Tips for Driving in Zurich

Renting a car at Zurich Airport couldn’t be easier here at Search for a great value quote today. Its a great option for your skiing trip. Here are 4 tips for driving in Zurich that will keep you safe – and on the right side of the law.


Which side of the road?

It can be hard for a visitor from the UK to feel comfortable on the roads as the driving is done on the right side, not the left. This also means that those taking left turns must accommodate through traffic too. For UK drivers you also have to be aware that any sectioned lorry is going to make wide right turns. Often they have to turn right from the left passing lane, or swing out into the left to turn right. Be mindful of this difference.

Tip #1 – Make sure you are legal to drive in Zurich

To drive in Zurich you must be 18 years of age and have an International Driver’s License. You can get your IDL in your home country. Fines for driving without a license from Switzerland or an IDL can be stiff so don’t risk it.

Tip #2 – Stop for pedestrians and bicycles

You must stop for pedestrians and bicycles. Do not speed up and go around them, this is taken very seriously in Zurich.

Tip #3 – Obey all posted speed limits

Zurich police take their speed limits very seriously. Don’t think that just because there is no one around you can fly through. In Zurich they also use well hidden speed cameras and the fines are steep.

Tip #4 – Stop at yellow lights

There are also many hidden and obvious red camera lights in use in Zurich. Your best course of option is to always stop when a light turns yellow. Only continue through if you’re absolutely do not have time to stop – and that means absolutely.


Travellers from the UK and other countries have heard tales about how hard it is to drive in Zurich, and some web sites actively discourage you from renting a car. The reason it is so difficult to drive in the city is that city planners have purposely chosen to make it difficult.

Zurich is slowly shutting down inner city roads to become pedestrian walk ways and expanding their tram service line. Their goal is to eventually have a car-less city.

Recommended Museums & Galleries in Zurich

There is much to see and do in Zurich when it comes to museums and galleries. Make sure you get a ZurichCard while you are there. This is a card that will allow you entrance to many of the museums for a greatly reduced price.

Getting around the city:

Zurich is one of the leading nations for accessible public transportation. The average wait time for service is 7 minutes. There are buses, trams, a metro and boats too. The best way to spend your time seeing all the museums and galleries they have is to use public transport. Parking is not easy in Zurich, and driving can take hours from your day. The major cultural areas are well served so you don’t ever have to worry about going to an opening or event either.

Zurich Museum of Art:

This is a classic museum of art that displays artifacts and creations from all the ages of history. It has a wonderful classical and contemporary gallery. The Museum of Art also host events, festivals, lectures and workshops.


Rietberg Museum:

The Rietberg Museum is very unique. It is devoted to preserving the culture of Zurich and the surrounding areas. Their exhibits can cover everything from clothing to cookware, painting to books.

Museum of Design:

Part of the College of Art and Design this museum features modern visual and communication design heavily. It can be where you will see prototypes of products and designs that herald the future of technology. It can be especially fascinating for children.

Guild Houses:

You can put your ZurichCard to good use going to all the guild houses around the city. These are the museum/gallery/shops of the major artisan guilds where you can see items made, find out their history and bring a piece home. The most famous is the Meisen, which is the guild house for porcelain craftsmen.

Starkart Urban Art Gallery Zurich:

Starkart has some of the latest works from urban artists in Zurich and from around the world. Works from Banksy have been shown here, and they represent a huge number of local artists as well. You will never be able to predict what you will find here.


Erarta Contemporary Art Gallery:

This is a highly respected contemporary art gallery in Zurich that also will feature private collections being hosted on commission. They have art that is listed for sale, and a collection of their own from some of the century’s best artists around the world.

Children’s Miniature Airport Zurich

There is a lot to love about Zurich airport, but even more to love if you have children. Up on Observation Deck B you will find the Children’s Miniature Airport. This is a playground designed to replicate the basics of an airport, complete with planes kids can climb in and out of easily.

It is brightly colored, clean and can provide hours of distraction when you need it most. This deck was recently renovated and the children’s play area redesigned to provide more fun, comfort and safety for families who are traveling.


Why a Miniature Airport?

For starters, the choice to build a mini airport for children is just a great idea brought to life because it is so fun. There is another advantage to letting your child play on these pint sized planes – they can help children to view flying as something fun. If your child is nervous about planes, this is an ideal way to show them how wonderful they can be.

The details you need to know about the Miniature Airport:

To find the Children’s Miniature Airport you will need to travel to Observation Deck B. The entrance to Deck B is located near Check In 2. The hours for the deck are seasonal. It is open between 8 in the morning and 9 at night in the summer. During the winter it is open from 9 in the morning to 6 at night. Adults pay a use fee of CHF 5, and entrance for children is set at CHF 2.

Adults are allowed on the playground, but don’t get your hopes up too high. The Miniature Airport is sized for children and adults won’t be able to fit in the plane.

Nightlife Options in Zurich City

Nightlife in Zurich can be as wild or tame as you want it. While it does have a reputation as a “party city,” that is only true if you look for it. Yes, there are legal brothels and strip clubs, but there are also cabarets and cinemas and quiet cafes. It really depends on what you want your night to be like. A good idea (if you aren’t traveling with children) is to strike a balance. Go all out one night, and then play it calmer the next. Just remember, cash only is the better choice when you go as many places don’t accept credit cards.

Top clubs for dancing and music:

Mascotte is one of the older clubs around and it hosts a wide range of events. It is more focused on the traditional club fare. Nearby is Helsinki, which has taken its interpretation of a night out in a completely opposite direction.

Helsinki is an alternative bar that definitely brings to mind Ibiza and Miami. The Plaza is a former cinema that has transformed itself into a dance club with two stories of dance floor. For straight techno you want to find Frieda’s Buxe. This is a small club that really delivers on its promise to take you out of this world.


The higher side of risque:

The be all and end all of stripping in Zurich has got to be Maxim. It has been in business since 1931 and offers a range of performances from the modern strip routine to pole dancing and full out burlesque. A night at Maxim can be very expensive, so make sure that you come prepared. Haisfrech is another place that is popular; it was recently updated in 2010. Most clubs also have a general bar and dancing area, as well as VIP lounges too.

Make sure you call in advance to find out if you need reservations:

For all of its dedication to wild nights, Zurich definitely plays it by the rules – especially when it comes to occupancy limits. Some parties and events are very popular, and you might need a reservation to get in the door. Don’t count on just showing up early or slipping something to the doormen, Zurich prides itself in protecting its nightlife and making sure it can offer the most it can to as many as possible.

Rhino Birth in Zurich

18 years later, Zoo Zurich can finally announce that Samira and Jeremy are proud parents to a rambunctious baby girl named Olmoti. This pair of East African Black Rhinos has kept the zoo patiently waiting for this little baby, and the excitement is about more than just the successful birth. The East African Black Rhino is an endangered species, and while 17 facilities in the world host breeding pairs, their captive birthrate is low.


Why don’t they breed in captivity?

It isn’t a case of the rhino not breeding well in captivity, but that their natural breeding cycle is difficult to begin with. There isn’t an established mating season, although some areas notice a trend towards birth during the end of the rains. Gestation can take almost a year and a half before the baby rhino is born. The average birthrate of a baby rhino is 85 pounds, and they arrive in the world ready to make it their own.

Why are they endangered?

Contrary to popular opinion, East African Black Rhinos aren’t being killed because their horns are valued as aphrodisiacs. Most of the rhinos are killed for their entire horn; it only takes a small amount of horn powder to make the traditional aphrodisiac. The full horn is needed to make dagger handles. These daggers still represent wealth and power in many areas of the world.

Conservation can help save the East African Black Rhino:

The birth of Olmoti is proof that conservation works. Rhinos tend to eat grass shoots and roots, being vegetarian. The conservation of areas of their natural habitat is as important as the conservation programs designed to promote birth rates. Above all, continued efforts to close down the illegal trade in their horns and meat has to be a priority if Olmoti is going to grow up and see children of her own.

Whats the Weather like in Zurich?

Zurich has one of the most hospitable climates of the cities in this region of the world. While the summers can get hot, they are relieved by the ability to swim in the lake that Zurich borders. If you are in the mood for walking about, the spring and fall are fine, and of course, some of the best skiing in the world can be found here because the climate creates the perfect natural base. Here is a brief overview of what to expect from the weather no matter what time of year you visit.

How hot is hot?

The summer season lasts from June into August. It can get hot, but the city is also on the Zurich Lake and Limnat River. Both of these are so clean you can swim in them whenever you want. Swimming at lunchtime is a common habit of the business sector. The temperatures get up there, but they are never intolerable thanks to the cool lake effect.

Teenagers jump into Lake Zurich on a hot sunny summer day in Kuesnacht

The Rain:

Moving from June through the beginning of September the rains begin. It isn’t anything like the London rains, as the temperature is notably dryer and warmer. It stays above 8°C and doesn’t get into the summer heats past 10 often.

The Fog:

Late September and October are notable for two things – the return of warmer, sunnier weather but it is also noted for its periods of thick dense fog. This is a part of the Lake effect as well. Temperatures average around 9°C and the precipitation during the fall season is less than 3 inches.

The Beautiful Winter:

December and January are popular times for tourists in Zurich as this is the prime ski season. It is also when you will see the amazing holiday displays, and the natural beauty of the city. The temperatures never get too cold to bear.


In December you may see an average temperature of 0°C to 1°C – with January being much the same. The difference lies in that December sees more temperature variation. While it may go up above freezing so no snow lasts more than a few days, in January the variation trends down below 0 and the snows will stay on the ground for several weeks.

Shopping in Zurich City

Shopping in Zurich can be an amazing experience, here are some of the highlights…

Bahnhof Stadelhofen Rail Shopping Centre:

Beneath the Stadelhofen Rail Stop there is an unusual shopping centre. While it only has 22 shops, they have a full grocery store and small fashion boutiques. This is ideal for quick stops for food and gifts on your way in and out of town.

Einkaufszentrum Glatt – The Shopping Experience not to be Missed:

Registered as the biggest mall in Switzerland, there are two anchor department stores and over 100 shops and kiosks spread across 43,000 square meters. You can find everything from games to high end beauty products and fashions here.


The Europaallee Passage Mall:

Right outside of RailCity there is a more modern and mainstream take on the mall found within the Europaallee Passage. The stores here have an emphasis on the practical and daily shopping needs for city life. Not high end, but not kitsch either.

The Street of Shops at Im Viadukt:

This is Zurich’s famous street of shops. The shops are tucked in a 19th century aqueduct, which gives the place a wonderful historic air. You can find many small boutiques and affordable shops here.

3 Floors of Stores and Food at Low-key Letzipark:

Just beyond the city centre there is the 3 story shopping centre of Letzipark. There are 66 stores inside such as a garden centre, coffee bar, 2 full service restaurants and take-away stands on all the floors. This is ideal for the traveller and the businessman, or any one with some time on their hands.

The Underground ShopVille at RailCity Zürich:

Below the Zurich train stations you will find ShopVille-RailCity. There are an amazing array of over 100 underground shops below that can provide you with anything you need on your trip, and more. There are high end fashion boutiques, florists, news-stands and bookstores, as well as stores with all the electronic devices you need for work home,  business or travel.

The Shopping Paradise of Sihlcity:

Sihlcity is relatively new. It was created in 2007 in an old mill, the new renovation blended modern designs with the pre-existing mill space making it one of the most visual fascintating places to visit. Inside it is a modern and upscale shopping experience with an emphasis on fashion, food, electronics and there is even a hotel and cineplex located right on site.


Celebrate Advent and Ring in the New Year in Zurich

Zurich has an international reputation for providing the best way to celebrate the Christmas Holiday, and to ring in the New Year. The celebrations start with the beginning of advent and there are collector’s fairs, crib and manger showcases, parades and special markets to enjoy during the day. At night there are lights, feasts and special performances of all your favourite holiday music too.

The Christmas Events:

All December Zurich is steeped in the holiday spirit. It starts with the Advent celebrations which include everything from the Lichterswimmen Candle Floating Festival to choral and carol performances throughout the town at some of the oldest churches and other venues. There are also Christmas Markets stages both outdoors and indoors at many of the malls. Children will love the Christmas Parade and the various Santa themed events too.


One thing you don’t want to miss is the Circus Conelli. Every Advent season they host a special Christmas Circus that is spectacular. You also will love the tree lighting ceremonies along the river too. Many of the merchants come together to offer specials and small celebrations, and the whole thing ends with an amazing fireworks display.

The New Year’s Events:

Over 200,000 people attend the New Year’s Eve Fireworks display at the edge of the Zurich Lake. It is considered to be one of the largest, and most spectacular, displays of pyrotechnics on the continent. Before the clock strikes midnight there is an open air street fair full of food and fun. There are also special concerts staged throughout the city.

It is easy to get to as public transportation provides a free focus on getting you to and from the festivities safely. The morning after, Zurich sleeps in, which can make it an ideal time to take in one of the low key old city walking tours.


Making sure you are prepared for the weather:

At the end of December, Zurich is just crossing into their deep winter. The real cold and snow hasn’t begun yet, but you do want to make sure that you are prepared for 0 Celsius and slightly above. There is plenty of skiing to be had and the regular snowfall amounts provide you with a fresh tableaux throughout your stay. The slightly warmer temperatures that the city ends the year with means the snow doesn’t stay long and always looks fresh. It is the perfect winter wonderland.