Europe > Switzerland
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Z├╝rich is a
stunningly beautiful city that circles around the northern end of Z├╝richsee
(Lake Zurich), from which the Limmat River flows, bisecting the city. In the
distance, magnificent snow-clad peaks overlook the waters of the lake, and the
shores are dotted with stately 19th century mansions.
Its charming Old
Town, comprising a substantial part of the city center, is filled with
beautifully restored historic buildings and narrow, hilly alleys.
The city is
crisscrossed by lovely, low bridges. On the left bank are the Altstadt (Old
Town); the Hauptbahnhof (the main train station); and Bahnhofplatz, a major
urban crossroads and the beginning of the Bahnhofstrasse. The right bank
constitutes the livelier older section, divided into the Oberdorf (Upper
Village) and the Niederdorf (Lower Village).
Zurich is said to have begun at the Lindenhof, which
is where many begin their orientation to the city. This square is the
architectural center of historic Zurich. From there, you can look out over the
city as it rises on both banks of the Limmat from Bahnhofbr├╝cke (Br├╝cke
means bridge) to Quailbr├╝cke
Below this square
runs Bahnhofstrasse, one of the most elegant and expensive shopping
streets in the world Old Town, or Altstadt, was developed during the early
medieval period . It expanded to Weinplatz, the oldest market square, and
Strehlgasse. By the 11th century, the city continued its development on the
right bank with such centers as Kirchgasse and Neumarkt.
"Heimatwerk" shops present a high-quality selection of 'cottage industry' goods
including wooden, hand carved objects and lace .
Z├╝rich has a free
bicycle rental program. For a small, refundable deposit and your passport, you
can borrow a bike. More than 300 bikes are available. The most central pickup
points are at Platform 18 of the Hauptbahnhof, the Globus department store on
the Bahnhofstrasse, and at Theaterplatz/Stadelhofen. Bikes are available from
the train station year-round; the other locations distribute bikes May through
October. A great place to bike is the path along the river starting at the
Hauptbahnhof and running along the left bank of the Limmat, downriver.
Z├╝rich's tram service, VBZ-Z├╝ri-Linie, is rapid and
on time. It runs from 5:30 AM to midnight, every six minutes at peak hours,
every 12 minutes at other times. All-day passes can be purchased at the stops
that post maps and sell one-ride tickets. Free route plans are available from
VBZ offices, located at major crossroads.
Switzerland is rich in natural attractions, which
seems to make it a 'natural' for families with children. Exploring the
mountains and lakes provides endless hours of enjoyment.
Getting around is
likely to be as much an attraction as the destination. The train, bus, boat
and mountain transport infrastructure are usually very attractive to children.
They'll find steam trains and steam ships, and mountain lifts of all sorts:
large cable cars, four person cable cars as in Disneyland, chairlifts, and many
Z├╝rich is a
central point allowing one-day excursions almost anywhere in the country. Luzern
and Bern are only 75 minutes away. The Rhein, the medieval village of Stein,
and the Rhein Falls are also close.
Swiss cooking deserves its reputation of being
delicious, clean and wholesome. The Swiss National Dish is R├Âsti: a sort
of Swiss-style hash browned potatoes, which cannot be imagined until they have
been tasted. There are many regional variations on R├Âsti (with eggs, cheese,
bacon, onion, etc.), especially in the mountains.
One of the most popular excursions out of Z├╝rich
starts with a train ride to Uetliberg. From there, there is a panoramic
two-hour Planetary Path (Planetenweg) running along the mountain ridge
overlooking the lake to Felsenegg. En route you pass models of some of the
planets in the solar system: These and the distances between them are on a scale
of one to 1000 million.
Along the shores of Lake Z├╝rich, concrete walkways
give way to trees and lawns in the Arboretum on the west bank, making the area
perfect for strolling. Designated areas for outdoor swimming and sunbathing are
open May to September. Well-known spots are Utoquai on the east shore of the
lake and Mythenquai on the west shore. There are also various free swimming
spots, such as the one just north of the confluence of the Sihl and Limmat
A day in the
Jungfrau region is easily arranged through tour services in Zurich. It is an
incredible experience. Travelers are given a range of choices as to stops and
activities. One option is to buy a Jungfrau pass and plane to spread the
experience over several days. That allows time to stop for an afternoon in the
alpine village of Grindalwald and just relax and revel in the beauty of the
mountains and the quiet beauty of the village.
A second day can
be spent taking the tour of the glacier farther up the mountain. Both are
experiences to be savored and enjoyed at a relaxed pace.
largest city is surely among the most beautiful in all of Europe.
Even today, Zurich retains much of its 19th-century charm. Zurich is also
considered to be one of the best shopping destinations in the world. The
city is both large enough to offer all amenities to its visitors and small
enough to make the visitor feel at home.