Follow the signs to Zurich airport’s subterranean train station, where you can buy a Zurich card for £17 (zurichcard.ch): this covers travel on public transport for 72 hours and most museum admissions. The train takes ten minutes to Zurich HB in the city centre. From here, tram 4 drops you near Hotel Otter (hotelotter.ch, doubles from £81), a quirky, relaxed hideaway in the old quarter with an arty clientele congregating in the ground floor Wueste Bar.
It’s a pleasant walk to the Kunsthaus museum (Heimplatz 1, kunsthaus.ch, free with Zurich card), where you can view a stunning collection of Alberto Giacometti bronzes and learn all about Dada, a countercultural movement founded in 1916. Then stroll over to Dada’s birthplace, the famous Cabaret Voltaire arts venue (Spiegelgasse 1, cabaretvoltaire.ch). Try the fondue at Adler’s Swiss Chuchi restaurant (Rosengasse 10, hotel-adler.ch, £60 for two). Then sip a glass of Champagne at Lenin’s favourite bar, the Odeon (£14 for two, Limmatquai 2, odeon.ch).
After breakfast, view the 12th-century Grossmünster Cathedral then hit the Bahnhofstrasse, one of Europe’s ritziest shopping streets where you can bag a kitschy memento for your wrist at the Swatch Store. Nearby Lindenhof is a piazza overlooking the river. Takein the views before sidling off for a vegetarian lunch at Hiltl (Sihlstrasse 28, hiltl.ch, £35 for two), an über-chic meeting point.
Zurich’s Design Museum (Ausstellungsstrasse 60, museum-gestaltung.ch) is always worth a look – then head over to the station for the 20-minute train journey to the Uetliberg, Zurich’s ‘home mountain’. From up here at 900m, the entire city and lake are laid out at your feet. Take a stroll in the pine woods, then watch the shadows lengthen from the bar of Hotel Uto Kulm (utokulm.ch, glass of house white £6 for two). Back in the city, aim for Langstrasse, a mile-long strip of bars and buzzing restaurants. Try LaSalle (Schiffbaustrasse 4, lasalle-restaurant.ch, daiquiri £14 for two), which occupies a huge glass cube on the floor of a former shipbuilding plant, and eat Asian fare at fast-paced Lily’s Stomach Supply (Langstrasse 197, lilys.ch, £45 for two). After midnight, head into post-industrial west Zurich for house and 80s groove at Toni Molkerei (Förrlibuckstrasse 109, tonimolkerei.com, £25 for two).
Stroll through the beautiful waterfront gardens towards Bürkliplatz and take a soothing cruise on Lake Zurich (free with Zurich card). Back on terra firma, scenic tram 6 trundles up the hill to the zoo (£10 with Zurich card, zoo.ch), one of Europe’s best, and linger in the steamy Masoala zone, a credible re-creation of a Madagascan rainforest. Back at the station, admire the luxury selection of Swiss chocolates at Confiserie Sprüngli and grab a speedy but delicious lunch from the seafood specialities laid out at Nordsee (£15 for two, nordsee.com) before reluctantly departing for the airport.
Total for two £430
British Airways flies to Zurich from London City and Heathrow. Book a flight on ba.com now.
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