A 2-Day Guide to Zurich
Situated on Lake Zurich with the Limmat River running through it, Zurich, the largest city in Switzerland, is quite picturesque. The city’s backdrop is the snow-covered mountains of the Swiss Alps. Zurich is an international financial center. It is well known for its exquisite and expensive timepieces and delicious chocolates. Zurich is a small and compact city, so you won’t need to spend more than a couple days, but there is plenty of great cultures, dining, and shopping for those who would like an extended stay.
Zurich is a highly walkable city, and with its paved cobblestone streets, that is probably the best way to get around. Taxis are highly expensive, traffic is terrible, and there is limited and costly parking, so driving is not recommended. Zurich Public Transport, ZVV, offers trams, trains, buses, cable cars, and boats to get you around the city. You can ride on all public transport with purchase of a ZurichCard, which will also get you free admission to 40 of the city’s museums.
Where to Stay
A small hotel within walking distance to Altstadt, Hotel Helmhaus offers a convenient stay. The rooms are small but comfortable. The complimentary buffet breakfast is tasty and comes with a selection of newspapers to peruse to stay up to date on current events. The concierge is friendly and knowledgeable. For those Americans who bring the wrong adapter, there is a selection of chargers and adapters at the front desk to borrow.
Where to Eat
No trip to Zurich would be complete without authentic Swiss chocolate. Stop by the cafe for a freshly made pastry and a cup of hot cocoa and take home melt in your mouth truffles.
Slightly hidden away on a quaint side street, this restaurant offers a traditional fondue feast. Dip freshly baked bread into piping hot bowls of cheese for a lively and spectacular meal.
What To Do
Take a walk through Altstadt, Old Town, has a Medieval construction with meandering alleys and is nearby to many of Zurich’s great museums. While in Old Town, make sure to stop by the Zurich Toy Museum and the Swiss National Museum. Bahnhofstrasse is the main shopping street in Zurich, where you can purchase high-end retail, including famous Swiss watches. There are many churches in Zurich that offer architectural wonders. Stop by Grossmunster, Great Church. Take part in water activities on Lake Zurich.
Take a day trip to the surrounding area. Go on the Mountains, Cheese, and Chocolate tour. All the staples of Zurich in one. The tour meets near the train station. You hop on a van with maybe 6 passengers and first get a quick driving tour of the city where you will be able to catch some of the sites you didn’t get to on your walking tour. Then you will drive out of the city, getting a beautiful view of the lake in the process. The first stop is the Lindt Chocolate Outlet Factory, where you can purchase as much chocolate as your heart desires for a discounted price. There are specialty items not available elsewhere. You will nest head through Rapperswil to see its well known medieval castle before arriving at the next stop, the local cheese factory in Stein. An instructional video on the process of making Appenzeller cheese will segway into a cheese tasting and a look behind the scenes at the cheese in its various stages. From there, you drive to the village of Brulisau and take a cable car up to the top of Mt. Hoher Kasten, some 6,000 feet high for views of the Rhine Valley, a walk through the Alpine Garden, and a meal at the revolving restaurant. Head back down for a walking tour of quaint Appenzell. Don’t be surprised to see the citizens in the traditional lederhosen.