My husband’s work takes him to Zurich usually once a year, so last month I decided to join him there for a weekend of exploring the Swiss city. I have never been attracted by Switzerland as a holiday destination: quiet, clean and expensive describe it more than exciting and fun…but my husband loves Zurich and he’s been talking about moving there, so it was definitely time for me to check it out.
Well, to me surprise, Zurich is a spectacular city, younger and livelier than I thought and I spent a fabulous weekend there. As this is going to be a picture-heavy post, I am going to try to keep the story short…
The weather was sunny and warm throughout the weekend, so we used the free bicycles from our hotel 25hours Zürich West and spent the first day cycling in the city.
25hours Hotel is a pretty boutique hotel with colorful interior design that offers a good combination of quality and value in an over-priced city like Zurich, where even AirBNB is an expensive option.
The rooms at 25hours are small and the hotel is not in the city centre, but it’s got character, a colorful, cheery atmosphere and quirky details. My husband spent a few hours there on Friday evening playing table tennis in the lobby, while I loved the joggers’ corner (free water bottles and sweat bands every morning), the Freitag bags in every room that can be used for the duration of your stay, and of course the free bicycles.
We skipped the continental breakfast buffet at the hotel as we were heading for brunch at Bohemia later on. To get there, we had to first cycle across the city centre to east Zurich with no food and most importantly…coffee!
This plan was bound to fail…and in fact ten minutes after leaving the hotel we stopped at an Italian café and bakery (Caredda Konditorai) on Josefstrasse, where we had a cappuccino and an amazing flaky pastry filled with whipped cream…still dreaming about that one!
Thankfully we spent the day on our bicycles to burn all those calories off! We cycled around Zurich Hauptbahnhof and then by the river on Limmatquai until we reached the Rathausbrücke (by the City Hall). We stopped there at a little farmers’ market to take some pictures.
We hopped back on our bicycles and continued south towards the lake and Utoquai, until Zürichhorn park, where we stopped to take more photos and enjoy the view.
Brunch at Bohemia was great and I need to thank Thanh of Eat, Little Bird for this and a few more Zurich recs.
My husband ordered the Pacific Combo: bread and jams, fruit salad, a small pancake, egg omelette with salmon and cheese, a glass of Prosecco, orange juice and coffee. All of this for only…36CH! Sigh, Zurich is expensive…
I ordered the Bagel Egg Benedict with poached eggs, Hollandaise sauce, Cheddar cheese, ham and spinach. It was great!
After brunch we cycled across Quaibrücke to the west side of the lake, down Mythenquai and Landiwiese park until the little Saffa island. We stayed there for an hour, laying on the grass and sun-bathing surrounded by families and groups of young people having barbecues and picnics.
After a restorative break of coffee and chocolate, we locked our bikes to a tree and walked on cobbled streets in the old town, by the luxury stores and colourful buildings. From Lindenhof hill there’s a great view over Limmat river and the lake, Zurich city and the Alps.
In the evening we had dinner at trendy vegetarian restaurant Hiltl followed by drinks with some friends. We called it an early night to rest before our hike to Üetliberg the next day.
We checked out from the hotel on Sunday morning and took a tram to the train station where we left our luggage in a locker. We had a quick breakfast with croissants from Sprüngli and coffee from Bleuberry Bakery, where we also bought salmon bagels for our lunch on the mountain.
Uetliberg is Zurich’s 869 metre high local mountain which offers an impressive panoramic view of the city, the lake and the Alps. You can take a train there or follow one of the different hiking routes to climb up to the top. We arrived at Albisguetli with tram n. 13 from Zurich HB and from there started to follow the easy Laternenpfad to the summit.
Instead we took a wrong turn and lost the route, ending up in Denzlerweg, a path that goes into the forest and rises steeply with lots of wooden stairs, with a ladder at the end and a chain to help you climb the final rock. It took us 45′ to reach the summit, it was hell getting up there but so worth it when we got to see the view from the TV Tower and drink apple cider in the sun!
We walked down the winding path which is also a mountain bike route and went directly to the airport (via Hauptbanhof to collect our luggage) to catch our flights back to London.
I was in Zurich for less than 48 hours, which is not a lot to visit the whole city, but enough to give me a glimpse of the lifestyle there. It was enough to intrigue me about the place and who knows, maybe one day I might be living there…