The Land of Cheese, Chocolate, and Banks: Zurich, Switzerland

Zurich, Switzerland

The land of cheese, chocolate, and banks?  What else? Maybe their watches and army knives.  I found myself in downtown Zurich on a 5 hour layover from my trip to Barcelona.  I hadn't made any plans to head to Zurich but I hadn't made any plans not to.  I've had layovers in Zurich before (I love Swiss Airways btw), but this was the first one where I actually had enough time to leave the airport and consider this a real trip to Switzerland. 

I had five hours on my layover which really meant that I had about 3 and a half hours in Zurich.  The city of Zurich is only a 15 minute train ride from the airport.  The train is actually in the airport.  It was super easy to figure out and only 3 short stops later, we (myself, mother, and aunt) had arrived.

Zurich is not the capital of Switzerland,  that title belongs to Bern, but Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland...and the wealthiest.  Meaning also that it's one of the most expensive cities in Europe.  Let me put things into perspective for you.  We went to get a water, a water folks, from McDonalds of all places, and that was about $5, or 4.44CHF in Swiss Francs.  I noticed for a Big Mac, about $12.  Ouch.  On the flipside, the amazing Swiss cheese was a prettty reasonable price, whereas, it's crazy expensive every where else in the world.  If you've never had real Swiss cheese, they are known for their soft, creamy, and sometimes smelly cheeses.

I pretty much resolved not to buy anything during my little stroll through Zurich.  Right off of the train you see the big business and shopping district. I had pretty much shopped my brains out in Barcelona and was not about to peruse H&M for a $50 top.  I headed towards some of the recommended quick sites to see on my cute hand drawn map that the airport provided me.

The few sites I decided to quickly see were The St. Peter Church, The Fraumunster, and The Grossmunster.  The St. Peter's Church can be seen peeking out from every direction.  It boasts the biggest clock face in Europe. The Fraumunster is the pretty church with the clock and green spire.  The Grossmunster, a large Romanesque prodestant church, is probably the most visited attraction in Zurich.

I'm somewhat of a language enthusiast and something I love about visiting other countries is hearing the languages. I also love to notice when language blending is going on. The language in Switzerland (Swiss-Germany to me sounded like a blending of German and French. Definitely not something that sounded familiar or only German. 

We hurridly spent our time walking through the little alleyways.  Zurich is pretty hilly.  We eventually made it out to the river and saw some very pretty views.  But once we reached the river it was time to turn back around and head to the airport.

Zurichdowntown Zurich
Zurich Clock face
St. Peter's Church
Swiss cheese
zurich clock
zurich clock
The Fraumunster
cafe zurich
grossmunster in zurich
The Grossmunster
beautiful zurich

Switzerland is beautiful.  Though I only spent a few hours there I don't think I will need to return for another day trip.  I don't think there is much else to do there besides explore the Alps or forrest and do outdoor activities.  Anyone have anything else they absolutely loved seeing in Zurich? Zurich is quite expensive (even more in my opinion than London) so I'm glad I didn't need to stay for longer than my time. I know that Switzerland is a beautiful country and I'd love to see other posts of cities in Switzerland!  Share in the comments.

What was the most expensive city you've been to?

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Travel Tuesday

36 comments :

  1. I spent two days in Zurich and tried to spend as little as possible in that expensive city! When we were there it rained most of the time but I loved the charming buildings and little streets.

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  2. Hi Brittany! I loved this post about your quick-stop in Switzerland :) I'm Polish/Canadian and have lived in Switzerland for the past 10 years. I work in Lucerne and live in the canton Nidwalden. Lucerne is absolutely gorgeous, I'd definitely recommend visiting this picture-perfect city. I recently lived in Engelberg (canton Obwalden) for 2 years and I wrote a post about it on my blog, if you're interested in seeing a lot of mountains :) http://lipsticksandchocolates.blogspot.ch/2013/03/where-i-live.html
    And this is another good post with photos from a day in Engelberg in the summer: http://lipsticksandchocolates.blogspot.ch/2013/06/the-hills-are-alive.html
    If you happen to visit again, feel free to get in touch! xx Michelle

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  3. I stayed in Zurich for a week once and I had a great time, but it really did eat a hole in my wallet! x

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  4. A day in Zurich is perfect. Eat cheese, by chocolate, stroll around. You're done!

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    1. Yep, that's basically what we did lol

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  5. STUNNING photos, girl! All I can think about though is this:

    Why would I want to travel so far to just pay USD $12 for a big Mac?! CRAZINESS! ;) I would dieeeee with the many reasonably priced Swiss cheeses though… I'm a cheese addict, so sue rich would be my kind of heaven, it seems like.

    I agree with Eileen here: a day in Zurich is perfect to just eat cheese, a lot of chocolate, and walk around to look at its beauty -- and only that! Otherwise, too expensive for my young pockets hehe.. ;-)

    -Maria Alexandra

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    1. Lol I didn't buy a big mac in McDonald's I just stopped in for a water. I rarely eat fast food haha. We sat down in the park and enjoyed some fresh olive bread and sheep swiss cheese! Lovely day.

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  6. Spent a few hours in Zurich. The gps misled us and took us down some train tracks instead of a street. Had to drive on the sidewalk to avoid getting hit by a train! Construction worker had to move his cones to let us out! And that's what I remember of Zurich!

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  7. Great photos. Love the pink chairs! It all looks picture perfect. I have been to Switzerland but a long time ago. Loved the mountains and green, green.

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  8. I would have possibly spent the entire layover eating chocolate. Your photos of Zurich look beautiful though, so I bet you're glad you got out of the airport. There's actually a thing called the Big Mac Index that equates cost of living to relative prices of Big Macs around the world. Malaysia was the 2nd cheapest. I think Paris is where I've ever spent the most at McDs.

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    1. Yea, we figured we could spend 5 hours in the airport or spend a few hours in Zurich. Not a tough decision. Omgoodness, I've never heard of the big mac indicator, but it sounds so interesting. I know that a lot of McDonald's around the world are so different. In Germany they serve weird condiments and stuff like fried shrimp.

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  9. Hi thanks for the beautiful photos and I was there 2 years ago during the summer visiting my husbands Aunt, Uncles and cousins who live there! Oh how I miss it so much! So glad you got to see a little bit of it and you have some nice shots. Yes the food and cheese is so good there! Oh how i want to go back really badly.
    Julie

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    1. Maybe it's time to make another family trip ;)

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  10. Zurich looks lovely! I really wish that I would have been able to fit it in my itinerary for my upcoming Euro-Trip! I will definitely have to stop by next year! :)

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  11. How fun! I'm so jealous! :)

    Thanks for joining the Link Up this week!

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  12. Beautiful! I've never really visited Switzerland, only had some layovers there but Zürich seems to be a gorgeous city! The most expensive ones I ever visited are definitely Oslo, Tromso and Copenhagen!

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    1. I still have to get to the North and visit all of those countries! I know they aren't budget friendly either but I haven't seen any of them yet.

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  13. I've only been to Lausanne and Geneva in Switzerland, but it was soooo expensive! I'm happy I splurged on a cheese fondue however, like you said you have to taste swiss cheese, it's wonderful!

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    1. Haha I'm a cheese lover, so I pretty much try the cheese in every country I visit.

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  14. i love Switzerland! I have never been to Zurich. I love that the airport is close to the city - so handy for a stopover!

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    1. I was happy that it was so close. Very doable on a short layover.

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  15. I loved Zurich and all of Switzerland, but it was pretty expensive! It's such a gorgeous country, though. One of my favorite things that we did was going swimming in the Zurich Sea, right by the famous fountain. Perfect on a hot day! I loved the countryside of Switzerland even more, and Bern was a charming city.

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    1. Ooh the Zurich sea, sounds intriguing. Also, I'd love to visit Bern.

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  16. I stayed in Interlaken when I was in Switzerland, and yes, incredibly beautiful, and YES, incredibly expensive! I still loved the trip.
    Zurich looks gorgeous. Whenever I think of it I always think of this old song 'Zurich is Stained' by a band called Pavement, heheh

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  17. My daughter is headed here in a few weeks and I'll be sure and share this post with her.

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  18. Ha ha, that's an interesting question - what's the most expensive city? I guess many would say London, but for me expense is caused not by the relative price of any given item, but by my urge to purchase. So I suppose I might have to say Paris, just because the urge to shop is irresistible there... :-)

    Lovely pics of Zurich! It's a wonderful city and a train ride through the countryside outside is magnificent... :-)

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    1. I have taken a train ride through Switzerland via Germany to Italy. Very pretty indeed. London was very expensive and I spent a lot more there because I was there longer but I just still think Zurich is more expensive.

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  19. I'm a sucker for cheese. Despite it being expensive, now I really want to go to Zurich next year while traveling around Europe! As of now, the UK was the most expensive country I visited, but that will change if I go to Dubai.

    Chloe | Wanderlust in the Midwest

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    1. Dubai, that one should be interesting!

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  20. Good question, I think Stockholm's been the most expensive city we've visited.. I've never been to Zurich your pictures look amazing!

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  21. Great photos, and now I'm wanting cheese, of course. Thanks for sharing this at History & Home this week, take care: Dawn @ We Call It Junkin.com

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  22. I was in Zurich for the first time just 3 weeks ago. Beautiful yes, but sooo expensive! We met a couple from Sydney and even they were shocked at the prices.
    Karee

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  23. Great post! Zurich is beautiful (as is all of Switzerland)! And any Swiss city probably tops my list of most expensive places traveled. Having studied linguistics in university, I would agree that listening to new languages is such a fun part of traveling. I did want to point out though that "Swiss" is not a language. German, French, Italian, and Romansh are the country's official languages, and German speakers usually speak a Swiss-German dialect. I'm sure you probably know this, but some of your readers might not and won't sound very informed if they refer to a language that doesn't exist :)

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    1. Thank you, I should have been more clear and said, the language in switzerland instead of swiss.

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-Brittany Ruth