Things to do in Zürich

Last September we spent 5 days in Zürich, Switzerland. Most of my holiday photos were taken on a film camera so I’ve been a bit slow at digitising them. I finally got around to scanning them today and it reminded me of the lovely places we visited during our trip.

HIT – the best bits of Zürich

♥ Boat trip across Zürich lake to Rapperswil (Zürichsee)

Rapperswil

Our boat trip for Rapperswil was one of the highlights of our holiday. The day we took the trip was perfect – there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, the water was settled and perfectly clear. We bought a ticket and boarded the boat at Bürkliplatz. The journey took 2 hours and we stopped at lots of little towns along the river to pick up other passengers, which mean’t we saw some traditional Swiss houses and buildings.

Visit the Zürichsee website

♥ Babu’s Bakery & Coffee House

We found Babu’s whilst exploring the area near the water front and picked up some great sandwiches for our boat trip to Rapperswil. The coffee house sells lots of delicious drinks and snacks and their potato rosti with scrambled eggs was superb. Sadly we found this cafe towards the end of out trip, which was a shame because there were lots of cakes we wanted to try.

Visit Babu’s website

♥ Zürich Freitag store

I’d wanted to visit the Freitag tower ever since I unwrapped a Freitag bag at Christmas a few years ago!

Freitag Store Zurich

If you don’t mind heights, I’d really recommend going to the top of the Freitag tower in District 5, you get a fantastic view over the city. If you get to the top and have a bit of a wobble, no fear, they have a giant red panic button you can press!

Visit the Freitag website

♥ District 5

If you are looking for unusual or quirky places to visit in Zurich then it’s worth spending a few hours in District 5 (where we visit the Freitag store and Walter vintage). There are lots of interesting shops and cafes.

♥ Tibits restaurant

We went to a couple of vegetarian restaurants in Zurich. Tibits is good for lunch or dinner as the food can be eaten in or taken away. It’s the perfect place for foreign vegetarian travellers who don’t speak the lingo because you walk in, take a plate, help yourself to delicious food from their buffet counter and take your plate to the till. The cost of the meal is calculated by weight. The only thing to note here is that if you have a large appetite it could be an expensive meal.

The sound of a buffet might put you off, but it’s not your typical buffet. The food is very good and there aren’t hordes of people hovering over the food. This restaurant was also recommended to us by a local.

We thought we’d found a Swiss gem until we got home and found that we can go to Tibits in London! Oops.

Visit the Tibits website (Zürich)

♥ Museum Für Gestaltung

Museum of Design, Zürich

If you’re interested in art and design, then the Museum of Design is worth a visit. We headed to the museum not knowing what was on and were seriously lucky because when we arrived, the Out to sea? The Plastic Garbage Project exhibition was on. Admittance to other exhibitions was quite expensive but this one was free. Perfect!

Visit the Museum Für Gestaltung website

♥ Cafe Schober

This little cafe is tucked away in the Old Town of Zürich. We stumbled across this place by accident when walking around the area. It’s a great place to pick up Swiss chocolate to take home. The staff were really friendly and spoke English. It was here we tried our first homemade almond macaroons – they were amazing. We’ve tried others since but none of them have come close to those we ate at Cafe Schober.

Visit the Cafe Schober website

♥ Cake friends

If you like cake and tea, go to cake friends. They have a large range of herbal tea and although their main selling point is cake, the lunches were very good too.

Visit the Cake Friends website

♥ Walter Vintage Moebel & Accessories store

Walter vintage, Zurich

A lovely selection of vintage furniture and unusual gifts. This shop was also in District 5, near the Freitag store.

Visit the Walter website

♥ Hotel Restaurant Helvetia

This place is fantastic for dinner. Pricey but worth every penny. The atmosphere is warm and the staff are friendly. We ended up sitting in Helvetia in a candle lit nook for most of the evening drinking Swiss wine whilst it poured with rain outside.

Visit the Hotel Helvetia website

♥ Zum Gluten Glück

Breakfast pancakes and waffles on a table

It was a bit of a walk to this cafe but worth it because their waffles and pancakes were out of this world. All freshly cooked and made to order. The staff also humoured our attempts to pronounce ‘pfannkuchen’ and order breakfast in German 🙂

Visit the Zum Gluten Glück website

♥ Viadukt Markt Halle

There are lots of interesting shops and places to eat round here. If you visit, it’s also worth a walk around the area. We bought some bread, cheese and tomatoes from the indoor market and sat in the park area whilst we ate our lunch.

Visit the Viadukt Markt website

MISS – the not so good

✘ Rapperswil for lunch

Rapperswil is a beautiful place but the restaurants by the lake are very much geared towards tourists. We had a look at various menus but many of the dishes were based around burgers, chips and pasta.

✘ Santa Lucia Pizzeria, Niederdorfstrasse

We found this place whilst walking around the Old Town. From outside the restaurant looked busy and we could see an impressive looking pizza oven. The food in Santa Lucia was relatively cheap for Zürich but tasted average. Not bad but not great either.

Visit the Santa Lucia website

✘ Shedhalle cultural design centre

We had high hopes for this area but sadly after walking quite a way along the river to get there, we were really disappointed! Aside from a nice looking cafe there wasn’t much else to see. Alot of creative/design spaces seemed to be out of bounds for visitors. We ended up walking straight back again. Perhaps we went on a bad day.

Visit the Shedhalle website

✘ Speciality Market at Zürich Main Station

We were really looking forward to this market but ended up unimpressed and ripped off. Scott ate a horrible Bratwurst, we were charged 9CHF for a smoothie which was labelled at 6CHF and the food was generally a bit disappointing. The one saving grace of this market was a bit of delicious orange cake with a thin layer of chocolate on the bottom.

✘ Bahnhofstrasse

This is one the main (luxury) shopping areas in Zürich. It’s worth a walk down the road but to be honest, most of the shops are the same ones that appear everywhere. If you enjoy luxury shopping you’ll probably love it.

★ The final verdict

Overall, Zürich is a lovely city. It’s clean, the people are friendly (most speak English) and there are lots of open spaces. If you like design, then keep an eye out for great typography on signage and buildings!

However, it is an expensive city. If you’re looking for a budget holiday, you may want to consider another destination. Those interested in walking can find plenty to see (lake walks, architecture etc) without paying lots of money for tourist attractions. The main cost of our holiday was food and apart from the Design Museum and boat trip, we didn’t pay for any other tourist attractions and still had a great time.

And that’s a summary of our trip to Zürich, hope you’ve found this guide handy! You can view some of my holiday photos on Flickr.

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