Zurich & A Day Trip to Rhine Falls

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For those traveling to Switzerland, Zurich is one of the easier and most affordable locations to fly in and out of. My fellow traveler, Alicia, and I spent three nights in Zurich, making it one of the longer legs of our Switzerland trip. Here were some of the highlights!

We stayed at City Backpacker/Hotel Biber in the Neiderdorf district. I recommend it for its close proximity to the train station and a number of exciting destinations within Zurich, Plus, it has a great rooftop terrace, which we spent evenings on eating dinner and drinking wine. There’s a nice (not too loud) noise of the city bustling below, clinking glasses from nearby restaurants, and the occasional band playing in the courtyard.

Also in Neiderdorf is the oldest vegetarian restaurant in the world, Haus Hiltl. Their enormous buffet will satisfy vegetarians, vegans, and carnivores alike. For vegetarian and vegan travelers, this is also your chance to try some veg takes on local dishes. Haus Hiltl is pricey, as is true with most restaurants in Switzerland; CHF 15-20 will get you a nice lunch.

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Haus Hiltl, the oldest vegetarian restaurant in the world

I found Zurich to be very walkable. I recommend strolling down Bahnhofstrasse, which has been referred to as one of the most beautiful streets of shops in the world. Think cobblestone paths, window shopping, and maybe espresso by the river. Make sure to stop at Läderach, a chocolate shop on Bahnhofstrasse with a wide selection that even includes dairy-free Swiss chocolates. At the south end of Bahnhofstrasse you’ll hit Lake Zurich and can roam around its many parks and paths. If you invested in a Swiss Travel Pass, the boat ride around the lake is free. Also in the vicinity is a women’s bath house, Frauenbad Stadthausquai, situated on the Limmat River that feeds into Lake Zurich. It’s open to the public; day passes are available for a small fee.

I know that some travelers get tired of looking at European churches, but I would list Grossmünster Cathedral as a required stop. My favorite was the stained glass windows made with thinly cut agates, though the crypt was another highlight. Since my photos don’t do justice to the windows, look here for a better representation: https://www.zuerich.com/en/visit/attractions/polkes-glass-windows. You’ll also likely pass by Fraumunster multiple times; you may as well take a peek inside this one too.

For those interested in a more educational experience, you could probably spend all day in the Swiss National Museum, which is also covered by the Swiss Travel Pass. You’ll learn all about the history and culture of Switzerland through collections including archeology, photography & graphic arts, ceramics & glass, paintings & sculpture, jewelry & time pieces, furniture, and textiles & fashion. Find more information here: https://www.nationalmuseum.ch/e/Sammlung.php

For a worthwhile day-trip out of the city, visit Rhine Falls, which is Europe’s largest waterfall. It’s a 40-45 minute train ride from Zurich to Schaffhausen, followed by a brief bus ride from Schaffhausen to Neuhausen. From Neuhausen it’s only a short walk to the falls. There’s an entrance fee of CHF 5 to see the falls, with additional options of boat rides: http://www.rheinfall.ch/en/attractions/boattrips/rhyfall-maendlien. We did the short round trip boat ride for CHF 6; in retrospect I would have paid the extra CHF 4 to go up on the rock by the falls as well.

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What else should readers do in Zurich? Post your recommendations below!

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