We struggled for a while to decide where to go for our little city break. We had the dates set for November, but the problem is, nowhere is nice in November in Europe. Nowhere. SO we decided to go to Zurich, as the weather is pretty much the same as England, except there is a slightly higher chance of snow; in my eyes a bonus.
One thing I’ve only learned since coming back from Zurich is that it’s not actually the capital of Switzerland like everyone (me and Scott) thinks! It’s actually Bern.
The flight was only an hour and a half, and we managed to score a great deal of only £49 each for a return from London Gatwick with Easyjet – winning! Once we landed, at around 9:30am, we hopped on a train from the airport and arrived into the city centre in under 15 minutes. The transport in Zurich is overall good; the buses and trains are prompt and regular, however the cost is similar to that in England which is higher than a lot of other areas of Europe. If you’re planning on staying in the city itself, and are prepared to wrap up warm, you can get around just fine on foot! One thing we discovered is that Swiss people, like most other Europeans DO NOT cross the road until the little man is green. There’s me and Scott being typical Brits and running in between cars to make it to the other side (rushing for absolutely no reason at all), whilst the rest of the street stood patiently waiting for the light to change.
What to do
Thermal Spa – We visited the thermal spa on our first day in the city, which is approximately half an hour’s walk down from the centre. We had treatments booked in for the early evening but decided to spend the whole day floating between the different steam rooms and warm baths (pun intended). It had a really relaxed atmosphere there, and they have a little ‘cafe’ on site with coffee, wine, salads and yummy treats. One thing we were a little disappointed about was the fact that you can’t take your phones in, so your eagerly awaiting Instagram followers (dare I say, fans?) will never get to see the stunning view from the rooftop pool overlooking the city!
Bus, boat and cable car tour – Just one of the many activities we’ve booked through Get Your Guide. The bus takes you on a guided tour all over the city, stopping at a couple of photo ‘hot spots’, before crossing over to the other side of Lake Zurich via ferry boat. Once over, the bus takes you up the mountain to the cable car, which carries you all the way to a restaurant at the top with the best view around! Here, we sat outside with our mulled wine and took endless photos of the mountains and city below, before returning down into Zurich. The tour took around 4 and a half hours overall, but wasn’t badly priced at around £40 per person including ferry and cable car admission.
If you’re an avid walker, go up to the top of the cable car separately – not as part of the tour – as there are a variety of different nature trails leading you to different bars and restaurants, from 20 minutes to 2 hours!
Day trip to Liechtenstein – You really don’t need more than a day in the world’s 6th smallest country, so why not tick it off your bucket list and turn it into a day trip from Switzerland (but it’s probably best not to go on a Sunday…).
Fifa World Football Museum – We didn’t actually go in here in the end, but we passed it a few times and it looked interesting from the outside, so if football is your thing then i’m sure it’s worth taking a look at.
Day drink – We generally do this at every opportunity, but there are loads of nice bars and cafe’s around to sit back and warm up from the inside.
Eat cheese fondue – This was Scott’s favourite! We both love our cheese, but never have I seen someone scraping every last drop of melted Swiss cheese out of a bowl with a spoon, as if their life depended on it! It was also something to tick off his bucket list.
Where to eat
If you’re looking for a nice spot for brunch, I really recommend Urban Fork. The people who worked there were so lovely, and the food was unbelievable! I had pulled pork eggs Benedict, and Scott had a breakfast burrito! Sadly we didn’t get any photos as we were in such a rush, but search for images of it on Instagram and you’ll see exactly what I mean. The best place we found for a cheese fondue was Restaurant Swiss Chuchi, attached to Hotel Adler. There is a huge selection of fondues, and loads of choice of sides for dipping. For something a bit fancier, either for lunch or an evening meal, Louis Restaurant serves some delicious French food including snails and some really nice oysters. I had the goat’s cheese and pomegranate salad for a starter and it was delicious!
Where to drink
Whilst we were in Zurich, there were two big football games that Scott wanted to watch, and we found an Irish pub called Kennedy’s where they were showing the matches. It was nice in there, but it cost £7 a pint!!! Yes – seven. pounds. a. pint. Above Louis Restaurant was Tina’s bar, where we had a couple of drinks whilst we waited for a table. It was quite cosy up there, with a lot of people smoking inside the room which overlooked the busy cobbled streets below. One weird thing we found about Zurich is, of all of the places that me and Scott went, we always seemed to be served our white wine at room temperature – it might just be a British thing to make your wine so cold that there’s literally condensation on the outside of the wine glass?
I (Alex) have been to Switzerland before in summer when I was a child, to Geneva. I remember it being really hot and sunny, and quite a pretty place around the lake. I’d like to go back there one day, and also explore a lot more of the Swiss mountains and countryside, but I can’t say Zurich is a place i’d hurry back to, as I think a long weekend is enough to see the wonderful city!