Zurich

Zurich by CC user somemixedstuff on Flickr

Introduction

Clean, efficient, prosperous – to say the least, the first impression of Zurich by travelers is a uniformly positive one, even if their wallet might have a dissenting opinion to offer on that issue. With the mountains at your doorstep, this city is a great place to get a handle around the culture of Switzerland before heading out into this nation’s beautiful hinterland.

Grossmünster church by CC user archer10 on Flickr

Cultural Experiences

Being one of the wealthiest cities in all of Europe, it is not terribly surprising that Zurich is home to a variety of excellent institutions dedicated to the arts.

One of the finest ones of the lot is unquestionably Kunsthaus Zurich, which focus on visual art of all sorts that has been produced in Switzerland (along with works from elsewhere as well) throughout the ages, stretching all the way back to medieval times.

Many of its most famous pieces come from contemporary times though, as you will find pieces from Monet, Munsch, and Pablo Picasso within its walls.

If your hunger for art is still not satisfied, then make your next stop the Rietberg Museum. This institution specializes in quality art pieces that originated from outside the European continent, with works being sourced from Asia, the Americas, Africa and Oceania.

There are also regular exhibitions that focus on certain aspects of the cultures that exist outside of Europe, and with permanent collections that show off sculptures, busts and artifacts, it is a perfect way to burn time on an afternoon when the weather doesn’t feel like cooperating.

Those that seek religious houses of worship when they travel will want to seek out the Fraumünster Church during their trip to Zurich, as its stained glass windows enjoy wide acclaim from those that have seen them over the years. Once serving as home for many female members of the ruling aristocracy that lorded over this part of Switzerland in the medieval era, this Christian landmark in heart of Zurich is also well known for its frescoes that are located within its cloister.

Looking for a spot that is also a well-regarded cathedral, but also offers one of the best photographic vantage point in the entire city? The Grossmünster is where you’ll want to head, as this gorgeous Romanesque Protestant Church is not only filled with history (the church was constructed by the decree of Charlemagne, a legendary ruler in Europe during the Middle Ages), but it also offers access to its bell tower for those looking to take a panoramic photo of the surrounding portions of downtown Zurich.

Don’t rush up the staircase though, as there are plenty of architectural touches that will inspire even those that are non-religious. From Roman style columns to mini sculptures carved into the walls, there is plenty to discover and photograph before heading to the highest heights of the cathedral to capture your shot of Zurich from above.

Lake Zurich by CC user 21876032@N02 on Flickr

Other Attractions

After you have finished culture crawling Switzerland’s biggest city, dedicate an entire day to enjoy everything that the Old Town of Zurich has to offer you.

With some of the best shopping in the country close at hand, as well as its hottest nightlife, you’ll find plenty to keep you occupied day and night when you aren’t taking in its blend of architecture that have been built throughout the ages and the various cultural attractions that can be found throughout this sector of Zurich.

Need to escape the centre of the city? The natural surroundings available at nearby Uetliberg Mountain provide the environment that you are looking for, as its slopes are covered with leafy and evergreen trees and are crisscrossed with hiking trails that will make you forget that you are still in an urban area.

Other sports such as paragliding and biking are also widely practiced here during the summer months, and sledding is a widely loved family activity during the winter as well, so forget the fact that you are fully grown adult and let kid inside you out to play – life is short, after all!

If all that physical activity has you craving refreshment, head back down to the banks of Lake Zurich. Despite the high population density near this beautiful body of water, the quality of it is very high, making swimming in the lake not just a realistic prospect, but a very desirable one.