If you were to ask me what my ideal city break involved, it would go something like this: fabulous architecture, amazing history, a river running through it, a strong sense of identity, foodie heaven, cute coffee houses and quirky shops. Well, Zurich has all of these things in abundance. In fact, it is so pretty I’ve had difficulty in choosing photos for the blog as the temptation to just photo-bomb you with pretty squares is huge! On top of that, we are in the run up to Christmas, so the city’s festive vibe (think hot chocolate, sheepskin seat covers in outdoor cafes, sparkly window displays) only enhanced the experience!
Not only did my Lonely Planet competition win include flights with Swiss Air and a fabulous stay at the Atlantis by Giardino, we were also given a Zurich City Pass which gave us 72 hours free transport in and around the city.
Steve is drawn to water so the first thing we did was jump on a boat for a lake tour. The autumn colours were breath-taking!
The trip takes one and a half hours and is free with the Zurich card.
The city is right on the waterfront, so it was only a short hop into town to see the Fraumunster and its amazing Chagall windows. We were very lucky to have popped into the cathedral just as an orchestra was rehearsing for that night’s performance of one of Bach’s cello suites, so we took a pew (literally) and enjoyed the music.
Next was a coffee shop recommended by the hotel: Schobers. It’s like a winter wonderland in there, with the most amazing cash register I’ve ever seen.
There are squares in abundance, each with multi coloured buildings that are just so typically European.
We visited the very grand Metropol Café, famously frequented by Albert Einstein, who, it is said, developed his revolutionary theories in the early 1900s whilst sitting here with a drink. Just look at those impressive columns.
We also enjoyed a hot chocolate in café Odeon, where, in the first half of the century, writers, artists and intellectuals would hang out to discuss politics and culture. The décor is grand and the place just oozes history.
One of the prettiest areas is the Fisherman’s district where long, low houses lie along the water’s edge. This district is crammed with antique shops and individual boutiques.
Split across both sides of the river Limmat, the city is ideal for a city break because it is easily covered on foot.
The architecture is a real mix of traditional and modern, with some lovely old squares having quite unusual pieces of art.
You didn’t have to look far for traditional houses though, many with flowers spilling over the balconies.
This was such a beautiful place to visit in the run up to Christmas. I’ll leave you with a photo of this fountain in one of the many impossibly pretty squares.