5 great things to do on a rainy day in Zurich

5 great things to do on a rainy day in Zurich

When it's raining outside, it can be tempting to just wrap up warm and sit things out in your house or apartment. But, for those wanting to get out of the house and explore, Zurich has more than its fair share of things to do on a rainy day. Here are five fun things you can do when the Swiss weather isn't playing ball.

Indoor activities in Zurich

It's an old adage to say that when it rains it pours, but when the weather does get nasty there are plenty of indoor activities in Zurich that can help while away the hours of drizzle. Here are some of our favourites:

1. Visit one of Zurich’s many museums

Being the largest city in Switzerland, Zurich has a number of great museums to visit. Many of these look at Switzerland’s history and historical sites or commemorate something that the city is famous for.

The Swiss National Museum, for example, presents an easily accessible version of Switzerland’s history, from the formation of the country to the present day. Along with striking and informative exhibits in English, the museum itself is a must-see, built to resemble a castle in the historicist style.

Art lovers can also go to the local gallery - the Kunsthaus. This museum has recently been expanded and includes artworks by Monet, Munch and Picasso, as well as local Swiss artists like Alberto Giacometti and Johann Heinrich Füssli. 

Alongside the two most famous museums, Zurich and the surrounding area is home to many more excellent attractions to serve any interest. Some of the highlights include:

  • FIFA Museum
  • Zürich Tram Museum
  • Museum Rietberg
  • Museum Bellerive
  • Beyer Watch Museum
  • Dinosaur Museum (Aathal)
  • Technorama (Winterthur)

Swiss national museum

2. Visit Zoo Zürich

Sitting atop Zurich mountain, the zoo is a huge favourite among families in Switzerland. Opened in 1929, it is considered one of the best zoos in Europe, with 1,2 million people visiting every year.

The zoo has approximately 4.600 animals of 375 different species. Some of the best attractions are the Asian elephants and Galápagos tortoises. Even when it's raining, the zoo can accommodate, with many indoor exhibits to enjoy.

Video: Reisen Nah un Fern / YouTube

3. Take a boat ride on Lake Zurich

Sometimes, all you want to do on a rainy day is to sit down in the warm and watch the world go by. Luckily, Lake Zurich has just the thing, in the form of boat cruises. All the ships have covered or indoor areas - the perfect place for a coffee, cake or lunch on the water.

While the timetable does vary depending on the time of year - with most cruises being available during the spring and summer - there will always be some route available to let you travel around the canton in style. For more information, check out the ZSG website.

4. Visit the botanical gardens and greenhouses in Zurich

Along with the zoo, the tropical greenhouses and botanical gardens of Zurich are well known for their stunning collection of flora and fauna.

As part of the University of Zurich - one of the best universities in Switzerland - the collection is kept underneath several large domes, creating a lush tropical environment even on the rainiest of days.

Video: Shiso Productions / YouTube

5. Visit a chocolate factory

Finally, what would Switzerland be without chocolate? The country has a long history with the treat, being the first place in the world to master milk chocolate. Today international companies from Switzerland export chocolate worldwide.

While there are many chocolate factories that offer tours, Lindt’s new "Home of Chocolate" is a must-see. Only 20 minutes away from the city centre in the lakeside community of Kilchberg, the new facility showcases chocolate’s history in Switzerland, demonstrates how chocolate is made, and gives you the opportunity to make your own.

Video: Lindt Chocolate World / YouTube

What to do in Zurich when it rains

We hope this list has proven to you that the weather doesn't have to be perfect to make the most of what the "Swiss metropolis" has to offer. Do you have a different wet weather activity that you love to do in Zurich? Let us know in the comments!

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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