Not packed in a bus. Not herded with a group. Self guided walk is the SAFEST way to sightsee while observing SOCIAL DISTANCING!

Museums Walking Tour (Self Guided), Zurich

Zürich has a great number of museums, many of them historical museums displaying the history of Zürich and its citizens and the history of world civilizations. Many exhibit unique objects, documents and artifacts witnessing the past. One of the most interesting is the museum of timepieces from ancient times till the present. Take a look at Zürich's most popular historical museums in this walking tour.
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Museums Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Museums Walking Tour
Guide Location: Switzerland » Zurich (See other walking tours in Zurich)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 6
Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.9 Km or 1.8 Miles
Author: ellen
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Kunsthaus Zürich
  • ETH Zürich Collection of Prints and Drawings
  • Zoologisches Museum
  • Swiss National Museum
  • Toy Museum
  • Clock and Watch Museum Beyer
Kunsthaus Zürich

1) Kunsthaus Zürich (must see)

The Kunsthaus is one of the most important museums in Europe. The building was designed by architect Karl Moser and completed in 1910. The facades contain bas-reliefs designed by Oskar Keifer, a long time collaborator with Moser. The collection is impressive and diverse, from pieces dating to the Middle Ages to contemporary ones. Overall, the collection emphasizes Swiss art through various periods. Some of the Swiss artists represented include Fussli, Hodler, Rist and Fischli. Works by Munch, Lipchitz, Van Gough, Picasso, and Giacometti are a draw as well. The museum has a group of works by Monet and another by Chagall.

Specific collections include Swiss Paintings, Swiss Realism, Zurich Concrete Art, and collections featuring paintings and sculptures by Bocklin, Segantini, Hodler, and Vallotton. The museum also has a good collection of video art that started in 1979, with the thought that video art is an independent and creative medium. Video artists represented include Acconci, Baldessari, Calle, Graham, Hill, Marclay, Paik and others. In addition to the permanent collection, the museum features temporary exhibits and a library with books focusing on modern art. An audio guide which highlights over 200 of the pieces in the collection, is available.

Why You Should Visit:
Super modern with lots of unique perspectives! If you're a fan of modern art and appreciate surrealism and impressionism, this museum is a must.

Free entry to the main collection on Wednesdays, and you can also get an audio guide for no cost. Their library is open-access anytime.
The building might not look massive on the outside, but the collection is extensive, so make sure you leave at least 2-3 hours to visit.

Opening Hours:
Tue, Fri-Sun: 10am-6pm; Wed-Thu: 10am-8pm
ETH Zürich Collection of Prints and Drawings

2) ETH Zürich Collection of Prints and Drawings

This collection of drawings was established in 1867 by Gottfried Kinkel, a professor of art history and archaeology. The collection got its start with the acquisition of the Buhlmann collection in 1870, which contained over 11,000 single-leaf prints and another 150 volumes of bound prints. The second significant contribution to the collection was the 12,000 prints donated by Heinrich Schulthess-vonMeiss, a Zurich banker. The collection was opened to the public in 1924, and has continued to grow since. Today there are over 150,000 prints covering a span of 600 years. Prints and drawings of the old masters such as Durer, Rembrandt and Goya are part of the collection. Its main focus continued to be Swiss graphic art. Due to the fine nature of the materials on which the prints and drawings are made, they are only shown for short periods of time. They may be viewed on an individual basis in the study room. The museum is located on the first floor of the south wing of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. Admission is free and free guided tours are available, in German, on Mondays at lunch time.

Operation hours: Monday - Sunday: 10 am - 5 pm; Saturday, Sunday: 10 am - 4:30 pm.
Zoologisches Museum

3) Zoologisches Museum

The Zoologisches Museum is affiliated with the University of Zurich and features a wonderful collection of species from the Middle Triassic period (230 million years ago). The museum is known for their well-preserved fossils from Monte San Giorgio, a UNESCO world heritage site in Ticino. It has a variety of animals on display, some as a skeletal reconstruction and some that are in taxidermy form. You will see kangaroo, platypus, jaguar, giant clams and more. There is also much to be seen in the microscope area, where you can observe tiny creatures normally invisible to the naked eye. An audio recording section allows you to listen to vocalizations of over 280 avian species. Kids will love the special section dedicated to Swiss marine dinosaurs as well as land dinosaurs, such as Triceratops and skeletons of wooly mammoths. There is a sand pit area where kids can do their own excavations. This museum will keep the kids and adults entertained for at least a few hours. It should be noted that display cases are in German only. Admission is free. There is no café on site, but there is a rest area where you can eat your own food.

Why You Should Visit:
Free is good, especially when you are in Zurich.
Definitely a place that can hold the interest of adults and children alike.

Opening Hours:
Tue-Sun: 10am-5pm
Swiss National Museum

4) Swiss National Museum (must see)

The Swiss National Museum (German: Landesmuseum) is one of the key art museums of cultural history in the world. The museum was born out of the desire to create a national museum which would be the treasure of the young federal state of Switzerland; however, support for the museum was initially lukewarm. Nation Councilmember Salomon Vögelin proposed the construction of a national museum, and, after much debate, a site in Zurich was selected. The building that houses the museum was constructed in 1989. Gustav Gull, a Swiss architect and teacher, designed the building to look like a French Renaissance city chateau.

The museum features a wide range of art and the visitor will see a sample from ancient times and the Middle Ages up to 20th-century. Some of the more unique collections in the museum include a gothic art section, liturgical wooden sculpture, carved alters and chivalry-related art. There is also a section on the history of Switzerland that displays traditional costumes and clothing. The section on Swiss furniture design is a nice juxtaposition to the older items in the space. The museum features regularly rotating exhibits.

Why You Should Visit:
To learn about all aspects of Swiss history – from religion, demographics, archeology, industry to even topographical evolution and more.
The archaeology exhibition is particularly impressive thanks to the animated/interactive displays.

Opening Hours:
Tue-Wed, Fri-Sun: 10am-5pm; Thu: 10am–7pm
Toy Museum

5) Toy Museum

The Zurich Toy Museum is a popular tourist spot in the city that attracts kids of all ages. Located in Zurich’s old town this museum is popular draw. The museum displays a mix of old and modern toys, with over 1,200 antique toys from all over Europe. The bulk of the collection covers toys from the 18th to 20th century. Visitors will enjoy miniature railroads and steam engine, dolls and doll houses, books, wooden toys, tin figures, old-style games and even small furniture pieces for play, such as stoves and chairs. The delightful craftsmanship of the toys will certainly be appreciated, especially since most toys today are plastic and require batteries. There are also toys and books that children can read and play with. It wouldn’t be any fun to be in a toy museum and not be able to touch anything. Don’t worry, not the case here. Admission is free and you can get through the museum in about an hour. The museum is on the 5th floor of the building, and there is an elevator.

Operation hours: Monday - Friday: 2 pm - 5 pm; Saturday: 1 pm -4 pm.
Clock and Watch Museum Beyer

6) Clock and Watch Museum Beyer

The Beyer Clock and Watch Museum in Zurich represents one of the best private collections of time pieces. This is not surprising, since the Swiss are known for their fine craftsmanship when it comes to watches. The museum represents the private collection of Theodor Beyer, from the prominent Swiss family that has owned the Beyer shop since the mid 1700s. The Beyer shop is the oldest watch and clock store in Switzerland. The museum is located in three rooms in the basement of a retail store and has quite an impressive collection of time-keeping devices. The displays are arranged chronologically (how appropriate for a watch museum), starting with rustic, non-mechanical clocks, such as sundials, then going on up to contemporary pocket watches with intricate detail. There are also grandfather clocks, other wall and floor clocks, shepherds clocks and hour glasses. Some particularly unique items in the museum include watches made 100% from hardwood or ivory and an original rolling ball clock. There are other items in the museum that are not directly related to watches, including astronomic and geographical tools. Nominal entry fee for adults and children under 12 are free.

Operation hours: Monday - Friday: 2 pm - 6 pm

Walking Tours in Zurich, Switzerland

Create Your Own Walk in Zurich

Create Your Own Walk in Zurich

Creating your own self-guided walk in Zurich is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Zurich Gourmet Tour

Zurich Gourmet Tour

Gourmets from all over the world come to Switzerland to enjoy its splendid tastes. It is famous not only for its high-quality watches, but also for its numerous specialty and confectionery shops offering many delicacies with inimitable flavors. The secrets of making these unique delicacies have been preserved for centuries, passed from father to son. Most of the products are still made by hand....  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.1 Km or 1.3 Miles
Old Town Walk

Old Town Walk

The historic heart of the city beats on both sides of the Limmat river, where guild houses, churches and historic places line the romantic little streets and adorn the hidden corners. This self guided tour takes you to explore some of the most important sights in the old town Zurich.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.4 Km or 0.9 Miles
Zurich Souvenir Shopping

Zurich Souvenir Shopping

It would be a pity to leave Zurich without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs, which are unique to Zurich, that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.8 Km or 1.1 Miles
Zurich Introduction Walk

Zurich Introduction Walk

Switzerland’s largest city, Zürich, is rich in heritage and historic value, and is a popular travel destination. Its medieval architecture is well-preserved and worth seeing, as well as the city’s historic monuments and modern sculptures. Old Town, with its 13th century buildings, is an especially wonderful historic area to be seen. Be sure to visit some of Zürich's best landmarks in...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.1 Km or 1.9 Miles
Zurich's Historical Churches Tour

Zurich's Historical Churches Tour

Zürich has many splendid churches and monasteries, which provide an immense spiritual and cultural contribution to the entire country. Many of them played a significant role in the Protestant Reformation. Each church is inimitable in its architecture. Follow this walking tour to become familiar with Zürich's most beautiful religious edifices.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.2 Km or 0.7 Miles

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip

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