Zurich Souvenir Shopping, Zurich

Zurich Souvenir Shopping (Self Guided), Zurich

Zurich has no shortage of tourists, and when it comes to souvenirs, there are plenty of options available.

A popular saying goes, "When in Zurich, shop on Bahnhofstrasse." True, in terms of souvenir shopping, this thoroughfare is second to none. Another saying is that “When in Switzerland, buy Swiss-made products.”

Alongside many other things, Bahnhofstrasse is home to high-end stores specializing in Swiss watches ("the epitome of precision and quality") and other luxury goods. Prime amongst them is the department store Manor, offering a wide range of Swiss merchandise.

Also, on Bahnhofstrasse, there are multiple other locations where you can find traditional souvenirs like cowbells and embroidered textiles. For the latter, in particular, head for Schweizer Heimatwerk; this handicraft shop carries a wide stock of traditional textiles, wooden toys, and hand-painted ceramics.

If you're looking for something truly unique, like handmade or vintage items, you can visit the Niederdorf area. This trendy and bohemian part of town is known for its independent boutiques and quirky gift shops. One such is called Teddy's Souvenir Shop, and the other is Schweizer Heimatwerk; both are worthy of checking out.

And if there is a strong “sweet tooth” calling back home, head straight to Confiserie Sprüngli whose delicious chocolates are known to calm such down with ease. But then again, some people can never have enough Swiss chocolate...

Note: If you haven't bought a Swiss Army Knife, a question may arise: “Have you ever been to Switzerland?" To answer it positively, stop by Dolmetsch 1291 at Limmatquai, offering a wide range of Swiss Army knives to choose from.

Certainly, it would be a shame to leave Zurich without exploring its specialty shops and buying something memorable. The compiled here list of locations will help you with the task and make sure you bring home a gift or two.
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Zurich Souvenir Shopping Map

Guide Name: Zurich Souvenir Shopping
Guide Location: Switzerland » Zurich (See other walking tours in Zurich)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 8
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.5 Km or 1.6 Miles
Author: Daniel
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Bahnhofstrasse (Station Street)
  • Manor
  • Orell Füssli The Bookshop
  • Confiserie Sprüngli (Sprüngli Confectionery)
  • Teddy's Souvenir-Shop
  • Niederdorfstrasse (Niederdorf street)
  • Dolmetsch 1291
  • Schweizer Heimatwerk
Bahnhofstrasse (Station Street)

1) Bahnhofstrasse (Station Street) (must see)

Bahnhofstrasse is Zurich's main shopping avenue. It is mostly pedestrian-only, with tram access to the city's transportation network. The streets are lined with luxury retailers and fine-dining restaurants.

Bahnhofstrasse begins at the Zurich HB central railway station, which fronts Bahnhofplatz, or "Station Square." From there, it continues southwards until the shore of Lake Zurich at Bürkliplatz.

Along its route, the street passes through several famous Zurich town squares, including Paradeplatz. This is a notoriously expensive real estate zone, where you will find the Swiss banks headquartered.

The street was created at the same time that the central rail station, Zurich Hauptbahnhof, was created in the 1870s. It was built on the moats that protected the original fortified city of Zurich.

Why You Should Visit:
Bahnhofstrasse is the center of old Zurich. From this central avenue, Rennweg and Augustinergasse lead off into the picturesque city. Anything you might be looking for in the town is likely centered off of this area, including dining, shopping, arts and entertainment, and all of the main tourist attractions.

City trams connect the street with the rest of town. Master the tram system, and you can get anywhere you need to go.

Every corner of the street has a special treat to uncover. Don't miss mulled wine or hot chocolates at the rooftop bars during the colder months or strolling the lakeside in the summer.

In addition to the luxury brand shops on the street, check out the ShopVille shopping center under the Zurich HB. Here you'll find less expensive treats and food for any budget.

Most businesses are closed on Sundays, except in the train station and ShopVille.

2) Manor

Since the 16th century the Swiss have been perfecting the art of timekeeping. With superior craftsmanship and elegant design, Swiss brand watches have become world famous, with most top brands boasting the prestigious and strictly standardized “Swiss Made” description as a selling feature. So what better place in the world to pick up a funky new Swatch, or invest in a lifelong relationship with a classy Breitling, than in Switzerland’s largest city, Zurich?

The Bahnhofstrasse (Station Street), leading from Zurich’s central train station, has been called one of the best shopping streets in the world. From top designer boutiques, to touristy shops, and diverse department stores, the Bahnhoffstrasse offers many options for those wishing to purchase a Swiss-made timepiece. The sophisticated Les Ambassedeurs store at Bahnhofstrasse 64, or the new Patek Phillip boutique at Bahnhofstrasse 31, will flatter you with movie star treatment if you are in the market for a new Rolex or Chopard.

For those looking for a more varied shopping experience, Manor department store has the largest selection of watches on the block. Manor sells Swatch’s youthful new brand Flik Flak, starting at 35 francs, a special Tissot for 7500 francs, and everything in between.

What to buy here: “Swiss Made” watches | Cheese fondue set | Mondaine Railway Clock | Raclette maker
Image Courtesy of Jessica L. Reid.
Orell Füssli The Bookshop

3) Orell Füssli The Bookshop

The fictional alpine adventures of Heidi have been read to children since the 17th century. Follow along with the special children in your life, as young Heidi adapts to life with her grandfather, secluded in the Swiss Alps, her adventures to Germany to meet a new friend, and her return to the mountains to spread joy and hope to those around her. Touted as stories “for children and those who love children”, the Heidi book series is a must-buy when visiting Zurich.

Orell Fussli The Bookshop is open Monday to Friday, 9 am to 8 pm, and Saturdays 9 am to 6 pm, is the largest English bookstore in all of Europe. It holds over 40,000 English books, and provides a warm quiet venue to browse for your perfect version of the Heidi series. Offered in hard and soft cover, a variety of Heidi books can be purchased from Orell Fussli from 8.90 francs to 30 francs. The shop also sells an adorable hand sewn rag book for 155 francs, and includes removable cloth characters. The handmade Heidi doll is 87 francs.

What to buy here: Heidi Books. The little girl in a milkmaid dress, with braids and a kind spirit, has become a classic Swiss character known and loved worldwide.
Image Courtesy of Jessica L. Reid.
Confiserie Sprüngli (Sprüngli Confectionery)

4) Confiserie Sprüngli (Sprüngli Confectionery)

Founded in 1836 by Rudolf Sprüngli, the luxury confectionery Confiserie Sprüngli is one of Zurich’s very first chocolate makers. However, the company has been renowned internationally primarily for its signature macarons, "Luxemburgerli" invented by a Sprüngli confectioner from Luxembourg. In 1892, the chocolate-producing branch of the business split off from the confectionery and now operates independently as Lindt & Sprüngli. Their assortment includes an immense range of chocolates with various fillings, pralines, and truffles, of which the most recognizable are the Grand Cru truffles.

Now in the hands of the family's sixth generation – since 1994, Sprüngli has several locations in Zurich: one in the central train station and two on Bahnhoffstrasse, at No. 21 and 67.

The Sprüngli café on Paradeplatz, Bahnhofstrasse 21, is a traditional meeting place for the elderly ladies of Zürich's upper class. Local folklore has it that the young men who attend this café alone may signal their availability to the well-to-do females by turning over coffee spoons in their cups. But according to the company's director, this is a persistent myth reflecting Zurich's more puritanical past, when the Sprüngli café was one of the few places where upper-class women could talk to strangers without risking their reputation.
Teddy's Souvenir-Shop

5) Teddy's Souvenir-Shop

Everyone loves the adorable cuckoo clock and anticipating the tiny bird’s signal that the hour has struck. Though most people may believe that the cuckoo clock is a German invention, the Swiss have contributed their own special version of the clock’s design.

Swiss cuckoo clocks differ from the German variety in that they resemble a traditional wooden Swiss chalet. Some feature Saint Bernard dogs, colorful flowers, and people dancing in traditional Swiss clothing. Swiss cuckoo clocks are specifically sought after for their high quality craftsmanship, delightful music, and of course, irresistible charm.

Products range in quality and price, from 392 to 925 francs for wooden, handmade, pendulum-operated clocks, or a similar version that is battery operated for 365 francs, which are available from most souvenir shops in Zurich, including Teddy’s Souvenir shop on Limmatquai. Teddy’s sells a pendulum operated clock for as low as 32.80 CHF, up to a mechanical 8-day clock with music for 2,000 CHF.

What to buy here: Cuckoo clock
Niederdorfstrasse (Niederdorf street)

6) Niederdorfstrasse (Niederdorf street) (must see)

Niederdorfstrasse is the main street that runs through Zurich's Niederdorf district. It lies on the east bank of the Limmat. It's a pedestrian-only cobblestone street. Along the way, you'll find busy pubs and fast-food restaurants. The small streets and tightly packed outdoor cafes have an unmistakable medieval vibe to them.

The pedestrian zone of Niederdorfstrasse begins just opposite the Zurich HB and runs parallel to Limmatquai and the river Limmat. It's a beautiful place to explore on foot, with historic buildings towering over you and tight medieval alleyways to wander. The area transforms into a nightlife and entertainment district, with many bars, clubs, and street artists. The Dörflifäscht festival takes place here in late August, with music, food, and shows.

Limmatquai, also a pedestrian zone, lies just one block west of Niederdorfstrasse. It provides spectacular views of the Limmat, as well as a park-like atmosphere. On the south end of Limmatquai in the Niederdorfstrasse district, you will find Grossmünster church. The Romanesque cathedral's twin-towers can be seen from all around town.
Dolmetsch 1291

7) Dolmetsch 1291

A trip to Zurich would not be complete without the purchase of a Swiss army knife. These intricate tools are no longer just for woodsmen and campers. Victorinox, the makers of the original Swiss army knife, now make product lines entitled “Elegant Pocket Tools” and “Victorinox USB”.

The popular “Cyber Tool” boasts the classic blades and tools with the addition of small pliers and a multi head screwdriver, for IT professionals, engineers, and other “computer freaks”. The “Cigar Cutter”, features a multi-circumference cigar blade and a sleek metallic casing, while the “Waiter” includes a corkscrew, and both bottle and can opener. Some knives come with digital clocks, engrave-able front plates, paintings of the Matterhorn, USB storage, even pink camouflage casings.

Souvenir shops selling Swiss army knives can be found throughout Zurich’s downtown, including Dolmetsch, which sells a variety of Vicorinox knives and luggage. Purchase “My First Victorinox” for 30 francs, the “Cyber Tool” for 37 francs, a knife with a painting of Lake Zurich on the front for 40 francs, up to the robust “Swiss Champ” for 450 francs.

What to buy here: Victorinox Swiss army knife.
Schweizer Heimatwerk

8) Schweizer Heimatwerk

Building on the tradition of superior watchmaking skills, Switzerland is also famous for their intricately made music boxes. The first music box factories were opened in Switzerland in the early 19th century and at one time the industry surpassed that of watchmaking.

Today, Swiss music boxes still feature the same function, playing songs like “Edelweiss” and the “Happy Wanderer” via metal cylinders and pins. High-end music boxes allow cylinders to be changed in order to play many different songs. The classic style of Swiss music boxes has not changed from its day of invention, but today a much larger selection is available. Boxes are available with hand painted scenes of olden day hikers and shepherds, or come fashioned as wooden Swiss chalets with detailed carving of flowers and water troughs.

More contemporary designs are also available: a transparent box that allows the incredible inner-workers be seen, or the “Rolls Royce” of music boxes, a large polished inlaid wooden box with changeable rules, sold for 10,000 francs. Schweizer Heimatwerk has the best selection of wooden handmade music boxes, priced from 100 francs to the 10,000-franc art piece.

What to buy here: Swiss Music boxes
Image Courtesy of Jessica L. Reid.

Walking Tours in Zurich, Switzerland

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Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip

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