Zurich, originally Zürich, is Switzerland's largest city with a cosmopolitan population of around 415,000 people. It has been consistently ranked as one of the best cities to live in the world - which is hardly a surprise as you'll be able to find out after staying in Zurich for a few days.
Arriving in Zurich
International travellers tend to arrive in Zurich by plane. Zurich's Airport, one of Europe's most important hubs, is just a few minutes from the city center.
To get a glimpse of how it looks like arriving in Zurich by plane, check out this amazing video from Zurich on Travideo ("Zurich by Night").
Staying in Altstadt District (Old Town)
For many many reasons, Altstadt is probably the best place to stay in Zurich, particularly for first-time visitors keen on exploring Zurich's most famed attractions.
Altstadt area comprises the city's historical centre, Lake Zurich and Limmat river.
Zurich's City Center Highlights
Most of your Zurich stay will probably be spent here. This area isn't too large and therefore ideal for a few strolls (or why not a morning running like we did?).
Should your interest be visiting monuments or other important landmarks, here are a few musts: Fraumünster Cathedral (pictured above), Grossmünster Cathedral
(this one can't be missed, just look for the twin towers next to Limmat river) and St. Peter's Church, perhaps Zurich's most recognisable landmark due to its clock face, Europe's largest.
In case you're more into exploring Zurich's vibrant shopping scene, your reference should be Bahnhofstrasse, the city's most exclusive street, connecting Lake Zurich from the south to Bahnhofplatz (Zurich's Train Station) to the north. Apart from all the high-end shops and boutiques, we also suggest a visit to Victorinox flagship store, where you can personalize your own Swiss Army Knife (intersection between Bahnhofstrasse and Oetenbachgass). Zurich's impeccable department stores also deserve a visit, namely: Globus, Manor, Jelmoli and Coop City St. Annahof.
Last, but certainly not least, Lake Zurich deserves a special mention as Zurich wouldn't be Zurich without its pristine lake. In case your visiting during the warmer months, head to one of the Badis, which are the most inviting swimming clubs ever. Our suggestions are: Utoquai (city center), Strandbad Wollishofen (District 2), Oberer Letten and Unterer Letten (last two are located on the Limmat river).
Alternatively, rent a bike - something very easy to do in Zurich - and cycle around the lake (or at least a section of it). The ever changing landscape is enough reward for all the effort.
Choosing the right hotel to stay in Zurich
Easy going but also sophisticated, Zurich doesn't fall short when it comes to options regarding choosing an ideal hotel to stay in. Since we are firm believers that no stay is fully satisfying without a view, we have hand-picked and produced a list of the Best Hotels in Zurich with a View, most of which located in Altstadt. From our perspective, being able to interact with Zurich's inspiring panoramas even while staying in is a plus to every stay.
One of the assumptions people often make is that hotels that feature great views are necessarily more expensive. Even if there is some truth into this (after all a fabulous view is the ultimate perk), we have been able to identify some hotels that will dazzle guests with its panoramic views but won't hurt their budget too much (at least considering the usual high prices for accommodation in Zurich).
Once again, we invite you to check this list of Hotels in Zurich with a View (5, 4 and 3 Star Hotels included).
Take the most out of your stay
Now that you know where to stay in Zurich, we have a few additional suggestions to make your visit to Zurich even more special:
Twice a week locals head to Bürklimäärt, Zurich's mouth-watering food market. The panoramic views to Lake Zurich and the Alps is just an added bonus;
Lagerstrasse 104 is the address of Zurich's newest and exciting cultural centre;
Around 20 minutes from Zurich, this is a place that all of those into photography can't skip a visit;
A Zurich's classic, this old-fashioned restaurant has been serving artists and celebrities on its impressive dinning room for decades;
The world's oldest (who knows if more delicious too) vegetarian restaurant is a must, even for non-vegetarians;
Unknown to many, this charming rooftop bar is located at the Ambassador Hotel;
The Baur au Lac Park
One of our favourite places in Zurich is this garden bar and its jaw-dropping vistas of Lake Zurich and the spectacular Alps on the horizon.