24 hours in Zurich: 'Downtown Switzerland' on a budget
A Perfect Day
'Downtown Switzerland' doesn't have to cost the earth, says a cost-conscious Thomas Breathnach.
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
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
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
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.
Aer Lingus (aerlingus.com) flies from Dublin to Zurich daily. See myswitzerland.com and zurich.ch for more.