Year after year, the Swiss city of Zurich, situated at the foot of the Alps, continually keeps topping the list of the world’s best places to live.
Renowned the world over as an expensive financial centre, and while it has all the qualities you can expect from a Helvetian city – it is quaint, tranquil, clean and safe with a very efficient public transportation system – Zurich is also a dynamic and multicultural hub which boasts great shops, quite a few fascinating museums and galleries, some of the best restaurants in Europe, and a vibrant nightlife.
Located by the lake of the same name and surrounded by hills and mountains, Zurich is definitely up there with the likes Paris, Rome or any other glamorous European destinations in terms of attractiveness. Its medieval old town provides for a very romantic atmosphere with its cobblestone streets, narrow alleys, historic buildings and antiques stores.
St. Peter’s Church which stands on top on a little hill, boasts the largest clock dials in Europe (measuring 8.7m / 29ft in diameter), while the Fraumünster (The Church of Our Lady), a three-aisled pillared basilica with a Gothic nave and a pointed spire, features five beautiful stained-glass windows by Marc Chagall. Nearby, the Bahnhofstrasse, with its numerous world-class stores, is considered one of the most prestigious shopping streets in Europe.
As for as culture goes, Zurich is home to many different museums, starting with the must-see Schweizerisches Landesmuseum (Swiss National Museum). Housed in a beautiful Neo-classical castle, it gives a great insight into Switzerland’s history thanks in part to its rich collection of ancient weaponry and historic artifacts.
The Kunsthaus art museum (the Museum of Fine Arts) is crammed with works by Picasso, Miro, Turner, Monet, Manet, Van Gogh, and Matisse, while the city’s Toy museum presents a beautiful collection of European toys from the 18th to the beginning of the 20th century.
Zurich is also the ideal place to treat yourselves to a fantastic meal. There is indeed a thriving restaurant scene and if the fondue remains one of the ‘national dishes’, Switzerland’s biggest city offers a great range of restaurants as diverse as the city itself.
Of course, no trip to Zurich would be complete without a stop in one of the many chocolate stores or in the outlet-shop of the famous Lindt & Sprüngli Chocolate Factory.
Even if you can resist buying too many of those delicious Swiss delicacies, sometimes at a discounted price, you will have a chance to be a child all over again and hug one of the giant Lindt Chocolate teddy bears that welcome you in that chocolate lovers’ paradise!
And after having consumed way too many calories, head to Uetliberg, Zurich’s own little mountain, where you will be able to enjoy some of the best views of the city and take a stroll in beautiful surroundings.
Barely an hour away by plane from the French Riviera, why not check what the buzz is all about for yourself, and get a taste of that sweet life!
Lead image © Some Rights Reserved Zurich Tourism on Flickr – Licenced under Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives 2.0 Generic licence; all other photographs courtesy Florence Dubosc