Where to stay in Zurich for first time: 5 Best areas & safe districts

Finding where to stay in Zurich as a first-time visitor can be a daunting task. That’s why, in today’s article, I will help you to find the best places to stay in Zurich for first-timers and tourists.

I’ll provide you with my recommendation for the best areas to stay in Zurich, along with a helpful map, safety and areas to avoid. I’ll also share where I stayed in Zurich and suggest some of the best hotels for all budgets.

Before get into the detail of the main topic, let’s look at some facts about Zurich:

Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland in the central part of the country, on the northern shore of Lake Zurich. The city is consistently ranked as one of the cities with the highest quality of life in the world. It offers excellent healthcare, education, and public transportation.

Zurich is one of the world’s major financial centers and is home to numerous international banks, including Credit Suisse and UBS. It plays a crucial role in the global financial industry.

The city has a vibrant cultural scene, with numerous museums, galleries, theaters, and music venues. The Opera House and Kunsthaus Zurich Art Museum are notable cultural institutions.

It is also known for its top-tier universities, including the University of Zurich and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, both of which are highly regarded in various academic fields.

The city has a rich history, with a well-preserved Old Town (Altstadt) featuring medieval and Renaissance architecture. The Grossmünster and Fraumünster churches are iconic landmarks.

Zurich has an efficient public transportation system, with trams, buses, and a well-connected railway network. Zurich Airport (Flughafen Zurich) is Switzerland’s largest international airport.

Zurich is surrounded by natural beauty, with the Swiss Alps to the south and Lake Zurich to the north. The city and its surrounding region offer plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities.

Is Zurich safe to visit?

Yes, Zurich is generally a safe destination for travelers with its low crime rates. But, like any urban area, it’s essential to exercise common-sense precautions. Keep an eye on personal belongings, be aware of pickpockets in crowded areas, avoid poorly lit areas at night, and follow local guidelines. 

While no place is entirely free of risk, you can enjoy its rich culture, beautiful landscapes, and vibrant city life with a reasonable expectation of safety. Always stay informed about the current travel advisories for added peace of mind.

Where to stay in Zurich for the first time?

The best areas to stay in Zurich for first-timers and tourists are Altstadt (Old City), Enge, Riesbach, Langstrasse, and Zurich West. If you are looking for the safest areas in Zurich to book your accommodations, look into the neighborhoods of the Old Town and Enge.

Altstadt (Old Town) is the most popular area to stay in Zurich for first-timers who want to be in the historic center of Zurich. You’ll be within walking distance of many of the city’s top attractions, including Grossmünster, Fraumünster, and St. Peter’s Church.

Zurich Old Town has plenty of accommodation options for all budgets, so I’m sure you will find a hotel that suits your needs and preferences. It is the most convenient area to explore the city.

Enge is a quieter and upscale district located next to the Old Town, on the western shore of Lake Zurich. It’s a safe, residential district and is a good choice for families and travelers who prefer a peaceful stay, local atmosphere, and close proximity to the historic center.

Riesbach is another peaceful residential area located next to Old Town and on the eastern shore of Lake Zurich. It’s known for its green spaces and beautiful lakeside views. It is a great base for local experiences, quiet atmosphere, and proximity to the old town.

Langstrasse is a more lively area in Zurich, known for its  multicultural atmosphere, nightlife with lots of bars and clubs. A suitable choice if you’re looking for a lively atmosphere and nightlife.

Zurich West, also known as Kreis 5, is a good area for budget accommodations. It has undergone significant redevelopment in recent years and is now a trendy and artistic district with many restaurants, shops, and cultural attractions. 

While most of the areas you’ll likely visit as a tourist are safe, there are a few areas to exercise caution, especially at night. It’s advisable to stay alert at the vicinity of Zurich’s main train station. While its location is convenient, it can attract some unsavory characters.

If you’re looking for a quieter and more family-friendly atmosphere, you may want to avoid Langstrasse after dark. Langstrasse is a lively and vibrant area with a diverse nightlife, but it’s also known for its red-light district and can get rowdy late at night. 

If you’re concerned about specific neighborhoods or areas, you can check with your accommodation provider for the latest safety information.

During my trip to Zurich, I stayed at the mid-range citizenM Zürich. It has a central location, easy access to major sights and the train stations. I had a very good breakfast and was able to explore most sights on foot.

Below is a map of the popular areas in Zurich for first-time travelers. You can scroll down to view the live map.

Map of the safe areas to stay in Zurich first time
Map of the safe areas to stay in Zurich first time

Let’s get into the details of the recommended areas to stay in Zurich, especially for first-time visitors. I’ll provide you with some suggestions for the best places to stay in each area, catering to every budget. 

All hotels in Zurich have been carefully selected by me, with guest review scores of at least 8.0 or higher at the time I chose them. If you don’t like my suggestions (perhaps they don’t suit your budget or preferences), you can click the “MORE HOTEL DEALS” button where you can choose your own hotel.

5 Best areas to stay in Zurich for first-timers and tourists:

1. Altstadt/Old City (District 1) 

Altstadt is a wonderful area in Zurich for first-time visitors who want to immerse themselves in the city’s history and enjoy the charm of a well-preserved medieval town.  

Altstadt is the heart of Zurich and is steeped in history. You’ll find cobblestone streets, narrow alleys, and beautifully preserved medieval buildings. It offers a unique atmosphere that takes you back in time.

Altstadt is home to many of Zurich’s top attractions, such as Grossmünster, Fraumünster, St. Peter’s Church, and the Swiss National Museum. You can explore these landmarks on foot.

The Old Town is full of charming boutiques, restaurants, and cafes. You can enjoy Swiss cuisine, shop for souvenirs, and savor the local atmosphere in this area. It also has a selection of bars and nightlife options for those who want to unwind in the evening.

While Altstadt is not directly on the lake, it’s still within walking distance of Lake Zurich. You can take a leisurely stroll along the promenade and enjoy beautiful lake views.

Altstadt is well-connected to Zurich’s public transportation system, so you can easily access other parts of the city from here.

Keep in mind that Altstadt is a popular area, so it’s a good idea to book accommodations in advance, especially during the peak tourist seasons. If you appreciate history, culture, and a central location, staying in Altstadt can provide a memorable Zurich experience.

Best places to stay in Zurich Old Town for first-time tourists:

  • Luxury ($$$): Storchen Zürich – Lifestyle boutique Hotel, 5-star hotel conveniently located in district 1 of Zurich in the heart of the city center, within walking distance of all cultural attractions. It has its own boat pier located at the Limmat River, as well as superb breakfast and paid airport shuttle services.  Zurich Main Station is only 10 mins walk away.
  • Mid-range ($$): citizenM Zürich, popular 4-star hotel located in the city center of Zurich, easy access to major areas such as the Fraumünster, Grossmünster and Bellevueplatz. Within walking distance from the Old Town, Zurich HB train station, and Lake Zurich. Many trams nearby.
  • Budget ($): Hotel Adler Zürich, great 3-star accommodation, located in the center of the Niederdorf area, 5 mins walk from the Bahnhofstrasse shopping street and the train station is only a short tram ride away.

2. Enge (District 2) 

Enge a great base in Zurich for visitors and family who prefer a quieter and upscale neighborhood with proximity to both Lake Zurich and the Old Town. Accommodations here are less expensive than the city center area while still having easy access to major sights.

Enge is known for its beautiful tree-lined streets and the picturesque Lake Zurich. It offers a more tranquil and residential environment compared to some other parts of the city.

Enge is situated near the eastern shore of Lake Zurich, making it a wonderful place to take leisurely walks along the lakefront promenade. You can also engage in activities like swimming and boating during the summer months.

The neighborhood is home to cultural attractions like the FIFA Museum, and Museum Rietberg, which features an impressive collection of art and artifacts from around the world.

You’ll find a variety of shops, cafes, and restaurants in Enge. The neighborhood has a more relaxed dining scene, with plenty of opportunities to enjoy Swiss and international cuisine.

Enge is well-connected to Zurich’s public transportation network, making it easy to access other parts of the city, including the Old Town and Zurich West.

Best places to stay in Zurich in Enge for first-timers:

  • Luxury ($$$): Park Hyatt Zurich – City Center Luxury, 5-star hotel conveniently located within a short walk from the Bahnhofstrasse shopping street, Lake Zurich and the Old Town. Easy access to the Stockerstrasse Tram Stop. It has Fabulous breakfast, paid airport shuttle services, and an onsite restaurant.
  • Mid-range ($$): B2 Hotel Zürich, great 4-star boutique hotel located next to the City center, within easy walk from Zurich-Enge Train Station for trains to the airport. Also easy access to the Enge/Bederstrasse Tram Stop line 13 and Hürlimannplatz Bus Stop line 66. It has Fabulous breakfast and an outdoor swimming pool.
  • Budget ($): Motel One Zürich, extremely popular hotel, located right next to the old botanical garden, within a short distance from the Old Town and the train station. It has a 24-hour front desk and good breakfast according to more than 7000 guests’ reviews.

3. Riesbach (District 8)

Riesbach is a peaceful and upscale neighborhood in Zurich, and it’s a fantastic choice for visitors who prefer a quiet environment, proximity to Lake Zurich, and access to cultural attractions.  

The neighborhood is home to several parks and green spaces, such as Botanical Garden and Zurich’s Chinese Garden, providing opportunities for picnics, sunbathing, and outdoor activities.

While Riesbach is primarily residential, you’ll still find a selection of restaurants and cafes serving a range of cuisines. For more extensive dining and shopping options, you can easily access the nearby Old Town.

Riesbach is well-connected to Zurich’s public transportation system, ensuring convenient access to other parts of the city. You can choose to stay in a hotel that has stunning views of the Lake.

Best places to stay in Zurich in Riesbach for first-timers:

  • Luxury ($$$): La Réserve Eden au Lac Zurich, 5-star historic hotel, located in Utoquai, offering Fabulous breakfast, and Private parking for those who drive, and 24-hour front desk.
  • Mid-range ($$): AMERON Zürich Bellerive au Lac, popular 4-star accommodation located on the banks of Lake Zurich, within walking distance from Zurich Opera House. Quiet place with great lake views.
  • Budget ($): Hotel Seehof, 3-star hotel located in Seefeld, close to the opera and Lake Zürich. It offers easy distance from the historic Old Town and the Bahnhofstrasse.

4. Langstrasse (District 4)

Langstrasse is a vibrant and lively district in Zurich located just west of the Old Town, and it’s a popular choice for visitors who enjoy a lively atmosphere, a multicultural scene, and a vibrant nightlife.

This neighborhood is famous for its nightlife with numerous bars, clubs, and late-night venues. It’s important to note that Langstrasse is a more urban and boisterous neighborhood, which means it can be noisy at times, especially during the evenings.  

Best places to stay in Zurich in Langstrasse for first-timers:

  • Mid-range ($$): 25hours Hotel Langstrasse, 4-star hotel, has a convenient location in Langstrasse, Aussersihl, in the vicinity of the main train station. Lots of restaurants are found nearby. There are bars directly across the street and lively nightlife. Great for groups of friends.
  • Budget ($): Boutique Hotel Helvetia, 3-star hotel, centrally located right at the Sihl River, between the banking district and district 4, 10 mins walk from the main train station. Easy access to Stauffacher Tram Stop and Selnau S-Bahn stop.
  • Budget ($): Josephine’s Guesthouse – ! WOMEN ONLY !, great accommodation, short tram ride from the main station. It has luggage storage and a laundry room, as well as easy access to  several restaurants and shops.

5. Zurich West (Industriequartier District 5)

Zurich West, also known as the Industriequartier or District 5, is a trendy and budget-friendly neighborhood in Zurich. It has undergone significant redevelopment in recent years and is now one of the city’s fashionable districts. 

Zurich West was once an industrial area, but it has been revitalized into a modern and artsy neighborhood. You’ll find a mix of contemporary architecture, cultural venues, and vibrant street art.

The neighborhood is home to several cultural attractions, including the Schiffbau Theater and the Kunsthalle Zurich, a contemporary art museum. You can also explore the Freitag Tower, an iconic building constructed from stacked shipping containers.

Zurich West is well-connected to public transportation, making it easy to explore other parts of Zurich, including the Old Town and the Lake Zurich area.

Best places to stay in  Zurich West for first-timers:

  • Budget ($): Fred Hotel Zürich Hauptbahnhof, popular 3-star hotel a few steps away from  Zurich Main Train Station and the Sihlquai Tram Stop. There is a Parkhaus Hauptbahnhof public parking nearby if you travel with a car.
  • Budget ($): HITrental Central Station Apartment, good value for money apartment, close to the central station and flixbus station and easy access to everywhere. Also close to the Swiss National Museum and Kunsthaus Zurich.
  • Mid-range ($$): Züri by Fassbind, 4-star accommodation located a short walk/tram ride from Escher Wyss Platz and Zurich main station and the Bahnhofstrasse.

In conclusion, Altstadt (Old City), Enge, Riesbach, Langstrasse, and Zurich West are the best places to stay in Zurich for first-timers and tourists. These are generally safe areas with easy access to major attractions and amenities, and well-connected public transportations.

You can continue reading about Zurich and other destination in Switzerland in these articles:

There you have it, my recommendations for the most popular and safest neighborhoods that you can stay during your first trip to Zurich. I hope you enjoyed my article and find it both informative and helpful.

If you have any questions or would like to share your thoughts, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. Your feedback is invaluable and helps me continue to create more quality content.

About Author: Ocean Cameron

I'm Ocean, founder and main editor of travelhotelexpert.com. I’m a passionate traveler who specializes in uncovering the best hotels and locations in every city, especially for first-timers, all without the need for a car.

Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links. This means that, at absolutely no additional cost to you, I'll earn a small commission if you click through and purchase something I've recommended. I only recommend products that I use myself or firmly believe in. Thank you!

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