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© Pedro Szekely/ Flickr
© Pedro Szekely/ Flickr
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12 Reasons Everyone Should Visit Zurich At Least Once

Picture of Sean Mowbray
Updated: 26 July 2017
There’s much more to Zurich than banks and business. Beneath the surface of all its wealth there is a city steeped in history and a young urban population that loves to party. Here are 12 reasons why you should visit at least once in your life.

Lake Zurich

Sure, it’s not the Mediterranean, but at Lake Zurich it’s possible to go for a dip (although not recommended in winter), hire a pedal boat or just lounge by the shore at one of the many parks that surround it. Cafés, bars and restaurants are dotted around the lake as well, providing a drink with a view.

The Old Town

The Altstadt district is arguably the most beautiful area in Zurich. Divided into two parts across the river, the winding streets are lined with houses from medieval times. Some great cafés, restaurants and shops are found here and also Switzerland’s highest concentration of clubs. On a tour of the Old Town it’s impossible to miss landmarks including the towering trio of churches, Fraumünster’s curiously green steeple and the St. Peter church that has the largest clock face in Europe. In short, you’ll want to visit, if only to spend your time in the Old Town.

Awesome food scene

Zurich has got some fantastic restaurants where it’s possible to try out traditional Swiss dishes. Aside from that it’s also got a great selection of international restaurants to cater to its diverse populations. Tantalise your tastebuds and take a look at some of the top foods you simply have to try before you pack your bags.

The fancy shopping scene

The obvious attraction is the Bahnhofstrasse: a world-renowned shopping street that stretches for a mile, with numerous designer brands, boutiques and outlet stores to explore. What more is there to say? Even if your bank card might get a spanking, there’s no avoiding the urge to window-shop here. However, across the city there are a lot of smaller boutiques, second-hand antique sellers and markets to pick up a great souvenir.

There’s a buzzing nightlife

Zurich is home to plenty of bars, clubs and music venues that’ll keep you entertained well into the wee hours. Whether your drink of choice is a good glass of wine, a delicious cocktail or something a little stronger, there’s bound to be a bar that serves it. Niederdorf, in the city’s Old Town, and Zurich West, are two of the main nightlife areas, while Langstrasse, is known as the street that never sleeps for good reason.

There’s over 50 museums

Take a deep dive into Swiss culture and history at the Swiss National Museum, learn about the history of money in one of the world’s most expensive cities or feel the earth quake beneath you in an earthquake simulator. There’s sure to be something for everyone in Zurich’s 50 plus museums. Some of the best in Switzerland are counted among them.

It’s a base to explore Switzerland

Zurich is a gateway to explore central Switzerland. There are so many great day-trips to take from Zurich that you’ll want to put aside some of your time to get out of the city and explore. The Rhine Falls (Europe’s largest waterfall), the beautiful and historic city of Lucerne, and towering Mount Titlis are all within a day’s trip of Zurich.

Switzerland
Switzerland

Experience the money factor

There’s no getting around it. Zurich is regularly up there in the top 10 most expensive cities in the world and was the named the most expensive city in Europe in 2017, beating both Geneva and Paris. It’s also home to the Paradeplatz, a square of the Bahnhofstrasse, that holds the most expensive piece of real estate in Switzerland. The Swiss Monopoly equivalent of London’s Mayfair.

Zurich West

Everyone will find something to love in Zurich West. The former industrial sector has found a new life, with old factories have becoming shopping centres, railway viaducts turned into bustling shopping streets, and old shipping containers now bars. Londoners will see a second Brixton, while others will see a run-down area on the bounce back.

The annual Street Parade

What with its work-hard reputation as the banking and business capital of Switzerland, you’d be mistaken for thinking Zurich is a bit drab, but that’s far from the case and the annual Street Parade is proof of that. The Parade follows a 2.4 kilometre route around Lake Zurich and is lead by 30 decorated trucks blaring out house and techno music. It’s loud, it’s colourful and it’s one of the country’s biggest party events on the calendar.

Credit: Elizabeth D’Alessandro, smartphotography.ch

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The great outdoors

Sometimes the city gets too much and nature calls. Zurich has the perfect escape route as it’s surrounded by hills and mountains. For a few examples, you can hike the Schauenberg Nordic Trail, highest trail around Zurich; or take a trip to the top of the Uetliberg, the city’s nearest mountain that offers a spectacular panorama of the city, Lake Zurich and the distant Alps. If hiking isn’t your kind of thing there’s always the many parks of Zurich that bring a little of the country’s greenery closer to you.

A variety of places to stay

With a whole load of wealth floating about, Zurich has plenty of great places to stay, and a few quirky joints as well. Everything from palace-like hotels where every whim is catered for, to small family-run boutique hotels where you feel more like you’re at grandma’s for the weekend. Budget accommodation is thin on the ground but there are some good options as well. So whatever your budget, you’ll find plenty of choice to make your trip memorable.