Zurich, you had me at make your own bar. Yes, at the new Lindt Home of Chocolate, you can pour your personal slab of the brown stuff and decorate it just how you like while learning all about this mouth-watering Swiss tradition. If that’s not enough, Zürich manages to cram the widest possible cultural, gastronomical and natural offerings imaginable into the smallest of urban spaces. Off the beaten track, safe and sustainable, this lifestyle city is easy to get around with many sights within walking distance and a first-class system of public transport that’s clean and easy. Explore the narrow streets of the 2000 year old riverside centre, the Grossmünster twin towers, the exquisite Chagall windows of Fraumünster, the vast and glorious eponymous Lake Zürich, and the beautiful Lindenhof Park, which marks the origins of the city.
We won’t lie, Zürich is known for being costly. But, it is so worth it. And if you’re smart, you’ll travel in low season when the best bargains are to be had. Avoid the summer and Christmas peaks and make your trip instead in January to March or September to November. Dress warmly, be prepared for showers and you’ll find a unique destination full of surprises.
Museum & Gallery Hopping
With its recent extension, the Kunsthaus is the largest art museum in Switzerland, and includes works by Swiss and International masters including an impressive collection of Giacometti sculptures. The Art in Public Places scheme actively encourages random installations and with more than 1300 pieces now showing, you can wander and choose your fave. Less high brow, but well worth a visit, is the Fifa Football Museum with some brilliant interactive exhibits. We recommend getting a Zürich Card which covers your transportation and it also gives free admission to over 50 museums. Hop on Design Line 4 which takes in many of the city’s cultural hotspots.
Low Season Events
Off peak sometimes means the opportunity to take part in events missed by most visitors. Check out autumn’s annual offerings – the fantastic Zürich Film Festival, the Drone Champions League, or Slow Up Zürich during which all motorised vehicles are forbidden. Samichlausschwimmen is not for the faint-hearted as around 300 people swim across the freezing-cold Limmat river, while the more enjoyable Food Zürich is an 11 days’ festival with cooking classes and tastings.
There’s no better way to warm up a cold January night than in one of the chalets that open temporarily in the city serving steaming, sticky cheese fondue. High above the city rooftops, we love cosy timber-framed Fondue Chalet which invites guests with its crackling open fire, candlelight, and winter culinary delights. Cured meat and sausage specialties are traditionally served as starters before the communal main dish. Be careful though, fondue dining is fraught with etiquette, and the first to drop their bread in the molten mess is doomed to pay for the whole group.