Zurich Travel Guide

Perched on the end of a lake with breathtaking views of The Alps, a cultural elegance, complements a sophisticated, artistic style, making Zurich a cosmopolitan city that oozes character and offers plenty to do for those who choose this European hotspot for a well-earned getaway.

Known as a global centre for banking and finance, Zurich may not be the first name that springs to mind when most people are planning a jaunt to Europe. Although maybe it should be as Switzerland’s largest city is not only a great place to visit, it also leaves many other European cities lying in its wake.

So, with my bags packed and my plane ticket in hand, I headed to Zurich and I’m taking you along with me! So, put the kettle on, grab a seat and let’s see what Switzerland’s largest city has to offer.

Reaching Zurich:

If you are arriving in Zurich via the airport then reaching the city centre is extremely straight forward. Train tickets cost in the region of 6 CHF making the train not only your cheapest option but also the quickest. The train station is signposted and located right next to the airport.

Alternatively taxis are also available outside of the airport but are a lot more expensive and will set you back in the region of 60-70 CHF.

You can also take the Streetcar line 10 for free if you have a Zurich card. If you don’t have the Zurich card I would recommend taking the train as it is cheaper and quicker.

Language:

Swiss-German

Currency:

(CHF) Swiss franc

Where To Stay:

Budget accommodation: City Backpacker- Hostel Biber- located within the heart of the old town and with dorms available from £30 a night, Hostel Biber is one of the more cost effective options in Zurich for those that are running on a tighter budget.

Mid-range: Motel One Zurich- with a modern and somewhat arty decor this popular hotel is located in the centre of the city only a stone throw away from the renowned shopping Mecca that is Bahnhofstrasse. With plenty of restaurants and bars in the surrounding area and rooms starting from £109 per night, this hotel is a popular option for those visiting Switzerland’s largest city.

High-end: Hotel Florhof- a luxurious retreat which offers quiet surroundings, only a short walk away from the Old Town and attractions. Modern with a sociable atmosphere, the hotel also offers a fantastic restaurant for those looking for a fine dining experience. Prices start from £243 per night.

So, with the formalities out of the way let’s get rid of our bags and take a closer look at what there is to do in Zurich.

Lindenhof- drink in the views as you cast your eye over the city down below and catch a view of the mighty snow-capped Alps in the distance. Perched upon the Lindenhof hill, this park not only offers spectacular cityscape views but also a place to unwind and escape the usual hectic pace of a vibrant city. Read a book, snap away with your camera, or pull up a seat and watch as the local chess enthusiasts battle away in this tranquil city centre haven.

Old town- as you make your way down from Lindenhof you will find yourself amongst the streets of the old town. Navigate your way through the meandering, picturesque streets and peruse at will the many beautiful boutique shops that are on display. With many coffee shops and eateries at your disposal you will be spoilt for choice when it comes to deciding where you will park yourself for a hard-earned break. An architectural delight with its many historical buildings this part of the city offers a certain enchantment.

Fraumünster- a prominent landmark that takes up residence on the west bank of Limmat. The church’s magnificent stained glass windows are a major draw and help attract many a visitor to the church.

Grossmünster- residing on the opposite side of the river lies this imposing Romanesque church. Both of the church towers loom largely over the city and provide quite the view over Zurich for those willing to climb the 187 narrow steps.

Niederdorf- located in the Old Town in the shadows of the Grossmünster church, this quaint part of the city offers small boutiques, charming book shops and craft studios during the day. Whilst on an evening it turns into a nightlife district offering plenty of bars for partygoers to frequent.

Bahnhofstrasse- simply put, a Mecca for shopping enthusiasts. Zurich is a haven for those that might be partial to a spot of retail therapy. Stretching close to a mile long it has everything from regular shopping chain outlets to high-end fashion names take up residence on one of the world’s most expensive and exclusive shopping avenues.

Zurich West- unearth another side to Switzerland’s largest city and head on over to where all the cool cats hang out. Converted industrial buildings are now the playground for young hip creative types as this part of town houses everything from concert halls, museums, galleries, bars and luxury flats.

Thermalbad and spa Zurich- what better way to relax after a hard day’s exploration than participating in some much needed R&R? With a variety of baths, steam-rooms and treatments available you have plenty of options to help you re-charge the batteries. Allow your troubles to drift away as you pull up a seat to the best view in the house and drink in the city views from the roof-top pool.

Zürichhorn- the promenade located in the Seefeld quarter of the city is the perfect location to stretch your legs and take in the views of lake Zürich. Surrounded by plenty of greenery and walkways around the lake take a stroll and marvel in the views of the snow capped Alps in the distance. In summertime be sure to bring your swimming costume and follow the lead of the locals by taking a dip in the lake itself.

Kunsthaus- for those with a penchant for the arts you are in for a treat as you will be able to cast your eyes over pieces from renowned artists such as Picasso, Monet and Lipchitz to complement the Swiss artists on display such as Rist, Hodler and Giacometti.

Uetliberg- take the S10 on the SZU from Zurich HB and ascend to the summit and bask in the glorious views of the city below and the Alps in the distance. Quite the breathtaking view and a nice break from the hectic nature of city life.

Platzspitz park- this park has somewhat of a chequered past as it was once a place where drug users were allowed to take drugs freely and legally without fear of arrest between the 80’s and early 90’s before police decided to clamp down on Switzerland’s drug problems and close the park in 1992. Now re-open to the public the park these days is a beautiful piece of greenery tucked away on the peninsula where the River Limmat meets the River Sihl. Due to the park’s location it is easy to forget that you are in the middle of a city when you are strolling through, making for a peaceful haven to relax and gather your thoughts.

My time in Zurich was now drawing to a close. I packed my bags and made a beeline for the train station, all the while gathering my thoughts and drawing up my conclusions on what type of city Zurich is. Quite simply, it’s a fantastic one and I truly mean that. I never imagined that I was going to be placed under its spell like I was but the city left a big impression on me and I will almost certainly return again at some point. Yes, it is expensive; but you don’t mind paying a little extra when the destination is of a high quality. For now it was time for me to say goodbye as I had a date lined up with another Swiss beauty- the Alpstein mountains!

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