Spring is all about new beginnings, brighter days, and great experiences. In Zürich, the season has an abundance of opportunities for everyone to have fun under the brighter sun.
If you’re looking to spend a memorable after-winter season in and around Zürich—one of Switzerland’s most vibrant cities—you certainly won’t run out of options. But here are 8 of the best spring activities you should consider:
#1- Attending the Sechseläuten spring festival
The Sechseläuten is a festival unique to Zürich that kicks off the spring season. Known to locals as Sächsilüüte, the traditional holiday stands for “the six o’clock ringing of the bells.”
The joyous occasion traces back to the Middle Ages, when laws dictated that winter working hours depended on daylight. This meant that some workdays during the cold season carried well into the evening. Post-winter, however, the working hours were decreed to end as soon as the church bells tolled at six in the evening. Laborers then celebrated the end of the irregular, uncertain work season; thus, the happy ritual now known as Sechseläuten.
Should you and your family attend the Sechseläuten, expect to see the Böögg, which symbolizes the dark and gloomy side of Winter. This snowman effigy will be ceremoniously burned at the stake on the lakeshore. Usually scheduled on the third Monday of April, the event is heralded by colorful parades participated in by children and adults in fabulous costumes.
[Image Credit: Zürich Tourismus]
#2- Welcoming the spring blossoms
Zürich may be a sophisticated and highly urbanized area, but it retains its raw splendor and prides itself on natural treasures like the spectacular flora seen almost everywhere. Come springtime, many of its fields are blanketed with wildflowers, and the tree-lined streets are ablaze with cherry blossoms, plum blossoms, and magnolias.
To soak up the blooming marvels of Zürich spring, take early-morning or late-afternoon strolls or bike rides. Some of the best places to be at this time are Seestrasse in District 2; Bertastrasse, Zentralstrasse, and Zurlindenstrasse in District 3 (Wiedikon); Lindenstrasse in District 8; and Rotbuchstrasse in District 10.
For more of nature’s living colors, visit Villa Patumbah Park in District 8 (Riesbach), Belvoirpark and Rieterpark in District 2, and Platzspitz Park in District 1 (Altstadt) where the Limmat and the Sihl happily meet.
[Image Credit: Bristley]
#3- Reconnecting with animals at the zoo
Zürich isn’t all flora as it boasts fauna, too! So, if you and your kids are animal lovers, troop to the Langenberg Wildlife Park and Zoo Zürich.
Langenberg Wildlife Park (or Wildnispark Zürich Langenberg), which is the oldest zoo in Switzerland, has expansive enclosures that mimic the natural habitat of animals. Featured here are more than a dozen species of native and formerly native mammals: the Alpine ibex, Eurasian lynx, European brown bear, Przewalski’s horse, edible dormouse, fallow deer, and red fox, among others.
Zoo Zürich (or Zürich Zoologischer Garten), meanwhile, has several events and experiences lined up for everyone. Activities include elephant swimming at Kaeng Krachan Elephant Park; giraffe feeding at Lewa Savannah; and getting acquainted with the birds, reptiles, and mammals in the Masoala Rainforest.
Both zoos are accessible by public transport.
[Image Credit: Skruk]
#4- Cruising on Lake Zürich
Lake Zürich (or Zürichsee) is awesome for unique spring adventures off the beaten path. It helps everyone get to know the metropolis from a different angle: on the water!
For a truly amazing experience, join any one (or all) of the season’s themed cruises that offer culinary delights and a lot of merrymaking. Some of the specially decked watercraft are the Silent Party boat, Mind-Reading Cruise boat, and Mother’s Day Lunch Cruise boat.
[Image Credit: Dennis Jarvis]
#5- Spending alone or family time in Landiwiese
Although a super-vivacious city, Zürich has a cornucopia of opportunities for alone and family time—away from touristy areas.
One of the best places to find serenity and lots of inspiration is the Landiwiese park in District 2 that sits pretty on the lakeshore. Given the fresh spring breeze stirring from the clean water, it’s perfect for promenading, jogging, sunbathing, and picnicking.
If you’re up for a bit more excitement, cross the footbridge to get to the well-maintained artificial Saffa-Insel island that’s as chill as it is charming.
[Image Credit: Roland Fischer]
#6- Touring the heart of Zürich
The bright sunlight, crisp weather, and nature’s explosion of colors all make spring the best season to explore one of Europe’s most fascinating cities.
Get in your loafers or sneakers and check out some of Zürich’s numerous attractions. If you and your family have visited the museums and parks, just wander through the streets of Altstadt—the storybook old town. If you chance upon an open weekly market, where some of the region’s freshest produce is sold, don’t just pass it by. Get into the hale and hearty hustle and bustle.
[Image Credit: Reto Fetz]
#7- Hiking amid the scent of wild garlic
In spring, the city outskirts are likely to be bursting with the invigorating scent of wild garlic (Allium ursinum L.) wafting from the forests.
Many locals and tourists take advantage of this multisensory, wild garlic aroma-filled natural attraction by going on an excursion, and you should do that as well. Not only will you find satisfaction hiking or trekking; you can even forage for your home-cooked dinner!
A word of caution: In case you’re planning to pick wild garlic, remember that this edible species is likely to be confused with the innocent-looking but potentially toxic lily of the valley. To harvest the correct plant, test it by getting a leaf and rubbing it between your palms or fingers. If your hands smell of garlic, then you got it right and are good to go.
[Image Credit: Henna K.]
#8- Feasting on spring vegetables and cervelat
Relishing the flavors of the season is easily one of the best spring activities in the region. There are plenty of restaurants that serve the country’s most sumptuous dishes, but it would be a blast if you sourced the ingredients and whipped up a delicious meal yourself.
Vegetables that are widely available from March to May include Swiss chard, Savoy cabbage, Jerusalem artichoke, Batavia lettuce, lacinato kale, romanesco, purslane, courgette, or asparagus. Complement these with cervelat—Switzerland’s national sausage—and you’re sure to experience one of the best Zürich spring seasons ever!
[Image Credit: Seflick]