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Switzerland : 6 Things You Must Do When in Zurich

Zurich has never been on my bucket list.

Not only is Zurich isn't known for it's special must see attractions, it’s consistently ranked in the first places in the list of the most expensive cities in the world – and this, my darlings, is one of the things that could totally ruin my vacation.

When I travel abroad, I love enjoying myself fully without thinking twice about food, travel, attractions and entertainment expenses.

So there had to be a good enough reason to make me fly to a city that tourists rarely visit for it’s own.

So why did I end up spending almost a whole week in Zurich?

Daniel travels from work once a year for a week of training in the city, and I decided that it was time for me to join him –

After all, as a freelancer I can work from anywhere in the world – and I really don’t have a problem mixing business and pleasure 😉

6 Things You Have To Do In Zurich, Switzerland

Even though Zurich isn’t a very touristy city, and maybe because of that, I decided to write a guide about the places I loved most in the city.

I found it very hard to find information about the city and recommendations that seemed interesting enough, so I’ll be really happy if this guide will help those of you planning a trip to Zurich as part of your European vacations    

Small but important :

1. PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION –

There’s not one bad word you can say about the public transportation in Zurich.

Not only is it incredibly accurate, it reaches every corner in the city and passes by frequently so you don’t have to wait in the station for more than just a few minutes.

In Zurich you can get around by trains, buses and trams, and changing between them is easily done – it’s just very important to remember to buy your ticket before your trip {because from what I understand the fines in the city are expensive like the city itself   }.  

I really recommend using the Google Maps App which helps plan routes between destinations all over the world, and is especially useful when planning a trip with public transportation, because it provides the travel times and the places you have to switch between the different transportation options.

The efficiency of the public transportation will also help you save a little when arriving from the Kloten airport, which is located 12 km away from Zurich, to the hotel, since the train ride to the city’s central station takes only 10 minutes and it’s relatively cheap.

2. SLEEPING ARRANGEMENTS –

Thanks to the amazing public transportation in the city, you really don’t have to sleep in the most central {and expensive} hotels in Zurich in order to enjoy everything the city has to offer.

We stayed at the Holiday Inn Messe which is about a 10 minute drive from the center, and the distance isn’t really noticeable because of the frequency and speed of the public transportation.

3. ZürichCARD

It’s highly recommended to purchase the ZürichCARD which allows unlimited rides in all public transportation options and provides free entry to most of the city’s museums and discounts for attractions and for selected restaurants.

You can buy a day pass for 24 hours for 24 Swiss Francs (CHF) or a ticket for 72 hours which costs double.

We bought the day ticket at the airport’s train station and we took advantage of it mainly during the first day there which included long rides and changing modes of transportation in different areas.

You can buy it at any train station in the city, in branches of the tourism bureau and even in some hotels. Additional information about this ticket can be found on Zurich’s website.

6 Things You Have To Do In Zurich, Switzerland6 Things You Have To Do In Zurich, Switzerland

Since Zurich doesn’t really have any must-see attractions, I decided to spend my time in the city as a local – I enjoyed strolling around the city streets, shopping and eating {too much} chocolate.

I climbed the Üetliberg

We got to Zurich on a sunny Sunday and after wandering around the main {and relatively empty} city streets, and eating the perfect hotdog at Sternen Grill, we decided to take the train to Mount Üetliberg’s lookout.

The train ride from the central stations in Bahnhofstrasse takes around half an hour, but feels like it’s only a few minutes thanks to the beautiful scenery seen from the train’s windows.

6 Things You Have To Do In Zurich, Switzerland 6 Things You Have To Do In Zurich, Switzerland

When we got off the train at Uetliberg, we started walking on a wide path which led us into a thick and green forest all the way to the peak, where we bought hot {and expensive} chocolate milk at a tourist restaurant and we enjoyed the fresh air and the view from the balcony on the mountainside, which gave us an amazing panoramic view of the city.

We weren’t lazy and decided to climb the stairs to the top of the lookout tower which revealed an even more amazing view than the one we saw from the balcony! From the lookout you can really see the city’s structure and Lake Zurich on one side of the city and the Alps on the other side.

6 Things You Have To Do In Zurich, Switzerland 6 Things You Have To Do In Zurich, Switzerland 6 Things You Have To Do In Zurich, Switzerland 6 Things You Have To Do In Zurich, Switzerland

I went shopping in Bahnhofstrasse

Shopping? In Zurich?

Yes!

Unfortunately, I haven’t won the lottery  yet, but I got to Zurich during the best season – the sale season!

The Bahnhofstrasse is the city’s main shopping boulevard and you can find a wide variety of designer shops, brand stores, books, toiletries, and of course the city’s best chocolates.

6 Things You Have To Do In Zurich, Switzerland

You had to see the expression on my face {and Daniel’s face when he caught this expression } when I saw all of the huge sale signs on the windows of the shops on the street –

MANGO, ZARA, CHANEL, Versace, Louis Vuitton and the list goes on and on….

What else could a girl ask for??

I divided up my first two days in Zurich between hunting down the best items from the sales and window shopping {in stores I can’t afford to shop in even during the sales season } and between working on my laptop in charming coffee shops in the area.

Of course, in between the two, I treated myself to the best truffles I’ve ever had in my life in Sprüngli and in Läderach {don’t miss the champagne truffles and the salty caramel truffles if you’re there!}.

Even if you miss the sales season in the city, don’t skip walking around and window shopping on this European street which starts at the central train station, Bahnhofstrasse, and ends at the scenic lake in Zurich.

6 Things You Have To Do In Zurich, Switzerland 6 Things You Have To Do In Zurich, Switzerland 6 Things You Have To Do In Zurich, Switzerland

I walked around the old town

Zurich’s old city, which is very close to Bahnhofstrasse, is one of the most beautiful areas in the city.

The old houses, narrow and winding alley, churches and many fountains that give the area a very magical and authentic atmosphere, and is much more calm than the main street next to it.

6 Things You Have To Do In Zurich, Switzerland 6 Things You Have To Do In Zurich, Switzerland 6 Things You Have To Do In Zurich, Switzerland 6 Things You Have To Do In Zurich, Switzerland

It’s fun to walk around during the day and the night and just soak up the old city’s atmosphere, go into unique boutique shops and taste chocolates from the homemade chocolatiers which can be found in every alley.

Luckily, we got to be in town during the Zurich festival, which is held in the city once every three years in the first week of July, and we saw the old city filled with dozens of food stalls from all around the world, street performances, a lot of alcohol and fireworks.

6 Things You Have To Do In Zurich, Switzerland 6 Things You Have To Do In Zurich, Switzerland 6 Things You Have To Do In Zurich, Switzerland 6 Things You Have To Do In Zurich, Switzerland

I devoured chocolate during the Sweet Tour

When you think about Switzerland, the first things that comes to mind is high-quality chocolate; after all, there’s a reason Swiss chocolate became such a common term in our language.

That’s why the first attraction that jumped into my mind the second I decided to travel to Zurich was, of course, a tour of the city’s chocolate boutiques.

After a quick search online, I found the exact tour I’ve been fantasizing about.

The chocolate tour Sweet Zürich is a must for all chocolate lovers {and who doesn’t love chocolate?!}, and it’s a delicious and interesting way to get to know Zurich from the inside.

6 Things You Have To Do In Zurich, Switzerland

The tours are held during the afternoon in small groups {up to 8 people} for two and a half wonderful hours, and costs 85 Swiss Francs per person {around 330 NIS}.

True, it isn’t cheap, but the prices of the tour are in accordance with the general pricing of the city, which is very expensive as I mentioned in the beginning of the post, so in terms of VFM, the tour is still very worthwhile.

Our tour guide, Rebecca, was very sweet and had a lot of knowledge not only about Zurich’s chocolatiers, but also about the history of the old city area and was very happy to recommend restaurants and entertainment venues in the city.

During the tour we walked around the narrow and ancient alleys and we were really able to soak up the atmosphere of the combination between ancient and modern Zurich.

6 Things You Have To Do In Zurich, Switzerland 6 Things You Have To Do In Zurich, Switzerland 6 Things You Have To Do In Zurich, Switzerland

Rebecca shared interesting facts about the buildings in the area, the guilds, the ancient signs in the streets and even gave us a short explanation about the foundations of the ancient Roman baths, hiding in one of the alleys {I walked around an entire morning in the old city area and I missed it so I was very happy I got to see it thanks to the tour!}.

During the tour we visited a small and sweet cupcake shop and four homemade chocolate boutique shops, and in each one we got to taste a variety of divine chocolates which really make you understand why the Swiss chocolate is considered one of the best {if not the best} in the world.

6 Things You Have To Do In Zurich, Switzerland 6 Things You Have To Do In Zurich, Switzerland 6 Things You Have To Do In Zurich, Switzerland 6 Things You Have To Do In Zurich, Switzerland

Of course you can buy chocolates and souvenirs in each store, but you really don’t feel pressured to buy. I really couldn’t think about buying even one gram of chocolate because after the first round of tastings, which included 3 truffles and delicious hot cocoa, it was hard for me to think that I could eat chocolate again after this tour {and of course I was wrong because it’s simply impossible to refuse high-quality Swiss chocolate  😉 }.

If you have one day in this city – there’s no doubt that this is an attraction you don’t want to miss! Not only will you get to taste an insane amount of chocolate, but you’ll also get to learn a bit about the interesting history of the old city.

{If you’re traveling in a group you can contact the tour organizer and set a time that will fit in your schedule, just keep in mind that all of the stores in the city close relatively early, so the latest you can start the tour is 4 pm}.

6 Things You Have To Do In Zurich, Switzerland 6 Things You Have To Do In Zurich, Switzerland 6 Things You Have To Do In Zurich, Switzerland

I went out to Zurich West

On the surface it seems like Zurich isn’t really a city for young people.

The general atmosphere there is more restrained and classic and not as cool compared to young cities like Berlin, London, New York and Tel Aviv.

After an intense search online for recommended restaurants and entertainment venues, I got to a great website – Girlfriend Guide to Zurich, which combines all of the fun and cool things to do in the city.

Boutique stores, restaurants, lectures, workshops, events and more…

I noticed that a lot of the articles on the website are pointing me to an area of the city I haven’t come across on other websites : Zurich West.

6 Things You Have To Do In Zurich, Switzerland 6 Things You Have To Do In Zurich, Switzerland 6 Things You Have To Do In Zurich, Switzerland

Zurich West, also known as the fifth district, used to be a sooty and neglected industrial area and turned into a lively and cool recreation area with boutique stores, a food market, galleries, restaurants, clubs and bars.

The combination between the old factory buildings and the renovated bridge and colorful graffiti give the area a young and subversive vibe which gets even better in the evening, when the street lights enter the game.

Most of the special boutique stores and galleries in the area are located under the 36 large arches of the Viaduct Bridge, and are a combination of the most chic and special things you can find in the city – accessories, clothing, furniture and home décor. Some of the spaces between the arches are dedicated to cozy coffee shops which are fun to sip Aperol Spritz at {a very popular drink in the city and my new favorite} while shopping.

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Hidden in the space under the first 26 arches, you can find Zurich’s first indoor food market, Markthalle, which was nice but quite small and empty when we went {much less successful than Sarona Market of Tel Aviv in my opinion}. On the other hand, in front of the market was the market’s restaurant which was fantastic {except the very slow service there}.

A short walk away from the bridge towards the train station is the Frau Gerolds Garten, a magical garden which combines design shops, bars and street food which is fun to snack on with a drink. You shouldn’t miss this!

6 Things You Have To Do In Zurich, Switzerland 6 Things You Have To Do In Zurich, Switzerland 6 Things You Have To Do In Zurich, Switzerland 6 Things You Have To Do In Zurich, Switzerland 6 Things You Have To Do In Zurich, Switzerland 6 Things You Have To Do In Zurich, Switzerland 6 Things You Have To Do In Zurich, Switzerland

I played soccer at the FIFA museum

I spent most my time in the city alone wandering around the city, touring and shopping while Daniel was working. So when we happened to walk by the new FIFA museum in the city and I saw Daniel’s expression {remember my expression when I saw all the sales? So the male equivalent  }, I knew there’s no way we won’t spend the afternoon in this menly heaven.

The museum, which was opened recently in Zurich, is very interactive. The museum presents FIFA’s history and the World Cup in soccer with hundreds of clothing items, accessories, trophies, giant screens and amazing sound systems that really make you understand FIFA’s story from an enjoyable and fun experience.

6 Things You Have To Do In Zurich, Switzerland 6 Things You Have To Do In Zurich, Switzerland 6 Things You Have To Do In Zurich, Switzerland 6 Things You Have To Do In Zurich, Switzerland

Besides the great exhibition, the museum has a small movie theater which simulates the atmosphere of the stadium, where a moving and wonderfully edited movie is presented about the history of soccer; it even made me suddenly understand why people get so excited from this game.

On the top floor, right before the end of the tour, you can go into a kind of huge pinball machine which allows visitors to test their skills in four different games.

Like in every museum, the FIFA museum has a cafeteria and a bistro in the soccer spirit and of course a souvenir and gift shop.

6 Things You Have To Do In Zurich, Switzerland 6 Things You Have To Do In Zurich, Switzerland 6 Things You Have To Do In Zurich, Switzerland

Have you been to Zurich? Tell me about interesting places I didn’t mention in the comments below!

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From a unique chocolate tour to shopping in Bahnhofstrasse : Here’s are the top 6 Things To Do In Zurich | What to do and see in Zurich | Travel destinations to add to your bucket list. Click through to see the full guide on hedonistit.com >>

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