Ariel view of Zurich

Famed for its quality of life, clean waters, cultural and nightlife scenes and glorious views, a break in the financial powerhouse of Zurich can purify your soul or get your heart racing - the choice is yours. Whatever you decide to do, though, the surprisingly infectious energy and vigour for life found in this beautiful Swiss city is bound to leave you with a smile on your face.

Located in the north of Switzerland at the head of Lake Zurich, the city is a magnet for visitors looking for a slice of European history, as well as those who prefer a wild night out - thanks to the trendy bars, modern restaurants and cool clubs developing in the Züri-West district.Boats on a lake in Zurich

Hotels in Zurich cater for a variety of tastes and budgets too. There are exclusive, luxury hotels, including plenty of five-star hotels, a range of good-value rooms and a handful of budget hotels where prices belie the expensive nature of the city in general.

Many of the big hotel chains are also present. Choose from Moevenpick, Novotel, Mercure, NH Hoteles,  Swissotel, Park Hyatt, Ramada, Marriott, Best Western, Steigenberger, Crowne Plaza, Sheraton, Holiday Inn, Hilton,  Comfort inn and Renaissance.

Some of the finest Zurich hotels occupy prime, waterfront positions on the lake and the adjoining River Limmat. There will be a premium to pay for views of the water, but the excellent service and high standards of style and comfort that accompany the outlook make the price tag worthwhile.

The most popular place to stay is the Old Town, which straddles both banks of the Limmat where it meets the lake and is packed with cafés, bars, restaurants and shops. Get around and explore Zurich yourself with a hired car.

Top five attractions

Swiss National Museum

This important collection of art is housed in a stunning building next to the Hauptbahnhof, the city's railway station.


One of Zurich's three major churches (the others being Fraumünster and St Peterskirche), this 12th-century religious building is an impressive sight.


One of the oldest parts of Zurich, the charming riverside area of Niederdorf's maze of cobbled streets house cafés, shops and bars.

Fluntern Cemetery

The writer James Joyce (who wrote 'Ulysses' in Zurich) is buried in this cemetery, which is a peaceful place to spend an hour or so.


Shopaholics will love the car-free streets of bustling Bahnhofstrasse, Zurich's most exclusive shopping avenue in Zurich.


Zurich Carnival (Zuerifasnacht); February: Some compare it to the Rio Festival; others say it's pretty tame. Join the party and take in the spectacular parades before making up your own mind.

Street Parade; August: Street Parade, one of the biggest and wildest techno parties in Europe, will silence anyone who doubts Zurich's growing reputation as a hotbed of music and fun times.

Christmas Market; November-December: Nothing transforms a historical city into a fairy-tale destination quite like Christmas. And Zurich is no exception. Visit the city during the festive season for illuminations, shows and shopping at the lovely Christmas market.