How can I describe Zurich in a nutshell? Beautiful. Pristine. So clean that even the graffiti was scenic. Pricey also comes to mind, but so does chocolate. Winning!
So what's up with Zurich? Well, it's the largest city in Switzerland and for us an easy train ride from Southern Germany, which was our main reason for setting out here. Zurich's main train station isn't terribly big, but it is going to drop you off in city center, and for that, we were grateful. As Switzerland is (generally speaking) quite a bit more costly than many other Euro countries, I'd suggest snagging an AirBnB for this one to avoid the $200/night price tag for a decent room.
Zurich is one of the world's financial hubs, and a great place to completely blow your travel budget, but have a great time doing it! But for real budget backpackers, Switzerland may be a place to reconsider. However if you're down to drop $18 on a cocktail, keep reading my friends... I have a great bar suggestion for you!
Zurich has everything entertainment-wise that you could ask for from a cosmopolitan area, to include more than 50 museums and galleries of varying size and subject, heavy on the art. Head to the Swiss National Museum for a peek at the culture and history that carved out this beautiful country in the Alps.
Next on your Swiss list: sample the cuisine, which often came across as similar to German dishes, but a bit lighter on the sauce. They've got something called "rosti" as a side on pretty much every menu which is basically the same thing as Waffle House hash browns. Flavorful and crunchy but perhaps I should have asked for them smothered and covered like a real Southern girl... Speaking of cheese, make a reservation for some fundamental fondue. Don't let the funky smell from outside scare you off.
Once you're all stuffed with cheese (common theme in this area of the world) you can walk it off on Bahnhofstrasse and pick up luxury goods. Bring ALL YOUR MONEY! Don't worry there are a few mainstream clothing shops, bookstores, and souvenir shops in the mix as well. If you're looking for a world famous Swiss made watch, you've come to the right place! If that isn't reason enough, Bahnhofstrasse holds the Sprungli cafe, a perfect chocolate haven for those who can't make it out to the Lindt & Sprungli Factory, just south of Zurich.
While you're in the area, extend your stroll around the Altstadt (old city) for gorgeous scenery, towering churches, and a lakeside breeze.
If sticker shock has not thrown you for a loop just yet, check out a trendy craft cocktail bar, like Brick. You're going to be paying a pretty penny for your drink, but the libations and atmosphere are nothing short of magic! PS you can check out some of our favorite cocktail bars in Prague HERE.
If you prefer something a little more energetic in the evening, you won't have to look far. Zurich is the club capitol of Switzerland!
Even with nothing in particular on your agenda, endless waterfront promenades along the lake and killer scenery as far as the eye can reach provide plenty of entertainment.
The culture here is like a cross-contamination experiment; primarily a German vibe with a dash of French influence. I would love to head to a few other areas of Switzerland to see the more French and Italian influenced regions. This country is one you can completely flex your language skills within, within one brunch exchange we flopped back and forth between English, German, and French at our table.
If you are looking for a perfect 2 day getaway in Central Europe, Zurich is a sweet spot! Perhaps tack a day on here in between the ski towns in the surrounding Alps, or take a trip on one of the most scenic train routes in Europe to a few other Swiss hits.
BON VOYAGE, BABE! xoxo