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Lake Zürich: fun-filled blue inland sea

Every year, Zürich finds itself in the top 3 of most liveable cities in the world, and that is partially because of this huge body of water on its doorstep. The Limmat River runs through the city and is fed by Lake Zürich, which stretches from Bellevue in the city centre to the picturesque village of Rapperswil. The lake emerged in the last ice age as a glacier, but is now a blue inland sea that everybody can enjoy.

Lake Zürich is 40 kilometres long and 3 kilometres wide. Picturesque villages and cities with medieval houses and old-fashioned hotels surround the blue water. The mountains of Felsenegg and Pfannenstiel, 800 metres high on both sides of the lake, offer a welcome reprieve from city life and a chance to breathe in the clean mountain air. The lake itself also offers plenty of attractions, from urban beaches to boat tours. There are many ways to relax on or near Lake Zürich.

Rapperswil

On the lake: villages and vineyards

You can fully circumnavigate the lake by train, from station Zürich Stadelhofen along the right shore to Rapperswil and via Seedamm back along the left shore to station Zürich Enge. Along the way disembark in the village of Küsnacht for a coffee on the patio of the nostalgic Seehotel Sonne. Another worthwhile stop is the town of Meilen for a detour to the top of 853-metre-high mountain Pfannenstiel with a beautiful view of the lake. Picturesque Rapperswil offers numerous laidback patios. Other great stops on the other side of the lake include Pfäffikon, Richterswil and Kilchberg.

On the lake: by boat to Rapperswil

From early morning until evening, white ferryboats criss-cross over Lake Zürich, from the boat station at Bürkliplatz to all the villages and settlements along the shores of the lake. For residents this is a way to travel from A to B, for visitors it is a lovely summer cruise. Don’t overpay for the special tourist boats but board the ‘Grosse Rundfahrt’ to the charming village of Rapperswil. Make sure to stop off at Ufenau Island with its lovely vineyards and great picnic areas.

The small island of Ufenau
The beach of Mythenquai

On the lake: swimming pools and sandy beaches

No city in the world has as many outdoor pools as Zürich. In the river and on the lake there are 10 ‘Freibäder’ or, free pools, where locals go in summertime to soak up the sun on plank bridges, piers or sandy beaches. Enjoy a cold beverage or take a refreshing dive in the crystal clear water. Within walking distance from the city centre, Seebad Enge offers 2 lake pools, as well as saunas, massages and yoga lessons. A little further along the lake, 100-year-old beach Mythenquai features a beach pavilion, a sun lawn, a 10-metre-high dive board and 250 metres of sandy beach.

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View on the map

Lake Zürich, Zürich, Switserland

Photo credits

  • Rapperswil: Zurich Film Office, Flickr
  • The small island of Ufenau: René Nussbaumer, Flickr
  • The beach of Mythenquai: Jérome, Flickr