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Zürich is the largest city in Switzerland and the capital of the canton of Zürich. It is located in north-central Switzerland at the northwestern tip of Lake Zürich. The municipality has approximately 400,028 inhabitants, the urban agglomeration 1.315 million, and the Zurich metropolitan area 1.83 million. Zürich is a hub for railways, roads, and air traffic. Both Zürich Airport and railway station are the largest and busiest in the country.
Permanently settled for around 2000 years, Zürich has a history that goes back to its founding by the Romans, who, in 15 BC, called it Turicum. However, early settlements have been found dating back more than 6400 years ago. During the Middle Ages, Zürich gained the independent and privileged status of imperial immediacy and, in 1519, became a primary centre of the Protestant Reformation in Europe under the leadership of Ulrich Zwingli.
The official language of Zürich is (the Swiss variety of Standard) German, but the main spoken language is the local variant of the Alemannic Swiss German dialect.
Zürich is a leading global city and among the world's largest financial centres despite having a relatively low population. The city is home to a large number of financial institutions and banking giants. Most of Switzerland's research and development centres are concentrated in Zürich and the low tax rates attract overseas companies to set up their headquarters there.
Monocle's 2012 "Quality of Life Survey" ranked Zürich first on a list of the top 25 cities in the world "to make a base within". According to several surveys from 2006 to 2008, Zürich was named the city with the best quality of life in the world as well as the wealthiest city in Europe. The Economist Intelligence Unit's Global Liveability Ranking sees Zürich rank among the top ten most liveable cities in the world.
Many museums and art galleries can be found in the city, including the Swiss National Museum and the Kunsthaus. Schauspielhaus Zürich is one of the most important theatres in the German-speaking world.
|TIME ZONE :|
|AREA :||87.88 km2 (33.93 sq mi)|
|ELEVATION :||408 m (1,339 ft)|
|COORDINATES :||47°22′N 8°33′E|
|SEX RATIO :||• Male: 49.3%|
• Female: 50.7%
|AREA CODE :||43|
|POSTAL CODE :||8000–8099|
|DIALING CODE :||+41 43|
Zurich (German: Zürich, Swiss German: Züri) is the largest city in Switzerland, with a population of some 400,000 in the city proper and 1.2 million in the agglomeration area. Zurich is on Lake Zurich, where the lake meets the Limmat River, in the north of Switzerland. Contrary to what some believe, Zurich is not the capital of Switzerland — that honor falls to Berne.
Zurich is the largest city of the Swiss Confederation (Switzerland) by land area and population. It is the financial centre of Switzerland and houses the stock exchange and the headquarters of a large number of national and international companies. National and international media agencies as well as most of the national TV channel companies are also located here. Because Zurich is the central node of the Swiss-wide train network and also runs the biggest and busiest international airport in the country, it generally is the first place where tourists arrive. Because of the city's close distance to tourist resorts in the Swiss Alps and its mountainous scenery, it is often referred to as the "portal to the Alps".
Zurich has long been known for being clean and efficient. Due to this, it has been continuously ranked as the city with the highest living standard world-wide for many years. However, only for the last ten years has it truly become a fascinating and worthwhile travel destination. This is mostly thanks to the liberalization of the cultural, party and gastronomy sectors. An increasingly cosmopolitan population has helped, as well, while more buttoned-down Geneva remains Switzerland's most culturally heterogeneous city.
The official language is German, used in all official publications and announcements, and practically everyone can speak it, but the native language of the masses is Swiss German. The most common dialect is called Züritüütsch. English and French are also widely spoken and often used in official publications and announcements alongside German. Any of these languages will work well for communication. Note that it's often wise to speak German rather than attempting to speak Swiss German; some people may think you're trying to make fun of their language.
Settlements of the Neolithic and Bronze Age were found around Lake Zürich. Traces of pre-Roman Celtic, La Tène settlements were discovered near the Lindenhof hill. InRoman times, Turicum was a tax-collecting point at the border of Gallia Belgica (from AD 90 Germania Superior) and Raetia for goods trafficked on the river Limmat. After Emperor Constantine's reforms in AD 318, the border between Gaul and Italy (two of the four praetorian prefectures of the Roman Empire) was located east of Turicum, crossing the river Linth between Lake Walen and Lake Zürich, where a castle and garrison looked over Turicum's safety. The earliest written record of the town dates from the 2nd century, with a tombstone referring to it as to the Statio Turicensis Quadragesima Galliarum ("Zürich post for collecting the 2.5% value tax of the Galliae"), discovered at the Lindenhof.
In the 5th century, the Germanic Alemanni tribe settled in the Swiss Plateau. The Roman castle remained standing until the 7th century. A Carolingian castle, built on the site of the Roman castle by the grandson of Charlemagne, Louis the German, is mentioned in 835 (in castro Turicino iuxta fluvium Lindemaci). Louis also founded the Fraumünster abbey in 853 for his daughter Hildegard. He endowed the Benedictine convent with the lands of Zürich,Uri, and the Albis forest, and granted the convent immunity, placing it under his direct authority. In 1045, King Henry III granted the convent the right to hold markets, collect tolls, and mint coins, and thus effectively made the abbess the ruler of the city.
Zürich gained Imperial immediacy (Reichsunmittelbar, becoming an Imperial free city) in 1218 with the extinction of the main line of the Zähringer family and attained a status comparable to statehood. During the 1230s, a city wall was built, enclosing 38 hectares, when the earliest stone houses on the Rennweg were built as well. The Carolingian castle was used as a quarry, as it had started to fall into ruin.
Emperor Frederick II promoted the abbess of the Fraumünster to the rank of a duchess in 1234. The abbess nominated the mayor, and she frequently delegated the minting of coins to citizens of the city. The political power of the convent slowly waned in the 14th century, beginning with the establishment of the Zunftordnung (guild laws) in 1336 by Rudolf Brun, who also became the first independent mayor, i.e. not nominated by the abbess.
An important event in the early 14th century was the completion of the Manesse Codex, a key source of medieval German poetry. The famous illuminated manuscript – described as "the most beautifully illumined German manuscript in centuries;" – was commissioned by the Manesse family of Zürich, copied and illustrated in the city at some time between 1304 and 1340. Producing such a work was a highly expensive prestige project, requiring several years work by highly skilled scribes and miniature painters, and it clearly testifies to the increasing wealth and pride of Zürich citizens in this period.
Old Swiss Confederacy
On 1 May 1351, the citizens of Zürich had to swear allegiance before representatives of the cantons of Lucerne, Schwyz, Uri and Unterwalden, the other members of the Swiss Confederacy. Thus, Zürich became the fifth member of the Confederacy, which was at that time a loose confederation of de facto independent states. Zürich was the presiding canton of the Diet from 1468 to 1519. This authority was the executive council and lawmaking body of the confederacy, from the Middle Ages until the establishment of the Swiss federal state in 1848. Zürich was temporarily expelled from the confederacy in 1440 due to a war with the other member states over the territory of Toggenburg (the Old Zürich War). Neither side had attained significant victory when peace was agreed upon in 1446, and Zürich was readmitted to the confederation in 1450.
Zwingli started the Swiss Reformation at the time when he was the main preacher in the 1520s, at the Grossmünster. He lived there from 1484 until his death in 1531. The Zürich Bible, based on that of Zwingli, was issued in 1531. The Reformation resulted in major changes in state matters and civil life in Zürich, spreading also to a number of other cantons. Several cantons remained Catholic and became the basis of serious conflicts that eventually led to the outbreak of the Wars of Kappel.
During the 16th and 17th centuries, the Council of Zürich adopted an isolationist attitude, resulting in a second ring of imposing fortifications built in 1624. The Thirty Years' War which raged across Europe motivated the city to build these walls. The fortifications required a lot of resources, which were taken from subject territories without reaching any agreement. The following revolts were crushed brutally. In 1648, Zürich proclaimed itself a republic, shedding its former status of a free imperial city. In this time the political system of Zürich was an oligarchy (Patriziat): the dominant families of the city were the following ones: Bonstetten, Brun, Bürkli, Escher vom Glas, Escher vom Luchs, Hirzel, Jori (or von Jori), Kilchsperger, Landenberg, Manesse, Meiss, Meyer von Knonau, Mülner, von Orelli.
The Helvetic Revolution of 1798 saw the fall of theAncien Régime. Zürich lost control of the land and its economic privileges, and the city and the canton separated their possessions between 1803–05. In 1839, the city had to yield to the demands of its urban subjects, following the Züriputsch of 6 September. Most of the ramparts built in the 17th century were torn down, without ever having been besieged, to allay rural concerns over the city's hegemony. The Treaty of Zürich between Austria, France, and Sardinia was signed in 1859.
Zürich was the Federal capital for 1839–40, and consequently the victory of the Conservative party there in 1839 caused a great stir throughout Switzerland. But when in 1845 the Radicals regained power at Zürich, which was again the Federal capital for 1845–46, Zürich took the lead in opposing the Sonderbund cantons. Following the Sonderbund war and the formation of the Swiss Federal State, Zürich voted in favour of the Federal constitutions of 1848 and of 1874. The enormous immigration from the country districts into the town from the 1830s onwards created an industrial class which, though "settled" in the town, did not possess the privileges of burghership, and consequently had no share in the municipal government. First of all in 1860 the town schools, hitherto open to "settlers" only on paying high fees, were made accessible to all, next in 1875 ten years' residenceipso facto conferred the right of burghership, and in 1893 the eleven outlying districts were incorporated within the town proper.
Extensive developments took place during the 19th century. From 1847, the Spanisch-Brötli-Bahn, the first railway on Swiss territory, connected Zürich with Baden, putting the Zürich Hauptbahnhof at the origin of the Swiss rail network. The present building of theHauptbahnhof (the main railway station) dates to 1871. Zürich's Bahnhofstrasse (Station Street) was laid out in 1867, and the Zürich Stock Exchange was founded in 1877. Industrialisation led to migration into the cities and to rapid population growth, particularly in the suburbs of Zürich.
The Quaianlagen are an important milestone in the development of the modern city of Zürich, as the construction of the new lake front transformed Zürich from a small medieval town on the rivers Limmat and Sihl to an attractive modern city on the Zürichsee shore, under the guidance of the city engineer Arnold Bürkli.
In 1893, the twelve outlying districts were incorporated into Zürich, including Aussersihl, the workman's quarter on the left bank of the Sihl, and additional land was reclaimed from Lake Zürich.
In 1934, eight additional districts in the north and west of Zürich were incorporated.
Zürich was accidentally bombed during World War II.
Coat of arms
The blue and white coat of arms of Zürich is attested from 1389, and was derived from banners with blue and white stripes in use since 1315 . The first certain testimony of banners with the same design is from 1434. The coat of arms is flanked by two lions. The red Schwenkel on top of the banner had varying interpretations: For the people of Zürich, it was a mark of honour, granted by Rudolph I. Zürich's neighbours mocked it as a sign of shame, commemorating the loss of the banner at Winterthur in 1292. Today, the Canton of Zürich uses the same coat of arms as the city.
Zürich has, depending on the definition used, an oceanic climate (Köppen Cfb), with four distinct seasons. Decisive for the climate of Zürich are both the winds from westerly directions, which often result in precipitation and, on the other hand, the Bise (east or north-east wind), which is usually associated with high-pressure situations, but cooler weather phases with temperatures lower than the average. The Foehn wind, which plays an important role in the northern alpine valleys also has some impact on Zürich.
The annual mean temperature at the measuring station of the Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology in Zürich-Fluntern (556 m[1,824 ft] above sea level on the slope of the Zürichberg, 150 m[490 ft] above the level of the city centre) is 9.3 °C (48.7 °F). The lowest monthly mean of daily minimum temperature are measured in January with −2.0 °C (28.4 °F) and the highest monthly mean of daily maximum temperature are measured in July with 24.0 °C (75.2 °F). On average there are 74.9 days in which the minimum temperature is below 0 °C (32 °F) (so-called frost days), and 23.7 days in which the maximum temperature is below 0 °C (32 °F) (so-called ice days). There are on average of 30 so-called summer days (maximum temperature equal to or above 25 °C[77 °F]) throughout the year, while so-called heat days (with maximum temperature equal to or above 30 °C[86 °F]) are 5.8 days.
The average high temperature in July is 24.0 °C (75.2 °F) and average low temperature is 14 °C (57.2 °F). Record high in Zürich was on 13 August 2003 with temperature above 37 °C (99 °F).
Spring and autumn are generally cool to mild, but sometimes with large differences between warm and cold days even during the same year. The highest temperature of the month March in 2014 was on the 20th at 20.6 °C (69.1 °F) during a sunny afternoon and the lowest temperature was on the 25th at −0.4 °C (31.3 °F) during the night/early morning. Record low of average daily temperatures in March since 1864 is −12 °C (10 °F) and record high of average daily temperatures in March is 16 °C (61 °F). Record low of average daily temperatures in October is −16 °C (3 °F) and record high of average daily temperatures in October is 20 °C (68 °F).
Zürich has an average of 1,544 hours of sunshine per year and shines on 38% of its potential time throughout the year. During the months April until September the sun shines between 150 and 215 hours per month. The 1,134 millimetres (44.6 in) rainfall spread on 133.9 days with precipitation throughout the year. Roughly about every third day you will encounter at least some precipitation, which is very much a Swiss average. During the warmer half of the year and especially during the three summer months, the strength of rainfall is higher than those measured in winter, but the days with precipitation stays about the same throughout the year (in average 9.9–12.7 days per month). October has the lowest number (9.9) of days with some precipitation. There is an average of 59.5 so-calledbright days (number of days with sunshine duration greater than 80%) through the year, the most in July and August (7.4, 7.7 days), and the least in January and December (2.7, 1.8 days). The average number of days with sunshine duration less than 20%, so-calledcloudy days, is 158.4 days, while the most cloudy days are in November (17.8 days), December (21.7 days), and January with 19 days.
Climate data for Zürich
|Average high °C (°F)||2.9|
|Daily mean °C (°F)||0.3|
|Average low °C (°F)||−2.0|
Zürich is situated at 408 m (1,339 ft) above sea level on the lower (northern) end ofLake Zürich (Zürichsee) about 30 kilometers (19 mi) north of the Alps, nestling between the wooded hills on the west and east side. The Old Town stretches on both sides of the Limmat, which flows from the lake, running northwards at first and then gradually turning into a curve to the west. The geographic (and historic) centre of the city is the Lindenhof, a small natural hill on the west bank of the Limmat, about 700 m (2,300 ft) north of where the river issues from Lake Zürich. Today the incorporated city stretches somewhat beyond the natural confines of the hills and includes some districts to the northeast in the Glatt Valley (Glattal) and to the north in the Limmat Valley (Limmattal). The boundaries of the older city are easy to recognize by the Schanzengraben canal. This artificial watercourse has been used for the construction of the third fortress in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Zürich is a leading financial center and global city. The Greater Zürich Area is Switzerland's economic centre and home to a vast number of international companies. By far the most important sector in the economy of Zürich is the service industry, which employs nearly four-fifths of workers. Other important industries include light industry, machine and textile industries and tourism. Most Swiss banks have their headquarters in Zürich and there are numerous foreign banks in the Greater Zürich Area. Located in Zürich, the Swiss Stock Exchange was established in 1877 and is nowadays the fourth most prominent stock exchange in the world. In addition Zürich is the world's largest gold trading centre. Ten of the country's 50 largest companies have their head offices in Zürich, among them ABB, UBS, Credit Suisse, Swiss Re and Zürich Financial Services.
Contributory factors to economic strength
The high quality of life has been cited as a reason for economic growth in Zürich. The consulting firm Mercer has for many years ranked Zürich as a city with the highest quality of life in the world. In particular, Zürich received high scores for work, housing, leisure, education and safety. Local planning authorities ensure clear separation between urban and recreational areas and there are many protected nature reserves. Other Swiss cities, Bern and Geneva, were also listed among the top ten. Zürich is also ranked the sixth most expensive city in the world. In 2008, Zürich was ranked ninth. The city ranked behind Hong Kong and ahead of Copenhagen. It is the third most expensive city in Europe and second most expensive city in Switzerland after Geneva.
Zürich benefits from the high level of investment in education that is typical of Switzerland in general and provides skilled labour at all levels. The city is home to two major universities, thus enabling access to graduates and high technology research. Professional training incorporates a mix of practical work experience and academic study while, in general, emphasis is placed on obtaining a good level of general education and language ability. As a result, the city is home to many multilingual people and employees generally demonstrate a high degree of motivation and a low level of absenteeism. Such characteristics are reflected in the high level of productivity the region enjoys and account for the opening of offices and research centres in the city by large corporations.
The Swiss stock exchange
The Swiss stock exchange is called SIX Swiss Exchange, formerly known as SWX. The SIX Swiss Exchange is the head group of several different worldwide operative financial systems: Eurex,Eurex US, EXFEED, STOXX, and virt-x. The exchange turnover generated at the SWX was in 2007 of 1,780,499.5 million CHF; the number of transactions arrived in the same period at 35,339,296 and the Swiss Performance Index(SPI) arrived at a total market capitalization of 1,359,976.2 million CHF.
The SIX Swiss Exchange goes back more than 150 years. In 1996, fully electronic tradingreplaced the traditional floor trading system at the stock exchanges of Geneva (founded in 1850), Zürich (1873) and Basel (1876).
Since 2008, the SIX Swiss Exchange has been part of the SIX Group, as SWX Group, SIS Group and Telekurs Group merged.
The previous boundaries of the city of Zürich (before 1893) were more or less synonymous with the location of the old town. Two large expansions of the city limits occurred in 1893 and in 1934 when the city of Zürich merged with many surrounding municipalities, that had been growing increasingly together since the 19th century. Today, the city is divided into twelve districts (known as Kreis in German), numbered 1 to 12, each one of which contains between one and four neighborhoods:
- Kreis 1, known as Altstadt, contains the old town, both to the east and west of the start of the Limmat. District 1 contains the neighbourhoods of Hochschulen, Rathaus, Lindenhof, and City.
- Kreis 2 lies along the west side of Lake Zürich, and contains the neighbourhoods ofEnge, Wollishofen and Leimbach.
- Kreis 3, known as Wiedikon is between the Sihl and the Üetliberg, and contains the neighbourhoods of Alt-Wiedikon, Sihlfeld and Friesenberg.
- Kreis 4, known as Aussersihl lies between the Sihl and the train tracks leaving Zürich Hauptbahnhof, and contains the neighbourhoods of Werd, Langstrasse, and Hard.
- Kreis 5, known as Industriequartier, is between the Limmat and the train tracks leaving Zürich Hauptbahnhof, it contains the former industrial area of Zürich which has gone under a large-scale rezoning to create upscale modern housing, retail and commercial real estate. It contains the neighborhoods of Gewerbeschule, and Escher-Wyss.
- Kreis 6 is on the edge of the Zürichberg, a hill overlooking the eastern part of the city. District 6 contains the neighbourhoods of Oberstrass and Unterstrass.
- Kreis 7 is on the edge of the Adlisberg hill as well as the Zürichberg, on the eastern side of the city. District 7 contains the neighbourhoods of Fluntern, Hottingen, andHirslanden. These neighbourhoods are home to Zürich's wealthiest and more prominent residents. The neighbourhood Witikon also belongs to district 7.
- Kreis 8, officially called Riesbach, but colloquially known as Seefeld, lies on the eastern side of Lake Zürich. District 8 consists of the neighbourhoods of Seefeld,Mühlebach, and Weinegg.
- Kreis 9 is between the Limmat to the north and the Üetliberg to the south. It contains the neighbourhoods Altstetten and Albisrieden.
- Kreis 10 is to the east of the Limmat and to the south of the Hönggerberg andKäferberg hills. District 10 contains the neighbourhoods of Höngg and Wipkingen.
- Kreis 11 is in the area north of the Hönggerberg and Käferberg and between the Glatt Valley and the Katzensee (Cats Lake). It contains the neighbourhoods of Affoltern,Oerlikon and Seebach.
- Kreis 12, known as Schwamendingen, is located in the Glattal (Glatt valley) on the northern side of the Zürichberg. District 12 contains the neighbourhoods of Saatlen,Schwamendigen Mitte, and Hirzenbach.
Most of the district boundaries are fairly similar to the original boundaries of the previously existing municipalities before they were incorporated into the city of Zürich.
Prices in Zurich
MARKET / SUPERMARKET
|Beer (domestic)||0.5 l||€1.75|
|Bottle of Wine||1 bottle||€14.00|
|Dinner (Low-range)||for 2||€50.00|
|Dinner (Mid-range)||for 2||€90.00|
|Dinner (High-range)||for 2||€115.00|
|Mac Meal or similar||1 meal||€14.00|
|Beer (Imported)||0.33 l||€5.60|
|Beer (domestic)||0.5 l||€6.40|
|Coctail drink||1 drink||€16.00|
|Men’s Haircut||1 haircut||€|
|Mobile (prepaid)||1 min.||€0.29|
|Pack of Marlboro||1 pack||€7.40|
|Toilet paper||4 rolls||€2.80|
CLOTHES / SHOES
|Jeans (Levis 501 or similar)||1||€108.00|
|Dress summer (Zara, H&M)||1||€64.00|
|Sport shoes (Nike, Adidas)||1||€118.00|
|Local Transport||1 ticket||€3.80|
97 € per day
Estimated cost per 1 day including:
- meals in cheap restaurant
- public transport
- cheap hotel
383 € per day
Estimated cost per 1 day including:
- mid-range meals and drinks
Transportation - Get In
Zurich Airport (IATA: ZRH) (German: Flughafen Zürich-Kloten) is Switzerland's largest and busiest airport, run with Swiss efficiency. It is actually in the community of Kloten and it is 12 minutes by train from central Zurich. The trains depart about every 10-15 minutes, but early morning and late evening connections are a bit less frequent, so if you travel at these times, make sure to check the schedule. A single ticket to the Hauptbahnhof (Central Station, a.k.a. "Zürich HB") costs CHF 6.20. Several bus lines connect to the airport and provide access to the Winterthur region near it.
Most major airlines fly to Zurich but SWISS is still the Swiss flag-carrier and covers the biggest part of the international traffic at the airport. Almost every large hotel in Zurich provides shuttle buses from the airport to your hotel. The stops for these buses are a short walk to the right from Terminal 1 arrivals.
Zurich Airport has high passenger costs due to several noise reduction and approach restrictions. Most no-frill airlines fly to Basel which is 1 hour away by train. EasyJet resumed its flights to Zurich in 2007 after a three-year absence, and Air Berlin offers several flights to Germany and Southern Europe.
If you are traveling without a Schengen Visa to another destination in Europe (via Zurich airport) and if you are not an European citizen, you must not stay in Europe for longer than 90 days — even if your final destination would allow citizens of your country to stay for more than 90 days. Failure to do so will lead to very high fines (around 8100 Euros) should you try to leave Europe via Zurich airport .
Since 1st January 2013 Zurich Airport offers free WiFi for all guests for a maximum of 60 minutes. Travelers have to connect to the "ZurichAirport" network and register their cell phone number. The user will receive the access code via text message. After the free hour, there is a six-hour waiting period before you can access the next free hour.
Regular trains to and from other Swiss and European cities leave from and arrive at Hauptbahnhof, the main train station, conveniently located in the city centre at the end of Bahnhofstrasse, with easy access to mass transit. The Zurich Hauptbahnhof (HB) is served by the local S-Bahn commuter trains, InterCity (IC and ICN) connections throughout Switzerland, Italy, Germany's IC, France's TGV Lyria, Liechtenstein, and various other direct night train services to/from as far as Amsterdam, Berlin, Prague,Budapest, Vienna and Belgrade.
For train times and tickets, visit the SBB or Deutsche Bahn websites, although you may not be able to book many international journeys online through these websites. If you are already in Europe, your local train station office should usually be able to book these trains. A rail pass may make your trip cheaper. For more long-distance international journeys, visit Seat61 for more information.
The train station and the connecting underground mall has shops, restaurants, and a grocery store which locals use when they need to do Sunday shopping, as it is not subject to the closing hours laws otherwise in force in the city. It also hosts a Christmas market around Christmas. There are some 24-hour lockers in level B1 available for 6F per 24h (maximum 3 days).
Just opposite the train station is a large supermarket open till late.
The bus station is next to the main train station, near the confluence of the Sihl and Limmat.
Many buses arrive from other European cities, mainly southern destinations such as the Western Balkans or Spain. There is a bi-weekly bus to Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina (look for "Cirih").
Zurich is also served by a number of German operators.
Almost every highway in Switzerland leads straight into Zurich. This might be quite easy for tourists, but is also really painful if you have to cross Zurich on a daily basis.
As Zurich is located at the end of lake Zurich, it can be reached by boat from other lake villages, e.g. Rapperswil at the upper end of the lake.
Transportation - Get Around
By Public Transport
Zürich is famous for its highly efficient, clean and safe public transport system, owned and managed by the Zürcher Verkehrsverbund (ZVV) which covers the entire canton of Zürich as well as Rapperswil-Jona in the canton of St. Gallen and Pfäffikon SZ in the canton of Schwyz. The network includes trams, buses, S-Bahn (suburban trains), cable cars and boats. The size and complexity of the network may be daunting at first, but you will soon realize that there are dozens of ways to get from one place to another and following any of them will still be efficient.
Timetable information for Switzerland is available on sbb.ch or can be obtained using the SBB Mobile iPhone or Android App (requires a working internet connection). The free Wemlin App on iPhone and on Android gives you offline access to timetable information and network maps for the canton of Zurich area without internet connection and is therefore ideally for on the go usage in case you don't want to use data roaming.
The system is divided into numerous fare zones, with the city centre and innermost suburbs being in zone 110 and the outer suburbs located in other zones (Winterthur is in zone 120, for example), and the more zones you pass through, the more you'll have to pay for your journey. There are single tickets, day cards, monthly cards and annual cards. The monthly and annual cards are collectively referred to as ZVV NetzPass.
Tickets must be purchased from a ticket vending machine before boarding or from one of the ticket selling kiosks. The ticket vending machines are in German, English, French and Italian and offer almost all regular tickets available (not personal tickets though). You select the zones you wish to pass through upon buying the ticket, with a zone map on every machine as well as clear instructions coming to your aid, so feel free to choose! Once you've got your ticket it gives you access to all modes of transport.
If you're staying for a longer period, consider a monthly ZVV NetzPass, because even though there are no regular tickets valid for something between 1 day and a month, it takes only 10 zone 110 day cards for a zone 110 monthly card to be cheaper. When travelling in all zones, it takes only 8 day cards for the monthly card to be cheaper. A 24-hour ticket for zone 110 costs just the same as two single rides.
If you don't mind starting your travels after 9:00, the "ZVV-9-UhrPass" is the best option. It is available as both daily, monthly and annual cards and will save you a lot of money compared to regular similarities, especially given that the 9:00 rule does not apply on weekends.
There are also so-called Z-passes, which can be used not only in Zürich, but also in one of the neighbouring cantons (Aargau, Schaffhausen, Schwyz, Zug, St. Gallen or Thurgau); however, only one additional canton is possible, so if you're not going to one neighbouring canton more often than the others you are probably better off with just a normal all zones Zürich monthly card and buying single ticket from the last valid station to your final destination. The Z-pass system also has its zones, even in the neighbouring cantons. It is only available as monthly and annual cards and can not be bought from ticket vending machines.
For all details regarding fares, see the ZVV home page linked to above.
The Swiss Travel Pass (not to be confused with the SwissPass) is valid on all public transport in Zurich and, if you are a tourist visiting most of Switzerland, this may be your best way to saving both money and time spent trying to figure out zones, routes, and fare options. Eurail passes are valid only on the S-Bahn and boats. Interrail passes are valid on the S-Bahn (although the ZVV website claims a "reduction" for other routes for Interrail holders). Nevertheless, you may find you don't need the trams and buses if you don't mind walking around a little.
By tram and bus
Several tram lines, trolleybuses and buses cover the city at street level. Like all other public transport in Zurich, you must purchase and validate tickets before boarding, or risk a fine if they decide to spot check. You can find a timetable at every stop which is usually accurate to the minute, however delays do occur due to heavy traffic, rerouting, or other factors.
The 'S-Bahn' is Zürich's convenient and fast suburban rail system which covers nearly all suburbs of Zürich and beyond. Zürich's S-Bahn system provides convenient and fast service throughout the region. All lines except the rural ones pass through the Hauptbahnhof. The ZVV offers directions for a series of excursions on the S-Bahn.
You must have a validated ticket before you board. If you do not have a ticket you will be liable for an on-the-spot fine of 80CHF.
There are two types of boat-based public transport operated in Zürich: river buses and lake steamers. The river boats operate in the summer months only and the lake boats operate on a much reduced schedule during the winter.
The river buses operate between the Landesmuseum (near the Hauptbahnhof) along the Limmat River and out in the Zürichsee (Zürich Lake) to Tiefenbrunnen. There are several stops along the Limmat River.
The Zürichsee Schifffahrtsgesellschaft (ZSG) operates lake steamers which leave from Burkliplatz (at the end of Bahnhofstrasse). The ZSG's website provides information on destinations and ships. The ZSG offers a variety of tourist-oriented trips (including Jazz Brunch, and historic restored steam ships), and a popular trip is to Rapperswil at the south end of the Zürichsee. The town has a beautiful castle overlooking the lake surrounded by a medieval town.
The taxis in Zürich are very expensive compared to New York, London and other major cities. Most of the taxi-drivers are unfriendly and uncommunicative. Better travel by tram, bus or s-bahn.
Driving in Zurich is possible but it is painful as the city centre is not easy to navigate by car.
You can "rent" bikes, skateboards etc. for free from 7AM-9:20PM daily May-Oct at several places in Zurich and year-round at the central train station. All you need is your passport and a CHF 20 deposit as guarantee. This offer is called "Züri rollt" (German only). You can get and return the bikes at several locations: the bikegate just next to the central station, next to the "Globus City" shopping centre, next to the opera, or at the Swissotel in Oerlikon. If you can't find these places, don't hesitate to ask some locals, they should know at least the bikegate at the central station. The Zurich Transit Company, VBZ also provides information about these bikes in English. Nevertheless, you shouldn't count on it because sometimes the "rent" spots run out of bikes.
The main train station, old town and the lake promenade and all nearby tourist attractions are easily walkable. You may find that you don't need transport for most of your tourist needs once you get into the city.
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For shopping in Zürich there are three different areas in the centre:
- Bahnhofstrasse. Runs from the Zürich Train Main station "Hauptbahnhof" right down to the lake. Bahnhofsstrasse is famous for being one of the most exclusive and expensive shopping streets in the world. Here you can get anything from diamond rings to chocolate to fur coats. Globus and Jelmoli are two fiercely competitive department stores, both of which carry items from many high-end brands.
- Niederdorf. The Old Part of Zurich which expands from "Bellevue" by the Lake right to "Central" which is just over the River from the train station. The Niederdorf is more for young people. Aside from a lot of fast food places you will find a lot of trendy clothes stores here.
- Löwenstrasse. Runs west of Bahnhofstrasse from the main train station, has lower range shops and a large branch of Migros, a department store chain.
Swiss clocks and watches
You may be disappointed to know that most of the cheap watches and clocks in Switzerland are imported from China and Japan for their cheap quartz movements (including most of the wall clocks and alarm clocks sold at department stores, for example). Don't purchase a "Migros Budget" clock for 8CHF thinking it is a Swiss clock! Nevertheless, real Swiss-made clocks are still well known for their quality and reliability, and intricate mechanics. The following are true Swiss-made watches:
- Swatch, possibly your best bet for a "cheap" Swiss watch (40-100CHF) and perhaps better suited for the younger generation. Available in their stores on Bahnhofstrasse and various other locations, or in department stores.
- M-Watch, based on both Mondaine and Migros and available in Migros Electronics stores such as the one on the 2nd floor of the Lowenplatz location. Also relatively inexpensive (40-100CHF). Do not confuse this with "M-Budget" which is an imported cheap watch.
- Mondaine is known for their use of the famous SBB railway clock face. You can buy a replica of the SBB clock as a watch or a wall clock in most major railway stations, among other locations. However, you should note that most of them do not replicate the hallmark smooth movement of the second hand for 58.5 seconds followed by the 1.5 second pause that is characteristic of real SBB railway clocks, but they do replicate the clock face. They are quartz, and the price may seem a little inflated to you (130-180CHF). The vast majority of SBB railway clocks are actually produced by Mobatime (Moser-Baer AG), not Mondaine, even though Mondaine's name appears on some of the larger clocks such as the Treffpunkt in Zurich HB. Mondaine's wall and desk clocks, however, are only of "Swiss design" and are manufactured in China and Taiwan.
- Mid-range brands (100-500CHF) can be found at clock and watch stores throughout the city. Just walk in and have a look if you're interested.
- Upper-end watches and clocks, such as Rolex, are also sold, but you should probably do more research into them than you can find here. If you just want to stare at some of the most expensive watches for sale, take a look at the Bucherer store window at Bahnhofstrasse and see what a 25,000CHF watch looks like.
- Frey is the number one in the Swiss Chocolate market and is mainly sold in Migros and Denner supermarkets. It is offering a premium quality for a customer friendly price. Having a market share of more than 45% it is well established in the market. Chocolat Frey is accessible by taking S-Bahn S3 to Aarau (42 min) and then the Aargau local bus number 1 to the stop "Industrie" (8 min). It offers factory tours for free. It is 100% Swiss and produces as one of the only Swiss manufacturers from bean to bar all by itself. It also is present in more than 50 export markets — often exported under private labels such as Marks & Spencer, Loblaw, Tesco, Coles.
- Lindt is available at the Coop and other supermarkets besides Migros for 2-2.50CHF, but Lindt chocolates are also sold at the Lindt & Sprungli Chocolate Factory Shop, which is accessible by taking the S-Bahn S8 to Kilchberg (12 min) and then bus 163 to the stop "Lindt & Sprüngli" (2-3 min). Hours are limited (M-F 9AM-5PM). The factory store prices are somewhat lower than supermarket prices (on the order of 10-20%), but there are some sale items, including factory rejects (for underweight chocolates, improper packaging, or filling showing through) that are sold for roughly half-price. The Lindt factory used to offer tours and free samples, but this is no longer the case.
- Chocolats Halba is the chocolate producer of Coop and responsible for most of their own sortiment, but it is also the producer of several Fairtrade chocolate products in other countries, e. g. the Alter Eco brand in France. They have a factory store called Schoggihüsli in Zürich located at Alte Winterthurerstrasse 7 which is 750 m from train station "Wallisellen". There is a changing sortiment of very cheap factory rejects packages, each consisting of 1 kg chocolate at a price of 3-8 CHF.
The larger Coop supermarkets carry many brands, including Lindt, Camille Bloch, Goldkenn, and others, including all sorts of alcohol-filled chocolates.
- Teuscher. — An upscale confiserie that specializes in truffles. There are three stores in Zürich: Bahnhofstrasse 46, Storchengasse 9 and Jelmoli Department Store.
- Sprüngli — A Zurich institution that offers a variety of sweet and savory goodies including a wide variety of chocolates, from hand-made truffles to special chocolate bars. There are locations throughout the city, including Bahnhofstrasse and inside Zurich HB. Some specialities include the Luxemburgerli, a sort of soft macaroon resembling a hamburger in looks but is actually completely pastry and cream, and comes in a variety of flavors; the Truffe du Jour, a chocolate truffle that is made daily from raw cream and is meant to be consumed immediately; and the extraordinary Grand Cru Sauvage truffle, made from wild cacao beans from Bolivia. Most items are rather pricey but worth it. The flagship store on the Paradeplatz is a very popular spot for breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea. Try their berry-filled muesli, it's like no other muesli you've ever had. There are two handy stores at the Kloten airport for last-minute gifts to bring home.
- St. Jakobs Confiserie. Badenerstrasse 41. The background organisation, Behindertenwerk St. Jacob, aims at providing jobs for disabled people.
- Schweizer Heimatwerk. Uraniastr 1 (on the Limmat river). Also branches in the Hauptbahnhof (main station), airport, and Rennweg 14 in the Bellevue area. Quality Swiss handcrafts and other Swiss-made products presented in a gallery-like setting. You won't find many cuckoo clocks and the like here (cuckoo clocks are not really Swiss, they are from the Black Forest (Schwarzwald) in Germany!), the emphasis is on real traditional crafts and the work of modern craftspeople. You will find things like sleek modern hand-blown glassware and beautiful hand-carved wooden items from the Appenzell region. A worthwhile visit even if you just browse.
Swiss army knives
- Coop City in Bahnhofstrasse sells the Victorinox line at uninflated prices, although you won't get additional bells and whistles like customized faceplates or engraving. Many other department stores also carry them.
- Any cutlery shop will probably carry both Victorinox and Wenger lines of products. However, do make sure they are not inflating the price. For example, a SwissChamp (possibly the most popular model) should be retailed around 78CHF.
- Flohmarkt Bürkliplatz (Fleamarket), Bürkliplatz (in the Bellevue area near the Stadelhofen station). May-Oct Sa 6AM-3:30PM. Fairly relaxed yet large flea market with many interesting stalls.
- Flohmarkt Kanzlei (Fleamarket). Helvetiaplatz. Open Sa 8AM-4PM. A big fleamarket that hosts up to 400 stalls on busy days.
- Pastorini Spielzeug, Weinplatz 3 (near the river). A high-end toy store.
- There is an English language bookstore at the intersection of Bahnhofstrasse and Rennweg.
The quintessential Zürich dish isZürcher Geschnetzeltes (Swiss-German: Zürigschnätzlets), sliced veal in a cream and wine sauce. Various kinds of grilled Wurst(sausages) are also popular. These are most often accompanied by boiled potatoes, Rösti, a Swiss potato pancake (grated potato, formed into a pancake then pan fried until crisp in butter or oil) orChnöpfli, in German sometimes called Spätzle, (small noodle dumplings).
Veal is still very popular, though the use of turkey and other meats as a substitute is growing.
While Fondue (melted cheese in a central pot, dip bread into it) andRaclette (cheese melted in small portions, served with potatoes and pickles) are not really local to Zürich (they come from the Western Switzerland) they are commonly available at restaurants aimed at tourists.
The bread available in Zürich is generally delicious. There are many varieties, and your best bet is to go to a bakery or a supermarket in the morning or just after work hours, when most people are doing their shopping and bread is coming out fresh.
Try grilled Bratwurst from street stands, served with a large crusty roll of sourdough bread and mustard, or sandwiches made with fresh bakedBretzeln (large, soft pretzels). A typically Swiss bread is the Zopf, a braided soft bread that is commonly served on Sundays (the other name for it isSonntagszopf).
For breakfast, try a bowl of Müesli, which was invented as a health food in Switzerland. The Sprüngli confectionery store tea rooms serve a deluxe version of this fiber-filled cereal with whole milk, crushed berries and cream.
There are a huge variety of cheeses available at the supermarkets, specialty stores and markets, as well as all kinds of hams and dried sausages. Dairy products are generally delicious, especially the butter. Do not miss the supermarkets! You should take a thorough look through Migros or Coop and maybe even assemble your own lunch or dinner some time. Even the cheap, budget prepackaged desserts in the supermarket exceed the quality of what you may be used to.
For those with a sweet tooth, there's a huge variety of chocolates to enjoy, from the cheapest chocolate bar to individually hand-made truffles. (See the Shopping section above). The chocolate bar displays at the supermarkets will overwhelm you! Also enjoy pastries and cakes from the various Konditoreiscattered around town. In pastry shops, you can also find special pastry from Zurich: The most famous of them probably is Tirggel, a rather hard pastry made of flour and honey. Although traditionally made and eaten during the Winter holidays, many pastry shops (including larger supermarkets) sell them throughout the year. Often, they've got sights of Zurich printed on the top, can be stored for months and thus make up a pretty good and cheap souvenir. Another famous type of pastry are Luxemburgerli exclusively sold by the confectionery chain of Sprüngli (part of the famous chocolatier Lindt & Sprüngli). A typical cake is the Mandelfisch, an almond cake shaped like a fish.
Like most European cities, Zürich abounds with cafés where you can enjoy a leisurely cup of coffee, glass of wine or other beverage, and watch the world go by.
There are many international dining options available too. The current hot trend seems to be pan-Asian noodle/rice/sushi places. However, due to the far distance to the sea and the lack of original, well-trained Chinese/ Japanese cooks, the quality cannot live up to that of the original countries. Instead, the Italian cuisine holds the highest popularity among the foreign restaurants. They can be found throughout the city and are relatively cheap. Turkish fast food restaurants are also a delicious, cheap option.
Vegetarian food is easy to find throughout the city. Vegans may have a little trouble because cheese is used generously in most food, but should be fine living off supermarkets at the very least. Hiltl, the first vegetarian-only restaurant in Europe, is also worth a visit. You choose from the buffet, where your meal is priced by weight or from a variety of à la carte menus, which are a bit more pricey, but include vegetarian/vegan versions of popular Swiss meals like Züri-Gschnätzlets or Beef Stroganoff amongst Indian food and classic vegetarian plates. Another vegan friendly restaurant is "Bona Dea", which is located directly at Zurich Mainstation.
- Baba's take-away. Part of the Restaurant Pumpstation is located direct at the lake promenade (south of Banhof Stadelhofen). During the summer (April–October) serves fresh grilled sausages, ribs, and chicken for about 6 to 10 Francs.
- Lee's take-away, Preyergasse 8 (in the Niederdorf). Stand-up place serving excellent large portions of Asian food. Special student dishes under 10CHF.
- Pizzeria Molino, Limmatquai 16, . Pizzas and pastas in a relaxed setting. Check website for more locations.
- Ah-Hua, Ankerstrasse 110 (next to Helvetiaplatz). offers delicious Thai dishes to budget prices. Great pit-stop in a Langstrasse pub crawl.
- Gambrinus, Langstrasse 103 (near Helvetiaplatz). is a typical Swiss restaurant with good food and cold beer. It is located in the Red Light District (Langstrasse) of Zurich and is not the ideal place to bring children or acquaintances. Gambrinus looks like a pub more than anything else, but the staff are friendly and speak English. Try the Zürigschnätzlets mit Rösti or the Fondue (one of the best in Town). Prices are from CHF 14 onwards.
- Rheinfelder Bierhalle, Niederdorfstrasse 76 (at the beginning of the Niederdorf, near Central), . In this huge and boisterous restaurant you get good-value food and rich portions (only try the Jumbo Jumbo Cordon-Bleu when really hungry). Cheap beer. Service can range from very good to poor depending who is working that day.
- Millennium Restaurant, Limmatplatz 1 (Limmatstrasse at Langstrasse , right across the X-tra bar). Offers great pizzas, large hamburgers, spicy kebabs and other Italian and Turkish dishes at reasonable prices. Staff is very friendly and service is great. Perfect for lunch or a late-night snack.
- Sternen Grill, Theaterstrasse 22. Zurich's most famous sausage stand near Bellevue tram stop. Red or white sausages for around 6 CHF, a piece of bread and (hot!) mustard is included.
- 1001. A nice Turkish place with remarkably good kebab, friendly service, and possibility to seat conveniently inside.
- The Migros and Coop supermarkets (several branches all over the city) are good places to assemble an inexpensive and delicious picnic lunch consisting of freshly baked bread, cheese or ham and fresh fruit.Migros Gourmessa is the 'gourmet' takeaway counter, available in larger Migros stores including the Migros City branch at Löwenstrasse. The Coop Bahnhofbrücke branch near the main station also has a small fast-food restaurant. Note: the Migros branch in the main station is open on Sundays when most other stores are closed, and also until 9PM on weekdays, whereas the Coop Bahnhofbrücke is open 7AM to 10PM every day except Sunday.
- Jelmoli, St. Annahof and Manor department store restaurant for a cheap buffet lunch, good salad and vegetable stands. All located at Bahnhofstrasse and open during the day
- Rosalys, Freieckgasse 7 (near Bellevue), .Typical Swiss food including Älplermacrone (pasta with apple purée). Excellent cocktail bar, too.
- Commercio, Mühlebachstrasse 2 (near Stadelhofen station), . Excellent pasta and a busy atmosphere.
- Commi-Halle, Stampfenbachstrasse 8 (near Central), . Italian food served late.
- Swiss Chuchi, Rosengasse 10 (in the Niederdorf), . A kitchy place serving up classic Swiss fare, mainly for tourists. Serves fondue year-round.
- Zeughauskeller, Bahnhofstrasse 28a (near Paradeplatz), . 11:30AM-11PM. Offers hearty sausages, stews, rösti potato etc. in a Brauhaus-like setting. Touristy, but good and large portions. Housed in a historical building, built in 1487.
- Zum Kropf, In Gassen 16 (just down the street from the Zeughauskeller), . Offers beer hall fare such as sausages and pork shanks in a somewhat refined setting. The restaurant features a beautiful painted ceiling.
- Globus Bellevue, Theaterstrasse 12. This relatively new branch of the Globus department store in the Bellevue near the Stadelhofen station is totally dedicated to food. There is a large eatery on the ground floor that serves various fusion-type foods (decent noodle bowl) and a passable sushi bar. The ground floor has a gourmet food market, and upstairs there are kitchen wares.
- Sprüngli Paradeplatz, Bahnhofstrasse 21 (1. Floor). The flagship store of the Sprüngli confectionery store chain has a beautiful turn-of-the-century style dining room upstairs that is extremely popular for breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea. Choose from the menu or from the gorgeous display case filled with beautiful cakes, tarts, open-face and regular sandwiches. Try the muesli! Great people watching too, since this is the place for an after-shopping snack for the rich ladies of Zurich.
- King's Kurry, Freyastr 3 (next to Bahnhof Wiedikon), . Offers a good value daily Indian lunch buffet.
- Masala, Stauffacherstrasse 27 (near Stauffacher), . Tasty Indian cuisine.
- Hiltl, Sihlstrasse 28 (behind Jelmoli department store), . The oldest vegetarian restaurant in Europe (from 1890). Reopened in March 2007 after renovation work.
- Tibits, Seefeldstrasse 2 (behind the Opera house), . The fast-food outlet of Hiltl, Europe's oldest vegetarian restaurant. Offers a nice self-service buffet of fresh veggies and fruit and a surprising variety. Try the freshly squeezed juices. Buffet: 3.60 for 100g.
- Outback Lodge, Stadelhoferstasse 18 (at Bahnhof Stadelhofen), . Unrelated to the U.S. Outback Steakhouse chain. Enjoy Aussie tucker like ostrich, kangaroo, and crocodile, as well as more conventional fare. Popular with locals as well as expats. Has a hopping bar scene (see Drink section). There's also a branch in Winterthur.
- Iroquois, Seefeldstrasse 120, . Tex-mex food in the trendiest part of town, with the best margaritas in Zurich.
- Tiffin's, Seefeldstrasse 61 (between Kreuzstrasse and Feldeggstrasse), . Great place for Asian food. Crowded, closed on Sundays.
- Lily's, Langstrasse 197 (between the railway and Limmatplatz), . Great Thai and other Asian food. The curries are particularly good and come in huge portions. Come before 7PM or after 9PM if you don't want to wait.
- Manzoni Bar, Schützengasse 15, . Morning till evening. Authentic Italian coffee and aperitif bar that offers clients over 20 different coffee specialties and a vast take away menu. The concept was created by the Manz brothers together with Francesco Illy, the most famous coffee brand in Italy.
- Nooba, Kreuzplatz 5, . Pan-Asian noodle bar, a short walk up the hill from Stadelhofen station. Stylish setting, attentive and multi-lingual service and a broad selection of freshly prepared noodle, rice and curry dishes.
- Nooch, Heinrichstrasse 267 (opposite the Cinemax movie multiplex), . Yet another Pan-Asian noodle, rice and curry joint. Also has a sushi bar.
- Ristoranto Toscano, Schmidgasse 3, . . A very good Italian restaurant in the old part of the city (Niederdorf). You should try the Spaghetti al Bacio! Closed on Sunday.
- Restaurant Eisenhof, Gasometerstrasse 20, . Has the warm feel of an old pub. The house specialty is horse steak, served on a hot stone with fries.
- Blinde Kuh, Mühlebachstrasse 148, .Restaurant in complete darkness, served by blind people. An amazing experience.
- Mesa Restaurant, Weinbergstr. 75, 8006 Zürich, .17 points from Guide Gault Millau and one star from Guide Michelin proves that traditional kitchen with Catalan influences as one of the best restaurants in Zurich
- Kronenhalle, Rämistrasse 4 (at Bellevue), . The city's most famous restaurant where all the glitterati go to see and be seen. Good Swiss food and heavenly chocolate mousse are one reason to go, the opportunity to dine among original artwork by famous Swiss and European artists (who paid in paintings instead of money) the other. Dress nicely, and treat yourself to a drink at the classy bar before or after your meal. Mains 30-65CHF
- Widder Hotel, Rennweg 7, . High-class food in a cool setting. The hotel has a trendy bar, great piano music, cool red leather decor, and halogen lighting. Mains 20-50CHF.
- Zunfthaus Zur Waag, Münsterhof 8, . Very authentic Swiss high end restaurant. To ensure your meal does not get cold, they split your order into 2 plates and bring you one at a time. Mains 25-50CHF.
- Le Dezaley, Römergasse 7 (Near the Grossmünster Cathedral in a street connecting Limmatquai and the Niederdorf), .Traditional French-Swiss food from the French-speaking Kanton Waadt (Vaud). One of many fondue restaurants in Zurich. Mains 25-40CHF.
- Blaue Ente, Seefeldstrasse 223 (at the far end of tram 2 and 4 near Bahnhof Tiefenbrunnen), . Romantic cuisine in a beautiful building.
- Coco Grill & Bar, Bleicherweg 1A (next to Paradeplatz), . Mo-Fri 10AM-2:30PM & 5PM -Midnight, Sa 5:30-Midnight. Grill restaurant that offers set menus for lunch and a menu surprise for dinner (either fish or meat). Also has a good wine selection and very nice in the summer due to a small garden
The restaurants at the top of the Uetliberg are great to combine a nice view of town (a hike in the summer) and some great food. It also has a cheaper self-service area.
Sights & Landmarks
Most of the interesting sights are in the old town around the river and lakefront.
- Grossmünster, Zwingliplatz.Old Romanesque church, symbol of reformed Zurich, where reformer Huldrych Zwingli was appointed the people's priest in 1519. Go up the tower for a great view of Zurich, though the stairs can be quite small and steep. Tower 4CHF/2CHF students.
- Fraumünster, Kämbelgasse 2. Old Gothic church (former convent) with window paintings made by Marc Chagall. No photos or videos allowed inside.
- Landesmuseum, Museumstrasse 2, . Tu-Su 10AM-5PM and most public holidays including M. The biggest Swiss history museum. You can also learn about the various traditions of the cantons comprising Switzerland. 10CHF.
- Kunsthaus, . One of the major Swiss art museums. Its specialities are modern sculpturer Giacometti and the surrealist 18th Century painter Fuseli, both Swiss. Entry is free to the main collection Wednesdays.
- Schanzengraben. A small canal that used to be part of the city fortifications between Limmat and Sihl. From the main station, go to Gessnerallee, find the stairways down to the tiny creek, and walk all the way to the lake.
- Rietberg Museum, Gablerstrasse 15, . One of Europe's best collections of Asian art (mainly Indian drawings).
- Langstrasse. Red light district of Zürich, with more drug dealers and police than usual, but interesting because even this most notorious spot in Switzerland is so clean and safe. The area is the most overtly multicultural spot of the town. In recent years, ateliers and stylish bars start to coexist side by side to the about 15 strip clubs.
- Zoo, Zürichbergstrasse 221, , e-mail:[email protected]. 9AM-6PM (Mar-Oct), 9AM-5PM (Nov-Feb). With the new Masoala Rainforest Hall, the Zoo is really worth a visit! 26 CHF for adults (19 CHF for those under 25).
- Lake Promenade. Especially during summer, the lake is a beautiful place to spend the evening or the weekend. Starting from Bellevue, the boardwalk goes for about three kilometers along the lake towards Tiefenbrunnen. About halfway from Bellevue there is a meadow where you will find thousands of people on a sunny day.
- China Garden, Bellerivestrasse 138, . Open daily 11:00-19:00. This small but beautiful Chinese garden was offered to the city of Zurich by the Chinese city of Kunming as symbol of gratitude after Zurich helped Kunming with technical knowledge. 4 CHF.
- Centre Le Corbusier (near China Garden). A beautiful, modern villa planned by the famous Swiss architect. The visiting hours are very limited (i.e. one day / week only in the summer) and entry is expensive. Additionally, there is a legal battle between the city (owner) and the long time tenant.
- Lindenhof. The hill in the heart of the old town. A beautiful view of the city and one time location of a Roman fort.
- Niederdorf. The old town offers beautiful alleys, restaurants and shopping mainly aimed at younger consumers. In the evenings, people visit the Niederdorf's many bars.
- Bahnhofstrasse. One of the busiest and best known shopping streets in the world. Highly refined. Certainly a must-see for every tourist in Zurich! .
- Museum Buehrle, Zollikerstrasse 172, . A rich private art collection worth visiting - although a little less rich after a recent brazen robbery in broad daylight. Call ahead, as it's currently not open during regular hours.
- Johann Jacobs Museum, Seefeldquai 17, .A museum that describes the complex history of global trade routes and goods and the culture around them. Prior to 2011, the museum focused on coffee.
- Zurich West. This modern quarter used to be an industrial one, but modern urban developments made it into a centre of vibrant night life.
Museums & Galleries
- Zürich Museum of Art – The Museum of Art, also known as Kunsthaus Zürich, is one of the significant art museums of Europe. It holds one of the largest collections in Classic Modern art in the world (Munch, Picasso, Braque, Giacometti, etc.). The museum also features a large library collection of photographs
- Swiss National Museum – The National Museum (German:Landesmuseum) displays many objects that illustrate the cultural and historical background of Switzerland. It also contains many ancient artifacts, including stained glass, costumes, painted furniture and weapons. The museum is located in the Platzspitz park opposite to the Hauptbahnhof.
- Centre Le Corbusier – Located on the shore of the Lake Zürich nearby Zürichhorn, the Centre Le Corbusier (also named: Heidi Weber Museum), is an art museum dedicated to the work of the Swiss architectLe Corbusier, inside the last house he designed.
- Rietberg Museum – The Rietberg Museum, situated in Gablerstrasse, is one of the great repositories of art and culture in Zürich. The museum also displays exhibits gathered from various corners of the world: bronze artifacts from Tibet, ceramics and jade, Indian sculpture, Chinese grave decorations, masks by African tribes etc.
- Museum of Design – The Museum of Design is a museum for industrial design, visual communication, architecture and craft. It is part of the Department of Cultural Analysis of the Zürich University of the Arts.
- Haus Konstruktiv – The Haus Konstruktiv is a museum with Swiss-wide and international recognition. The museum is about constructive, concrete and conceptual art and design. It testimonies to Zürich's industrial architecture in the immediate vicinity of the Main Station.
- Uhrenmuseum Beyer – The Uhrenmuseum is located in the heart of the city. Documenting the history of timekeeping and timekeepers, the museum is home to a large collection of mechanical timepieces as well as a collection of primitive time keeping devices such as water clocks, sundials and hourglasses
- No Show Museum – the No Show Museum is the first museum dedicated to nothing and its various manifestations throughout the history of art.
- Guild houses – The Guild houses (German: Zunfthaus) are located along the Limmat (downstream from the Grossmünster): Meisen (also a porcelain and fayence museum), Rüden, Haue, Saffran, Schneidern, Schmiden, Zimmerleuten, and some more.
- Tram Museum – The Tram Museum is located at Burgwies in Zürich's eastern suburbs, and chronicles the history of Zürich's iconic tram systemwith exhibits varying in date from 1897 to the present day.
- North America Native Museum – The North American Native Museum specializes in the conservation, documentation and presentation of ethnographic objects and art of Native American, First Nation and Inuit cultures.
Things to do
- Take the Polybahn, Central 1. Operates Mon-Fri 06:45-19:15, Sat 07:30-14:00, closed on Sun and public holidays. A 19th-century funicular, up the steep hill for a fine view. Starts at tram station Central and goes up to the ETH. Nice terrace up there. During the week, the student cafeteria below the terrace is also open to the public. 1.20 CHF, free with ZürichCARD or a valid ZVV ticket for Zone 110.
- Go skiing by train — Buy a snow'n'rail ticket (train & skipass) at the Hauptbahnhof during winter months, train out in morning, back in evening. Flumserberg is the closest large ski-resort, popular with people from Zurich, with a good range of runs for beginners and experts. Retreat to the right side of the resort if the rest gets busy.
- Take a trip on the Zürichsee. with one of the two old steam ships. There are a few different routes you can choose from, which will vary mainly in the distance. Journeys usually start from Bürkliplatz. Steam ships operate between April and mid-October. ZVV tickets valid.
- Rent a small rowboat or pedalo.
- Take a Limmat river cruise, Landesmuseum Pier, e-mail:[email protected]. Offers views of the old town and Lake Zurich. Operates between April and October. 4.30 CHF, free with ZürichCARD or a valid ZVV ticket for Zone 110.
- Go up 4 Uetliberg, a hill overlooking Zurich. You can hike up, or take a train from the main station. Enjoy the 360 degree view from a tall viewing tower (not for vertigo sufferers!). This is also the start of the Planetenweg (planetary walk), an 8 mile walk along the ridge with models of the planets along the way. These are scaled down in true proportion to the solar system. To look at Zürich from the other hills, go to the Irchel (Tram station Milchbuck) or Käferberg (Bucheggplatz, walk up the hill and keep right of the forest).
- Go club-hopping — Zürich has proportionately the largest number of clubs per capita in Europe. Pick up a free copy of the 20 Minuten (20 Minutes) paper and start exploring.
- Go for a bike ride! You can get free bikes, skates or other fun transport at several stops throughout town. Beware though that biking within the city is only for the experienced, as trams and buses frequent the roads and tram tracks are a serious hazard to inexperienced cyclists.
- The Grossmünster sometimes has organ concerts in the evenings. Check the front door for notices.
- Take a 45 min train ride to see the largest waterfall in Europe, the Rhine Falls. Take the train from the Zurich Airport or Zurich HB (central station) to either Winterthur then transfer trains to Schloss Laufen (from April-Oct) or Schaffhausen then take the city bus #1 or #6 to Neuhausen Zentrum.
Shows and theaters
- Opernhaus, Falkenstrasse 1 (Tram stop Opernhaus, or take the S-train to Stadelhofen), . The Zurich Opera house shows frequently changing productions of world famous operas. As with the Schauspielhaus, students get a big last-minute discount. The best seats costs 45 CHF for students.
- Rote Fabrik (Red Factory). An old silk factory converted to a centre of youth culture and art in the 1980s. The Red Factory became one of the most exciting parts of cultural life. An artists coop, a couple of kilometers south, form along the west bank of Lake Zurich. They have a variety of events, including music, film, and theater.
- Theater am Neumarkt, Neumarkt 5. Closed Summer. Closer to downtown.
- Schauspielhaus Pfauen, Rämistrasse 34, 8001 Zürich (Tram stop Kunsthaus), . Zurich's Schauspielhaus is one of the most important theatres in the German speaking part of Europe. The Schauspielhaus has several locations, the most important one being the Pfauen. Students can get really cheap last minute tickets (10 minutes before the show) if they show their student ID. The best seats, if available, costs 20 CHF that way.
- Cinema Arthouse Le Paris (Arthouse Le Paris), Gottfriedkellerstrasse 1, CH-8001 Zurich (Tram stop Stadelhofen, or take the S-train to Stadelhofen), . Frequently changing arthouse movies, students get a discount.
Festivals and events
- Streetparade. — Currently the biggest open air techno rave in Europe. It happens one day each year on the second Saturday of August, during which trucks which function as mobile soundsystems ("Love mobiles") start driving along the lake side, starting from the east at Utoquai and ending at the west at Hafen Enge. Every year this event attracts nearly a million visitors who dance in the streets to the music which you can hear from anywhere in the city. After the Streetparade the party doesn't stop, there are open air parties along the route until midnight and club parties at various locations in town until late the next day, to keep the party going. Don't be surprised if the city's cleanliness isn't up to its usual standard the next day.
- Swiss national day, August 1st — Celebrations are carried out in many cities in the evenings and fireworks are launched at night. Watch them over the lake, or if you're experienced with safely launching fireworks yourself, you can buy them in the days leading up to the national holiday and have fun. The display over the Rheinfall, one hour away by S-Bahn, is also extremely popular.
- Züri Fäscht, which occurs every 3 years (last held 1-3th July 2016, next 2019), is a weekend festival celebrating Zurich.
- Sechseläuten, around mid-April, the guilds of Zürich celebrate their traditional spring festival with the burning of the snow man (Böögg). A procession of several hundreds of people with historical guild costumes and horses takes place in the centre of the town.
- Zürcher Theater Spektakel, a festival for the perfoming arts. Held along the lake near Rote Fabrik and features a number of free performances. Usually in August.
Zurich has a lot of places to go out. There are a lot of clubs, restaurants,cafés, bars but also many museums and theaters. The most common drinks in Zurich include: Beer, Swiss white wine (e.g. Fendant), Swiss red wine (is delicious), and Spanish red wine (is generally good value here). At apérotime (after work), you will find many people drinking a Cüpli (glass of sparkling wine).
- Bierhalle Wolf, Limmatquai 132 (At the northern end of the old-town, facing the river), , e-mail: [email protected]. A lively beer hall often with live music. In addition to the beer selection, they serve great local food.
- Federal, Main Station (Tram 3,4,6,7,10,11,13,14, Bus 31, Main Station).A big Brasserie-like bar inside the Main Station with a choice of 100 Swiss-only beers.
- Nachtflug, Stüssihofstatt 4 (Niederdorf). Stylish, coffee and some snacks during the day, large choice of drinks at night.
- Outback Lodge, Stadelhoferstrasse 18 (at Bahnhof Stadelhofen), . Australian in theme, drinks and food, but also well visited by the locals.
- Blue Note, Stockerstrasse 45. Jazz club, quite expensive but great atmosphere.
- James Joyce bar, Pelikanstrasse 8. Where the writer himself used to go. Now mostly frequented by bankers.
- Oliver Twist, Rindermarkt 6, . An Irish/British style pub with a good atmosphere, and many English-speaking foreigners. Has English ales on draught.
- Öpfelchammer (apple chamber), Rindermarkt 12, . Not a real pub or café, they only serve wine or water. But if you succeed in climbing over the roof beams, you get a free glass of wine to drink hanging upside down and you can mark your name into the wood afterwards.
- Widder Bar, Widdergasse 6. By far the best stocked whiskey bar in town, with a separate whiskey menu containing 250 single malts. In the famous hotel of the same name.
- Corazón, Zähringerplatz 11, . A Spanish themed bar with a good selection of wines and excellent service.
- Bohemia, Klosbachstrasse 2 (at Kreuzplatz, just up from Stadelhofen), , e-mail: [email protected].Trendy place popular for its coffee during the day and an even better nightlife. Usually a popular place for college students.
- Barfussbar, Stadthausquai (a 3 minutes walk from Bürkliplatz along the Limmat river). 20h-24h Wed, Thu, Sun, summer only. During the day this is a public bath for women only. But at night (after 8 o'clock) men are also allowed. It is a beautiful place to spend a warm summer night with a great view of Zurich.
- Rimini, Schanzengraben (Go down Badweg from Talstrasse). 7:30PM-12AM, Sa 5PM-12AM, only in summer and only when it's not raining.Another open air bar. This one is at the men's public baths. Really cool atmosphere because of the nice colored lights and the straw mats and pillows.
- El Lokal, Gessnerallee 11 (on the Sihl). Bar, restaurant, and intimate gig venue attracting alternative crowd, "soccer vs elvis vs che guevara" themed.
Kreis 2 (Wollishofen)
- Shamrock Irish Pub, Studackerstrasse 1 (end station of the 7, Wollishofen). Open to Midnight everyday. Irish Pub with regular event & good crowd (food served)
Kreis 4 (Langstrasse)
- Casablanca, Langstrasse 62 (near Helvetiaplatz), . Cool, modern setting.
- New Velvet, Ankerstrasse 116 (near Helvetiaplatz). Nice little Brazilian bar with cool music and cooler people. Closed on sunday.
- Xenix, Kanzleistrasse 56 (by Helvetiaplatz). Small art house cinema with a busy beer garden in summer. There's a mixture of students, bohemians, and bicycle messengers posing with their fixies.
- Total Bar, Tellstrasse 19 (a block east of the Langstrasse). Tiny bar serving a range of Zurich's microbrews. There's always good music.
- Acapulco, Neugasse 56 (near Langstrasse). Bar with comfortable seats and on week-ends quite crowded. Every Sunday is karaoke evening.
- Riffraff, Neugasse 57 (near Langstrasse), .Cinema bar attracting a largely alternative crowd.
- Langstars Cafe-Bar & Backpacker-Hostel, Langstrasse 120 (at the famous party-mile), . Cool cafe-bar with a lot of live music and very easy to meet up with people.
Kreis 5 (Zürich West)
- 4. Akt, Heinrichstrasse 262 (near Escher-Wyss Platzfor), . Teens and tweens love this place.
- Hard One, Hardstrasse 260 (near Escher-Wyss Platz), . A roof lounge on top the Cinemax complex. Older crowd, very expensive, but stylish.
- Moods, Schiffbaustrasse 6 (near Escher-Wyss Platz), . Jazz club in the Schiffbau complex, concerts on Saturdays.
Zurich has proportionally more clubs than any other city in Europe. You will find anything from very "fancy" clubs to places you can just chill. If you want, you can go to a club every night. There is always a Club that has a party going and Zurich's young make sure to splash all their income on going out. A lot of clubs are located in the so-called Zurich West (District 5). The internet site usgang.ch is a good place to look up what's up.
- X-Tra, Limmatstrasse 118. Probably the biggest Club near the Limmatplatz. Free admission on Mondays.
- Hive Club, . Geroldstrasse 5. Many rooms to wander through and listen to DJ's from Switzerland and abroad.
- K5-Club, Hardturmstrasse 171, .
- Indochine, Kaufleuten, St. Germain, and Mascotte are the more fancy clubs in Zurich.
- Zukunft, and Helsinki are for a more alternative and artsy crowd.
- Gonzo, Langstrasse 135. A basement club that strictly plays no electronic music. It's a lot of fun but sometimes you have to wait in line quite long to get in
- Kinski, Langstrasse 112. Basement club at Langstrasse with some fun parties and concerts.
Gay and lesbian travellers
- Rathauscafé, Limmatquai 61, . Coffee and a croissant in the morning, moving over to sparkling wine in the afternoon and early evening. Nice terrace in the summer. Mixed crowd, friendly service.
- Cranberry, Metzgergasse 3 (opposite Rathauscafé), . Very crowded on Fridays and Saturdays 8PM-midnight, before the boys head to the clubs.
- Barfüsser, Spitalgasse 4. Once Europe's oldest gay bar, it has now been converted into a fancy and large lounge and sushi place. Has a relaxed atmosphere and mixed crowd.
- T&M. Disco club, Marktgasse 14, and Aaaah house club. Open daily, but only crowded on Friday and Saturday. Share the same house and entry ticket at Marktgasse 14, you can switch atmosphere as much as you like. 23CHF cover charge on busy nights.
- Sunday Trash, Schiffbaustrasse 3, . Gay and Lesbian party in Labor Bar, Schiffbaustrasse. Place to be on Sunday night, 9PM-3AM. 10CHF cover charge.
Things to know
Permanence Hauptbahnhof at the main train station provides urgent out-patient care for tourists without prior appointments. There is also a dentist downstairs at the station. For serious emergencies rush to "Kantonsspital", the university clinic which has a 24/7 emergency ward. Tram stop "Universitätsspital" (look out for the - inexplicable - golden boy statue in front of the building, then follow the red "Notfall" signs). They will not send away people with serious, urgent health problems. Ambulance phone number is 144 but the European 112 emergency number works as well.
If you're on a budget, don't stay out too late — the "N" night buses only run on weekends. When they run, they run only once per hour and you must purchase a Nachtzuschlag for 5 CHF from the machine and validate it before boarding. On work nights, there is no public transport at all after about 12:30AM (although expensive taxis still exist in case you're stuck).
Stores are generally closed on Sundays including all supermarkets in the city, except those in the main train station and airport.
On Sundays, there are supermarkets open at the following train stations: Zurich main station, Enge, and Stadelhofen.
Avoid reaching/visiting Zurich on 1 May. The city is on a Labor Day/May Day holiday. The trams don't run for half the day so getting around could be a problem. Also, there could be some minor violent outbreaks and damages to cars.
Zurich has two police departments, the Stadtpolizei Zurich which is responsible for the city area and the Kantonspolizei Zürich which is responsible for the whole region. With approximately 1'800 and 3'000 officers, these corps are the biggest in Switzerland. While police officers in Zurich will happily help you out if you are in trouble or need directions, they are also known for approaching "suspicious" persons in order to check their papers. This procedure is annoying but legal as you will probably have a hard time proving you were not acting suspicious. Carry a photocopy of your passport and your onward ticket with you, stay calm and polite and you're unlikely to have any trouble.
The official formal language used by governmental institutions, print, news, universities/schools, courts, theater and in any kind of written form is (Swiss) Standard German, while the spoken language is Zürich German (Züritüütsch), one of the several more or less distinguishable, but mutually intelligible Swiss Germandialects of Switzerland with roots in the medievalAlemannic German dialect groups. However, because of Zürich's national importance, and therefore its existing high fluctuation, one can hear all kinds of Swiss German dialects spoken by its inhabitants and commuters. As of the December 2010 census, 69.3% of the population speaks diglossic Swiss German/Swiss Standard German as their mother-tongue at home. Some 22.7% of inhabitants speak Standard German in their family environment ("at home"). Dramatically increasing, according to the last census in 2000, 8.8% now speak English. Italian follows behind at 7.1% of the population, then French at 4.5%. Other languages spoken here include Croatian and Serbian (4.1%), Spanish (3.9%), Portuguese (3.1%), and Albanian (2.3%). (Multiple choices were possible.) Thus 20% of the population speak two or more languages at home.
Safety in Zurich
Zürich, like all cities in Switzerland, is relatively safe. Nevertheless, be on guard for thieves and pickpockets. Carry your wallet or purse in a secure way, not in your hip pocket or a backpack outer pocket. In particular, thieves are known to operate around the Zurich main train station. Do not let your bags out of sight for even a moment.
In recent years, certain areas along the lakefront are frequented by young people who sometimes try to pick a fight when they are drunk. Do not let them provoke you, as they are likely to be there in numbers and will use any excuse to go at you. You may also notice many of said young people smoking something that isn't a cigarette - Switzerland is surprisingly lenient about such things - but it is hardly a cause for alarm.
Public transport is very safe. You can use it without any special precautions.
If you decide to bicycle in the city, understand that Zurich is a city of public transport . Beware of tram tracks which can get your wheel stuck and send you flying into traffic, of the trams themselves which travel these tracks frequently (and may scare you into getting stuck into the track as just noted), and the buses, which make frequent stops in the rightmost lane. In short, bicycling downtown should be only done by those experienced with cycling with such traffic.
- Gay and lesbian travelers — Zurich is the favorite place to live for Switzerland's (German-speaking) gays and lesbians. The Canton of Zurich was the second canton, after Geneva, to allow registered partnerships for same-sex partners for example. The city of Zurich is probably the place in Switzerland that offers the most open environment for gays and lesbians. Gays and lesbians need not take special precaution for their safety on the streets. It is always possible for random homophobic behaviour to happen, though.