Despite its 400,000 or so inhabitants, Zurich is the most populous city in Switzerland and is the economic and financial center of the country. Rich and cosmopolitan, the world city is a resort renowned for its quality of life, as evidenced by the 160 nationalities that live there! Refined, Zurich is also distinguished by its exceptional natural setting, a glacial valley surrounded by Alpine mountains.
"If God loves a Swiss, he gives him a house in Zurich."
This saying from the 1960s sums up Zurich's prosperity.
Zurich is the sixth largest banking and financial center in the world and has been ranked as one of the most expensive cities in the world on many occasions. Sometimes referred to as a boutique city, famous for its luxury districts such as the Bahnhofstrasse, it is far from being just that.
Located on the shores of Lake Zurich, the city is crossed by the river Limmat and surrounded by mountains. It is the heir to Switzerland's multilingualism and many languages are spoken here every day. Although German is the official language, the local population speaks Zurichese, an Alemannic dialect.
A city marked by the Protestant Reformation of 1519, to which it owes much of its economic prosperity, Zurich has a remarkable historic centre. The old town, which straddles the river, is symbolised by its landmarks, the Grossmünster cathedral and its twin neo-Gothic towers, all three of which are located on the right bank. On the other side of the river, you can't miss the Fraumünster, a former abbey with stained glass windows by Marc Chagall and Augusto Giacometti.
Climb the steps of the Charlemagne Tower and enjoy a breathtaking view of the entire city. Running through the narrow streets with their medieval houses you will reach the Lindenhof esplanade, an ideal viewpoint over the Limmat river, the Predigerkirke tower and St Peter's church.
City of Art
Zurich is in many ways a city of culture, creativity and innovation. It is famous for having been the birthplace of the Dada movement, founded by Hugo Ball in the Cabaret Voltaire at the beginning of the 20th century.
The Swiss metropolis is also a city of museums: almost 50 museums are listed here. The Kunsthaus, the museum of fine arts, has one of the largest collections in Switzerland. The Landesmuseum, located opposite the main railway station, is the ideal place for local history buffs. The Museum fur Gestalstung is a less traditional museum of design and architecture, as is Haus Konstruktiv, a museum of the building arts housed in a former industrial power station. The tram line number 4, known as the culture line, takes you to 15 of the city's most famous cultural and design venues, including the Le Corbusier Pavilion.
Less conventional, thematic museums such as the Museum of Digital Art, or the Fifa World Museum will delight the most passionate.
The pioneers of alternative culture settled in Zurich West. The district, which was built on a former industrial site, is one of the city's hottest spots. Walking along the wasteland, you will come across creative restaurants, second-hand clothes shops and boutiques of all kinds. This is also the location of the Food Zurich festival, a real foodie's paradise!
Zurich is also known for its fine dining and has a large number of Michelin-starred restaurants.
On the Ramistrasse, you will pass the Kronenhalle, one of the oldest and most prestigious brasseries in Europe.
For lunch on the go, Zurich has some of its tastiest specialities: Bradwurst, a veal and pork-based sausage baked in hot dog bread.
For a sweet touch, try Luxemburgerli, macaroons imported by Swiss confectioner Sprüngli, or Leibacher Biber gingerbread.
Between lake and mountains
Nestled in a wilderness setting, Zurich is admired for its splendour. Within the city itself, 30% of the space is devoted to green areas.
During your run, take a little height towards the Uetliberg hill. Located about 20 minutes from the city's main railway station, the hill offers a magnificent panorama of the city, the lake and its mountains.
Lake Zurich with its uniquely pure water is particularly popular with the people of Zurich, who come to swim in the summer and enjoy its beaches. The same goes for the river, where various water sports are practised!
Run with Runnin'City from the old town to the trendy district of Zurich West!