Walking is not just exercise. It’s therapy. There’s no better way to clear your mind and organize your thoughts than setting off on a long walk. And when you have the choice of walking through lush forests and cobbled lanes, along vast lakes, winding rivers, and over flowery slopes without leaving the city, 10,000 steps a day will only begin to feel like a warm-up.
Whether you are a brisk walker or a slow stroller, the Wanderwegs in Zurich lets you wander, ponder, discover, and daydream at your own pace.
Here are our favorite walking trails in the city that are easily accessible and doable for all ages and fitness levels.
Limmat Walk (Start and end in Höngg)
This circular route is a slow, dreamy transition from a busy cityscape to a lush and serene landscape, with the Limmat for constant company. You can choose either side of the river to begin your walk and cross any of the bridges to get to the other side. The beautiful river bank has some scenic spots for a picnic and is also popular with bathers. If you are feeling more adventurous, go with the flow and float down the river.
At the start of the trail, there’s also a Badi (public swimming space) and a children’s playground with a fun water feature.
Directions: Start at the Hardturm tram stop (trams 6 & 8) and walk a few hundred meters to your right until you reach the Limmat. You’ll see signs marking the trail.
Duration: Depending on your pace and stops along the way, ranges between 2 to 3 hours
Level: Easy and stroller-friendly without elevation
Sihl Walk (Leimbach to Langnau)
Zurich’s other river, the Sihl is much shallower than the Limmat in most parts. This means that you can casually step into the river even without a bathing suit. The trail, starting at the Leimbach train station (S4 from Zurich HB) takes you through a protected nature reserve all the way to Langnau Gattikon from where you can take the same train back into the city centre.
There are BBQ areas and picnic benches along the trail and also ample space by the riverside to laze and lounge.
The best thing about this trail is that it can be combined with a visit to the Wildnispark Zurich, where you can observe wild animals in their near-natural habitats and discover fascinating facts in the nature discovery park. More information here
Directions: From platform 2 in Leimbach train station, walk towards the wooden bridge on your right. Cross over, turn left from the T-point and in about 10 minutes the river will join you for the rest of the way.
Duration: 1.5 hours to Langnau Gattikon depending on your pace and stops. Another 30 mins from Langnau to the Wildnispark
Level: Easy and stroller-friendly with little elevation
City Walk (Zurich HB to Burkliplatz)
Although it starts in the heart of the city that doesn’t qualify as quiet or serene, this route with some detours, packs in a few places of interest that are tucked away in nooks and corners of the Old Town with plenty of photo-ops.
Start from Bahnhofquai on the street beside the Coop that leads you into the city alongside the Limmat. A few metres ahead, your first stop would be the tiny, hidden Mühlesteg Park and the love-lock bridge. Continue on the same path to Heiristeg, a narrow footbridge often hidden in plain sight. It’s named after the former middle school teacher and city councilor Heinrich Burkhardt. Bet you didn’t know this!
This route gives you ample flexibility to explore both sides of the Old Town at leisure. As long as you keep following the Limmat in the same direction, you’re on track until the Limmat swells into the vast Lake Zurich at Burkliplatz.
Some notable detours are: Lindenhof Hill for sweeping views of the city, Thermengasse near Hotel Storchen for the Roman bath ruins, Lenin’s former home on Spiegelgasse, The Toy Museum on Fortunagasse
Directions: Follow Bahnhofquai (near the Coop) and follow the length of the Limmat to Burkliplatz
Duration: 30 mins to 1 hour depending on the detours
Level: Easy and stroller-friendly with medium inclines and some steps
Greifensee Walk (Schwerzenbach to Greifensee)
View of the Alps, fishing spots, a badi and a centuries-old schloss (castle) that was the residence of the imperial bailiffs – this trail has plenty more to offer than just a regular lakeside walk.
From Schwerzenbachstrasse (near the Tennis Squash facility Fallanden), set your GPS for the Schwerzenbach Lake Park. You’ll quickly leave the busy road for a walking path that runs alongside the Glatt river flanked by fields, farms and forests. Your first stop, the Lake Park, isn’t really a park with recreational and play facilities. It’s a small, scenic spot that offers you the first glimpse of Lake Greifensee and the mountains. There’s a bench and a few lakeside steps to comfortably sit and stare at the idyllic view.
Bear left from here and make sure to stop at the viewpoint on your right, just a few metres from the park. After this point, the path doesn’t offer a direct view of the lake until Badi Furren, a perfect place to cool off after the walk. Visit the schloss, grab a bite in the garden café or rent a boat for a slow sail.
Directions: Follow the Glattweg from Schwerzenbachstrasse (keeping the Tennis Squash facility Fällanden to your left). After you reach the Lake Park, take the path going left.
Duration: 1 to 1.5 hours
Level: Easy and stroller-friendly with no elevation
Maur Walk (Fällanden to Maur)
The starting point of this trail has no visible indication of how beautiful it’s going to be. Along with fabulous lake and mountain views, this easy walking path has lakeside BBQ areas, boat rental facilities, restaurants, orchards, campgrounds, wharves for fishing and lake beaches for a dip-and-dream kind of day. All without a swelling city crowd. In a few stretches, the path splits from the lakeshore but gets you back to those gorgeous views in minutes.
A classic Swiss meal in restaurant Schifflände, at the Maur ferry terminal is the perfect way to end your walk.
Directions: Start in Sunnetalstrasse Fällanden (near the Coop), walking in the direction opposite to that of the motorway. The houses and apartments will soon give way to open fields. Follow the path as indicated in the map below to avoid walking on the parallel motorway, keeping to your left until you reach Maur.
Duration: 1.5 to 2 hours
Level: Easy and stroller-friendly with little elevation
Do you have a favorite walking trail in Zurich that we don’t know about? Tell us about it so that we can get inspired and add it to our list.
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