and you can expect high temperatures of 25 degrees celsius (77 Fahrenheit) and lows of 13 degrees celsius (55-56 Fahrenheit).
This makes exploring Zurich a lovely experience as you won’t need 5 layers and bulky coats with you. Flip flops, sandals, t-shirts, and shirts are all that is required.
That being said, this Swiss city does experience around 10 days of rain per month so you should also be prepared for that too.
Since summer in Zurich is quite pleasant weather-wise, you don’t have to worry about packing a load of different things, just a simple suitcase will be more than enough. Here is what you should pack.
As you can see, the packing list is pretty standard but you should add any extras you might need for other activities like hiking in the mountains, etc.
The first thing all travelers should do when exploring Zurich is to take a stroll around the stunning Old Town.
You can find the Old Town in what today is referred to as District 1 in the city center. The old town spans both sides of the river and is home to most of the historic sites the city has to see.
The streets are narrow and filled with life, abuzz with an awesome atmosphere. You’ll find them filled with cafes and restaurants as well as lots of great shops too. The old town is also home to some of the city’s best landmarks including Fraumünster Church and Grossmünster Church.
The churches are home to stunning stained glass windows and are architecturally awesome too.
While exploring you should also take a stroll down the Bahnhofstrasse which is THE luxury shopping street in Zurich where you will find all the top shops as well as normal local ones too.
Another great stopover is the Lindenhof park which is home to the remains of an old castle. While it’s an interesting place to see, the views are what make it as the park overlooks the river and the east side of the city too.
If you want to learn about the history of Zurich you should book a walking tour with a guide as they will give you all the history of the area.
The next part of Zurich you should explore in the summer is Lake Zurich as the lakeshore comes alive during the warmer months.
Lake Zurich is home to crystal clear waters with the Swiss alps in the background. A walk around the lake will have you relaxing in parks, eating at lakeside restaurants, and it is, without doubt, the perfect place for a picnic.
There are loads of activities available on the lake from outdoor swimming to sailing. If it’s a hot day there is nothing more refreshing than a swim in the lake. Other options include sailing and even fishing in the lake too.
One of the best ways to see the lake is on a cruise as you get to see the city of Zurich and its amazing sights from a different perspective.
There are a huge range of different cruises to choose from, for example, you can enjoy dining on the lake with amazing views and have a real Swiss cruising experience or simply hop on a normal ferry for a more budget version.
I would highly recommend making a stop at Lake Zurich a part of your daily itinerary. Whether it is to enjoy an afternoon swim and a cold evening beer or to start your day off with a swim, it’s just such a great part of being in Zurich.
The Limmat River is also home to crystal clear waters and it pretty much splits the city in half and runs through the old town too.
Taking a walk down the streets and across the bridges along the river is a must while being in Zurich in the summer. You will find a whole host of cafes and restaurants to stop at while on your walk and there is even a Limmat cultural trail.
Along the trail between Baden and Wettigen you will find a whole host of Swiss art along its banks ranging from sculptures to photographs which all give a different view of the heart of Zurich.
You can also choose to hop on a river cruise to see the river and the city in a different way or you can join the locals and float down the river too. Drahtschmidlisteg is the main pedestrian bridge and you will find it next to the Zürich Marriott.
It’s from this bridge where you can jump into the river and float down to the Flussbad Oberer Letten docks to hang out for the day. While this is a very popular thing to do, and it does get busy, it’s something you have to do when spending the summer in Zurich.
Be sure to arrive at the docks by noon for a spot and it’s from there you can enjoy the youthful atmosphere and lively scenes.
What was once an industrial zone has turned into one of the hippest places in Zurich and maybe in Switzerland too. Zürich West is a place not to miss and once visited you will understand why, since you will see a whole new side of Zurich.
In this part of Zurich, you’ll find many restaurants that have been converted from old warehouses as well as boutique shops. It’s a wonderful place to spend the afternoon and enjoy shopping, strolling around the streets, eating on a rooftop terrace, and lots more.
Whether it’s coffee, lunch, and a Swiss restaurant serving amazing cheese fondue and chocolate, or buying some delicious Swiss food at the grocery markets, this is a fabulous destination to head to within the city.
When visiting Zurich West you should head to Viadukt which is a market hall full of alternative designer shops, fresh food too, and home to shopping you won’t find in other parts of Zurich.
After that, head to Freitag, another awesome converted warehouse, and enjoy a drink at Frau Gerolds Garten beer garden where you can bask in the warm sun with a tasty beer.
One of the best things about this area is the nightlife as there is a lot to discover from different events to a pop bar night and lots more.
The perfect place to journey to for a day trip outside of Zurich is to Rapperswil located on the other side of the lake. After a direct train ride away that takes less than an hour you will be in the heart of the medieval town of Rapperswil.
Be sure to bring goodies for picnics with you as the water quality of the lake around this charming town is fantastic. Take a stroll around the shore, enjoy the promenade, and the old castle must be visited too.
Rapperswil is famous for its rose gardens and they are nothing short of fabulous in the summer. Be sure to visit them while you’re there as they are simply beautiful
Rapperswil is also the ideal place to go with your family as visitors can spend most of their day enjoying the summer sun with great food, having a dip in the lake, seeing amazing views of Switzerland including the lake and the alps too.
There is also a kids zoo which is a ton of fun for children and there is a very interesting tree museum that is worth popping into as well.
It’s also a lovely trip that gets you out of Zurich and experiencing another part of Switzerland. Just go for the afternoon, watch the sun go down, taste the great food and wine of the town’s favorite restaurants, or spend the whole day.
You will even find a hotel or two where you can stay the night if you don’t want to go back to Zurich
There is no better way of seeing what the country of Switzerland really looks like than by hiking up the Uetliberg Mountain.
Uetliberg is located just outside Zurich, is known as the local mountain, and is one of the main attractions in Zurich, especially when it’s warm out. The view from the top is magical and the hike up is lovely.
The Uetliberg summit sits at 871 meters above sea level and the hike up should take less than two hours if you’re slow, less than one if you’re fast. Once at the top you will find a cafe and a restaurant where you can rest and enjoy some fresh air, food, and drink.
From the summit you can see into Zurich, the alps behind, the trees lining the hills, lots of lakes, and more of what this beautiful country has to offer.
If you’re not up for the hike you can also get on a tram/train that takes you to the top and then you can choose to walk gently back down after enjoying the mountain views or hop on the tram/train again.
The trails to get up Uetliberg are very well marked and there are numerous different ones to choose from. You also have the option to make a day of it by hiking along the mountain all day long using the numerous trails.
You can either plan to eat at the top at a restaurant or bring a packed lunch as you walk your way around the forests, and hills, and enjoy the incredible views that go along with it.
While visiting Zurich, it’s worth getting outside of the cities to catch a glimpse of the stunning Swiss countryside. Chances are you don’t fly to Switzerland that often and if you are staying for more than three days, definitely spend a day exploring the valleys, lakes, and rivers of the Alps.
The Swiss have an incredibly efficient train infrastructure which can have you in the middle of the Alps in less than two hours.
If there is one spot I’d recommend going to it is Rhine Falls. Rhine Falls is the most powerful waterfall in Europe and seeing the falls close up is quite an experience.
You will find Rhine Falls just outside of Schaffhausen at Schloss Laufen am Rheinfall and all you need to do is hop on a direct train to Schaffhausen and change once to go to the falls. The traveling time is less than an hour and once there you will find a lot to discover.
Once there you can go on guided tours around the waterfall, see it from the viewing platform or have more of an adventure. There are cruises that take you right up to the falls so you can see them from close up or you can use the rope ride across the river to see the falls from above.
The area is also home to a museum or two, you can eat delicious food at the riverside restaurants, there are lovely parks, and a long walk along the shores of the river will also be time well spent.
Anna is the co-owner of expert world travel and can't wait to share her travel experience with the world. With over 54 countries under her belt she has a lot to write about! Including those insane encounters with black bears in Canada.