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Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland and is located on Lake Zurich. Even though it's the largest Swiss city, it is quite compact and can easily be explored by foot. It does not really matter which of Zurich's several suburbs you choose for your stay since public transportation is abundant and efficient, and Zurich hostels are all conveniently located.
It is nice to stay in a Zurich hostel close to the Limmat river (in which you can swim during summer) or on Lake Zurich even though these will be the most expensive options. Be aware that Zurich is generally a very expensive place to stay, both in terms of accommodation and living cost.
Getting from any of Zurich's hostels to almost anywhere you'd like is easy, just walk or take a tram or a bus. Public transport is always on time (the Swiss get angry if a train is more than 30 seconds late) and very efficient. You can get to almost every Swiss city within 2 hours from Zurich Hauptbahnhof (main station) if you are interested in traveling within Switzerland. If you are planning on traveling around a lot, get a “Halbtax Billet” which allows you to travel for half price on all Swiss trains.
We also highly recommend taking a boat cruise around Lake Zurich. You can visit the neighboring city of Kusnacht and enjoy the picturesque scenery on your trip. Do not forget to eat some of the legendary Swiss cheese while you are there.
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City Backpacker - Hostel Biber
"The Zurich City Backpacker is a nice little hostel in a great location. It's not far from the train station, just a short walk across to the other side of the river and a short distance down a side street. But once you reach the hostel, you're only halfway there since it's bit of a climb up four or five sets of stairs just to reach reception. Note that the reception has limited hours (currently 8-11 AM and 3-10 PM), so you must arrive...
Zurich Youth Hostel
"HI - Zürich Hostel is an excellent hostel with top-of-the-line services, but it is extremely institutional. If you stay here then you have everything you need, but you also feel just like a number. The Location The hostel is quite a far way out of town -- about a ten-minute tram ride -- so do not stay here if you're planning on walking into town. However, we bought a three-day transportation pass that covers every mode of transport...
"Very nice and inviting - Just stayed overnight, but felt very welcome. It was clean and comfortable would recommend it to friends." … "Good for short term stay - I've seen better quality in Zurich, but overall it was acceptable. The staff is friendly, and the breakfast was decent. The price is high compared to the rest of Switzerland, but that is true for Zurich overall." … "… - even at night! Don't expect any luxury...
"Extremely clean hostel, like all in Switzerland. No kitchen but breakfast is supplied. Not a very social hostel. Very close to the train station and the old part of town." … "It's a little bit old, but the location is great. It's a three minute walk from the railway station. It's very close to the historical old town area. The staff are friendly and helpful. By the way, internet access is free." … "This place offers good...
"Location, location. Friendly, helpful desk. - Not slick, a bit funky and dog-eared, but decent, colorful. Very good price for Zurich. Desk staff was very helpful answering questions. And, of course, GREAT location." … "It's got a good location for sure. My bed was unmade (like I care about that anyway). It has a pretty decent price for what you get, to be fair." … "… or your own starry sky over the bed. It's up to you....
"One comfortable sleepy night - We only stayed for about a seven hour sleep and shower experience, but the staff was more than accommodating, very friendly, and worked around our hectic itinerary. It was a comfortable stay." … "… in the hall. The rooms are furnished in a vintage style and provide full size bed, tv, lounge chairs and balcony. Of course we also provide free wlan. Our bar and cafe in the basement is a meeting...
"… to Zurich. The main train station, the lake side area and the world famous "Bahnhofstrasse" are only a few foot steps away. Access to Zurich's public transport system can be found in the immediate surrounding. Mark you territory become a PLATZHIRSCH! Translated into English the German word "Platzhirsch" means "the leading stag". The meaning is equivalent to a top dog or old bull. Our aim is to create a personal and...
"Hotel Otter is situated on a pedestrian area, right in the heart of the old part of town. Located between fashion boutiques and book shops, it is the perfect place to stay for artists, models, young people and those who are young at heart. The large rooms are colourfully equipped and include a sink with hot and cold water. A bath, shower and toilet are shared between three rooms on each floor. The cheerful staff will make you feel at...
X-TRA The Hotel
"… and aimed at musicians, artists, young people and those who are young at heart. We have stylish singles, doubles, triples and four bed rooms which are designed to make you feel at home and are equipped with private shower/WC, cable-TV, minibar, telephone and hair-dryer. For the lower budget traveller we also have rooms with shared shower/WC down the corridor, close to the rooms. Our restaurant and bar are the meeting points...
Hotel Bristol Zurich
"… station and Bahnhofstrasse from where many of the excursions depart. All rooms are recently renovated and have direct dial telephone, radio, cable TV. The WIFI is free of charge throughout the property. There are single, double, twin, triple and quad rooms available which are all clean and comfortable. Children over 2 and less than 12 will be charged Sfr. 30.- per head. Hairdryers are in every bathroom and safes are...
"… has a modern design and features bath or shower, Hair dryer, mini bar, TV, phone, free W-LAN. All the room are non smoking. Valuables can be stored for free in the safe at the front desk. Each morning we wake our guests with a rich breakfast buffet. (CHF 15.00 per person) There is free parking for guests in front and behind the hotel. We sell 24hours tickets for the tram/bus, please ask, we will be glad to help you!...
Hotel Arlette Beim Hauptbahnhof
"I saw on the Internet site that they had some free rooms and I called to have that confirmed!!! So, the day after, I went to Arlette Beim, with my child, to book a room for a friend of mine. But when the receptionist saw my child (who was going to sit on a chair!!!) she made a bad face and said to me that there isn't any free room, without looking in the register!!! Now I want to know if that is a good welcome for a probable guest!?! So I...
Hotel Welcome Inn
"A great hotel - I stayed in a private room, which had its own toilet room and shower room, TV, excellent view. The wifi in the rooms was nice, but the two computers in the lobby were bad. Free hot tea in the lobby all day (maybe not free at breakfast time). If you're looking for relatively cheap food, there is a nearby Chinese restaurant/takeaway place that is great. Free shuttle (5-10 min.) to/from the airport. It is very close to a train...
"… Bar, the heart of the Hotel Allegra invites you after a long day, to relax and have a drink. A fitness centre is also available so that guests may relax and recover from jet lag. Fitness facilities are free of charge for guests. The hotel offers free entrance to the public swimming pool (3 min. walking distance) A rope course (additional fee) and a Vita Parcours outdoor fitness trail are also located next to the public pool....
"You find the Hotel Limmathof in the very spot where the romantic old part of town meets the business world of modern Zurich. A historic house, in which businesspeople and tourists feel at home the very first minute of their stay. Only two minutes walk from the central station. Zurich-Kloten international Airport can be reached by frequent trains in just 10 minutes. Hotel Limmathof offers conveniences to suit all your needs: Bath/shower/WC,...
Hotel Krone Unterstrass
"… a friendly, guest-oriented service and environment, which is reflected in our ISO 9001& 14001 certification. You will feel at home with us. The uncomplicated but elegant surroundings, as well as the excellent city location will appeal to you. After a tiring day, enjoy a relaxed meal in our well-known restaurant ‘differente’. We look forward to your visit! Relax after a long day in one of our 76 newly renovated and tastefully...
"… and theme. The collected works of the featured author are also in the room, so guests have the opportunity to delve further into the author’s life and thinking. Along with the large variety of sights and attractions in the region around Zurich, you‘ll find there is an abundance to do and experience right here in Zurich. And you’ll always look forward to visiting us again. Please note: Cancellation Policy: 1 day...
"… rooms offer free Internet access via Wi-Fi is located in the heart of Zurich. Most of the rooms offer views over the river Limmat. As an independent hotel in our city we offer personal service and hospitality for private or professional stays, in our beautiful rooms. Facilities: Central location Around the clock support WI-FI A selection of snacks and drinks is available in each room. Bathrooms are private or shared. Breakfast...
"Hotel built in 2007, Number of floors: 3, Total number of rooms: 32, Number of single rooms: 16, Number of double rooms: 16, of which have 2 separate beds: 16, of which have a double bed: 16, of which are suitable as three-bed rooms: 1, Motel , child-friendly hotel , No-smoking hotel , Gay and lesbian-friendly hotel In Fehraltorf, about 30 min from zurich airport and zurich city away. Train Station Fehraltorf near by. Restaurant Pumpkin...
Zurich Travel Tips & Suggestions
I spent three days there. All I remember is that the place was littered with tram lines (the trams were from the seventies), there were hardly any young people, and everything cost an absolute fortune. Yes, it is tidy, but its not particularly scenic. Even in the old town, I saw nothing particularly special. Zurich (and Switzerland in general) is caught between worlds. It seems to combine the worst of the Anglophone and Continental European worlds -- the money-grabbing impulses of the Anglos and the snooty, superior attitudes of the continentals.
Go up to Utileburg to get the best view of Zurich.
— Robert S.
Zürich is a great city.
After a month traveling in Europe, I came home to the U.S. via Zurich. I am so glad I did! Zurich is beautiful and very clean. Very organized. It was very easy to get around by train. I stayed at a very reasonably priced hotel near the airport that provided a free shuttle service, although it was easy enough to take the train. The train runs from the airport to the town of Zurich. Apparently, the "nightlife" is in the Neiderdorf (one side of the river) opposite the Haptobahnhoff (Rodeo Drive of Switzerland). The biggest tip I can offer you is buy your chocolate to take home from the Coop -- same chocolate as the Merk but much less expensive.
— California Girl
Zurich is a beautiful city. There is so much to do and the food is delicious. Shopping on Bahnhofstrasse is a must!
Zurich is boring. What the heck are you doing there? Well, now that you are there, this is what you do. Is it hot and sunny? If so, pack swimming stuff. Is it raining? Go anyway if it's not too bad. No matter the weather, wear your walking shoes. Ok: Go to the main station, walk up to one of those ticket computers, click the button that says, "English," and buy a ticket to Walenstadt. (hot tip: If it's a weekend and you plan to ride the train a lot, buy this thing from the ticket booth called a "weekend halbtax." Half price tickets all weekend, even on the mountain railways.) Take the express train that stops in Ziegelbrucke and ends in Chur. Get off in Ziegelbrucke and get on the train to Walenstadt. It also goes places like Murg and Sargans, if Walenstadt isn't a listed stop for this train. Marvel at the stunning lake to the left of the train. This is where you will spend your day, on the pristine deep blue Walensee under those dramatic cliffs, both of which no photographer can ever hope to capture. (I know, I've tried to find a photo. There are none that do it justice.) Get off in Walenstadt. Walk from the train station to town, and then through town, past the Infantry school, and to the boat dock. In town, you may want to buy a picnic lunch at the Migros. Upon arrival at the boat dock area, you have options. If it's sunny and you want to swim, go past the dock area along the lake to your right. You will find a big lawn with some fire pits, shade trees, and a rope swing. I spent a few days just sitting here, swimming with friends. If you want to hike, walk the same way, looking to your left for the little yellow hiking trail sign that says "Quinten." Quinten is the little town you saw across the lake from the train tracks. I never actually did this hike, as I got lost the time I tried it. I did, however, find a neat abandoned mine you could probably camp in, like I saw some guys doing. There is even water up there, flowing from the rocks. If you are lazy, you can take a boat down the lake and stop at Quentin or Au. In Quentin, there is a restaurant that specializes in fish from the lake and the Quentner wine made from the vines of that tiny little winery over there. It is probably the rarest wine in the world; you can only buy it there. You can take the boat to one of the towns along the train tracks to shorten your ride back to Zurich: these towns are named things like Murg and Weesen. I cannot emphasize enough how awe-inspiring, dramatic, and beautiful this lake is. It's also ecologically unique because of the way it is oriented, but I won't get into that here. The water is simply the most stunning blue I have ever seen, and the cliffs... I am out of the practice of writing this kind of stuff. I have been studying a technical field for far too long. All I can say is thatI have never seen the beauty of this place captured in a photograph. If you don't want to go straight back to Zurich, you still must take the train to Ziegelbrucke. Then, take the train to Uznach and Rapperswil. Get off at Rapperswil, it is the endstation. Walk around the town, check out the castle and its charming medieval streets. Marvel at a COWBOY STORE, and see if the owners have parked their glorious Chevy and Dodge 3/4 ton pickups nearby. Even though I hate driving and often curse and drivers and cars for their choking exhaust while I ride a bike, it brings a tear to my eye. It also has Switzerland's Polish museum, is the home of its circus, and a really ugly tech school. (I went there for a semester and think it's great, but really, rusty orange steel? Come on now, guys. The East Germans pulled it off with the Volkspalast, but you didn't. Sorry!) There is halfway cheap gelatto, and if you look hard for the Nautic pub, you can eat for the low low price of six francs. That is about as cheap as you will find in CH. You probably should have eaten a bigger picnic when you had the chance. Also, the waitress with black hair is really good-looking. Anyway, back to the town. Walk along the waterfront (Quai in Swiss-German), walk all around. Watch the sun set up on the Castle hill park thing. On the back side of that, kind of past the deer, there is a really long playground slide. It's fun. If you want to go to a bar, go to Baren. It's youthful and casual, with a cute waitress and a jukebox that is great by swiss standards! For you yuppie jerks, there is one above the mall that has Tower Sports, but if you spent all day hiking and swimming, you are not dressed well enough to fit in. When the day is over, just take the S5 train (faster) or the S7 train (along the lake) back to Zurich. If you want to stay in either of these places, check out youthhostel.ch for the Rapperswil-Jona hostel or the hostel in Filzbach, which is a bus ride above the train station in Muhlhorn, one of the dinky towns along the south shore of the Walensee. It supposedly has a really long summer bobsled track, which is a metal slide that is a mile long down which you ride on a roller sled.
Zurich is a weird place. It's a very very quiet and very very clean city. The touristy stuff can be seen in one day easy, so don't stay long - head out around the lake or to other parts of the country, which are picturesque and beautiful.
When I visited Zurich for a weekend with a friend, we couldn't figure out where the young people (twenty-somethings) were - but I can tell you they definitely weren't in the Irish and English bars that we checked out that the guidebook had recommended!! I liked it ok enough, but I wouldn't plan on staying more than a day or two.
Go out on the Marktgasse. Bars close early, so start early. Clubs can be located within reach. Zurich is a great city, enjoy it and be respectful.
— James Olsen
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