What I Never Knew About Zurich

Zurich was a complete fluke. When we took an impromptu trip to Europe early this summer, we knew that we needed to make it to Portugal, preferably for at least 4 days. Since that was obscenely expensive, we booked flights from ATL to Europe and Europe to ATL. We figured that we would find a way to get in between cities. Flights in Europe are pretty cheap so that wasn’t a concern. It happened to work out that Barcelona was the cheapest to fly into and Zurich was the cheapest to fly out of, and so it was.

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After the flights were booked, what we didn’t know was that Zurich is the most expensive city in the world. I know what you are thinking: no way, has to be Dubai or Tokyo! Nope, in fact pretty much anywhere you go in Switzerland is highway robbery. 4/5 most expensive cities in the world are in Switzerland – the others being Geneva, Bern, and Basel.

[Editor’s note: I am so not bitter about the $42 cab ride we took for 2 miles to get to a restaurant… that ended up being closed.]

WHERE TO STAY IN ZURICH

We had heard that there wasn’t a ton to do in Zurich so we ended up splurging on a 5 star hotel on top of the city. We figured that we would have some pretty views, read a book out by the pool everyday and just take walks around the grounds. We stayed at The Dolder Grand and my oh my was it worth it! Talk about being treated like royalty. The night we got in, it was pretty late and the staff opened up a private balcony for us to have a full dinner from the chef at the restaurant. Since we were on top of the city, it was beautiful and also kind of cold. Then it happened… blankets! They brought us blankets for our midnight dinner over the city. That was just the first night.

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DAY TRIPS FROM ZURICH

We decided to spend our first full day going to Interlarken and when we went down to the concierge at The Dolder Grand in search of train tickets. (The Swiss Pass for 2 days will run you about $250 pp and not *all* transportation is included). The concierge enchanted us into a full day trip. He told us the only way to properly see Switzerland is via car and then offered us the complimentary hotel car – a BMW convertible. No big deal (keep it cool, Sabrina!)

We hit the roads which honestly were pretty confusing. But between Google Maps and the top down, it was such an incredible experience and the time flew by. We were lucky to have great weather and were just stunned by the postcard views.

We took the tram from Brunig up to Gundlischwand for these beautiful peak views and actually had Swiss Hot Chocolate in the Swiss Alps. Real talk: It tasted like Swiss Miss, apparently that’s the real thing.

After that we took an almost vertical train up to Harder Klum which is the highest point in Interlarken. Beautiful views of the lake, the Alps, and overall the perfect setting: commence photo shoot.

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Because we drove, we were able to hop and hop off at any spots that looked interesting to us. We wanted to make it back before nightfall so we didn’t have too many unplanned stops. The drive from Zurich to Interlaken took us about 2.5 hours each way.

WHAT TO DO IN ZURICH

I wish we had more time, but on our last day in Zurich we just spent time locally. We went to the chocolate factories, sat by the famous Lake Zurich and fed the swans, and walked about 20k steps having famous Swiss Fondue and chocolates!

After a full day, we retired to our hotel which was also happened to be a full spa and took advantage of the infinity pools, hot stone baths, and spa services – seriously it was so worth it.

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the dolder grand

We honestly didn’t know what to expect when we chose to spend a few days in Zurich. We flew in around midnight on Thursday night and left at 8 AM on Sunday so a “short-trip” doesn’t even begin to cut it, but it was magical none the less. I highly recommend a trip to Switzerland – you can’t go wrong in Interlaken, Bern, or even Lucern and Zurich is a great place to call home base.