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Holidays to Switzerland Travel Podcast Episode 3 Transcript

May 10, 2024 Last Updated on May 10, 2024

Visiting Zurich

You can see the full show notes and listen to this episode > here.

Hi. Welcome to episode three of the Holidays to Switzerland Travel podcast. Today, we’re going to be chatting about the vibrant city of Zurich and all that it has to offer. And who better to tell us all about it than Dominik Mattli, Zurich Tourism’s Area Manager for the GCC Countries, India and Australia. Thanks for joining me today, Dominik. It’s great to have you on the show.

Thank you, Carolyn. And thanks for having me. And really nice to be here and talk about the beautiful city and destination of Zurich.

Thank you. Now, I’ve been fortunate to visit Zurich a number of times, but I still feel like I’ve really only just scraped the surface. So I’m really looking forward to learning more about the city from you today. I’m sure you’ve got lots of tips and useful information to share with the listeners. So whether they’re planning their very first visit or returning to Zurich again, I’m sure you’ve got plenty to tell them. For many travellers, Zurich is the first port of call in Switzerland. As well as flying into Zurich International Airport, there are also a number of other ways to reach Zurich. Can you tell us a little more about that?

Yeah, sure. So as you said, the shortest way would be, of course, by plane, for example, from Sydney over Dubai to Zurich. But also, if the people are travelling from other countries, for example, from Germany or from Italy, they easily can also reach Zurich by train because the public transportation in whole Switzerland, especially in Zurich, it’s really fantastic. 

Even if you land with the plane at the international airport of Zurich, you can get easily to the centre of Zurich by train, and it only takes you 10 minutes So it’s really fantastic. You don’t have to drive a long way till you get to your hotel. So in 10 minutes, you will be right in the centre. Or you also have the possibilities to take, of course, taxi or Uber or even a shuttle transfer from the different hotels that we have.

So the airport’s very conveniently located for the city?

Yes, it is.

Good. Now, Zurich is known as one of the top finance and banking centres in Europe, but it’s got much more to offer apart from that. Can you share some more about the city with us, please?

Yeah. So the name of the top finance and banking centre was like in the past. So as you said, Zurich has to offer so much more, and it’s really become a a really touristic destination for everyone. So for romantic places, for couples with a lot of green areas, romantic size, and hotels with fantastic services, and also a destination for families with many different museums and activities. So you can find everything for everyone in our destination.

Good. And what are the top sightseeing tours and attractions in Zurich that someone planning a visit should include in their itinerary?

Yeah. So Zurich has to offer so many things. And also Zurich, it’s the biggest city in Switzerland, but with only around 430,000 inhabitants. So it’s quite small city. But we also have 12 different districts districts or areas in Zurich. And the top sites would be Old Town, which is a part of Zurich. There it’s more than 2,000 years of history. And You have a lot of possibilities to discover the Old Town. 

For example, you can do it by by foot or even with the electrical tuktuk, which is also a lot of fun. And you can choose it if you want to do it by yourself. Or I can recommend to take a guy who shows you around and shows you all the nice facilities in Zurich. 

Also, another quarter will be the Zurich West, from industrial quarter to a trendy district. It’s like urban life in this quarter. So if you want to do shopping, take a drink in a fabulous restaurant or bar, for example, at the Frau Gerold’s Garden, or try your skills at the Urban Surf, which it would be a lot of fun where you can ride an artificial wave and get a feeling like you would be surfing on a nice surfing spot in Australia.

And afterwards, we can take dinner in the restaurant Clouds, it’s the biggest building in Zurich on the 35th floor. And also it’s really romantic out there. And you have a really nice view to the whole city of Zurich, even by night. It’s a really special atmosphere.

Oh, wonderful.

And yeah, also Zurich has this its own mountain. It’s called the Üetliberg. It’s around 870 metre high, and it’s really easy reachable in 10 minutes by train or tram from the centre. And also, also up there, you can enjoy the stunning view down to the city and the huge Lake of Zürich. And also, again, from the top of the Üetliberg, back down to the city centre, you can stroll along the Lake and also take a boat ride.

Or also in summer, the Lake is a paradise for bathers. The outdoor bathing facilities in Wollishofen or Mythenquai, Enge, Utoquaii and Tiefenbrunnen are very well-frequented in the bathing season. But there are still plenty of other spots along the lake. Take a refreshing dip or take a pedalo or a stand-up paddle to enjoy the really nice summer feeling in Zurich on the lake.

Excellent. Now, you mentioned before that Zurich offers something for everyone, whether it’s families or honeymooners. But for those that are travelling with their children, what are what are some of the family activities that they would enjoy?

The city offers numerous of possibilities for exciting family trips and excursions. For example, go with the family to watching the wild and domestic animals in their natural habitat at the zoo of Zurich. And also animals who live in Australia, like the kangaroo, you can visit them. So If you feel homesick, just go in the Zurich. And learning everything about the history of soccer, for example, at the FIFA Museum. In this museum, you can read and listening everything about the history of football. There’s also a little playground for children, even movies, and also the original World Cup you can find in this museum. 

And also discovering the exchanging world of classic music whilst listening to special concert for families and children, the Tonhalle Zürich, or turning into an explore and research at the Kulturama. And yeah, the city is not only renowned for its exciting exhibition and cultural offer, but also for its green spaces. The numbers And the interests of public pools and beaches, parks, as well as the Uetliberg are always worth a visit.

Yeah. And a good place for the children to burn off some energy.

Exactly. Yeah. And maybe also one other really special thing that would be for children, but also for adults. In September, we’ll open the Lind Home of Chocolate. So it would be chocolate heaven for children as well for adults. In this building, you can find a huge chocolate shop. It’s the Lindt biggest chocolate shop in the world. You also can make with your family some chocolate courses, can make and create your own chocolate. And also you can find the world’s biggest chocolate fountain in it, which is nine metres high.

Oh, wow. Wow. Well, they’ll definitely need to run around in a park after being there.

Exactly.

Zurich is quite a compact city, so it’s pretty easy to get around on foot. But there’s also an excellent public transport system, and there’s the possibility to purchase a Zurich Card. So what can you tell us about that and what does that cover?

So the Zurich Card, we really can recommend to people who stay for one or for till three days in Zurich, because with the Zurich Card, city explorers can enjoy Zurich in all its diversity and save time and even money, too. And the Zurich Card offers the following benefits over a period of 24 or 72 hours. And if you buy one Zurich Card, you have unlimited travel on the Zurich public transport system. You even get for free a short round trip on the lake. And then you have a free or reduced admissions at the 42 museums. 

You have a 50 % discount on the Zurich Old Town walking tour and also many more experiences that you can do. And this Zurich Card, it’s available, for example, directly at the Zurich Airport where you can buy it or at the Zurich Main Station at our Tourism Office. And brand new also is our Zurich Card app, which you can download easily for Android and Apple. And in this app, you also have a city map, it shows you the point where you are exactly in Zurich and all the attractions that are around you. And also, for example, which museums are for free, which museums give you some discount. And also with this app, it’s getting much more easier to get the Zurich Card.

Okay, great. Now, one of the things that lots of people enjoy doing when they’re on vacation is shopping. And you already mentioned chocolate. So that’s one of the must-buys when you’re in Switzerland. But in Zurich, there are a number of or lots of possibilities for shopping. And are there any locally-produced products that we should consider buying buying when we visit Zurich?

Yes. So shopping, it’s a really huge point in Zurich. So for example, just five minutes walk from the Zurich main train station, you can find the the world renowned shopping street. It’s called the Bahnhofstrasse. And this street continues till to the to the Lake of Zurich. And yeah, there you can find everything from top luxury brands, fashion art, and also Zurich specialities, attracting local residents as well as a visitor. 

And also in the Zurich West, which I told before, you also can find some really nice shopping stores. For example, one of the most famous local brands in Zurich will be in English Friday. It’s based there. They are making bags and also some bags for discover your phone. Even you can go to visit the factory and you also can create your own bag, for example, and that would be the perfect souvenir from Zurich.

Most cities have lots of festivals and events, and I’m sure that Zurich is no different. What are the main events held each year? And are they accessible to tourists as well as to the locals?

Yes. So where locals and guests, where they meet up, would be a food festival. So it’s every year. Even this year, it’s planned from October 22 till November the first. So for 11 days, Zurich will host over 100 events and all centred on food and drinks. So everywhere in Zurich, there are places like little villages where you can taste different cuisine from Swiss cuisine like cheese fondue or Chinese food. And you can try almost every food that you like. 

And also always in August, so I’m really sure next year it will start again. Zurich really comes to life in summer. Electric sounds will make the city vibrate, and hundreds of thousands will be dancing on the street of Zurich because then it’s the street parade. It sparks an incredible party atmosphere with 30 love mobiles. There are 30 trucks who drive really slowly through the city of Zurich with huge music and I think in the past, we had almost or more than one million visitors with hundreds of DJs and seven stages around the lake. And yeah, it’s the largest techno party in the world. So for all the party animals, it’s something to see. Always in the beginning of August.

Okay. And what about Christmas? I know there’s a lot of Christmas markets and Christmas events in Zurich. What are the most famous ones to visit?

The most famous would be at the Bellevue and at the main train station. So they are like little Christmas villages with little woodhouses. And for families or for couples, you can stroll through this market and you can find a lot of tasting, the Raclette, the melted cheese, what we really like to eat in the wintertime. And also there are some locals who are selling Christmas stuff from Zurich. And even at the Bellevue, there is an ice ring, so you can try your skills on the ice with the ice skates. 

And also in the main train station, if the weather is not so good outside, because there is in a hall. And I think it’s the Europe biggest Christmas market. And also there you can find everything what you like. And also for Christmas shopping, it’s really fantastic there. And even we have also a singing Christmas tree. So it’s a huge tree with people and they are singing Christmas songs. And It feels really like Christmas in this time. 

Okay. And whereabouts is the singing Christmas tree? Is that at the Bahnhof?

Yes, exactly.

Okay. And fireworks, New Year’s Eve, I’ve seen photos of the fireworks display. Is that an annual event?

Yes, it is. They are always making at midnight a huge firework in the city and directly at the lake. And also many bars and restaurants. They are also hosting some events, the New Year’s Eve. Even the big event halls invite the public at large to celebrate the New Year together with families and friends.

A great way to see the New Year in.

Yes, it is really.

Now, I’m sure already the listeners are all ready to put Zurich on their wish list and make sure they visit when they head to Switzerland. What choice do they have when it comes to accommodation in Zurich?

Yes, we offer for everyone the right accommodation. So from top luxury five-star hotels like the Dolder Grand or a Park Hyatt, till youth hostels or apartments. So everyone will find his special accommodation in Zurich. Even if you want to stay directly in the city centre or a little bit outside of the city where it’s a little bit more quiet. And because also If you stay a little bit more outside with the tram or with the train, you are really quick into the centre.

Good. So there’s definitely something for everyone.

Yes, exactly. And also, if the people need advices, they always can write or make a call to the tourism information, and they will be more than happy to make an offer for you.

Okay, lovely. Now, what about food? You mentioned And you mentioned a bit before when you were speaking about Zurich West, the restaurants out there. But what cuisine can people expect when they head to Zurich? Is it mainly Swiss cuisine or is there a lot of other choices as well?

They can expect actually everything. So we have from top gourmet restaurants to fantastic star cookers, till as Asian, Italian, Indonesian food, and much more. We have exclusive restaurants or also you can walk through the city and take something take away. Even we have an Australian restaurant. It’s called the Outback with the products from Australia and also the flair inside of a typical Australian house. 

And of course, a Swiss cuisine you shouldn’t miss, for example, the cheese fondue or raclette or even the local speciality of Zurich. It’s called Zurich Geschnetzeltes. This dish is made from thinly sliced strips of pan-fried veal in a delicious sauce. It’s typically served with Rösti, compromising coarse-grated potato in the form of potato cake.

I’ve tried that a few times, and I agree it’s delicious.

Yeah, it’s really delicious.

Yeah, it’s really nice. Now, I believe that in winter there’s actually a fondue tram that people can take a ride on. Can you tell us a bit about that?

Yeah, exactly. So with this tram, they will drive through Zurich and also will make different stops. It’s also a great opportunity to visit the city by night. And you can reserve it only for you and your friends or with your wife, which is also really romantic. And in this tram, you get drinks and also a really delicious and cheese fondue.

Okay. And that only operates in winter, is that correct?

That’s correct. Exactly.

Okay, good. Now, nightlife, if someone wants to go out and have a drink with friends or just meet up with the locals, where do you recommend they go?

So the name that you should remember, it’s the Langestrasse in Zürich. It’s like the hotspot for party animals. So it’s a street full of bars and club and clubs. And also the local people really like to go there for a drink or for a crazy party night. And also for a little bit more quiet places, you can find near the lake or at the River of Limmat, some very nice bars, for example, at Bauschendsli. It’s outside. It’s located in Zurich’s very own miniature island. And if you’re we’re searching also something with a breathtaking view, the Clouds, which I told before in the Prime Tower, they also have a really nice bar. 

Or in the heart of the city, guests can also enjoy one of the most spectacular views over the rooftop of Zurich to the lake and as far as the Alps. And that would be the Jules Verne Panorama Bar. It’s also it’s really nice up there.

Oh, there’s plenty of options then. 

Yes. 

So there’s plenty to see and do in Zurich, as you’ve just briefly touched on. But does it also make a good base to visit other destinations in Switzerland?

Yeah. So From Zurich, you actually can discover all the destinations and mountains in whole Switzerland, because thanks to our perfect public transportation system, will bring you to the hotspots in Switzerland just in a few hours. For example, from Zurich main station, you will have around 50 minutes to the Europe’s biggest waterfall, the Rhine Falls, it’s called, and it’s perfect for a daily excursion. 

And also two hours from Zurich, you can go to different mountains, like the Mount Rigi or to the Jungfraujoch, which are also really famous mountains, or even to the big cities of Bern, the capital city, it only takes you two hours.

To Sankt Moritz, it’s the top of the world, It takes you three and a half hours. So for the guests, it’s a really good point to start to explore Switzerland from Zurich because they will have one hotel, based in Zurich. They can do day excursions and in the afternoon or in the evening they can come back to Zurich easily. They can spend the afternoon and the night in Zurich, and they don’t have to change every day their hotel and pack their luggage. And yeah, it’s also for the people, it’s really the easy way to explore.

Yeah, absolutely. Well, you’ve given us a great insight into Zurich and all that there is to see and do. So thank you very much for joining us today.

Yeah, thank you too, Carolyn. It was great to telling you something about the city. And I hope we will welcome again the new future guests from Australia.

That’s right. Hope so, too. Now, I’ll link to the Zurich Tourism website in the show notes for the podcast. So for those that are listening, you can get those at holidaystoswitzerland.com/episode3. Thank you, everyone, for listening, and I look forward to chatting to you next time.

You can see the full show notes and listen to this episode > here.