International Schools in Zurich
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Zurich – Destination Guide
The scenic city is located on the shores of the crystal-clear Lake Zurich, against a backdrop of The Alps, with an Old Town you can’t fail to be charmed by.
Reasons to visit Zurich, Switzerland’s largest city, are hardly difficult to come by. Once considered a little stuffy, Zurich now boasts one of Europe’s best and most varied nightlife scenes, and has earnt quite the reputation for both its gastronomy, and its affection for modern design. Here is our rundown of what to do whilst visiting this beautiful city…
Located on the banks of both the Limmat and Sihl Rivers, as well Lake Zurich, this is an ideal spot for those who love waterside living. One of the delights of being in town during warmer months is taking the opportunity for a relaxed saunter, or boat ride, around the lake. Should the sun be shining, set up shop and catch some rays on one of the lake’s many wooden pontoons. Fancy something a little more active? Fear not, you can charter yachts, hire pedalos, or even try your hand at paddleboarding.
To gain a sense of the city’s history, first set your watch by St Peter’s Church, the oldest parish church in Zurich, dating back to the 9th century. Enjoy a stroll through the Old Town, an unmissable part of the city home to Roman Baths, ruins, and medieval houses dating back 2000 years. The 13th century cathedral Fraumünster, known for its stained-glass windows, and Grossmünster across the water, are ideal for lovers of impressive architecture.
Zurich is known for its museums, and arguably the highlight is The Kunsthaus Zürich, a modern art museum housing works by the likes of Monet, Rodin, Picasso, and Warhol.
For the kids…
If enjoying your getaway with little ones, Zurich Zoo makes for a fantastic day out. The zoo is home to over 360 species of animals, all housed in naturally designed habitats. The Kaeng Krachan Elephant Park and Langenberg Wildlife Park also allow visitors unrivalled encounters with unusual animals including wolves, elk, brown bears, and wild boar.
Kloten High Ropes Adventure Park is another brilliant shout for the whole family, especially if you’re partial to adrenaline-fuelled activities. On-site there are 160 obstacles to tackle, as well at their cableway high above the trees.
Rest your head…
Design hotel, 25 Hours is located in Zurich’s hip Zurich-West neighbourhood and features individually designed rooms, inspirational messages greeting you when you glance in the mirror, and fun graphics throughout. Prices start from 136CHF.
B2 Boutique Hotel and Spa in Zurich’s Old Town, is an ideal place to base yourself for a long weekend. This former brewery is home to a rooftop pool, and a romantic candlelit wine library. Rooms start from 308CHF.
For something a little special, book a room at the multi award-winning Dolder Grand Spa Hotel. With unrivalled views across the Lake and the city, and top-class food and spa facilities, you may find yourself a little reluctant to go out exploring. Rooms start at 600CHF.
Time to dine…
Zam Park is a cosy café bar and popular brunch spot located on Fritschiwiese. Expect a choice of four dishes each reasonably priced at 9.50CHF. Enjoy their mesmerising lighting, and seating, all of which is created by local artists.
For the premier strudel in all of Zurich, head to Poushe where their varied, fun menu of sweet and savoury options may make it tricky to pick your favourite. Their menus change on a daily basis, so maybe just one visit wont be enough!
Enjoy a three-course dinner and unlimited red and white wine for 69CHF at eCHo Restaurant located inside the Zurich Marriott Hotel. Order the Salsiz platter as an appetizer and you’ll be rewarded with a complimentary Swiss Army knife!
For a real treat:
Book at table at Michelin-starred Restaurant Pavilion located in the Baur Au Lac Hotel. Dine upon Head Chef Laurent Eperon’s contemporary interpretations of haute cuisine, against a backdrop of the Baur au Lac Garden, and the Schanzengraben Canal.
Take a walk along Bahnhofstrasse and revel in each step knowing that beneath your feet lay vaults crammed full of silver and gold. Even if you haven’t got the cash to splash on the designer clothes, watches, furs, and porcelain found on this exclusive street, this is prime people watching territory, as many an affluent Zuricher heads here to satiate their need for luxury items.
For souvenirs your best bet is Heimatwerk, where you’ll find fondue dishes, forks, toys, clocks, and chocolate galore.
If you’re on the hunt for something more cutting-edge, get yourself to Im Viaduct in Zurich-West. This former industrial corner of town is now a hip cultural centre packed with theatres, galleries, restaurants, and shops. Housed in what was once a 19th century railway arch, you’ll find everything from designer threads, to unusual accessories.
Zurich’s best flea markets Flohmarkt Kanzlei and Bürkliplatz Flea Market, take place every Saturday, and are perfect for those who enjoy a good rummage for rarities. Keep your eye out for expensive jewellery – people have been known to snap up some unbelievable bargains.
Paint the town…
Popular areas for those in pursuit of a Zurich-style night on the tiles include Niederdorf in the Old Town, where you’ll find numerous bars and cafes tucked away in the side-streets that pepper the left bank of the river.
Other great options for a boogie include Zurich-West and the streets nestled around Langstrasse. Try Frau Gerolds Garten, a unique space, where you’ll find bars, restaurants, and a couple of boutique shops all housed within shipping containers. Expect a festival-vibe with live music, wooden tables, laid-back clientele and an inventive cocktail list – be sure to try their divine Black Pepper gin and tonic.
If visiting in summer, you may be keen to keep festivities lakeside. Check out popular Badi Bars Seebad Enge, and Rimini Bar. By day these lidos attract families, by night come those in search of cocktails, and scintillating company.
A bit of fun…
If you’re in the market for chocolate, and let’s be honest, that includes everyone in Switzerland, make your way to Sprüengli, Zurich’s premier chocolatier. Just a warning – you’re likely to leave a couple of pounds heavier.
Every three years Züeri Fäscht comes to Zurich. The festival, set to take place from 1-3 July promises to be a raucous affair, with food stalls, concerts, circus acts, a funfair, stunt planes, street entertainers, not to mention the cold beer, and the world-class fireworks displays taking place each night over the lake.
You don’t have to venture far out of the city limits to feel as though you’re deep in the Swiss Alps. If time is tight, head to Hönnerberg – The Red Forest on the west side of the city, to enjoy some peace and quiet away from the lake. If your schedule is more relaxed, and you fancy putting a few miles on your trusty walking boots, head to The Rhine Falls, located around a 45-minute bus ride north of the city. There’s a fair bit of walking involved in getting to the viewing platforms, so come prepared with water and snacks.
For incredible views, catch a train or hike up Uetliberg, the city’s very own mountain. Standing at 869m, from here you can enjoy panoramic vistas across the city, Lake Zurich, and beyond to The Alps.
Did you know?
James Joyce famously penned “Ulysses” in Zurich during World War II. Visit his favourite spot in the city – Platzspitz Park, located right next to the Swiss National Museum.