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Niederdorf Village in Zurich

Last Updated on June 24, 2024 by Darla

Niederdorf is a car-free part of Zurich’s Old Town, between Zurich Central and the Grossmünster Church. Seilergraben is on the eastern boundary, and Limmatquai runs along the western edge of Niederdorf, adjacent to the Limmat River where you can enjoy a relaxing cruise.

Image of Hirschenplatz in Niederdorf, Zürich by TouringSwitzerland.com

Niederdorf: An Overview

As Zurich’s Old Town, you can expect a picturesque aesthetic appeal with narrow, winding streets ideal for walking, vibrant energy, shops and boutiques, and charming squares.

Excavations in the year 2000 at Schmidgasse 3, 5, and 8 revealed early and high medieval settlement activities. They have found Roman ceramics, a wooden beam, and fragments from the 5th to 7th centuries AD. The findings suggest multiple phases of settlement and ongoing changes in land use. Animal remains were also found – cows, pigs, sheep, and red deer. Summing up all the findings and results, it seems to be part of a settlement where craftsmen engaged in their activities during the early and high medieval ages.1

The entire old town of Niederdorf was spared throughout the wars and retains its old charm.

Image of the Grossmünster Church, Zürich by TouringSwitzerland.com

You are welcome to visit Niederdorf any day and any time of the week. The pedestrian zone is perfect for spending a beautiful, sunny afternoon. Throughout the day, there are numerous shops and boutiques open. In the evening, restaurants, bars, and pubs welcome a diverse crowd ready to be entertained.

Having been to Niederdorf many times in my life, here are, in my opinion, some of its highlights aside from shopping and dining:

  • Polybahn – At the northern edge of Niederdorf, the Polybahn will bring you to the Polyterrasse where you can have fantastic views of Zurich city.
  • Grossmünster – Zurich’s landmark with its two distinctive towers is located at the southern edge of Niederdorf. The church has a rich history and was the catalyst for the Swiss Reformation in the German-speaking region under Huldrych Zwingli and Heinrich Bullinger.
  • Hirschenplatz – One of the liveliest places in Niederdorf surrounded by restaurants, bars, and shops. This is the place to be during Dörflifäscht.
  • Zähringerplatz – This courtyard was named after Berchtold V. von Zähringen, the founder of Bern. Here, you can find in Zähringerplatz the Zurich Central Library (Zähringerpl. 6, 8001 Zürich) and the Predigerkirche (Zähringerpl. 6, 8001 Zürich), a historic church built in 1231 in the Romanesque Style.
  • Zunfthaus zur Schmiden (Marktgasse 20, 8001 Zürich) – The most beautiful guild hall in Zurich. I have been here once for a wedding and this building is gorgeous – intricate wall decorations and large windows. It is typically booked for events.
  • In Your Face Comedy (Zähringerstrasse 33, 8001 Zürich) – English Stand-Up comedy in Zurich open every Thursday evening.
  • Cabaret Voltaire (Spiegelgasse 1, 8001 Zürich) – For those interested in art and jazz, Cabaret Voltaire is worth a visit. It is the birthplace of the Dada movement.

If you want Swiss food, Swiss Chuchi offers typical fondue and raclette. For a historic experience, visit Rheinfelder Bierhalle, one of the oldest beer halls in Switzerland, established in 1870.

Image of Zurich from the Polyterrasse near Niederdorf by TouringSwitzerland.com
  • Dörflifäscht – Towards the end of August, Niederdorf has a three-day festival with magic tricks for kids in the afternoon and live gigs in the evening.
  • Rosenhof Market (Weingasse, 8001 Zürich) – One of the most beautiful courtyards in Zurich where you can discover street food and crafts, every Saturday from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM, from March to mid-November. Nearby is a Vietnam War Memorial Fountain.
  • Christmas Market – From mid-November to December 23, you can walk around Niederdorf and enjoy the Christmas Village. Over 200 individual shops and 70 market stalls will sell crafts, unique gift ideas, mulled wine, sweet treats, and hearty delicacies.

How to Get to Niederdorf

You can get to Niederdorf easily on foot from Zurich’s train station or using one of the trams that stop nearby. In the evening, you can take the night bus that runs instead of the trams.

Below is a map showing where it is.

Address:Niederdorf, Zurich
Surrounded by Central, Grossmünster, Seilergraben, and Limmatquai
Train:– Zürich Hauptbahnhof (5-minute walk to Polybahn)
– Zürich Stadelhofen (9-minute walk to Grossmünster Church)
Trams:– Zürich, Central
– Zürich, Rüdolf-Brun-Brücke
– Zürich, Rathaus
– Zürich, Neumarkt
– Zürich, Helmhaus
Ferry:Limmatquai
Bus:– Zürich, Neumarkt

Final Thoughts

Image of Grossmünster in Niederdorf by TouringSwitzerland.com

I love visiting Niederdorf regularly. It is a beautiful old town with many shops and restaurants to choose from. They also regularly have markets here. After visiting Niederdorf, there are other areas in Zurich you can explore. I recommend joining the Limmat River Cruise, visiting Lindenhof, the Kunsthaus Zurich Art Museum, the Landesmuseum National Museum, or the beautiful flower hall.

Resources

1 Motschi, Andreas. Früh- und hochmittelalterliche Siedlungsreste im Niederdorf : ein Vorbericht über die Ausgrabungen an der Schmidgasse 5 in Zürich. Stadt Zürich, Archäologie und Denkmalpflege, 2003.

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Darla is the owner of TouringSwitzerland.com. Her home is in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. Having lived almost 20 years in Switzerland, she's traveled extensively all over the country. Darla's favorite regions to visit in Switzerland include Engadin, Lake Geneva, Bernese Oberland, Ticino, and Valais. She loves spending time with her family, hiking, visiting museums, and reading books.

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