Zurich Lake Walk – West

We love this lakeside walk for the the long lake views with alps in the distance, abundant flowers in springtime, and long tree-lined promenades. Our kids love the big open parks, the fun playgrounds, and easy access to the water’s edge to interact with ducks. We stroll here all year long, enjoying how it changes over the four seasons.

This 4.2 km walk goes from Zurich Bürkliplatz to Rote Fabrik in Wollishofen, following the west side of the lake. The whole area is a pedestrian only zone, so kids can roam freely. The path is paved, so kids can bring the scooters or bikes. There are plenty of services, with several cafes, drinking fountains, street vendors, and WCs along this walk.

On weekends and nice evenings, the west side of the lake is usually less crowded that the east side, so the kids have more room to run around and play. Many people frequent the top part of the lake, which is certainly a wonderful place to stroll and lounge. But if you continue walking south, you’ll leave the bigger crowds behind and find lots of nice places to wander.

Location:   Zurich City
Address: Start: Zurich Bürkliplatz
End: Zurich Seerose (Wollishofen)
GPS: 47.338660, 8.538396
By car: parking available at Hafen Enge, Mythenquai 88, 8002 Zürich or…
Forellenweg 9 8038 Zürich (trail end)
By transit: 10 mins from Zurich HB
Trail: 4.3 km one way, return by bus
Condition: paved
Skill: easy
Open: year round

Route Details

This walk goes from Zurich Bürkliplatz to Rote Fabrik in Wollishofen, where you can catch a bus to return to your starting point. Click through on the map to see the stuff for kids I’ve marked on the map, like the playgrounds, ice cream joints, where to feed ducks, etc.

Getting There

If you are already in the city, simply take a tram to Bürkliplatz.

If you are driving to Zurich, it’s probably easiest to park in the Opernhaus parking garage. Or you could park at Hafen Enge metered parking (Mythenquai 88, 8002 Zürich, CHF 0.50/hr, 15 hrs) or at the trail end in Wollishofen (Forellenweg 9 8038 Zürich) and do this walk backwards.

Impressions

The route starts at Bürkliplatz near the ferries. The walk starts through this tree-lined promenade.

This mosaic fountain marks the entrance to the Arboretum park.

After the fountain, there are several benches near the water you can lounge while kids feed the ducks.

Behind the benches is a grassy area under the trees where the first flowers of spring appear, the crocus and snowdrops. Children can run around on the big grassy field nearby, but avoid these smaller areas with flowers. There are signs everywhere asking you not to walk on these sections to protect the flowers.

The crocus flowers at their peak late March to early April depending on the year.

A couple weeks later the magnolia trees start to blossom and the crocus give way to dandelions.

Bring a ball to kick around on this big field, but careful to avoid the picnics on busy days. On warm evenings, lots of people bring portable grills to the parks and picnic. On hot days, people swim all along the shoreline, not just in the designated swimming areas.

Take a short detour to the Voliere bird house at the back of the big grassy field. There is an outdoor and indoor section (free entrance) where you can admire a bunch of different birds.

Get back on the main path and walk along the boat dock.

In the middle of the boats, there is a water walkway, so you can take a little detour and get a little closer to the big spray fountain in the middle of the lake. There no are barriers on the sides of the walkways, so hang on tight to little ones. But the water is very shallow if they do fall in, just fyi.

Return to the main path and keep walking south. Past the boats, you’ll find the honeycomb fountain, often lined with seasonal flowers. We especially like the tulips in late spring. My kids love to run races around this fountain. Sometimes they fall in.

Outside summer season, you can walk through the Mythenquai Strandbad, aka swimming area. From late May to early September, you must pay an entrance fee to this park.

It’s a lovely park with a sand beach.

During summer, you’ll need to walk behind the Mythenquai park on this lovely tree lined path next to the road.

After the Mythenquai, follow the path to the lakeside and through the enormous Landiwiese park, a great place to kick a ball around or throw a frisbee. Sometimes this area has big events like Theater Spektakel in August. The park has a few statues, drinking fountains and toilets near the road.

Take a little spin around Saffa Island. We love having picnics here and feeding the ducks.

On really hot days, you can swim here for free. There are plenty of shallow parts good for children but it does drop off at some point so be safe. We also go here to feed the ducks.

After the island, walk towards road and take the path on the left, leading above some buildings.

The path leads to this terrace overlooking the lake.

This area is covered in wisteria in May and thick green vines all summer, providing cover for these secret conversations on these hidden benches.

The pathway continues behind some buildings then drops down to Savera-Areal park. There are grills on the far side of the park. Lots of people including children will swim here for free, but I don’t like it so much because the rocky ground cuts your feet as you get in the water.

On the far side of this grassy area, you’ll find the Wollishofen Gemeindezentrum, aka community center. They have a bistro open to the public, as well as a variety of playgrounds, classes and events for the neighborhood. They have a great playground here.

Continue walking along the lake past the playground through the urban artist center, Rote Fabrik. You’ll pass a lot of graffiti on your way.

In the Rote Fabrik complex, you’ll find a cafe, a toy library, a children’s playgroup, a bike shop, various artist studios and performing spaces, and lots of interesting street art.

Keep walking along the lake and you’ll find this fun playground on the south side of Rote Fabrik.

Last stop is this great wooden walkway over the water, with views to the alps.

At the end of this walkway, walk on the green path past the boats, the turn right to the main road and find the bus stop. Catch a bus back to the city center from here.

Hope you enjoyed this walk. See the rest of the Zurich city walks here.

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