Zurich probably wouldn’t be the first place you’d think of jetting off to for long weekend. Conjuring up ideas of grey skies, middle aged businessmen talking finance and impossibly expensive everything, it’s somewhere that most us try not to think of at all!
Here at House of Coco, we like to break barriers down so, when the opportunity came up to add on a quick dash around Zurich to an adventure to Gstaad (more on that later!) this writer couldn’t resist. I hastily searched Zurich on insta and armed with screenshots, I was determined to take the city on and find its hidden secrets.
One of the great perks of the city being a business hub is that the airport is so crazily efficient. Seriously, I think I landed, got through security, straight onto a train to the Zürich Hauptbahnhof train station and left the stunner of a station with 45 minutes of landing. It often takes me longer than that to buy a coffee when I land!
Through the power of comfy trainers and the Uber app I took on the challenge of exploring the city in 24 hours, first dropping my case at the super central and beautiful Hotel Continental Zurich MGallery by Sofitel (Stampfenbachstrasse 60). The hotel is a great contrast of modern (with its colourful cow statue) and traditional with multiple types of bircher muesli at the breakfast buffet in its cosy swiss style restaurant.
I started out exploring the Aldstadt (Old Town), ambling past the quirky and historic Caberte Voltaire (Spiegelgasse 1), dodging raindrops down cobbled streets and emerged to the beautiful view of the city across the river Limmat. On every corner was a cute coffee shop but I had no time to stop as I had a date with the fascinating homegrown recycled fashion and accessory brand FREITAG’s F-actory 3 miles out of the city centre in the Oerlikon which is a gritty, interesting area and as FREITAG themselves say, is “pre-hip”. The company is a fascinating example of eco fashion and planning for the future of our planet with their durable and ecofriendly productions. For more on their work, see this article.
Even if you don’t make it out to the F-actory, I’d heard that the FREITAG Tower (Geroldstrasse 17), the company’s flagship shop was worth a visit. Expecting some shiny floored, tv screen filled boutique, the store in in Zurich-West constructed from 17 shipping containers blew my mind. I even climbed to the top of the containers (with white knuckles!) to take in the view of the industrial part of the city, Zurich-West.
The FREITAG Tower is right next to two of Zurich’s most instagrammable spots. On one side, the glorious beer garden Frau Gerolds (Geroldstrasse 23/23a) which hosts independent boutiques, art and a programme of events. On the other, the colourful umbrella canopy of Gerolds Chuchi restaurant (Geroldstrasse 5) .
From here I wandered the length of Viadukt (Markthalle im Viadukt, 8005) , Zurich’s self-proclaimed most exciting shopping street. Housed in, yep – you guessed it, a viaduct I cooed over resturants, bars and independent fashion brands in a unique, industrial setting. I would have moved in but had to hot foot it back to the train to continue the Swiss adventure…
The challenge of uncovering gems in a seemingly boring city gave me such a buzz that I’ll be taking this on everytime I travel. Stopovers where you stay in the hotel are for losers! Who’s with me?
As a cosy base for my exploring of Zurich I stayed with Hotel Continental Zurich MGallery by Sofitel. It’s super central and a welcome rest for aching feet from pounding the pavements and cobbled streets! For more information and to book your stay go to sofitel.com