In this Destination Guide you will find information for : Zurich
♦Currency: Swiss Franc (CHF)
♦Time Zone: +1 GMT
♦Phone Code: +41
♦Best time to visit: Year round
♦Must eat: Swiss chocolate
♦Must drink: "Kirsch" Liquor
♦Don't miss: Hike on Uetliberg mountain
Number of times visited: 1
Getting there and transportation: Located within central Europe, the position of Switzerland makes it an ideal country to visit from every corner of the world. Not only it has a very developed transport system, it is an attraction to visit in so many ways due to its advanced and flexible financial services, prosperous economy, high tourism all year round and incredibly beautiful landscape.
Switzerland is a landlocked country surrounded by Germany, Austria, France Italy and Lichtenstein. It is an ideal destination to travel by road, train and bus from neighbouring countries. There are frequent train services from Frankfurt, Vienna, Milan or Munich and even direct services to Budapest.
Flying into the country from abroad is also very easy, thanks to well developed airports and a mix of full service airlines and low cost airlines offering direct links into the country. The major airports in Switzerland are Zurich, Basel and Geneva.The national airline is Swiss International Airlines, which offers the best connections not only from Europe but from Asia and America with many popular destinations being served non-stop to Zurich, the hub airport. Alternatively all other major European airlines serve Zurich, plus many overseas carries. If you are travelling from Europe, low cost airlines serve Zurich, Geneva and Basel in Switzerland for very reasonable prices. Airlines popular to fly into the country are Easyjet, Germanwings, Vueling or Helvetic Airlines.
Once there, travelling around the country is very easy by ground transportation. Major cities have well developed public transport systems like Geneva or Zurich. Moving around is best by train, thanks to efficient speed rail and frequent services. Smaller towns and those located close or on the mountains are only accessible by road, so if you are considering in visiting many places it's advised to rent a car as the best way to move around easily.
Switzerland is also a very green country in terms of energy, therefore it's easy to find cycle roads , foot paths and trails in both cities and the countryside where to enjoy the scenery as well as doing sport .
Weather and temperature: Most images of snow topped mountains, hills and ski slopes comes to mind when thinking of Switzerland. Often it's related to a cold country by it's geographical location and high altitude which makes it an ideal winter sport destination and for those who love snow and countryside. However it's an attractive country to visit year round. The best time to visit is during the late Spring up to mid Autumn. (April to October). Temperatures are pleasant to walk around and scenery is at its most beautiful, specially in the Summer, with abundant green tones in contrast with blue lakes and mountains. It's often hot in the Summer, specially in the south with temperatures easily reaching over 25C.
However, the highlight for many people coming to Switzerland is to visit during the Winter to admire the Alps, nature tourism and Winter sports. The landscape is really beautiful during this time of year, specially when it snows and gives the feeling of being in a white heaven full of tranquillity and serenity Temperatures in winter, (December to February) can often go below freezing, even in the cities. If you visit the countryside and the mountains during Winter it's advised to bring proper warm gear with you. Mountain shoes, thermal clothes, gloves and hats should not be forgotten! As well sun glasses and sun lotion is also advised when up high, specially with the higher altitude as the rays of the sun are stronger. (snow reflection can also cause tanning in Winter).
Food and drink: Swiss cuisine is influenced from their neighbours in Germany, France and Italy. Wheat and cereal farming is less suited to higher altitudes, so Swiss farmers have instead focused on dairy, hence the large number of Swiss cheeses. Those with a sweet tooth will be in heaven; Switzerland is, of course, at the forefront of chocolate manufacturing, producing some of the best sweet stuff on the planet.
Specialities to be found are: Fondue, a delicious concoction of Gruyère and Vacherin cheese, melted and mixed with white wine, flour, Kirsch and a little garlic. Raclette, cheese melted over a fire or grill and served with onions, pickles and bread or jacket potatoes. Berner platte, a selection of meats and sausages cooked with sauerkraut, beans and boiled potatoes. Viande sèchée, dried beef or pork from Valais and the Grisons (where it is called bündnerfleisch), served with pickled onions. Pieds de porc, pigs’ trotters. Rösti, a flat, round hot cake made with shredded fried potatoes. Fondue bourguignonne, cubes of seasoned meat cooked in oil or butter and served with various sauces. Leckerli, spiced honey cakes topped with icing sugar, decorated in Bern with a white sugar bear.
As for drinks, Swiss have good wines and beer. The little-exported Swiss wine, in particular whites, are excellent, and domestic beer, both lager and dark ales, are also widely available. Traditional to be found are: Kirsch, a clear hard spirit made from sour cherries. Chasselas, a grape widely used to produce dry and delicate Swiss white wines.
Introduction: described as a "metropolis of experiences by the water", Zurich is a great start to marble at the magnificent views of the snowcapped Alps on the horizon, Zurich offers a unique mixture of attractions, over 50 museums and more than 100 art galleries, international fashion labels and Zurich designs, and a lively nightlife where to relax and socialise. If you like culture and city walks but also want to combine it with nature and eco-tourism, Zurich has all that you're looking for! Don't miss out on a spectacular hike on the Uetliberg mountain!
Transportation: When arriving into Zurich Airport, the easiest way (and cheapest) to get into the city centre is by taking tram number 10. Alternatively you can get regional trains S2/S16 which take you to Zurich HBF (Centre) or fast intercity trains which can connect to major cities, even outside the Swiss boarders. You will find transport information at the SBB travel centre, located below the Airport Center in the Check-in 3 area. The ticket counters are open from 06:15 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Although as a general rule, everything seems to be expensive in Switzerland, the only thing which is very reasonable in fact is public transport. Moving around the city and the outskirts isn't costly and is also a good idea so to enjoy the views outside whilst relaxing inside a train. There are daily passes for visitors to use the transport or you can also purchase the Zurich Card which gives you unlimited transportation plus entry into museums and attractions, 25 USD for 24h or 50USD for 72h.
Below you can access the transport maps for the city of Zurich:
What to see and do: The city of Zurich might be easy to walk around it in a few hours and see the best highlights, however there are many jewels hidden away and waiting to be explored. You can keep yourself entertained by visiting interesting galleries and museums around the city. See the city from a boat tour, walk and hike up the Uetliberg mountain or have a more hands on experience trying to make and learn how to make chocolate! Zurich is full of culture and adventure to keep every traveller busy and make for a very sweet and enjoyable stay!
Some of the highlights of any visit to Zurich are:
Accommodation: Because of the importance of Zurich and being the financial capital of Switzerland, it's to no surprise that the cost of staying overnight is significantly higher than other cities. Hotels are very well located around the city or close to the financial district, however these are often very expensive. prices are in the region of €100 per night even for budget Hotels not under €80! Hotel quality is very good in Switzerland and this makes the average price go up. Other hotels and hostels which are not directly in the city, but are accesible by a trip by tram or bus are also in the same price frame. Alternatively, private accommodation, (Airbnb) and hostels are widely available.
Recommended duration: For a short stay in Zurich, it's enough to see the city and its surroundings during a long weekend or staying over 3 nights. However there is much more than meets the eye and if you decide to travel out of the city then 5 days would be more appropriate. Bear in mind that the capital is rather expensive for eating and going out so adjust your budget as well in function of how long you will stay in the city.