Perfect for a stopover or a quick Swiss city break!
Zurich is one of the most popular cities to visit in Switzerland (which is probably the most obvious thing I’ve ever said on here but it’s true). If you’re into anything even remotely Swiss (and trust me on this one, even if it’s just the chocolates – you will soon find reason enough to want to visit a Swiss city) then Zurich is bound to be on your travel radar.
Before I start though – a quick confession. 🙂 See, rather than muddle through the streets of Zurich, learn the hard way where to eat, what to do, what to see…etc, I had a bit of an ace up my sleeve – I had local knowledge in the guise of my amazing Swiss friend who has called the city home almost her entire life.
Thanks to my amazing friend, we were able to skip all the hard graft of trying to find the very best spots in the city and instead spend more time eating our way through the city (always the best way to experience a city if you ask me 😉 ). There’s nothing quite having someone who knows a place inside out to show you where you really need to be spending your time in, eh?
Anyway, following on from our 24 hour stop in Zurich (on the way to Lake Maggiore – more on that one soon), I figured I might as well share my new found knowledge and give you a quick guide on how to make the most of a short stay in the city.
WHERE TO GO FOR AFTERNOON TEA, COFFEE AND CAKES.
This could also double up as where to go for brunch. That place in question is Confiserie Sprüngli.
Confiserie Sprüngli is the home of some of the most delicious treats you’ll find in the city and is highly recommended by locals and visitors alike.
There’s something for everyone here so this is one easy yes when it comes to where to pop into when you’re in the city. (It’s also a great place to hang out in if you arrive too early for your check in – just drop your stuff at the hotel reception and come on over).
WHERE TO STAY
Zurich has a fair selection of great hotels but Hotel Storchen is the place to stay in when you’re in the city.
For starters, if you have limited time in the city, you don’t want to have to keep commuting back and forth and the hotel is smack in the city centre – right next to the lake, the old town and all the major attractions… which is also why this area is one of the most expensive areas in the city to own a home in – the Swiss do not play around with their lake views, it’s pretty important stuff 😉 .
Then there’s the rooms themselves which offer a great view of the city!
Breakfast here is also a huge reason to stay here too. Oh, and that bed is sooooo ridiculously comfy!
HOW TO GET AROUND
You could always take a taxi but the tram here is pretty convenient and fairly on time. As far as prices go, this is one of the cheapest things you’ll get in the city so it’s worth getting one (even if you do end up using a taxi to get back home after a long evening out).
Oh – get a day pass here. It makes so much more sense than just getting a single pass.
WHERE TO GO FOR DINNER
Les Halles is the place to go! Delicious food, fun people (at least, the ones I met) – all in a really fun and laid-back atmosphere. What’s not to like, eh?
It’s the kind of place you know would go down a storm in London and definitely one you’d struggle to find a seat in. 🙂
Thankfully, seating here is pretty informal so even if you don’t find a table on your own, you’re always welcome to share with the others on much bigger tables here.
WHERE TO GO FOR DRINKS AND A NIGHT OUT
If you went to dinner in Les Halles, then you’re already in the right part of town. That part is District 5! This is where the best clubs and bars in the city are and this is where you want to find yourself on a night out in the city.
We didn’t end up having a full on night out (we were saving that for the next day’s party down by the lake) but if you’re not sure where to head here, we’ve been told Club Supermarket is almost always guaranteed to be a fun experience!
Alas, for me that evening, it was back to the hotel after dinner for some champagne (a brilliant surprise from the hotel).
WHERE TO GO FOR BREAKFAST
This one is easy – breakfast is included at the hotel! Here, you’ll get a fantastic selection and can order eggs or whatever else you want off the menu to your table.
Alas, I didn’t take my camera with me to breakfast but I did pick it up after when I went wandering around the hotel to take it all in a bit more detail.
The hotel has great views over the city, like I mentioned earlier so if you missed it on the first day, try to catch it before you leave. (Hint – reception are so helpful and will happily point out where to get the best view of the city).
WHERE TO GO FOR THE SIGHTS
Well, let’s face it – you only have a short time in the city so you can’t see everything in the city, but that’s not reason not to try! Thing is Zurich is a fairly compact city and so, when it comes to the main sights to see, you’ll find that if you were already staying at the Hotel Storchen, you’re already close to most of the sights.
On the way to the café yesterday, you’ll have walked through some of the oldest streets in Zurich so that’s a tick off your sightseeing list.
Today, you should head down to the lake (via Limmatquai – the street parallel to the river). There’s a fair bit to see on your way to the lake including, Fraumünster Church, the opera house and Grossmünster church.
From the lake, circle your way back to the centre of the old town (generally towards to Grossmünster church – which is on the opposite side of the river to where your hotel was) and here you’ll find stunning traditional Swiss houses and truly what feels like the heart of the city.
Your best bet here is just to wander around sans plan. There’s so much to see at every turn and you almost feel like you’ve left most of Zurich behind and somehow journeyed back through time.
If you’re anything like me, after a quick coffee here, this is when you realise you’re starting to run late and need to hot foot it back to your hotel to pick up your stuff and either head for the airport or, in our case, head for the train station for a long weekend down by the lake.
And there you have it! Your 24 hours in Zurich. Have fun when you visit. 🙂