Every year, Zurich is named among the most beautiful and livable cities in the world. There seems to be a very simple explanation for this palpable feeling of contentment with life in Zurich. People living in Switzerland are by far the wealthiest of those in any major economy around the world. Although the city is surrounded by people in business-like overcoats, and financial transactions worth millions take place left and right, it has the aura of a charming little town. And this all-around feeling of peacefulness is what surprises visitors in Zurich.
Visiting Zurich’s historical cafés and restaurants
Established in 1924, Kronenhalle was originally a meeting place for musicians, writers, actors, and artists, with the likes of Coco Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, James Joyce, Richard Strauss, and Max Frisch among its guests. Some of those guests paid for the tab with artwork, which is why visitors today can gaze at genuine works by Marc Chagall, Pablo Picasso, and Joan Miró. According to locals, all the ‘good’ families and politicians of Zurich regularly dine here. With dark mahogany paneling, emerald-green walls, and marble tables, the restaurant is truly unforgettable, as are the cocktails served here.
Just across the street stands another perennial establishment for enjoying life, Café Odeon. For decades, this legendary Bohemian landmark was the haunt of international intellectuals. Exiled writers, painters, and musicians all found a second home at the Odeon. Although aged (it opened in 1911), this historic café-bar with high ceilings, mirrored walls, and posters is still popular.
Speaking of legendary places in the Old Town, Cabaret Voltaire is also a must-see. Due to Switzerland’s neutrality in the First World War, Zurich became a haven for artists, philosophers, scientists, and writers. Political exiles from all parts of Europe and Russia arrived in the city, including Lenin, who lived near Cabaret Voltaire. Even today, Cabaret Voltaire is a unique temple to art. It regularly hosts a variety of provocative performances, exhibitions, and concerts.
Zurich does not consist only of beautiful medieval streets, historical cafés, and majestic banks
The urban island of greenery at Frau Gerolds Garten has transformed the austere industrial location into a warm and friendly meeting place for city lovers. ‘Zurich-West is still kind of the wildest neighbourhood in the city. It has restaurants, clubs, and even a unique outdoor surfing facility. It attracts not only millennials but also people who’ve worked in banks and insurance companies for several decades but still feel young at heart,’ says Katja Weber, one of the key people in Zurich-West’s development.
The central meeting place here is a railway viaduct built in 1894. Design boutiques, art galleries, and restaurants have moved in under the 36 arches of the marvelously. chic and trendy area that’s now referred to as Im Viadukt. At the heart of it all is Markthalle, or market hall, where local farmers and food vendors offer their products.
The Alps are not always visible, but they are ever present in Zurich
Zurich Thermal Baths & Spa is definitely one of the must-visit sites in this city. Located in an old brewery, its atmosphere is very relaxing and pleasantly luxurious, especially in the middle of the day, when there are fewer visitors. A high point at Zurich Thermal Baths & Spa is the delightful view of Zurich’s skyline from its outdoor rooftop thermal pool – surreally beautiful on days when the snow is falling slowly and the crisp mountain air contrasts pleasantly with the pool’s warm water.
Day admission including the Irish-Roman spa ritual is CHF 60 (approximately EUR 53).