Zurich is the biggest city in Switzerland. It’s a costly place to visit, so a lot of backpackers seek out affordable hostels. Finding a cheap place to stay is as important as dining out, and the entertainment options can get quite expensive. Also, many hostels have shared kitchen facilities so you can prepare your meals. Staying at a hostel also creates a unique social environment where you can meet other travelers and find new friends that have a lot in common with you.
What Are The Best Hostels in Zurich?
1. Zurich Youth Hostel
Zurich Youth Hostel is among the most famous places to stay, especially for solo travelers and backpackers. Also, it’s a great place to meet new people. There are a large entryway and common area where you can enjoy chatting with other guests and swap stories, and it is also open 24/7. There’s also a large television that has international channels, several game tables, and lots of areas to relax after spending the entire day wandering around the city.
Despite its social atmosphere, it is still possible to find a quiet place to relax in your room. Rooms range in size from having one bed to five, so if you want to have some privacy and personal space, that is possible for a decent price. The hostel also provides traditional Swiss breakfast each morning before you head out to explore Zurich. Meals during lunch and dinner are also served, and they can be availed at a reasonable price.
The hostel is located conveniently for about twenty minutes from the train station. You can take a walk to Lake Zurich in under ten minutes and slightly further to the new Rote Fabrik cultural center.
Pros: Great common areas, lots of room options, and free breakfast
2. City Backpacker – Hostel Biber
City Backpacker is located in a scenic part of the city, in the pedestrian-only area right in the center of the old city. You can also easily reach the city’s most famous attraction by walking, and it’s close to the Bahnhofstrasse shopping street. It is also near some of the city’s best music, nightlife, and entertainment venues.
City Backpacker is also an affordable option for budget tourists who don’t want to go over their budget. There are dorms available that can accommodate a maximum of six persons. If you want a little bit of privacy, you can also go for single, twin, triple, or quad rooms. Also, all bathrooms are shared among all guests.
There are a lot of amenities available for guests, such as shared kitchens, complimentary drinks, Wi-Fi access, lockers, luggage storage, laundry facilities, and discounts on souvenirs.
The staff at this hostel is lovely and very knowledgeable about the city. They also provide helpful information and always try to keep the hostel’s social atmosphere and comfy. It also has a great environment to socialize with other guests. Also, the living room and rooftop terrace are great places to chill out, and it always seems that there’s someone nearby you can chat with.
Price: $39.16 to $51.77
Pros: Convenient location, good value for money, and great amenities
Langstars is a social hostel with an on-site cafe and bar on the ground floor. The bar is also popular with both tourists and locals, so if you want to step outside of the touristy areas and experience a bit of the authentic Zurich, this is a great place to stay. The hostel also hosts free concerts every Wednesday night, so if you’re looking for a place to sleep soundly at night, this is probably not the best option for you. But if you’re looking for a fun crowd and a vibrant music scene, then this is your place.
The staff is terrific and keeps the lively social atmosphere of the hostel. Also, they organize a lot of activities to encourage guests to socialize. They are also very knowledgeable about the city and can suggest the best places to grab a drink or food.
The hostel has 42 beds, with seven dorm room. The beds are reasonably priced and offer a good option for solo travelers. If you want to experience the trend
iness of Zurich, then this is
the right place for you.
Pros: Lively on-site bar and café, lots of activities, and helpful staff
What Should I Look For in a Youth Hostel in Zurich?
When you’re looking for the perfect hostel, you need to consider these things first:
Cheaper Is Not Always Better
Budget travelers tend to go with the cheapest thing around. But don’t try to save a buck only to save a buck. Extremely cheap hostels are often untidy, have uncomfortable beds and showers, and the pillows skinnier than Victoria’s Secret models. So, don’t hesitate to pay an extra dollar or two to stay in a nicer and cleaner hostel. By doing so, your body will be extremely grateful.
One thing most people hate about hosteling in Europe is that breakfast is often toast, eggs, and coffee. Also, it begins at 7 am (and ends early too)! We’re not sure who the travelers are that they know, but we’ve never known anyone who wakes up that early, even those who go up for breakfast.
So, look for a place that offers at least a decent breakfast (i.e., more than toast) or at that starts and ends when people are awake (breakfasts that begin around 8 am usually last until 10 am). It’s also a great way to have yourself loaded up for the rest of the day, thereby cutting down your food budget.
It’s surprising, but I’ve been in hostels that don’t have lockers or that charge you for them. In this day and age, this amenity must be standard. You should never pay for security. It is a deal-breaker for me, especially since I travel with electronics. If you’re not sure about the locker situation, scan through the hostel’s reviews to see what people say. Always better to be safe than sorry!
You’d be surprised that many hostels in the world still charge for the Internet. While having a connection to the Internet isn’t a big deal for some travelers, a hostel with free Wi-Fi is always a plus. We recommend that you avoid using any free computer terminals, though, as you can never be sure if there is any malware or harmful spyware on the computer.
Also, if you’re connecting to the free Wi-Fi with your smartphone or laptop, you should consider buying a VPN to keep your data private (especially if you’re doing any online banking).
Bars are not a huge deal-breaker, and there are loads of beautiful hostels that don’t have them. But they are a great place to socialize with the hostel’s other guests. Usually, if a hostel has an on-site bar, they make sure that the guests staying there are having fun, interacting with each, and being festive.
If they don’t have a bar, make sure they organize activities and events to get people together. Hostels are also focused on having a social atmosphere. If you want a place where no one interacts with each other, stay at a hotel!
If the hostel doesn’t have an on-site bar, it usually has a large common area (ideally, it should have both). The best hostels are those that give guests an ideal space to socialize and hang out. Common areas facilitate interaction and help solo travelers have an easier time meeting new people. Also, the best hostels you’ll ever stay at always have a fantastic common area.
Excellent hostels also organize activities such as walking tours, bar crawls, BBQs, or anything else that gets people together.
Employees do any business, and when you find the staff of hostels helpful, knowledgeable, and friendly, you’d like that place a lot better. A hostel is like a home, and you want the people there to welcome you like a long-lost family member. As we’ve said earlier, hostels make it a point to create a warm environment for guests, so find one that offers this service.
Location, location, location
Where a hostel is located will have a massive effect on your experience. If you have to spend an hour on public transportation just getting to and from your hostel every time you go into town, you’ll end up wasting a lot of your travel time. The best hostels are close to the action, so you can just step out your door and into an adventure. That or the hostels are so remote that just staying there is an experience in and of itself. But just inconveniently on the outskirts of town? That’s not worth it.
The Youth Hostels in Zurich
1. Oldtown Hostel Otter
Price: $42.81 to $285.43
Pros: Friendly staff, delicious breakfast, clean and comfy rooms and bathrooms, and great amenities
Cons: Hidden charges and some rooms smell bad sometimes
2. Friendly Hostel Zurich
Price: $44.38 to $48.98
Pros: Welcoming staff, comfortable beds, great location, access to public transportation, and great amenities
Cons: No lockers or shelves near the top bunk beds and the shower struggles to provide hot water
3. Budget Youth Hostel
Pros: Immaculate rooms, comfortable beds, quiet location, scenic views, very social atmosphere, friendly staff, and great value
Cons: There aren’t enough bathrooms considering the number of guests in the hostel
4. Guest House and Apartment
Price: $40.81 to $274.59
Pros: Accommodating staff, very clean, exciting neighborhood, convenient location, on-site bar, and social atmosphere
Cons: Staff can’t speak English or German, and the breakfast is a bit bland
5. Budget Hostel Zurich
Price: $65.47 to $83.68
Pros: Great location, clean and spacious rooms, easy check-in, and well-equipped shared kitchen
Cons: Staff were a bit unwelcoming, and the hostel can get loud at night
6. Hotel Welcome Inn
Price: $186.87 to $140.80
Pros: Friendly staff, nice rooms, delicious breakfast meals, and shuttle services to the airport
Cons: Located far from the city center, charges fees that don’t make sense, and the staff don’t know much about organizing tours and activities
7. Hotel Arlette Beim Hauptbahnhof
Price: $138.24 to $179.20
Pros: Classic interior design, convenient location, access to public transportation, free breakfast, and cozy and clean rooms
Cons: Staff are not very friendly
8. Hotel Bristol Zurich
Price: $128 to $266.25
Pros: Very accommodating staff, clean rooms, and access to public transportation,
Cons: The rooms have no air-conditioning units and more akin to a hotel (little to no shared facilities)
9. X-TRA The Hotel
Price: $128 to $302.09
Pros: Convenient location, access to public transportation, helpful staff, and spotless rooms and bathrooms
Cons: The rooms can get loud at night, and it is more similar to a hotel than a hostel (only has few shared facilities)
Zurich is Switzerland’s largest city and the cultural center of the German-speaking population of the country. Although it’s not the administrative capital of its Canton, Zurich punches above its weight as a major media and business headquarters. Also, due to it being at the center of Switzerland’s extremely reliable and meticulously maintained train network and hosting Switzerland’s most important airport, it’s usually the first thing that visitors get to see. Zurich is also near a few world-renowned skiing resorts, and a lot of people who are heading to the Swiss Alps don’t spend a lot of time in the city itself. It’s a shame because they’re missing a lot, so you should stay in the city for a couple of days at least.
While Zurich can be costly, it is also clean, efficient, and has a very high standard of living, couple these things with the high wages, and it explains why people can tolerate the high prices. The city has also drawn people from the rest of the country for centuries. Still, in the past few decades, it has also begun to attract both foreign nationals and multinational companies, occasionally, even from non-European nations. Thus, it makes the city very cosmopolitan, and you will hear a lot more languages aside from Swiss German.
Zurich is home to ETH Zurich, one of the world’s leading technical universities, which has produced several Nobel laureates and numerous innovations. Also, due to Switzerland’s long history of neutrality, it houses headquarters of the likes of FIFA or the International Ice Hockey Federation. Zurich is also home to several large banking and insurance conglomerates that grew on the fabled Swiss banking secret and still enjoy good reputations in the financial sector.
Why Should I Visit Zurich?
If you are still having doubts about going on a trip to Zurich, here are some reasons why you should:
Lots of Museums and Art Galleries
Start with the Landesmuseum, or officially the Swiss National Museum. It’s also one of the most visited museums in the country, and it’s right across from the central station, so you won’t have to walk too far. Here you will find historic art collections that date back to prehistoric times.
From there, you can opt to head to more eclectic museums like the Cabaret Voltaire, the birthplace of Dadaism in the country. This attraction is where Hans Arp, Hugo Ball, and other exiled artists gave rise to the European avant-garde movement in 1916.
Or you can choose to go to the more family-friendly option and visit any of the fourteen museums designed explicitly for children. Kids and kids-at-heart can spend several days going through exhibits that feature everything from dinosaurs, cultural artifacts, and modern-day science. Your kids won’t be bored in Zurich.
Swim at Lake Zurich and Limmat River at a Badi
Take a walk, ride a bike, or simply enjoy a sunset cruise – these are all the things that you can do on Lake Zurich. Not only does it have breathtaking views, but the waters are clean and very inviting. The lake’s water is so clean that the mayor of Zurich
famously dipped a glass in and drank it, just to prove the point!
Stroll alongside a mile-long strip of the most exclusive shops you will ever see than anywhere else in the world. That is what you will encounter when you visit Bahnhofstrasse. There are several shopping malls and districts in Zurich, but Bahnhofstrasse is considered as the “shopping mecca” of the city. Also, it’s one of Europe’s most expensive
commercial areas too.
Rich History and Culture
Zurich’s Old Town is a tourist hub. The western side of the Limmat River (very close to the train station) is called Lindenhof, and it is set in the Lindenhof Hill. It’s also the only public park inside the walls and is also recognized as a Heritage Site. Not only is it the perfect place to hang out, but you get one of the best views in the city from the park. It is also one of the best spots to take pictures in Zurich.
The eastern portion of the city’s Old Town is where you’ll find Niederdorfstrasse. During the day, this pedestrian zone is filled with shops and quaint cafes. As the night approached, the whole place transforms into a hub with lots of bars and outdoor restaurants. Here you will find anything from coffee shops and restaurants serving Italian, Indian, and Spanish cuisines, or the famous cheese fondue. So, if you’re looking for the right place to hang out after dark– this is the perfect place.
Some of Zurich’s most impressive landmarks are also it’s most religious and occasionally controversial areas. A popular destination for visitors is the Fraumunster or the city’s Women’s Church. It was completed in the 9th Century by King Louis the German dedicated for his daughter and was open only for the elite women of Zurich. It was also a seat of power during the Middle Ages, but the main draw for tourists is the unique stained-glass windows made by Marc Chagall.
Aside from that, is the Grossmunster, which is one of the city’s most famous landmarks. It’s also one of the most fascinating. Legend has it that it was built on top of Sts. Felix and Regula, the patron saints of the city, whose graves were discovered by Charlemagne. St. Peter Kirche is also a famous destination because it is the oldest parish church in Zurich. Both structures are architectural wonders that even double as art galleries with their own set of unique stained-glass windows. They all are worth a visit.
Uetliberg is the city’s “home mountain,” and it’s also quite easy to reach. It offers panoramic views of the whole town, the lake, and the Swiss Alps in the distance. Rising over 871 meters (2857ft) above sea level, with a lookout tower at its peak, the Uetliberg is a must-visit. There are two options to get to the top: either you take the train from downtown or by hiking from its base. Just
remember that it’s quite a steep hike!
Party Till Morning
Zurich is known for its very vibrant techno scene. From upscale clubs to underground raves, the rigid corporate vibe melts away each night as locals let themselves go crazy! Also, the more popular and mainstream clubs and bars found in Zurich West.
Even some Badis transform every night where guests can drink cocktails along the banks of the river or lake. So, you can go for a dip in the afternoon, then hang around for a drink. Now that is something you won’t find in most cities.
What Should I Pack For My Trip To Zurich?
Here are some items you might not have thought to pack before heading to Zurich:
- Playing Cards: Having waterproof cards are an essential kit for most backpackers. Play on the beach, by the pool, or at your hostel room after a long day with your travel companion (or new friends), without your cards getting ruined or soaked. Also, once you pull out those cards, the chance that you’ll be the winner is pretty high (no promises, though).
- Noise-canceling Earbuds: You’ll surely have some pretty noisy roommates – it happens quite often. Luckily, noise-canceling earbuds can help mitigate the nuisance. The comfortable and ergonomic design won’t be uncomfortable to your ears while you’re sleeping, no matter how long you wear them. You can also increase the quality of your sleep by tuning in to some relaxing music at night or just enjoy the complete silence.
- Power Bank: Everyone has experienced the extreme anxiety caused by your phone running out of juice. Going long bus rides without charging stations can also be torturous, so you should always have a power bank with you. For some power banks, you can charge your phone up to 5 times, or plug in two devices at the same time. With fast charging and enough power to keep you charged up for days, you can go through even the longest trips without a problem.
- Microfiber Towel: Having your towel on your travels is a game-changer. A microfiber towel is perfect for travelers who are looking for one that’s lightweight, quick-drying, and incredibly soft. Also, the antibacterial material is very water-absorbent and resists odor buildup because of its antimicrobial material.
- Padlock: Unless the thief spends hours to figure out the right code (he won’t), this three-digit padlock is going to keep your stuff tucked safely. It’s great for keeping your backpack closed, or your locker secured adequately. This essential and very flexible padlock saves you from having your essentials stolen. A must-have for every backpacker!
- Water Bottle: Sturdy and durable, a water bottle survives even the roughest adventures while keeping your drink at your preferred temperature for a whole day. Vacuum-sealed and made from stainless steel, the container can fit 25 oz, which is enough to keep you hydrated. Super cool bonus: the bottle isn’t just super useful, it helps to reduce the single-use plastic waste – save the planet by filling up your container.
Where Can I Party on a Monday in Zurich?
Aside from the on-site bars in some of the hostels listed in this guide, you can visit the following bars and clubs to grab a drink or dance on a Monday evening:
- Hiltl Club
- Paddy Reilly’s
Where Should I Go After Exploring Zurich?
There are a lot of exciting destinations nearby like Baden (a town with castle ruins and thermal baths), Greifensee (lake and a village close to Uster where you can explore a forest), Lucerne (one of the most popular destination in Switzerland), Rapperswil (picturesque town opposite of Zurich), The Rhine Falls (the largest waterfall in Europe), and Winterthur (numerous museums including Technorama). If you want to explore some more, you can also visit Budapest and Amsterdam.
What Is Zurich Switzerland Famous For?
Zurich is an upscale banking city and the financial capital of Switzerland. So, it’s no surprise to anyone that it’s often labeled as one of the most expensive cities in the world. The city is also famous for luxurious lifestyles, high-end shopping, and fancy chocolates.
Is Zurich Good For Tourists?
Although it’s buzzing with business activity, Zürich is one of the most beautiful Swiss towns to visit and is ideal for sightseeing on foot. The city is also a good base for visiting many other fascinating attractions in Switzerland and the nearby Black Forest region of Germany.
Is Food Expensive In Switzerland?
High price island Switzerland has the most expensive food and drinks in Europe. Switzerland has been ranked the second-most costly European country behind Iceland for consumer goods, which are 59% higher than the European Union average.