Why Zurich is so much more than a city of boring bankers
Pop-up bars in old strip clubs, snowman-burning festivals and the best summer rooftop in town: Why Zurich is so much more than a city of boring bankers
- The breathtakingly picturesqueÃ?Â lakesideÃ?Â metropolis has long been dismissed as a boring bankersÃ¢Â?Â? playground
- It constantly tops polls as one of the best places to live in the world and its cultural scene is thriving
- There are beautiful stained glass windows at Fraumunster cathedral and the stout Kunsthaus art museum
08:21, 15 August 2015
12:49, 15 August 2015
With a scenic lake edged with snow-dusted mountains, grand wide boulevards and chic boutiques and eateries in its 19th-century Old Town, Zurich should be a city on everyoneÃ¢Â?Â?s list of places to visit.
But the breathtakingly picturesque lakeside metropolis has long been dismissed as simply a boring bankersÃ¢Â?Â? playground.Ã?Â
More recently, it hit the headlines for more unsavoury reasons, as the place where seven Fifa executives were arrested in a dawn raid on the luxury hotel where they were staying.
With a scenic lake edged with snow-dusted mountains, grand wide boulevards and chic boutiques and eateries in its 19th-century Old Town, Zurich should be a city on everyoneÃ¢Â?Â?s list of places to visit
The breathtakingly picturesque lakeside metropolis has long been dismissed as simply a boring bankersÃ¢Â?Â? playground
Striking: ZÃ?Â¼rich's Grossmunster church and Munster bridge over the River Limmat
On one side of the river youÃ¢Â?Â?ll find Limmatquai (pictured), where the guildhalls now house restaurants, and exclusive stores nestle under the arches of the town hall Ã¢Â?Â? ZurichÃ¢Â?Â?s shopping is second-to-noneÃ?Â
Niederdorf (pictured) is a tangle of alleys with shops, bars and eateries that truly comes to life at nightÃ?Â
But there is so much more to this Swiss city than banking and scandal. It constantly tops polls as one of the best places to live in the world and its cultural scene is thriving, with art galleries, museums and pop-up bars dotted among the medieval churches and winding lanes.
Colourful townhouses and guildhalls make up the Altstadt (old town) of this Swiss-German city, where cobbled lanes reveal pretty cafes and boutiques and two cathedrals – the iconic Romanesque-style Grossmunster and the more modern, delicate Fraumunster – flank the Limmat river, which snakes its way through the town from Lake Zurich.
Pie in the sky! Domino's pizza delivered by PLANE to…
Inside Britain's Beach Hut of the Year (and it's a quick…
Over 60% of Brits return from holiday disappointed, reveals…
Designs for Edinburgh's controversial 'ribbon hotel'…
The humble package holiday's surprisingly upper-class…
Climate change will make the Mediterranean too hot for…
Share this article
On one side of the river, youÃ¢Â?Â?ll find Limmatquai, where the guildhalls now house restaurants, and exclusive stores nestle under the arches of the town hall Ã¢Â?Â? ZurichÃ¢Â?Â?s shopping is second-to-none, but youÃ¢Â?Â?ll need deep pockets for these exclusive brands – while across the water, Niederdorf is a tangle of alleys with shops, bars and eateries that truly comes to life at night.
When it comes to art, Zurich truly shines, from the stained glass windows of the Fraumunster cathedral, created by Marc Chagall, to stout Kunsthaus art museum displaying everything from medieval sculptures to pop art, to the many concert halls and grand Opera House, which sits close to the lapping waters of the lake.
The peak of Mount Uetliberg (871 metres/2850 ft) on a sunny winter day above Zurich and Lake Zurich
A short hop from the UK, flights take just 90 minutes, Zurich makes the perfect city break destination, with two or three nights offering the chance to explore the city itself and even pretty Uetliberg mountain, just beyond
Formerly an industrial area, Zurich-West has become the most happening place in town.Ã?Â
Where once there were factories, a city garden, market halls and design boutiques have taken charge of open spaces and railway arches.Ã?Â
It is here I find a pop-up bar serving natural wines by the glass in an old, shut-down pole dancing club, a surreal but spectacularly unique experience. It seems, opening temporary bars and making the most of short-term, cheap rent agreements has seen numerous interesting bars and eateries pop up in the city.
A short hop from the UK, flights take just 90 minutes, Zurich makes the perfect city break destination, with two or three nights offering the chance to explore the city itself and even pretty Uetliberg mountain, just beyond.
During my weekend trip, I opt to stay close to the iconic lake, where I can stroll along the promenade and drink in the crisp blue mountain views, while colourful boats bob in the foreground. It is hard to tear yourself away on a sunny day.
Hotel Ambassador a LÃ¢Â?Â?Opera is set just a little back from the lakeshore, a grand corner building, with lemon stonework and a traditional Swiss black tile roof, rich red awnings and the red and white of the Swiss flag waving down from the rooftop.
Quiet calm reigns inside, where an old-fashioned wooden reception gives a feeling of stepping back in time. Chandeliers dip elegantly from above and detailed black and white sketches of city scenes Ã¢Â?Â? a baroque-style work of art by artist Tatjana Tiziana Ã¢Â?Â? adorn the walls in the understated restaurant. It is here where you can tuck into resplendent fish dishes that have won awards for chef Pierre Meyer.
When the glorious sun shines, head out onto the boulevard restaurant where you can watch the world go by Ã¢Â?Â? and the comings and goings of stars, sets and singers at the Opera House across the road. But surely the hotelÃ¢Â?Â?s piece de resistance in warm weather is the perfect roof terrace, complete with sunloungers and spectacular city and lake views. Venture up for a sunny drink and you wonÃ¢Â?Â?t want to descend back to street level Ã¢Â?Â? it surely must be one of the best rooftop retreats in the city.
Ã?Â Hotel Ambassador a LÃ¢Â?Â?Opera is set just a little back from the lakeshore, a grand corner building, with lemon stonework and a traditional Swiss black tile roof, rich red awnings and the red and white of the Swiss flag waving down from the rooftop
Guests at Hotel Ambassador are treated to a pillow menu – the ultimate luxury touchÃ?Â
At the restaurant (pictured) you can tuck into resplendent fish dishes that have won awards for chef Pierre Meyer
Set in the upmarket Seefeld district, Hotel Ambassador is the perfect central location to have as a base. And it affords guests great views of the city, too
After sipping a welcome glass of Champagne in the foyer, I head up to my room, where a pillow menu offers the ultimate luxury touch and the black and white tiled bathroom makes quite the statement.
Set in the upmarket Seefeld district, it is the perfect central location to have as a base.
A quick stroll to the Opera House and you are in Sechselautenplatz, the town square where the annual spring celebration of Sechselauten (hence the squareÃ¢Â?Â?s name), a joyful parade which ends with the burning of a giant wadded snowman on a bonfire in the square to symbolise the end of winter.
This isnÃ¢Â?Â?t the only moment of unbridled joy in the Zurich calendar. As snow gives way to clear skies and bright sunshine, the city comes to life. Open-air bars offer chilled drinks and long, warm evenings along the lake shore. Known as Badi-Bars, many offer readings and concerts which perfectly complement the beautiful surroundings.
Zurich summers are also alive with al fresco festivals, from Limmatschwimmen, which sees competitors and recreational swimmers take a dip in the river, to Street Parade, dubbed the Ã¢Â?Â?worldÃ¢Â?Â?s largest techno paradeÃ¢Â?Â? on the shores of the lake, a blues and jazz event and hugely varied performances from rock to indie and electro at Zurich Openair. The majority of the events take place in August, making the most of the often glorious weather, and more information can be found at www.zuerich.com/en/visit/summer-festivals.
Throughout the year, Zurich transforms itself many times over to fit in with the seasons. One thing you certainly canÃ¢Â?Â?t call this Swiss lakeside wonder is Ã¢Â?Â?boringÃ¢Â?Â?.
Fly from London Heathrow to Zurich with Swiss (www.swiss.com 0345 601 0956) from Ã?Â£120 return.
Hotel Ambassador a LÃ¢Â?Â?Opera (www.ambassadorhotel.ch/en/ 0044 258 98 98) is one of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World (www.slh.com 0800 0482 314) and offers single rooms from CHF 235 (Ã?Â£160) and double rooms from CHF 345 (Ã?Â£235).Ã?Â
- FlÃ?Â¼ge und Last Minute Angebote gÃ?Â¼nstig online buchen | SWISS
- Small Luxury Hotel Zurich: Ambassador Ã?Â lÃ¢Â?Â?OpÃ?Â©ra on the lake
- Small Luxury Hotels of the World | Boutique Hotels & Resorts | slh.com
- Summer Festivals in Zurich | zuerich.com
Share or comment on this article
Indeed. Zurich is the city where Wagner wrote most …
by Horror Show
MOST WATCHED NEWS VIDEOS
James Martin engulfs studio with smoke LIVE on Saturday…
Footage of Courtney Stewart on bouncy castle with son
Heart wrenching moment turtle has straw pulled from his nose
Dog's delightful reaction to learning she doesn't have…
The incredible FIVE hour rescue to free humpback whale
Comedian Celeste Barber sends her son into fits of laughter
Bull gores man as he tries to out run it at Spanish festival
Michael McIntyre show halted after woman falls down stairs
New chaos on Kos as fights break out amongst migrants
Enraged woman destroys hair salon with sledgehammer
OAP left for dead after disgraceful white van 'hit and run'
Hilarious moment cat sniffs owner's foot and nearly faints!
Coffee with a catch! Italian restaurant adds â?¬20 'service…
A Â£2,000-a-night presidential suite, rooms named for famous…
Glories of secret Britain: Enjoy a pint while watching the…
Emirates announces world's longest non-stop flight from…
Rare photographs show the fascinating early days of London's…
A look inside Richard Branson's newest but most understated…
Astonishing moment brave pilot turns the engines off and…
Hidden paradise: Inside the stunning Portuguese islands with…
Children in charge! The London hotel package that lets kids…
What queues? How to follow in the footsteps of Kendall…
Too fat to fly? British man weighing 35st forced to pay for…
When the journey really IS the best part: The scenic roads…
MOST READ TRAVEL
Share what you think
Â View all
The comments below have not been moderated.
Â View all
The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline.
We are no longer accepting comments on this article.