Zurich and almost Liechtenstein: 23rd March 2023

WHERE IS ZURICH? Zurich is a city in north east Switzerland (facts about Liechtenstein coming once I get there)

WHAT LANGUAGES  ARE SPOKEN THERE AND WHAT'S THE CURRENCY? The official languages are German, Swiss, Standard German, French, Italian and Romansh. The currency is the Swiss Franc. 

3 INTERESTING FACTS: 1) The language Romansh is spoken by just over 1% of the population. 2) Whilst the Alps might be synonymous with Switzerland, less than 15% of this mountain range is actually in Switzerland. 3) Switzerland is home to the world's longest tunnel (the Gotthard tunnel) at 15 kilometres long. 

HOW TO GET THERE? Zurich airport is easily accessible from many countries and getting from the airport to the city centre is just a 10 minute train ride away (although I took the wrong train and ended up travelling at speed in the wrong direction!). To get the train, cross over the road from the airport terminal into a very large shopping centre where the train station is on the lowest level. I couldn't see a ticket office and the ticket machines appeared to be only in German. The train will take you to Zurich HB which is the central train station that's close to the Old Town and the main shopping streets I'd taken the first flight there from Gatwick and the last flight back so no hotel for me. 

WHAT DID I DO AND WHAT DID I THINK? I always preface these sections by saying that my whirlwind visits don't even touch on what these destinations have to offer. As I'd planned to go to Liechtenstein and realised that the wrong train wouldn't allow me enough time, I hadn't planned much for Zurich. However, I loved walking around the Old Town with its alleyways and I knew the main street I wanted to get to for the photos was Augustinergasse. Whilst the Swiss flags weren't hanging, it's nonetheless in a really cute area with pretty balconies and not far from Munsterbrucke (Instagrammable bridge with the churches behind), medieval squares, cafes, etc. If you're looking for Swiss chocolate, do check out Teuscher as it's a beautifully decorated chocolatiere. Lovely staff too.  It was all set up for Easter.

A boat trip on Lake Zurich is very highly recommended and yesterday was particularly stunning as the snowy Alps provided a beautiful backdrop. Whilst I'd previously been to Zurich as a teenager and this trip was more about visiting Liechtenstein, there's nonetheless something magical about seeing snow-topped mountains.

You'll be spoilt for choice about dining options but there was one place I discovered on my way out to Switzerland that I HAD to go to: the B2 Boutique Hotel and Spa. It's reachable by tram but I caught a taxi (they accept debit/credit cards) which was especially lucky as it's also on a hill! As you walk in, you'll see a dining room ahead of you and it's set in a library with thousands of books. Just thousands stretching right up to the ceiling that visitors are welcome to read. Not only are the food options great but I loved the whole literary vibe as the menus are themed. I was there just after lunch so they gave me the lite bites menu titled Story Starters! Wanting to quickly get to my next destination, the concierge staff were very happy to call me a taxi despite not being a hotel guest.

Would I go back? Yes, I think I would. I hadn't fully planned for Zurich as I was expecting Liechtenstein to take up a large chunk of my day so I'm sure there's a lot more to discover. The only thing that would put me off is the airport! It took an hour from landing to get through passport control as the queues were huge. I almost missed my flight coming back as there were again long queues through passport control and then those on my flight had to catch an airport train (2-3 minute ride?) to a different terminal.... and then the plane took off pretty much at the furthest gate so allow plenty of time. And one last tip. If you're planning on eating at the airport before your flight, I'd recommend eating at the shopping centre just over the road instead. There's a huge food hall with every type of cuisine and reasonable prices....but just remember to factor in time to get to the gate!