Switzerland’s largest city enjoys a lakeshore setting, and the mountains are close enough to remind everyone in Zurich that there’s more to Switzerland than pacing the clean streets of the city. It’s a good choice for a short stay, even a long weekend break, but before long you’ll want to escape from Zurich and discover another side of Switzerland. The centre of Zurich is an enjoyable jumble of small roads on either side of the River Limmat, just at the point where the river flows north out of the Zürichsee. It’s a great area to wander. Zurich packs a few surprises. Cut through the conservative veneer and you’ll discover a city that made space for Lenin, James Joyce and the European avant-garde. Dadaism was born in Zurich.
Zurich is the largest rail hub in Switzerland. The main station, just a five-minute walk from the heart of the Old Town, is called the Hauptbahnhof (and is shown as Zurich HB on Loco2). It is especially well served by overnight trains. Every evening, direct trains leave Zurich HB for Amsterdam, Belgrade, Berlin, Budapest, Dresden, Ljubljana, Prague, Vienna and Zagreb. These trains all include a choice of proper sleepers, more economical couchettes and – for hardy travellers – seated accommodation.
The choice of daytime departures from Zurich HB is remarkable. There are French TGVs to Paris; Austrian Railjets to Salzburg, Vienna and Budapest; EuroCity trains to Como and Milan; German ICEs to Frankfurt-am-Main and Hamburg. There are frequent trains to all major Swiss cities.
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Image credits: Zurich © Sborisov