The Greifensee is a pearl in the heavily built-up Glatt valley. This small lake, which has a water expanse of just under 9 square kilometres, and its shore areas of diverse flora and fauna are a favourite excursion destination for people from the conurbation of Zurich city.
The Greifensee, which resembles the shape of a whale, lies east of the metropolis of Zurich and runs – separated by the succession of hills on the ‘Pfannenstiel’ (pan handle) – parallel to Lake Zurich. The shore of the Greifensee is a nature conservation area and therefore has hardly any buildings. Hence the lake which is encircled by flat moors and reed belts is only directly accessible in a few places. Only the old small town of Greifensee lies directly on the Greifensee.
A walk along the shoreline provides the perfect opportunity to marvel at the diverse variety of plants and animals; over 400 species of plant and 120 species of migratory bird can be seen. The Greifensee region offers numerous walking and cycling trails. The tour around the lake is especially popular. A succession of rest and bathing areas are situated en route; visitors also have the option of shortening the tour with a boat trip.
A regular boat service operates all year round between Maur and Uster on the Greifensee; bicycles can also be transported. Cruises as well as nostalgia trips onboard the steamship ‘Grief’ – the oldest steamship in Switzerland dating from 1895 – are offered from spring to the autumn. The small fleet of the Greifensee shipping company comprises three motor boats of different sizes, in addition to the steamship. Special culinary cruises are extremely popular: accordingly there is a breakfast cruise, a pasta, fondue, Asia and a game cruise.
The romantic and magical small town of Greifensee is a popular excursion destination, not least because of the castle, which for hundreds of years served as the governor’s residence of the free imperial city of Zurich and which has now become a place of cultural encounters. Its church in the High Gothic style was built in around 1330 and is especially popular now with wedding couples.
The ‘Pfannenstiel’ between the Greifensee and Lake Zurich is a well-known hiking and biking region. Once here, the bustle and hectic activity of the city are hardly discernable. Green countryside, individual farmhouses and small villages dominate the landscape.