When we think of Switzerland, the first things coming to our minds are mountains, chocolate and Zurich. I always found this tiny country in the heart of Europe really charming. When my best friend Magda moved there permanently, I had even more reason to visit. I was introduced to the town of Winterthur, just a stone throw from Zurich and immediately fell in love with it.
Winterthur is the perfect combination of traditional architecture, outdoor activities and arts and culture. If you travel to Zurich, I highly recommend to spend (half) a day in this pretty town. Let me share my friend Magda’s insider’s tips with you. Thank you, Magda, for all your recommendations!
Things to Do
Walk or Bike and Explore
The best way to get to know Winterthur is on foot. The town is very compact and everything is within walking distance.
Start with a walk in the Altstadt (Old Town), around Steinberggasse.
One of the major sights is the Stadtkirche Winterthur right in the heart of the town.
Winterthur is known as the “Velo-Stadt”: “Velo” is the local term for bicycle and “Stadt” means city.
Hence, a convenient alternative to explore Winterthur is by bike.
The Graben is a nice spot if you need a break.
Enjoy the people watching from one of the restauraunts in the shade.
Just around the corner from Graben, you will find Neustadtgasse hosting the smallest house of Winterthur.
Winterthur seems very orderly and traditional at first sight. However, you can find modern architecture and street art as well.
Winterthur is home to the manufacturing company Sulzer, which was founded in the 18th century.
Arts and Culture
Winterthur is often referred to as the “Cultural Capital of Switzerland”. And I think for a reason. There are plenty of museums to visit.
My favourite one is the Kunst Museum Winterthur. Located in a partk, it has an incredible permanent collection, with works spanning multiple art periods. I really enjoyed their collection of Enlightenment and Romanticism works, e.g. those of Caspar David Friedrich.
Its graphic collection includes works from Duerer as well as Francisco de Goya’s “El sueno de la razón produce monstruos”. Furthermore, the museum hosts really interesting special exhibitions as well. (Stadthausstraße 6)
I also recommend to do some research beforehand and see which festivals are going on. Throughout the year, there are great cultural events in Winterthur.
Enjoy the Nature
Wherever you are in Winterthur, spots amidst the greenery are not further than a ten-minute walk away. I visited in autumn and it was just beautiful to walk along the colourful paths.
My friend and I went uphill in the area around Weinbergstraße. It is quite some work to make it up the hill, but you will be rewared with beautiful views.
I also really enjoyed the wildlife park Bruderhaus. It is located amidst the forest and you can see deer, wild boars and many more animals. It is located outside of Winterthur but it is really a great experience (especially if you have kids). There is also a restaurant with local dishes.
Eat at …
Locanda Trivisano is a cute Italian restaurant with high quality food. They offer a lunch set menu. (Stadthausstraße 121)
tibits is a great vegetarian option in the Altstadt at Oberer Graben. (Oberer Graben 48)
For a premium experience, Schloss Wülflingen is really worth a visit. (Wülflingerstraße 214)
The building itself is beautiful, especially its traditional interior with old ceramic ovens, and the food is delicious.
Schloss Goldenberg is located at the edge of the forest in the village of Dorf about 20 minutes from Winterthur. It pairs beautiful views of the city and tasty dishes.
Coffee and Cake at …
Vollenweider is “the” local confiserie and patisserie with delicious coffee, chocolate and cake. (Stadthausstraße 20)
Drinks at …
Riva in the Altstadt (Steinberggasse 2)
How to Get There
Winterthur is really easy to reach from Zurich: it is 20 minutes from Zurich International Airport and Zurich Main Station in the city centre.
There are direct trains in both directions every ten minutes.
Once you are in Winterthur, I recommend to walk or ride a bicycle. The public transport system is also very good.
If you want to visit places such as the wildlife park Bruderhaus or Schloss Goldenberg which are a bit further outside of Winterthur, I recommend taking a taxi.
Special thanks to Magda Hartmann for not only introducing me to the gems of Winterthur but also for contributing some pictures.
Magda Hartmann works as a teacher and has lived in Vienna, Rome and Shanghai. She has settled down in Winterthur, Switzerland.
All information as of the date of publishing. We cannot accept responsibility for the correctness or completeness of the data, or for ensuring that it is up to date. All recommendations are based on the personal experience of Elisabeth Steiger and Magda Hartmann, no fees were received by the recommended places above.