In recent years Zurich has grown out of its original corporate typecast and into a city of split personalities. Despite remaining a destination for bankers (and chocoholics), this thriving Swiss city is a destination with something for everyone. From hipsters to eco-lovers, Zurich continues to lure in types from across the spectrum with its up-and-coming neighbourhoods, stretching countryside, historical quarters and financial hub.
For the hipster
In recent decades, many of Zurich’s abandoned industrial spaces have undergone a gradual rebirth and revamp, creating something of a hipster’s paradise. Think artisanal shops, food pop-ups, stylish bars, quirky restaurants and bohemian flea markets. Head to District 5 (the Industriequarter) and you will start to understand modern Zurich. This is a supremely trendy quarter for those who want to roam contemporary exhibits in the Hauser and Wirth gallery, shop in concept stores, drink craft gin in community gardens and (if it’s sunny) enjoy some wild swimming at Flussbad Oberer Letten.
For the history buff
Home to a handful of stunning churches, dozens of museums and a whole host of galleries, Zurich is a cultural haven for any history buff. Architectural evidence is largely gathered within the city’s ‘Old Town’, where the Romans originally built their first settlement, and ranges from the early modern period, to the medieval epoch and even into the Middle Ages. Highlights include the Grossmünster and Fraumünster churches, as well as Zurich’s Swiss National museum where you can find almost one million historic artefacts, all of which paint a vivid picture of Switzerland’s rich history.
For the free spirit
When it comes to Zurich’s back country you can expect panoramic vistas of rolling hills, lush pastures and emerald green lakes. And at only 30 minutes by train, you don’t have to venture far to find this green utopia either. A particular hot spot for all nature lovers is the stunning alpine mountain of Üetliberg, where visitors can spend their days hiking, cycling and paragliding to their hearts content. But the eco-adventure doesn’t stop there. Home to the oldest vegetarian restaurant in the world, Hiltl, Zurich has long welcomed veggie visitors looking to taste some of the world’s best meat-free dishes.
For the business tycoon
Zurich has historically been described as Europe’s commercial epicentre, owing this label to the mass of banks and businesses that are headquartered in the city and its Paradeplatz district. From UBS to Credit Suisse, financiers continue to take root in a country viewed as a safe haven for the wealthy. So what do the rich get up to in Zurich I hear you say? The answer; shop on the world’s most expensive street, Bahnofstrasse. Brimming with boutique shops and department outlets, the affluent pass the time by weaving in and out of luxury designer stores before heading to café Sprüngli’s for a post-shopping bite to eat.
Tom Marchant is Co-founder of Black Tomato.