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    Good to know

    Zurich - a brief overview

    It’s one of the most important financial centres in the world, but there’s a lot more to Zurich than stocks and shares. Sitting astride the River Limmat and edging onto the beautiful Lake Zurich, Switzerland’s largest city is extremely attractive, with a medieval Old Town, cobbled alleyways and lakeside promenades. While the main shopping areas in Bahnhofstrasse and

    Niederdorf house the world’s most prominent designer brands, Zurich’s alternative side throws up quirky boutiques, unconventional fashions and a buzzing café culture. The recent regeneration of the city’s former industrial districts to the west have added to the arty feel, helping to throw off Zurich’s once stuffy image and make it one of Switzerland’s most exciting urban hubs.

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    Top 10 sights in Zurich

    Kunsthaus Zürich, Lufthansa, Travelguide, Travel Guide


    8001 Zurich
    Tel: +41 44 252 5949
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Daily 1000-1700 (Nov-Feb)
    1000-1800 (Mar-Oct)

    This vast twin-towered medieval church on the east bank of the River Limmat dominates Zurich’s skyline.


    Munsterhof 2
    8001 Zurich
    Tel: +41 44 211 4100
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Daily 1000-1600 (Nov-Mar)
    1000-1800 (Apr-Oct)

    Standing directly opposite its larger cousin on the west bank of the river lies this beautiful church featuring stunning stained-glass windows by Augusto Giacometti and Marc Chagall.

    Kunsthaus Zürich

    Heimplatz 1
    8001 Zurich
    Tel: +41 44 253 8484
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Tue and Fri-Sun 1000-1800
    Wed-Thurs 1000-2000

    You pass Rodin’s sculpture Gates of Hell to enter, but inside this unmissable museum you’re in fine art heaven. Its vast array of Swiss and European paintings and sculptures includes the world’s biggest collection of Alberto Giacometti works.

    Swiss National Museum

    Museumstrasse 2
    8021 Zurich
    Tel: +41 44 218 6511
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Tue-Wed, Fri-Sun 1000-1700
    Thurs 1000-1900

    Near the train station, this absorbing museum tells you just about everything you need to know about Swiss history from prehistoric times to the present day.

    Museum Rietberg

    Gablerstrasse 15
    8002 Zurich
    Tel: +41 44 415 3131
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Fri-Tue 1000-1700
    Wed-Thurs 1000-2000

    Two 19th-century buildings set within a park house an impressive collection of non-European art.

    Zurich Zoo

    Zürichbergstrasse 221
    8044 Zurich
    Tel: +41 44 254 2505
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Daily 0900-1800 (Mar-Oct)
    0900-1700 (Nov-Feb)

    A piece of Madagascan rainforest has been recreated in Switzerland at this park-like zoo, where other attractions include snow leopards, Andean bears and 20 species of monkeys.

    Botanical Gardens

    Zollikerstrasse 107
    8008 Zurich
    Tel: +41 44 634 8461
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Mon-Fri 0700-1900 (Mar-Sep)
    Sat-Sun 0800-1800 (Mar-Sep)
    Mon-Fri 0800-1800 (Oct-Feb)
    Sat-Sun 0800-1700 (Oct-Feb)

    Characterised by dome-like greenhouses, Zurich University’s botanical gardens take visitors on a journey from alpine meadows to tropical rainforests.


    Limmatquai 55
    8001 Zurich
    Tel: +41 43 259 6811
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Daily (tours on request)

    Sitting on the banks of the Limmat, Zurich’s city hall is housed in an impressive baroque building. Guided tours are available.


    8143 Uetliberg
    Tel: +41 44 457 6666
    Show on map

    Take a breather from city life at this local mountain, easily accessible by train from Zurich main station. At 869m (2,850ft), it affords great views over Zurich, with hiking and biking trails for energetic visitors.

    Giacometti Hall

    Bahnhofquai 3
    8001 Zurich
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Mon-Sun 0900-1100 and 1400-1600
    (upon presentation of ID)

    Zurich is the place to see what is arguably the most beautiful police station entrance in the world. When the orphanage on Bahnhofquai was converted into a municipal administration building around 1900, Augusto Giacometti was commissioned to paint the walls and vaulted ceiling of the entrance hall. He decorated it with lavish blooms and today it is affectionately known by the people of Zurich as the Blüemlihalle (floral hall).

    Good to know

    Country information

    Country overview

    Mixing expansive greenery, slick cities and buckets of fresh air, Switzerland is a stylish tourist destination offering countless outdoor adventures and contemporary urban breaks. The ancient capital Berne provides superb opportunities for sightseeing, shopping and traditional folk entertainment, while Zurich leads the way in arts, design and nightlife.

    Top ski resorts include Zermatt, Verbier and celebrity-studded St Moritz, while white-capped mountain peaks set against blue skies make a wonderful backdrop for summertime hiking. Small, mountainous and wealthy, Switzerland is renowned for its enviable quality of life in a country that ticks along like clockwork.


    Landlocked Switzerland shares borders with France to the west, Germany to the north, Austria and Liechtenstein to the east and Italy to the south. It has the highest mountains in Europe, together with waterfalls, rivers and lakes set amid green pastures.

    The highest peaks are Dufourspitze, 4,634m (15,203ft), on the Italian border; the Dom, 4,545m (14,911ft); the Matterhorn, 4,478m (14,691ft); and the Weisshorn, 4,506m (14,793ft).

    General knowledge

    Key facts

    Population: 7996026

    Population Density (per sq km): 194

    Capital: Bern.


    German (64% of the population) in central and eastern areas, French (20%) in the west and Italian (7%) in the south. Romansch (1%), the fourth national language, is spoken in parts of the southeast. English (as a second or third language) is widely spoken.


    Swiss Franc (CHF; symbol SFr) = 100 cents (called centimes in French, rappen in German and centesimi in Italian). Notes are in denominations of SFr1,000, 200, 100, 50, 20 and 10. Coins are in denominations of SFr5, 2 and 1, and 50, 20, 10 and 5 centimes.


    230 volts AC, 50Hz. Standard European round two-pin plugs and Swiss three-pin plugs are used.

    General business opening hours

    Business hours are typically Monday to Friday 0800-1200 and 1400-1700, while in Geneva the business day can start 30 minutes earlier.

    Public holidays

    Below are Public Holidays for the January 2015-December 2015 period.

    Note: There are additional regional holidays which are observed in certain cantons only.

    New Year’s Day: 01. January 2015
    Berchtold’s Day: 02. January 2015
    Good Friday: 03. April 2015
    Easter Monday: 06. April 2015

    Ascension Day: 14. May 2015
    Whit Monday: 25. May 2015
    National Day: 01. August 2015
    Christmas Eve: 24. December 2015
    Christmas Day: 25. December 2015
    Boxing Day: 26. December 2015

    Good to know

    Getting around

    Public Transport

    Zurich’s slick system of buses, trams and trains is operated by Zurich Transport Network (tel: 0848 988 988;, with individual tickets (by zone) available to buy from machines at each stop. Day and multi-day passes offer better value for money, while the tourist-centred ZürichCARD includes transport and entry to many museums and attractions across the city, for 24 or 72 hours.


    Cabs can be hailed in the street or at taxi ranks, or booked by phone. Two respectable firms are Taxi 444 (tel: 044 444 4444; and Best Link (tel: 044 215 4473; A compulsory tip is included in the metered fare.


    Nightlife in Zurich


    From riverside bars to jazz clubs to alternative clubbing, Zurich has a vibrant after-dark scene. Visitors should divide their time

    between the bars and cafés of Niederdorf in the Old Town and the eclectic offerings around Langstrasse in Zurich West.


    Rindermarkt 12
    8001 Zurich
    Show on map

    This atmospheric 200-year-old pub and restaurant in the Niederdorf is where Swiss literary legend Gottfried Keller liked to drink.


    8001 Zurich
    Show on map

    One of the best known nightspots in the city, this place comprises four bars packed with Zurich’s rich and fashionable.


    Schiffbaustrasse 4
    8005 Zurich
    Show on map

    This former shipbuilding plant in Zurich West now houses an avant-garde offshoot of the famous Schauspielhaus theatre, fine restaurant LaSalle and Moods, the best jazz club in the city.

    Zurich Opera House

    Falkenstrasse 1
    8008 Zurich
    Show on map

    For a special night out, take in a ballet or opera performance at this world-renowned venue built in 1891 on the shore of Lake Zurich.

    Cabaret Voltaire

    Spiegelgasse 1
    8001 Zurich
    Show on map

    The birthplace of the Dada art movement remains a lively place to spend an evening, with a bar, art exhibitions and regular events.


    Restaurants in Zurich


    As you’d expect for a European city of its size, there’s plenty of variety in Zurich’s restaurant scene.

    Whatever your preference, make sure a traditional rösti makes it onto your plate at least once.


    Rämistrasse 4
    8001 Zurich
    Show on map

    Price: Expensive

    A Zurich institution, this elegant but unpretentious restaurant has served up its excellent classic cuisine to a cross section of Europe’s artistic society for decades.

    Le Dézaley

    Romergasse 7
    8001 Zurich
    Show on map

    Price: Moderate

    Zurich may be in the Swiss-German part of the country, but this restaurant by the Grossmünster specialises in the flavours of Romandie canton Vaud.


    Gessnerallee 8
    8001 Zurich
    Show on map

    Price: Moderate

    This renovated former riding school in Zurich West serves modern seasonal cuisine to a hip young crowd.

    Restaurant Hiltl

    Sihlstrasse 28
    8001 Zurich
    Show on map

    Price: Cheap

    This long-standing vegetarian restaurant is hugely popular for its buzzy atmosphere, fantastic buffet and reasonable prices.


    Calendar of events


    20 – 22 February 2015

    Venue: Throughout the city

    Fancy dress, fireworks and festivities throughout the city.


    13 April 2015

    The ‘Six o’clock Bells’ Zurich Spring Festival climaxes with the Procession of the Guilds and the burning of the Böögg snowman at 1800 on the Sechseläuten field near the Opera.

    International Zurich Marathon

    19 April 2015

    Venue: Throughout the city.

    The annual city marathon winds a serpentine route around some of the most picturesque parts of Zurich.

    Zürcher Festspiele (Zurich Festival)

    12 June – 12 July 2015

    Venue: Various cultural venues in Zurich.

    The enchanting city of Zurich celebrates its cultural diversity with its annual Zurich Festival in the summer. Taking place in a variety of venues throughout the city centre, visitors can expect to be entertained by a great programme that encompasses art, theatre, contemporary dance, ballet, music, opera and literature. The Festival usually opens with a grand celebration with events taking place inside and in front of the Kunsthaus in the heart of Zurich. Recent festivals have featured Bruckner symphonies in the Tonhalle, operas by Verdi and Puccini at the Opera House, Anne de Keersmaeker’s dance project at the Theaterhaus Gessnerallee, and Robert Lepage’s multimedia performance of ‘Far Side of the Moon’ at the Schiffbau Theatre.

    Zurich Pride Festival

    14 – 21 June 2015

    Venue: Area around Helvetiaplatz.

    Each year thousands of revellers throng the streets of Zurich for this colourful celebration, which is one of the largest gay and lesbian events in Switzerland. During the four-day Zurich Pride Festival, visitors can expect a loud and gregarious crowd who are intent on having a good time. Events include a parade through Zurich’s streets, political debates and seminars and plenty of live music and DJ sets. After the main event of the public parade, many bars and clubs keep the partying going on into the small hours.

    Caliente Latin Festival

    3 – 5 July 2015

    Venue: Various venues including Helvetiaplatz, the Volkshaus and the Kaserne.

    This popular Latin festival sees Zurich burst into life and song at the annual Caliente Latin Festival. Featuring a great programme of live salsa and samba bands, the streets throb with the sounds of Latin music during the days and DJs keep the parties going after hours in the city’s many clubs and bars.

    Ironman Triathlon

    18 July 2015

    Venue: Various locations around Lake Zurich.

    In the biggest event of its kind in the country, Ironmen contestants test their metal against one another in this tough, multi-discipline event. The triathlon begins with a swim across Lake Zurich. Then participants take to bikes for the cycling section. The final discipline sees participants run along the lakeside course in a bid to be crowned champion. Competition is fierce as the top 75 athletes qualify for the Ironman Triathlon World Championships in Hawaii.

    All information subject to change. Please check the dates on the relevant event organizer’s website.


    Hotels in Zurich


    It’s not hard to find a place to rest your head in opulent luxury here.

    Surprisingly, Zurich has a number of mid-range and inexpensive hotels, too.


    Rennweg 7
    8001 Zurich
    Show on map

    Category: Expensive

    A string of eight medieval houses make up this sumptuous boutique hotel. Its bar stages live jazz events.


    Rosengasse 10
    8001 Zurich
    Show on map

    Category: Moderate

    This cosy Niederdorf hotel sits above the Swiss Chuchi restaurant, ideal for trying your first raclette or fondue.


    Kirchgasse 4
    8001 Zurich
    Show on map

    Category: Moderate

    As the name suggests, this stylish three-star is right in the heart of the Old Town.

    Townhouse Boutique

    Schützengasse 7
    8001 Zurich
    Show on map

    Category: Moderate

    This character-packed design hotel is styled like an English townhouse.


    Sihlhallenstrasse 1
    8004 Zurich
    Show on map

    Category: Budget

    A clean, simple, well-priced two-star off the eclectic Langstrasse in trendy Zurich West.


    The opposite of staid

    Zürich, Schweiz, Lufthansa, Travelguide, Travel Guide, Industrie, West, Best of

    It may not look like it, but this is Zurich! No glittering lake, narrow old-town streets or Bahnhofstrasse lined with luxury shops anywhere to be seen, just warehouse buildings, industrial wasteland and construction fencing. Why would anyone want to set foot here? Because this is Zurich like you’ve never seen it before, more open, more urbane, and totally in contrast with the rest of the city’s rather staid and quaint image.

    What residents call this hip, new neighborhood is less than inspired: Züri West. But it’s also the name of one of Switzerland’s most successful rock bands and doubles as a mischievous nickname for the sleepy Swiss capital, Berne.

    Frau Gerolds Garten

    Geroldstrasse 23
    8005 Zürich
    Show on map

    The best place to start exploring Züri West is on Geroldstraße, where a jumble of shipping containers between the railroad tracks and
a Salvation Army hostel looks like a pile of building blocks abandoned by a giant child. This fantastical mix of beach club, urban gardening project and street art gallery is called “Frau Gerolds Garten.” There’s a circus tent in amongst the containers, and vegetables and herbs flourish in old wine vats. Two years ago, Marc Blickenstorfer and a consortium of partners opened this trendy place, and right now, the “hotspot king” is standing on top of the containers, looking down onto the tracks and the trains that regularly rumble past.

    “Isn’t it fabulous? I loved these kinds of places when I was a kid,” says the 43-year-old enthusiastically, “they made me want to go off and see the world.” The surroundings aren’t exactly “attractive” – as Blickenstorfer, who runs another restaurant by the lake, freely admits. “But the neighborhood has an urban beauty Zurich didn’t have before.” He’s not the only one who likes it here. At lunchtime, young mothers drop by for coffee, and after work, bankers enjoy a cool beer here. Then comes the party crowd, who begin the evening at Frau Gerolds’ before moving on to the nearby nightclubs.

    Les Halles

    Pfingstweidstrasse 6
    8005 Zürich
    Show on map

    Twenty years ago, no one would have dreamed of spending a night out in Zurich West – even though it was only a ten-minute streetcar ride from Zurich’s central station. They used to make cogwheels and soap there, and process lakes of milk in factories surrounded by high fences. When the factories closed, the abandoned buildings were initially used for illegal parties, then the architects and artists arrived. Today, agencies, law firms and hotels occupy the former industrial spaces, but the old ambience remains. A good example of this is the Puls 5 complex located
in a former foundry. Offices, restaurants and shops now occupy one part, but the old factory atmosphere still clings to the huge production hall, the true heart of the complex with its steel joists and industrial crane. Trade fairs and fashion shows sometimes take place here during the day, and in the evenings, inline skaters use the football field-sized concrete floor as a giant skating rink. The former Löwenbräu brewery has also been successfully transformed to house the Kunsthalle art museum and several galleries. Atop the old brick building, two new residential and office blocks gleam red and black.

    The prestigious Schauspielhaus Zürich theater ensemble has also discovered the area and now performs in the Schiffbau, a restored shipyard building also housing the smart La Salle restaurant. A hundred meters away, tucked behind a car wash, there’s the Les Halles bistro, where wobbly chairs and dim lighting exude an alternative charm. Stroll a little further and you will discover plenty of other unusual spots, like the Freitag Tower, a stack of 17 containers that sells bags made of upcycled truck tarpaulins. Then there’s the Hotel Rivington, an old-school bar with fixtures and fittings from an old New York establishment. A market hall and an array of fashion stores have opened beneath the arches of a viaduct dating from 1894, over which trains still clatter today. At one store, The Senior Design Factory, grandmothers teach young hipsters to knit and crochet.

    Gerold Chuchi

    Geroldstrasse 5
    8005 Zürich
    Show on map

    The best place in Zurich West is probably Gerold Chuchi, which shares its premises with the Hive techno club. When the weekend is over and the partygoers have gone home, tables and chairs are set up on the dance floor and the space becomes a restaurant. One of the initiators is Dresden-born Sebastian Woloschanowski, 34, aka Wolo, who is anything but modest when he talks about his “pop-up restaurant:” HE serves the cheapest pasta in town, made with an 85-year-old Sicilian pasta machine!

    Plus, 70 percent of his clientele is female, which he claims has nothing to do with him. “It’s because we’re authentic and treat our guests informally. If we’re out of sorts, we show it,” he says, turning to his customers and flashing a smile.


    Pfingstweidstrasse 102
    8005 Zürich
    Show on map

    The Gerold Chuchi gives onto the 126-meter-high Prime Tower. Through the full-length windows of its top-floor bar, the old town and lake, and beyond them the glorious Alps, seem close enough to touch. Annette Gigon designed the tower with fellow architect Mike Guyer. Is she proud of having built Switzerland’s tallest building? Not this modest, soft-spoken architect. Somewhat sheepishly, she admits having been a little bit nervous at first, wondering what it would look like up close – and from a distance? Today, she knows that most people in Zurich like it.

    Thousands of office staff work in the shimmering green glass building and fill the neighborhood in the evening. Is Zurich West in danger of being overrun with offices? Gigon thinks it’s possible but counters that “Zurich isn’t growing anywhere near as fast as Asian cities.” Even so, investors are busily tracking down prime plots. The site currently occupied by Frau Gerolds Garten is slated for redevelopment for which the project will one day have to make way. Luckily, the lease has been extended through 2019. The attraction of Zurich West lies in its juxtaposition of old and new. As Annette Gigon says: “We should enjoy it while it lasts.”

    Good to know

    Best time to visit

    Today: Thursday, 30.07.2015 06:00 UTC





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    Climate and best time to visit Zurich

    There’s plenty going on in Zurich year-round. If you’re after some festive magic, visit in December to browse Europe’s biggest indoor Christmas market at the main train station, plus outdoor markets in the Old Town and surrounding villages. Festivities continue in February with Fasnacht, the annual winter carnival featuring costumed parades, live music and all-night revelry. In summer, Zurich’s lakeside cafés and promenades are abuzz with people, particularly during July’s Festspiele, a month-long cultural festival with hundreds of live performances. In early August the city gives itself over to the mammoth Street Parade, a techno music carnival which attracts thousands of hedonistic revellers for Switzerland’s biggest party.

    Climate & best time to visit Switzerland

    The Alps cause many climatic variations throughout Switzerland. In the higher Alpine regions temperatures tend to be low, while the lower land of the northern area has higher temperatures and warm summers. Overall the hottest months are July and August, though these are also the busiest. Those looking to ski should visit Switzerland between December and April, when snow is good in the Alps. The months of May and September are great times to visit for those looking for sunny and mild days, but without the throngs of tourists.


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    year37 °C-24 °C12 °C4 °C79 %1101 mm1344.1 h
    Good to know

    Phone calls & Internet

    Telephone/Mobile Telephone

    Dialing Code: +41


    Phonecards are available for use in payphones. SIM cards are available for mobile phones and the Swiss network supports many data-roaming packages.

    Mobile Telephone

    Roaming agreements exist with most international mobile phone companies. Coverage is good.


    Internet access is available in Internet cafés and phone booths operated across Switzerland, found in most major town and cities. In the case of phone booths, charges are payable by phonecard or credit card, whilst cafés are mostly independently run. Internet coverage is good across Switzerland.


    Shopping in Zurich

    Stadtführer, Lufthansa, Travelguide, Shopping, Einkaufen

    Key Areas

    Shoppers are spoilt for choice here – as long as your credit limit can take the heat. Major designer labels and big brands are represented on Bahnhofstrasse, the city’s glitziest street, while speciality boutiques and artisan shops line the alleyways of Niederdorf in the Old Town, and Schipfe, the old silk-making district. Meanwhile, the streets of Zurich West are filled with hip young Swiss designers and alternative fashions.


    Zurich sports a vast array of markets. Don’t miss the flea markets at Bürkliplatz and Kanzleistrasse, ideal for people-watching as well as picking up bargain bric-a-brac. A unique experience is the permanent daily food market at Viaduktstrasse in Zurich West, where stalls are clustered under railway arches.

    Shopping Centres

    The city’s largest department store, Jelmoli (Seidengasse 1), stocks a vast range of men’s and women’s brands as well as an extensive food hall, restaurants, a terraced bar and tea room.


    My Zurich

    When I’m in Zurich, I can’t resist paying a visit to the old town, neighboring Seefeld quarter, and also buzzing Langstrasse quarter in district 4 with its many bars and restaurants.

    Zürich, Schweiz, Lufthansa, Travelguide, Travel Guide, Crewtipp, Mark Stante Imparat

    Mark Antonius Stante Imparat (Purser)

    Good to know

    Traveller etiquette

    Social Conventions

    It is customary to give flowers to the hostess when invited for a meal, but never give chrysanthemums or white asters as they are considered funeral flowers. Informal wear is widely acceptable.

    First-class restaurants, hotel dining rooms and important social occasions may warrant jackets and ties. Black tie is usually specified when required.

    Good to know


    Main emergency number: 112

    No immunisations are required to enter Switzerland, although it is advisable to make sure your tetanus, diphtheria and polio vaccinations are up to date before travelling. A certificate of immunisation against contagious diseases (including Yellow Fever) is required before the traveller can enter the country if they have been in an infected area within 14 days prior to arrival in Switzerland. Rabies is present, but extremely rare. However, if you are bitten, seek medical advice without delay.

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