Nora Baldenweg highlights the top attractions of the sophisticated Swiss city, from spectacular architecture and breathtaking Alpine views to shopping, alfresco dining and nightlife.

1.    Thermalbad & Spa

Description: The spa’s mineral-rich water, Zurich

The spa’s mineral-rich water, Zurich

Zurich’s new thermal baths, offering an “Irish-Roman” spa ritual, are stunningly located in the former premises of the Hurdimann brewery. You can marvel at the age-old stone walls and vaulted ceilings while bathing in giant wooden tubs, then enjoy views of Zurich’s skyline and the mountains beyond from the rooftop thermal bath. The spa’s mineral-rich water is drawn from the legendary Aqui springs, deep beneath the city. Brandschenkestrasse 150 (00 41 44 205 9650; Open daily 9am – 10pm.

2.    Widder Bar

Description: Widder Bar

Widder Bar

Sit back in one of the Widder Bar’s red leather sofas with a cocktail and enjoy world-class live jazz Brad Mehldau, Diana Krall and the late Hank Jones have all performed here. In keeping with the style of the Widder Hotel, in which it is located, the interior fuses historic architecture with modern design. The bar has more than 250 single-malt whiskies, and insiders know this is the place to order (off-menu) the sturdiest. Long Island Iced Tea in the city. Rennweg 7 (00 41 44 224 2526;

3.    Storchengasse

Description: Storchengasse


Lose yourself in the cobbled lanes of Zurich’s old town, on the left bank of the River Limmat:  Storchengasse/ Strehlgasse and the adjacent Schipfe, Schusselgasse and St Peterhofstatt are lined with luxury fashion stores, small boutiques and jewellery shops. Almost all the boutiques on Storchengasse belong to Swiss fashion entrepreneur Trudie Gotz. Her “Trois Pommes” empire stocks luxury labels (Alaia, Alexander McQueen, Balmain, Céline, Jil Sander, Thom Browne, etc) for men and women.

4.    Kunsthaus

Description: Kunsthaus Museum

Kunsthaus Museum

Zurich’s museum of fine art houses one of the most important collections in Europe. It is run by an arts association founded in 1787 (which now has more than 20,000 members), and its holdings include works from the late-Gothic era to the present day, with an emphasis on Swiss artists (Alberto Giacometti, Ferdinand Hodler, Pipilotti Rist). The museum is in the process of redefining itself for the 21st century with a new extension designed by David Chipperfield, due to open in 2017. Heimplotz 1 (00 41 44 253 8484; Closed Mon

5.    Café des Amis

Description: Café des Amis
Café des Amis

Escape the bustle of the city at this newly opened, French-style café and bistro. Although just a five-minute bus ride from the main station, it is in a rather quiet, residential area, not far from the Oberer Letten lido (see 14). Its large patio and cosy interiors attract a stylish, family-friendly crowd. The menu features fresh and simple home cooking (the rhubarb cheesecake is already famous), and there’s an extensive weekend brunch. Nordstrasse 88 (00 41 43 536 9381; Closed Mon. About SFr70 ($75) for two without wine.

6.    Fountains

Description: The Nike Fountain on Newmarkt,

The Nike Fountain on Newmarkt, Zurich

In Zurich you won’t have to carry around a water bottle you can help yourself to perfectly clean, fresh drinking water from one of the 1,200 fountains scattered across the city. Many of them are supplied from a 150km-long spring-water system designed to provide for the population in case of emergency. The fountains are not merely functional, however, many are works of art with a fascinating history. For example, the Nike Fountain on Newmarkt, pictured, was designed by sculptor Barbara Roth.

7.    The Dolder Grand

Description: The Dolder Grand

The Dolder Grand

You’ll feel like a royal at this hotel, a magnificent fairy-tale castle on a wooded hill overlooking the city, lake and Alps. Built in 1899, it reopened in 2008 after a complete overhaul, including a new extension by Lord Foster. It has 173 rooms and suites, an award-winning restaurant and a state-of-the-art spa. A ride on the Dolderbahn, the private cog-wheel railway leading up to the hotel from Romerhof, is an experience in itself. Kurhausstrasse 65 (00 41 44 456 6000; Doubles from SFr590 (about $615)

8.    Zukunft / Bar3000

Zukunft / Bar3000

Dip into Zurich’s nightclub scene at Zukunft (meaning “future”), one of the city’s best clubs. It is located off Langstrasse, in a pulsating, arty area that is also the red-light district. A mix of hipsters and creative types dance into the small hours to electronic and house music, with a constant rotation of international and local DJs. Zukunft is in the basement of Bar3000, which becomes the club’s fumoir at midnight. Non-members should get there early. Dienerstrasse 33 ( Bar3000 open from 5pm (8pm Sat); club from 9pm (11pm Thurs, midnight Fri/Sat). Closed Sun

9.    Neumarkt 17

Description: Neumarkt 17

Neumarkt 17

Get lost in the labyrinth-like interior of this must-see furniture shop just off the main artery of Niederdorf. You’d be forgiven, for overlooking the unassuming entrance, but the store spans several interconnected historic houses, which have been merged into a designer haven of modern furniture and sought-after classics. The different levels are connected with winding stairs, narrow passageways and metal-grid floors dangling from the high ceiling over an indoor pond. Neumarkt 17 (00 41 44 254 3838;

10. Terrasse

Description: Terrasse


Soak up the cosmopolitan atmosphere of this airy, elegant café and restaurant at Bellevue, a prime location overlooking the lake and river. It is one of the most popular places in Zurich and is usually packed. With its high ceilings, slender columns and crystal chandeliers, it’s a stylish place for a drink or a light meal. Try the delicious hot chocolate. Limmatquai 3 (00 41 44 251 1074; Open Mon-Fri 11.30 pm – 2pm, 6pm – midnight. About SFr70 ($180) for two without wine.

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