DestinationsA year-round destination, picturesque Zurich has a lot to offer business and leisure travellers alike.

Zurich travel guide: What’s new in Switzerland’s largest city

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Travellers to Zurich can stroll around (and, weather permitting, even take a dip in) Lake Zurich.
Travellers to Zurich can stroll around (and, weather permitting, even take a dip in) Lake Zurich. Photo Credit: Adobe Stock/rachid amrous

Known the world over as Switzerland’s financial capital, picturesque Zurich has a lot to offer business and leisure travellers alike. Encircled by mountains and sitting idyllically on the banks of Lake Zurich, the city boasts a postcard-perfect old town, contemporary design venues and world-class hotels and restaurants.

A convenient gateway to active holidays in the Swiss Alps, Zurich is a year-round destination. In the summer, visitors can enjoy mingling with locals at the city’s lake- and river-side bars or its outdoor cinema, and can even take a dip in Lake Zurich’s pristine waters. In winter, a day meandering the destination’s renowned holiday markets can be capped off with a cup of “gluhwein” (mulled wine), piping-hot fondue, a trip on the Christmas tram or a refined, Michelin-starred meal.

Here are a few new attractions, hotels and restaurants that will tempt visitors to stay an extra night or two.

New shopping and dining at Zurich Airport

The first thing visitors arriving in Zurich will notice is the airport’s new shopping and dining venue, The Circle, found just outside the terminal building. Designed by architect Riken Yamamoto and unveiled in 2021, the airy complex brings together a wide array of shops, restaurants and bars, as well as a gym, a hospital, a convention center and two Hyatt hotels.

The Circle is located just outside the terminal building at Zurich’s airport.
The Circle is located just outside the terminal building at Zurich’s airport. Photo Credit: 2022 The Circle

The latest attractions and activities

The Kunsthaus Zurich, home to one of Switzerland’s top art collections, opened a major new extension in October 2021. The sleek and environmentally friendly wing doubles the museum's size, now making it the country’s largest museum.

Chocolate lovers, meanwhile, can immerse themselves in Switzerland’s most famous – and delicious – export by visiting the Lindt Home of Chocolate. Inaugurated in the fall of 2020, the stylish contemporary building is found next to the historic Lindt factory. The multifunctional site includes the world’s largest chocolate museum, chocolatier training facilities, an avant-guard research center and a mesmerising 9m-high chocolate fountain in the form of a giant gold whisk coating a colossal truffle.

The Lindt Home of Chocolate features a 9m-high chocolate fountain.
The Lindt Home of Chocolate features a 9m-high chocolate fountain. Photo Credit: 2022 Lindt & Sprungli

Outside the museum walls, there are several new means of exploring the city. Zurich Tourism has a range of new tours, including a food tour and an e-bike public art tour, offered at a discount to Zurich Card holders.

Ideal for families, the WOW Museum of optical illusions has a new "City Rally Guide" (which combines a city walk with digital challenges). Accessible on your own smartphone or tablet, the rally allows visitors to experience Zurich in an adventurous and playful way.

New hotels in Zurich

Zurich got a cool boost this past summer with the arrival of Five Zurich. Perched in the hills above town, the lifestyle hotel’s luxurious 45 suites and 42 rooms are decked out in modern design and art – but it's the stunning vistas that steal the show. The resort also has seven restaurants, including The Penthouse, a Japanese rooftop restaurant and club popular with chic locals.

Five Zurich debuted this past summer with 45 suites and 42 guestrooms.
Five Zurich debuted this past summer with 45 suites and 42 guestrooms. Photo Credit: 2022 Five Zurich

Summer 2022 also saw some updates at Zurich’s legendary Baur Au Lac. French interior designer Pierre-Yves Rochon reimagined the facade, lobby and concierge area, while the Terrace restaurant (overlooking the water) has a new look and menu. The latter complements the Baur’s existing dining offerings: the posh Brasserie, revamped in 2019, and its two-Michelin-starred Pavillon. Hotel guests can also make the most of an exclusive new travel-based health and fitness programme with leading Formula 1 performance coach Mark Arnall.

In 2020, star designer Philippe Starck transformed La Reserve Eden au Lac, giving it the feel of a swanky yacht club. Wood panelling and views over the lake re-create the ambiance of a luxury yacht within the 40 rooms and suites of the elegant, century-old hotel.

One of Zurich’s first movie theatres was wonderfully converted into a boutique hotel with hints of Hollywood glamour. Opened in October 2021, Ruby Mimi also offers the advantage of being a stone’s throw from the central train station and the Bahnhofstrasse shopping street, making it perfect for urban explorers.

The Bahnhofstrasse shopping street is near the new Ruby Mimi hotel.
The Bahnhofstrasse shopping street is near the new Ruby Mimi hotel. Photo Credit: 2022 Zurich Tourism

The Ambassador Hotel Zurich, the city’s only Small Luxury Hotels of the World property, will reopen after extensive renovations in the first quarter of 2023. Situated near the Zurich Opera House and overlooking the lake, the neo-baroque building’s interiors are being completely refurbished.

Must-try restaurants

Foreign flavours are at the forefront of what’s new on Zurich plates.

Contemporary Italian cuisine is served within an urban-cool setting at La Santa Sete, located on the Zollstrasse, an up-and-coming area bordering the main station that is home to local designers and sustainability initiatives. Spanish and Moroccan influences, meanwhile, can be sampled in the innovative plant-based dishes at Dar, the bearer of one Michelin green star (which recognises sustainability practices).

Sustainability is also a fundamental pillar of EquiTable, one of Zurich’s best farm-to-table restaurants. The restaurant is now under the helm of its former sous chef, Julian Marti, who has succeeded in maintaining the restaurant’s one Michelin star, thanks to his innovative tasting menus using locally sourced, organic or fair-trade ingredients.

Source: TravelAge West

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