Zurich is a metropolis laying by water with an impressive view of the Swiss Alps on the horizon, offering a diverse mixture of attractions. Clean and neat in any sense, Zurich is a synonym of perfection. A walk in the Old Town will take you back in the centuries, while a boat cruise down the river will create a memorable experience for you.
Before your visit to Zurich, it’s good to be well prepared with the essential info about the city, so here are the 5 things you should know prior your trip.
In line with the famous Swiss perfection, the transportation system in Zurich is well organized and easy to handle. Zurich airport is considered one of the best airports in Europe and is the main hub for international flights in Zurich area. The airport is located fairly close to the city (around 13 km) so you need 10-20 min to get there depending on the transportation and the traffic.
Public transport system in Zurich comprises of bus, railway and tram network with regular lines from and to the airport. There is a dedicated bus terminal with regular bus lines to the city and Zurich region. The preferred transport type is train, as the journey takes only 10 minutes and the trains are always on time.
Airport taxis are available as well on Arrival 1 and 2 areas. There are many Zurich airport taxi providers you can book online prior your arrival.
St. Peter’s Church
Located on a little hill in the Old Town, the St. Peter’s Church is the oldest parish church in Zurich. The original foundation from the 9th century can be seen under the minster. In the tower are located five bells dating from 1880. One of the most well known landmarks is the largest clock in Europe, 8.7 m in diameter, dating back to 1538.
The Grossmünster dates back to 12th century and it is believed that it’s built above the graves of Zurich’s patrons Felix and Regula. One of the two towers is open for public so you can climb the stairs and enjoy a majestic panoramic view over the city. The seven stained glass windows designed by the German artist Sigmar Polke are a piece of art which will attract your attention.
The Rietberg Museum is placed in a beautiful neoclassical villa which used to be a meeting place for Zurich intellectuals. It is the only art museum of its kind in Switzerland, featuring non-European art collections. Here you will see collections from Asia, Africa and North and South America. The museum is located in the Rieter Park, so you can combine the visit to the museum with a nice, relaxing walk in nature.
#Restaurants and bars
Although the temptation is high to try all those tasty meat delicacies in Zurich, go vegetarian for one day and visit the oldest vegetarian restaurant in the world the “Hiltl”. Opened since 1898 as a family restaurant, today is a small empire with a two-floor restaurant, bar, cooking classes and shop. Their menu features over 100 delicious delicacies and there’s even a vegetarian version of the most famous Swiss dish ‘Geschnetzeltes’ (veal in a creamy sauce).
One of the most famous spots for tourists is the Jules Verne bar which features 360 degree view over the Zurich rooftops. Located in the Urania observatory, it’s a perfect place for romantic date with your loved one. The place is usually crowded, but it will be worthwhile to wait for a table by the window.
With a 150 year old tradition, Sprüngli House is locals’ favorite stop for Swiss chocolate delicacies. This confectioner’s café located on Paradeplatz with its delicious window display of truffles, cakes and bonbons will draw you inside instantly. You must try their signature macarons called Luxemburgerli. On the ground floor there is a retail shop, while on the other floor you can sit and enjoy their desserts.
#Fun things to do
Sunday brunch with the locals
Every city has its own traditions and lifestyle. In Zurich, the Sunday brunch ritual is popular among the locals so it’s getting really busy around noon and you may need to make a reservation in advance in some to the most popular venues. If you like a casual style place where you can read your Sunday paper, then head straight to Kafischnaps or Café des Amis. A really popular hot spot with perfect view over the lake is Quai61. With its vintage ship interior and diverse menu, you will have the best Sunday brunch experience.
Explore Zurich West
What used to be a decaying area with run down warehouses, Zurich West is becoming a new hot spot in town. The old railway viaduct which runs between the Limmat River and Hardbrücke station today is a home of trendy stores, bars and restaurants. Between the piled up containers and old factories, there is a small garden with café, restaurant and Saturday market. Frau Gerolds Garten is another cool hangout and shopping spot you need to visit in this area. It’s a unique mix of shopping and pleasure.
Sightseeing on river boat
The boat trips on the Limmat River will give you a diverse overview of the city. The one hour round trip starts at Landesmuseum station and you will be able to see the beautiful sights of the Old Town and head to Zurich Lake. If you prefer different dining experience and combine sightseeing with delicious food, then go on a fondue or barbecue cruise organized by Dreamboats departing from Bürkliplatz.
Zurich has deserved its reputation of a shopping city, for sure. In the heart of the city, runs one of the most exclusive shopping streets in the world, Bahnhofstrasse. This 1.2 km long street connecting the lake Zurich and the Central Station has plenty of designer stores, trendy boutiques and Swiss watch stores for everyone. Smaller stores and antique shops can be found in the Niederdorf, located in the Old Town area.
The best places to feel the spirit of the city and mingle with the locals are flea markets. One of the most popular flea markets in Zurich is located on Bürkliplatz where you can find interesting antiques and jewelry.
It’s always exciting to explore Zurich, so if you have something to add, let me know.
Marija Keleshoska writes the travel blog for City-Airport-Taxis.com, an online booking agency for airport transfer. She likes to explore new travel destinations and their hidden gems.