Zurich, Switzerland’s largest city, ranks in the top 25 cities in the world to live in for its wonderful quality of life. It has great facilities for outdoor activities like wakeboarding, kitesurfing, hiking, sledding and offers numerous cultural sights such as the Kunsthaus Zurich, a gallery showing major European works, and the Neo-Baroque opera house, which offers varied performances. Make use of the city’s extensive tram service for a stress-free trip!
Exploding Snowmen: the Sechseläuten Spring Festival
Celebrated on the 3rd Monday of every April, the Sechseläuten Spring Festival is celebrated by burning an effigy of winter in the form of a snowman prepared with a small amount of explosives. Legend has it that you can predict the summer weather according to how quickly the snowman’s head explodes! A fast explosion means the summer will be long and hot, and a slow, drawn out explosion indicates cold and wet. With events throughout town, thousands of participants, a children’s parade, horse-drawn wagons, bands, and even camels, this festival makes for a great day out in central Zurich.
Where Time Slows Down: The Beyer Watch Museum
Even if you only have a passing interest in timepieces, this is the place to go. The museum has around 500 modern, antique and rare watches dating from 1400 BC up to the present day, including some lovely Breguet pieces from the Napoleonic era. See rare and precious examples of sun dials, water clocks, grandfather clocks, pocket watches and many other types. As you enter, you are given an iPad with short informative films and details of every clock and watch in the museum, all in a variety of languages, which is an impressive touch. Recommended.
Trekking and Views: Uetliberg
Uetliberg, on Lake Zurich’s western bank, is perfect when you fancy a bit of time in the mountains, but have no time to visit the Alps proper. Uerliberg offers fantastic opportunities for short hikes, and while a train runs almost to the top, the trek really isn’t too strenuous. You’ll be rewarded with gorgeous, unobstructed views to the snow-covered Alps, Lake Zurich and the city of Zurich itself. Refreshments are available at the restaurant on the peak of Uetliberg, but packing your own picnic to enjoy in the pristine Alpine surroundings is a good choice too!