I'm gonna be in Zurich on the 18th, en route to Amsterdam. I managed to get a 12-hour layover. Since you're practically a local, what would you recommend? I'd love to get some tips. I want to make the best of my 12 hours in der Schweiz.
Pimp My Layover
Dear Pimp My Layover,
Good for you. If you’re going to do the layover thing you might as well go all out and get as jetlagged as possible. Twelve hours is plenty of time to see most of the highlights in Zurich—even in your delirious state.
Number one: put your stuff in a locker. There are lockers right above the train station at the airport.
Number two: buy a Zurich Card (see below) and take the train to Zurich HB. The HB means “main train station”. It should only take 10 minutes from the airport. Don’t get off in Oerlikon unless you want to go bowling.
Number three to infinity: Walk down the main shopping street, the Bahnhofstrasse. Smile at some Swiss people and see what happens (not for the faint at heart).
Eat at Hiltl, Europe's best and first vegetarian restaurant. While you’re eating you can grab some food for thought in the form of a Hiltl cookbook, or Swiss News, a magazine The Frau writes for.
Stop in Sprüngli, a chocolate store and café, for dessert or an edible souvenir. The Swiss eat 12 kilos of chocolate a year without getting fat. Now’s your chance to try it and see what happens.
Look at the Marc Chagall windows in the Fraumünster church. Just don’t ask The Frau to come with you. She's seen these windows about fifty times now and is going through withdrawal.
Walk to the lake and enjoy the views. Take a boat ride if the season allows.
Explore Niederdorf, a section of Zurich’s old town. It’s less stuffy than the Bahnhofstrasse and has lots of cool shops and bars.
If you're interested in museums or the weather sucks, you could check out Zurich's Kunsthaus, its art museum, or the Landesmuseum, a history museum.
Another alternative if the weather is nice is to go up to Uetliberg, nicknamed "the top of Zurich". It's the highest point in Zurich and you can get there in about 20 minutes from Zurich's main train station. There are lots of good hiking trails up there as well. If it’s foggy or raining though, you won’t see much.
Tip: If you plan to take public transport and visit a museum or two (or go up to Uetliberg), buy a Zurich Card for CHF 19. It’s valid for 24 hours and includes free entrance to most museums and free public transport within Zurich, including to and from the airport, and including a boat ride on the lake. Buy it at the airport and that’s all you’ll need all day. It’s one of the best deals in Zurich. Trust The Frau, after you see the prices here, you’ll know what she means.
Ok, the Frau has run out of ideas. Come on, all of you Zurich locals out there, what’s great to do in this city? The Frau wants to know what she forgot. Let’s help Pimp A Layover. And Happy Easter to all.