Zurich as I remember it isn’t much. The first time I’d been there was on a work trip, where time and exploration were second to business. I only glimpsed the old city and nothing more (was there more I wondered at the time).
I found myself in Zurich again when my partner and I were on a trip to Switzerland and Germany. Zurich was our starting point. As infrequent travellers to Europe we’re completely forgetful of the fact that all shops close early, and always on Sundays. Having only two days in Zurich, one of which fell on a Sunday, we were at a great disadvantage.
Some of the places mentioned in the two days we couldn’t visit since they were closed, but they had been earmarked and I’d recommend you try them out. I would, if I ever found Zurich on my path again.
Start your breakfast in the old city, where a number of flourishing cafés offer up sumptuous starts to your day. Café Zahringer is one place known for its history, though value/experience for your buck can be found in any café you wander into.
Sightseeing isn’t much of a thing at Zurich, we found out. One of the main sights is the Grossmünster cathedral. After, take a leisure stroll by the river. The weather was perfect in November, if not a little on the cold side. But imagine you’re me and that fuels your walking spirit more than not since you’re not sweating out your morning’s caffeine intake in thirty degree tropical weather.
Walk the length of the river to the far end of the city, past the main street shopping street, Bahnhofstrasse. On weekends, bazaars pop up where you can peruse antiques. Mostly I love this out of curiosity for the junk people lay out – old spoons, frames, pots and lamps from days gone by.
Neumarkt is just one of many streets in the old city lined with stores that feed a shopper’s most desired intent. Art is abound in Zurich along these stretches, and on one such street you’d find Kunstwarenhaus, a gallery we like for its variety in creativity and affordability.
Shopping is extremely expensive in Zurich, though its goods are quality everywhere you turn. This is unfortunately the case in all Switzerland, as we discovered in comparison to Germany. The simplest things of necessity or indulgence are priced above average. On Sundays the Shopville beneath the rail station has shops that are open for groceries and such.
Even so, it’s lovely looking through all Zurich’s old book stores, and admiring the design and craftsmanship of many interior and design shops.
For tea, stop by the well known Confiserie Sprüngli for desserts. The cafe is right on the heart of Bahnhofstrasse, and a good place to park yourself for a cup of coffee and a sweet treat while you watch the trams run up and down the street.
Once you’ve got sightseeing and shopping under your belt, rest up at my favourite place in all Zurich, the restaurant Zeughauskeller, for brews and a meal. Don’t ignore the specialties of the house (we had the whole pork shank, rosti and sausages), and in particular don’t be an ass and ignore the menu when it says “a must when in Zurich” for Kalbsgeschnetzeltes nach Zurcher Art – panfried sliced veal and mushrooms in creamy white wine sauce. It’s a goddamn droolworthy dish I’d have had twice in one setting if I could. Best had with noodles in my opinion but go for any of its other tempting options.
If clubbing is your thing, there’s plenty in Zurich, as we’ve read. But we much rather walk down Niederdorfstrasse, a part of Zurich’s old town with plenty of bierhalles for evening tipples.
Switch it around – maybe visit the modern part of Zurich on your first 24 hours in Zurich!