A trip to Zurich is something you’ll want to remember for years to come, and probably even commemorate with a souvenir or two. If you don’t want to buy magnets, aprons, and other items that are just mass-produced with the same images everywhere, I’ve got a few other options for souvenirs to bring home from Zurich.
I’ve included all the most authentically Swiss souvenirs that will forever remind you of Zurich at a glance. There are even a few perishables that might not remind you of your travels for too long, but which will awaken all those memories once they interact with your taste buds. So, here’s my take on what to buy in Zurich to bring home!
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Swiss cheese is probably the best souvenir you can take home and the only one you won’t be able to buy in big enough quantities. Sure, you could fill a suitcase full of Swiss cheese, but it’s unlikely you’ll be able to eat it all before it’s out of date.
If you’re going to buy cheese in Zurich to bring home, then look for specialized shops and local sellers. You can find some delicious cheese at the supermarket, but it’s much better to buy it from local sellers.
Gruyere cheese, Emmentaler, Raclette cheese, Appenzeller, Vacherin Fribourgeois, and many others are all options worth considering, so make sure you taste test as many types of cheese as possible, before deciding on a single wheel to bring back home.
Swiss Army Knife
Swiss Army Knives are some of the best souvenirs to take home, although it’s logistically not possible for everyone to buy these souvenirs. The one thing you need to consider is that you won’t be able to board a plane with a Victorinox Swiss Army Knife in your carry-on, so consider purchasing this souvenir only if you’ve traveled to Zurich with a checked suitcase.
Head to the Victorinox Flagship Store in Zurich; it’s the Swiss Army Knife source with the largest selection of authentic products.
A SAM is a Swiss icon that you will most likely use for many things. The product variety is almost endless – there’s everything from a basic Swiss Army Knife to a powerful multi-tool with dozens of different functions, including wire cutters and nail clippers. Swiss Army Knives also make for great presents, and buying them in Switzerland ensures you’re getting the original Swiss Army Knife and not a flimsy knockoff.
Traditional Swiss Wear
Traditional Swiss Wear is a really good idea for a souvenir, and I don’t mean what you see people wearing on the streets of Zurich. I mean those outfits that are worn during festivals and parades in the Alpine regions of Switzerland, and which you certainly won’t wear in your daily life.
You can use them for Halloween to flex your recent trip to Switzerland, or you could frame them and hang them on a wall like a piece of art. You could even wear individual pieces in daily life if you wanted – with some styling, they wouldn’t look that out of place.
WiesnShop in Zurich has the widest selection of high-quality traditional Swiss outfits, but they’re not cheap. You might find some poor-quality versions at souvenir and costume shops, but I recommend springing for the real thing if you want to buy clothes that will actually last you for years to come and that you can wear without looking like you’ve forgotten how to read a calendar.
An authentic Swiss watch is the dream souvenir to buy in Zurich, but it’s definitely not something everyone can afford. Especially if we’re talking about luxury Swiss brands, which are everywhere in Zurich.
But this is the one souvenir that will fondly remind you of your travels through Zurich every time you look down at your wrist. In terms of budget-friendly authentic Swiss watches, I’m afraid Swatch is your only option. I think this is the only brand with made-in-Switzerland watches that retail for less than 500 CHF; all other brands will be significantly more expensive, but also offer superior quality and a wider variety.
If you’re looking for the absolute best Swiss watches, you want Tag Hauer, Patek Philippe, Tissot, Omega, Breitling, etc., and you’ll find them all along Bahnhofstrasse.
Swiss Music Box
Music boxes are an important part of Swiss tradition and culture and they make for excellent souvenirs if you want to buy something authentically Swiss. The first factories that produced Swiss music boxes were opened in the early 19th century, and there was even a period in history when this industry was more lucrative than the watchmaking industry.
The most common melody in the music boxes is Edelweiss, but you can usually find multiple available options including iconic melodies like La Vie en Rose, Little Night Music, The Waltz of Flowers, and others.
You’ll find Swiss music boxes at any souvenir shop that sells handmade wooden items. Teddy’s souvenir shop in Zurich is a goldmine for music boxes, as is Schweizer Heimatwerk.
Both shops stock music boxes produced by Switzerland’s best-known manufacturers from all over the country, and the souvenir could cost you anywhere from some 50 CHF to thousands of Swiss Francs, depending on the intricacy of design, materials used, and size of the box.
I genuinely don’t think there’s a better souvenir to bring home than Swiss chocolate. The only thing is, I doubt the chocolate would actually make it to the airport because I have zero self-control when it comes to sweets.
Swiss chocolate is highly regarded as some of the best in the world, and it’s easy to find everywhere in Zurich. You can buy luxury pralines at Lindt or Laderach, or you can stock up on Toblerone and Milka chocolates at your local supermarkets. That’s another great thing about Swiss chocolate – you can buy it for as little as a couple of Swiss Francs, and you could just as easily spend 100+ CHF on pralines.
One thing I will say is that it might not be worth it to spend a lot of money on Swiss chocolates if you’re traveling in the summer. It’s possible that it will all melt if it’s too hot outside, and then you’ll be left with a very expensive block of chocolatey gunk. It will taste just as good though.
Handmade Wooden Toys
Handmade wooden toys are very popular in Switzerland and you can find them in most souvenir shops throughout the country. They’re not just toys – many handmade wooden items are replicas of iconic Swiss landmarks, so they make for beautiful decorations to keep in your home.
Sure, there are wooden toy cars and planes, but there are also tiny wooden cable cars, Postauto buses, and even tiny Swiss people dressed in traditional clothing. Whether you’re looking to buy gifts for children or just want something authentically Swiss to take home, wooden toys are an excellent option.
One thing to note is that the more complicated wooden toys can be very expensive because of the incredible level of detail. It takes a lot of time and effort to carve out a miniature Swiss human from a block of wood, and the complexity of the job is absolutely reflected in the prices.
If you want a souvenir that will forever have a special place in your home and remind you of your trip to Switzerland whenever you look at it, there’s no better option than a Swiss cuckoo clock. It is one of the priciest and most delicate souvenirs you can buy, but also one of the best options.
Head to Teddy’s Souvenir Shop near Grossmunster for the widest selection of cuckoo clocks in Zurich. Teddy’s has everything from super affordable cuckoo clocks to large and detailed ones that are more than 1,000 CHF, so there’s something for everyone’s budget.
Another great shop for cuckoo clocks is Schweizer Heimatwerk. It is a pricier store with handmade wooden clocks, but they’re all gorgeous and fantastically detailed.
Cheese Fondue Set
If you’re a foodie, the fondue is what you’ll miss the most from your trip to Switzerland. You can attempt to replicate the experience at home by buying delicious Swiss cheeses, but also a fondue set so you can melt the cheese at home properly and try to recreate the popular traditional Swiss dish.
Fondue has a longstanding history in Switzerland, and what started off as a way to get people to use stale bread and cheese during a food shortage has now become an iconic part of the country’s culture. Fondue sets can be found in most souvenir shops in Zurich, but also in stores that sell cutlery and other kitchenwares.
You can even find a fondue set at Migros, and I would highly recommend checking what’s available at the local supermarkets because you’ll get the best deals. The sets at souvenir shops are likely to be more expensive because of the “tourist tax”, and there’s no reason to believe that the quality is better.
Cowbells are specific for the Appenzell region of Switzerland, and they’re sort of iconic in the area. They make for a great souvenir partly because there’s no other place in the world they can remind you of, but also because they make for beautiful and unique decorations.
Although cowbells are still widely in use in the Alpine regions of Switzerland, the ones that are sold as souvenirs are more about the decor than the actual function. They’ll often be painted in Swiss colors, and more often than not, they’ll have the white Swiss cross somewhere on the body.
Cowbells can be found in most souvenir shops in Zurich, and they’re not even too expensive. You can find smaller bells for around 10 CHF, but the more noticeable pieces will usually cost 30-80 CHF.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where can I buy affordable souvenirs in Zurich?
The most affordable souvenirs in Zurich can be found in supermarkets.
What souvenirs can I buy in Zurich supermarkets?
You can buy loads of souvenirs at Zurich supermarkets, including cheese, chocolate, fondue sets, Swiss Army Knives, and many others.
What souvenirs can I buy at Zurich airport?
You can buy virtually all Swiss souvenirs at the Zurich airport, but not always after you’ve passed security because many shops are before the security checkpoint. Once you’re past security, you’ll have access to (duty-free) shops that sell various Swiss memorabilia, including keychains, magnets, model planes, chocolates, cosmetics, and others.