Zurich is a vibrant hub of culture and business. Over the centuries, the region has developed from a small Roman customs post into a world-renowned tourist destination. With the Constitution of 1848, Switzerland became the first democracy in the world, and in past years, Zürich has repeatedly been chosen as the city with the highest quality of life in the world. While this European financial powerhouse still poses some challenges to wheelchair users, with some planning, visitors on wheels can enjoy many lovely sights, sweets, and charms that Zurich has to offer.
1. Old Town. Zurich Old Town is a cultural, social and historical melting pot. Zurich’s Medieval houses, contorted, narrow lanes and guild and town halls from the Renaissance period offer an attractive backdrop for world-class entertainment. A tour of the Old Town lets visitors experience Zurich’s multifaceted past. The backdrop turns into a living history of characteristic buildings and the people that lived and acted out their lives in them. The double towers of the Grossmünster (Great Minster) are Zurich’s landmark. According to legend, Charlemagne built the towers at the location where the graves of the city saints Felix and Regula were discovered. Further sights worth seeing include the Peterskirche (Peter’s Church), which has Europe’s largest clockface, and the Fraumünster (Minster of Our Lady), which is known for its stained glass windows by Giacometti and Chagall. The streets have some challenging cobblestones in most areas, and parts can be quite hilly and steep. Make sure your batteries are fully charged before exploring this charming part of the city.
2. Lake Zurich. Whereas, in the past, Lake Zurich was above all a route for traffic and transport, today it is a popular place for excursions, and homes along its shores are much sought after. Gently rocking waves, peace and quiet, relaxation and fine food: the best way to discover the Lake Zurich area is by taking a boat trip. Most of the places around the shore are served by a regular boat service all year round, and some offer wheelchair accessible lake tours. The accessible lake promenade serves a wide-ranging group of people as recreation area. Inline skaters, beach lovers, jewelry sellers and street artists all gather here to create a colorful scene.
3. Bahnhofstrasse. This world-renowned shopping boulevard was created after construction of Zurich’s Main Railway Station. At the spot where city moats were 150 years ago, today it connects Lake Zurich with the Main Railway Station on a length of 1.4 kilometers (0.87 miles). You’ll find numerous boutiques, department stores and timepiece stores here, as well as at Paradeplatz – the Swiss banking center. Bahnhofstrasse is just as popular with locals and visitors, and it is always worth a visit. You can stroll relaxed along the lake in the summer as well as enjoy mulled wine or hot chocolate at every corner in the winter. Rennweg and Augustinergasse lead off from Bahnhofstrasse into the picturesque old town. Two stops you have to make are the famous (and decadent) Sprüngli chocolatier and the Victorinox (Swiss army knife) flagship store.
4. FIFA World Football Museum. The FIFA World Football Museum is an interactive experience world for people of all ages, and is guaranteed to get all soccer fans’ pulses racing. Spread over three floors and covering approximately 3,000 square meters (32,500 sq.ft) of exhibition space, the FIFA World Football Museum examines all aspects of the world of soccer. Besides the extraordinary history of FIFA and the Football World Cup, an interactive, multimedia world of experiences illustrates how, across the globe, the game stirs people’s emotions on a daily basis, and influences and inspires them. Along with the original World Cup Trophy, the Museum displays over 1,000 items of exclusive memorabilia and apparel, including the national soccer shirts of all the FIFA member associations. A further highlight is the giant pinball machine, which invites visitors to test their own ball skills in a playful manner – guaranteeing plenty of fun, including for non-soccer fanatics.
5. Swiss National Museum. The National Museum Zurich is located behind the Main Station and houses the largest collection documenting the cultural history of Switzerland. In the rooms and halls of the National Museum is the largest collection documenting the cultural history of Switzerland: handicrafts, everyday objects, sculptures, and paintings from prehistory to the present day tell a host of interesting stories. In addition, the National Museum examines socially relevant topics in various special exhibitions. The permanent exhibition, “Simply Zurich”, on the first floor of the historical part of the museum is presented in four languages and is free of charge. It shows the diversity of the City and Canton of Zurich in a playful and subjective way. At the heart of the exhibition is a display case containing 60 objects, all of which tell a story about Zurich’s rich past. The exhibition is suitable for international guests and locals alike.
6. Kunsthaus Zürich. The most important collection of Classical Modernism in Zurich, coupled with attractive temporary exhibitions, make a visit to the Kunsthaus an absolute must for art enthusiasts. Besides masterpieces by Alberto Giacometti, the museum presents the largest Munch collection outside of Norway, great names such as Picasso, Monet and Chagall, and leading representatives of the Expressionist movement. In addition, it features key works from the late-20th and 21st centuries. Zurich’s Concrete artists and contemporary Swiss artists such as Pipilotti Rist and Peter Fischli/David Weiss are also represented.