Guest Blog by Marie Collins
Destination Zurich: A Sweet Treat
When you consider a European City Break it’s unlikely that Zurich will be top of your list. Paris, London, Rome, maybe Copenhagen, Barcelona. Not Zurich. It’s a city I associate with banking and business. However, it is definitely worth putting on your list for a raft of reasons. I recently spent a week in the city and will tell you here what you need to know.
When looking into my summer holidays 2017, I did what I often do. I went to the Cork Airport website and looked to see the destinations for this year. Zurich stood out as somewhere I hadn’t been before. I research further and found that the city has a lot to offer and decided to make that booking. Cork flies to Zurich twice a week on a Monday and a Friday with Swiss Air. You could even have a long weekend there easily!
Switzerland is outside the EU and the Euro Zone. However, one would expect that in a city of bankers that the euro would be most acceptable everywhere, much like how we are used to spending our euros in Northern Ireland. Not so! You will be spending Swiss Francs (CHF), nothing else. I suggest you take a few with you to get you started. The Swiss Franc is similar in value to the euro, so as I write €100 will get you €114 Francs. However, you can expect everything to be very expensive in Zurich. It is one of the downsides of visiting the city.
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Being Germanic, the city joins the dots very well. We could take a lesson! We were able to get a train from the Airport to the city for a lot less than €20 each, whereas a taxi would be more than double that amount. Our hotel was then only two blocks away and as we just had 2 wheelie suitcases we were well able to make that journey. I advise you take a look at where the train stops are in relation to your chosen hotel before you go. Trams also are very plentiful in the city although we never quite worked them out.
The food is as you would expect – European. That said you can get Asian in various places around the city just like any other European city. The food is excellent but it’s expensive to eat out. We found a superb place on the last night that I can highly recommend – Restaurant Latino at Hotel Seegarten. We dined in a nice Italian another night on the banks of the river – Molino Limmatqui. Italian restaurants tend to be a little more affordable.
Zurich is a very pretty city with the quaint old town, the swish shopping street of Bahnhofstrasse, one of the world’s most expensive and exclusive shopping streets, and the river and lake being a real focal point. For us, Lake Zurich is what sets the city apart from others. Our first day there was a beautiful warm day and a Saturday. There was a wonderful holiday feel by the lake, which is really developed to be used in so many ways. There’s pleasure craft, pedaloes, picnic areas, restaurants and coffee shops, lake cruises, swimming and so much more. We took the water bus which gave us a mini tour of the lake and also navigated the city by the river. We stopped off at Hotel Storchen to sip some bubbles in the afternoon and then re-joined the next water bus to continue the journey.
As with anywhere else, you can stay in any type of hotel you can possibly imagine with a range of prices. I tend to like boutique hotels with character and this time I really struck gold. We stayed in Hotel Europe right adjacent to the lake and behind the Opera House which dominates a large square. The hotel is family run and our room was beautiful with a small balcony to watch the world go by. Wifi was great even on the fourth floor. Of course, it all depends on what you like but we just loved Hotel Europe.
We found the city to be a very walkable one, a city that’s extremely safe and one that’s very clean. We found the people to be very pleasant also. One watch point is to turn off that roaming as the country is outside the EU and might find yourself landed with a saucy bill! If you’re looking for a party, it’s probably not the place to go though. Switzerland is a country of many languages but English is widely spoken and understood there. The weather was mixed while we were there but we weren’t there for the sunshine. We even got caught in a torrential downpour not once but twice. We had to smile at the Irish crew who couldn’t handle the rain!
To conclude, I’m so glad I went to Zurich this year and highly recommend it to you. I’d love to go back sometime but knowing me I’ll be exploring someplace else next time. It occurs to me as I write this that if the Swiss come to visit Cork and Munster they will get amazing value here!
Marie Collins is a Digital Marketing Consultant and Trainer who helps small businesses to have a more effective online presence. Check out her website – DigiPulse Marketing.