Zurich is quite often the starting and ending point on a trip to Switzerland, but it offers a lot more than meets the eye. The wider Zurich region is often neglected, yet it offers memorable cultural experiences.
Boasting historic castles, contemporary art, modern architecture and picturesque medieval towns, regional Zurich’s ‘Cultural Route’ exposes travellers to specially selected attractions and experiences that are slightly off the beaten path.
Below is a list of 10 insider tips on some cultural highlights for the discerning traveller.
Located in trendy Zurich West, this industrial building was where ships were once built. Today, it’s a venue for culture, cuisine, theatrical performances and live music.
The birthplace of the Dada Mythos, the Cabaret Voltaire is celebrating its centenary this year. Here, visitors will learn about the history of Dadaism, which was born in 1916.
Located between Bellevue and Zurich's Opera House, this is one of the largest city squares in Switzerland. Visitors come here to appreciate the architecture and greenery, while taking a break in between tours.
BRUNO WEBER PARK
This is an artistic dream world with a garden full of mythical creatures and characters. Here, the fantasies of sculptor Bruno Weber are brought to life. The park is only a 14-minute train ride from Zurich and encourages full interaction with the sculptures, making it fun for visitors of all ages.
LIMMAT CULTURE TRAIL
This trail presents a delightful interplay between art and nature, where walkers will experience contemporary Swiss art up close. Some 26 pieces by prominent Swiss artists decorate the Limmat riverbanks on both sides. The circular trail goes from Wettingen Abbey to the Historic Museum Baden.
A 1,000-year-old medieval castle set on a rocky spur above the thundering Rhine Falls, the largest waterfall in Europe. Most visitors stroll through the inner courtyard of the castle to the viewing platform for the best views of the falls. Laufen Castle is less than an hour's train ride north from Zurich.
Home to one of the most beautiful modern art collections in Switzerland, the museum's old building houses an overwhelming number of French impressionist masterpieces as well as works from other movements. Here visitors can enjoy works of art by famous names including Monet, Van Gogh, Kandinsky and Picasso.
ENEA TREE MUSEUM
Featuring more than 50 trees from more than 25 species, the Enea Tree Museum is located in an impressive park in Upper Lake Zurich in Rapperswil-Jona, about a 40-minute train and bus ride from Zurich. It combines landscape, botany, architecture, art and design for the enjoyment of nature and tree lovers.
Also called Ufnau or the Monastery Island, this is a nature reserve on Lake Zurich. The island makes for a great day excursion where visitors can learn about the settlement that dates back to the second and third centuries. The nearest train station to Ufenau is Pfäffikon, which is 27 minutes from Zurich.
ZUG OLD TOWN
Found on Lake Zug, this area features renovated buildings, narrow winding streets and colourfully decorated façades of former stately homes and well preserved traditional guesthouses. Zug is a 24-minute train ride from Zurich.
Exploring Zurich and the wider Zurich region can be done easily and conveniently with a Swiss Travel Pass. It provides travellers with unlimited access to the country's public transportation network of boats, trains and buses, up to 50 per cent off mountain railways and entry to more than 490 museums around the country. Children under 16 years of age travel for free when accompanied by a guardian using the Pass.