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Switzerland, City by City: 48 Hours in Zurich

Although I feel like a child of the world in many ways, Switzerland will always have a special place in my heart. After all, there’s no place like my home city of Zurich to learn about Switzerland’s rich cultural history, eat like a queen, and get in some shopping while you’re at it!

While one could literally spend a lifetime exploring all that this beautiful city has to offer, I’ve put together the perfect itinerary for a busy but fun 48 hours in Zurich—filled with all of my favorite spots!

There’s no better place to begin your acquaintance with Zurich than the chic Bahnhofstrasse fashion district (more on that later!)—complete with Louis Vuitton, Chanel, and Dior. Treat yourself after your shopping spree at one of these delightful restaurants: Rive Gauche in the heart of the city, George Bar & Grill sailing high above the rooftops, and Hiltl vegetarian restaurant in Sihlstrasse—famous for being the longest-running vegetarian restaurant in the world. Finish off your whirlwind 48 hours with coffee and macarons at the decadent Spruengli.

There’s plenty more to see and explore in this luxurious city—voted one of the wealthiest and happiest places in all of Europe! In between the top spots listed above, take your pick of the entertaining activities below to make the most of your two days in Zurich.

Breakfast on the Limmat River

Take in the local scene and the gorgeous Swiss sunrise at an open-air restaurant along the Limmat River. Then, enjoy a sweet treat from one of the many food carts along this striking and breezy river. The bustling pedestrians and bikers combined with the Limmat’s fresh breezes are the perfect welcome to Zurich!

While I highly recommend one of the Limmat River cruises if you’re in town for more than a couple days, walking the length of this river and along Lake Zurich—which feeds the Limmat—can make for a rich experience and a perfect taste of this city’s wonders.

Build an Unbreakable Love at the Muhlesteg Bridge

There’s no time like late morning to revel in love—your early morning sleepiness has dissipated and the day still feels fresh, new, and full of possibilities. After your river stroll, cross the deeply romantic Muhlesteg Bridge with your beloved, one of several love-lock bridges found across Europe. While this bridge serves the practical purpose of taking you to the Bahnhofstrasse shopping district, it gives you the perfect excuse to celebrate your romance along the way!

Bring a padlock with you to act as a symbol of your love. Together, walk this bridge before offering a sweet kiss to one another and the lock before affixing it to the railing. Then toss away the key (in a waste bin please!) to symbolize your love’s eternal nature.

Shop the Luxurious Bahnhofstrasse Promenade

There’s nothing like a little shopping to bring a smile to my face—especially when traveling! I love opening my suitcase after a trip abroad to discover the lovely pieces that I brought home with me. Each item carries with it the memories of the location I visited!

Bahnhofstrasse, the Swiss German word for “station street,” provides the ultimate shopping experience in Zurich with everything from well-known luxury brands to chic local boutiques.

Plus, did I mention that Bahnhofstrasse is both gorgeous and pedestrian friendly? With numerous benches and parks, the promenade provides a welcoming and awe-inspiring outdoor environment. I recommend starting at the Laderach Chocolatiers on Banhofplatz and following the promenade all the way to Tiffany and Co. on Borsenstrasse—a mere 1 kilometer stroll with a well-deserved lunch detour in Altstadt (Old Town).

Rejuvenate in Altstadt

German for “old town,” Altstadt and its architecture date back to before the middle ages—this small area encompassed the entire city up until the late 1800s. With winding streets, local shops, and street side cafés filled with international delights and local delicacies alike, Altstadt offers a Swiss heritage site replete with national and global significance.

Enjoy classic Swiss cuisine at one of the area’s many restaurants before taking in the historic buildings, graveyards, hills, and fountains. Visit St. Peter’s Church to see the largest clock face in the whole of Europe—installed in 1366—before returning to Bahnhofstrasse to continue your fabulous shopping spree.

Grossmunster Church

Local legend says that the breathtakingly beautiful Grossmunster Church was founded when Charlemagne came upon the graves of Saints Felix and Regula. This Romanesque architectural marvel, erected in 1100 AD, is just a short walk across Munsterbrock Bridge from Bahnhofstrasse.

With astounding twin towers, Grossmunster may be the most recognizable feature in all of Zurich—its ancient peaks tower above the skyline, embodying the timeless grandeur of this historic city. Wander the church grounds to find architectural delights in every nook and cranny before stopping in at one of the local eateries, popular among University of Zurich students, for a quick bite.

The Kunsthaus Zurich Art Gallery

Featuring art by such internationally-acclaimed painters as Monet, Chagall, and Picasso, as well as hundreds of local artists, the Kunsthaus Zurich is the foremost art collection in Switzerland and one of the most renowned in all of Europe. Whether you enjoy ancient or contemporary works, or any art period in between, the Kunsthaus is sure to blow you away.

Conveniently located next to a Zurich tram system stop, this gallery is also extremely accessible. Take in the museum’s grand exterior, designed by famed architects Karl Moser and Robert Curjel, before entering. Then, once you’ve explored every exhibit, simply hop on the tram to return to your hotel after a long day of walking and wonder. You may even choose to dine at the elegant and gourmet Kunsthaus Restaurant!

For Art Lovers 

For those of you who are art lovers like me, be sure to also check out Galerie Peter Kilchmann and the Rietberg Museum—and drop into the Starkart Art Gallery in the evening for some amazing contemporary urban art exhibitions. You could fill an entire day just with art!

Plus, if you just happen to be visiting in the fall, consider coordinating your trip with the Contemporary Art Fair Zurich, a stunning display of contemporary art which typically takes place over a weekend in September or October.

Stay for a Day or a Lifetime

While I recommend taking at least a week to roam all of my gorgeous Zurich, this lovely city can also make for a truly romantic (and very busy!) 48 hours. It offers a wonderful glimpse into the whole of Switzerland with highlights in art, history, and cuisine. I can’t wait to hear what you think!

Travel

Traveling the Swiss Alps in style: Glacier Express

Panorama Zug, Glacier Express

Traveling the Swiss Alps in style: Glacier Express

Billed as ‘a train to fall in love with’, the world-famous Glacier Express takes passengers on the ultimate romantic journey through the Swiss Alps. The red-and-white train travels from east to west across a 300km stretch of railway, boasting unrivalled views of magnificent countryside en route. You can expect to see breathtaking mountain passes, glistening glaciers and rushing streams, so sit back, relax and enjoy the journey.

The Glacier Express is over 75 years old, and took its very first trip in 1930 to ferry locals and tourists from one side of the Swiss Alps to the other. Up until 1982, the Glacier Express only ran during the summer months, as the thick winter snow made certain parts of the track impassable. In fact, there are still times during the year where conditions are too severe to travel.

Today’s trains are powered by electricity, but the original steam-powered versions would have followed the same route. This magical 7.5-hour journey begins in the glamorous ski resorts of St Moritz, and snakes through the Albula Valley, Davos Dorf, the Nikolai Valley on its way to Zermatt and the Matterhorn village. You can jump aboard at stops along the way, and indeed catch it going in the opposite direction. Either way, there’s no shortage of stunning Alpine sights.

rhb zug

Contrary to what ‘Express’ might suggest, this is the world’s slowest train − it travels at an average speed of just 20km/hour − but it would be a sin to rush past such dramatic landscapes, Alpine meadows, narrow valleys and deep gorges at speed. You’ll also conquer 91 tunnels and across 291 bridges in total if you travel the entire route.

 

This is the most relaxing and elegant way to enjoy the picturesque landscape that makes Switzerland so utterly unique. Take a seat, pull out of the station, and you won’t be able to take your eyes off the unimpeded views through the windows of the stylish panoramic carriages. For example, the lengthy Rhaetian Railway (Rhätische Bahn RHB) section, which lies between Thusis and Bergün, is a World Heritage Site and an impressive demonstration of how civil engineering can blend seamlessly with its environment. It looks even better when the sky is blue, so it might be worth checking the weather before you book.

Filisur

Landwasser Viaduct

Particular highlights along the 180-mile line include the one-hour ride between Disentis and Andermatt, the stunning six-arch 65m-high Landwasser Viaduct between Chur and Filisur, and the Oberalp Pass with its crystal-clear mountain lake. When you reach the Oberal Pass, you’ll be at the highest geographical point of the journey − it’s over 6,600 feet above sea level.

Chur Graubünden

Chur Graubünden

Some of the climbs are so steep that drinks are served in specially designed tilted glass. 🙂 Well, you wouldn’t want your crisp Swiss white wine to spill, of course. This kind of attention to detail makes your trip even more of a pleasure. As well as indulging in a drink or two, you can also sample a freshly prepared three-course meal in the comfort of your seat or in the vintage dining carriage. This is luxury travel at its finest.

Operalp Pass

Offering a truly unique perspective on the Swiss Alps, and a luxurious experience in total comfort, it’s no wonder the Glacier Express has gained iconic status. Make sure to bring your camera − you’ll want to look back at these fascinating sights forever.

Sion G.

Panorama Zug, Glacier Express

Featured Travel

Best Summer Spots in Zürich

Where to find the best summer spots in Zurich, Switzerland

It’s finally summer in the city… and I would love to share with you my favorite summer spots in Zürich. People are outdoors walking in the park, tanning at the lake, or drinking cold beverage and eating gelato at a bistro in the old town of Zürich.

I have listed a couple of my favorite destinations, with distinctive elegance and legendary service. Traditional Hospitality & Inimitable Elegance.

The town offers beautiful outdoor locations from boat rides, hiking & bicycle roads.

Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland with a population of 400.000 people. And is one of the leading cities amongst the world largest financial centers. Many art galleries and museums can be found in the city. The official language of my city is Swiss German which is a local dialect only spoken in Switzerland.

According to a study “Quality of Life Survey”, Zürich ranked first on a list of the top 25 cities in the world to live in. According to several surveys from 2006 to 2008, Zürich was named the city with the best quality of life in the world as well as the wealthiest city in Europe.

1. Baur au Lac  outside terrace in the garden

2. Chez Fritz Lake Side Restaurant

3. Seerose Restaurant

4. Jules Verne Panorama Bar