As the wealthiest city in Switzerland and one of Europe’s largest business hubs, the main reason why many people visit Zurich is for a quick business trip or stopover on the way to somewhere else. However, besides its commercial centre and straight-laced demeanour, the city can offer plenty more to persuade you to stay longer than just a fleeting visit.
Here are five things that a Zurich city break can offer in abundance.
Unsurprisingly, Zurich is home to a number of streets where designer shops and boutiques will beckon you in to admire what’s beyond the window. One of the richest shopping streets in Europe, Bahnhofstrasse, is a great place to start and this is where you will find brands such as Prada, Chanel and Louis Vuitton. The closer you get to the banks of the River Limmat, the more exclusive the shops become, especially when you start to stroll along Storchengasse.
Cross the water for more independent boutiques and quirky stores in a district known as Niederdorf. Niederdorfstrasse itself is the centre of this but it’s also worth extending your retail ramble onto Marktgasse and Münstergasse.
Art is everywhere in Zurich, both contemporary and classic. The best place to see the former is at Europe’s first ever digital art museum, MuDA, where ones and zeros and transformed into beautiful images and temporary exhibitions showcase work from Swiss artists. Your contemporary eye will also be pleased by the modern architecture that has helped to transform the Zurich-West area of the city. It’s hard to believe that the piercing towers and independent art galleries stand where run-down warehouses used to be.
In terms of classic art, there is no bigger influence here than Dada. Dadaism began here over 100 years ago and now artworks from the movement hang (amongst those dating back as far as the Middle Ages) on the walls of the Kunsthaus Zürich. You can also go back to where it all started at Cabaret Voltaire, a former nightclub where young artists and influential writers would hang out and draw up their Dada Manifesto.
Swiss chocolate is famous the world over and one of the best places to sample it in all its glory is Zurich. There are a number of chocolatiers and cafés around the city where you can taste truffles and purchase pleasure in a box, but for the absolute best of the best there’s no rivalling Teuscher. The store on Bahnhofstrasse is the world headquarters and they are best known for their delicious truffles boasting fillings like Champagne, raspberry, caramel and kirsch.
Café culture is a big part of life in Zurich and so you should never feel guilty about taking a seat in beautiful surroundings and enjoying a coffee and a slice of cake. Wonderful cafés can be found on every street corner but Café Sprungli is one of the most well-known. If you find yourself here, be sure to add a plate of macaroons to enjoy with your cuppa. If, however, you prefer to take a break in somewhere with a bit more history, head to the Old Town and locate Cafe Schober – Zurich’s oldest coffee house that serves a mean hot chocolate.
A trip to Zurich has the added benefit of offering somewhere to relax as well as explore. Lake Zurich extends all the way to St Gallen and is a great place in which to while away the sunny summer hours. The green parks around the shores provide a beautiful environment from which to admire nature if you don’t want to stray too far from the urban centre. However, more peaceful spots lie further afield from Zurich, offering fantastic restaurants, sumptuous spas and exclusive resorts.
You can choose to soak up the sun, breaking the hours up with a few dips in the water, or try some more active pursuits. Hiking trails offer a great way to explore on foot, whilst the fleet of ships sailing the surface of the water can take you further. Water sports are also very popular, so you can choose to get the adrenaline pumping with a bit of wakeboarding, water-skiing, stand-up paddleboarding or sailing.
If you would like the team at Fred.\ Holidays to help you plan a city break to Zurich, call us on 0800 988 3369. We can also tailor-make a multi-centre trip to help you discover other towns and cities in the area.