Lake Zurich boat trips
A cruise on Lake Zurich is a perfect way to escape from the busy city and see Zurich and the region from the water.
The forum allows you to post your questions and discuss your plans.
Attraction type: natural site, lake;
scenic trip, by boat
Escort: independent (no guide)
Region: Lake Zurich (Region Zurich)
Duration: 1 day or less
Different kind of cruises
Zurich is located in the North-Western corner of the 42 km long lake. Many different cruises can be made, varying from short river cruises to full day cruises to the opposite end of the lake and back.
The lake cruise boats depart from the 'Bürkliplatz', and the river cruises depart from 'Zürich Landesmuseum'. See here for how to get there. There are several types of cruises. These are the main ones:
- Limmat River cruises: these 50 to 60 minute canal boat tours start and end from Zürich Landesmuseum and take you on the river Limmat, along the Old Town, and onto the lake. The 'Zürichhorn Casino' dock is where it turns around and goes back to the town center. Round trips from the docks along the way are possible as well;
- Short round trips of about 90 minutes;
- Medium round trips which take 2 to 3 hours;
- Long round trips of 4 hours;
- Upper Lake round trips: these cruises cover the entire lake from Zurich to Schmerikon and back. It takes a full day (7.5 hours), including a short break in Schmerikon.
Most boats have 2nd and 1st class areas, where 1st class is usually at the upper deck. Many boats have either a restaurant or a bistro on board.
Tips to make most of your day
- Making a round trip is not required. You can take a boat to one of the towns along the lake, get off there, and go back to Zurich by train, or vice versa. In many towns, the rail station is just a few minutes on foot from the boat dock. Examples are Zollikon, Küsnacht, Thalwil, Herrliberg, Horgen, Uetikon, Wädenswil, Richterswil, Rapperswil and Schmerikon;
- If you want to see most of the lake but don't want to spend an entire day on the water, you can take a boat from Zurich to Rapperswil (less than 2 hours), and a train back to Zurich (about 40 minutes);
- Apart from the cruises starting in Zurich, there are also cruises in the so-called Obersee (Upper Lake) area, starting from Rapperswil;
- In Winter (mid October to early April), there are less cruises, so be sure to check the timetable.
Sunny clear weather is best for a boat trip, but it's still worth it if it's cloudy or drizzling. Take along sun glasses and sunscreen. Check the timetable to see which cruise suits you best.