Zurich Winter Guide
Updated: Mar 7, 2019
The first time I visited Zurich was almost 11 years ago. It was the brightest summertime, and I had a beautiful memory of Zurich. Time surely has gone by so fast. This time when we decided to go to Zurich on our winter trip, I was excited to see what the city is like after so many years. Winter Zurich is just as beautiful as I remember.
Where We Went
Lindenhof is my favorite place in Zurich. The little park on the hill was where I had a stunning panoramic view of the town. Especially early in the morning, Lindenhof was so quiet and peaceful. The refreshing air had the magic to calm me down. I can't think of a better place to capture the beauty of Zurich. We sat down and appreciated the view across the river, saw the old town, the landmark Protestant church across the bridge, the trams going back and forth. Even though we watched the city start to get busy, there was stillness where we sat down, at Lindenhof on the hill. The best of all was the birds. Seeing groups of birds soaring in the sky, with the beautiful old town as a giant backdrop, I asked myself, is this view real?
Zurich is the perfect place to explore without a map. Find a little alley and keep walking, there is a chance you will find some lovely stores and cafes. The Altstadt is just like that. The bridges crossing the river connects both the old and the new parts of the city. This area is the best to explore on your feet. We walked around and appreciated all the lovely, colorful houses along the way, then to the waterfront and saw the other side of the city on the hill. Altstadt is a combination of historical and modern Zurich. Both of the Fraumünster Church and the Grossmünster Church on each side of the bridge are a must-see. People often see Zurich as the global banking and financial center. Exploring the old town gave me a chance to know its rich history and culture.
On my first trip to Zurich 11 years ago, we spent an afternoon at Lake Zurich. The bright sunshine, peaceful lake view, and the swans formed the most beautiful image in my head. It has been with me ever since then. This time when I went to Lake Zurich, all the memories came to mind. I was surprised by how many swans, ducks, and seagulls there. They added a lively note to this peaceful vibe near the water. Lake Zurich is what Swan Lake would be like in real life.
Even though this lake is at the center of Zurich, I couldn't feel the hustle and bustle of the city. The tranquil, relaxing view made me unwind. It is charming in all the seasons and all times.
Zurich Opera House Christmas Market
After walking around Lake Zurich, we went to the Christmas Market in front of the Opera House. Each Christmas Market has its characteristics. What I can't forget about this one is undoubtedly the excellent food we had. There were lots of traditional snacks like sausages, pomme frites, as well as a sit-down meal. Besides the countless food stands here at the market, there were also many cute gift shops. We got a notebook made of recycled computer parts as one of the Christmas gifts. A night at the market was one of the highlights in Zurich.
Where We Eat
Zunfthaus zur Haue
We took our sweet time and slowly wandered around the old town for half a day. Then we decided to find a restaurant in the area for lunch. We were so happy that we discovered this restaurant in a historical building that has existed since the 14th century. Walking along the Limmat river, we found this cozy spot near one of the tram stops near the bridge and the churches. It is elegant, warm and has lots of interesting details in decoration. The traditional ambiance plus the Christmas vibe was super lovely. On the menu, they offer authentic swiss cuisine here. Both of our dishes were fresh, delicious, and filling. The mushroom sauce is unforgettable. The open kitchen was another highlight for this place.
Cloudy, windy days in Zurich could get quite cold. This restaurant was a perfect getaway for us to escape from the wind and warmed up our tummies with some good traditional food. The location is perfect for travelers who want to explore the old town as much as they can.
This is another restaurant with an awesome traditional vibe at the heart of the town. The building has a cool history: it was built in 1487- before Columbus even discovered America. It used to be an armory. From the interior decorations, we could tell its connection to history. The menu has a good variety of rich Swiss/German dishes. They serve big portions of food, and the price is reasonable compared to other places in the area. Here they surely know how to cook potatoes in all different ways and make them amazingly delicious with the creamy sauce. Zurich caught our heart with the hearty, yummy traditional food.