Saturday 10 December 2016

24 hours in Zurich: 'Downtown Switzerland' on a budget

A Perfect Day

Published 24/04/2016 | 02:30

Zurich, Switzerland. Photo: Deposit
Zurich, Switzerland. Photo: Deposit
Zurich
Uetliberg - Zurich's very own mountain.
Hipster haven - Zurich West.
Zurich boasts a vibrant alternative scene.

'Downtown Switzerland' doesn't have to cost the earth, says a cost-conscious Thomas Breathnach.

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10am: Explore the other banks

With spring in the air and natives defrosting from their Alpine winter, the city's blockbuster lake glistens with Guten Morgen appeal.

Explore its banks by hiring a city bike with Züri Rollt, who offer free rentals from the main station. From there, peddle down the iconic Bahnhofstrasse (watch those tramlines) to where the shimmering waters await.

How: See zurirollt.ch (Deposit and ID required).

2pm: Go en trende in Zurich West

iw web zurich gas.jpg
Edgy, industrial and über-bearded, Zurich West was a hipster haven before the term ever hit the dictionary. Subculture vultures can enjoy the district's galleries, cafés and pop-up ateliers, all with a gritty backdrop of warehouses, railways and viaducts.

Hungry? Check out Frau Gerolds Garten: an urban green-space and artsy 'It'-spot created from oh-so-eco converted shipping containers.

How: Wander solo or join freewalk.ch for their free neighbourhood tour (tips are accepted).

5pm: An epic picnic at Uetliberg

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May offers the sunniest stints of the year in Zurich, with Uetliberg - the city's very own mountain - the place to soak up the evening rays.

Its picnic paradise summit rewards with 360-degree vistas across the Alps, and everything tastes better 869m above sea level.

For vittles, make a stop en route at Coop supermarket: Emmental, white wine and a crusty loaf of Zopf bread should do it!

How: See uetliberg.ch for more. Grab the SZU Bahn rail from downtown and hike to the summit.

8pm: Clock into the Red Factory

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The Zurich underground isn't all about U-Bahns - the city boasts one of Europe's most vibrant alternative scenes.

For chilled vibes (and beer), head to Rote Fabrik: a lakeside national institution where you can stumble upon anything from earthy poetry slams to crunk hiphop sets.

How: See rotefabrik.ch; ronorp.net is Zurich's hottest alternative event guide.

Do it

Aer Lingus (aerlingus.com) flies from Dublin to Zurich daily. See myswitzerland.com and zurich.ch for more.

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