Boating in Zurich
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One of the most pleasurable ways of seeing Zürich and the surrounding countryside is from the water, and there’s no shortage of options for rides long and short. However, you should note that almost all the boat trips mentioned below only operate during the summer months (April–Oct); in winter, service is drastically reduced, and is dependent on good weather. For all enquiries, contact either the tourist office or the Zürichsee Schifffahrtsgesellschaft (ZSG, or Lake Zürich Shipping Company; %01/487 13 33, www.zsg.ch). Full timetables are posted at the company office at Bürkliplatz, from where almost all boats depart. Swiss Pass and Eurail pass holders travel free, while InterRailers go for half-price.

One of the best short trips is on the Limmatschiff, which departs from the Landesmuseum for the scenic river journey through the heart of the city, including a short trip on the lake and the return journey up the Limmat again. The round trip takes about 55 minutes, and departures are every half-hour (July & Aug daily 10am–9pm; May, June & early Sept Mon–Fri 1–9pm, Sat & Sun 10am–9pm; April & mid-Sept to mid-Oct Mon–Fri 1–6pm, Sat & Sun 10am–6pm).

Regular boats also ply the length of the Zürichsee, from Zürich to Rapperswil (2hr), and beyond to Schmerikon (another 1hr 30min), stopping at just about every shoreside town on the way. Another possibility for relaxed exploration is in Stäfa village about an hour and a half from Zürich, clustered on the shore at the foot of the Pfannenstiel in the largest vinegrowing region in the canton. The S-Bahn lines running along both shores of the lake can make the return journey to Zürich a picturesque one in itself.

The ZSG also runs a host of pleasure cruises on the lake, including circular sightseeing trips from and to Zürich without stopping (1hr 30min or 2hr 45min), nostalgia trips to Rapperswil by steamship (1hr 45min), and full 7-hour day cruises. Eat-aboard cruises – in daylight and after dark – are some of the most popular with the locals and, although prices vary (Fr.15–50), are not prohibitively expensive.

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