Lake Zurich Introduction

Lake Zurich is a Swiss lake, and it stretches southeast of Zurich. It is sometimes referred to as the Lake of Zurich. 

Zurichsee is just the name of the specific part of the lake that is downstream of the Rapperswil dam, and it is mostly located in the Zurich canton. The area upstream of the dam is referred to as Obersee, and it is shared between the Schwyz and St. Gallen cantons.


Lake Zurich is situated in the southwestern are of Zurich canton, geographically speaking. 

The Lake of Zurich is formed by the Linth river, which rises up to the glaciers of the Todi Range in the canton of Glarus and was diverted by a canal into Lake Walen from where its waters are then carried to the eastern part of Lake Zurich through the Linth canal. The Escher canal was completed in 1811, and the Linth canal was completed in 1816. Lake Zurich’s waters flow out of the lake at the northwest end, and they pass through Zurich. The outflow is referred to as the Limmat. 

There aren’t any streams of importance that flow into the lakes outside of the Linth. It is included, or most of it anyway, in Zurich canton.

Transportation and Population

The three major transportation and population centers are Rapperswil, Pfaffikon SZ, and Zurich. 

Outside of the Seedamm and Burkliplatz in Zurich, there aren’t any bridges that go across the lake.

Lake Towns

Zurich lies at the northwestern part of the lake, and it is the biggest city on the lake. 

On the west end of the lake (which basically becomes the south shore) are Lachen, Pfaffikon, Richterswil, Wadenswil, Horgen, and Thalwil. 

On the opposite shore are Rapperswil-Jona, Stafa, Meilen, and Kusnacht, along with Rapperswil, which is a medieval town. The castle at Rapperswil is the site of the Polish museum. Schmerikon is located near the east end of the lake, and just a tad further east is the bigger town of Uznach.

Water Quality

The water quality of Lake Zurich is very good. It is pristine, clean, and pure. The temperature can get close to 70 degrees F in the summer, and swimming in the public baths and beaches is popular there. The water in the lake is purified, and it is fed into the water system of Zurich.

Zurichsee Photo Gallery

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