Travel guide - Zurich

Zurich immediately conjures up images of banks, piles of money and luxury boutiques. But this image is only part of the wealth that this city has to offer its visitors. You can visit Zurich to stroll through its old town and its museums, or to enjoy nature and the excellent quality of life in this city built on a human scale. You can also get in touch with your artistic side or embrace your love of clubbing by heading to the more alternative, trendy parts of Zurich!

Zurich: its old town and its more stylish neighbourhoods

Start your stay in the Altstadt, the old town. If you arrive by train, it’s very close. And the compact, pedestrian city centre is easy to explore by foot. Head down the Bahnhofstrasse. This avenue is considered to be Europe’s most expensive street due to the numerous luxury boutiques lining either side! On Paradeplatz you will find yourself at the heart of the financial district, surrounded by the famous Swiss banks.
Next, leave these stylish neighbourhoods behind you and head off to discover the more traditional side of Zurich, in Lindenhof. This large square planted with some one hundred lime trees offers a beautiful view of the old city and the Limmat River. Walk down the medieval streets of Schipfe and enjoy a bit of shopping. Admire the Fraumünster with its stained glass windows created by Marc Chagall, before making your way to the lively pedestrian quarter of Niederdorf. The Protestant Grossmünster Cathedral is well worth the small detour, especially for the magnificent view you can enjoy from the top of one of its towers.

Nature in Zurich

Zurich is also worth visiting for its lake and its mountains. Head to the pier at the Bürkliplatz to enjoy a boat trip and take a dip in the lake. The eastern baths of the Utoquai provide a lovely change of scene, as does the Chinagarten, a lovely Zen garden on the banks of Lake Zurich. You can also visit the arboretum, with its cactuses and many tropical plants. Werdinsel Island offers playgrounds and swimming areas. Or you can relax in the thermal baths of the Thermalbad & Spa Zurich, with their rooftop pool!
Don’t neglect Zurich’s mountainous side. You can hike or take the train up Uetliberg, Zurich’s very own mountain. 869 metres above sea level, this is a perfect place to enjoy a hike. Walk along the Panoramaweg until you reach Felsenegg, where you can catch a cable car back down to Zurich. Or if you’re visiting in winter, you can rent a sled and slide down the snowy slope!

Zurich: a hip, alternative city

While Niederdorf offers plenty of trendy shopping, the more alternative options are found in Zurich West. This former industrial area has undergone some serious restoration. You will find an array of designer boutiques on Langstrasse. Don’t miss the well known Freitag shop, built into a stack of shipping containers! Next, head for the market on Viaduktstrasse, with its shops built under the arches of an old viaduct. And nearby, you can check out the cosmopolitan Aussersihl neighbourhood.
As for the Zurich night life, it takes inspiration from the techno atmosphere of Berlin’s many clubs! The most popular clubs are Kanzlei, X-TRA and OXA. If you’re a fan of rave parties and techno parades, visit Zurich in August to enjoy the supercharged procession of the Street Parade!

Zurich’s museums and cultural sites

A stay in Zurich is also an occasion to check out some museums to brush up on your artistic knowledge or learn about Swiss traditions. Visit the Kunsthaus Zurich (the fine arts museum), which is home to Switzerland’s largest collection of artwork. You can also pass by the Landesmuseum (the Swiss national museum) to admire the building’s original architecture and learn more about the country’s history, which is also the focus of the Museum of the Swiss Charters.
If it’s modern art you’re after, head to the Migros Museum, the Kunsthalle, the Musée Visionnaire or the Museum of Design Toni-Areal annex. The FIFA Museum is designed for football fans and families.
If you speak German, catch a show at Miller's, a former jazz club in the Mühle Tiefenbrunnen that has been transformed into a cabaret, or enjoy an opera at the Opernhaus Zurich.

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