If I am going to fly halfway around the world from New Zealand to Europe, I am always going to want to make the most of it. So on my way over to Finland in the beginning of March, I used the trip as an excuse to stop in beautiful Switzerland for a week to visit my oldest friend. And also to see Switzerland again obviously, one of my favorite countries in the world. Two birds, one stone.
And as I stepped out into the familiar Zurich airport, I place I had been many times over the years, I was more fresh faced than usual. Not only did I stop for 24 hours in Dubai to sleep on my way over to Switzerland, I also finally started collecting my miles this year (omg what took me so long?) and cashed in on a business class upgrade with Emirates to Zurich.
Wow, how do the other half live?
But before I run away with myself and write a 2000 word essay on how sexy the upstairs is on an Emirates Airbus (the sexiest in case you’re wondering), I’ll return to the topic at hand and finally share some of my favorite spots from around Zurich.
Switzerland was one of the first places I ever wrote about as a blogger 6 years ago. Whenever I visited my friend in the past, she’d always pick me up from the airport and whisk me away back to Neuchâtel where she lives. This meant that by 2016 I had been inside the Zurich airport and motorway many times, but hadn’t actually seen the city. I wanted to change that.
And after being away from my beloved Europe for almost a year, I was ready for some beautiful old quarters with cobbled streets, terrible customer service and a general quaintness that eludes the rest of the world. Bring it, Switzerland.
Here are my favorite moments from 24 hours exploring Zurich. Enjoy!
Looking for colorful Zurich
Before spending any time in Zurich, I had the impression that it would feel sterile and boring, which was my main impression from visiting Geneva back when I was 19. And while on the surface, Zurich seems to be a place that’s hard to read, the more hours I spent just wandering around and getting lost, the more I realized that wasn’t the case, and Zurich was much more vibrant than I expected.
Like all great cities, Zurich has layers.
And my favorite layer was the colors. I’m always drawn to colorful places, and amongst the dreary skies, Zurich popped with color everywhere. You just had to look.
Waking up at the boutique Marktgasse Hotel
It was late by the time I rocked up to the Marktgasse Hotel, a beautiful boutique hotel right in the old quarter of Zurich and I was wiped. And thanks to my jetlag and raging caffeine addiction (thank you 4am migraine), I was awake bright and early at an ungodly hour. Fabulous.
Lucky for me they have a delicious cafe downstairs called Delish that opens early so I could get my coffee fix a few hours later and begin my day exploring Zurich.
Tucked away in a 15th century building, the hotel was the perfect base to explore around. And man, have I missed medieval buildings. And radiators.
Climbing the Grossmünster tower
Now that I am seriously into photography which I definitely wasn’t as much when I used to live in Europe, I was stoked to take some great photos of Zurich. Lucky for me the weather cooperated with solid white gray clouds and downpours mixed with snow all day.
But I decided to make the most of it and climb up to the top of the Grossmünster (Zurich’s cathedral) to take in the views. It’s only a few euros and it’s totally worth it.
A cozy lunch in the old town
Zurich has no shortage of delicious spots to dine, and I really struggled to try and pick the best one for my only lunch in town. After scouring Tripadvisor and even asking for tips, I settled on Mère Catherine.
Tucked away down a little street near the cathedral, I headed over for a late lunch and had the place to myself. Listening to the rain outside, I spent a lovely time reading and tucking in to a great meal.
Cute on the outside, cute on the inside, tasty food and friendly staff, it ticked all my boxes.
There is one thing I love about Swiss villages and towns, and that is the colorful shutters. Everywhere. I froth on them, and one day I want to make sure whatever house I own has colorful shutters too that I can fling open in the morning a la Beauty and the Beast.
Falling in love with the most beautiful street in Zurich
Go on, I dare you to tell me that isn’t one of the cutest Euro streets you’ve ever laid eyes on?
Don’t miss a walk around Augustinergasse street when you’re in Zurich.
Water water everywhere
Zurich has over 1200 public fountains where you can fill up your water bottle. Random but awesome.
As someone who drinks a ton of water throughout the day but hates paying for it, especially at Swiss prices, I was in heaven!
Just wandering and getting lost
Holy crap is Zurich a cute city, especially around the old quarter and downtown. And as always my best tip for exploring a city is to just wander and get lost amongst it all.
That means having a bit of time and not being in a rush, but luckily Zurich is a good sized decent with exceptional Swiss public transport so you’ll always have the time.
Have you been to Zurich or Switzerland? What’s your favorite place there? Have you ever finally stopped to see a place you’ve only passed through before? Spill!