I took Kris on a surprise trip to Zurich for his birthday in June 2018. He had never been to Switzerland before and with affordable flights thanks to Swiss Air we flew into Zurich on the Friday night for a weekend away.
To our delight we were blessed with warm weather over the weekend. Living in a country with mild summers, it is easy to forget how warm you can feel in the sun, and how much fluid you need to keep yourself hydrated. Thankfully Zurich has the town's water needs covered with a fountain (what seemed like) every 100m to refill your water bottle. If we had to pay for as much water as we drank, we would have been broke after the first day.
Zurich is picture perfect! To top it off, there is a decent amount to do for a weekend in Zurich and even more if you are willing to leave the city centre. Once we familiarised ourselves with the town, we took a dip in the crystal clear Limmat river at the locals swimming spots. It was crowded but very refreshing when in the water.
We then took the train up to Uetliberg that overlooked Zurich, the lake and it’s alps. There is a restaurant up there and a few nice places to sit for lunch or a picnic. You can also take a boat on the Limmat river that takes you from one end of Zurich’s city to the other. There are plenty of museums and places for shopping, however as we only spent one full day in the city center we did not explore this too much.
A special shout-out to the one and only pub that we ventured into, Oliver Twist. Without knowing, the owner was Australian and the televisions were producing some quality Australian rugby and football. It had a nice beer garden that we sat in for some time to soak up the rays. We were in Zurich during the Football (soccer) World Cup and while speaking with the owner we found out that Swiss locals do not typicallly go to the pub to watch sports. As it was a lovely day, with a stunning beer garden and sports was on, we assumed the pub would fill quickly with locals. Not a single person in site.
We too left before any games started. As the average cost of a beer is above London prices, we kept our alcohol intake over the weekend to a minimum. Just one beer and off we went.
We took the train to Rhine Falls on the second morning. The train station takes you right to the waterfall entrance where a boat, for a small fee, can to take you across the river. Alternatively, from the train station you can walk up the hill in front of the station to walk the route across the bridge and over to the other side of the Rhine Fall. If you plan to take a boat for a river cruise or to experience the Rhine Falls up close, then you might as well take the boat over the river rather than walking as it is no extra charge.
We opted to get up and close to the Rhine Falls, the inviting water and temptation to get cool was too much. The colour of the water was spectacular. Exactly how you expect to see it from pictures of Switzerland. We hopped into our boat which took us close to the waterfall, spraying us with it's crystal blue water. We then had the opportunity to climb a man made staircase in the middle of the waterfall to take pictures and admire the views. We soaked up this experience and got our money’s worth of photos.
After the boat trip and a quick scour of the overpriced Rhine Fall retail, we walked around the river and back over the bridge to take the train back to Zurich. There is an option to head into the town, however with a flight to catch that evening we opted to get back to the city.
I would say we spent a good 2-3 hours at the Rhine Falls. Again, a nice place to sit and have some lunch or a place to sit and take in the lovely scenery. If in Zurich, definitely a #number1 day trip must do for any ages.
Zurich for us was a nice opportunity to have a weekend away. I definitely think Zurich and Rhine Falls is worth the visit, but compared to other Switzerland cities it doesn’t have as much of a ‘Swiss’ feel. Depending on the experience you want from the city I would still encourage anyone to check it out though, for sure. The main thing to be mindful about before traveling Switzerland is the cost of food, drinks and accommodation. We used Airbnb which was much cheaper. We also purchased food at the supermarket to eat for breakfast and lunch, and spoiled ourselves one night for a nice meal. It can be done on the ‘cheap’, but just not as cheap as other European cities. When you see the amazing Swiss scenery, you forget about it all anyway!