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How to Cycle Around Lake Zurich

If you think about it, it is a bit strange that Switzerland is considered a nation of cyclists. Think about the topography of Switzerland: there aren't really any larger flat areas and what we Swiss call flat would be considered quite steep hills in other countries.

Despite the obvious difficulties this causes for cyclists, almost every Swiss owns a bicycle and many people use it quite frequently, e.g. to go to work or to do their shopping. Personally, I am somewhat in between the frequent users and the 'sometimes users'. If it's sunny I'll ride my bike to work but if it rains I prefer to sit in a dry bus in the morning. Wouldn't you as well?!

My bike 

A Bike Ride Around Lake Zurich

Today, I took my bicycle on a somewhat longer journey. Since it was warm and sunny outside I decided to use this chance and finally make a bicycle tour around Lake Zurich. Yes, I rode around all of the Untersee (the lower part of Lake Zurich between Rapperswil and Zurich) in about 4 hours. It was actually quite beautiful and totally worth the sore butt.

The Route

My tour started in Kilchberg and lead me first to Zurich, then to Meilen, Rapperswil, Pfäffikon, Thalwil and then back home. I covered over 55 km in 4 hours and I actually passed through three different cantons on the way: Zurich, St. Gallen and Schwyz.

After half the journey I stopped for a while in Rapperswil, a beautiful town on the right hand shore of Lake Zurich. Coffee shops, Ice cream and a medieval castle and old city make this the perfect place for a short break. I imagine one could even go swimming if the weather was warm enough.

Beautiful Rapperswil

Slow Up Zürichsee - Time to slow down!

On my way I also saw signs for an upcoming event: SLOW UP. Next weekend the Seestrasse between Meilen and Schmerikon will be closed for motorized traffic and opened up skaters and cyclists from 10 am to 5 pm. The towns along the route will hosts events and food stands and everyone is invited to join. Seems like a fun event, too bad I'll be busy next weekend!

Tips and Info for Your Ride Around the Lake

If you would like to cycle around Lake Zurich on your own you can start your tour pretty much anywhere you want and go around the lake clockwise (or counter clockwise). Simply follow the Seestrasse (lake road) along the lake and you'll find your way without any troubles. Just always keep the lake on your right side (or left side if you go counter clockwise). In most places you even have extra lanes for bicycles so this tour is fine even for people who are not used to cycle on the street. 

People who don't want to spend as much time in the saddle as I did (their buttocks will be thankful) can cycle from Zurich to Meilen and then take the ferry to Horgen on the other side of the lake. That will shorten the journey considerably. Another option of course would be to take a boat or train back from Rapperswil.

If you don't have a bicycle you should check out "Züri rollt" in Zurich. They actually rent bikes for FREE!



  1. Nice post, I feel like going to do cycling now! :) I don't have a bike yet, but this will definitly be one of my next investments ;-)


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