Zurich Car Hire
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- Switzerland’s largest and most populated city has less than five-hundred-thousand residents in the city and just over 1.3 million when the wider urban area is included.
- Despite its relatively small size, Zürich is an important global city, and is home to several financial institutions
- Located in the central North of the country the city sits beside its namesake Lake Zürich, on and around which there are dozens upon dozens of opportunities for exploration.
- Zürich has consistently made the Top 25 of Monocle Magazine’s ‘Quality of Life’ survey and placed at number 4 in 2018.
Guide to Zurich
A Brief History
Although there is significant evidence of prehistoric human activity in the area it was with the Romans that the Zürich, we know today began to develop under the name Turicum. A Roman castle stood in the region up until the 7th Century, which by this point had been settled by Germanic tribes.
In 1218 Zürich became an Imperial Free City which meant it gained a certain level of autonomy and self-governance and was only subordinate to the Holy Roman Emperor. Soon after, a wall and several stone houses were built in and around Zürich. In the middle of the 14th Century Zürich became a member of the Old Swiss Confederacy, the precursor to modern Switzerland.
Throughout the 18th and 19th Centuries Zürich developed into an important city, and became the federal capital of Switzerland, a federal state by 1848. The new constitution took inspiration from that of the United States. Although armed during the First and Second World Wars, Switzerland remained neutral. Despite its neutrality the country did suffer some damage with allied bombs unintentionally missing their targets and landing on Swiss cities and towns, including Zürich.
Today Zürich is a highly popular destination for tourists from all over the world. Thanks to its fascinating history and culture, as well as the wealth of outdoor activities, there is an attraction for everyone in this fantastic city.
Getting to and from Switzerland
Get Active Outside!
There’s no doubt about it, Switzerland is a stunningly beautiful country filled with natural wonders just waiting to be explored, and if this is where your interest lies, the capital won’t let you down.
Kayak on Lake Zürich
Explore the beauty of Lake Zürich in the best way possible, by being on it. The cares and worries of your everyday life will drift away with each stroke of the paddle. Several adventure companies are located around the lake and it is possible to hire boats and equipment. We recommend joining a tour and being guided by professional instructors who know the lake. Check out Kayak Tours located just half an hour’s drive from central Zürich.
Address: Grünenbergstrasse, 8820, Wädenswil
Phone: +4179 635 57 66
Other options for getting active in and around Zürich include taking a run or walk along one of the many wonderful trails in the area. Great Runs recommend several, with our favourite being the Old Town Sights route.
Spas and Relaxation
Thermalbad & Spa
Zürich has you covered when it comes to the pure bliss of relaxation. Several spas are located around the city with one of the most popular experiences being the Roman-Irish circuit. This circuit takes around two hours and leads you through eight spa experiences including a Floral Steam Bath, leaving you refreshed and energised. Visit the spa website for full information on booking.
Address: Brandschenkestrasse 150, 8002 Zürich
Phone: +41 44 205 96 50
Stadtbad Hammam & Sauna
Here you will find a wide range of treatments in addition to the traditional Turkish Hammam. A modern building which offers a quiet place of peace in this global city will help you unwind and enter into the zone of relaxation. There are separate charges for Hammam, and Sauna admission so be sure to ask about special offers if you plan to use both. You can book your treatments in advance online.
Address: Stauffacherstrasse 60, 8004 Zürich
Phone: +41 44 241 04 27
Galleries and Museums
Bruno Weber Skulpturenpark
Bruno Weber lived from 1931 – 2011 and one of Switzerland’s most famous artists and architects. One of the artists greatest creations was this sculpture park. Stretched across 20,000 square metres and is filled with hundreds of three-dimensional artworks celebrating Weber’s fascination with Fantastic Realism. This oasis of fairy-tale inspired magic will provide a fascinating trip for visitors of all ages. Usually open between April and October, be sure to call in advance to avoid disappointment. Just a 25 minute drive from central Zürich.
Address: Zur Weinrebe 3, 8953 Dietikon
Phone: +41 44 740 02 71
Located around 25 minutes’ drive from central Zürich is Switzerland’s leading institution exploring photography and the photographic arts. With a wide collection of post-1960s photography alongside influential current works and changing exhibitions, the Fotomuseum seeks to be educational, entertaining and vibrant for its audiences. Opening hours vary throughout the year so visit the website for up to date information. Adult admission is 10 CHF for the main exhibition, under 16s are free.
Address: Grüzenstrasse 44 + 45 CH-8400 Winterthur
FIFA World Football Museum
With over 1000 items in its permanent collection, exploring the development of football as the world’s favourite sport, this is a must visit for any sporting fanatics. Get up close to the original FIFA World Cup, the centrepiece of the exhibition. The museum features state of the art multimedia and traditional displays which offer a fascinating glimpse into the world of FIFA. Open 10am – 6pm every day except Monday and adult tickets cost 24 CHF, under 6s are free and there are further concessions for other visitors. Visit the museum website for more information.
Address: Seestrasse 27, 8002 Zürich
Phone: +41 43 388 25 00
Places to eat in Zurich
If you’re going to Switzerland, you really should have fondue. This world famous cheesy-crowd-pleaser originates here and takes communal eating to the tastiest of levels. Chäsalp offers a menu with several varieties of fondue and serves delicious artisan bread as accompaniment. Located at the top of a hill the restaurant offers some fantastic views in a traditional rustic setting, reminding you you’re in an Alpine country. Try and book your table in advance via the website to avoid disappointment.
Address: Chäsalp, Tobelhofstrasse 236, 8044 Zürich, Switzerland
Phone: +41 44 260 75 75
For excellent value for money in Zürich visit this fantastic Asian-fusion eatery. Offering affordable buffet style dining at lunch and dinner you’ll leave feeling full and satisfied. The buffet typically features a soup of the day, salad, appetizers, several main courses and a desert option. At around 21CHF/£16 per person at lunch (11.30-1.30) and 32CHF/£25 per person at dinner (7-9.30pm) this is amongst the best value food in a famously expensive city.
Under executive chef Stefan Heilemann Ecco has become one of the premier gourmet destinations in Zürich. The beautiful surroundings and fantastic service add to the experience of eating in this two Michelin star restaurant. With a focus on flavour and seasonal ingredients the menu offers an unassuming, rustic range of dishes with a wonderfully luxurious twist. Ecco is far from cheap, but diners would argue it is worth every penny for the sense of exclusivity it offers. Be sure to book your table in advance.
Address: Ecco Zürich, Döltschiweg 234, 8055 Zürich, Switzerland
Phone: +41 44 456 55 33
Getting to and from Zurich
Switzerland’s main international airport is located around 8 miles from the centre of Zürich and is the main home of Swiss International Air Lines. Flights from most major carriers operate in and out Zürich. The busiest international route is Zürich to London, followed by Dubai, Berlin and New York. Zürich Airport has won the World Travel Award for leading European airport seventeen times consecutively. There are three terminals, three runways and excellent ground transportation links including car hire.
There are car hire vendors in the airport terminal buildings but to ensure the availability of the vehicle size and standard you need; we recommend booking in advance. Several of our partners operate in and around Zürich airport, including Europcar, Enterprise and Alamo.
You’ll find there can be significant price fluctuations throughout the year, with the most expensive period being in the summer months when you should expect to pay around £25-30 for a medium size car such as a Seat Ibiza. A similar size car in the winter may reduce in price to around €19 per day.
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