Switzerland’s largest city might have a reputation as being a center of international banking, but this is a town that knows how to mix business with pleasure. Whether you prefer lounging by the lake, sipping coffee in a riverside café or hitting the ski slopes of the nearby Alps, there are plenty of options for how to spend one day in Zurich.
Start off with a wander around the historic old town, where the city’s two landmarks cathedrals occupy opposite sides of the Limmat River. The medieval Fraumuenster, with its blue-tinted spire and intricate stained glass windows, and the gothic towers of the imposing Grossmuenster are equally impressive. Pass through cobbled streets of the charming Niederdorf district on the way to explore Zurich’s museums. The Kunsthaus art museum warrants a visit, with an impressive collection of Swiss artwork, as does the Landesmuseum, the country’s biggest history museum.
Make sure you find time to indulge in some shopping, too – Bahnhofstrasse is one of Europe’s plushest shopping streets, where mind-bogglingly expensive jewels, designer duds and Swiss watches are the most popular purchases. Or just enjoy the window-shopping and take home a few boxes of Swiss chocolates – the Confiserie Sprüngli café and shop, operating since 1859, is a great choice for handmade chocolates. After lunch, take the cable car up to the peak of Uetliberg, the city’s closest mountain, where you can marvel at the alpine view or burn off some calories on the 8-mile ‘planetary walk’, so called as the route is adorned with models of the solar system. Alternatively, get a view without the altitude with a cruise on Lake Zurich and finish with an evening stroll along the idyllic lakeside broadwalk. If you prefer not to end the evening so soon, don’t worry – Zurich has a lively nightlife, with plenty of jazz bars and atmospheric riverside clubs to keep you drinking and dancing into the early hours.