Many years ago I worked in a Zurich Bakery for a few days. This time over, I found the city, buzzing with people of all sorts. Shops were open longer, more restaurants had mushroomed, and tourists from all over thronged this small but extremely cute city.
Zurich does not have the buzz of London, but it definitely has something which draws me back to it.
Since we spent not more than a few days, we did not look around for any activities. Each of us had a bit of shopping to do and loads of restaurants to explore.
Lake picnic. We met a couple friend in Fishers Fritz. Its a camping ground and an open air bar. We got rain for the first hour, so we could only order drinks. Once the tables opened up, we could order some food. (the swiss are sticklers for rules). The french fries with truffles was absolutely awesome.
Sit by the lake. Zurich has a massive lake. The lake I have mentioned above is the same lake I mention here. This end is by the main city, where as the lake front I mentioned above, needs a 20 minute taxi drive, it extends sooo far. Take a few sandwiches, pick up your poison, sit by the lake and watch the world go by. I believe, ferry rides, and summer lake water activities are a big draw in Zurich.
Look up and see the Alps.
Walk and cycle. You are more liable to bang into a cyclist than a car. Though post office hours the car traffic jams are gigantic. Walk around, all over, take trams, hire a cycle and explore this city.
Trams – are very easy to access and go just about every where. Take a day pass, for a pass for the entire duration you are in Zurich.
Hikes Zurich citizens are known to take off for hikes in and around their city. They have some wonderful trails and some fascinating views. No wonder I did not see even one over weight Swiss. You can find some trails here
Zoo The siblings took their tinies to the zoo. They told me that they could have spent one entire day there. The zoo was wonderful for adults as well as kids. Other than animals it also had a lot of rides and small play area for kids. The brother said that the Restaurant – Pantanal was very very good.
Sprungli You have to and must visit the main Sprungli shop. Ofcourse you will eat there, (as I will soon mention) and shop there too. But the first time, just go and see the spectacular display of chocolates, chocolate related products and the various different ice creams and drinks available in the main shop. Its an unforgettable, mouth opening, jaw hanging experience. And its always crowded!!
Old Town Its walking distance from main Bahnofstrasse ( the main street). The roads are clean (are you surprised?) and its a pleasure to walk around. Neiderdof has quaint shops, great restaurants and ice cream parlours.
Train Station. No. I am not a train spotting junkie- This station, rather whats underneath the station is a marvel. They have built an entire city under the tracks. You can shop, eat, window shop. And nope – its not claustrophobic.
For the best Raclette and Fondue – go to the old town. Swiss Chuchi – Adler Hotel. Outstanding experience. Please book in high season. Sit outdoors if the weather is good. And please have white wine with it. And a Kirsch after that to wash it down.
Belvoirpark This is actually a culinary school. The students cook and serve. Sometimes the service can get a bit clumsy, but do over look that. Because the food is terrific. http://www.belvoirpark.ch/ Book in advance.
Sprungli http://www.spruengli.ch/service/restaurant-en.php There are many small shops all over Zurich. Please go to the biggest one in Paradeplatz. Sit outdoors. No booking is taken so, please dont go in peak lunch hour.
Hiltl Not my favourite place, but if you would like a pure veg meal, the variety can boggle your mind. Get your samosa fix!
Santa Lucia. Its a pizza chain all over Zurich. Excellent hot, wood fired oven Pizzas here. Get a swiss wine to go with it.
White Elephant http://www.coolinary.ch/de/page/thai-restaurant-white-elephant/. Excellent Thai cuisine. Please book in advance.
Some other restaurants, and some of them Michelin Star are –
The entire Bahnoffstrasse (the main street) is a shopping Mecca.
Jelmoli (J is pronounced as Y) has all the upmarket brands.
Annahof I love this shop. It has many medium level brands. So you can go here for lingerie as well as a wedding gown. Shoes, Bags, Make up, everything.
Co op There are many all over Zurich. For all ye foodies – go pick up everything gourmet from here. Has normal food stuff by the horde too.
Pharmacy. There are many all over Zurich. There is something about the stuff available here. I always make it a point to pick up Traumalix Dolo 5% gel. This is a fabulous non smelling, no burning gel for bruises, sprains and strains. Pick up your basic vitamins. All pharmacies will have someone to help you.
Sprungli you must shop here for the luxemburglies, the truffles, the cheese sticks and the tiny tiny icecream scoop in a tiny tiny waffle cone. Try their hot chocolate and cold chocolate milk. Buy your dark chocolate here. Basically, be warned to drop a lot of hard earned money here.
Hotel If you get a good rate, stay in Glockenhof. Its bang in the centre of the street, yet just off centre to not have you feeling like you are in the middle of rush hour traffic. Great rooms. Super breakfast.
Some notes about Zurich.
Travel by tram. Its cheap and fun.
Eat lots of Swiss food. Trust me there is nothing like the original.
Take home some cheese.
Take home a fondue set.
Go for the Raclette set too!
Be polite and the swiss will be polite in return. They love their rules.
If you need a watch, buy one here. Interlaken (2 hours by train) is very cheap for it
Travel around by train. You can take many one day journeys and visit small villages and mountain peaks.
Walk, walk, walk.
Drink some local wines and beers. They are really good.
If you dong mind a little expensive variety of undergarment – go to Calida. only available in Switzerland, it costs a bit, but lasts for ever and is amazingly comfortable. Look for sales. Their nightwear is hMMmmm!
Have loads of fun!