Zurich is famous for many things and one of them is, of course, its awesome location. Right at the lake, amidst the Albis mountain chain, this city is indeed the most wonderful place you can have the pleasure of visiting. During my brief stay there, I couldn’t ignore the famous mountain Uetliberg and headed there on a sunny Saturday morning to experience some of the most beautiful views I’ve ever seen. If you’re planning to do some hiking near Zurich (which I totally recommend), here’s a small how-to guide to Uetliberg, the the highest and prettiest mountain in the Swiss capital.
Uetliberg, also written as Üetliberg in German, isn’t, however, particularly high for Alpine standards – just 869 metres above the sea level. Nevertheless, it offers a seriously beautiful panoramic view over the entire city of Zurich, and some of the hiking trails there are still quite steep (at least for me they were). So you definitely won’t be disappointed.
How to get to Uetliberg
There are numerous ways to get to the mountain – you can even take a direct train, S10, from Hauptbahnhof, the main railway station, and enjoy a 40 minute trip on the steepest railway road in Switzerland, which will lead you to the very summit of Uetliberg. If you need a bit more of a challenge, you can also take Tram 13 in the direction of Albisgütli, or Tram 14 towards Triemli, and hike up from there. I chose Tram 13, the lucky number, which was super convenient, since I was staying at Central.
Things to know before you go to Uetliberg
Even though there some restaurants here and there in the mountain area, it’s better if you prepare some snacks or a healthy lunchbox instead, since I found those restaurants to be too expensive for what they offered (I mean, unless you want to pay 10 franks for a bratwurst…). Regarding the water, though, there are plenty of little fountains along the hiking trails, and since Switzerland has the best tap water in Europe, you can easily satisfy your thirst in the woods by replenishing an empty bottle.
Where are the most beautiful paths?
Choosing which path to take is probably the most important part of the whole adventure. Everything in the woods is beautiful, of course, but there are certain paths that you really don’t want to miss. Try to stick to Wanderweg, the Wandering Trail, throughout the whole hike – it is supposed to show off the most picturesque spots out there. The paths are very well outlined and there’s almost always a sign on the trees, indicating the right way, so it’s almost impossible to get lost. While you’re wandering through the woods on your way up to Uetliberg, don’t forget to take breaks (you’ll need them) and also take a look on Zurich – the city looks fantastic from that angle.
But the best view over Zurich comes when you’ve finally reached Uetliberg. On the very top of the mountain, there’s a look-out tower that offers you a spectacular 360°-wide landscape view. The tower is super tall, by the way – I’m usually not afraid of heights but that time I felt a bit uncomfortable. The experience was really worth it, though.
After you’re done admiring the looks of Zurich, there’s another path worth being wandered: Panoramaweg – or, the Panorama Trail – from Uetliberg to Felsenegg. This is an enchantingly beautiful and a relatively easy Alpine hike that will reward you with lots of refreshing beautiful greenery. There’s also an aerial tram in the end of the hike – it will take you down to Adliswil, where an S-Bahn will run you back to Zurich in 15 minutes.
While hiking, you will probably notice some interesting solar signs – these indicate that you’re following Planetenweg, the Planet Trail – another beautiful walk that illustratively takes you through our solar system. If you choose, you can follow the path of the planets and combine pleasure with education, learning about our universe and ending the hike in Buchenegg.
Uetliberg and its surroundings are a perfect choice for a perfect day trip from Zurich. It’s super beautiful, extremely enjoyable and, most importantly, very affordable if you’re traveling on the cheap. Definitely recommended to everybody traveling to Zurich and looking for a nature break!