Monday, 8 July 2013

Zurich - a Unique Mixture

"As a “metropolis of experiences” by the water, with a magnificent view of the snow-capped Alps on the horizon, Zürich Downtown Switzerland offers a unique mixture of attractions – over 50 museums and more than 100 art galleries, shopping paradise with international brands, traditional businesses and urban Zürich labels, and the most flamboyant and lively nightlife in Switzerland. Recreational activities range from a visit to the riverside and lakeside bathing areas in the very heart of the city, to a spectacular hike on the Uetliberg mountain. Zürich is like a gourmet menu – its secret lies in the quality of the ingredients.

The city of Zürich lies in the heart of Europe and at the center of Switzerland, on the northern shores of Lake Zürich. Its multicultural flair and the variety of leisure activities on offer attract guests from all over the world to this “region of short routes”. Zürich is quick and easy to reach, whether by train, plane or private vehicle. Its international airport has direct connections with over 150 destinations. Just a 10-minute train ride from the airport and situated right in the city center, Zürich’s Main Railway Station is regarded as a central European railroad hub.

A total of 380,000 people live in this experience, science and business center. Thanks to its top-quality infrastructure set amidst natural surroundings, it is a popular place for study and research.

A typical feature of Zürich is its high concentration of art galleries; along the Rämistrasse “art mile”, the galleries are just a few minutes’ walk apart, while at the site of the former Löwenbräu brewery they even stand side by side. In addition to renowned art galleries, the world-famous auction houses, Christie's and Sotheby's, have branches in Zürich, which is considered to be one of the world's major art trade centers.
The city alone is home to over 50 museums, some 14 of which are devoted to art. The museum of fine arts, the Kunsthaus Zürich, boasts a significant collection of paintings, sculptures, photographs and videos. In addition, it has an extensive collection of works by Alberto Giacometti. Another highlight is the Rietberg Museum, one of the leading centers of non-European art in the world. Just a stone's throw from Zürich's main station, the Swiss National Museum – housed in an over 100 year old building reminiscent of a fairytale castle – contains the country's most comprehensive collection of exhibits relating to Swiss cultural history.

The people of Zürich call shopping for pleasure “Lädelen” or “looking around the shops” – and there are almost no limits to this in Zürich. Every quarter of the town has it own individuality in shopping terms. The world famous Bahnhofstrasse in Zürich has made a major contribution to Zürich’s reputation as a shopping paradise. It is the first port of call for lovers of luxury: watches and jewellery glint not only in the windows of Beyer, Bucherer, or Türler; top class fashion and accessories may also be found at Bally, Bongénie Grieder, or Feldpausch; top international brands can be found everywhere, and even the department stores Jelmoli or Globus may surprise you.

Zürich boasts the highest density of clubs in Switzerland – here, you can never turn up too late. From a house music party in the legendary Kaufleuten to Greatest Hits from the Eighties at the oldest club in the city, the Mascotte, to a gay event at the Labor Bar – parties really get going after 11.00 pm and continue into the wee hours of the morning. Here, there are no official closing times. In summer, nightlife can be found not only in the clubs, but also outside in the open air; the venues where visitors bathe and relax during the day are ideal places to flirt and dance at night.

In summer, the banks of Zürich’s rivers and lake are buzzing with activity. Here, everyone from street artists to party-goers to business executives can be found enjoying the sun. With no fewer than 40 swimming facilities – 18 of them outside in the open air, including on the lake and by the river – Zürich has the highest density of public bathing areas in the world. In recent years, these venues have developed into veritable leisure centers. During the day, guests relax in, on or by the water, while after dusk, the waterside areas are transformed into bars and lounges offering a varied cultural program, with events ranging from readings to theater, sport and poetry slams through to concerts. These venues are regarded as the ultimate meeting place on a mild summer evening.

In Zürich, you can get to the woods within just 10 minutes from any point in the city. Barbecue areas, educational trails and hiking paths delight nature lovers by guiding them past lakes and rivers, through woods and meadows, up hill and down dale. Lake Zürich, which extends right into the city itself, invites visitors to enjoy boat trips lasting between one and seven hours. Depending on the route, the boats cruise leisurely past romantic villages as far as the charming harbor town of Rapperswil. The Chinese Garden, situated in the Zürichhorn park, was presented to Zürich by the city of Kunming and is one of the most important gardens of its kind outside China. This gift was a token of thanks to Zürich for its assistance in developing Kunming’s drinking water supply.

The melodious tones of Advent concerts intermingle with the scent of the many delicious items on sale at Zürich's Christmas markets. The Advent period only lasts a short time, which means that the calendar of events is all the more tightly packed. Highlights range from the traditional Christmas market in a picturesque Old Town setting to the largest indoor Christmas market in Europe, held at Zürich's Main Railway Station. Or from Christmas concerts and theater to the Live on Ice ice-skating rink. Furthermore, at Switzerland’s largest New Year’s Eve party, visitors and locals alike welcome the New Year in style with a spectacular fireworks display organized by Zürich's hoteliers."


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