Clear, still and picturesque, Lake Zurich is a defining feature of the city. But the water stretches much further than the city. From its northern tip, it extends 18 miles (29 kilometers) southeast, passing townships including Meilen on its east bank and Horgen on its left.
Lake Zurich can be seen from numerous points around Zurich. The only bridge to cross the lake (aside from the Seedamm in the far south) is the Quaibrücke. The bridge is straddled by Lake Zurich to the south and the Limmat River to the north. Though busy with cars and trams, the Quaibrücke has ample paths for pedestrians and is a brilliant vantage point over the lake. Another favorite approach to Lake Zurich is the walk down to the waterfront from Bahnhofstrasse. The boats bobbing up and down here make a great photo.
You can go out on a boat yourself, and see the city from an entirely different perspective. The Zürichsee Schifffahrtsgesellschaft company offers a choice of trips around the lake, varying from 1.5 to 7 hours in length (the longest is a round-trip to Rapperswil). They also organize evening cruises with refreshments and live entertainment.
Switzerland is a landlocked country, so in summer its lakes become substitutes for a coastline. Fortunately, Lake Zurich’s water often reaches temperatures of over 68 F (20 C), making for pleasant swimming conditions. Temporary beaches, such as that at Mythenquai, provide spaces for sunbathing and ball games. Lake Zurich’s gentle waves make it a safe swimming spot for younger children.
Lake Zurich is also used for the International Self-Transcendence Marathon Swim. This 16.4-mile (26.4-kilometer) course is tackled by keen athletes every summer. If you’re not participating, it’s an impressive sight to see more than 100 participants swim towards Zurich as they complete the journey from Rapperswil.