Typical city buildings (Zurich; Switzerland)
Welcome to Zurich, a veritable hub of finance if ever there was one! Switzerland's largest city (the accolade of nation's capital going to Bern) is an affluent investor's dream, and the kind of place where the banking sector has just about every other aspect of the city revolving around it. For a casual visitor, the cost of living is going to be the first hurdle to clear, and the necessity to budget out becomes apparent as soon as you realize that even the most minor purchase can come at a proportionally hefty price tag. A wise purchase for a day-tripper is a 24-hour Zurich card, as this will enable the visitor to breeze effortlessly from one city attraction to another, with most admission fees being free of charge, and to make extensive use of Zurich's impressively efficient tram network, which is a real boon as soon as you have managed to work out which tram line takes you to which required destination.
The Chinese garden (Zurich; Switzerland)
The first port of call could easily be Switzerland's national museum, housed in a hotly impressive castlesque building looking somewhat contrasting to the rest of the immediate area's surroundings. Various items pertaining to the nation's historical background are contained therein, and there is a sense that this is perhaps the most complete of the city's museums. On a far more recently-established scale, even a staunch non-fan of football would have to concede that the newly-opened Fifa world football museum has been expertly crafted to create a mecca for the worshipper of the beautiful game, especially those who tune in religiously when it comes to the world cup fixtures. The numerous aspects ranging from commentating boxes (have a try, it is immense fun!), corner flag dance-move simulator (don't be shy, you won't regret it), audio booths (footie anthems galore), dynamic cinema and human pinball football practice areas, it can only be hoped that in time the museum grows in popularity and world renown.
The Opera House (Zurich; Switzerland)
Further south on the bank of the river Limmat, you'll reach the Chinese garden, a haven of exotic peace and a gift from Zurich's Chinese twin city of Kunming, and a colourful and photogenic spot to boot. Zurich's old town is reachable from the southern end of Bahnhofstrasse, which is one of the world's most exclusive shopping areas, where the super-wealthy can flaunt their capital in shops designed to reduce the weight of wallets and the size of bank balances. For those on a more modest budget, be sure to drop by at Zurich's main station, where underground shopping options abound, and window shoppers can revel in the shop window displays of slabs of exquisite Swiss chocolate, and the designer jewellry and clothing which characterize the nation's wealth. For lovers of architectural creations of note, be sure to drop by at the famous city landmarks namely the opera house, the town hall, Fraumunster church and the water church, all contained within a relatively compact area.
A church spire towers above all (Zurich; Switzerland)
For a change to the ubiquitous city trams, why not board a glass-covered boat for a trip around the lake around which Zurich is located, and the chance to escape the relative mayhem of a business city where doing business does appear to bring about a certain urban buzz. Whichever way you choose to sample Zurich life though, in a city of this standing, a little background reading goes quite a long way, and knowing where best to shop, eat, relax and linger may prevent you from falling into the abyss that is Zurich's living cost, an ever-present factor in a city whose financial standing is as solid as the gold ingots which have made it this way!