Zurich: An Elegant City That Loves Culture

Nicholas Sterling

Its universities, museums, shops, cafes and restaurants set the standards of good taste and are a clear example of its citizens' intense love for knowledge and beauty.

Situated in the northern part of Switzerland, the city of Zurich is as sophisticated as it is diverse and cosmopolitan. On the North end of tranquil Lake Zurich, it is surrounded by hills and thick woods. This metropolis is well-known as one of the country’s economic and financial centers with an important worldly status as it hosts a large number of financial institutions in international banking. Benoit Violier and Le Floris: Two Restaurants to Fall in Love with Swiss Cuisine.

Culturally active, Zurich provides a smart lifestyle for visitors and locals, which is evident in its 50 museum–14 of them dedicated to the arts. The city is home to a broad range of art galleries, bookstores, and historic buildings, as well as luxurious shops, cafes and restaurants. At the same time, the historic town hosts two bastions of knowledge: The University of Zurich and the prestigious Federal Institute of Technology, which has produced 21 Noble Prize winners in its 150-year history. Review our selection of international luxury destinations.


As you walk through Zurich’s charming streets you can perceive the kindness of its friendly, discreet and polite people. You can also feel the city’s history and placid lifestyle in its corners, squares and buildings—witnesses to a long legacy of triumph and despair.

There are monumental buildings one must see while in Zurich including Fraumünster Abbey, commissioned in 853 by King Louis the German. The abbey is famous for its extraordinary stained glass windows especially created by Marc Chagall and Augusto Giacometti. You can continue your exploration of the city’s past at the Romanesque Grossmünster Church, pivotal to the development of the Protestant Reformation. Nearby, the Fluntern Cemetery sits atop a hill where you can pay your respects to iconic personalities such as James Joyce and Elias Canetti, as well as several Nobel Prize winners.


During the early decades of the 20th century, Zurich was at the center of the art world as it hosted avant-garde painters, writers and composers. The Dadaist movement, which advocated breaking with all known artistic axioms, was born in Zurich’s Cabaret Voltaire, in 1916, by the hand of the German poet Hugo Ball.

These days, Zurich has a very active nightlife, offering something for every taste: opera, ballet, theater, music and art exhibitions. The Niederdorf District—in the old town—with its labyrinthine cobbled streets and small buildings dating back to the 14th century is famous for its restaurants, bars and nightclubs, where visitors can dine, have a cocktail or join a party.

Zurich would not be the cultural city it is without its many museums. Among the most notable: the Swiss National Museum, Museum of Fine Arts, Rietberg Museum, Haus Konstruktiv Foundation and Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art, Gestaltung Museum, Heidi Weber Museum, Zurich Museum and the Museum of Medical History.

Shopping in Zurich is an otherworldly experience. On and around Bahnhofstrasse Street–one of the world’s most attractive commercial boulevards–you’ll find elegant, exclusive shops such as Dior, Cartier, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Prada and Mont Blanc among others.

The best hotel in town is undoubtedly the historic and sumptuous Baur Au Lac with its famous Pavillon restaurant, which boasts one Michelin star. The city of Zurich, Switzerland, is sophisticated city as diverse and cosmopolitan.

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