These days the largest city in Switzerland is known for two things above all else: a high quality of life (the city consistently comes out near the top of those annual ‘best place to live’ surveys) and banking, which both Zurich and the rest of the country are abundant in to the point of obsession. The banking might be dull, but then again, it’s probably a major contributor to that quality of life.
Of course, for the casual tourist neither of these things is of particular interest, and its architecture lovers who’ll find the quaint sights of the city centre the biggest draw. A mammoth selection of aging churches, many of them dating back more than a millennia, is one of the key attractions, with the skyline dripping with spires. Recently, Zurich has taken an eye to design, in both the pricey boutiques and a selection of enticing museums. The Haus Konstruktiv is a new conceptual art site housed in a power station, promoting a highly abstract brand of modern art, while the Museum of Design Zurich focuses on internationally significant pieces of poster design and applied art. Those with a more traditional taste in museums might prefer offerings like the Uhrenmuseum Beyer (a history of clocks, accompanying the nearby largest clock face in Europe, attached to St Peter’s) or the Swiss National Museum.
The old-world vibes of the city’s heart are a major draw, but you’ll find still more alluring sights around the region, like the castle (and views from) Lindenhof Hill or in exploring the full extent of the mammoth Lake Zurich. Head a little further afield and you’ll find a plethora of high-end ski resorts, the Hollgrotten (dripstone caves, a colorful underground world of water-formed columns) and boat tours or water sports across a huge array of enticing – if freezing cold – lakes.
Zurich is one of the most expensive spots in Europe, and also lacks that one stand out attraction that makes it a must see. Problematic though that is, many visitors love the city for its mix of well-maintained history and cutting edge modernity.
Schaffhausen is a city in Northern Switzerland and the capital of the Swiss Kanton with the same name. It has a population of 35,000 inhabitants and it's located near the German border.
Aside from being the spot where William Tell allegedly demonstrated his archery skills by nearly decapitating his son (and, fortunately, hitting a carefully balanced apple instead), Lucerne h…