As the biggest city of the amazing Switzerland, Zurich is definitely a place that you should travel to. Sadly, the prices in this city are high for Europe's standards and as a broke student backpacker, let's face it: we can't really afford to always spend money on something like entrance tickets or souvenirs. Here are 4 things you can do without spending too much francs.
At the center of Zurich is the famous Lake Zurich, where you can see lots of small boats sailing across the lake. Bürkliplatz is a really nice spot to enjoy the lake. There's a dock for the water taxi here so you can get really close to the waters.
2. A Walk Around the Old Town
courtesy of cnn.com
The Old Town of Zurich boasts a really beautiful panorama with buildings like Großmünster Church, Fraumünster, etc. The entry to these churches are free of charge, but pay attention to the opening hours as they may close during masses. You can also walk around the old town and see the historic buildings and shops.
Zurich houses about 50 museums focusing on different collections and a lot of them don't charge you entrance fee. Visiting these museums is a great activity to do if you happened to have free time in Zurich and still want to explore the city. Here's some of the museums with free admission:
Collections of Prints and Drawings, ETH Zurich Helmhaus Zürich Künsthalle Zürich (Free admission on Thursdays after 5 pm)
Migros Museum for Contemporary Art (Free admission on Thursdays after 5 pm)
gta Exhibitions, ETH Zürich
Archaeological Collection of the University of Zurich
Archaeological Windows (Free admission, except the crypt of Fraumünster and part of St.Peter's Church)
City Hall of Zurich
Haus zum Rech
Thomas Mann Archives, ETH Zürich
Anthropological Museum of the University of Zurich
Botanical Garden of the University of Zurich
focusTerra, ETH Zurich
Museum of Wax Moulages
Zoological Museum of the University of Zurich
Zurich Succulent Plant Collection
Just a 45 minutes train-ride outside of Zurich is Europe's biggest waterfall, the Rhine Falls. The breathtaking view makes it hard to miss. On summer time the train will stop at the station Schloss Laufen, which is located directly next to the falls, just a 10-minute walk and you'll reach the falls immediately. The cheapest way to get there is to purchase the 9-Uhr Day Pass, which costs 25 Franc and is valid for 24 hours for all zones in the ZVV area. With this day pass you can also travel around the city of Zurich and surroundings like Ütliberg or the Factory of Lindt Chocolaterie in Kilchberg.
A little tips to find accommodation:
Finding an affordable accommodation in Zurich can be a problem, since the cheapest youth hostels charge about €30 per person for a just a bed in a mixed dorm. If you're traveling in groups, I recommend you looking at rented apartments in website like airbnb, that way you can get a whole apartment with kitchen, living room, and free wifi for a lower price.
What you should know about buying tickets:
It's best to prepare debit card or credit card beforehand since at the ticket machines located outside of the central station you can't buy tickets with cash. You can either pay with card or coins. Also, I don't recommend getting on Zurich's tram or bus without tickets, because there are often random ticket checks and you could pay quite a lot of fine if you're caught riding without tickets.