Finally, Switzerland! I spent a weekend in Zurich on the cusp of winter, where the days were crisp and cool, but the skies were blue and the sun was shining. Are you planning on spending a few days? Here’s how I occupied my time!
Eat Fondue Every Day
Okay maybe not every day. At the suggestion of a former expat in Zurich, I had my first Swiss fondue at Le Dezaley. I turned a corner and happened upon it at 10pm on my first evening in town. What luck! It was around 28 CHF per person for the cheese fondue.. worth it if you like cheese! The staff were lovely and the atmosphere was, well, Swiss.
Walk the City
I would generally suggest this anywhere, but Zurich is so quintessentially European, and a great stop for any lover of those “European style buildings.” Wander the shop lined streets, marvel at the well dressed locals, and look at all those trams! For me, this city has a Paris feel, with a dash of Prague for good measure.
That Lake, though!
The central part of the city surrounds the blue waters of Lake Zurich. There are paths along it for a nice afternoon stroll, and longer walks trails available if you’re interested in taking in the views from all sides. I was curious, so did a bit of reading — Lake Zurich can reach 20 degrees Celsius in the summertime, and the water from it is filtered and pumped into the city’s water system!
Sit Outside the Opera House
The people watching here is fantastic. Take a break, grab a coffee, and enjoy the view.
Visit Grossmünster Church
For a nice bit of history, visit Grossmünster Church. It is one of the Zurich’s most recognizable landmarks, you can’t miss the two towers standing high over the city. When I walked by there was a man preaching outside! I wish I spoke Swiss German..
Take in the View from the Lindenhof Hill
I love a good view. Everywhere I go I try to find the best view of the city; it gives you a good sense of the size and architecture all at once. The Lindenhof Hill was on my list, but I had actually forgotten to look up a route to reach it. Luckily, I took a wrong turn and found myself at the top! There are benches along the wall to sit and admire the city.
Get some Chocolate: Lindt & Sprüngli
You can’t say Switzerland without thinking about their world class chocolate. Sprüngli is their famous brand, and has shops dotted around the city and at the airport. I’ve always been partial to Lindt chocolate (which is actually part of the Sprüngli family), and picked up a decent (large) size bag in the airport on my way home.
Grab Dinner at Zeughauskeller
Okay, this one might be a bit touristy, but there were lots of German speakers around! I had an amazing Schnitzel at this massive restaurant, where many of the tables are communal. Built in 1487 as a storehouse for ammunition, this famous building became a social house in the early 1900s. Zeughauskeller sits in the popular Bahnhofstrasse district and always looks busy. Book ahead just in case!
A note about the Transportation
Hands down the best transport system I’ve ever used. It was only 10 minutes into the city on a commuter train from the airport, and within the city there are trams running every which way to get you around. Rest assured that you won’t need taxis on this trip!
Stay in an Airbnb
Zurich is expensive, and this is coming from someone who’s been to Paris seven times. I never thought I’d be shocked by the price of a coffee, but this city really hit me. In order to offset the cost of your food and drink, try booking an Airbnb listing as your alternative accommodation. You can find some really neat places in up and coming neighbourhoods, and with Zurich being small enough to walk everywhere, you’ll never be too far from anything. If you’re interested in checking out Airbnb, here is a coupon for a discount off your first stay.
And finally, my souvenir..
The more I travel, the more thoughtful my souvenirs become. Thankfully, as there is only so much room to store things! To remember my trip to Zurich, I picked up a rose gold plated bracelet made by a local Swiss designer. I found it in Mary Jane Vintage, a little shop on Neumarkt Street that carries vintage clothes and locally made jewellery. I remember Zurich each time I wear my bracelet!