We made Zurich our starting point for Switzerland because, well, the round-trip in and out of Zurich that we booked in November was a good deal. The center of Zurich is a convenient 40 minutes by train from Zurich airport. However, it is also a charming city that combines medieval and modern. With only one day, we focused on visiting Zurich’s most famous historical churches, and getting a good meal.
We arrived in Zurich after an overnight flight so we decided to take it easy the first day. After a stop for coffee and some breakfast, we walked down the Limmatquai, the street that runs along the Limmat River to the Fraumunster and Grossmunster, two historical churches that face each other on either side of the river.
Fraumunster’s Modern Art
Fraumunster is worth visiting for the stained glass windows by the modern artist Marc Chagall. The colors of the windows were vibrant even on a hazy day. The entrance fee includes an audio guide, which points out details in each of the mostly monochromatic windows, as well as gives information on other works of art within the church.
Climbing Grossmunster’s Tower
Grossmunster church’s two towers are a famous part of Zurich’s skyline. Visitors can climb to the top of the north tower to get a view of the city, the lake, and a glimpse of snow-capped mountain in the distance.
Getting to the top involves a set of stone series followed by a series of wooden staircases. If you have any fear of heights you might start to feel like Jimmy Stewart climbing the bell towers in “Vertigo”.
For dinner, we went to Zeughauskeller. It has a touristy but fun atmosphere with hearty Swiss-German food and good beer. The building was originally built in 1487 as store house for weapons and ammunition. Diners are seated all together at long tables, so there are opportunities to get to know your neighbors. We spent part of our meal talking to a German father and son who were on the last night of their Switzerland trip.