Religious Sights Walking Tour (Self Guided), Zurich

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.
How it works: Download the app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play to your mobile phone or tablet. The app turns your mobile device into a personal tour guide and its built-in GPS navigation functions guide you from one tour stop to next. The app works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

Download The GPSmyCity App

Download 'GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities' app for IOS   Download 'GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities' app for Android

Religious Sights Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Religious Sights Walking Tour
Guide Location: Switzerland » Zurich (See other walking tours in Zurich)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 7
Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.4 Km or 2.1 Miles
Author: ellen
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Liebfrauen Church
  • Preacher's Church (Predigerkirche)
  • Grossmünster (Great Minster)
  • Wasserkirche (Water Church)
  • St. Peterskirche
  • Fraumünster (Church of Our Lady)
  • Enge Church (Kirche Enge)
1
Liebfrauen Church

1) Liebfrauen Church

The Liebfrauenkirche translates to Church of Our Dear Lady, and is a common name for churches throughout German-speaking countries. A church on this site dates back to the Middle Ages; at which time it stood outside the Zurich city walls. Zurich was fortified with walls from the 13th to the 17th century, so it is often noted if older buildings were inside or outside of the walls. The current church on this site was built in 1893. The Liebfrauen Church features a style common to other Christian basilicas, including a dominant and free-standing bell tower. This church looks like it should be in Italy, instead of Zurich. When the church was originally built, it was outside the city walls, however, with the passage of time and urban development, the church is now centrally located in the City. The interior of the church shows the use of marble. There is a water fountain in the back of the church. Today, the Liebfrauenkirche serves as the main Roman Catholic church parish in the city. It is open from 8AM to 8PM; visitors are welcome.
2
Preacher's Church (Predigerkirche)

2) Preacher's Church (Predigerkirche)

The Preacher’s Church, located in Zurich’s Old Town, has a long history in the city. The first mention of the church in records dates back to 1213, when it served as a preacher’s church. It was run by monks of the Dominican order who focused on spreading the word of the church. In the 1500s, reformation in Switzerland, lead by Ulrich Zwingli, resulted in the Predigerkirche becoming Protestant. During the time of the Reformation, much of the elegant ornamentation was removed from the church. The building features Gothic forms, with one side visible from the street and the other side integrated into the city’s central library. The library is located on the site of a former monastery that was also shuttered during the Reformation. The church experienced many renovations and restorations. The main form of the church that is visible today dates back to the early 1600s. A steeple was added in 1899, the work of architect Gustav Gull. Today, the church is primarily Protestant; however, it does employ a Catholic priest and occasionally has celebratory masses with Muslims and Buddhists. It draws immigrants from a variety of faiths. The church is open seven days a week to parishioners and visitors alike.
3
Grossmünster (Great Minster)

3) Grossmünster (Great Minster) (must see)

The Grossmünster is one of four major churches in Zurich, with the others being St. Peterskirche, the Fraumünster, and the Predigerkirche. Construction of the church began in 1100 and it was inaugurated in 1220. The church’s twin towers, which were erected toward the end of the 1400s, are one of the classic landmarks of the city. The original towers had high wooden steeples but were destroyed by fire in the 1780s. Following the fire, the neo-Gothic tops were added to the towers, which are what you see today.

The church is Romanesque in architectural style with carved portals, columns, and grotesque figures on the top of the columns. Beautiful stained-glass windows were added to the church in 1932. They are the work of Swiss artist Augusto Giacometti, who also created stained-glass windows for the Fraumünster church. The north and south portals feature ornate bronze doors, the work of Otto Münch. They were added in 1935 and 1950.

Originally, the Grossmünster was a monastery church. The Reformation movement in the 1500s was actually launched from the Grossmünster. Huldrych Zwingli, the father of Swiss-German reformation, had his pastoral office here. Zwingli’s presence in the church is directly related to the lack of ornamentation inside. He even had the organ and religious statuary removed.

Why You Should Visit:
Fairly plain inside, but the sliced agate windows are some of the more interesting and colorful anywhere.
The old statue of Charlemagne is also worth seeing, and you can't miss the beautiful door as you go in.

Tip:
A trip to the top of the tower is worth it if you can do 180+ steps straight up. The views are wonderful and you can stay as long as you wish.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Sat: 10am-6pm (Mar-Oct); 10am-5pm (Nov-Feb)
Open on Sundays after the service
4
Wasserkirche (Water Church)

4) Wasserkirche (Water Church) (must see)

The Water Church is another church with a long history in the city. The first mention of the church goes back to 1250. It was constructed on a small island in the Limmat River. The first church on the site was built in the 1100s and was reconstructed at various times. It was completely reconstructed in 1486. During the Reformation, the church was seen as a place of idolatry. The Reformation leader turned it into a secular use, specifically a library. In 1634 the church became the first public library in Zurich. In the 1800s, the island was connected to the riverbank. In 1917, the library that was housed in the church merged into the Central Library and the empty church became a place for storing crops. In the 1940s, together with reconstruction work, some archaeological excavations took place. After the 1940s renovations were complete, the church building went back into religious use, specifically as the Evangelical-Reformed State Church of the Canton of Zurich.

Aside from its long history, the church is also known for standing on the site of where it is believed that two Patron Saints were executed in the Middle Ages. Felix and Regula were siblings and members of a Roman military unit. Legend has it that Felix and Regula refused to particulate in the persecution of Christians. The Water Church site is where they were decapitated.

Why You Should Visit:
Hushed and intimate – a space for rest or meditation in the middle of an active day.
The Giacometti windows are a highlight, as is the crypt below.

Opening Hours:
Wed-Fri: 12-3pm; Sat-Sun: 12-5pm
During church services and other occasions, no visits are possible.
5
St. Peterskirche

5) St. Peterskirche (must see)

St. Peterskirche was built in the 9th century, which makes it the oldest parish church in Zurich. It also boasts the fame of having the largest clock face in all of Europe, measuring 9 meters (28.5 feet) in diameter. This translates to a minute hand that is 4 meters long (12 feet)!

The church was significantly altered in the 13th century and again in the early 1700s. Up until 1911, a firewatcher manned the steeple. It was his job to look out the windows four times an hour to look for fires. If he spotted a fire, he was to sound an alarm and point to the direction of the fire with a flag. Apparently, this ended up being an effective strategy because unlike many other European cities, Zurich never suffered any devastating fires.

The interior of the church features a Baroque nave, Romanesque choir, and an elaborately carved pulpit. Interior frescoes depict the story of martyrs and the Virgin Mary. Medieval murals can be observed in the choir. Today, the church actually has split ownership. The City of Zurich owns the church steeple, while St. Peter’s parish of the Swiss Reformed Church owns the nave. In addition to the stunning Chagall windows are frescoes by Bodmer. In the north transept is another stained-glass window completed by Giacometti in the 1940s.

Tip:
It is very interesting up close, but it is more beautiful from across the river.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Fri: 8am-6pm, Sat: 10am-4pm, Sun: 11:00am-5pm
6
Fraumünster (Church of Our Lady)

6) Fraumünster (Church of Our Lady) (must see)

As you may have noticed, Zurich’s skyline is dotted with church spires; however, none are as remarkable as the slender blue spire of the Fraumünster. In 853 Emperor Ludwig founded a Benedictine convent on this site and his daughter became the first abbess of the convent. In 874 a basilica with a crypt was added. The crypt holds the relics of the martyred two Patron Saints of Zurich, Felix and Regula. The present church on the site dates from the mid 13th century, but the crypt still remains beneath the church. Reformation closed the convent and in 1524, the last abbess donated the church and abbey to Zurich. All icons and religious imagery were destroyed. The church underwent a remodel in the 20th century, which the installation of beautiful Marc Chagall stained glass windows in 1970. The five windows are 10 meters high and each has its own color theme. On the northern side is the red-orange “Prophet” window. On the eastern side, the windows are named “Jacob”, “Christ”, and “Zion”, from left to right. The south wall piece is called “Law”.

Why You Should Visit:
Reasonable entry fee and definitely worth stepping in to admire the lovely Chagall stained glass windows.
Included in the ticket is a very good audio guide that really brings the building and the 5 windows to life.

Tip:
Be sure to bring Swiss francs as only cash is accepted.
NO PHOTOS of the Chagall windows allowed inside.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 10am-6pm
7
Enge Church (Kirche Enge)

7) Enge Church (Kirche Enge)

Away from Zürich’s major churches is Enge Church. Built between 1892 and 1894, this small Evangelic-Reformist church is just as beautiful as the city’s other religious edifices. It can be seen from many parts of the city due to its location on the hill near Lake Zürich.

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.
Museums Walking Tour

Museums Walking Tour

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...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 7.3 Km or 4.5 Miles
Walking Tour for Gourmets

Walking Tour for Gourmets

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: 2.4 Km or 1.5 Miles
Culture Self-guided Tour

Culture Self-guided Tour

Many of Switzerland's most important cultural venues are located in Zürich. The city has been home to many distinguished figures, including Richard Wagner, Thomas Mann, James Joyce, Carl Jung, Felix Bloch, and others. Zürich’s theaters are famous all over the world. Take the following tour to discover Zürich’s most popular and prominent cultural venues.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.0 Km or 1.9 Miles
Kids Entertainment Walking Tour

Kids Entertainment Walking Tour

Zurich offers many activities for kids of all ages. There are shops for those who have just started their life journey with a lot of safe and enjoyable toys and games, boutiques with exclusive clothes, and, of course, sweet shops with original Swiss chocolate. Visiting the city’s museums, kids will learn about the history and culture of Switzerland, and the puppet theater will entertain with...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.0 Km or 1.2 Miles
City Orientation Walking Tour

City Orientation Walking Tour

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: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.0 Km or 2.5 Miles
Aussersihl Area Daily Life Tour

Aussersihl Area Daily Life Tour

The best way to become acquainted with a city’s energy and inner world is to witness the daily lives of its locals. Aussersihl, or Kreis 4, is a multinational neighborhood in Zürich, located near the center of the city. It was formed in the 18th century. There are many places to relax and plenty of entertainment to find here as well. The following is a list of places that are popular among...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.3 Km or 0.8 Miles

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip


16 Distinctively Swiss Things to Buy in Zurich

16 Distinctively Swiss Things to Buy in Zurich

Zurich is Switzerland’s largest city, and although it may feel like a bustling metropolis, the tranquil essence of the Alps flows fervently through the lively cobblestone streets, the buzzing train station, and the frenzied designer boutiques. Most shops in downtown Zurich open at 9 am and close...