Venture south of central Zurich to wander through a large green space filled with native and exotic plant species, ranging from edelweiss to carnivores.
Leave the busy historic center of the city for the peaceful greens of Zurich Botanical Garden (Botanischer Garten). Enjoy trees and seasonal outdoor blooms as well as indoor gardens that are warm and welcoming throughout the year.
Walk across the grounds of the former Schönau Villa next to Zurich University. The park has over 9,000 plant species on its 13 acres (53,000 square meters). Visit numerous outdoor areas featuring different growing habitats.
Find edelweiss in the Alpinum area. While the Local Forest and Meadow feature native Swiss varieties, the Mediterranean Garden has plants from southern climates. See specialized areas with plants providing dyes, water plants, vegetables and medicinals, carnivorous plants and drought-resistant species.
Three domed glass houses look lovely next to the green lawn, trees and ponds. Step inside for contrasting worlds of non-native plants. The tropical mountain cloud forest has trees, ferns, epiphytes, bromeliads and bright red fuschias and impatiens flowers. Climb to an observation platform in the hot and humid, 52-foot-tall (16-meter) lowland rainforest to look down from the tree canopy onto cocoa, coconut and vanilla plants along with begonias and other flowers. Familiar cacti and lesser-known desert plants from across the world fill the dry area house.
The garden and tropical greenhouses are open daily and entry is free. Arrive early in the morning or an hour or so before closing to avoid crowds. Take a guided tour or follow self-guiding signage. Attend lectures, concerts, exhibitions and other events here and at the garden’s parent organization, the University of Zurich.
When you are in central Zurich, stop at the Old Botanical Garden, which operated from 1837 to 1976, to see its herb garden or attend an event in its renovated palm house.
Drive to the Zurich Botanical Garden from the center of Old Town in about 10 minutes or take a train or bus to a nearby stop within 15 to 20 minutes. Stroll about 10 minutes west to reach the Chinese Garden on the shores of Lake Zurich. Nearby look for interesting sculptures of the Sheep Piece by Henry Moore and Jean Tinguely’s Heureka.