is the largest city in Switzerland. It is also the center of the commercial and cultural activities. According to some, it has the best quality of life in the world. Although this can be debated, it certainly does have one of the highest standards of living. Salaries and costs are very high and it can make traveling quite expensive. But this should not be a reason to avoid coming. Bargains abound and one can have a wonderful time without breaking the bank.
The beauty of Zurich comes from the perfect mix of natural and architectural wonders. The center of Zurich is where the Limmat river meets lakeZurich. Swans and sail boats give the lake added charm and character. Surrounding the lake are beautiful mountains and in the distance one can see the snow covered Alps. Around the lake are cafes and restaurants where one can relax and enjoy the scenery. Just next to the lake is the old town of Zurich which is divided in the middle by the LimmatRiver. One side of the old town is chic, upscale and very expensive, while the other side is more down to earth and casual. But both sides have charm and local flavor.
Things to Do in Zurich
A walking tour of Zurich, would start at the central station. The station has a tourist center where one can receive maps and other information, but be prepared to stand in a line if you arrive at peak hours. When leaving the train station (Bahnhof in German), head down Bahnhofstrasse (Train Station Street). Bahnhofstrasse is the Swiss equivalent of Manhatten’s 5thAvenue or Paris’s Champs Elysee. It is filled with designer boutiques and people watchers. But walk just one street to the left of Bahnhofstrasse and you will suddenly find yourself in the upscale part of ZurichOldTown. Or keep walking to the end of Bahnhofstrasse and you will find yourself on the beautiful ZurichLake.
Once you have reached the lake you have two choices.
-Enjoy the day absorbing the stunning scenary that surrounds the lake (from the Bauschaenzli restaurant, for example, see below)
-Cross the LimmatRiver and you will find yourself in the other half of the old town. You may then walk all the way back to the train station and enjoy the more down-to-earth/casual half of the old town.
To see a video overview of the city of Zurich Click Here
To see a video about things to do in Zurich Click Here
To catch a glimpse of the Zurich Old Town and a very expensive Zurich hotel Click Here
To see a video about transportation in Zurich Click Here
To see a video about the Zurich Museum of History Click Here
Beatiful View over Zurich: Uetliberg
Uetliberg is a mountain that overlooks the lake of Zurich.You can get there by train that runs from the Zurich Central Station, which will get you near the top in about 20 minutes (S-10 leaves from the Zurich Central Station, track 2, every half hour, round trip ticket is currently around Sfr 15, or about $12 depending on the exchange rate).
As you step off of the train, you can walk directly into a small restaurant offering self service style eating, with indoor and outdoor seating. From this restaurant there is a view from the west side of the mountain. We shared a small meal of schnitzel and fries, a salad from the salad bar, and apple wine before hopping on the train back to Zurich.
Nearby the train station, you will find a small hiking trail. After a very easy 10 minute walk, you will reach “The Top of Zurich”. The Hotel Uto Kulm will be waiting for you. It is a very beautiful hotel and restaurant located directly on the summit.
In front of the hotel, there is a viewer’s platform, with outstanding views of the Zurich Lake to the east. There is also an observation tower that you can climb, in case you want to go a bit higher. A small kiosk sells drinks, snacks and junk food. There are tables, park benches, even wooden sun beds in case you get the sudden urge to work on your tan.
If you are feeling adventurous, there are plenty of hiking opportunities. If it is a nice day, you can take the train up and hike down. The Uetliberg is a very Swiss mixture of nature and civilization.
Our favourite Zurich Restaurants are fun, unique and not outrageously priced. This is hard to find in Switzerland, and below we show you what we think are some of the best:
Bahnhofstrasse 28a near Paradeplatz
Open: Daily 11.30 - 23.00
Located on Bahnhofstrasse, just across from Paradaplatz, is the Zeughauskeller. This is a traditional style restaurant which serves large helpings of old-fashioned german food. Once an armoury, the restaurant has large stone pillars, medieval decorations including heavy chandeliers. You get the feeling that you have gone back in time. Prices are good for Swiss standards. This is not top end dining, but it is fun and the food is good. This restaurant really cators to the tourist crowd. On a recent visit, the waitress asked the asian group next to us "do you prefer menues in Chinese, Japanes or Korean" To see their website Click Here
Beaten Platz 4
Open: Mo-Th 11.30-24.00, Fr-Sa 11.30-2.00, Su – 10.00-23.00
Movie Restaurant is a popular dining spot and on weekends is usually packed. With a name like movie, you would expect to see movie themes everywhere, and you do. The menu is on the back of an old fashioned movie reel container. Every half hour or so, the restaurant darkens, a movie screen drops down and a short clip is played. All of the menu items have movie themes. The food is fun, dining is casual. Reservations are not required, except for one table for two that is above all the rest with a great view of the entire restaurant. Reserve it, it is fun! Click Here
Open: May-September 11.00-23.00 (only by nice weather)
Restaurant Bauschaenzli is open only in the summer. The best thing about this restaurant is the location on a small island where the Limmat river meets the lake of Zurich. If you manage to get a table near the water, the views of the lake are beautiful. Dining is self-serve, buffet style. But the sausages and beer are delicious on a warm summer day. They also have live music on, mostly from the 60s or 70s.Their website is only in German, but to see photos click the link below and click on Sommergarten. Click Here
Again, open only in the summer, the Fishstube is located directly on the lake of Zurich. From their terrace, the views are beautiful and, even if you live in Zurich, you feel that you are in an exotic place. On a recent evening visit, we were attacked by mosquitoes, though this had never happened before. Ask for the Kleine Karte which features less expensive small meals. Click Here
Open: Mo - Sat 11.30 - 14.30 and 17.30 - 24.00, Su 11.30 - 24.00
Not far from the Fishstube is the Lakeside Casino Zurichhorn. It is no longer a Casino, but a stylish restaurant, with excellent service and views of the lake. Unlike the Fishstube which closes in the winter, this restaurant is open year round.However, in Swiss Style, they close after lunch and reopen in the evening for dinner. If you are inside, the do not kick you out, but they collect their money and shut the doors. The food here is more expensive than the other selections in this collection, but the atmosphere and view make it worthwhile. There is also a self service area just outside that is open in the summer, with nice views of the lake, but over priced food for picnic style eating. Click Here
Open: Mo-Fr , Sa , Su
Do you like vegetarian food? Try Tibits, very centrally located not far from the lake. Tibits offers a vegetarian style buffet. The food is unique and tasty, but it rarely changes. The seating is casual, not an elegant relaxed environment After a few visits, you may get bored with the selection. Click Here
Hotel Adler, OldTown
Open: daily 11.30 -23.00
Switzerland is famous for fondue. Located at the center of the old town is a large, touristic, but friendly fondue restaurant called Swiss Chuchi (Swiss Kitchen). From their website: The Swiss Chuchi restaurant serves Swiss classics, such as fondue and raclette in different variations, together with other specialities from different Swiss cantons Click Here
Marktgasse 21 (OldTown)
Theaterstrasse 10(near Bellevue)
Open: Mo- Su 11.30-02.00
For tasty italian food, at moderate prices, try Santa Lucia in Zurich old town. The wine is probably the least expensive you will get in a Zurich restaurnt. In the summer they serve food on a patio on the back of the restaurant that makes you feel like you are in Italy. This belongs to a chain and you will find several Santa Lucia restaurants all over the city. But we like this the best for its location and atmosphere. Click Here
Open: Mo-Fr 11.00-22.00 Sa 16.00-22.00
Quality asian food at reasonable prices, just a few blocks from the Zurich Lake at Tiffins Restaurant. The environment is very casual, but nice and comfortable. The quality of the food, a combination of Chinese and Thai, is very good. The service is prompt and friendly. To see the website here Click Here . Trust us, the restaurant is better than the photos in the website
Dufourstrasse 4, 8008 Zürich
Open: Mo - Su 07.00 - 00.30, kitchen open 11.30 - 23.30
International cuisine is on offer at Quaglinos. Try out a great selection of Spanish tapas, the Italian spaghetti frutti di mare or the Asian wok vegetables. Food is delicious! Atmosphere is nice and light. Interior is elegant. This will be a good choice for either a business meeting or a romantic dinner. Prices are average for Zurich (main dish from 23CHF). Service is very good.