Zurich Travel Blog: Table of Contents
Zurich on C&C
Best Time To Visit Zurich
Where to Sleep
Let’s Go For a Drink
What to See and Do
Tipping in Zurich
Common Scams & What to Avoid
C&C’s Google Map of the City
Zurich Travel Blog: Where, How?
Zürich, Switzerland (Central Europe, Europe)
Population: 396,027 (Dec 2015)
Currency: Swiss Franc (CHF)
Zürich Airport (ZRH)
The Zurich Airport, also known as the Kloten Airport, is the largest and busiest airport in Switzerland.
The Zurich Airport is located approximately 13 kilometers from the city center. It handles close to 27 million passengers annually, featuring three terminals and four main gates. The multi-level airport acts as the main hub for many Swiss international airlines including Belair, Edelweiss Air, and Helvetic Airways.
Transportation to-and-from the Airport:
The Zurich Airport offers several options for easy transportation. The Zurich Airport railway station is located on the lowest underground level and features additional transportation services, including the Zurich S-Bahn line.
Zurich’s city center is a quick train ride away and costs approximately six Swiss Francs. Additional train services are also available to almost 350 different destinations outside of the city.
Bus and tram services are available to the city center as well.
The relatively small city of Zurich is famous for its clean, efficient, and secure public transport system. Throughout the city, bus and ZVV tram stops can be found approximately every 300 meters.
Steamboats are available for tours and transportation along the cities riverways. Zurich’s outer suburban areas are easily accessible through the S-Bahn, a convenient and fast-paced rail system.
The Zurich Hauptbahnhof is the city’s main train hub and features 26 tracks. Transport to all areas of Switzerland, as well as many neighboring European countries, can be found at this bi-level station.
In addition to traditional tickets, ZurichCARD is also available for purchase, offering one or three-day options. The card carries plenty of benefits, including free rides, free or reduced admissions to most museums, shopping discounts, and much more.
There also are 2 funiculars that are used daily by the population that live in the respective neighborhoods.
A Note on Taxis:
Zurich’s taxis system is said to be one of the most expensive in the world. You are therefore better off using the very efficient public transport system. If you still want to take a cab, though, you’ll be safe and in good hands.
Just like anywhere, Uber is cheaper and safer. If you don’t already have an account, use this link and get 15 dollars off your first ride!
Zurich Travel Blog – Neighborhoods
Alstadt is the city’s most popular neighborhood for tourists. It is referred to as Zurich’s Old Town. This area showcases much of the city’s history and culture and is a go-to for sight-seeing tourists. The historic district features quaint cobblestone streets, Medieval-style architecture, dozens of boutique shops, several popular restaurants and cafes, and many of the city’s top religious landmarks. Altstadt has two subdivisions, Niederdorf and Lindenhof, each with their own individual charm.
Niederdorf fondly referred to by locals as “Dörfli”, which translates to “little village,” is one of Zurich’s most delightful areas to explore. The neighborhood is considered part of the city’s old town. During the day, you will find the streets busy with tourism and shopping. Niederdorf comes alive in the nighttime, as many vibrant bars, restaurants and nightlife destinations begin to fill up with both locals and tourists alike. The double towers of the Grossmünster Church are the most well-known destination in the area.
On the other side of the old town lies the area of Lindenhof. This tiny neighborhood sits atop the Lindenhofplatz Hill, offering tremendous views the entire Old Town district, the Grossmünster Church, the Limmat River, and other nearby landmarks. It is also home to Bahnhofstrasse, one of the most exclusive avenues for shopping in the entire world.
Seefeld is a popular place for locals to live and is located in the southern sector of the city. It is the district to visit if you are looking to relax near the peaceful Lake Zurich. Boats are available to rent nearby and Seefeld is home to many top-rated restaurants, including some that boast Michelin Stars.
Langstrasse, Zurich’s former red-light district, is an eclectic quarter popular with many of the cities younger population. There are many options for international cuisine, multi-cultural shopping, and after-hours partying.
Zurich West is a trendy area that houses many of Zurich’s most interesting museums, including the Swiss National Museum, better known as Landesmuseum Zürich. Entrance to the museum will cost 10 Swiss Franc for adults. Children under the age of 16 are free. The Prime Tower, Zurich’s tallest building, is also located in this contemporary neighborhood. Zurich West is the city’s center for economic growth, where former industrial buildings have since been converted into luxury apartments, concert halls, and hip dining establishments.
The city is built around the river Limmat, which ends in Lake Zurich. Remember where the river is and where the lake is and you’ll have all the info you need to know where you’re located.
More About Zurich on C&C
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- THE BEST GOURMET BASEL RESTAURANTS: WHERE TO EAT DURING YOUR SWISS HOLIDAYS
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Best Time To Visit Zurich
Average Monthly Minimum And Maximum Temperatures
Average Monthly Hours Of Sunshine
Average Monthly Rainfall Or Snowfall
Zurich Travel Blog: Personal Notes
What’s This Place About?
Zurich is one of the most expensive cities in the world. It’s also a city that is built on a lake, called Lake Zurich. It’s beautiful, clean, and perfectly kempt. You also need to know that it’s built on hills so there are many great views to be had. You just need to travel a little bit outside of the city center and you will find beautiful views of the city.
Zurich Travel Blog: What’s Great And Fun?
Of course, like in all of the German-speaking world, it’s full of museums. Mostly art museums, but there are also museums of history and natural history. So, one of the great things to do in Zurich is to go to museums. A stroll around the lake is spectacular with the Etzel mountain in the distance, especially on a beautiful clear summer day. There is a lot of people around the lake and it’s just a beautiful place to be. There are a few very old-school cafes in the Swiss tradition, so you can find the type of place that you would’ve found in the 1800s quite easily and it’s a very nice experience. They do all sorts of pastries and coffee is always important in this part of the world.
Listen, Zurich is a beautiful place, it really is. It’s a nice place to get lost in. Go to the outer neighborhoods to have a walk around and you will have a feel of just how luxurious this city is. There are two funiculars, one is called Polybahn and the other one is called the Rigiblick. Both of them are part of the city’s mass transit system. The mass transit system is very clean and always runs on time – that’s part of the city’s reputation. These two funiculars, especially the Rigiblick funicular, will give you a beautiful view. It’s a great journey and it’s really cheap because it’s public transit. You get on the funicular and go all the way up to the top of the hill. From there you can walk down and you get to see how absolutely luxurious the city is. But all in all, it’s a very expensive place. A cappuccino cost me more than $10 in a café next to the river. It’s so expensive that it’s prohibitive.
Zurich Travel Blog: Where to Stay in Zurich?
Zurich is home to some of the world’s most stylish hotels. In general, accommodations in the city can be quite expensive.
On the budget side, the pickings are slim, and the prices ridiculous. There’s only one true option: Youth Hostel Zurich. Expect to pay about 55 Swiss francs for a dorm bed. Yes, that’s about 55 USD. For a dorm bed.
That being said, business travelers or people who can afford to splurge on accommodation definitely should check out the Park Hyatt Zurich. It’s quite luxurious!
Baur au Lac is the five-star hotel where diplomats and foreign dignitaries will choose when they’re in town.
Is there anything between a dorm and a five-star hotel, in Zurich? Well, there is, but it’s not great! That’s why, in Zurich more so than anywhere else, Airbnb is a very interesting option. If you’re not already a member, you can use this Airbnb link to get $40 off your first reservation.
Zurich Travel Blog: Let’s Eat!
Zurich Travel Blog: Famous Foods and Specialties
- Cheese Fondue – the most famous dish in all of Switzerland! Typically served as a piping hot bowl of melted cheese, in which you are meant to dip rustic, artisanal bread. Different ingredients are often mixed in with the cheese, including meats and vegetables. Great for sharing! Try it with a glass of white wine.
- Papet Vaudois – otherwise known as leaks with sausage and potatoes. The leaks and potatoes are stewed for hours and set as the bed for a plump sausage or two.
- Rösti – a Valaisanne-style potato dish that resembles hash browns. Thinly sliced potatoes are pan-fried crisp and golden. Variations include adding bacon or apple to the mixture.
- Zurcher Geschnetzeltes – a ragout of sliced veal, mushrooms, cream, onions, and wine, often accompanied by rice, noodles, or rösti.
- Bircherműesli – a popular breakfast dish includes raw oats, grains, fruits, seeds, and nuts. The healthy option is usually consumed with milk.
- Bündner Gerstensuppe – a Swiss barley soup that was once a staple for farmers of Switzerland, keeping them warm during the cold winter months.
Traditional Swiss cuisine is not known for offering many vegetarian options, although Zurich does feature a handful of vegetarian restaurants.
The Best Drunk Food
- Sausages & Burgers – the Swiss sure do enjoy their meats, leading to most bars and restaurants offering several burger and sausage styles on their menus… often accompanied by various types of cheese!
Zurich Travel Blog: Our Suggestions – Dishes And Restaurants
A walk on Langstrasse and Lagerstrasse will allow you to choose from a long list of restaurants that might or might not be tourist traps. Here’s my suggestion: avoid eating there. Instead, here are my picks.
Traditional Swiss food is generally on the heavy side, but at Parkhuus, the restaurant at the Park Hyatt Hotel, there’s a focus on local ingredients, which allows vegetables and other lighter preparations to shine.
There’s an Italian restaurant that’s full of history right on the Limmatquai. It’s called Bianchi. It’s a great spot for lunch!
Restaurant Veltlinerkeller is a very nice, ultra-classic, super-traditional restaurant that serves Swiss classics. It’s also a wonderful place for anyone who’d like to taste great Swiss wines.
Blockhus is another great option for classic Swiss cuisine.
Like Raclette? Head to Raclette Stube. Simple!
One last address, though it’s a café, not a restaurant: Cafe Schober has been open since 1842. The dining room is unique and spectacular, it’s like having tea in a doll house!
READ MORE: 24 HOURS IN ZURICH: THE BEST PLACES
Zurich Travel Blog: Let’s Go For a Drink
Zurich Travel Blog: What Do the Locals Drink?
The Swiss national liquors are Kirsch, made from cherries, and Pflümli, which is made from plums. Goldschläger is a Swiss-made cinnamon-flavored schnapps, though it’s much more popular abroad than in the country.
Drinking in Public
Drinking in public is legal in Switzerland. The legal age of purchase and consumption in the country is 16 for beer and wine, and 18 for spirits.
Zurich Travel Blog: Our Suggestions – Bars and Pubs
Zurich isn’t necessarily a party city. However, the city features many bars, restaurants and trendy spots where you can grab a drink and enjoy the atmosphere. Zurich likely has more options for nightlife than any other city in Switzerland.
Raygrodski is a classic cocktail bar. It has a rather minimalistic design and is popular among locals. Be prepared to face large crowds at this location, as it tends to get very busy on weekend!
Cabaret Voltaire is a world-famous café/bar best known as the eccentric home of Dadaism. This trendy destination is located a few blocks east of the Limmat River. It was originally opened as a cabaret by poets Hugo Ball and Emmy Hennings in 1916. To this day, it hosts many cultural events, including live jazz music and art galleries, which can be enjoyed while sipping a glass of absinthe or fine wine.
Grand Café Odeon is a Viennese-style bar with an eye-catching interior. Opened in 1911, this well-known haunt has hosted its fair share of famous individuals over the years, including Joyce, Einstein, Mussolini, and Lenin, to name a few!
Widder Bar is home to one of the largest, most impressive collections of spirits in all of Switzerland. Boasting 1,000+ bottles of different types of alcohol, there will surely be something that quenches your thirst. The spirit prices range from “bargain buster” to “do I get a Mercedes Benz with that!”
Start your bar crawl off right! First, enjoy a beer at El Lokal, where a skeleton decoration suspended from the ceiling will catch your eye! Next, visit Raygrodski for a “Hot Russian,” a must-try for any cocktail aficionado. Later, head over to the bar at The Plaza, better known as Plaza Klub. There you can enjoy a fine whiskey while you check out the period furniture & bold murals on display. Cap your night off at the Wohnzimmer, a perfect place to enjoy a laid-back drink with friends.
As regular readers of this column know, I don’t know anything about clubs. Sorry!
Zurich Travel Blog: What To See And Do
The Grossmünster is a Romanesque-style church and a symbol of Zurich reform. Head up the small, yet steep set of stairs arriving at its tower for a splendid view of the city.
Enjoy sightseeing on the water? Hop on one of the boats located in the Limmatschifffahrt. also known as the Limmat River, for a unique view of the city.
The Kunsthaus Zurich is an art museum that displays work from Van Gogh and Monet. Admission is 23 CHF for adults, with children under the age of 16 free admissions. Group rates are available. Please note the museum is closed on Mondays.
Take a stroll around the Niederdorf district and enjoy the lively city atmosphere.
Explore Zurich West’s boutique shops, trendy restaurants and hips bars. Enjoy the Kanzlei flea market on Saturday afternoons, every weekend during the summer.
Looking to cool down on a hot day? Check out one of Zurich’s many “Badi’s”, also known as outdoor pools. Take a quick dip at Flussbad Oberer Letten, Strandbad Tiefenbrunnen, Strandbad Mythenquai or any of the other notable swimming locations throughout the city. The Badi’s were considered the Zurich’s most unique attractions by the editors of the Monocle magazine.
Do some window shopping or get ready to splurge at Bahnhofstrasse, the world’s most expensive shopping boulevard.
Free bicycle rentals are available throughout the city. Biking over to smell the sweet scents of the Botanical Garden (of the University of Zurich) is a great way to spend an afternoon.
The Jules Verne Panoramabar, in the tower of the city observatory, offers a breath-taking 360-degree view of Zurich. It offers an array of delicious, handcrafted cocktails. It also has the reputation for being one of the best date spots in the entire city.
Opened recently, the FIFA World Football Museum showcases the history of football through many exciting exhibits, including the original FIFA World Cup Trophy on display! The museum is located across town from the official FIFA headquarters.
The Museum für Gestaltung highlights 19th & 20th-century design and architecture with its fascinating exhibits. It contains large posters and applied arts collections, among others. Admission is 12 CHF for adults and group rates are available. The museum is closed on Mondays.
The Zurich Zoologischer Garten is a small zoo, where over 380 different species of animals are housed, including an interesting Asian elephant exhibit. The zoo is open 365 days a year. Adult admission is 26 CHF and children below the age of six are free.
Take a train to the mountainous summit of Üetliberg for a chance to climb the tower and see an amazing 360-degree view of both Zurich and the Alps. Best to go on a clear day so you can take in the sights free of clouds. It can get chilly so dress accordingly!
The Zurich Festival is an event organized every two years by several of the city’s cultural institutions. It is a grand showcase of local Swiss theater, art, music, and culture.
Tipping in Zurich
Just like in most of Europe, tipping is not expected but it is a nice gesture. There is usually a service charge included in the bill so it is not necessary to tip. This is the case for restaurants and taxis.
Zurich Travel Blog: Common Scams & What to Avoid
There are no scams, it’s one of the safest cities on earth. It would be very difficult to get into any sort of trouble.
There are almost none.
Zurich is consistently amongst the top ten safest cities on earth in all of the different palmarès that are out there. Back in the nineties, Platzspitz Park used to be a place where heroin addicts would gather and get together. Now it’s been completely cleaned up and is one of the most beautiful parks out there. It is very safe, as is the rest of the city.
There are no issues even though they are quite expensive.
There are none.
How to Stay Safe: Tips and Tricks
The regular tips apply. Don’t get too drunk, don’t get rowdy, be aware of where you are at all times.
READ MORE: Travel Canada Advisory for Switzerland
Zurich Travel Blog: C&C’s Map