Leah Heier, a travel agent from our Manitowoc office recently traveled to Switzerland. She is excited to share her experience with you.
We stayed at The Rennaissance Zurich Hotel for 5 nights. The hotel was located in what reminded me of a Business/Industrial Park. The hotel had a full service restaurant and bar, fitness center, and meeting rooms/services. The restaurant was pricey; Full American Breakfast for example, priced at $39.00CHF daily (1 CHF is approximately $1.11 USD). Complimentary wi-if was available in the hotel lobby, and was available in room at a cost of: $9.90CHF for 30 minutes, $19.90CHF for 2 hrs & $29.90 All Day
The hotel and the rooms had a very modern, contemporary feel. Rooms were large with large flat screen TV’s, safe, refrigerator, coffee maker, 2 queen size beds, couch with sitting area, a separate room with shower and sink, and a separate room with another sink and toilet. Floor to ceiling windows provided views of the Swiss Alps, Old Town Zurich or the Industrial Park.
Hotel staff was very friendly and extremely helpful.
We were able to purchase public transportation passes right from the front desk as needed. The rail station was located just one block from the hotel. Passes could also be purchased at a kiosk right at the rail stop. Public transit was extremely easy to use, reliable and rail stops all well marked. Passes are purchased for select zones and can be used for all types of public transportation offered in that zone; rail, bus, river boat sightseeing cruises/transportation. Just one stop from the hotel was a number of bar/restaurant establishments. A few more stops away was the main rail station, a Starbucks, and the central Sightseeing/Tour center-where you can both arrange and book tours, or where you will meet tour operators for pre-booked tours as well.
We pre-booked two tours. The first was a combination City Tour/Top of Zurich. The city tour was 4 hours and took you to see such sights as the Fraumunster Church & Grossmunster, with photo stops along the way. The tour concluded at the main rail station with a ticket via rail up the mountain to Uetliberg, where we hiked to “The Top of Zurich”, along the way there were small B & B’s, accessible only by foot. At the top of the trail was a restaurant with spectacular 360 degree views of Zurich and a lookout tower.
The second tour we booked was a day trip to Lucerne. This tour was a great way to see the countryside, and my favorite part of my stay in Switzerland. Once in Lucerne, we were able to take in a local farmers market on the river/Lake Lucerne. The market had beautiful fresh cut flowers, fruits and vegetables. We did some shopping, and walked the quaint streets and wooden bridges. The Lion Monument is also a must see. We decided to dine at The Old Swiss House for traditional schnitzel. The meal was pricey at approximately $50 for lunch, but was well worth it for the table side preparation of the meal and the ambiance.
We spent a lot of time exploring Zurich over the next few days. On one side of the river is Old Town Zurich, and on the other is high end shopping – such as Chanel and Coach. Nearly every other corner has a bank or a Swiss Army Watch store. Zurich is a very clean and safe city. The city has over 1,200 water fountains located throughout the city. The water running from these fountains is safe for drinking, and you will often see locals filling water bottles.
Of course you MUST try traditional Swiss cheese fondue, Swiss chocolates and Luxemburgerli and pastries during your stay. The primary language spoken in Zurich is German; however, there was rarely a language barrier. Most restaurants offered menus in German, French and English – and most locals switch to speaking English just as soon as they realize you are a foreigner. We always felt safe exploring the city, even at night.
This experience was definitely a wonderful one. I enjoyed each day we spent in Switzerland; the sights and service we received were great. Feel free to contact me with any questions or to help you get started with a travel agent to book your next vacation!