Maureen Jones, president of Los Altos, CA-based All Horizons Travel, Inc., a member of Signature Travel Network, shares her tips for a foodie-focused trip to Zurich, Switzerland.
Switzerland is one of my favorite countries—breathtaking scenery, fantastic food, a well organized country where everything runs on time, outstanding service and lots to see and do. It used to be considered expensive, but today, the rest of Europe has caught up to it, so prices are not a shock.
I went every winter for a skiing holiday, and every summer for a hiking adventure with my family, so I know the small country extremely well. We never rented a car, always used the train and bus to get around. We used Rail Europe to get to Switzerland, then Swiss Rail for travel within the country. The rail pass is a terrific savings if you are doing a lot of moving around.
Zurich is a place I went to regularly and love to stroll along the Limmatquai riverfront promenade pop into a little café or bakery to begin my day or just as the locals do, over a heaping bowl of Bircher muesli, a tantalizing combination of rolled oats, apples and nuts. We also have favorite places to have crepes and hot chocolate.
After a day of sightseeing, find a local bar and sip a cocktail made from Turicurn Gin, a small-batch spirit distilled in the heart of the city. Come evening, go to a classic guild house along the river to enjoy Zurich’s most iconic dish, Zurcher Geschnetzeltes, buttery sautéed veal served with mushrooms and rosti potato cakes. All the beer and wine are well worth trying.
If you really want a gourmet delight go to the Dolder Grand whose restaurant holds two Michelin stars and 18 Gault Millau points but go hungry since it is an eight-course dinner. Zurich is a culinary hot spot all year round; I recommend planning your visit in early September to coincide with Food Zurich, an 11-day festival with special events inhabiting spaces all throughout the city, from restaurants to museums and even inside a castle. It is fun to wander around the festive food market, get hands-on experience in a cooking workshop and learn from the experts .
I took a great package for five days with Avanti Destinations, which is a company we recommend. This includes five nights at a five-star hotel, breakfast daily, a private sunset tour with a fondue dinner, private “Swiss Traditions” tour with chocolate shop and cheese factory visits, private Bern tour with Kambly biscuit and Emmental cheese tasting and transfers. It’s good value and will give you a great chance to experience Switzerland at its best.
This is a trip that will suit all ages, and is particularly enjoyable if you like food. There’s also great shopping, and I never fail to buy something I couldn’t live without.
If you want to spend longer than the five days in this offer, it is easy to plan a few more days and take the train to another part of the country. I love Interlaken, or Lake Lucerne. The two villages I skied at every year are breathtaking with the Alps all around you—Gstaad and St. Moritz. Great music, food, nice people—so add a Swiss trip to your bucket list.
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