Zug Switzerland: Overview & City Guide

Zug Switzerland: Overview & City Guide

Welcome to Zug, the charming, compact city nestled in the heart of Switzerland! Known for its low tax rates and high quality of life, Zug is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered.

Zug Switzerland

This guide will walk you through the cobbled lanes of the old town, vast expanses of sparkling blue lake, and up the lush green hillsides.

Whether you’re here for a quick visit or planning to call Zug home, prepare to be captivated by its rich history, stunning landscapes, and unparalleled lifestyle.

Let’s embark on this journey together, unraveling the magic and allure of this beautiful city.

Join me, it’s time to visit Zug!

Where is Zug?

Zug is strategically located in the heart of Switzerland, making it easily accessible from other major Swiss cities. To the northeast, it’s bordered by Zürich, while Lucerne lies to its west. The canton of Zug, pint-sized yet picturesque, is characterized by its varied topography.

map of zug switzerland

The city is nestled on the shores of Zug’s very own Zugersee (Lake Zug), known for its stunning turquoise waters, a treat for both the eyes and the soul. The lake, sprawling over an area of 38.4 square kilometers, is a hub for various recreational water activities.

But Zug’s geographic allure doesn’t stop at its shoreline. The city is embraced by the Zugerberg, a lush green hill offering panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes.

The highlands and lowlands of Zug together form a harmonious blend of natural beauty, making it an irresistible destination for nature enthusiasts and city dwellers alike.

So what about the history of kanton Zug (kanton means “state” in Swiss German)?

Let’s Dive into Zug’s History

Zug has a rich history that dates back to the Middle Ages. The Old Town of Zug, with its well-preserved medieval structures, is a living testament to this vibrant past.

The Zytturm, a historic clock tower, stands majestically at the center of the Old Town, symbolizing Zug’s antiquity and resilience. The tower, built around the 13th century, houses the oldest clock face in Switzerland, offering a glimpse into the city’s age-old horological tradition.

Zug old town

The city also takes pride in its Burg Zug or Zug Castle, a preserved medieval castle, now transformed into a historical and cultural museum. Exhibits here breathe life into Zug’s past, narrating stories of its early inhabitants, cultural evolution, and socio-economic development.

Like most of Switzerland, Zug was untouched during the WW2, why? Well that is somewhat controversial, and I’ll touch on this in a further article.

Who said the Swiss are boring?

Zug’s Cultural Vibrancy

The culture of Zug is a fascinating blend of tradition and modernity. The people of Zug have a deep-rooted love for their local customs and traditions. Events like the annual Cherry Blossom Festival and the Zug Trade Fair are perfect illustrations of this cultural richness.

The Cherry Blossom festival, celebrating the cherry orchards that dot the Zug landscape, involves traditional music, local gastronomic delights, and cherry-based products, creating a festive atmosphere that’s infectiously joyful.

At the same time, Zug is also home to a thriving modern culture. Its vibrant arts scene is evident in its array of galleries, music venues, and theaters.

The Theater Casino Zug, which is worth a visit in the warmer months, overlooking Lake Zug, hosts a variety of performances, from classical concerts to contemporary dance, reflecting the city’s diverse cultural palette.

Zug city and lake

Whether it’s the echoes of its intriguing past or the vibrancy of its present-day culture, Zug has a unique charm that captivates all who visit. It’s a city where history and culture come alive, creating a melting pot of experiences that leave a lasting impression.

Well, all this is true… except for Sunday; in Switzerland you will find the majority of shops, including supermarkets, are closed.

This is due to a long-standing Swiss tradition of resting on Sundays. So if you ever find yourself in Zug on a Sunday, make sure to plan accordingly and be ready to soak up its natural beauty and cultural offerings instead.

So, how do you get there?

How to Get to Zug

Reaching Zug is straightforward and convenient from all parts of Switzerland, your best bet is by using the Swiss train system. Yes it is on time. Yes, it is clean 🙂

The best part is that Zug railway station is right in the city center and a 5 min walk from anywhere, remember this ain’t a big city.

  • From Zurich: The most efficient way is by train. Direct trains run regularly from Zurich Main Station (Hauptbahnhof) to Zug and the journey typically takes less than half an hour.
  • From Lucerne: Direct trains also connect Lucerne and Zug. The journey is scenic and takes approximately 20 minutes.
  • From Geneva: The train journey from Geneva to Zug usually involves a single change, often at Zurich Main Station, and takes around 3 hours.
  • From Berne: Direct trains run from Berne to Zug, and the journey takes approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes. Enjoy the picturesque Swiss countryside as you travel.
SBB Swiss train to Zug

Now, there are bus options, but they take much, much longer and you can also travel by car, but you have Google Maps for that journey.

Sure, you can drive, but driving is boring; take a train and enjoy the stunning scenery; it’s the best way to travel around this awesome country.

You can check out the train time on the SBB ( Swiss Trains) website here.

Getting Around Zug

When you get off at the Zug train station, you will be perfectly positioned to explore by foot. The old town and lakeside restaurants are literally 5 mins walk away.

But, if the weather is terrible or you need to go somewhere further, you will find your typical public transport options: bus, train and taxi. Plus, Zug does have UBER and taxis, but they are limited and expensive, especially the taxis.

If you are in a rush or don’t care about spending big, grab one of the world’s most expensive taxis, haha they make London look cheap!

You’ll find the taxi rank at the back of the train station, normally full of taxis; on a weekend, it could be a little quiet, but you’ll find a phone to call them.

Is Switzerland better than America? Let’s find out.

Beautiful pic of Zug old town.

What are The Main Things to Do & See in Zug?

Depending on the time of year you go to Canton Zug, your options will vary. From stunning lakeside restaurants serving local lake-caught fish to bustling cultural festivals like the Zug Lake Festival, there is always something on in Zug.

Let’s have an overview by season.

Spring & Summer

In spring and summer, the vibrant city of Zug springs to life with a host of activities that take full advantage of its stunning natural landscapes. First up, a visit to the Zugerberg mountain offers breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding area. You can hike, picnic, or simply enjoy the tranquility.

Don’t miss a leisurely stroll around the lake. Look, you won’t be able to walk around it all, it’s like 38km, but you can can rent a paddleboat or take a refreshing swim in the lake’s crystal-clear waters.

There are numerous local swimming areas dotted around the lake and the water is beautiful and clean albeit quite cold. But who doesn’t love a bit of cold therapy these days?

So what about the colder months?

Snow and skiing in Zug

Autumn & Winter

As autumn arrives, the trees in Choller Park become a riot of colors. The park is an ideal place for a peaceful walk, and don’t forget to visit the bird sanctuary, right next to lake. Random, but beautiful.

Winter in Zug is a magical time. The city becomes a winter wonderland with the snow-covered Zug Old Town looking particularly charming. You can take a cozy stroll around the medieval towers, squares, and old burgher houses. If you’re a sports enthusiast, the nearby ski resorts in the Swiss Alps provide plenty of winter sports options too.

Skiing in Zug

Whilst there are little ski resorts dotted around the state of Zug, there are 3 notable resorts within an hour away.

Just a short distance from Zug, nestled amidst the snow-capped peaks of Switzerland, are some of the world’s most revered ski resorts. Flumserberg Ski Resort is one of them, located approximately 90 kilometers away and reachable within an hour and a half by car. It boasts varied ski slopes suitable for both beginners and advanced skiers.

Another option is the Andermatt Ski Resort, approximately 95 kilometers away, and can be reached in about an hour and twenty minutes by car. Andermatt is renowned for its extensive and challenging ski terrain that is sure to captivate ski enthusiasts.

Lastly, there’s the Engelberg-Titlis Ski Resort, around 75 kilometers from Zug and accessible within an hour’s drive. Besides providing superb skiing conditions, Engelberg-Titlis offers breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding alpine landscape.

Remember, times can vary depending on weather and traffic conditions, so be sure to check the conditions before you set off.

Lastly, one thing not to be misses if you are in Zug

Something that is seen from Zug, but is actually part of canton Schwyz is the Rigi mountain; this incredible mountain can be summited with ease throughout the year. It’s perfect to tackle if you are in Zug for more than a day. You’ll see it beyond lake Zug out in the distance!

I will cover it in detail in a future article.

But what is there to eat in Zug?

Let’s find out.

Traditional Swiss food

Food & Dining in Zug

Zug’s culinary scene is as exciting and diverse as its landscapes!

If you’re a fan of seafood, then you’re in for a treat. The city is renowned for its fresh, lake-caught fish, often served in local restaurants as the catch of the day. Think delicate, beautiful and clean.

There are numerous varieties, I don’t even know the names, all I know is that every fish-of-the-day I have eaten has been abso-friggin-lutely delicious!

The Restaurant Schiff by the lake, in the old town is particularly noted for this. It is a stunning old restaurant, the roof on the inside of the main building is 1000 years old the manager told me, it is stunning.

However, don’t miss out on traditional Swiss cuisine! Think heavier, potato rösti, schnitzel, roast meats, and cheese fondue, if that’s your thing (it’s mine :). There are numerous restaurants in the heart of Zug, known for their authentic Swiss dishes, but I still go back to Restaurant Schiff; it’s stunning, the menu is diverse, and the staff are exceptional

Lastly, those with a sweet tooth should not pass up the opportunity to try Zug’s famous cherries. Whether in liquors, cake (Zuger Kirschtorte), or just fresh off the tree, it’s a treat that completes the Zug experience.

One thing I’ll note, if you like pretzels or you’re like me and you love them! There is an awesome little shop called BrezelKönig, their pretzels are incredible and well worth a try, it’s located in the Zug train station, just near the taxi rank.

Ok, let’s go shopping!

Where to go Shopping in Zug?

Zug is not known for it’s shops; Zurich and Lucern take the cake here, but the city presents a unique blend of time-honored Swiss brands and international labels

The main shopping street hosts a variety of shops, from high-end boutiques to quaint local stores. It is quite a contrast in some ways. Looking down the street to left you can find a gift shop selling cheap candles, to your right a watch store with 100,000USD watches.

For a more traditional shopping experience, explore the charming Altstadt (Old Town). Here, winding cobblestone streets are lined with independent boutiques and ateliers, showcasing everything from handcrafted Swiss watches and jewelry to local artisan-made goods.

Also, the Old Town Market comes alive with color and charm every Wednesday and Saturday. Local producers set up stalls selling fresh produce, local cheeses, homemade treats, and uniquely Swiss handicrafts.

If you’re seeking luxury, head over to Metalli Shopping Centre, one of Zug’s premier shopping destinations featuring a plethora of designer stores, beauty boutiques, and upscale homeware shops.

And of course, no shopping spree in Zug is complete without buying some world-famous Swiss chocolate. Head over to the Bachmann Confiserie to choose from an array of delicious flavors.

Shopping in Zug is not just about retail therapy – it’s an immersive cultural experience that reflects the city’s eclectic charm!

People shopping.

Zug as a Global Business Hub

Zug is more than just picturesque landscapes and charming shops; it’s a thriving global business hub. Known as Crypto Valley, Zug is home to numerous blockchain and cryptocurrency businesses like Bitcoin Suisse, Ethereum Foundation, and Shapeshift.

This silicon-valley-of-crypto has cemented its reputation as a leading destination for cutting-edge tech businesses.

The region’s low corporate tax rates are a significant draw for international businesses, making it a prime location for setting up offices. Among the multinational corporations headquartered here are Johnson & Johnson, Glencore, and the Siemens Building Technologies division.

The Zug government’s openness to innovation and supportive regulatory environment have also contributed to its appeal. The city offers a multitude of incentives for startups, including a straightforward process for company registration, access to a highly skilled and multilingual workforce, and excellent infrastructure.

Glencore head office in Zug.

In a nutshell, Zug offers a unique blend of business-friendly policies, attractive tax rates, and a vibrant tech community, making it an ideal location for international companies seeking to make their mark in today’s global economy.

People often joke and say that there are more companies than people in Zug, I am sure that it’s not too far from the truth.

Why? Zug has a corporate tax rate of only 11.85%, I mean why wouldn’t you want to setup your business in Zug!?

If you are contemplating moving to Zug and setting up a business, check out the Zug local government website here.

Zug Accommodation: Where to Stay?

When it comes to accommodation in Zug, there’s something for everyone, from budget-conscious travelers to high-end luxury seekers, and from family vacationers to corporate executives.

For budget travelers, Zug offers a variety of hostels and budget hotels. For instance, the Ibis Baar Zug is a comfortable and affordable option, ideal for those who need a comfortable bed and basic amenities.

For mid-range options, consider the Parkhotel Zug. It’s centrally located, offers comfortable rooms, and provides amenities such as a fitness center and a restaurant. It’s a great option for families, with its spacious rooms and close proximity to local attractions.

For those seeking luxury, look no further than the City Garden Hotel. This chic and modern establishment offers top-tier amenities, such as a rooftop terrace, a gourmet restaurant, and panoramic views of the city. It’s an excellent choice for corporate guests, with meeting rooms and event spaces.

Family visitors may opt for serviced apartments such as Vision Apartments Zug. These come with fully equipped kitchens, separate living areas, and sometimes even a play area for children. It offers the comfort of home while being away from home.

Whether you’re a startup looking to set up your first office, a multinational corporation seeking a strategic location, or a family wanting to experience the unique blend of culture and technology that Zug offers, you’ll find a place that suits your needs and budget.

Now, if you are looking to move to Zug, there are 3 major sites to find an apartment, check out:

Farming land and city.

Let’s Wrap Things Up, Bye Zug!

In essence, Zug offers the ideal mix of history, nature, culture, and modern amenities, aligned perfectly to cater to varying accommodation requirements.

Furthermore, with its wide array of options ensures that every visitor, whether a budget traveler or corporate executive, finds a place that feels just like home.

So, pack your bags and prepare to immerse yourself in the unforgettable allure of Zug, Switzerland.

Want to see Zug in 4k? Greg from Switzerland Insider does an incredible job in this video; check it out:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What is the best time to visit Zug, Switzerland?

Zug offers a pleasant climate year-round, but the ideal time for a visit would be the summer months (June through August) when the weather is warm and perfect for outdoor activities.

2. Are there family-friendly activities in Zug?

Absolutely! Zug offers numerous family-friendly activities, including outdoor adventures, museums, and local festivals. Visiting the Zug Castle or taking a boat trip on Lake Zug are popular options.

3. Which area is best for staying in Zug?

The best area to stay in Zug would be the city center due to its close proximity to major attractions, restaurants, and shops. However, options like City Garden Hotel and Vision Apartments Zug are great for those seeking different experiences.

4. What kind of food is Zug known for?

Zug is famous for its Zug cherry cake, a local delicacy worth trying. The city also has a diverse food scene, with restaurants offering a range of international cuisines. The pizza restaurant but the lake is always a winner

5. Does Zug have good public transportation?

Zug boasts an efficient public transportation system, including trams, buses, and boats, making it easy to get around the city and explore its attractions. A Swiss Travel Pass is also available for unlimited access to public transport, making travel even more convenient.

6. What is Zug known for?

Low taxes, zug has a reputation for being a low-tax canton