Country: Switzerland
Currency: Dollar (NZD)
Peak Season: May-October
Shoulder Season: July-August, December-February
Median Temperature: 8.70 C / 47.66 F
Main Languages: German, Italian, French, English, Romansh
Primary Modes of Transportation: Train, bus, tram, taxi
Recommended Duration of Stay: 2 days
Recommended Pocket Money: $140.00/day
Tourist Passes: ZurichCARD
Show your love by linking to us

Zurich is all about class, efficiency, safety and splurging on the finest things in life. Being the financial capital of a long-standing neutral country has given the locals a lot of time to perfect their lot. Though a relatively expensive city, the quality of the goods you buy here are justified by their intrinsic value: Omega, Rolex, Swatch, TAG Heuer, and Victorinox—stellar brands known for durability and longevity. The Swiss are revered for their extreme punctuality, spot-free tidiness, financial austerity and not to mention their penchant for both innovation and environmental sustenance. Zurich is a rarity—a fine place you won’t hesitate spending a month or even a year in.

Zurich is in close proximity with the Swiss Alps, giving it a continental climate—evident with its cold winters and moderately humid summers. The best time to go to Zurich is from May to June and from August to September, when the grass is verdant and the weather fair. The chilly months also won’t give you any reprieve from high hotel rates, due to the Alpine skiing season. The spring months of March to May are your best bets for affordable hotel rates.

The Swiss Alps are not just for skiing—these mountains are best hiked from June to October, when the grass is verdant and sky is blue as you can get. Getting to the Alps is easy if you’re coming from Geneva or Zurich. You can opt to traverse to these elevated lands by foot or train—note that train rides are far from dull and offer some of the best views while getting to your destination in the least amount of time.

Packing List

  • Layers of clothing and jackets/sweaters for wintry months; the summer also invokes packing of layers, since you’ll likely do some mountain hiking, and temperatures can be chilly at those places
  • Comfortable walking shoes, head protection, first aid kits, a sizeable and sturdy backpack, a good navigational device, and of course, ski equipment for the lovely-yet-treacherous Alps
  • A grocery bag, as you’ll be compelled to buy ingredients from either Coop or Migros supermarkets to make your own meal; even fast food outlets here charge twice as much compared to New York
  • A credit card for splurges, but remember to bring an ATM card, as some small shops don’t accept plastic; the Euro is honored, but exchange rates are far from ideal, so use local currency instead
  • A decent camera, zoom lenses, plenty of film/memory and batteries for in-city attractions and scenic wonders outside the city proper; bring a laptop and portable media to keep you company

Things to Do

  • Visiting the triumvirate of Zurich’s historic churches: Great Church (Grossmünster), Church of Our Lady (Fraumünster) and Preacher’s Church (Predigerkirche)—all of Romanesque architecture
  • Exploring Old Town (Altstadt), which surprisingly has the highest number of clubs in Switzerland, perhaps due its quaint vibrancy; the tenancy is surprisingly low in contrast to tourist reception
  • Scouring for curious finds at the Museum of Art (Kunsthaus); the Museum patronizes national art heavily, so expect works from Fuseli, Böcklin, Segantini, Hodler, Valloton and many local artists
  • Window shopping at Bahnhofstrasse, a street known for its array of expensive designer outlets; it is tiered with Tyne’s Northumberland Street and New York’s Fifth Avenue in terms of tenancy cost
  • Witnessing the thundering sounds at Rhine Falls, the largest of its kind in Europe; the 450-ft wide waterfalls are not a hydropower reserve due to petitions to “leave it be” as a tourist attraction

DON'T

  • Be vociferous and rude—pushing and skipping queues won’t be tolerated either; avoid asking personal questions unless acquainted—the Swiss prefer to be in the company of reserved people
  • Forget to bring your fine dining manners with you; like most European cities, Zurich expects utmost etiquette and courtesy from tourists, so leave a good impression and don’t cause a faux pas
  • Dine outside unless you don’t mind footing a huge bill; mind you, the local themselves prefer to craft their own meals, and there are plenty of open markets open from morning until noon
  • Forget to buy authentic Swiss army knives and luxury watches—they’re slightly cheaper; Swiss-branded items like Swatch sold outside of the country are made in China instead of Switzerland
  • Be afraid to talk to the people—they’re neither smug nor sarcastic, not in the least sense, if we’re the ones you’d ask; we recommend to use English, since conversations are in German dialects