The new year is already one week old and everything is getting slowly back into the swing of things. To make your transition from leisure to work a little sweeter, I wanted to share my latest travel experience to Zurich, Switzerland, with you. Maybe it inspires you to already plan your next trip!
When thinking about our New Year’s Eve plans last year, my boyfriend and I didn’t really know what to do. We for sure didn’t want to stay in Munich since our experiences last year were really unsatisfying. Also we wanted to get out of the city. We were quite late to the game and flights were definitely out of our price range. So we looked for something that was not too far away and easily reachable by car.
Kitzbühel was the first thing that came to mind but for those of you who know of the city’s celebrity status can easily understand that there was not a single room left. While scanning Google Maps for more possible travel destinations, we came across Zurich. Since neither of us had ever been before, the city seemed like the perfect choice!
Hotel room rates were surprsingly decent for this time of the year and we ended up booking a room in the Steigenberger Hotel Bellerive au Lac at the Lake Zurich. For our New Year’s Eve celebrations we decided to book a ticket for the Magic Lake Zone, a heated tent with live DJ located directly at the Lake Zurich. According to the website, each year, Zurich organizes a big New Year’s party with lots of food trucks and music around Lake Zurich. The highlight of the evening was supposed to be the fireworks on the Lake.
We knew that we didn’t want to spend the entire evening outside in the cold, especially not all dressed up and in high heels. So buying the ticket for this “VIP” tent seemed like a great choice and with 35 CHF (around 36 $) per ticket the price was totally affordable as well (you have to keep in mind that Switzerland is pretty pricey in general).
We arrived in Zurich on Saturday, 30th December 2017. The hotel was not at all what I had expected. I don’t know if I just didn’t pay close enough attention when scouting it on Expedia or if they just picked the prettiest pictures. But the interior was cold and the entrance was not what you’d expect from a 5-star hotel. Maybe I was a little spoiled from the Grand Hotel in Vienna which was just spectacular (check it out here).
Anyways, upon arrival we had the first inconvience when we moved into our room and discovered dirt and dog hair on our bedsheets (I’m really peculiar when it comes to uncleanliness in hotels or restaurants, it is just UNACCEPTABLE!!!!). Never in all these years of travel have I experienced something like this, not even in Bulgaria! After telling the recepetion about it and some convincing by my boyfriend, they agreed to leave us the Junior Suite for the night. We also received a voucher for two complimentary glasses of champagne (and you know I can never say ‘no’ to champagne!). When we came back to the hotel after dinner, we also found a bottle of wine, some macarons and an apology card.
The gesture displayed the great service of the hotel and we were more than pleased. The suite of course was amazing. We had a great view over the Lake Zurich and the bathroom came with a heated floor and a separate shower.
The bummer came the next morning when my boyfriend found a half eaten bread roll in one of the closet drawers. I’m not trying to be overly picky here but for the money we paid and the reputation this hotel chain has, something like this is unacceptable. The reception didn’t really seem to care and neither did we anymore. We just knew that this would be our last stay at this hotel.
Not letting this hotel experiences get too much to us, we used the beautiful weather to explore the city. Keep on reading for some of my favorite things I discovered while in Zurich:
Where to have breakfast
We found this cute café right around the corner of our hotel and liked it so much that we had breakfast there twice. The menu offers everything from a typical Swiss breakfast to healthier options such as egg white omlett or Acaí bowl. And they also serve Mimosas! The staff was really friendly and helpful. The atmosphere was a mix between New York industrial charm and cute café. Would definitely love to go back and try their dinner menu! Just keep in mind that Zurich is really expensive. Expect to pay at least 80-100 $ for two persons.
Where to have lunch
The Café Henrici is a cozy little place that has a little student/hipster vibe. They serve everything from breakfast to lunch to cocktail hour. I can really recommend their Tarte Flambee which has a thin crispy dough and is beyond delicious. The place is really tiny but don’t worry, with a little wait at the bar you will get a free table in no time.
Where to have dinner
We didn’t go there because we arrived pretty late on our first night, just opting for a pizza place close to our hotel and eating at the party on our second night, but a friend of mine recommended this place. It also belongs to the gourmet club Chaîne de Rôtisseurs which is always an indicator for amazing food! But make sure to bring a full wallet as prices are expected to be high at this place.
What to see
The Bahnhofstrasse is one of the most exclusive and expensive shopping streets of the world. As you walk down towards the main station (that’s where the name derives from as ‘Bahnhof’ means ‘main station’ in German), you will pass every top designer from Burberry to Louis Vuitton. If you get tired looking at all those pretty clothes, you should definitely make a pit stop at the Café Sprüngli. Here you will find the best cakes in town. The confectionery is mostly known for its heavenly chocolate and praline assortment.
Zurich’s Old Town is a real gem. Located next to the Bahnhofstrasse you will feel like you went back in time. The cute little houses and narrow streets have their own special charm. I can only imagine how enchanting it may be during Christmas time! You can also spot small boutiques and local artisans. It is definitely a must-see when in Zurich.
Lake Zurich is a great hideaway spot when you have enough of the city. During the summer months all the locals come here to swim and lay out in the sun. There is a small seaside resort called Utoquai. Besides that it, is definitely great for running, biking or skating.
It was definitely a memorable trip and I would love to go back in Summer to explore the city some more.
Have you ever been to Switzerland or Zurich? I would love to hear about your experiences in the comments!