Lake Zurich Cruises: Everything You Need to Know

Cruises Lake River Zurich

Are you looking for a fun cruise on Lake Zurich? This detailed guide will tell you everything you need to know about your lake and river cruise options from Zurich, so you’re definitely in the right place.

A cruise on the lake is one of the best activities you can do in Zurich because it is not only fun and relaxing but gives you a unique perspective on the city.

Types of cruises, ticket price information, and seasonal cruise timetables are all included in this detailed guide. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about Lake Zurich cruises and start planning your adventure immediately!

Cruise Recommendations

There are lots of cruises and boat trips on Lake Zurich, making it hard to choose. Although a cruise is fun, it is even better if you combine it with a walking tour, cable car ride or chocolate factory tour!

Below is a short selection of some tours worth considering (4.5-5 star ratings only). Many combine other great activities in Zurich so you save time and money!

Main Types of Cruises on Lake Zurich

Lake Zurich Boat
Lake Zurich Boat

We can sort the types of cruises on Lake Zurich by length and by theme. When it comes to the duration of the cruise, travelers can choose from mini, short, and long lake cruises.


Mini cruises usually take up to 1-2 hours and take you to one of the nearby towns in the lower part of the lake, closer to the city. They’re short and sweet; perfect for travelers who want to experience a cruise on Lake Zurich or Limmat River.

Short Cruises

Short cruises usually last up to three hours and visit towns near the lake’s center. They often have an onboard restaurant so that you can enjoy snacks and drinks on board.

Long Cruises

Longer cruises on Lake Zurich are the best option for people who want to explore the surroundings, see the entire lake, and enjoy a full day out. These round trips are up to 4 hours long, taking you from Zurich to Rapperswil and then back to Zurich.

You can get off the boat in Rapperswil and explore the town, it’s well worth it. Even if you just manage to stroll along the lakeshore and maybe walk to the top of the Rapperswil Castle, it will give you a great overview of this stunning historic town.

Related Reading

Swimming In Lake Zurich: Best Spots & Tips

Learn More
Zurich Cruise
Lake Zurich

Unique Cruises

Lake Zurich is also famous for themed lake and river cruises. If you find a regular boat trip boring, consider going on a fondue cruise or even a murder mystery cruise!

Unique cruises take place on Lake Zurich just a few times in a season, so you will need to plan your entire trip around the cruise if that’s something you want.

However, some themed cruises happen more often than others. The fondue boat cruise is very popular in Zurich and takes place frequently, but the murder mystery trip happens once or twice a month.

Winter Cruises

Given the colder weather, there are fewer cruises in winter. However, that does not mean you can’t go on a Lake Zurich Cruise.

Lake Cruise Tours

A few companies still offer lake cruise tours, usually combined with a walking tour or visit to the Lindt Factory (because it is near a dock). Here are a few I have found:

Local Ferries

Local Zurich Lake ferries still run in winter, just on a reduced schedule. Just remember, that these are not “cruises” per se, but local ferries.

The simplest way to find the ferry times is on the SBB website, however as a general rule from the Bürkliplatz docks in Zurich there are

Want To Save This For Later?

We'll email this post to you, so you can come back to it later!

  • two journeys a day to Rapperswil
Rapperswil ferries in winter on Lake Zurich
Rapperswil ferries in winter on Lake Zurich
  • two boats a day to the Lindt Chocolate Factory and Museum (aka Kilchberg ZH (See))

Fondue Cruise

Another popular winter cruise option is the Fondue Cruise, which takes place at night on Lake Zurich

Ticket Prices

Ticket prices for Zurich lake cruises depend on a number of different things. If you already have the Swiss Travel Pass, you can go on a free cruise. It won’t be a themed cruise and you most likely won’t get any food for free, but you won’t have to pay for a ticket just to get on the boat.

As for all the other cruises, it’s important to note that themed cruises are a lot more expensive than sightseeing cruises. The themed cruises usually include dinner and drinks, and it’s no secret that going out in Zurich is not a cheap sport at all. The fondue cruise is around 65 CHF, while the murder mystery cruise costs around 115 CHF.

Sightseeing cruises are dirt cheap compared to themed ones. Prices for the mini round trip cruise start at around 7 CHF and go up to 43 CHF for a long lake cruise. In any case, expect to spend at least 50 CHF if you want to eat and drink something on the boat. You can bring your own food and drinks to save money, and this is the best thing to do if you want to get off the boat at some point and explore towns on the lake shore.

You can buy the tickets online at the ZVV and SBB online shops, as well as onboard all ZSG boats. Tickets are also available for purchase at the tourist information office at Zurich main station, the ticket office in Zürich Bürkliplatz, and all ZVV and SBB ticket machines.

On top of all that, you should know that tickets are necessary for children and dogs, and they’re 50% cheaper than regular adult tickets.


The timetable for cruises on Lake Zurich depends on the season, weather conditions, and destination. There are fewer departures in the winter season, especially for longer routes. Departures for one-way trips and shorter routes are more common, especially in smaller lakeshore towns.

Cruises are more popular in the summer season, so there are more departures from all docks along the shore. In any case, you can see the current timetable for cruises on Lake Zurich right here.

Related Reading

Things To Do In Zurich: History, Culture, and Swiss Delicacies

Learn More

How to Get to the Main Boat Docks in Zurich

Zurich Burkliplatz Ferry Dock
Zurich Burkliplatz Ferry Dock

Most boat cruises depart from Zürich Bürkliplatz. This is a public square on the shore of the lake, which doubles as one of the most important transport hubs in the city. Most tram and bus lines in Zurich pass through here, so it’s really easy to reach the ferry terminal.

If you happen to have accommodation in Zurich’s old town, you can just walk to Zürich Bürkliplatz; it’s at the end of Bahnhofstrasse, so it will be a pleasant walk through the heart of the city. The pier is just a 10-minute walk away from both Fraumunster Church and Zurich Opera House, so it’s easily accessible from the most popular tourist destinations in the city.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Cruises on Lake Zurich

lake zurich
Lake Zurich

Is A Zurich Lake Cruise Included in the Swiss Pass?

Yes, you can go on a free Lake Zurich cruise if you purchased the Swiss Travel Pass Flex. It’s not included in the cheapest travel pass option, but only in the mid-range one. You will still need to pay for any food and drinks you consume on board, but you don’t have to spend any money on a ticket.

It’s important to note that the Travel Pass covers only sightseeing lake cruises. If you’re interested in one of the themed cruises, you must pay the full price.

How much does it cost to go to Lake Zurich?

That depends on so many different things. It can be anywhere from a few francs to several thousand, depending on whether you’re including the cost of plane tickets, accommodation, transport through Switzerland, and finally, boat cruise tickets.

Even without the plane tickets, it will cost you hundreds of $/€/£/₣. Hostels in Zurich start at around 100 Francs per night, and that’s for the cheapest type of accommodation available. The lake cruise can cost anywhere from a few francs to several hundred, eating out in Zurich is quite pricey, and train tickets to other nearby towns aren’t cheap either.

The Swiss Travel Pass can get you some great discounts, but it costs around 250 Francs for 3 days, and that’s the cheapest option that doesn’t include a Lake Zurich cruise. So to answer your question, it costs a lot of money to go to Lake Zurich – 300-400 Francs for a couple of days at least, not including the plane tickets.

Is Lake Zurich worth visiting?

Lake Zurich is definitely worth visiting if you’re staying somewhere in the area and you’ve never been before. The city of Zurich is absolutely amazing, and one of the most popular places to visit in entire Switzerland.

But if you want to visit Lake Zurich specifically for the lake and fun water activities, you might be a bit disappointed. Sure, there are things to do and places to see, but it’s not quite as popular as the lakes of Thun, Brienz, Lucerne, and Neuchatel. These are better options for people who want to have fun on the water and swim, but none of those will allow you to walk through the streets of Zurich.

Can you swim in Lake Zurich?

Yes, Lake Zurich offers plenty of opportunities for swimming. There’s a small beach area in the city of Zurich, but if you want to avoid the crowds it’s best to head to a more remote part of the lake. There are plenty of beaches along the shore of Lake Zurich that are rarely as busy as the swimming areas in the city.

Plan Your Trip to Switzerland

Accommodation: I always book my hotels via They have some of the best rates, longterm deals, easy cancellation and more
Transport: Train travel is one of the best ways to explore Switzerland. Buying a Swiss Travel Pass is a great way to save money on travel and museums.
Car Rental: Having a car gives you flexibility on your travels. I use and Discover Cars to get the best deals on car rentals in Switzerland.
Luggage Storage: Find out where you can store your store your luggage while you are visiting various places in Switzerland.
Trips & Tours:Viator and Get Your Guide are the best places to find local tours and trips for your adventures in Switzerland.
Packing: Here are my recommendations for what to pack for a trip to Switzerland. As someone who has lived half their life in Switzerland, I have a good idea of what you need to bring!
Written by Ashley Faulkes
As a twenty-year resident of Switzerland, I am passionate about exploring every nook and cranny of this beautiful country, I spend my days deep in the great Swiss outdoors, and love to share these experiences and insights with fellow travel enthusiasts.

One thought on “Lake Zurich Cruises: Everything You Need to Know

  1. Hi there, appreciate if you can explain more details on Zurich Lake and River cruise particularly during winter season. I planned to go to Zurich sometimes in late February and really interested to take one of either mini or short cruise, however I noticed that you didn’t mentioned on its availability during winter time. If available, what their time-table would be? Thank you and best regards.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *