Explore the city’s charming corners and hidden gems

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Author: Ipsita Barua, Travel Editor

Zurich just sounds fancy, but to explore the city at leisure you don’t require to be escorted by anyone who weighs heavy on time and money. Because the charm of this city is best explored at leisure and at your pace. Here’s a simple self-walking tour of the city centre highlights you could do on your own at leisure. This covers the Old Towns on both sides of the Limmat and has hidden gems, historical nuggets and picturesque spots that are a delight to explore, intrinsically Zürich.

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My Swiss Story: Self-walking Tour of Zurich City Pic: Google

Time: 2 hours depending on your pace
Starting point: Zürich HB
The route: Zürich HB – Mühlsteg bridge – Lindenhof – St. Peters Church – Fraumünster – Grossmünster – Odeon Bar – Zurich Lake
Challenge: Extra points if you could find the Blue Angel in Zürich HB, the house where Lenin stayed in and the tiny Roman stretch, now known as Thermen Gasse

Here’s a little bit of information on the major highlights you’ll cover:

Zürich HB – This needs no introduction. In addition to where we run to do our emergency grocery buying on Sundays in his expansive shopping centre, this is also the largest railway station in Switzerland. If you got time between your connections, take your time to explore the little shops of convenience and indulgence.

Mühlsteg Bridge – Who said Love Locks on bridges are romantic only in Paris? The Zürich bridge over the glistening river Limmat is a great photo op with locks and city landscapes.

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My Swiss Story: Self-walking Tour of Zurich City Pic: Ipsita Barua

Lindenhof – For the best views of the city buzzing by the side of the Limmat river, this spot offers one of the best views of the imposing twin towers of the Grossmünster church and on a clear day, of the Alps in the background. Sit on the ledge for as long as you fancy and watch the world go by.

My Swiss Story: Self-walking Tour of Zurich City Pic: zuerich.com

St. Peters Church – You can’t miss this one. This church in Zurich has the largest church clock face in Europe measuring 8.7m in diameter. Until 1911 the church tower (from the blue windows) was used as a fire watch post.

Fraumünster – Built on the remains of a former abbey for aristocratic women, this church has 5 stunning stained glass windows by Chagall each depicting a Biblical story.

Grossmünster – This makes for one of the most photographed landmarks in the city. Unmissable, a structural magnificence with an interesting legend. It’s believed that the church was founded by Charlemagne, whose horse fell to its knees over the tombs of Felix and Regula, Zürich’s patron saints.  You can climb up to the balconies on top but be prepared to climb 187 narrow stairs for sweeping views of the city all the way to Lake Zurich.

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My Swiss Story: Self-walking Tour of Zurich City Pic: zuerich.com

Café Bar ODEON – This one is an institution dating back to 1911 where stalwarts like Einstein used to hang out and the first ever ‘Champagne by the glass’ was served.

Cafe Odeon Zurich
My Swiss Story: Self-walking Tour of Zurich City Pic: wikipedia

You end your tour near the promenade of Lake Zurich. Across the street is the The Zürich Opera House. Take some time here along the lake. Have a picnic. Feed the ducks. Or just stare into the horizon that feature the Alps.

On your way back, you could catch a train from Stadelhofen that has direct connections to HB or hop into a tram that takes you leisurely to HB.

Tip: Google Maps has each landmark listed and let it guide you through this route covering each landmark. But, getting lost in the narrow lanes of Old Town Zürich is a romance with the city you won’t forget.

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