12-hour layover in Zurich

Old Oct 27th, 2007, 08:16 PM
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12-hour layover in Zurich

I'm traveling with a friend and we have a 14-hour layover in Zurich. that gives us roughly 12 hours to see the city (of course it is overnight so I'd like to sleep a few of those hours).

Is it possible to see some things in those 12 hours? What should we see? Any suggestions on budget accommodations so that we can get some sleep without paying a fortune to use a hotel for just a short time?

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Old Oct 28th, 2007, 01:50 AM
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For events in Zürich and Switzerland, see: http://www.myswitzerland.com/jvk_as_...rts/EN-web.pdf
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Old Oct 28th, 2007, 02:17 AM
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From the airport to downtown (Hauptbahnhof) there is a fast, convenient and inexpensive train connection. The train takes 10 minutes and rund about 10 times per hour.

To explore Zürich: Just walk. From the main station, you walk the Bahnhofstrasse (the elegant shopping street) down to the lake. Between the Bahnhofstraße and the river Limmat, you find most picturesque medieval houses in the small side streets.

On your way back, cross the river and walk through the old town which is on the eastern side of the Limmat.

Do not forget to see the park and historical museum directly north of the Hauptbahnhof.

For more info, see

For hotel search, I recommend


(Sorry, I know nothing about budget accomodation.)
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Old Oct 28th, 2007, 02:27 AM
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Hi bookwurm70,

If you just want a place to crash after your exploration, you could use one of the day-rooms at the airport:


They have shower facilities too, and costs 48 chf for 1-6 hours and 63 chf for 6+ hours.

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Old Oct 28th, 2007, 09:37 PM
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Can you give me the date and times you will be in town? That would greatly affect my reccos, for example the ferries don't run in the winter, but are a great thing to do in the summer evenings....but in the winter you can go and have fondue somewhere with a fireplace perhaps.
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Old Oct 30th, 2007, 07:09 AM
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We'll be there Dec 15, but arriving at 10 pm and departing at 12 pm on the 16th.
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Old Nov 2nd, 2007, 04:42 AM
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The good news is that you will be in town when all the Christmas decorations are up, and you can stroll around the lit streets at night when they are really at their prettiest, IMO, especially the Bahnhofstrassse, the main pedestrian-only shopping/banking street which is usually hung end-to-end with lights. Be sure to take a walk down that street (the main train station, the Hautbahnhof, is at the top of this street and it runs from there down to the lake a walk of about 1.5 2 miles). The shop windows will also be beautifully decorated, I especially like Augustinergasse and the Munsplaz area which has several toy shops which do a beautiful job, and the Fortunagasse area around the Zum Storchen Hotel has some very nice shops. Worth a stroll in the evening, these streets are both off the Bahnhofstrasse in the old town on the left bank of the river (same side as the railroad station).

The bad news is that you otherwise have a rather strange layover, as a good bit of your visit will be in darkness because of your arrival time and the short days in mid-December, and shops are closed on Sundays in Zurich (other than in railroad stations and airports). However, you should be able to get a stroll in around the old town during the morning and can also go down and see the lake (ferries are not running).

Due to church services, you most likely will not be able to climb the Grossmunster tower to see the city, as I don't believe they open the tower until about 11 am on Sundays, but you could check if you are in the neighbourhood. Same with the Chagall windows in the Fraumunster, but you could of course see those by attending a church service (in German naturally). See the Fodors "Destinations" guide above for a brief description of the location of the Grossmunster and Fraumunster, and a good descriptive walking tour of the old town areas.

If you get a really clear day (which happens in the winter) and you can get an early start, then I would say you might want to consider taking the little train up the hillside to Utliberg, hike uphill for about 10 minutes and then you will be rewarded with the very best view of Zurich, the lake and snowy Alps in the distance. On a clear day, you can see to Germany. The train leaves from the main train station. The train ride takes about a half hour, and so all in you need to set aside like 2 hours for this journey, so that is why you need to start early with a Noon flight. There is a nice hotel with a good restaurant and a more informal sort of bratwurst place, the hotel restaurant may be a good place for breakfast, not sure the bratwurst place is open for breakfast much as the Swiss love their bratwurst. (Go to http://www.utokulm.ch/english/restaurant)

I assume you will want a hotel for that night? Can you give me a budget? Otherwise, I have heard about, but never seen, a budget B&B which another poster was considering some months ago, which is at http://www.bnb.ch/index.php?p=page&id=541. I know nothing about it except that's it's location is excellent, it is about a block from the main train station, so is very convenient for such a short stay. (Virtually all areas of Zurich are safe at all hours of the night.) It is very inexpensive as well.

If you are not able to check in your larger bags for your onward flight as soon as you land on Saturday, please at least put it in storage at the airport so you don't have to lug the big bags to and from Zurich. In the airport after you have collected your bags, follow signs to the airport train station ("Bahn" or "Railway", you will go down several escalator flights) there is a manned luggage counter at the ticket office level, and luggage lockers are one level down. That way you can just go into Zurich for the night with a carry on, and hop on the train in the morning with only carry ons as well. Just a thought. The train from the airport to the main train station takes about 10 minutes and runs quite frequently.

For dinner on Saturday night, by the time you reach Zurich and are heading for dinner, it will be about 11 pm or a bit later, so I can't say for sure that all the places below will still be serving at that hour, but if they are, all of them are good. The first two are on the left bank of the old town, and would be good for strolling afterwards around the neighbourhood. The other two are on the right bank and are just two of my more favourite restaurants. I have posted an extensive list some time ago, you might search for it. If you have a food preference, let me know, for example, one of the best Thai restaurants I know anywhere is in Zurich (and I live in Hong Kong now). If these are not serving that late, then try the train station, most places there serve fairly late, or try the very nice St Gotthard hotel, just a block or two down from the train station off of the Bahnhofstrasse, or the tea room/lobby in the lovely Zum Storchen, they have a fireplace and will at least be serving deserts, a nice place to get out of the cold.

Cantinetta Antinori
Augustinergasse 25, 8001
Tel: 41-1- 211 7210

Excellent Italian food in a great location on the left bank of the old town not far from the Banhofstrasse. This is run by the Antinori winery in Tuscany, so they have an excellent wine list.

Restaurant Kindli
Hotel Kindli
Pfalzgasse 1
8001 Zürich
tel: 043 888 76 78

Very good Swiss specialties and other European dishes, nice ambience and wine list. In a lovely part of the old town.

Le Dézaley
Römergasse 7-9

Limmatquai 40
(can't find number, try calling the Zunfthaus)
This is the ground floor stubli (more casual) restaurant of the Zunfthaus zur Zimmerleuten, a tiny cellar-like room. Very charming, I actually think it has a bit more atmosphere than the main restaurant. Good food, a bit more value for money than the main restaurant.
Hotel St Gotthard
Bahnhofstrasse 87
tel: 41 44 1 227 77 0
fax: 41 44 1 227 77 50

Hotel Zum Storchen
Am Weinplatz
Zurich, Switzerland, 8022
Tel: 41 1 227 2727
Fax: 41 1 227 2700

If you want breakfast/brunch suggestions, try these

Cafe Schober
Napfgasse 4
Tel: 44 251 8060

This probably serves the best hot chocolate in the world. Great pastries too. Bring lots of money. Tends to be crowded on Sundays. On the right bank of the old town.

Cafe Wuehre
Wuehre 11
tel 41-1 211 26 53

A few houses down from the Hotel zum Storchen, closer to the Fraumunster on the left bank, on a narrow pedestrian-only street right along the river.

21 Banhofstrasse

Famous chocolate shop with a restaurant serving breakfast, lunch, dinner and ice cream. Left bank.

Café Walthi
Schoffegasse 3
Tel: 41-1 262-0906

Great crepes. Extremely casual, not expensive, lots of university students. On the right bank.

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Old Nov 2nd, 2007, 05:17 AM
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We had a 15 hour layover in Zurich last January. Because we were flying from South Texas to South Africa, we did not even consider going into town due to lack of warm clothes with us. The airport has a "day room" hotel inside it with small rooms for rent by the hour. Google Zurich airport if you are interested. We reserved it in advance.
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