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48 Hours in Zurich

Shake off your business suit with these suggestions of things to enjoy on a weekend in this stunning Swiss city.

48 hours in Zurich

Immerse yourself in modern art at Löwenbräu-Areal

<em>Photography by Thies Wachter.</em>

Located in Zurich’s lively industrial area, Zurich-West, the Löwenbräu-Areal is the modern incarnation of what was once the Löwenbräu brewery site. The 1897-era brick building is now home to an arts complex as well as a modern residence tower. The building’s historic chimney and steel silo have been preserved, while inside there is expansive museum and gallery space. The historic, red-brick Löwenbräu-Areal is home to two art museums: the Migros Museum of Contemporary Art and the Kunsthalle Zurich. Well worth a visit, particularly for lovers of modern art, the Kunsthalle features up to 10 individual or group exhibitions a year — from both emerging and established contemporary artists — as well as events such as artist talks and film viewings. Meanwhile, 2016 marked the Migros Museum’s twentieth anniversary, and to celebrate the museum will kick off 2017 with 20 – An Exhibition in Three Acts, which offers a glimpse at the behind-the-scenes goings on and a reflection of this contemporary institution’s work over the past two decades.

Entrance to the Arts Center on Limmatstrasse; photography by Thies Wachter.

Take in the city’s best vista at Prime Tower

Prime Tower
Prime Tower, Switzerland's tallest building.

Switzerland’s tallest building, Prime Tower, happens to be home to one of its most glamorous fine dining establishments. At a lofty 126 metres and 35 storeys up, Clouds is a chic lounge-bar and restaurant located on the top floor. With panoramic views of snowcapped mountains, Zurich’s lake and the city rooftops below, Clouds Bar (which has its own award-winning gin) is a dizzying spot to enjoy a tipple, an evening meal featuring elegant dishes served with creative flair or a Sunday brunch buffet. The French breakfast at Cloud Bistro sounds like an inviting way to start a weekend in Zurich — it includes a glass of Bollinger Brut.

Hike the Chänzeli-Tour trail in Baden

Chänzeli-Tour trail in Baden
The charming historic spa town of Baden is easily accessible from Zurich, about half an hour away.

The charming historic spa town of Baden is easily accessible from Zurich, about half an hour away. It was a popular spot back in the day for the likes of Goethe, Nietzsche and Dürrenmatt, who were attracted to its warm thermal springs — which were discovered by the Romans in 14AD — and this wellness theme continues to draw visitors today.

The Chänzeli-Tour takes in the city’s turrets and is a walk that has been around for more than a century as a complementary activity to Baden’s spa bathing treatments, known as ‘therapeutic hiking’, during the Belle Époque. The pretty, scenic hike reaches an altitude of 380 metres, giving a range of perspectives of the town. Walk up and downhill from the incredible 200-metre wide Limmat Gorge to the four turrets (Chänzelis) of Schartenfels, Geissberg, Martinsberg and Stein Castle, which dates back to the year 1000 and offers a wonderful view of the Old Town and surrounding vineyards.

Take the plunge in Zurich’s River Limmat

<em>Photography by Zürich Tourism: Elisabeth Real.</em>

Something you may notice about Zurich is its abundance of water; the city itself hugs Lake Zurich while River Limmat snakes through the Old Town and into its urban areas. In the warmer months, make the most of the city’s aquatic offerings — there are 18 lake, river and outdoor pools — and visit an historic bathing area. Built in 1837, The Frauenbadi is a female-only bathing house and Zurich’s oldest box bath. Women can sunbathe and cool off here in privacy, with a view of the spectacular Grossmünster Church. Meanwhile, males can enjoy Flussbad Schanzengraben, which is located in a moat from the 17th century. For a change of pace, try the 400-metre swimming canal in the Limmat River at the Flussbad Oberer Letten, where you can go with the flow and peacefully drift down river.

Once the sun goes down, many of the waterfront bathing areas turn into ‘Badi Bars’ which host parties, events, screen open-air movies and offer food — and are open to both sexes to relax by the river or lake together. The Frauenbadi ladies’ bathing area, for example, transforms into a shoe-free zone, the Barfussbar (barefoot bar).

Photography by Zürich Tourism: Elisabeth Real.

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