Visiting Zurich, Switzerland
I’ve always wanted to visit Switzerland, especially its largest city Zurich. I got the chance I’ve dreamed of in 2014 when I was offered a weekend getaway to this mesmerizing place.
At the time of the trip I was in the USA; therefore, I had to be in the air for eight hours in order to spend only three nights in Zurich. However, I really wanted to go on this adventure and I didn’t hesitate too much when I booked the ticket.
Even though I pretty tired and exhausted from the long journey, I was amazed by the stunning view the plane window offered as we were getting close to the destination. It was a nice and sunny day, perfect for exploring the wonderful Capital of the Zurich Canton.
I met my travel partner at the airport since she came from Skopje, Macedonia, and we immediately headed towards the apartment in order to leave the baggage and make out the most the three days ahead of us.
Just for the record, we booked a small apartment with a private bathroom and a kitchenette. It was nice, clean and offered self-check-in. However, I have to point it out that it was quite expensive in comparison to apartments I’ve stayed in at other destinations.
I was a bit surprised when I was looking for accommodation of the high prices, but after the three days in Zurich, Switzerland I understood that what most of the people consider expensive is ordinary in the City by the Zurich Lake.
First Impressions of Zurich
What I first noticed in Zurich was how clean the entire city was and how nice everyone was. Right from the second, I stepped out of the airport, I was mesmerized by the busy streets, filled with wandering tourists, well-dressed locals, and fancy business people. Just getting near a pedestrian crossing means all vehicles immediately stop to let you pass the street while asking for help is always welcomed with a warm smile and friendliness. I guess living in such a rich City puts you in a constant state of a good mood?
Zurich is gorgeous and every street or attraction just kept reminding me of that. You can take a walk by narrow canals along crystal clear waters, you can explore the lake with a kayak or a paddle boat, visit the Chinese Garden, or just sit and relax in the local park. Even though not as big as some other European metropolises, Zurich has a lot to offer to its visitors. I did more things in three days there than I’ve done in other destinations where I’ve stayed much longer.
- The place in general – I personally fell in love with Zurich when I first lay eyes on it. Thus, I am obviously recommending this place and I think it’s beautiful. In terms of architecture, there’s a lot to be seen, there are lots of activities a tourist can try and you can enjoy Zurich regardless whether you have a car or not;
- Parking – Since we didn’t have a car, I can’t share my personal experience at this point. However, I noticed that there are parking zones on almost every street and anyone can park as long as they pay. Honestly, I didn’t pay attention to the prices, but since everything is expensive in Zurich I guess the parking is expensive as well;
- Nature – Nature lovers will enjoy Zurich, even though it’s a busy city. As I have already mentioned, there are canals (or maybe it was the same one) in the city where you can take a walk and listen to the sound of running water. Moreover, Zurich lies on the gorgeous Zurich Lake, where you can rent a kayak or a paddle boat or feed ducks. There are also lots of small and big parks where you can relax after a long walk. At the time of my visit while I was going towards the Chinese Garden I passed by a huge park where large groups of people were making barbecue, listening to music, playing ball etc.;
- Shops – It’s no surprise that Zurich offers lots of shopping options. There are some really cool souvenir shops (expensive of course) as well as shopping centers where shopaholics can buy branded clothes, shoes, accessories and so on.
During the Stay
During our three days in Zurich, we explored pretty much most of the City. We wanted to rent a car and see its surroundings as well, but unfortunately, we didn’t have the time to do it. Below I will mention the sights and the attractions we saw, but before moving on to them I want to share an unforgettable lunch experience we had.
Namely, the day before our departure we wanted to have a nice lunch in a restaurant since most of the time we went for junk food or wursts. Thus, we went on looking for options and on the Niederdorfstrasse street, we found several adorable restaurants.
We couldn’t make our minds, we didn’t want pasta or pizza and therefore we sat in the Brasserie Louis. We should’ve possibly checked out the menu first since the price list was quite surprising at least; it’s not like we were expecting a cheap lunch, but we definitely didn’t expect to pay for tap water either.
Nevertheless, we ordered one dish with pork meat and another with ravioli as well as two coca-colas. Obviously, the food was delicious and nicely served, the waitresses were great too. Yet, the thing that I will always remember was the check of almost 100 USD. Nevertheless, if you can afford it you should certainly experience this wonderful and charming place.
Things to see in the area
- Zurich Lake – this lake with dark-green waters offers lots of activities to visitors. Rent a kayak, take a road trip, simply sunbathe or cool your feet in it. It’s an unforgettable sight and a great spot for taking stunning photos;
- Altstadt – Altstadt actually means Old Town and thus this is where most of the fairy-tale buildings are. Take a walk, grab a lunch and enjoy the positive atmosphere. The Altstadt is right at the lake, thus it’s the best to combine these two and have a lovely day in the heart of Zurich;
- Zoo – Zurich boasts a large and well-organized Zoological Garden. This is a great attraction, especially for those traveling with curious kids;
- Chinese Garden – We accidentally found this place, and we were never sorry for visiting it. The Chinese Garden is a nice and relaxing spot that offers a glimpse in Chinese architecture and gardens in Zurich. It’s a surprising combination and I think that anyone should give it a try;
- Museums – There are lots of interesting museums Zurich visitors can check out depending on their interests. Some of them are the Toy Museum, the Zoological Museum, the Tram-Museum, the Art Museum and even the FIFA World Football Museum;
- Hauptbahnhof – Those familiar with the German language know that Hauptbahnhof means Central Station and thus this is the main station in Zurich. The building itself is beautifully designed a true architectural gem. Plus, inside there are restaurant, shops, exchange offices etc.;
- Lindenhof – Lindenhof is a hidden spot on a top of a hill where visitors can take a walk (free of charge), relax and take some great photos of the Altstadt. Nature fans should definitely go up there (10-15 minute walk) and experience Zurich in a different light;
- Churches and cathedrals – Zurich is a home of numerous churches and cathedrals, which, in addition to their spiritual and religious importance, are attractive thanks to their architecture. Some spots that are a must-see include Grossmunster, Church of Our Lady (Fraumunster) and St. Peterskirche;
- Paradeplatz – This is a small square where the popular Bahnhofstrasse and Poststrasse meet. It’s a lovely spot to see, plus it has coffee shops and an interesting tram station in the center.
Verdict: Sad to Leave
No doubts here, I was definitely sad to leave Zurich. Even though I am not sure how many days I could’ve stayed there due to its high living standard, I didn’t want to leave. Zurich is a beautiful spot on this Planet and it deserves all the praise that it is given to it. Zurich is perfectly organized, with clean streets and lots of parks.
|Stunning architecture||Expensive (very!)|
|Don’t need too many days to explore it entirely||Some popular spots may be too crowded|
|Lots of attractions (free ones too)|
|Lots of activities|
|People are extremely nice|
The people in the city are nice, welcoming and calm, which provides a generally nice atmosphere for wandering tourists. There are a lot of activates on the Zurich menu a visitor can do and the only thing a person needs in order to have a great time in this gem is – you guessed it – lots of cash!
Therefore, my ultimate advice to anyone having Zurich, Switzerland on their bucket list is to start saving money right away and prepare to spend them all in this beauty of a city.