I was away in Zurich recently and since I got to know it quite well I thought I would write a bit about it. Having never been to Switzerland before I didn’t know much about Zurich so all I had to go on were the usual stereotypes - cheese, chocolate, mountains, money, banks, and watches being the main contenders. After spending just over two months there altogether though, I can safely say that Zurich has a lot more to offer. So much in fact that it’s difficult to cram it all into one post so this will be have to be a three-parter ;)
The way I see it, you can divide the city into four rough areas: Lake Zurich in the middle, an area called Hardbrücke to the West with lots of shops and interesting bars, restaurants and clubs, the Niederdorf to the East which is the old part of town and the Bahnhofstrasse (the main high street) running from the city’s main train station down to the lake with the Niederdorf to one side and Hardbrücke to the other. Obviously there are more areas than this but in the interests of keeping it simple, I’ll stick to these.
If my explanation has confused you, have a look at this lovely map of a section of the city illustrated by Anja Denz - an illustrator and designer based in Zurich.
Let’s start with the lake area - in the summer, people like to swim in it and on either side of the lake there are park areas where people go to sunbathe and have barbeques. I even saw flumes there!
You can also jump on a boat for a tour around the lake – something I never got round to doing and regret but maybe next time.
Another way to make your way around the lake is by bike. You can hire one from Züri rollt and they are so trusting that you only have to pay a deposit for the bike that you get back once you return the bike, making it free.
If you're not tired out by a cycle around the lake, you could head to the Niederdorf which is very pretty and full of bars and restaurants. There is also a nice viewpoint that looks over the river to the old town called Lindenhof (see Anja's map ;) ). Well worth a visit.
The Bahnhofstrasse is where you will find some normal high street stores like H&M and Zara but it rapidly turns into a millionaire’s paradise with shops like Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Prada and so on. A highlight for me though was the Sprüngli cafe, where I had a nice hot chocolate and would definitely recommend the chocolate-filled brioches.
Moving on to the Hardbrücke area you can find places like the Freitag shop, which is built out of freight containers and even has an observation deck at the very top for views over the city.
Not far from there is Viadukt - an old viaduct that has been converted into shops and restaurants under each archway. There is also a lovely food market at the very end of it.
When you walk back from there towards the centre, you’ll find a lot of nice restaurants and a sprinkling of interesting shops but more on those in the next post!