Things to Do for Free in Zurich

Things to Do for Free in Zurich

The Swiss city of Zurich is famous for its high cost of living; it is indeed the second most expensive city in the world, after Singapore. For this reason, many people avoid it as a travel destination, thinking that they cannot even afford to spend a few days in this beautiful European city. This is a common mistake because Zurich can be also visited if you don’t have an enormous budget. You can even find a pretty good hotel at reasonable prices. Apart from that, did you know that in Zurich you can do a lot of things for free?

Free Bikes

Let’s start with transportation, one of the most important parts of visiting a city. In Zurich you can hire a bike for free! The service, called Züri rollt, consents you to hire a bike upon the presentation of a deposit of CHF 20. When you return the bike you will have your money back, great, right? This works like a dream, especially if you happen to visit Zurich in springtime or summertime, when the weather is mostly warm, shiny and nice. You can enjoy the round through the city or maybe make a tour along the lake.

Free Walking Tour

It is a free walking tour with guide of the Zurich Altstadt, 1,5 hours long that includes the visit to the main sightseeing in Zurich: Paradeplatz, Fraumünster, Lindenhof, Grossmünster, Niederdorf. You don’t have to sign up, just show up at the meeting point. You can find more information about it on the website of the tour. It is pretty useful to know that such tours exist and that you don’t even have to sign up for it or even better you don’t have to pay for it. It’s a great opportunity to use if you wish to find out something more about the city and see the most of it.

Free Water Everywhere

If you are hungry in Zurich, you will soon find out that the food is extremely expensive. Even the prices in shops are unbelievably high for food, not to mention these in the shops of clothing, furniture or so on. Good news for you is that you won’t have to worry about being thirsty! You can drink clear water from nearly every corner. In fact, there are more than 1200 fountains to be found. You don’t even have to bring your bottle with yourself, as you can stop every 5 minutes somewhere to sit and drink fresh water.

Free Swimming

In Zurich you can swim for free in one of the many river pools (flussbad). They are actually swimming pools built in the Limmat River. But don’t be afraid, the river is very clean and the water really clear. Flussbad Oberer Letten is the most famous one and the nearest one to the city center. If you are visiting this city during the summer, we suggest that you spend a little bit of time here, take a bath, sunbathe and rest yourself from all the sightseeing.

Botanical Garden

If you wish to see more nature, apart from parks, you can consider visiting the Botanical Garden of the University of Zurich. There, even though in the middle of Europe, in the middle of Zurich, you can see and smell the tropical plants and trees. They are waiting for you in the tropical greenhouses. Once you enter the place, you will have the feeling as if you have entered the Mediterranean area. The best of it is yet to come, you can visit the Botanical Garden and the tropical greenhouses for free!

Zoological and Palaeontological Museums

If you want to visit few museums in Zurich, but without spending any money, you should know that your dream will come true. Speaking of which, there are quite a few interesting museums to explore and they are completely free of charge. For instance, two University museums, connected one to the other, the Zoological and Palaeontological museums. In the first one, you can discover around 1.500 animals and experience the real wildlife. There is all kind of animals, from the smallest one to the biggest one. It is home to some long extinguished animals like the mammoth and the dodo. If you have kids, they will love this place, and you won’t have to spend any money on the ticket. The second one offers a wide range of fossils back from 240 million ago, many different creatures, some of them well preserved, while other illustrated.


If you wish to have a better insight of the university, other than just visiting its interesting museums, you should consider visiting the focusTerra at the ETH Zurich. Here, you can wander in the hall and corridors, like once Albert Einstein did. This place offers a geological exhibition to its visitors, just for free. You can find out more about the Earth, from its centre to its peak and about the space. Besides, there are some magnificent minerals and stones to be observed, with all kind of colors and shapes.

Archaeological Collection

Once you have done the most of free activities to be done and seen in Zurich, there is one more place that you can visit for free. It is the Archaeological Institute at the University of Zurich. Here you can admire its archaeological collection and see some of the most ancient arts and original works from ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Rome, Greece, Asia Minor and Etruria.

Free is Always the Best

Well, there are a lot of activities in this expensive city to be seen and done. Hopefully, you are surprised as much as we were. It is great to know that there are still places where you don’t have to spend any money and still can learn something new, practice a bit of sport and travel light without carrying bottles through the city. However, as you probably know, healthcare is not for free in Switzerland, therefore you should think about buying a travel insurance before your trip to Zurich, you never know what may happen, even if the city is one of the safest in the world. Said that, we strongly suggest that you try all these free things during your visit of one of the most expensive cities in the world, we are sure that you won’t regret it!

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