The Perfect Day in Zurich
- –Breakfast at Bohemia in Bellevue
- -Hike up Uetliberg
- -Lunch in the Train Station
- -Felix’s Café
- –Rent a Paddle Boat on Lake Zurich
- -Window Shopping in Old Town
- -Dinner at Zuegkellerhaus (The Arsenal)
- –Dessert at Cafe Schober
Zurich, Switzerland is a timeless city. The buildings are authentic and beautiful, dating back a thousand years. Rolling green hills and the snow-topped Alps surrounds Lake Zurich. The water shines like expensive diamonds as the perfect amount of sun beams down from the crystal clear blue skies. Zurich isn’t a huge city, nor small, it’s the perfect size. You can enjoy the people, the energy, and the classic architecture all while admiring the natural scenery around you. Within five minutes you can take a tram from the center of Old Town and be in the middle of the woods. Everything in the area is simply picturesque. However, be prepared to spend a little moola. This country is not cheap. The outlined day below should cost you anywhere from $200-$400…that’s normal in Swiss land. Meals in Switzerland tend to run about $25-50/per person for breakfast or lunch when dining out, and about $30-100/per person for dinner when dining out. Pricey, however, normal in Switzerland. *I have so many great places in Zurich that won’t all fit into one day, check out my other post on my favorite things in Zurich.
The perfect day:
To begin the day in Zurich, head for breakfast in Bellevue at BOHEMIA, the best breakfast place in town. Highly rated as a top-notch restaurant in Zurich, this place is in high demand. On the weekends, unless you have made a reservation, you’re probably going to have a little bit of a wait. The bar and lounge area are first-come-first serve. The dining room can be completely full with reservations but usually if you ask nicely they’ll try to find room to squeeze you in at a table. I ordered the eggs Benedict with an Americano. The food was so flavorful and savory. The eggs Benedict comes on a bagel with cheese that has been baked and broiled onto the bagel. Then on the inside there’s the egg, thinly sliced ham, buttery spinach and creamy hollandaise sauce. My plate was licked clean at the end. Good thing you’ll be hiking today that breakfast is going to feel a little heavy…but so worth it.
Once you’ve had your morning caffeine and a full stomach, take the tram to Old Town, then to the bottom of Uetliberg. You can grab a tram from the downtown train station, Zurich Hofbahnhof (Zurich HB for short.) Take the tram from Zurich HB to Uetleiberg, getting off at Triemli. Triemli is where you’ll start your 5km hike up the mountain. Follow the trail up as far as you can go. There’s a map at the bottom if you’d like to take different paths. However, if you keep following the steepest, most prominent trail, you will get to the top the quickest. Ask fellow hikers along the way if you need help figuring out which trail is the right one. The hike should take anywhere from 45 minutes-70 minutes, depending on your pace. We hauled it up there and it took about 50 minutes.
When you reach the top, depending on the day, it will either be extremely peaceful and quiet or packed with families and visitors drinking beer and eating pretzels. On weekdays it’s pretty quiet until sunset. On the weekends even during early mornings, food vendors line the top of the mountain selling beer, pretzels, and hot dogs, known all over Zurich as “wursts”. There’s a huge viewing tower on top. Make sure to walk up the tower for some spectacular views of the city and Lake Zurich.
The best part about this hike is that you can take the tram down! Yes, no more hiking… The ride down is beautiful. You sit back in the huge comfortable seats looking out the massive glass windows. Depending on the season, (we were there in the spring) the train passes huge fields of yellow flowers, valleys of prime green grass, all while the tram curves in and out all through the trees down to the bottom. It’s a pretty neat experience in itself. The ride is worth it even if you ‘re not up for the hike. You can take the tram up and back down whenever you wish. We made two trips up to Utleigberg on our stay. The first time it was to catch the stunning sunset on a clear spring night. That time we took the tram up and back down. The next trip we hiked up in the morning and took the tram back down.
Take the train all the way to the main train station, Zurich HB, on your way down from the hike. Walk to the big open part of the train station. Go get a wurst from the hotdog stand in the train station. There’s only one stand on the main level on the station that’s right in front of all the outdoor trains upstairs. If you really can’t find the one stand then look for the hotdogs, you’ll see someone with one, then ask where they got it. They give you a hot dog twice as long as one you’d find in the states wrapped in a bread roll! Then they ask if you’d like ketchup and mustard. Both. They squeeze the condiments on the hotdog while stuffing it in the huge Italian/white roll. It is truly a treat after the late morning hike. Delicious is an understatement. It always hits the spot.
After a little food heaven head a few blocks down to Old Town again to grab a quick latte or cappuccino to get you through the rest of the day. Felix’s Café right on the river is the place to go! ( http://cafefelix.ch/) The café is famous in Switzerland for being the café of Zurich’s Teuscherchocolate shop. The coffee, chocolates and handmade pastries are delectable. Maybe grab a quick sweet snack before your afternoon paddle on the lake.
Next up is my favorite, rent a paddle boat on Lake Zurich. People are always out and about around Lake Zurich, it’s quite the happening place especially in the warmer months. There’s a few different rental companies along the left side of the lake if you’re looking down from Old Town. If it’s summer time in Zurich wear your swim suit and go for a dip or grab some wine or beers and float away admiring the city and landscape. The water is so refreshing. Late afternoon or right before sunset is so nice. If it’s winter you may want to skip this part of the day, however, it’s definitely worth it and surprisingly economically ok. It costs about fifteen swiss franks to rent a paddle boat for an hour, thats less than $20. Pretty good deal considering the cost of everything else in Switzerland.
Once you’ve had some relaxation and a shower, head back down to Old Town in the early evening. You can walk through the streets and window shop forever. There are several little brick streets that curve along with boutique stores. The window displays are impressive and expensive. The whole area is extremely high-end. The clothes are immaculate and the jewelry is dazzling. They had me staring and taking pictures gawking at all the items I wish I could afford. If it’s a nice night you can sit around the lake to watch the sunset behind the mountains.
Finally, you’ve been waiting all day for it…dinner at Zeugkellerhaus. (http://www.zeughauskeller.ch/) You’re just in time for your 8pm reservation. Yes, make sure you made the reservation! This place is always crowded, however you can sometimes squeeze in if you don’t have a reservation but better to be safe than sorry. If you have someone to share with, then there are some must eat items. First, start off by sharing the “Eidgenoss Flambé with Firewater.” The Flambé with firewater is their famous drink. It’s served in a giant snifter bigger than someone’s head. All eyes will be on your table when they make the drink. Your server will bring over a huge cart to make the drink in front of you. They pour brandy, beer, and beer malt all down a funnel. After that, they take a match and light the entire glass on fire! The concoction is so good it’s dangerous. Literally though, it’s dangerous. Be careful, the glass stays hot from the flame for a good five minutes! The drink is smooth, and strong.
Dinner is a whole different beast! If you’re ordering only for yourself I would suggest getting the traditional Weinerschnitzle, the Whole Pork Schenk with Rosti(rosti is similar to hash browns but with much more butter, like most of the food in Switzerland) or the Kalbsgeschnetzeltes nuch Zurcher Art– veal with mushrooms in a white cream sauce…mmmmm. They’re ALL phenomenal. Everything is phenomenal.
After this long day filled with hiking, food, sightseeing and relaxing, it’s probably safe to say a peaceful walk home is the perfect end to this magical day in the beautiful city of Zurich, Switzerland. However, there’s always room for dessert! Make a quick stop at famous Cafe Schober and grab a fruit tart and a huge meringue to take home. If you know your dinner is going to run late grab these treats before hand, as Cafe Schober tends to close earlier than other places in Old Town.