Romantic and charming are apt descriptions of this part of picturesque Zurich. Stroll through this section any time of day, as it never sleeps.
Zurich’s Altstadt, or Old Town, is a whimsical area with Renaissance-period buildings, cobbled streets, quaint bridges and a tranquil river. At night, it transforms into a social spot with many bars and clubs.
Start your visit to Old Town by noticing the landmark twin towers of Grossmünster Protestant Church near the Limmat River, with a 12th-century statue of King Charlemagne, believed to be the church’s founder. Climb the stairs in one of the towers to be rewarded with an unsurpassed view of the city.
Peterskirche is worth visiting to see the largest clock face in Europe; after all, Switzerland is famous for its timepieces. View examples of Augusto Giacometti’s works. Marc Chagall made stained-glass windows for the Fraumünster church, a former convent founded in A.D. 853.
In addition to Switzerland’s mastery of watches and fondue, its craftsmanship of chocolate is globally established. Become a temporary chocolatier at the Lindt & Sprüngli Chocolate Factory on the left bank of Old Town.
In 1895 music composer Johannes Brahms inaugurated Tonhalle, a concert hall with superb acoustics. The Zurich Symphony Orchestra has its base here on the left bank, with frequent performances throughout the year.
Hop on a river cruise from a landing point, such as at Old Town’s Bürkliterrasse, to view the interesting architecture and points of interest from the water. The trip takes about an hour as you view the city in any kind of weather from these glass-roofed motor vessels that take you to Lake Zurich.
Shopping is a fun pastime in Old Town, where centuries-old stores are neighbors to chic boutiques. Wander along the mile-long mall on Bahnhofstrasse, one of Europe’s most popular commercial districts.
Enjoy vegetarian delights at Hiltl, the world’s oldest restaurants of its type. To accompany the tasty food, you’re always close to one of about 1,200 water fountains in the city. Forego bottled water as the fountains have fresh-tasting, crystal clear water that flows straight from the nearby mountains.