Destination Inspiration // Do as the Locals Do in Zurich
By: Lindsey Grant, Guest Blogger
It is sometimes easy, when traveling, to get stuck with the tourists and miss out on some of the true hidden gems of your holiday destination. We asked guest blogger, Lindsey Grant, to give us some of her best tips for how to “do as the locals do” in Zurich, Switzerland.
Join in. Historic holidays are a dime a dozen here, from Sechseläuten to Knabenschiessen. The former, celebrated on the third Monday of April, bears witness to the end of winter and the ceremonial burning of the Böögg, a snowman packed with dynamite. The latter is a target shooting competition in the second week of September for 5,000 boys and girls. In between you might catch some of the more contemporary festivities like Street Parade, a techno festival one million Europeans strong, the Zurich Film Festival, or Zurich Open Air, a music festival with bands ranging from indie to electronic. Be sure to check websites like Zurich in Your Pocket for current events.
Get wet. Whether you are swimming in it, boating on it, or relaxing beside it, Lake Zurich is the place to be when the weather is fine. The whole city congregates here for sailing, paddle boating, swimming, and sunbathing fun in all the months that are snow-free. You can even buy a single-use grill at any major super market to join in the lake-side party.
Take lunch. The midday meal here in Zurich is not the on-the-go afterthought that many of us are used to. Cafes are bustling, and parks are packed with impromptu picnickers. Everyone from bankers to school children take the time to get out into the sunshine, have a quick dip in the lake, or even go home for lunch.
Hail no more. While the taxis are plentiful in Zurich, public transportation is so punctual and easy to use that there’s simply no need to pay cab rates during your stay. When you arrive, simply visit a ticketing agent in any train station to pick up your week- or month-long pass. These passes save significant time and money over buying a ticket every time you board, and offer unlimited access to the buses, trams, and trains traveling around central Zurich. Train stations usually have photo kiosks available for the required mug shot, too!
Get up! Winter, spring, summer, or fall, those who aren’t in the lake are on the mountain. Zurich’s local mountain, Üetliberg, is a scenic hike or easy train ride away. This beloved landmark offers incredible views of the lake, the city, and the Alps—and everything in between—on a clear day. Or if it’s a respite from the winter drear you’re after, you’ll find sunshine aplenty above the clouds.
Lindsey Grant is a writer and blogger living in Zurich, Switzerland. You can read more of her observations about the Swiss life on her blog, Pat the Expat.
Photo credit: Lindsey Grant, View of Zurich from Ferry