Last weekend we took a spur of the moment trip to Zurich, Switzerland and got our first taste of summer this year. The weather in Ireland right now is far from desirable for June but then again it is Ireland and I shouldn’t be surprised. Before taking a trip I love to research in dept but with so many trips coming up I just didn’t have the time, I know, I know such a terrible complaint.
We stayed in the Acasa Suits and I would highly recommend staying here, they were just one stop from the airport on the train and depending on which train you get either 1 or 2 stops to the main station in the city centre. Zurich is quite an expensive city and finding a decent priced hotel is hard but Acasa was around the 240€ mark for the weekend, which was one of the best deals we found. The hotel has a sauna and steam room that you can relax in after a long day of exploring.
One of my favourite things to do when I visit a new place is to seek out cool speciality coffee shops and Zurich definitely had a few. The first morning we swung by COFFEE, this spot is small with some tables outside, perfect for sipping iced coffee in the sun. The coffee was delish, plus they also alternate some roasts so be sure to ask what’s on and maybe try some filtered coffee.
A lot of places close on Sundays in Zurich, so don’t expect stores to be open! Same goes for coffee places, many on my list were unfortunately shut. Thankfully Mami one of the OG speciality coffee shop in Zurich was open. A cool store that shares its space with a bike store. I loved the design of this store and the coffee was top notch.
We spent Saturday exploring the city, the old town of Zurich is stunning, the river flows from the lake through the old town with medieval style buildings and clock tower churches lining the banks. Just before I move on the river in Zurich is the cleanest river I have ever seen within city limits, I mean I could see the bottom! still not quite over it clearly. If you are looking for traditional Swiss food then the old town would be a great place to grab some, but I would say it is quite expensive.
From the old town, we started walking by the lake. Lake Zurich is massive and I would say it would take a very long time to get around so we stopped after an hour and walked back. Along the lake, there are numerous vendors selling bratwurst and currywurst which I would highly recommend. It is a cheap lunch option and you can sit along the waters edge enjoying your lunch. During the summer the lake is also a great place to take a dip. There are some areas that are dedicated swimming areas, Frauenbad which is women only and if you are a couple then there is Mythenquai and Tiefenbrunnen.
Towards the evening we headed to the industrial quarter, the ‘Brooklyn’ of Zurich I would call it, as it was once a place you wouldn’t go, now turned into a hip area that all the youth of the city flock too. For Al fresco drinks I would highly recommend going to Frau Gerunds Garten. It is this cool outdoor bar with some shops and food stalls dotted around in old shipping containers. We ate here had some beers and listened to the live reggae band as the sun went down. It was such a cool way to spend the evening.
If its views you are after then climbing the stair onto the rooftop of Grossmunster Cathedral is a great idea and it only cost 5 CHF but just an FYI they only take cash. Alternatively, you can walk up to university hill for a good vantage point overlooking the city, it really isn’t that far of a climb so I would definitely recommend going up for a look. However, if you have the time then I would suggest taking the train up to the summit of Uetilberg the mountain to the south west of the city. You can take the S10 from the main station to Uetilberg station which takes roughly 25 minutes. On a clear day, you can even see the Alps!
If you are looking for a bit of culture then check out the Swiss National Museum, we didn’t bother going in, but we did walk around the building, it is beautiful and right by the main train station. We found the cutest gelato van on the grounds, where we grabbed some ice cream and sat by the river.
For shopping, Niederdorf is the place you’ll want to check out if you are into boutiques and craft shops, but as I mentioned above everything closes on Sunday so make sure to visit this area during the week or on Saturday if you are there during the weekend. The main shopping street is called Bahnhofstrasse, this is where you will find all the main stores from high-street favourites Zara and Mango to luxury stores such as Chanel and Louis Vuitton. Not to mention as many watch stores as you can shake a stick at, it is Switzerland after all! If you need a break during all the shopping then I would highly recommend grabbing an outdoor seat at Le Raymond Bar, they have the cutest outdoor patio on the canal, it is just a little off the Main Street, so more quiet and peaceful.
That was my quick 48 hours in Zurich, I really enjoyed this weekend break and the flight times fit perfectly with flying out after work on Friday and flying back late Sunday night. We flew with Aer Lingus from Dublin, which worked out super cheap, well for an Are Lingus flight.