Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland, and it also the capital of the Canton of Zurich. This canton, which is German-speaking, joined the Swiss Confederation in 1351. In the following centuries, the region would become a major seat for the Reformation, and it is largely Protestant to this day. Some have gone as far as to label Zurich as a Puritan city, and while that label might have applied in the past, it isn't so appropriate today. Zurich travel has increased in popularity over the recent decades, and the nightlife and entertainment scenes are livelier than ever. This global city is still a major player on the world financial scene, and residents enjoy a quality of life that ranks among the best in the world.
Zurich might not be the political capital of Switzerland, but it is the country's main cultural and commercial center. Many prominent financial institutions are based here, and offshore banking figures among the main industries. The Swiss Stock Exchange is appropriately located in this financial capital of Switzerland. Business travelers make up a significant amount of visitors to the city, but it also welcomes leisure travelers who are eager to see the sights. Much of the nineteenth-century charm of Zurich remains, which helps to make it a fun city to explore. Also helping to make Zurich travel so appealing is the fact that the city is set on the banks of Lake Zurich and split by the Limmat River. Strolling along the water is one of the most rewarding things to do on vacations to Zurich, thanks largely in part to the quays which line the banks. These quays, which are essentially small harbors and manmade islands, boast promenades that are ideal for walking. Many also feature enticing gardens. Geneva, which is the second largest city in Switzerland, also has quays that are a joy to explore.
As attractive as the waterfront is in Zurich, so too is the Old Town district. This district is home to an array of historic buildings and monuments, including two cathedrals. The Grossmunster Cathedral is the symbol of this financial capital of Switzerland, and it is hard to miss, thanks to its soaring twin towers. Legend has it that Charlemagne founded this Romanesque and Gothic structure, which is fascinatingly austere. Among the highlights at Grossmunster are the Romanesque crypt, the stained glass window by Augusto Giacometti, and the Reformation Museum. For those who climb the towers, the view over the city is dynamic. Fraumunster Church is the other main cathedral in town. It dates way back to 853 and is known for its amazing stained glass windows. The best stained glass windows here were designed by Marc Chagall. Fraumunster Church overlooks one of the more historic squares in the city.
The Zurich attractions are many, and visitors who are interested in the full experience won't want to miss some of the city's museums. Among the best are the Kunsthaus Zurich (Fine Arts Museum) and the Landesmuseum (Swiss National Museum). The former is one of the best art museums in Europe, while the latter is an ideal place to learn all about the culture and history of Switzerland. When visitors aren't enjoying the fine array of museums on vacations to Zurich, they can always go to the zoo. The Zurich Zoological Garden is widely considered to be one of Europe's top zoos, and it is home to more than 2,000 fascinating creatures. An aquarium and an aviary figure among the facilities at this delightful zoo, as does a wildly popular replica of a tropical rain forest. The Zurich attractions can appeal to visitors of all ages, which helps to make this city such a fantastic place to visit.
Zurich travel can involve plenty of sightseeing, and it can also include hours of shopping. This is one of the best places to go shopping in Switzerland, thanks largely in part to the Bahnhofstrasse. According to some, this shopping street is one of the world's most beautiful. The shops that line it are known for offering some of the highest quality goods in the world, which lends to its overall attractiveness. When visitors aren't exploring the city streets on vacations to Zurich, the surrounding area offers numerous pleasures. Wooded hills surround the city, and the Alps are less than twenty miles away. Many Zurich visitors head to Uetliberg at some point when looking to get out of the city. This 2,755-foot hill can be reached by way of an electric train. Once there, visitors can wander about, enjoying the hill's park setting. Mount Uetliberg is a terrific place to enjoy a picnic, not to mention some wonderful views of the area.
There are lots of fun things to do on a visit to Zurich, especially in the summer months. Swimming in Lake Zurich, hiking the area trails, and playing some golf are just some of the things that visitors can enjoy when it's warm out. The Zurich hotels are many, and like the city's attractions, they can fit a range of tastes and preferences. Zurich travel has it all, and since the city is so close to Lucerne, Bern, and Basel, it can easily be paired with any one of these attractive destinations while traveling through Switzerland.