What to do in Zürich, Switzerland

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Zürich, the largest city in Switzerland, but not the capital though. It is beautifully divided by a river and is home to abundance of cafes, watch shops and also the largest vegetarian restaurant in Switzerland. Quite a mix and very refreshing! I have friends in Zürich and had visited before, so when we passed during our European road trip this summer, it was my second time in the city and definitely not the last.

Here’s my list of things to do:

 

See the city from above

I simply love to see places from above! It gives such a great overview and impression of a place, be it a city or a landscape. So what better way than to start a visit in Zürich with admiring the pretty city from above?

Here are three different ways to do it:

From the top of the church Grossmünster

This is a classic way of seeing the city from above and very convenient. Grossmünster is located right in the city center and is a perfect combination of sightseeing and exercise as you will have to walk up the 187 stairs to reach the tower. From the top you have bird’s-eye view of the many towers in the city and the alps in the back.

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From the luxury hotel Dolder Grand Hotel

Visiting the Dolder Grand includes a tram ride and makes you feel far away from the city in green surroundings. The iconic luxury hotel is located on the mountainside with beautiful view over the city and the mountains. It is the perfect place to visit for a lazy afternoon and indulge in some delicious chocolate on their large outdoor terrace.

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Visit the website here

From Clouds Bar

Clouds bar & restaurant is located on top of a business tower, so naturally you’ll meet people in suit coming for the after-work drink. The view is amazing and the interior absolutely beautiful (the pictures do not pay justice to the place at all – sorry!). We went there for cocktails before heading out to another restaurant, but next time I’m in Zürich, I will definitely try the restaurant as well.

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Visit the website here

 

Indulge in Swiss chocolate

Most people know Switzerland for the bank industry, watches and chocolate. So visiting this country without eating chocolate would be a mistake!

The classic choice: Conditorei Schober

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Even the restrooms are nice at Conditorei Schober. A friends once said to me that the restrooms in a restaurant reflect the kitchen: If the restrooms are nice and tidy, the kitchen is too. If not… I don’t even want to think about the many places I have visited with messy restrooms…

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Visit the website here

Other places to stock up on Swiss chocolate

+ Confiserie Sprüngli at Paradeplatz

+ Confiserie Teuscher on Storchengasse

+ Max Chocolatier in the department store Globus on Bellevue

 

Eat at Switzerland’s largest vegetarian restaurant

So the city of chocolate and banks is also the city with the largest vegetarian restaurant! Hiltl is huge (three floors) and we were quite amazed to find it fully booked on a Wednesday for lunch. It it obviously the place to be in the city centre for lunch. On the ground floor they offer a more informal lunch experience where the food also can be ordered for take-away. The second and third floor are for seated guests. They both offer a large buffet and à la carte. We ordered à la carte and shared a tofu salad + a vegetarian tartar (of dried tomatoes) for a starter and then a wok as main dish. Accompanied by fresh juice obviously. All in all a super recommendable place!

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Visit the website here

 

Visit the library at the law university

Visiting a library at a university is not what you’d normally do when traveling, but as I adore Santiago Calatrava’s work (and had visited this library before) I just had to show it to my husband too this summer. It is conveniently located if you are planning of going up to the Dolder Grand Hotel as the walk from the library and to the tram that takes you up to the hotel is only 10 – 15 minutes.

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Visit the website here

 

Dine by the lake

The lake is a central point in Zürich. During my last visit, we had great weather and we spent a day sailing on the lake. This time the weather wasn’t for sailing, but we still wanted to make to most out of the fact that there is a large lake in the middle of this wonderful city. And what better way to enjoy a place than by eating? Here are two options for eating along the lake side:

The low-key experience

No trip to Zürich without a grilled hot-dog (because they are really good there! although served with bread on the side instead of the sausage being in the bread). Sternen Grill is the classic and best choice when going for grilled sausage in Zürich.

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Visit the website here

The fine dining experience

For a more formal experience by the lake Quai 61 is a great choice. When the sun is out they open the large roof top terrace, which is very popular. The location and view is stunning and you will see the many boats on the lake first hand.

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Visit the website here

 

Visit the Botanical garden

For a nice afternoon stroll the botanical garden is well worth it. Especially the tropical domes, where the temperatures reach almost 30 degrees are wonderful.

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Visit the website here

 

Nice to know

+ The currency is Swiss Franc, but they do accept Euro everywhere (but do expect the change in Francs)

+ The fastest and easiest way to get around is by tram

+ The lunch hours are quite strict in Zürich, meaning that many restaurants only serve lunch between 12 – 14. So don’t expect late lunches like in Southern Europe

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Any ideas or thoughts you wish to share? Don't hold back, I love to chat :)