Zurich (German: Zürich; Swiss. Züri) is the largest city in Switzerland in the country north-east, the capital of the German-speaking canton of Zurich, and the administrative center of the eponymous district. In regards to global cities, Zurich took second place in the world in quality of life in 2011, and it was recognized as the most expensive city in the world in 2012.

The city’s administrative boundaries coincided with the so-called old city until 1893. The city expanded twice after that: in 1893 and 1934 when Zurich united with many surrounding its municipalities, the rapid growth of which began in the XIX century. Zurich is divided into 12 districts today (Kreis in German).

What is remarkable, there is the Barry Callebaut headquarters in the city, which is one of the world leaders in chocolate production.

A farmer’s market is organized on Tuesdays and Fridays on the Bürkliplatz square where Bahnhofstrasse originates. There is a great selection of flowers and local delicacies in addition to fresh fruits and vegetables here.

You can see places related to the history of not only Switzerland but of the whole of Europe in the streets’ labyrinth of the Niederdorf and Oberdorf neighborhoods.

Tourism and main attractions

The most interesting sights are in the old part of the city around the river and lake. The Old Town is divided historically into Small Town on the Limmat River left bank and Big Town on the right bank. The Old Town as an urban district has been divided administratively since 1971 into 4 boroughs: Rathaus (“Town Hall”), Hochschulen (“University”), Lindenhof, and City (“City”).

The Lindenhof borough is the historical center from which the city development began. There was a Roman fortification on the current Lindenhof borough site, then the Carolingian Kingdom of the Franks medieval castle and the free imperial city of Zurich arose in this place later. Lindenhof and Rathouse correspond to the medieval city’s historical parts on the Limmat east coast, while the City and Hochschulen include urban buildings to the west and east of the medieval city walls, respectively.

Hiking enthusiasts are advised to hike in the Pfannenstiel hills and Zimmerberg Mountain or in the Sihlwald Forest. Convenient bicycle paths are located around transparent Zurich Lake also. Those who prefer a relaxing holiday should ride a paddle boat on the lake.

Lake Zurich and the surroundings (The Lake Zurich Region) – the Lake Zurich promenade (Seepromenade) is one of the most picturesque places in the city. It can be divided into two parts: the east and west of the Bürkliplatz square, from where you can get to any coastal town on the lake by boat.

The embankment’s eastern part is, in fact, a spacious (by Swiss standards) park. This place turns into a real center of activity in summer: bathing, sunbathing, skaters, runners, mothers with children, jewelry sellers, street artists – all come here on warm days.

The embankment’s western part is a long promenade with many wooden benches and cafes. It leads to the Chinese Garden – a small but very beautiful.

Grossmünster Church, Zwingliplatz is one of the three most important churches in Zurich, along with Fraumünster and St. Peter’s Church. The cathedral’s central part near the Limmat River embankment was built on the Carolingian Church site. The cathedral’s construction dates back to 1090, the church only began to be used around 1220.

The Grossmünster Cathedral two towers are one of the most recognizable city sights. And the view from the cathedral top towards Lindenhof, the Town Hall Bridge, and St. Peter’s Church, famous for the largest tower clock in Europe, is considered one of the most picturesque in the country.

Fraumünster, Kämbelgasse 2 is a former abbey founded by Louis the German for his daughter Hildegard in 853. In 1045, the King of Germany, Henry III, granted the monastery the right to own markets, collect duties and mint coins, thereby making the abbess the ruler of the city. Emperor Frederick II made the abbey territorially independent of all authorities and increased the abbess’s political power.

Swiss National Museum, Landesmuseum, Museumstrasse 2 building was constructed in 1898 in the historicist style by architect Gustav Gull in the form of the French Renaissance city chateau. Its impressive architecture with dozens of towers, courts and his astonishing park on a peninsula between the Sihl and Limmat rivers has become one of the main sights of the Old City District of Zurich.

The museum’s permanent exhibition presents visitors with the history of Switzerland from prehistoric times to the present. The museum collection is located on four floors: there are prehistoric and early historical monuments of material culture on the first floor, there is a gallery dedicated to the history of Switzerland on the second floor, there are exhibits telling about the Swiss lifestyle, as well as an emblem collection on the third and fourth floors. The Gothic art, knightly culture, Christian wooden sculptures, panels, and carved altars collection is noteworthy and rich. A collection of porcelain and earthenware belonging to the Swiss National Museum is housed in Zunthaus-zur Meisen near the former Fraumünster Abbey. There is a Collections Gallery, a place where there are Swiss furnishings being exhibited, an Armoury Tower, a diorama of the Battle of Murten, and a Coin Cabinet showing 14th, 15th, 16th century Swiss coins and even some coins from the Middle Ages.

Kunsthaus is one of the largest art museums in Switzerland. Located at Heimplatz. The museum was drawn-up by architects Karl Moser and Robert Curjel and opened in 1910. His collection includes mainly works of Swiss art from the Middle Ages to the 20th century.

The Kunsthaus contains significant collections of works by Edvard Munch (12 paintings) and Alberto Giacometti. Swiss artists are represented by Johann Heinrich Füssli, Ferdinand Hodler, as well as Pipilotti Rist and Peter Fischli.

Rietberg Museum, Gablerstrasse 15 is one of the best collections of Asian art in Europe (mostly Indian drawings).

Uetliberg Mountain has one of the best observation towers in the canton of Zurich – it offers views of Zurich and Lake Zurich, and the Alps loom in the background. You can get to Uetliberg within 20 minutes with the S10 train, which departs every half hour from the central Zurich station (Hauptbahnhof).

Shopping

Most stores are open from Monday to Friday between 9.00am and 8.00pm. Smaller outlets often close at 6.30pm. On Saturdays, the majority of shops are open for business from 9.00am – 5.00pm. On Sundays, you can shop in the 135 outlets at Zurich Main Train Station or at the 60 stores at the Airport.

Best MICHELIN Restaurants

Among the best restaurants (Michelin, total – 187) in Zurich are:

Pavillon
Distinction: Two MICHELIN Stars

What Our Inspectors Say: “Star architect Pierre-Yves Rochon designed this elegant restaurant and the almost 360° glazed rotunda with its country views is wonderful. The exquisite classic cuisine is prepared by Laurent Eperon and includes dishes such as roast sea bass with Périgord truffles.”

The Restaurant
Distinction: Two MICHELIN Stars

What Our Inspectors Say: “For years now this stylish restaurant above the rooftops of Zürich has been the home of elaborate, creative cuisine full of contrasts made using only the finest ingredients. If you fancy trying a little of everything, go for the tasting menu. Charming service, excellent wine selection.”

Ecco Zürich
Distinction: Two MICHELIN Stars

What Our Inspectors Say: “This creative concept is already well known from the Ecco restaurants in Ascona and St. Moritz, but here Stefan Heilemann brings his own personal touch. He cooks innovative food with fine, intelligent contrasts and great depth. The interior is genuinely elegant, while the service is friendly and professional.”

RICO’S
Distinction: Two MICHELIN Stars

What Our Inspectors Say: “The sophisticated design and various art pieces on display at RICO’S are just as important in creating the special atmosphere as the professional, friendly and relaxed service. The whole provides the ideal setting for creative modern cuisine that plays with textures and flavors. Rico’s Privé is for private events.”

How to get to?

Nearest airport – Zurich Airport (German: Flughafen Zürich, IATA: ZRH, ICAO: LSZH)) with domestic & international flights, 3 terminals, a railway station & bus links.

Main information

Area: 87.9 sq. km

Population (2018): 415 200

Coordinates: 47°22′N 8°33′E

Language: German, French

Currency: Swiss franc

Visa: Swiss

Time: GMT +1

Read more: Design, architecture and interesting sights with Kilian Roldan ...