I am not as seasoned traveler as I would like to be, but even with my limited experience on the subject of traveling I can sum up some of our experiences from Zurich and compare them to other similar city-escapes – namely London, Barcelona, Paris, New York and Berlin – each of which is also served regularly from Helsinki and to each of which you can get really cheap flights if you are lucky.
First question anyone should ask is whether city like Zurich has anything at all to offer to them. If you are looking for great out door environment for romantic walks and hikes, vast opportunities for shopping, lively bar and clublife – and good food, then Zurich might be a match for you. As we are speaking about capital of Switzerland’s economy, it is important to note that Zurich can be more expensive than many other city escapes. If it is worth the extra money is up to you, for us – and even on tight travel budget – Zurich presented itself as a very warm and cool summer city that definitely earns a second and third look with more time, energy and budget.
We had hardly any time and energy to spend in bars and clubs as we were quite exhausted after each warm day we spent walking around the city. Few bars and restaurants that we used to hang out in the city center can’t be used to give review to the whole city – especially since we didn’t hit them with the full force and dedication normally required. But even with this small sampling it was clear that Zurich is filled with interesting bars and clubs. Next time when we have the budget to drink more 10 – 20 euro drinks, we have to head back there. We have to also go further outside the old town and get into parts of Zurich where young people go out and where things are bubbling under.
Last time I was in Zurich European or world championships in football guaranteed that every single bar and restaurant was filled with people. What I did not know and understand was, that night life in Zurich seemed to be very active also on normal days! It was great to walk around the old town and see so many people enjoying great weather on restaurants and bar terraces. You could really feel that the city was living.
And when sun sets and night comes, you get amazing views – for free – to the river.
One that was really cool in Zurich – similarly as in London’s Soho – was the open and relaxed atmosphere towards sex. I haven’t seen anywhere else that from one single place you can see four or five different strip clubs ( called night clubs ) at the same time – and no-one thinks there is anything wrong with such establishment being right next to a family restaurant.
Similarly you could see and hear gay-bars in the center, identifiable by the rainbow colours and thumping techno music throughout the night. Everyone just gets along, which is so cool! And right next to a Starbucks cafe, on a beautiful square, was a huge porn theater.
Haven’t seen porn fit so well into normal landscape alongside cafes, ice cream shops and high priced fashion stores anywhere. And remember this is not the red light district around Langstrasse, but around Niederdorf area of old town. We did not have time to see the actual red light district and the club area on the other side of the railway station, but will have to check it out the next time. However while walking to the hotel, we noticed not a redlight district – but rather a red light house – on Niederdorf area.
Photoset about the trip in Flickr.