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Zurich, Switzerland

by Debra C. Argen
Hotel Eden au Lac, Zurich, Switzerland
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Zurich, Switzerland, GrossmunsterZurich, located on pristine Lake Zurich, is the largest city in Switzerland, and is a trendy city that offers something for everyone.


Although Zurich is a leading financial center, not everyone comes to Zurich just to visit his or her numbered Swiss bank accounts. Edward F. Nesta and I always enjoy our visits to Zurich, where each time we discover another compelling reason to return to this appealing city.

We stayed at the intimate 50-room and suite Hotel Eden au Lac. This charming hotel, built in 1909, is located across from Lake Zurich, and is conveniently located near the famous Zurich Opera House and the city center.

We had a gastronomic dinner at their 14 points GaultMillau Restaurant Eden, where we dined on Executive Chef Ludovic Pitrel's innovative cuisine. A selection of inspired courses included: Hotel Eden au Lac, Zurich, SwitzerlandKing Prawns with Sherry Vinegar Sauce, White Beans with Piquillos, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, and Olives, Roasted Venison Fillet with Pepper Gravy, Red Cabbage with Figs and Spätzli, and Red Mullet with Bouillabaisse Sauce. Desserts were confectionary fantasies of Quince-Pumpkin Mille-Feuille with Five-Spices and Olive Oil Ice Cream, Pear Mousse, Cotton Candy, Coconut Saffron Cookies, and Bubblegum Ice Cream.

Hotel Eden au Lac, Zurich, Switzerland - Jazz NightOn Thursday and Friday evenings from October – May, the hotel features live jazz in their bar. As Jazz aficionados, we especially appreciated the music of Rebecca Spiteri & the Rolf Lissy Trio, during our stay at the hotel.

Read the articles on the Hotel Eden au Lac in the Hotels and Resorts, Restaurants, and Chefs' Recipes sections where Executive Chef Ludovic Pitrel shares a few of his creative recipes.

Hotel Eden au Lac
Utoquai 45
CH-8008 Zurich
Telephone:      +41 44 266 2525
Fax:                 +41 44 266 2500

Guild Sign - Zurich, Switzerland We took an interesting tour of the old town with its quaint cobblestone lanes, which we arranged with Zurich Tourism. Our Guides, Ruth Rey and Judith Dettinger brought history alive, as we saw many houses dating from the 11th -16th centuries, and learned about the guilds, which were the unions of the craftsmen. From 1400 – 1800, twenty-six guilds ruled Zurich, and strolling through the old town, we enjoyed looking for the various guild signs like children on a treasure hunt. A few of the guild symbols we found were for the Butcher, Shoemaker, Surgeon, and Blacksmith. Discover your own guild symbols on your next trip to Zurich.

Guild Sign - Zurich, Switzerland   Guild Sign - Zurich, Switzerland
Guild Symbols 

Zunfthaus zur Zimmerleuten - Zurich, Switzerland We had lunch at Zunfthaus zur Zimmerleuten, a guild house of carpenters from the middle of the 15th century, although in 1708, they demolished the original building to create the present two-story stone house. The red eagle on the coat of arms on the façade is the symbol of the carpenters' guild. Read about Zunfthaus zur Zimmerleuten in the Restaurants section.

Zunfthaus zur Zimmerleuten
Limmatquai 40
Postfach 3050
CH-8022 Zurich
Telephone:      +41 44 250 5363
Fax:                 +41 44 250 5364

Zurich, Switzerland - GorssmuensterThe main church is the 11th century Romanesque-style Grossmünster, a former monastery, with its distinct twin spires. When the protestant reform came in the 1600s, Zwingli told the people that you could have money, but you could not outwardly demonstrate your wealth. The façade must be conservative, but inside, it can be as you wish. Interesting details include the stained glass windows by Augusto Giacometti, and the ornate bronze doors by Otto Münch.

Hours vary according to the season, open Monday – Saturday from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm, with extended hours in different seasons.

CH-8001 Zurich
Telephone:      +41 44 252 5949

Zurich, Switzerland - FraumuensterAlthough Fraumünster was closed for renovations when we visited in October 2006, the late Gothic church is definitely worth a visit to see the famous Marc Chagall and Augusto Giacometti stained glass windows. We visited Fraumünster on previous trips to Zurich and were pleased to hear that the church reopened in December 2006. Hours vary according to the season, open Monday – Saturday from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm, with extended hours in different seasons.

Am Münsterhofplatz
CH-8001 Zurich
Telephone:      +41 44 211 4100
Fax:                 +41 44 2112078

Zurich, Switzerland - SchwarzenbachZurich divided by two banks, has nightlife located on the right bank, and businesses on the left bank. During our old town tour, we stopped at Schwarzenbach, a five-generation family business since 1864. Entering the old grocery store, we felt like we were taking a step back in time with their old time displays of teas and candies, and the prevailing heady aroma of roasting coffee.

Zurich, Switzerland - SprungliFor us, a trip to Zurich would not be complete without a stop at Confiserie Sprüngli, AG, which has created tempting chocolate and confectionary delights since 1836. We always look forward to visiting whenever we are in Zurich, since how could we visit Switzerland and not sample the chocolate?

Zurich, Switzerland - SprungliIn addition to the decadent assortment of chocolates, truffles, and pralines, Sprüngli makes a confection called Luxemburgerli, which I cannot resist. These delicate little beauties come in delectable flavors of hazelnut, mocha, caramel, raspberry, lemon, and many more, and the sheer luxury of them is that they are highly perishable (will last for 3 three days in the refrigerator), so they must be consumed immediately. I would not know about the 3-day period though, as they rarely last more than 3 hours after I purchase them.

In addition to the 18 shops, including shops at the Zurich International Airport and train stations, they also have Cafés where you can relax with a cup of hot chocolate and enjoy sweet or savory delights. After stocking up on our Sprüngli goodies downstairs, we went to their restaurant located on the second floor, to enjoy a cup of hot chocolate made with a tasty mixture of Venezuelan and Ecuadorian chocolate shaved into hot steaming milk. For me the ultimate decadence of chocolate is drinking a steaming cup of rich hot chocolate topped with real whipped cream. Confiserie Sprüngli is open Monday – Friday from 7:30 am – 6:30 pm, Saturday from 8:00 am – 4:00 pm, and closed on Sunday.

Read the article on Confiserie Sprüngli, AG in the Luxury Products section.

Zurich, Switzerland - SprungliConfiserie Sprüngli, AG
Bahnhofstrasse 21, Paradeplatz
CH-8001 Zurich
Telephone:      +41 44 224 4646
Fax:                 +41 44 224 4735

Shopping along Bahnhofstrasse is a true luxury experience with designer boutiques, art galleries, and many watch shops to tempt everyone from the beginning collector to true aficionados. I always try to blindfold Edward, an avid watch collector, as we walk down this elegant one-mile street of shops.

In addition to upscale shopping, it is always fun to browse the Zurich Saturday morning Antiques market from May until the end of October. Here, you can find almost anything, and the "hunt" is always enjoyable.

Zurich, Switzerland What I love about Zurich is that it is always changing, and offering something completely different, as evidenced during our trip when we were strolling down the Utoquai and saw an exhibition of cattle in front of the Zurich Opera House. Imagine our surprise, and delight, to see cattle in the middle of the city!


Zurich, Switzerland - Urs Zweifel of Domaine ZweifelSwitzerland produces some exceptional wines, and since Zurich is the largest wine producing area in eastern Switzerland, we made a trip to Domaine Zweifel located just outside the city center in Zurich-Höngg.

We met with Urs Zweifel, master vintner and fourth generation of the Zweifel family, who gave us a tour of the vineyard where we strolled among the many rows of grape varieties and tasted grapes still warm from the vine in the Autumn sun.

Zurich, Switzerland - Domaine ZweifelOur tour culminated with a visit to the cellars where we had the opportunity to sample a variety of white wines direct from the steel tanks and red wines direct from the barrels to taste the future promise of the Zweifel wines.

Zurich, Switzerland - Urs Zweifel of Domaine Zweifel's Wein and DeinAfterwards, we had a delicious lunch in their restaurant, Wein & Dein, where in addition to changing their menu every few days, they match the wine to the food. The restaurant has received many awards for their wine collection, including a 2006 Wine Spectator award for having one of the most outstanding wine lists in the world.

Read about Domaine Zweifel and Lattenberg Rauschling 2005 in the Wine Cellar section.

Domaine Zweifel
Eigenbau der Zweifel & Co. AG
Regensdorferstr. 20
CH-8049 Zurich-Höngg
Telephone:      +41 43 344 2211
Fax:                 +41 43 344 2403

Zurich, Switzerland - Zoo Zurich - Dr. Martin BauertAfter lunch, we needed to stretch our legs and visited Zoo Zurich, which opened in 1929 with seven hectares, and by 2004, had grown to twenty-seven hectares. We took a very educational and informative tour of the zoo with Dr. Martin Bauert, Curator of the Masoala Rain Forest and former President of the Zoos of the World.

Zoo Zurich is a nature conservation center, and as Dr. Bauert explained about the storks, we understood Zoo Zurich's philosophy. Forty years ago, the stork population in Switzerland was almost extinct, and today, the population is not only stable, it is growing. Zoo Zurich has 4 resident storks and 12 migratory storks that winter in Africa and return to Zurich to breed.

Zurich, Switzerland - Zoo ZurichThere are 3721 animals and 357 species to delight and educate Zoo Zurich visitors. Zoo Zurich has three baby elephants: two born in 2005, and one born in 2004. Of the seven elephants, three were born at Zoo Zurich. An interesting note is that the elephants learn both English and Indian commands so that they can be exchanged to other zoos. Even the elephants are bi-lingual here!

Zurich, Switzerland - Zoo ZurichThe impressive 11,000 square meter Masoala Rain Forest exhibit helps to enlighten visitors and the project helps to conserve the island of Madagascar, one of the three richest rainforests in the plant. We took a tour of the Masoala Rain Forest area where they have 478 species of plants, 55% that are endemic to Madagascar. They have created a natural environment with temperatures ranging between 20° C – 30° C (68° F – 86°F), +80% humidity, with streams, waterfalls, exotic orchids, palms, bamboo plants, tree ferns dating to the time of the dinosaurs, and saw fruit bats, white fronted lemurs, chameleons, and so much more.

Zurich Zoo is open 365 days per year, March – October from 9:00 am – 6:00 pm, and November – February from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm. The Masoala Rain Forest opens 1-hour later than the Zurich Zoo. Admission is charged. Children under 6 years are free.

Zurich, Switzerland - Zoo ZurichZoo Zurich
Zurichbergstrasse  221
CH-8044 Zurich
Telephone:      +41 44 254 2505
Fax:                 +41 44 254 2410

Zurich, Switzerland - Spice RestaurantZurich has a rich gastronomy of restaurants, and we had an enchanting dinner at Spice, which has a one-star Michelin and 16 points GaultMillau. Chef Felix Eppisser and his wife, Lucia, provide a gracious contemporary atmosphere, excellent Pan-Asian cuisine, and with the restaurant's hilltop location, sparkling views of the city of Zurich.

Read about Spice in Restaurants and Chefs' Recipes sections where Chef Felix Eppisser shares a few of his creative recipes.

Hotel Restaurant Rigiblick
Germaniastrasse 99
CH-8006 Zurich
Telephone:      +41 43 255 1570
Fax:                 +41 43 255 1580

Zurich, Switzerland - Oskar Reinhart MuseumWe visited Winterthur, the sixth largest city in Zurich, located 15 minutes from Zurich, that boasts an impressive collection of six museums. With limited time, we were only able to visit one of the museums, but were extremely impressed with the Oskar Reinhart ‘Am Römerholz.

To maximize our time, we had a private guide, Mrs. Maria Larsen, who brought the history of the extensive collection to life. Mr. Oskar Reinhart (1885 – 1965) began collecting paintings at age 18. By 1924, he bought the villa, Am Römerholz, to fill with his collection of late Gothic to modern art, with an emphasis on 19th century French paintings. He was very philanthropic and collected for the public. He wanted people to see and enjoy his collections, and on Thursday afternoons, he would open his house to the public, where he liked to disguise himself as the butler and listen to the public's opinion. The collection includes over 200 works by important artists such as Matthias Grünewald (1480-1528), Jacopo Bassano (1517-1592), Rembrandt Harmenz Van Rijn (1606-1669), Nicolas Poussin (1594-1665), Eugène Delacroix (1798-1863), Camille Pissaro (1830-1903), Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890), and many more.

The museum is open Tuesday – Sunday from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm, Wednesday from 10:00 am – 8:00 pm, and is closed on Monday. The museum is wheelchair accessible. Admission is charged.

Oskar Reinhart ‘Am Römerholz
Haldenstrasse 95
CH-8400 Winterthur
Telephone:      +41 52 269 2740
Fax:                 +41 52 269 2744

From April until the end of October, Winterthur has twice-monthly Saturday markets, where vendors sell everything from antiques to kitsch, cheese, handcrafted items, artisanal wine, and other products. We enjoyed the festival atmosphere and browsing through the market, because you never know what you will find.

After exploring the Swiss cities of Interlaken, Lucerne, Bern, and Zurich, it was time to return home on Swiss International Air Lines.

Zurich, Switzerland - Soul of ChocolateWe arrived at the Zurich International Airport with plenty of time to experience the Soul of Chocolate exhibit (which ended on October 31, 2006), an informative and very tasty, introduction to the world of Swiss chocolate. We sampled our way through the chocolate displays before relaxing in the Swiss International Air Lines lounge.

On board the aircraft, we settled in our comfortable Business Class seats, and enjoyed one last taste of Switzerland, before falling asleep dreaming of the Swiss Alps, Swiss chocolate, Swiss wines, Emmentaler cheese, and all of the adventures that we had experienced on our trip.

Important information for Switzerland

Switzerland is not part of the European Union, and as such, the currency of Switzerland is the Swiss Franc. As of February 2007, the exchange rate was 1.24 Swiss Francs (CHF) to 1 US Dollar (USD), and 1.61 Swiss Francs (CHF) to 1 Euro (EUR). The Swiss Franc coin denominations are: 5,10, 20, 50 cents and 1, 2, and 5 Francs. Bank note denominations are: 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, and 1000 Francs.

While many Swiss speak English, it is always helpful to have some basic language knowledge when traveling.

German Vocabulary

Guide to pronunciation

ß = strong S sound (like a hiss)
j = sounds like y
ie = sounds like ea
ü = sounds like ou
w = sounds like v

Basic Vocabulary




Do you speak English?

Sprechen Sie Englisch?

Excuse me      



Guten Tag


Auf Wiedersehen

Good Morning

Guten Morgen

Good Evening

Guten Abend



Thank you










Where is?

Wo is?

Train Station



der Flughafen













































































Red wine


Sparkling wine


White wine






Read other articles on Switzerland in the Destinations, Hotels and Resorts, Restaurants, Chefs' Recipes, Spas, Liquor Cabinet, Wine Cellar, Gastronomy, Luxury Products, and Adventures sections. 

For information on Switzerland, please visit: www.MySwitzerland.com. For information on Lucerne: www.Luzern.org. For information on Interlaken: www.InterlakenTourism.ch.

For information on Bern: www.BernInfo.com. For information on Zurich: www.Zuerich.com. For information on Swiss International Air Lines: www.swiss.com. For information on the Swiss Pass: www.SwissTravelSystem.com.

© March 2007. Luxury Experience. LuxuryExperience.com All rights reserved.

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