10 Awesome Study Breaks In Zurich

by Rachael VanDerWerff

There are a number of exciting adventures one can enjoy while studying abroad in Zurich, Switzerland. Here is a list of 10 ways international students in Zurich can experience this great city.

An aerial view of the town center of Zurich

An aerial view of the town center of Zurich

1. Zürifäscht

The Zürifäscht festival is put on every three years in the center of and throughout Old Town Zurich, bringing together the excitement of music and fireworks. Melodies fill the streets and the sky is filled with bright popping lights set to the music. If you are going to study abroad in Zurich during a year that the Zürifäscht festival takes place, be sure to check it out.

2. Zurich Film Festival

This annual festival started in 2005 and since then has grown to become one of the most influential international film festivals. It takes place over the course of 11 days and is a venue for upcoming  and recognized stars, new talents, and new directors from all over  the world.

3. Street Parade

One of the largest and most popular events in Zurich is the Street Parade. It is held annually on the second Saturday of August and is the biggest techno and dance party in the world. The festival attracts many visitors and can be heard and seen all over the city.

Hippies costume during a street parade in Zurich

Hippies costume during a street parade in Zurich

4. Schanzengraben

Originally built as a fortification and symbol of power, the Schanzengraben is a canal constructed after a 30-year war with the Baroque Shanzenstern. Now this structure is a place to escape the business of the city and enjoy a quiet afternoon along the water.

5. Lake Promenade

This is a beautiful location for an afternoon picnic or evening stroll. Start at Bellevue and walk along the boardwalk, right along the lake, towards Tiefenbrunnen. Halfway through your journey you will find a beautiful green meadow filled with people enjoying the day.

6. Niederdorf

This downtown area of Zurich is filled with bars, cafes, restaurants, and shops. While you are strolling along the quaint streets, browsing the antique shops or looking for a cafe for a bite to eat, make sure that you look up to notice the interesting and intricate architecture of the marvelous buildings. At night Niederdorf is transformed into a lively affair. Numerous bars and clubs are packed full with tourists and locals partying and dancing the night away.

7. Lindenhof

Before the end of your study abroad program in Zurich, you need to get that perfect photo of the city. For the classic snap, take a jaunt up the hill in the heart of downtown, Lindenhof. Located on the left side of the Limmat River, Lindenhof is not only a great spot to get a beautiful view, but is also the historic site of an ancient Roman castle. This green oasis will give you the opportunity to sit and take in the beauty of Zurich.

8. Polybahn

Another chance to get that perfect shot of the city is on the Polybahn funicular. This railway line carries passengers up in a train car, to the balcony by the main building of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. It leaves every 2.5 minutes and lasts for about 100 seconds, going the speed of 8 feet per second.

Lake Promenade

Lake Promenade

9. Skiing

You’re not studying abroad in Zurich just for the academics, are you?! With one of the best transportation systems in all of Europe, this region of Switzerland has many ski resorts just hours away from Zurich. Many tourists fly into Zurich to get on a train to escape into the exquisite white-capped mountains. The city is often referred to as the “portal to the Alps” for that reason. Some ski resorts scattered close by Zurich include The Alps, Beckenried, Flumserberg, Oberiberg. Ybrig, and Andermatt.

10. Hiking

The outdoorsy student can take advantage of the numerous gorgeous hikes all around Zurich. First tackle Uetliberg, a hill that overlooks Zurich. At the top is a 360-degree view, where on a clear day you will be able to see for miles. A few other hikes around the area are Sihlbrugg, Sihlvalley and Zurcher Stadtumgang. 

Try tackling them all while you study abroad in Zurich!