Following successful completion, at Frauenfeld, of his school career, Hürlimann went on to study History, German literature and Philosophy at Zürich, Leipzig and Berlin universities. His doctoral thesis, submitted and accepted in 1924, was entitled Die Aufklärung in Zürich. Die Entwicklung des Zürcher Protestantismus im 18. Jahrhundert.
In 1929 Hürlimann founded the newspaper "Atlantis", based in Berlin and specialising in international travel and related themes. In 1930 he founded "Atlantis Verlag", a publishing house, taking over from Ernest Wasmuth publication of the "Orbis Terrarum" series of books. In 1933 he married Bettina Kiepenheuer, the oldest daughter of Gustav Kiepenheuer, another publisher. In 1936 he founded a Zürich branch of "Atlantis Verlag", and by 1939, with the outbreak of war, had relocated his head office to Zürich, while retaining German branch across the border at Freiburg im Breisgau.
His photographic work was published in a number of books. Western European cities were a common theme, but he also photographed Ceylon and Southeast Asia.
- Burma, Ceylon, Indo-China - Siam, Cambodia, Annam, Tongking, Yunnan, B. Westermann Co. Inc., New York, 1930
- Bilder aus Berlin, Potsdam und Umgebung, Atlantis Verlag Berlin, 1936
- Delhi, Agra, Fatehpur Sikri, Thames & Hudson, London, 1965.
- Gothic cathedrals: Paris, Chartres, Amiens, Reims, B.H. Blackwell, Ltd, 1938 (reprinted from the German, Atlantis-Verlag A.-G. Zürich, 1937)
- Englische Kathedralen, Atlantis Verlag AG, Zurich, 1948, translation Thames and Hudson, London
- Eternal France, Thames & Hudson. 1952 — 216 b/w photographs in photogravure
- Italy, Thames & Hudson. 1953 — 225 b/w photographs in photogravure
- London, Thames & Hudson 1956 — 115 b/w photographs in photogravure, six colour plates, introduced by Eric Walter White
- Europe, Thames & Hudson 1957
- Traveller in the Orient, Atlantis Verlag AG, Zurich, 1959, translation Thames and Hudson, London, 1960