The best travel tips you can ever get is to get them from:
1) From someone who has been there
2) Directly from a local!
In this blog I am so happy to share with you my tips for Zurich and also share some local tips from my friend Petra Kompas living in Zurich and sharing all of her tips and secrets!
Zurich has a very good international airport (ZRH) that is easily accessible by train. The ride to the main train station, familiarly called HB (Hauptbahnhof) takes about 10 to 15 minutes, depending on if it is a direct connection or if the train has multiple stops. It costs CHF 6,80 one way.
If you want to take a taxi from the airport, then please take Uber, it costs the half of what a regular taxi would ask for a ride to city center. Uber should cost around CHF 25-35, depending on the hour of the day, on the traffic and where exactly you want to go. Petra says ‘I live 10min walking distance from the HB and pay around CHF 25 for a ride with Uber to the aiport’
ZRH Airport has great connections to the whole world main European airlines fly there, and Swiss (of course!) Unfortunately, ZRH Airport is an expensive airport (taxes), therefore there is only a limited number of low cost airlines that fly to limited number of destinations.
There are two other airports, an hour by train – Bern and Basel Mulhouse. Bern is a very small airport.
The best way to move around in Zurich is mainly by tram (bus in few cases). The tram net is very developed, it gets you almost everything within the city. Zurich doesn’t have a metro, but with this kind of tram net it doesn’t need it.
Again, if you want or have to take a taxi, please call an uber. It is much cheaper.
You can also rent a car, there are many rent a car companies (also from the airport). A car a day goes from around CHF 120 (doesn’t matter if you go directly through Herz, Europecar or through an unknown low cost rent a car company). Renting a car in Switzerland is expensive. Please also be careful to when driving and go exactly by the rules. Radars are everywhere, even on light cross roads. You might think it was still orange, but the camera system knows better and can flash you on going through red and that ticket is really very expensive. Also very expensive are speeding tickets. So really please be careful!
All information about train tickets you’ll find on www.sbb.ch.
Best hotels for business trips
Zurich has some fancy hotels, that are located right in the city center, very near or directly on the famous Bahnhofstrasse (it is the main shopping street, that starts at the HB and goes straight away to the Zurich lake). Shops on this street go from fast fashion/inexpensive ones and turn in the middle of the street (from Coop City St. Annahof towards the lake) to luxury boutiques.
Here are some fancy hotels: Schweizerhof (there is one Schweizerhof in every major swiss city), Savoy, Baur au Lac, and Park Hyatt.
Some options for more economical ones: MotelOne, & the Mariott.
Locations for areas to search for hotels:
City Center (8001), Niederdorf, Wiedikon, Lochergut, Oberer Letten are nice.
Laptop friendly cafe’s:
Nice places are around Lochergut, Wiedikon/Werd, Stauffacher and around Bahnhofstrasse. e.x. Grand Café Lochergut, Franzos, Roots, Juciery 21, Miyuko, and of course: Starbucks.
Place for meetings
You can hold meetings at Büro Züri, where you can also book a room for it (more under co-working space and offices).
Otherwise, for a luxury meeting you can go to the lobby of Park Hyatt, the bar Baur’s of Baur au Lac hotel (it is outside of the hotel, on the corner of Börsen and Talstrasse).
For causal meetings there are some laid back places, such as the terrace of Modisa, Hiltl terrace on the top of PKZ building, terrace of Jelmoli or Grieder (PKZ, Jelmoli and Grieder are department stores on the Bahnhofstrasse) or Monocle Bar in Seefeld.
Co-working space and offices
(And the best thing about it, beside the location, is that it is for free!)v
Best bar for an after-work drink
To the contrary what people might think of Zurich – that it is a boring place – there are a lot of great bars for an after-work drink (or Friday/Saturday night) where you can have a lot of fun.
The Good ones (recomended by a local) are: Bricks, Xenix, Vagabundo, Wohnzimmer Bar, Si o No, Dali’s, Raygrodski, Enfant terrible, Talacker, Atelier Bar, La Stanza.
During Summer there are nice outdoor places such as Rimini (it is an outdoor bath place for men during the day and after 6pm it opens for all as outdoor summertime bar), Frau Gerolds Garten in Hardbrücke, Barfussbar (this is a special place with a wonderful view on Niederdorf), Fischer’s Fritz on the lake and Fischstube on the opposite side of the lake in Seefeld, kleine Freiheit, and Riva Bar.
Wining dining clients
Kronenhalle at Bellevue is a real treasure – not only have they the best steaks and Züri Gschnätzlets (typical dish from Zurich made of sliced veal strips, white wine, cream and demiglace), but also their guest list has been graced with names such as Coco Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, Pablo Picasso, James Joyce, Richard Strauss and many more over the time.
Other great places to eat: Didi’s Frieden, Casa Ferlin, Mesa, White Elephant, Bang Song Thai, Seerose, Razzia, Brasserie Lipp, Widder Bar and Kitchen, Ristorante Bindella, Rosso, the oldest vegetarian and vegan restaurant in the world – Hiltl and/or Tibits (it is the same chain, but because they wanted to get recognized in the French speaking part of Switzerland too, they came up with a more convenient name for frenchies – Tibits)
Uncle 7 has the best dim sums!
Things to do in case you case free time
There are so many different things to do in Zurich when you can spare one free day here (or even more)
Zurich has a small city center, so you can easily see the most sightseeing in one day. On the Lindenhof you have a nice view over Niederdorf. From there you can walk to Bellevue, admire the Opera house and continue walking beside the lake.
As a foodie myself, I’d start with food. I am very much into different kind of breakfast bowls – I get my favorite acai bowl from Juicery 21. Bang on (owned by Brazilians) also has a great acai bowl and other brazilian dishes. Roots is a great place to get great breakfast and fresh and healthy lunch/dinner dishes. Delicious places for a brunch: Miyuko, Kafi Dihei, Grand Café Lochergut, Babu’s Bakery and Coffeehouse, Le Pain Quotidien, The Artisan, Bohemia, Bank, Café des Amis, Montmartre.
For lunch or dinner or just to grab something are the following:
Traditional local food in Zurich, dont forget to eat a fondue!
If you want real traditional swiss food: Zum kropf
Feeling like Asian? Five Spice (thai), Yoojis and Sushi Shop (sushi), Saigon (Vietnamese), already mentioned Hiltl, Lily’s Eatery (Asian),
International: Neni (middle east), Ynos (greek), Ona poke (Hawaiian bowls)
Healthy: Joe and the Juice (great juices and sandwiches), Dean and David (healthy meals), Lily’s Eatery (Asian), Ona poke (Hawaiian bowls), Ramen, Ararat (great kebab).
For a sweet treat you can go to Cupcake Affair, it’s deliiissshhh.
Swiss chocolate deserves its own paragraph. For me the best ever is Laederach – you can only find it in Switzerland (well, there is one branch somewhere in Asia, Taipei I think). So don’t leave the country without one pack of this piece-of-heaven. Other great chocolate stores: Max Chocolatier, Confiserie Honold, Teuscher, Vanini, and the well known Lindt/Sprüngli.
During summer you can rent a water bike and have some fun on the water.
If you want to do sports:
There are some nice hikes around, too. You can hike up to the Uetliberg (has breathtaking views over whole Zurich) and then continue from there to Felsenegg. This hike will take you a couple of hours, but it is worth it (or you just can go back down to the city from Uetliberg). If you are longing a walk in forest, you can go to Dünkelhölzli. You can get relaxed on the Türlersee with a nice barbeque (you have to bring your own food and drinks)
If you are longing for sports during your business trip, here are some tips for great sport clubs: Atomix –is a mixture of running (sprinting) on treadmill and weight training. You will sweat off all your calories yo uate at restaurants mentioned above.
Booster – pilates classes based on lagree method. They have several branches, and at the Forum one they have brand new machines with INCLINE. I guarantee you will be dead afterwards. If you like cycling, Velocity and Openride are great (something like SoulCycle in the US)
Seasons in Zurich
Summer here is great, really great. Over the weekend it feels like vacation at sea. You can rent a SUP at Badi Tiefenbrunnen and Enge (open air bath places on the lake) and experience the lake not only from the shore. Usually you have to pay an entry fee to get in, but there are many places where you can just place your towel on grass and enjoy the lake. I personally love the Letten river J It also has those “badis”, but they are for free and much cooler J Oberer and Unterer Letten are amazing places to enjoy hot summer days. Moreover, at the oberer Letten badi there is an open air cinema during july/august. Another open air cinema is at Zürich Horn next to Badi Tiefenbrunnen. Another cool thing you can do is taking a inflatable boat or flamingo to float on the river. You just get on your flamingo, donut, big duck – whatever you have – and let yourself float on the river. You can also rent a bike (at the HB there is a place where they rent bikes for free, you just have to come early enough to catch one, otherwise you can also use the city bikes) and bike along the Limmat River to the Kloster Fahr. It is a Benedictine Monastery of nuns who produce and sell their wine and ciders,
I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice scream!! Here are ice cream shops you have to try out: Gelateria di Berna, Gelati Tellhof, Gelati am See and Gelati am Spitz (all these three gelati is the same company – two food trucks: am See can be found when walking aboard the lake in Seefeld, am Spitz behind the Landesmuseum, direction Platzspitz park, and one brick store Tellhof at the Tellstrasse), Hasta Ice cream, Vanini. Don’t leave Zurich without trying one of those ice cream shops.
Not only suummer but Winter here is great, really great. Over the weekend it feels like skiing vacation. You can either go skiing to great resorts such as Laax, Arosa/Lenzerheide, Davos, Andermatt (within 2-2,5h from Zurich) or you can enjoy the ice skating park up at the Dolder hill (you can afterwards go to the Dolder hotel for a nice drink, they have a nice cozy bar). Another ice ring is located at Heuried.
Christmas time in Zurich is magical! As many cities in Europe, Zurich too has its own magical Christmas markets BUT zurich is THE BEST CITY IN EUROPE FOR CHRISTMAS MARKETS!
You can’t miss the Christmas village at Bellevue, Christmas market with beautiful lights at Landesmusuem called Illuminarium, a brand new– very very cozy and by far my favorite – Christmas market at Münsterhof, Christmas market in Niederdorf and many other small Christmas markets throughout the city.