I arrived in Zürich on a sunny, Autumn day. The breeze was cold but the city sparkled like diamonds. Zürich is situated on an expansive lake and nestled in amongst the mountains. In the far distance, over the lake, you can see the snowy peaks of the Alps. Here, it is neat and clean, as though a certain amount of money was especially put aside for polishing everything until you can see your face in it. This city has a unique mix of high-end designer fashion and luxury thermal baths, combined with hikes in the forest, free-range farms and mountain-bike tracks.
Take a ferry ride on Zürich Lake
Take the public ferry to soak in breathtaking mountain scenery. The short-round trip takes you past the world-famous Chocolate Factory, up to Thalwil and around to Zürichhorn, before heading back to the starting point at Zürich Bürkliplatz.
Soak in the sunshine at Zürichhorn
During Autumn, the colourful leaves float down onto the green lawns at Zürichhorn and the scent of roasted chestnuts lingers in the air. On a sunny day, people can be seen splashing about in the water with their children and dogs. Nearby, you will find an interesting sculptural machine created by Swiss artist Jean Tinguely.
Take a cable car to Felsenegg
As the cable car starts to climb the mountain, the houses become little specks in the distance and spectacular views of the lake, mountains and surrounding countryside spread out below. At the top, take a short walk to the restaurant and dine on goulash, sausages or whatever hearty feast you desire, all washed down with a long glass of beer.
Wander down ‘Luxury Mile’
Known as the ‘Luxury Mile’, this shopping strip is dripping with gold, diamonds and expensive brands. Prada, Dior, Louis Vuitton, Armani and many other exclusive fashion houses stand alongside one another, proudly guarded by men in suits and shiny shoes. Off the beaten track, you will find yourself wandering down narrow, cobbled alleyways of the Old Town, where you will find equally as exclusive stores selling watches, jewellery and much more.
Visit the National Museum of Zürich
Set in a neo-Gothic fairytale castle and harnessing interactive technology in every room, the National Museum of Zürich offers a thorough history of Switzerland and all that it is known for: watches and clocks, traditional dress, the cheese industry, mountaineering, and much more. Just when you think you’ve seen it all, another room opens up to reveal a new layer of history and perspective. The tower rooms comprise of exquisitely carved wooden cabinets built into the walls and lovely views out into the courtyard.
Go shopping at the Viaduct Markets
Built into the Viaduct Railway Arches, this is a nice alternative to the hustle and bustle of inner-city shopping. Each arch offers a different experience: art galleries, restaurants, bars, clothing stores and other boutiques. Enjoy at your leisure.
Soak in the Thermal Baths and Spa
No trip to Zurich is complete without a good soak in the thermal baths. The Roman-Irish bath experience is highly recommended. Afterwards, head upstairs to the rooftop pool, which offers beautiful views over Zürich. If you want to top off the experience, have a glass of sparkling wine in between soaks!
Rent an e-bike
Public transport in Zürich can be a bit pricey compared to other cities, but not if you know the right places to look. Instead of taking the train, download the PubliBike app and spend time zooming around the city on these highly convenient modes of transport! You can also hire normal bikes through this company – just be sure to return it to the station and lock it before you go on your way.
Visit the Chinese Garden
It might seem like a strange thing to do in Switzerland, but this is a beautiful little haven, especially if you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. Situated close to Zürichhorn, you can wander around at your leisure, before feasting on the local Chinese take-way right next door!
Feast on fondue
Zürich is full of restaurants specialising in local delicacies, and the cheese fondue is no exception. It is a truly indulgent feast and you will need a good bottle of white wine to wash it down. Try to arrive hungry and leave guilt-free, knowing that you have enjoyed an authentic Swiss experience! I would highly recommend booking a table at Le Dezaley, in the old city centre. Charming, cosy and delicious!
Uetliberg offers fantastic views over the city and is easily reached by foot if you don’t mind a bit of a hike! Alternatively, the train offers a scenic route up the mountain. It can get very busy, with tourists and mountain-bike riders, so prepare to pack a picnic and look both ways when you get to a junction. In mushroom season, you can find lots of different varieties scattered through the forest. Get them checked at a Mushroom Inspection Office near the main station before eating, just to be on the safe side.
Have you been to Zürich? What would you recommend doing?