Situated between Uetliberg mountain and Lake Zurich, and divided by the Limmat and Sihl Rivers, Zurich’s location is key to its appeal. Here, hiking, biking and cold-water plunges are as common as shopping in watch salons and chocolate emporiums. A love of the outdoors is in the DNA of those who call Zurich home – and with a matrix of forested hills, two rivers and a lake all within easy reach of the center, it’s little wonder why. Discover the city’s natural attractions through a local’s eyes with these outdoor pursuits.
Hike the Uetliberg
A 30-minute ride from Zurich Main Station will take you to this hiking haven situated on the west of Lake Zurich. Rising to only 870m, Zurich’s panoramic mountain is a baby in Alpine terms, but what it lacks in height it makes for in undiluted spectacle: from the top, there are forested trails to follow, a lookout tower to climb and a toboggan run to whoosh down in winter. Tackle the tower on the mountain too and you’ll be 900m above sea level – and rewarded with magnificent views of the city and lake.
SUP the Schanzengraben
Part of the city’s medieval moat system, the Schanzengraben is a highlight of a standup paddleboarding (SUP) tour of the city’s waterways and quaysides. Paddling beside vibrant blue swimming spots and beneath a slew of bridges, you could, for the briefest moment, feel like you’re in Venice. Those who don’t SUP can still get their peace and quiet at this promenade, as a path along the canal is lined with willowy trees.