According to several independent studies, Zurich is listed as one of the richest and cleanest cities in the world, yet is humble about its prominent presence within Switzerland. Swiss hospitality is second to none and Zurich is one of the few places in the world that is a perfect destination for any purpose: family trips, business or simple exploration. With that in mind, here are five of our favourite places to visit when heading to Switzerland.
Standing proud at just over 2,850ft above sea level, Uetliberg looks down upon Zurich’s rooftops with spectacular views of Lake Zurich, the city landscape and, further on into the distance, the panorama of the Alps. In fact, the mountain’s official webpage features a summit preview from the Uto Kulm hotel, providing an alluring taster before you make the climb yourselves.
As well as presenting a plethora of fine-dining restaurants and activities to take part in, there are also seasonal benefits to visiting at differing points of the year. In the summer, the mountain’s well-marked hiking and bike routes are incredibly popular. However, the true essence of these forests can be found when walking the renowned Path of the Planets. Designed by Arnold von Rotz and opened in 1979, this enchanting walk, taking around a couple of hours, provides an illustrative model of our solar system and a challenging hike in one.
On the other hand, visit in the winter and you’ll see the hiking trails transform into sled runs. Zurich’s ‘local mountain’ really is a sightseer’s and sun-worshipper’s dream, so make sure to keep it on the itinerary, whatever the weather.
Why not enjoy a cultural step back into Switzerland’s past? Set in what resembles a 100-year old fairytale castle, the National Museum is home to the country’s largest collection of cultural and historical artifacts, and hosts different special exhibits throughout the year, from art to armoury.
The eclectic collection also includes a figure of Christ astride a wooden donkey, dating back to a 1,000-year old Palm Sunday procession. You’ll also be introduced to the Swiss financial system, one of the heaviest golden bowls ever found, and golden amulets pressed into rock thousands of years ago (in an attempt to win favour with the Gods for travelers passing through the perilous mountain passages).
There’s also a not-so-standard gift shop, offering quality souvenirs, Swiss crafts and design products all made with exceptional care.
The unusual name of this civilian harbour originates from the nautical term ‘schupfen’, meaning ‘to push’. The fisherman used to recite this word over and over when pushing their boats to and from the riverbank. During the Middle Ages, Schipfe was an essential transfer and trading point for gold, food and the silk industry, as well as being known for its bathhouses and boatbuilding.
It’s worth taking the time to visit Zurich’s oldest district to experience the plethora of traditional trades that are still cultivated there today. There are streets filled to the brim with artisans and craftspeople of all variations, all of whom take the time to provide expert advice and outstanding products to their customers.
Zoo Zurich (and the Masoala Rainforest!)
As far as zoos go, Zoo Zurich is truly quite revolutionary. To start, it houses over 360 species from across the globe; visitors can witness the natural beauty of snow leopards, Andean bears and giant tortoises in their natural habitats. The zoo prides itself on providing extensive detail to the quality and authenticity of these enclosures, so it’s a real treat.
The tropical oasis of the Masoala enclosure is a small slice of Madagascar. Spanning over 13,000 square yards with a treetop walkway above the rambling tortoises, swarming butterflies and flying foxes, the exhibit makes for a truly dynamic and thriving environment for onlookers to watch. The Kaeng Krachan Elephant Park, features their star turn, baby Omysha (born June 2014). The park also provides quality care to these magnificent creatures. The elephants are free to swim in their new outdoor complex, built to resemble the Thai environment from which they came.
What to eat and where to go out
Hop on to the steep hillside railway towards excellent home cooking at Zeughauskeller. While it may be a place that’s quite tricky to find on Google Maps, the rustic ambience and smiling waitresses will soon let you forget your struggle with German directions.
From gourmet dining to pub grub, and hearty meat dishes to selections of Swiss specialities, the food here is based upon traditions that have been perfected over a number of years. It’s excellent quality for an even better price, with a set menu coming in at around £31, so make sure you sample the delights for Sunday brunch.
Zurich has always managed to embrace contemporary trends. Factories have been transformed into new living spaces and cultural hubs, such as Zuri-West, described as the epicenter of Zurich’s thunderous nightlife. Zurich boasts the highest density of clubs across all of Switzerland, from house music in the legendary Kaufleuten to gay events at the Labor Bar; the city is blessed with fine weather and takes full advantage of this with many open-air venues.
Switzerland is a country best explored by car. The well-kept roads lend themselves to the joys of driving. If you would like to rent a car in Zurich then easyCar have just the car for you. What’s the best is you can choose one of six different pick up and drop off locations situated in Zurich for you to choose from!