Zurich is a major hub for banking but did you also know it’s an ideal place to spend a day or two before (or after) a Rhine river cruise? Many river cruises begin or end their journey along the Rhine in Basel which is just a short and efficient train ride away. As Zurich is also the chocolate capital of Switzerland so It’s no wonder tourism is booming!
What to See in Zurich
If you only have a few days to explore this sophisticated city, be sure to stay at the Storchen Hotel perched on the edge of the Limmat river in the heart of the Old City. From The Storchen, travellers can easily explore Zurich foot helping visitors short on time maximise their visit. Zurich’s main shopping district stretches out behind the hotel, away from the river, and is a pleasant mix of pedestrian-only streets and busier main thoroughfares. As you wander through the area, make sure you pop into the plentiful chocolate shops and indulge in a sample or two.
Also nearby is Fraumunster Church, one of the four main churches in Zurich and home to spectacular stain glass windows designed by Marc Chagall. Each of the five soaring windows has a dominant colour and depicts a Biblical story. On the left side of the church is the Chagall rosette window, a remarkable piece of art that tricks the viewer into thinking it’s moving in a clockwise circle. Organists from all over Switzerland and abroad visit Fraumunster to play its famous organ and if you time your visit just right, you might get to hear it’s powerful pipes.
Be sure to take a scenic walk along the Limmat towards Lake Zurich. You will be treated to lovely views, ample bird watching opportunities, and interesting shops. During the summer don’t be surprised by locals taking a dip after work, it’s all part of daily life in Zurich. If you ever get thirsty during your strolls, you can fill your water bottle at one of the over 1,500 public water fountains that dot the city.
What the Eat in Zurich
As Zurich is the Chocolate capital of Switzerland, it’s only polite to try as many of the local chocolatiers wares as possible. No trip to Switzerland is complete without fondue. Although it’s Traditionally a winter dish, if your visit lands in the summer, you can still find restaurants in the tourist districts serving up this popular meal as well as raclette and other typical Swiss meals. Swiss Churchi in the old city is one of them and they even offer gluten-free options!
Zurich at Night
The nightlife in Zurich is found in the old city which is also a short distance from The Storchen hotel, reached by taking one of the many bridges that span the Limmat. Here you can find casual bars, restaurants, nightclubs, and the ubiquitous Irish Pub.
For a unique experience visit Aelpli Bar, one of the oldest taverns in the city. Here crowds gather nightly to listen to lively folk music and raise a glass. A former cowshed houses the bar and the rustic decor pays homage to this history with ample wood and cowbells. An order of the house specialty Aelpli Milk packs a punch and we recommend you share with a friend. If you are lucky Joseph, one of the resident musicians, will not only treat you to some yodeling but also play his Swiss horn.
Overall Zurich is a delightful destination and one that leaves visitors wishing they had more time to soak up its elegant lifestyle.