Some people see Zurich as boring and too clean. Others appreciate the informal environment and believe that order contributes to the charm of the city.
The efficiency of Switzerland is most evident in Zurich, known for its safe, clean and efficient public transport system. S-Bahn, bus, trams and boats for the river and lake are included in the punctual network. Trains run regularly from the central station at the end of Bahnhofstraße. The tourist town of Lucerne is only 45 minutes away, the capital Berne an hour away, world-class skiing at Klosters and Andermatt at less than two hours and Paris at around six o’clock. For those who prefer flying, Zurich Airport, Switzerland’s largest and busiest airport, is only 20 minutes from Zurich by S-Bahn.
A report by Mercer Human Resource and Consulting in April 2007 confirms that Zurich is again considered the city offering the best quality of life in the world. Mercer’s annual global survey helped Zurich win the Geneva 2nd and Vancouver 3 awards. Another Mercer study “The 50 Most Expensive Cities in the World” brought Zurich to Geneva and Copenhagen to 9th place, but it’s not a reason to go elsewhere. Zurich is worth a visit, even for a day where there is a lot to do or a limited budget. The city offers a variety of excursions and leisure opportunities, as well as shops, museums, hotels, restaurants, bars and nightclubs.
Here are ten places to visit:
1. The Lake Zurich Region
Where else in Europe, except on Lake Geneva, you can swim in pleasant waters while admiring the view of the breathtaking peaks of the Alps. The Seefeld area near the lake is one of Zurich’s most sought-after habitats. And the bathing beach of Tiefenbrunnen, a famous seaside resort, is often congested by the hot summer days.
Do not forget to take a stroll along the lake towards the city center to enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of the lake region, or enjoy the peaceful atmosphere of the Bellerivestrasse’s Chinese garden on the Zurichhorn.
2. The botanical garden
The Botanical Garden of the University of Zurich is located in the area of Seefeld at Zollikerstrasse 107. The three unique bubble-shaped greenhouses show three types of vegetation: humid-tropical, warm-humid and tropical to subtropical. The surrounding garden is an ideal place to picnic or read a good book.
3. Zurich Zoo
Zurich Zoo, about 15 minutes by tram from the city center, is an excellent excursion, even if you are traveling without children. Explore part of Madagascar in the largest rainforest in Europe, the Masoala Rainforest, protected by a large glass hall and offering a tropical ecosystem.
Take the Sihltal Zürich Uetlibergbahn (SZU) to the last stop, walk to Uetliberg (871 m) and enjoy the view from the 30-meter-high observation tower at the top. Alternatively, take the S-Bahn from Zurich Main Station to Adliswil, where a 300 meter cable car goes to Füsslingen station. From there, you will follow the famous hiking trail that runs along a ridge overlooking Lake Zurich.
The Bahnhofstrasse is one of the most exclusive shopping streets in the world, lined with elegant designer boutiques. The famous shopping street starts at the central station and continues to the lake. Do not miss the parade square, halfway up the street, where there are several Swiss banks. The oldest pastry shop in Sprüngli has its flagship store.
Located on Sihlstrasse 28, not far from the Bahnhofstrasse, Hiltl runs the first vegetarian restaurant in Europe since 1898. They offer hearty international and Indian cuisine as well as a delicious salad buffet. A reservation is recommended.
The Lindenhof is a haven of peace, a popular meeting place for chess players and offers a magnificent view of the city. The course is located on the small hill on the left bank of the Limmat, in the Lindenhof, the historic old town of Zurich. Look for the nearby St. Peter’s Church with the largest dial in Europe.
The oldest part of Zurich, a lively nightlife area with bars, restaurants and clubs, attracts many young people. During the day, there is a quiet and almost medieval atmosphere in Niederdorfstraße and in the narrow streets and surrounding courtyards. The main street is lined with trendy fashion boutiques, antique shops and restaurants serving food from almost every corner of the world.
9. West Zurich
This former industrial area is now a trendy neighborhood, overtaken by yuppies and people dedicated to nightlife and local conditions, or just as a creative atmosphere. The X-Tra Palace on Limmatstraße 118, at the beginning of the multicultural Langstrasse, is the only club in the city with its own restaurant, lounge, hotel and music label. For suggestions and upcoming events in Zone 5, get a free copy of the “20 Minutes” magazine in the water bar.
10. Lindt’s chocolate factory
What would Switzerland be without its soft chocolate? The Lindt shop in Seestrasse 204 in Kilchberg offers special offers for the best chocolates. You can reach the chocolate factory via the S-Bahn or take a free bike ride from the central station for a pleasant ride along the lake. Satisfaction guaranteed.
After six months in Zurich, I found the city clean and orderly. But not negative.