A dynamic city with the charm of a provincial town
Though it is the financial nerve centre of Switzerland, it would be unfortunate to see Zurich only in this light. Yes, the city hosts many banks and corporate headquarters, but it also has much to offer visitors, no matter their budgets.
Built around the Limmat River and the famous Lake Zurich, and crowned by Alpine peaks, this city's romantic charm is undeniably seductive. In summer, Zurich's citizens bask in a supremely peaceful ambience; you and your family should follow their lead. In winter, Zurich's 6,000-square-metre ice-skating rink, the largest in Europe, becomes the main attraction. Exploring the city is best done by bicycle: the municipality provides bikes for adults and children, even electric ones, for free, hardly a negligible detail in a city often ranked among the most expensive in the world.
The old part of town is pedestrian only. Strolling through the many alleys is a pleasure for the eyes: flowering balconies, pretty cafés, and churches, and the many small squares with drinking fountains, of which there are more than 1,200, are just some of the elements that give Zurich's Old Town (Altstadt) its authentic village charm.
If you prefer modern, head to Zurich West, a centre of alternative culture reminiscent of the effervescence of Berlin, filled with trendy spots in refurbished warehouses.
In 2015, The Economist named Zurich the tenth best city to live in in the world, and the second, after Vienna, in Europe. Whether this is due to its manageable size, outstanding setting, or diversity of atmospheres, it is clear that Zurich deserves the high ranking.
When to go
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