Zurich is where to go if you enjoy spending the day wallowing in gorgeous scenery, partaking in a spot of top-notch retail therapy, eating excellent food, and topping it off with a cultural helping.
Flanked by mountains, swathed by Lake Zurich and nestling on the River Limmat that flows through its centre, Zurich gave me a sense of detachment from the world, despite its reputation as a financial hub.
Far from being dull and boring, this natural beauty is actually hip and trendy. It is a sophisticated city with a quality of life that you dream about. It also manages to throw up plenty of surprises. Where else would you find bankers and accountants mingling with tourists, sunbathers and swans cooling off at one of the city’s numerous lidos?
Flanked by mountains, swathed by Lake Zurich and nestling on the River Limmat that flows through its centre
© Switzerland Tourism
The Old Town has a seductive charm. Narrow cobbled lanes lined with medieval architecture and guild and town halls that seem to have changed little for hundreds of years beg to be roamed.
Piercing the sky are the twin towers of the Grossmünster (Great Minster), Zurich's fabled landmark. Legend has it that Charlemagne had the towers built at the spot Felix and Regula, the city saints, were found. It was also the birthplace of the Protestant Reformation.
On a hot, sultry summer’s day the last thing I wanted to be doing was traipsing round museums and looking at art galleries, but I knew it would be a sin to be in Zurich and not pay a visit to the Fraumünster. The church dates back to the 9th century but the real draw is the five stained-glass windows by the legendary French artist, Marc Chagall. Each in a different colour theme, they are truly stunning.
View over the city from the shores of Lake Zurich
© Switzerland Tourism
You will find it easy to navigate this compact city. You can walk everywhere. However, the tram system is superb and relatively good value. My day ticket (approximately £6) even included a ride on the ferry which takes you a cross the lake and along the river.
If you need to refuel, you also won’t find it difficult to find a lovely bar to get a coffee. The city is peppered with them. One to visit is the Café Odeon which has been going for over a hundred years and has played host to poets, painters, musicians and writers such as James Joyce who whiled away the hours here as did, reputedly, scientists such as Albert Einstein. Lenin and Trotsky are also said to have paid a visit.
As chocolate and Switzerland go hand-in-hand it would have been rude of me not to visit the family-owned Confiserie Sprüngli’s Café-Bar on Paradeplatz. Opened in 1856 it still woos the crowds who love the fresh chocolate as well as other mouth-watering treats.
Bahnhofstrasse, is a shopaholics’ dream. Along the mile-long street dotted with linden trees and where grand and modern buildings rub shoulders, you will find plenty of designer stores ready to tempt you to a credit-card moment. Also check out Syorchengasse, dubbed its little sister, where you can find more international luxury labels.
On a boat trip I met a lovely lady who lived in the city centre. She said she would show me the beautiful back streets punctuated with canals. I never would have found this pretty sight on my own.
I was spoilt by Zurich and would have liked to have lingered a little longer. Unfortunately, I did not find any spare gold bars.
By Daralyn Danns
British Airways currently flies from London City to Zurich up to 4 times a day. Each-way hand baggage only fares are available from £69 (based on a return hand baggage only fare) and are available to book on www.ba.com/londoncity
(In addition BA has services from Heathrow with connections also available from across the UK and Ireland.)
All British Airways fares include online check-in 24 hours before departure, complimentary refreshments and drinks on board and no debit card charges
Customers have a quick and easy journey through the Docklands airport, with hand baggage it takes just 15 minutes to get from kerbside to airside
A most enjoyable flight
Kameha Grand Zurich (Tel: +41 44 525 5000 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Website: www.kamehagrandzuerich.com) offers accommodation in the heart of Zurich. Rates will start from £225 per room (per night)
Quirky, stylish yet friendly and unpretentious, this hotel is a great place to stay