Touring the snowy mountains at night, drinking hot chocolate and above all enjoying the most beautiful white landscapes, is part of what you can do during your visit to Zurich during the winter.
Among the things you can see and do in Zurich during this season, you have to include snow skiing. Besides that, I will show you other less typical activities that you can definitely do in Zurich during the winter, among them sleeping in an igloo or even bathing in the exquisite thermal waters that this country has to offer.
1. Climbing the Top of Europe
Top of Europe is a place you can climb regardless of the weather or the season, but visiting the top of Europe during the winter is one of the best experiences you can live during this season, because the views of the snow-capped mountain are really beautiful.
On the other hand, another really impressive experience that this tour offers you is the ride aboard one of the best scenic trains from Zurich, which will take you to see many of the alpine villages that are located around the snow-capped mountains.
On your visit to Jungfraujoch you will have the opportunity to climb up to the observation platform, from where you will see the entire snow-capped mountain and also take the most spectacular photos of your trip to the highest peak in Europe.
2. Ice skating on natural ice rinks
If there's one activity you're going to love in Zurich and the rest of Switzerland, it's ice skating. Winter brings with it sub-zero temperatures that help to create natural ice skating rinks.
You can do this activity for free in the city center, but there are also different paid places where you can rent a few minutes of ice skating. Also, if you want to see different natural ice rinks, I recommend you to take a chairlift or a private bus tour of Zurich and be amazed by the natural sights.
3. Warm up at the Lindt Home of Chocolate Museum
If you want to take a break from the snow and warm up, I recommend a visit to the Lindt Museum in Zurich, where you can enjoy interesting exhibits on the history of chocolate and the brand, as well as unlimited chocolate tasting.
Did you know that inside you will find a chocolate fountain no less than 9 meters high? For such spectacular things like this and also for the interactive tour that includes the entrance, this is an activity that I recommend doing with children on your trip to Zurich. I assure you that they will love it!
4. Zurich Old Town Tour
If you thought that the cold was going to be an impediment to get to know the old part of the city, let me tell you that you were wrong. In Zurich the tours don't stop and the snow doesn't slow anyone down. In fact, quite the opposite.
The Grossmünster Church, the Bahnhofstrasse, medieval houses and the Town Hall are just some of the places you can visit when you book a tour of the old town of Zurich with an expert guide who will tell you curious stories of the area.
You just need a good coat and a lot of desire to discover the most classic area of all.
5. Sleep in an igloo
This is perhaps one of the most incredible experiences you can have during your visit to Zurich. For this experience you will have to go to one of the common ski resorts. Usually in these places they build igloos during the winter to offer visitors a completely different adventure.
Each company that offers this service usually make their own packages from which you can choose the one that best suits your abilities and needs. Among the comforts that you usually have inside the igloo are the thermal pools. The interesting thing about these experiences is that they can only be lived during the winter, because in summer it is impossible to lift the igloo.
In addition to the thermal pools, other attractions that are usually offered inside these igloos are the service of welcome hot drinks, sleeping bags and safety lamps with enough batteries.
6. Sledging down the snowy mountain
If there's one thing that calls for adventure, it's sledding on snow, and if it's at night, so much the better. These experiences are common in Switzerland during the winter season and it's definitely an activity you can't pass up.
One of the things I like the most about this experience is that you can get on the sled and slide down from the top of the mountain with all the safety measures. Depending on the mountain you choose to sled down, you can eat a fondue before to have energy to dare to do this activity.
For this experience you have many options, from night sledding in the early hours of the night, to guided tours when there is a full moon. It all depends on the place where you decide to live this experience. But in short, there are many ski resorts where you can also live the adventure of sledding.
7. Snowshoeing in the snow
Snowshoeing is one of the most fun activities you can do in Zurich during the winter, but you must be very careful with the snow because in some places it is softer than in others.
Because of this situation, this hiking route, which is one of the best excursions to discover Switzerland from Zurich, is done with snowshoes, which will help you to walk better through the snow. In addition, doing this walk through the glaciers and snowy areas of Switzerland is even more beautiful in winter because the snowy landscapes give a plus to the experience.
The best thing about this activity is that there are many parks that are set up for locals and tourists to hike on snowshoes. Many of these parks where it is fun to explore and go hiking are located very close to Zurich.
8. Bathing in the hot springs
In Switzerland during the winter the cold is so severe that the hot springs definitely become an oasis for tourists and locals alike. There are many places to bathe in thermal waters, both public with a large number of people, and private with little affluence.
In addition to the hot springs, in Zurich you can find different places with a spa format in which they usually offer the services of renting thermal water pools. This is a good activity to do with your family and friends, as well as to include the children.
The temperatures of these hot springs are usually around 40º C, so you will love the idea of relaxing in these baths while looking at the scenery around you, such as snow-capped peaks and dull colors because of the cold.
9. Skiing in the snow
A must-do in Switzerland is definitely skiing. This is an activity that you can do during any time of the year, but definitely if you go skiing during the winter in the snowy mountains you will have a much more exciting and realistic experience thanks to the beautiful views.
Another advantage of skiing during the winter is that the snow is usually a bit firmer and above all denser for skiing. There are many places that provide this service during the winter, so it will not be very difficult to find your place to do this activity.
Among the essential places to go skiing in the snow is St. Moritz, a village where there are approximately 87 ski slopes. In addition to being one of the highest areas in Switzerland, it is home to the Winter Olympics, so it's an interesting place to visit in winter, whether you like skiing or just prefer to go sightseeing.
10. Visit Mount Rigi
If you visit Mount Rigi in winter, you can't miss hiking around the snow and especially snowboarding. These are the favorite activities here. Besides, the views are breathtaking and the pure air you breathe from this place is not only pleasant, but also ideal for your respiratory health.
Depending on the type of tour you choose to go to this place, you can ride the cable car or even take the cog railway for one of the best excursions to the Swiss Alps from Zurich.
On most of these full tours, you are offered the opportunity to visit Lucerne on your own for about two hours, which leaves you time to take some extra pictures and also eat something traditional Swiss. This is a nice experience especially if you are traveling with children because the city of Lucerne has attractions that will delight the little ones.
11. Touring the Christmas markets
One of the best activities you can do in winter in Zurich is to visit the different Christmas markets. And definitely to enjoy Christmas in the city, it is advisable to make a trip to Zurich for at least 3 days.
Whether you want to buy Christmas decorations, or you want to taste traditional Swiss sweets and food during the Christmas season, these are definitely the places where you can catch the Christmas magic and enjoy the holidays with the best Swiss traditions.
An interesting fact about these Christmas markets is that Switzerland has one of the largest and most colorful in Europe, located in the center of Zurich, right inside the train station. Also the city of Basel, near Zurich, is a place where you can find the creations of more than 200 artisans who gather to show their talent at Christmas.
12. Paragliding in the Alps
If you like more extreme tourism then you will definitely love this activity. If paragliding during the summer is already a rewarding experience, going in winter in search of adventure is an unforgettable experience.
One of the things I most appreciate and like to mention about this adventure is the incredible view of the Alps that you can have from the heights. The best thing about it is that you can feel completely safe paragliding because in Switzerland this activity has been perfected a lot, which is a plus if you are looking for adventure with safety.
From the top you can take all the pictures you want because the view is really impressive. But before venturing into paragliding you should know that it is important to follow the instructions of your expert guide to avoid accidents.
Temperatures in Zurich in wintertime
Winter in Switzerland arrives around November, when temperatures start to drop sharply, with a maximum of 7ºC and a minimum of 2ºC. The cold season settles in Switzerland until March, being the coldest months December and January. Already for the last month of the year the temperatures approach 4ºC the maximum and -1ºC the minimum.
As for humidity, the winter is usually quite humid, being the months with the highest rainfall January and February. And if what you want to know is how the sky will be, the truth is that the cloudiest months during the winter are November and January.
Winter tourist traffic in Zurich
It is clear that Zurich is not a city especially visited during the winter, so the influx of tourists is much lighter during these months of the year. Although it may increase a bit towards December because of the Christmas season.
The low tourist influx makes it easier for you to find accommodation to stay, restaurants to eat at and you will certainly find it easier to book a reservation.
Prices in Zurich during the winter
It's no secret that Zurich is one of the most expensive cities in Europe, so at any time of the year you're sure to notice the difference compared to other European capitals. But in the case of the winter season in this city, prices are lower than in summer.
If you would like to go in winter to Zurich, you have to know that the best time (economically) to do it if you need to save money, is in the days before December.
On the other hand, if you are looking to save a lot more money, you should make your reservations online, where you can book well in advance so you don't miss out on any of the attractions in and around the city.
What to pack for winter in Zurich?
Winter is definitely a time when temperatures drop to very hostile levels, so warm clothes are a must in your suitcase for visiting the city. Closed shoes and shoes for walking on ice are another piece that you can not leave at home.
I recommend you to take protective creams for your skin because the cold can irritate you if you do not take precautionary measures. Although it may seem contradictory, you can not fail to include in your list of things to take on your winter trip, a bathing suit. In the thermal baths you will hardly find bathing suit rentals, so it is better to bring your own.
You shouldn't leave your hat, scarf and gloves behind either. And as an accessory, I recommend you to bring sunglasses even if the day is cloudy.