Discover the Summer Paradise of Zurich
Zurich, the home of Swiss Miss, cheeses, and chocolates… and oh so much more!
The largest city in Switzerland, Zurich is small, independent, and culturally complex. If you speak English, German, Italian, or Romansch (though doubtful on that last one – as only 1% speak it!) you’ll have no problem getting around. However, the official language is Zürichdeutsch (Zürich German) – a local dialect of Swiss-German – the mother-tongue of 77% of the population.
Whatever you do, don’t think these Swiss are a bunch of goody-two shoes. This is where LSD and Absinthe were founded! And of course you can’t forget the shady business deals that go down in this place! Matter of fact, journeyPod was just here to check on our secret salty bank account! (Wink, Wink)
Most people do think of Zurich as a boring bank city…, which is unfortunate! Go there in summer and you’ll find an almost Mediterranean-like atmosphere. Green parks line the blue waters of Lake Zurich make for an excellent day of relaxation – swimming in the refreshing lake, taking in a boat ride, enjoying a picnic lunch, or napping on a wooden dock as the cool breeze blows over. Who would have thought you’d get a piece of Mediterranean paradise in Zurich?! Well, now you know!
Oh, and a great spot to pick up picnic supplies is COOP – there’s one on every street, and you can’t miss the bright orange and red signs.
Zurich is also known for it’s superb hotels, so with an abundance of hotel choices in the area, it aint always easy to choose where to stay. Here’s two of journeyPod’s picks:
Widder Hotel – Located in a downtown Zurich (in the middle of the Augustiner Quarter), the hotel consists of eight private houses joined to form this five-star designer hotel. Considered the area’s most up-to-date hotel, Widder boasts historical elements that were carefully renovated and tastefully harmonized with a modern feel. The wooden beams, murals, frescos and stone walls all have been restored to their original integrity and combined with state-of-the-art fixtures – such as a hyper-modern staircase and a super-trendy reception area, just to name a few.
Hotel Glockenhof Zurich – Situated in the heart of the city and close to the lake of Zurich and Bahnhofstrasse shopping, this hotel is polished and very sophisticated. Just minutes away from attractions like the Great Church, Rhine Falls, Museum of Art and the Swiss National Museum, the hotel features 95 exquisitely decorated rooms, ideal for rest and relaxation after a tour or shopping-filled day in the city. And for all of you who travel with your pets, accommodations can be provided for your pooch too!
Like most proper European cities, Zurich is rich with cafés and dining spots where anyone can enjoy a leisurely cup of java, glass of wine or other beverage or just watch the world go by… but if you really want to sit down and be served check out some of journeyPod’s restaurant picks:
Café Neumarkt – Come to this place to eat in one of the city’s most attractive outdoor restaurants. The building houses not only a café, but also a small theatre. The relaxed bohemian atmosphere, the delicious antipasti plates and the fresh market produce are quite simply charming!
Seerose Hafenrestaurant – The splendid terrace above the water is the ideal place to relax! On a sunny day in Zurich, this is one the best outdoor restaurants in town. And, the fresh seafood and hearty Swiss cooking are sure to please.
Florhof – Located inside Hotel Florhof, this restaurant – an old patrician house’s sun terrace – promises romantic and unforgettable moments. And if you ask the right folks, you may even have a chance to check out their 400-year old arched wine cellar! The menu is seasonal and offers fresh market products that lean towards a delectable French-Mediterranean selection.
When the sun sets in Zurich, head down the Limmat River where you’ll still find the day’s swimmers and parties galore. Many bars line the banks of the Limmat (pronounced “limit”) River, where you can enjoy a local drink of apple juice and sparkling mineral water (called Apfelschorle.) But if you’re in the mood for a real libation, drink it just the way the Swiss do – “shandy-style” (Half beer, half Sprite.)
Switzerland’s biggest city and a major center of banking also has a thriving nightlife. Here’s journeyPod picks for some nightlife spots:
Hechtplatz – This summer garden is one of the nicest summer locations on Zurich – particularly in the evenings. Enjoy a light meal or a cool “shandy” and enjoy the view!
BarFuss Bar – A public bath by day (men only), bar and lounge by night – when the stronger sex is allowed to sip drinks (as long as they come barefoot)!
Hive Club – A true hotspot in Zurich, Hive Club lets you dance all night to local and international DJs!
Kaufleuten Lounge Bar – The best-known restaurant/bar/club in Zurich, this is where Madonna and Prince party when they’re in town. A very stylish club that occupies two floors, it features four bars, theatrical curtains and amazing lighting. Enjoy the view when you arrive… you’re sure to see some other celebs!
After a night of drinking and clubbing, there’s nothing better than to recover with great food and some shopping (especially for all you gals out there!) Head over to Bahnhofstrasse – which translates to Train Station Street – a shopping spot that is no doubt the Rodeo Drive of Zurich.
Talk about luxury shopping at its best! (If you’re looking for an inexpensive lunch on-the-go, Avanti is a great little sandwich kiosk on Bahnhofstrasse.) After shopping, take the train about 20 minutes to Uetliberg – Zurich’s own little hill – for an incredible 360 degree view of the city.
Shout-out to Anja for her fabulous hospitality and super recommendations!