Zurich has a reputation for being a grey, corporate, business city with little to offer by way of history, culture or adventure. Now, don't get me wrong - this isn't the most exciting of cities, but it surprised me with its beauty, and there is definitely history and culture. It's definitely a city by the rich and for the rich, so it's been one of more expensive destinations I have visited, but with the magic of cheap flights and some accommodation searching, I managed a trip at a relatively reasonable price. You can read in detail about my trip here, but here are the 5 things I loved about Zurich.
5. The taste of raclette
It's the quasi national dish of Switzerland and it's so good! Raclette is fairly simple food - heat cheese in a pan until it melts and serve with bread and potatoes. The beauty is the fact the pan with cheese comes to your table with a mini stove, so the cheese is constantly being heated, the result being it stays gooey and doesn't get hard. So no matter if you're eating for 5 minutes or 15 minutes, you can keep dipping your bread or potatoes in hot cheese and it always tastes good. At £25, my raclette was ridiculously expensive, and I can't imagine that it gets significantly cheaper anywhere else near the city centre, so that's one thing to bear in mind.
4. FIFA Football Museum
Love football, hate FIFA.
This meant I had mixed feelings about putting more money into FIFA's corrupt coffers, but my love and interest in the sport meant that I was never going to say no. As with all things in Zurich, visiting the museum isn't cheap, it costs 24 Swiss Francs. However, as much as I detest FIFA, it is well worth the visit. The museum tracks the game from its pre-FIFA founding into the 21st century, with memorabilia, unique bits of history, and some interactive exhibitions. No doubt the best part of the trip was getting centimetres away from the FIFA World Cup trophy, the beautiful glittering statue that represents the pinnacle of football. But there is so much more to see in the museum, including individual exhibitions on each of the FIFA World Cups since 1930, each with their unique stories and interesting facts. The start and end of the museum are amazing too - the latter showcasing the jerseys of every FIFA member nation, and the latter letting you test 5 different skills with real footballs on different obstacle courses.
3. Relaxing at Lake Zurich
I visited Zurich on a particularly hot weekend, and was surprised to see a city devoid of any form of human life. Transport was infrequent, trams were empty and streets were deserted. It felt like I had walked into a zombie apocalypse. I pretty soon realised that almost the entire city had moved to the perimeter of Lake Zurich.. The 25 mile long lake was filled with entertainers, buskers, street performers, food vendors as well as people bringing their own barbecues. The lake was filled with boats, from larger yachts to smaller pedalos. Everyone seemed to be out there, some were eating and drinking, others were sunbathing, a lot of people seemed to be throwing frisbees and a few were playing football. There was no doubt that this was absolutely the place to be on a hot weekend.
2. The views from Lindenhof Hill
This place is cool, morning or night - but it's at the convergence of the two when it really comes into its own. Groups of people were sitting on a wall, overlooking the main street and a small inlet of the lake. The wall isn't the safest place in the world, and has a fair bit of a drop, but people were doing all sorts of crazy poses. I'm never surprised when I hear stories of people losing their lives trying to get the perfect selfie, and it's usually because of the sorts of things I saw here. Nevertheless, watching the city transform from a picturesque sun-kissed city into a glittering jewel in the night was something that will stay with me for a long time.
The hill also includes remains from prehistoric, Roman and Medieval times, therefore making it a Swiss national heritage site - so views and a little history too.
1. Climbing Grossmunster
Nothing else comes close. This place ranks up there with the likes of St Peter's in the Vatican, Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, St Stephens Cathedral in Vienna and the Westerkerk in Amsterdam for the best views from a religious building.
The structure dates back almost a millennia to 1220AD and the church has two large 'twin towers' that were constructed in the 15th century, and for just 4 CHF, it's possible to climb to the top, The climb is fairly steep, with narrow staircases and wooden platforms giving it a slightly unsafe feel. You have four openings, leading onto four balconies, each giving you views of a different part of the city and it's absolutely spectacular. You can see Lake Zurich from one side, the beautiful Fraumunster on the other, and other landmarks from the remaining two balconies.
If you visit Zurich, then Grossmunster is absolutely not an option, it's a necessity, believe me, you won't be disappointed.
That's it for my list. There's a few things I know I missed out (Fraumunster is particularly beautiful), but if there's other things you think were particularly good, leave a comment below. As for the city itself. Well, it's expensive, and the core itself isn't particularly large, but I was pleasantly surprised. If you can get a good deal on flights and accommodation, it's worth a visit, but I'm not sure it would be on the top of my list.
British Sikh, born in the Midlands, based in London, travelling the world seeing new cultures.