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Switzerland is a country of icons. Where would the world be without their army knife (Swiss), their chocolate (Lindt), their watches (Rolex)? Oh, and don’t forget the fondue (cheese)! Zurich, the largest city, is the heart of it all.
It’s no secret that this is one of the most expensive cities in the world, though. So our travel team thought it only right to put together an insider guide on where to stay in Zurich, to help you choose a neighbourhood that suits you and your budget!
This way, you can chill by the lake with your choccies, planning the historical, cultural or adventurous days ahead.
So follow me, and you’ll soon be striding the 12 districts of the with confidence, sure that you’ve picked the best of where to stay in Zurich!
Table of Contents
Where to stay in Zurich your first time – Old Town – District 1
Where to stay in Zurich on a budget – Niederdorf – District 1
Best area to stay in Zurich for nightlife – Langstrasse – District 4
Coolest place to stay in Zurich – Zurich West – District 5
Best neighborhood in Zurich for families – Seefeld – District 8
Not worried about where you’ll be and just looking for a fit for you? Check out our top picks for Zurich in general!
All the cosy rooms at the guest house include an in-room closet, heating and a shared garden. Pension furDich houses a restaurant and a bar where guests are able to relax of an evening with dinner and a drink. Guests can also try one of the various bars and cafés in the local area.
The cosy rooms at Glärnischhof offer wireless internet access and all the essentials for an enjoyable stay, with bonuses such as squash courts and a coffee bar. This 4-star hotel boasts convenient dining options, such as seafood dishes at Restaurant Le Poisson and local meals at Garnischhof.
Centrally located and costing a few more francs, this elegant hotel features unique views of Zurich, Lake Zurich and Prehistoric Pile Dwellings Around the Alps. Guests can soak up the outdoors on the terrace or have a drink at the bar. Just moments from nearby bars and clubs, this 5-star hotel also allows guests to discover the local nightlife.
Zurich, located in the north of Switzerland, lies on the northern shore of Lake Zurich at the foot of the Alps.
This Swiss German-speaking city is the financial hub of Switzerland and the epicentre of many important international companies and corporations.
Its long history is reflected in the picturesque lanes that make up its old town, set against the highly urbanised parts of the city that are more recent.
Zurich manages to combine luxury, high-end living with well-preserved antiquity and outstanding natural features. The River Limmat runs through the city into the lake, with water so clear the mayor takes a drink directly from it every now and then.
12 neatly defined districts make up its city region, with the clean lines representative of that famous Swiss knack for organisation. They go by ‘District 1’, ‘District 2’ and so forth, and are made up of smaller sub-sections, or neighbourhoods.
In District 3, you could visit the creative quarter of Wiedikon, and nose around in the beautiful boutiques and comfortable cafes it’s known for. Or head to the University Quarter, in District 6, to catch the buzz that accompanies student-life the world over. Why not pop into District 7, and Zurich-Nord, to get your fill of sporting activities? Or maybe Schwamendingen, in District 12, is for you, with its large green spaces and room to run, walk, and breathe.
There’s a lot to see and do in this city by the lake, river and mountains, so let’s get going, with the five absolute best neighbourhoods to stay in Zurich!
Continuously inhabited since the Roman times, the Old Town is the former boundaries of the entire city. Its medieval architecture indicates that some of its buildings, still standing, are older than human settlement in some countries. Now that’s history!
The Aldstadt, or Old Town, is the central historic and atmospheric region of the city, fittingly in District 1. Sitting right at the top of Lake Zurich, and straddling the River Limmat, Old Town is the picturesque, enchanting heart of the Swiss metropolis.
It’s perfect for people visiting Zurich for the first time as it puts you right in the centre of the action, amongst the famous landmarks and right inside the fairytale-like streets. Public transport is a breeze here, too. That’s coz you don’t really need any! It’s not a large area and is easy to cover on foot. In truth, it’s the only way to do it as well, if you’re going to capture the soul of the area.
You can get to know your way around the winding streets with one of the free walking tours on offer. These are always a top recommendation by our travel team for orienting yourself in a new city, and learning some fascinating local insights too!
It’s not all ancient though. There are plenty of modern bars and restaurants here, to fuel your explorations!
The hotel has 27 rooms and has been recently refurbished. In sunny weather, an outdoor terrace offers an ideal spot to relax. Just a stone’s throw from nearby clubs and bars, this 3-star hotel also allows guests to discover what the local nightlife has to offer. Hotel Rössli offers stylish rooms equipped with a telephone, plus all the essentials to ensure an enjoyable stay. Honeymoon suites are also available.
Guests of Hotel Glockenhof Zurich are welcome to experience local, vegetarian and international cuisine at Conrad, or try international, local and vegetarian dishes at Glogge Egge. A wide selection of eating options can also be found in the surrounding area. Located within walking distance of Zurich Hauptbahnhof, the hotel has friendly staff to provide useful tips on what to see in Zurich.
This luxury hotel offers babysitting/child services, valet parking and a 24-hour reception. After a day of exploring the nearby region, guests can relax in the comfort of their air conditioned rooms. All provide a CD player, a mini bar and slippers. Guests of Widder Hotel are welcome to experience local and international cuisine at Widder Restaurant or try local dishes at Zur Schtund.
Covering part of the Old Town, and still in District 1, Niederdorf is your perfect balancing act of a place to stay. It’s central and right in the middle of things, extending as far as Bellevue, but a bit easier on the wallet.
Known affectionately as ‘Dorfli’ by the locals, the ‘little village’ is almost entirely pedestrianised, meaning it will cost you nothing to make your way around your region.
With many small bookstores, boutiques and cafes, this subsection of Aldstadt has a romantic and unhurried feel during the day. The independent retailers, many are whom will be hidden away in tiny alleys, will entice you in with their unique wares while the refreshment sellers tempt you with a quaint setting to rest awhile.
At night the area turns into a nightlife district, with a range of destinations suiting all kinds of travellers. This multi-purposed vibe to the area makes is suitable for those on a budget as they can access all of the parts of a city without spending all their francs on a taxi!
If you’re visiting at the end of August, you can be a part the popular ‘Dorflifascht’, which has a huge number of DJs, market stalls and street food as a backdrop for shows and events on and around the streets.
Surrounded by local bars and restaurants, it is within walking distance from Zurich Hauptbahnhof. Guests can enjoy the sun on the terrace or have a beverage at the bar. Hotel Hirschen Zurich has 27 romantic rooms that are equipped with all the essentials to ensure a comfortable stay.
Hotel Marta Zurich offers easy access to Zurich’s best sightseeing areas. It is situated a brief walk from the University of Zurich, Lindenhof and ETH Zurich.
Rooms are comfortable and spotlessly clean and offer all the essentials, including a desk and wireless internet access. After settling into their room, guests can discover the area with use of Central Tram Station, which is a brief walk from the hotel.
Central Plaza offers 101 elegantly decorated rooms, all of which are equipped with a mini bar. After settling into their room, guests can explore the local area with the use of Zurich Hauptbahnhof, which is moments from the hotel. Attractions near Central Plaza Hotel include ETH Zurich, Bahnhofstrasse and Credit Suisse.
Known as the district that never sleeps, Langstrasse was once considered a den of iniquity and a stain on the city. Now, however, it’s still the insomniac section, but with a celebrated nightlife catering to all who visit.
Young blood has come into the area by way of restaurateurs and designers who have made it their business home since the mid-2000s, and its reputation is now one of being the most colourful district in Zurich.
The street and quarter in District 4, called ‘Chreis Cheib’ by the locals, begins near the district courts and goes as far north as the tracks of the main train station.
It has all kinds of music venue, from live acts to electronic raves, for the beat-niks among us. It is also home to the mixologists serving you the latest contemporary cocktails, and bartenders waiting to pour you a pint! Seriously, the options are endless so either stay a while or prepare for one epic pub crawl!
You can get your fill, literally, with the faster variety of food on offer or shop-til-you-drop at the vintage stores in the area.
This area is a melting pot: there are different generations, scenes and cultures all coming together here, and mingling well.
Again, Langstrasse is easy enough to navigate on foot (as the name suggests, there is one main thoroughfare running through it – stick to that and you won’t get lost). So no matter how many of those mixologists you call upon, you can clear your head with a refreshing wander home.
There is a new neighbourhood being built right there in the district, Europaallee, promising to liven things up even more!
This modern property offers a number of amenities, such as an express check-in and check-out feature and a lift. The property’s clean, crisp apartments are spacious and feature a kitchenette that is equipped with a refrigerator. They all include wireless internet access, a private bathroom and a flat-screen TV.
This 3-star hotel provides a safe, a 24-hour reception and a currency exchange. A garden and a travel agency are also available. Hotel Regina has 68 modern rooms that are equipped with a range of essential facilities to ensure guests have an enjoyable stay. This district is known for its nightlife and guests will be spoilt for choice when deciding where to go.
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Conveniently located in the centre of the city, this 4-star hotel makes for an excellent base in Zurich. It also offers free Wi-Fi, a sauna and a terrace. Zurich’s attractions, including the Museum of Design Zurich, Langstrasse and Helvetiaplatz, are within easy walking distance of the hotel.
Once an industrial wasteland, where ships were built and steel plates bolted, Zurich-West has pulled itself up to become crowned coolest in the city. Still a little rough around the edges, its revival over the past decade is recent enough that it hasn’t become overdone yet.
Sitting on the south side of the River Limmat as it arches up through Old Town, Zurich-West, in District 5, is just north of District 4 and Langstrasse.
You’ve now got universities, cultural landmarks and clubs vying for attention alongside some already iconic institutions. Here is where you’ll find Freitag, where 19 stacked shipping containers, in homage to the area’s past, sell individually designed messenger bags.
The Prime Tower is also here, formerly the tallest building in Switzerland and a great place to get an overview (literally) of the city.
This is the coolest neighbourhood to stay in, in a surprisingly cool city. Many write Zurich off as a stuffy financial hub, but Zurich-West puts paid to all of that. Compared to the vibe in Brixton, in London, the outdoor areas of the neighbourhood draw massive crowds of young, creative urbanites in the weekends. Well, any day that ends in Y, to be completely honest!
If you’re not completely sold on the tourist traps that a city centre usually has to offer, and prefer to mingle with locals in their element, then Zurich-West is the neighbourhood for you!
This Zurich hotel is located within a 10-minute stroll of Zurich Hardbrucke Railway Station. It offers complimentary Wi-Fi, laundry facilities and a 24-hour reception.
Each of the 160 rooms features a flat-screen TV with satellite/cable channels, as well as a private bathroom.
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Surrounded by local bars and restaurants, Zurich by Fassbind is a short walk from Zurich Hardbrucke Railway Station. Guests can soak up the outdoors on the terrace or enjoy a beverage at the bar. Convenient services include an express check-in feature and a luggage storage area. The sauna is an ideal place to relax at the end of the day.
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This 5-star hotel provides a gym, as well as a sauna, a Turkish steam bath and an executive floor. Guests can soak up the sun on the terrace or have a drink at the bar. Just moments from nearby bars and clubs, this 5-star hotel also allows guests to easily discover the local nightlife.
Seefeld, in District 8, sits along the edge of the eastern shore of Lake Zurich. It’s known for its long promenade and amazing ‘badi’ or lake bathing areas.
This area is perfect for families as there is all the water sports to keep kids happy, as well as some great big green areas to run around in. It’s also a fair distance away from those red-light districts that you probably justifiably don’t feel warrant a family trip!
This is the city with 14 museums created just for children (parents are also invited)! And this is the neighbourhood within that city we think is best for families.
While this area can get crowded with the sun seekers, it’s a popular family-destination so you can feel safe with your littlies in the big city, and reassured that there are plenty of places more than welcoming of children.
Apart from the sunning and swimming and park-living, there aren’t all that many things to do here, but that’s where the public transport comes in.
Jump on streetcar 2 or 4 to whip you straight into the city, for the many attractions there. If little legs can handle it, the walk from Seefeld into Old Town only takes 20 minutes – and it’s in one straight line!
There are plenty of dining options here, all along the scale, so feeding the family will be a breeze (like the refreshing one coming from the lake)!
Each evening, guests are welcome to relax in the comfortable lounge bar. A variety of dining options are also found in the surrounding area. Zurich’s well-known attractions are within close proximity to Lady’s First Hotel, with the Chinese Garden, the Zurich Opera House and the Centre Le Corbusier only a short stroll away.
Just a stone’s throw away from the Zurich Opera House, this 4-star hotel has free Wi-Fi. Multilingual staff can assist with reservations or dining recommendations. Those staying at the property can also rent a bicycle to explore Zurich and its surrounds. Rooms at Romantik Hotel Europe provide a stylish space to unwind, complete with slippers.
Contemporary in its design, Eden Au Lac Hotel Zurich is located in a well-known area of Zurich. It also offers a rooftop terrace, a sauna and valet parking. The air conditioned rooms at Eden are contemporary and feature a mini bar. They are also fitted with cable/satellite channels and a hair dryer.
Zurich is so much more than a stuffy city of finance and commerce. It’s ancient, modern, liberal and fun, and suitable as a destination for people from all walks of life.
Now, with this guide in hand, you’ll be able to strike out confidently in the direction of your dreams. Dreams of gorging on Swiss chocolates, that is.
With the trifecta of river, lake and mountain surrounding and cutting through the town, it’s a big city with that touch of nature that keeps us all sane.
Spend your nights at our best pick hotel of all, the elegant Baur Au Lac, situated in Old Town, just near the top of the lake. It has you in striking distance of all the best Zurich has to offer.
So now, with all our hot tips and tricks up your sleeve, as handy as a Swiss Army knife, you know exactly where to stay in Zurich!
“It is always easy to create an ordinary city; what is difficult is to create an extraordinary one, peaceful and restful one, smart and tidy, artful and cultivated one, in short, a livable one! And Zurich is such a city!”
― Mehmet Murat ildan
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Emma Johnson lives to travel! Born in Washington D.C., Emma is a hotel connoisseur and a staff writer at Hotel Jules. An army brat, Emma got the travel bug early and has never been able to stop. Now, she has proudly visited 70+ countries and plans to visit every country in the world! Passionate about her ukelele (obviously) and her family, Emma eventually wants to retire in Thailand and write a book about all of her travel experiences.