I first visited Zürich a couple of years ago for a few brief hours in transit and having instantly fallen in love with the Swiss city, I have since been longing to go back. Whilst planning a Eurotrip with my partner we decided the most logical choice for the destinations we wanted to visit would be to start and end in the same city, travelling in a continuous loop.
Flights with Emirates offered the cheapest fares flying in to Paris and much to my surprise, Zürich. I thus jumped at the opportunity to re-visit what I’m sure is one of Switzerland’s prettiest cities, and travel in a round-trip loop from Switzerland through Italy, France, and back to where we started.
With our Eurail Global Passes in hand, we decided to see and do as much as possible in the month of April and thus had just enough time in each city, but never too much (and quite frankly not enough if you ask me, but when can you ever have enough!?) So here is how we spent 48 hours in Zürich, our first destination on this year’s Spring Eurotrip.
Check In: Storchen Hotel
We landed in Zürich in the early afternoon so our first stop was to head straight to our hotel in the centre of town, drop off our bags, throw on a new shirt and head straight back outside to explore. I always find fresh air to be the best cure for jetlag, second to a quick shower (which, lets be honest, is as good as liquid sleep)… but with so little time in the city we didn’t even allow ourselves time to shower until nightfall, which at this time of year was around 7:00pm.
We checked in to the Storchen Hotel, which had caught my attention due to its favourable location on the river, within walking distance of all the main sights and of course, the Old Town. We also wanted a simple, no-fuss accommodation for our first stop in Europe and were both thrilled with the elegant but humble four-star hotel.
For dinner that evening I really wanted to dive head first into the local cuisine, so we chose a nearby restaurant by the name of AuGust, which is stationed in an old butcher’s shop with a modern black and white checker theme and simple, hearty cuisine.
Being a vegetarian this might seem like an odd choice (especially given the heavily focused meat-y menu), but it was a chance for my partner to taste the local cuisine (which by default is heavily meat focused) and for myself to try some classic staples in the Swiss diet like rosti and potato au gratin.
For dessert I tried my first cremeschnitte, which is very similar to a vanilla slice back at home in Australia, though with a more doughy pastry and much more rich flavour in the creamy vanilla centre. The icing is super sweet but when eaten as a whole, it really brought the flavour of the pastry to life so be sure not to leave a crumb on your plate!
Exploring Zürich: Lindenhof Platz
While I could have easily spent a week or more meandering the alleyways of Zürich, I will admit that one full day exploring is ample time to see all the city has to offer, before heading onwards on your journey throughout the mountainous country that truly has so much to offer.
To start your day, make your first point of call Lindenhof Platz, a free viewing platform that offers views of the river and old town and allows you to get your bearings in the city. From there, the small winding alleyways in each and every direction are best explored without directions in any form, so be sure to allow some time to walk in whichever direction you fancy, stopping in to local chocolatiers and coffee houses along the way.
Arguably the prettiest street in Zürich and a personal favourite of mine is Augustinergasse, located off the main street (Bahnhofstrasse) but feeling a world away from the hustle and bustle just next door. The colourful buildings and centuries old architecture will transport you to another time and place instantly – exactly what I’m looking for on my Europe travels!
When it comes time to stop and people watch with a hot schokolade in hand, head straight to Cafe Schober, the most popular cafe in town and easily my favourite place to pass time in the cosy corners inside, or in the fresh air outdoors. Cafe Schober is located in the Old Town of Zurich (on the other side of Limmat river) and this is the perfect area to wander for a couple of hours, stopping in at a few chocolatiers on the way!
The Old Town
From Lindenhofplatz you have an incredible view of both the Limmat river and Zürich’s old town in the distance. Whilst much of Zürich has the same old town charm, the old town proper is for sure one of the most charming areas to wander at leisure. If you have an afternoon spare this is by far the most enjoyable way to experience this city – with less planning and more time wandering. Below are a selection of photos from our leisurely walks throughout the old town and below Lindenhofplatz on the other side of the river.
Emirates flies to Zürich three times daily from Dubai, with connections from over 150 destinations worldwide. We stayed at the Storchen Hotel Zurich and travelled onwards by train to Zermatt.