Neat, clean Zurich is the biggest city in Switzerland, and is well known as being the gateway to the Alps. But there's an awful lot to see and do in the city before you head for the hills.
Zurich did have a reputation for being, well, dull. But that's all in the past. There are numerous attractions in Zurich. Drink sparkling wine in one of the chic bars, go to the theatre, or catch one of the many festivals, including a massive annual open-air rave.Nightime Zurich throbs to the beat of the highest density of clubs in Europe.
There's plenty to see and do during a daytime Zurich tour. Taking the funicular railway will reward you with spectacular views. There are pretty churches and plenty of museums, and you should also visit the gardens, parks and promenades of this picturesque city. The city is also a shrine to retail therapy and the Shopping Mile will shout out to your credit card - loudly.
If you are mainly coming to Switzerland to ski, bear in mind that it's perfectly possible to combine this with a city break. From Zurich, you can get a train to the slopes, try a few runs, have a couple of après ski drinks and be back in the city in time for dinner. This makes Zurich pretty damn exciting by anyone's standards!
Zurich is Switzerland's largest city, with a population of less than 400,000. It is located in the country's central region, snuggled within the Alps on the edge of Lake Zurich. The official language of Zurich and the surrounding areas is German; other regions of Switzerland speak French and Italian.
Most of Zurich's "must-sees" are within the Old Town, clustered around the lakefront. Its churches, museums, and public squares retain a distinctly old-world atmosphere. Zurich's main churches – the Grossmünster Church, Fraumünster Church, and St. Peter's Church - are popular attractions and should not be missed. The Fraumünster Church's striking stained glass windows, designed by famed artist Marc Chagall, and St. Peter's Church's massive clockface (the largest in Europe) are major Zurich highlights.
Zurich has a thriving arts and cultural scene, and there are over 50 museums and galleries in the city to prove it. Among the most interesting and popular are the Landesmuseum, dedicated to Swiss history; the Reitberg Museum, which showcases an impressive collection of Asian art; the Circus Museum, the only one of its kind in Switzerland; and the Johann Jacobs Museum, which features an exhibition about the cultural history of coffee. Zurich's Opera House is world-renowned for its musical and ballet productions.
The heart of Zurich's shopping district is Bahnhofstrasse, and it rivals Paris and London as one of Europe's most elegant commercial streets. Here you'll find designer boutiques, large department stores, and souvenir shops selling typical Swiss goods like clocks and watches, Swiss army knives, and chocolate. Zurich's other main shopping districts are those of Niederdorf and Storchengasse, both located in Old Town. Schipfe is Zurich's hub for artisans and craftsmen, with a range of unique shops, restaurants, and cafés to choose from. Its picturesque location on the waterfront makes it one of the most beautiful spots in the city.
Zurich has an active nightlife. With over 500 bars, clubs, and discos to choose from, visitors are never short of exciting opportunities.
Zurich is a compact city that is easily walkable. The city also has a system of buses, trams, trains, and boats. You can find cheap flights across Europe with Bmibaby.com.
Switzerland is one of the few European countries that is not a member of the European Union. The official currency is the Swiss Franc. Switzerland is one of the world's wealthiest countries in Europe, and prices reflect this.
The train station, shopping areas and churches are on the west of the Limmat River and the alleyways called "Dorfli of the Old Town" are on the East along with nightlife area of Niederdorfstrasse, cafés and smaller shops.
The west bank centred on the Lindenhof has the larger shops and offices along with St Peter's and its large clock face and the medieval church Fraumünster. The Bahnhofstrasse follows the old city wall and is now Zurich 's main shopping street.
Zürich started as a Roman customs post in 15 B.C. and in 1218 became a city. Alfred Escher in the 19 th Century started the process of making Zürich a financial centre with the founding of the Zürich Stock Exchange in 1877. Zurich is now a major financial centre and the world's gold trading centre.
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