Entries in ‘Switzerland’ Journal

Things to See and Do in Zurich, Switzerland

Friday December 24, 2010 at 12:12 AM | 3 Comments

Things to Do in Zurich, Switzerland, Nancy D. Brown, travel

Grossmünster Church and Fraumünster Church along River Limmat, Zurich, Switzerland

The first place I take a visitor from out of town is to Winterthur; a treasure trove of art, history and nature. The sixth-largest city in Switzerland, Zurich boasts internationally renowned art collections. Winterthur is a mixture of urban flair and small-town charm.

If you are interested in typical Zurich, Swiss cuisine, try Zürcher Geschnetzeltes.

I’ll bet you’ve never gone sunbathing at “Unterer Letten” river bath. This place has great atmosphere and is directly on the Limmat. Then go jump into Lake Zurich.

For complete quiet, visit Üetliberg. Zurich’s local “mountain” towers at 871 meters above sea level over the roofs of Zürich. The mountain offers an impressive panoramic view of Zurich, the lake and the Alps of Switzerland.

Did you know that Zuirch has a large zoo? Only a few centimeters / inches separate the typical Zürich climate from the tropical humidity of the Masoala rainforest. Approximately 4,000 animals from all over the world live on almost 69 acres in Switzerland’s  Zoo Zürich.

If you dine at Restaurant Gnüsserei, order the Zürcher Geschnetzeltes. The restaurant is housed in a foundry. For a good cup of coffee or Swiss hot chocolate go to the Café Conditorei Schober – Péclard Zurich.


Old Town Zurich, Switzerland, Christmas Market, Nancy D. Brown, travel

Visit the magical Christmas Markets in Old Town Zurich, Switzerland

Contemporary Design in Zürich

Freitag, Fabric Frontline, En Soie, Alprausch, Amok, Beach Mountain, Christa de Carouge, Fidelio, Fidelio 2, Rabatt, Stefi Talman, Asphalt, Hausfink, Könix, Götte Optik, Neumarkt 17, Wohnbedarf, Saus & Braus, Littershark trash cans

Attractive Design From Past Eras

Aladin Antik, Bogen 33, Second-Hand Designer Store, Echo Artdeco, Hannibal Wohnladen, Timetunnel, Zürich Museum of Design, Bellerive Museum, Le Corbusier Center – Heidi Weber House, Haus Konstruktiv, Zürich Architectural Forum, Winterthur Museum of Commerce, Institute for History and Theory of Architecture at the Federal Institute of Technology Zürich

Design Bars & Restaurants

Angkor, Labor Bar, LaSalle, Kronenhalle Bar, Onyx Bar, Widder Bar, Ginger, Kafischnaps, Nine

Swiss Design Hotels

Al Porto, Du Théâtre, Greulich, Lady’s First, Plattenhof, Sorell Hotel Zürichberg, Wellenberg

The most random thing about Zurich, Switzerland is the Street Parade

Manor department store  is the place for cheap food & drinks at the Manora Restaurant. You may also go to  the Appunto Take Away.

For a huge splurge, I go to Widder Restaurant by Alexander Kroll.  Awarded with 15 Gault Millau points, Alexander Kroll has been the executive chef de cuisine at Widder Restaurant, located in the heart of Zurich’s historic district since May 2009.

Kronenhalle is a legendary restaurant famed for its guests and its art collection. Diners go here to see and be seen. Zürcher Geschnetzeltes simply tastes twice as good sitting under a genuine Varlin or a Picasso! Chocolate lovers take note, this place serves the best chocolate mousse in Zürich.

In Zurich walk to the top of  Grossmünster. According to legend, Charlemagne discovered the graves of the city’s martyrs Felix and Regula and had a church built as a choristers’ cloister on the spot. Construction work on the present building began around 1100.

The most random thing about Zürich is the Street Parade. The parade attracts hundreds of thousands of dance enthusiasts to the Zürich lake basin every year. The parade, in its 18th year, is a colorful mix of mobiles, live performances by top DJs, international stars and demonstrations. Today, the Street Parade is still a demonstration open to everyone who would like to enter into the Spirit of Street Parade, dancing to electronic music.


Every year, the guilds of Zürich and the general public celebrate their traditional spring festival: the Sechseläuten. The celebrations start on Sunday with a colorful children’s procession. This is followed by the main festival on Monday: People in historical guild costumes, 500 horses, 30 marching bands, together with 50 carriages and coaches, parade through the city centre to Sechseläuten-Platz on Lake Zürich. There, at 6 p.m. a pile of wood, on which the ‘Böögg’ – a symbolic snowman – sits enthroned, is set on fire. The quicker his head catches fire and explodes, the finer the summer should be.

In Zürich an active day outdoors involves walking or hiking on the beautiful walking roads.

My favorite walking route is the Zürichsee-Rundweg The landscape surrounding Lake Zurich is a site to behold.

Swiss National Museum, Zürich, Switzerland, Nancy D. Brown, travel

Zurich’s best museum is Swiss National Museum Zürich.

The Planet Trail on the Uetliberg is a solar system trail from Uetliberg to Felsenegg with panoramic views over Zürich.

Zurich’s best museum is Swiss National Museum Zürich. This is a great museum for kids and adults. The Swiss National Museum was built by Gustav Gull in 1898, next to the Main Train Station. Here, culture and public transportation rub shoulders with each other: the National Museum houses Switzerland’s most comprehensive collection of artifacts pertaining to its cultural heritage, while the Main Train Station is the largest in the country. The over 100-year old museum building is reminiscent of a fairytale castle. Surrounded by towers, the courtyard is a unique venue for events such as Live on Ice in the winter and Live at Sunset in the summer.

While visitors outside enjoy the arts, the past comes to life indoors.  How did earlier generations live, think and feel? Their material legacy – from handicrafts to ordinary everyday objects – provide us with answers, from the prehistoric age right through to the present day. The National Museum also stages special exhibitions on topics relevant to society, thus offering a temporary change in perspective.

Free admission with the ZürichCARD.

For a night of dancing, go to Mascotte. Zürich’s oldest nightclub has been reborn. The club above the Corso cinema offers views over the lake. Free admission with the ZürichCARD.


Take Away and Happy Beck are the spots for late night dining. Happy Beck is the only bakery in Zürich that is open 24/7 and located at Langstrasse.

To find out what’s going on a night or on weekends, read Züri Tipp or 20 Minuten.



Public Pool "Barfussbar" Zurich, Switzerland, Nancy D. Brown, Switzerland

The Public Pool “Barfussbar” is the place to be in Zürich, Switzerland

Barfussbar in the Frauenbadi  – or women’s swimming pool

Men are permitted to enter the Frauenbadi in the evening. In the Barfussbar, you can enjoy a cool drink in a special atmosphere. Please note: shoes must be handed in at the entrance. Barfussbar slippers are available to keep your feet warm. Only women swim here by day, but men are welcome once evening falls. The Barfuss Bar is a barefoot zone in the wooden facility complete with its own unique atmosphere of lights in the heart of the Old Town. On “Cultural Wednesday”, concerts, TheatersportsTM and readings are on the program.

Rimini-Bar (in der Männerbadi)
By day, the Flussbad Schanzengraben, by night the Riminibar. Here, guests chill out on oriental cushions and enjoy specialties grilled on the spit and cool drinks. Flirting is on the program while the atmospheric green light makes dappled reflections in the water. The Mon-day market takes place every Monday evening from May to August, attracting trendy visitors with a colorful mixture of stands selling second-hand and Zürich labels. Zürich’s young creative scene meets here. An evening visit to the open-air bar on the Schanzengraben and you will feel like you are on holiday. Grillades and salads available, you do the grilling.  When it rains, Rimini is closed.

In the fall you should visit Kunstmuseum. International works of significance include many paintings by Edvard Munch, Van Gogh, Picasso and leading Expressionists. There is also a significant group of works by Claude Monet and Marc Chagall. Amongst modern artistic trends represented by Rothko, Merz, Twombly, Beuys, Bacon and Baselitz the visitors can discover a wide choice of Popart works. An audio guide gives background information on 200 «highlights» of the collection. Free admission with the ZürichCARD.


Winter, Zürich, Switzerland, Nancy D. Brown, travel

Winter in Zürich, Switzerland

In the winter you should go to the  magical Christmas Markets of  Zürich.  Be captivated by Zürich’s Christmas atmosphere. Come see the romantic side of the city on the River Limmat. Learn from locals how to experience 72 unforgettable hours, and present the highlights of Christmas in and around Zürich.

A hidden gem in Zurich is Fraumünster Church with the Chagall windows. Fraumünster Church was founded in 853 by King Louis the German, this church with its convent was inhabited by the female members of the aristocracy of southern Germany. It enjoyed the patronage of kings and the right to mint coins in Zürich until well into the 13th century. Ownership of the church and convent passed to the city of Zürich after the Reformation. Important architectural features include the Romanesque choir and the high vaulted transept. The nave was last renovated in 1911, following on from work to heighten the north tower and remove the south tower in the 18th century. In addition to the largest organ in the canton (5,793 pipes), its most stunning jewels are the stained glass windows: those in the north transept are by Alberto Giacometti’s cousin, Augusto (1945), the five-part cycle in the choir (1970) and the rosette in the southern transept (1978) are by Marc Chagall. There is a series of frescos by Paul Bodmer in the cloister to mark the founding of the Fraumünster.


Baden, Switzerland, Nancy D. Brown, travel, things to do

Just outside of Zurich, you can visit Baden, Switzerland

Just outside of Zurich you can visit Baden. This lively town on the River Limmat, is synonymous with Switzerland’s mineral-rich thermal springs, as well as an extensive range of cultural activities, such as international festivals, theaters, museums and the Grand.


The best way to see Zurich is via Lindenhof. Beneath this elevated square in the city center are the ruins of a Roman customs post, and a late Roman fortress. The Lindenhof is an oasis of peace and tranquility at the heart of the city, and a meeting place for passionate chess players. This spot also offers magnificent views over the old town.

If you have kids, you won’t want to miss  Franz Karl Weber’s Kids Town. This is Zürich’s biggest toy store on the Bahnhofstrasse.


What are your favorite things to do in Zurich, Switzerland?

Thanks to Zurich Tourism for assistance with this post. You may also become a Facebook Fan of Zurich. Photos courtesy of Zurich Tourism. Baden, Christmas Market and Street Parade, Martin Rutschi. Swiss National Museum , Barfussbar and Winter in Zurich, Caroline Minjolle.

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Gruyere, Switzerland, What a Trip

Sunday June 28, 2009 at 5:05 PM | 2 Comments

"Gruyere countryside"

Swiss Countryside photo taken from medieval village Gruyeres. Photo by Nancy D. Brown

Are you visiting Gruyere, Switzerland for the first time? My favorite insider tips and recommendations for visitors to Gruyere, Switzerland in the canton (district) of Fribourg.

If you love Swiss cheese, you’ll want to visit the “Maison du Gruyere” cheese dairy at the foothill of the medieval village of Gruyeres. There you can discover the secrets of the famous Gruyere AOC cheese and see how it is made. Did I mention that they give samples?

Besides the gorgeous scenery, Gruyere offers wonderful cuisine. A typical lunch at Restaurant Le Chalet includes salad and “moitie-moite” cheese fondue (half Gruyere cheese and half Vacherin Fribourgeois cheese.) If you have paced yourself, try the Macaroni de chalet.

Saving the best for last, try the fresh raspberries with double cream, a regional specialty.

"Gruyere cheese on aging racks

Gruyere cheese on aging rack at Switzerland’s Maison du Gruyere Cheese Factory

Gruyere is not crowded, by any means, but if you want to escape the area, drive to Moleson mountain. There you can walk to the summit, about a two hour walk with good shoes, or you can take the funicular and cable car. The panorama takes in Lake Geneva, the Alps and the Jura. Of course you have worked up an appetite for fondue at the summit restaurant. If you take the kids, you will discover a fun park and an alp cheese factory, only open in the summer.

If you come to Gruyere, get your picture taken in the medieval village of Gruyeres. Only 100 people live in the traffic-free village. Look around and you will notice the crane (“grue in French.”) Take your picture in front of the Jester’s House.


Photo opportunities in Gruyere include the Gruyeres Castle, just follow the main street (the only one!) to the top of the small hill. While you are there, be sure to take in the multimedia show, taking you through eight centuries of history and legends. (This is a very well done 18 minute production worth your time.)

Controversy in Gruyere

"birth machine"

The Birth Machine at HR Giger Museum in Gruyere, Switzerland.

Gruyere’s best museum, or should I say, most controversial with the local citizens, is the HR Giger Museum in the Chateau St.-Germain. Get your picture taken in the bar where the furniture from Alien-inspired movie sets come to life.

If you happen to be in Gruyere in June, the Midsummer Day at the Castle comes to life with a medieval festival in mid-June.

Another fun event is National day on the 1st of August with Alphorn music and Swiss folk music.

Gruyere in the winter means  “Once upon a time there was…Christmas.” During the entire month of December the small village is decorated with a holiday theme.

Gruyere by car or train

"Espresso and cream"

Drinking Espresso in Switzerland with Gruyere cream

Just 10 minutes by car, outside of Gruyere, you can visit Broc. Maison Cailler is the only milk chocolate factory of Cailler-Nestle in the world. You can see how the good quality of the milk from the La Gruyere region is used in the chocolate. Did I mention that the tour, with plenty of chocolate tasting, is free? The factory is open for tours from April to the end of October. As a confessed-chocoholic, this was my FAVORITE part of the trip.

Where are your favorite places to visit in Gruyere, Switzerland?

Thank you to Laura Braissant of La Gruyere Tourism for assistance with this post.

Photos and YouTube video by Nancy D. Brown

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Things to Do in Schwyz, Switzerland

Nancy D. Brown’s Schwyz, Switzerland

Monday June 15, 2009 at 8:08 AM | 2 Comments

"Schwyz, Switzerland"

Myten mountains in Schwyz, Switzerland

Are you visiting Schwzy, Switzerland for the first time? My favorite tips and locations for visitors to Schwyz, Switzerland.

The first place I take a visitor from out of town is to the main square of Schwyz where you can see the beautifully painted historic town hall. Here you can also take in the beauty of the two majestic mountains called Mythen.

To escape work I go to the car free mountain village Stoos. To reach Stoos you’ll need to take Europe’s steepest cable car and continue on by chairlift. In the winter time you can enjoy all types of winter sports. In the other seasons you can walk around, enjoying more than 10 lakes of central Switzerland.

Have you ever worked in a hell hole? This place in Muotathal, Switzerland is quite the opposite. It is home to one of the world’s largest cave systems called, Hell’s Hole.

If you come to Schwyz, get your picture taken in the main square and on a mountain trip to Mythen, Rigi or Stoos. You can also take a sightseeing tour to Brunnen, located 10 minutes from Schwyz, on the shore of Lake Lucerne, Switzerland.

"Wysses Rossli Restaurant"

Wysses Rossli Restaurant

What to eat in Schwyz, Switzerland

Schwyz offers a lot of history and local flavor. For a combination of the two, turn to the oldest restaurant, Schwyzer Stubli or Wysses Rossli.

If you are looking for an authentic Swiss dining experience, go to Restaurant Wysses Rossli. This building has been in Schwyz forever! Order the carpaccio made from Muotathaler calf, marinated with white balsamic vinegar and truffle oil with shaved cheese and tomato basil sorbet. Delicious.

If you are hoping to stretch your dining dollar in Schwyz, go to the Mythencenter where Migros and more than 20 other shops are located, including Dany’s Fast Food restaurant with a large selection of burgers, pizza and such.

For a huge splurge, dine at Hotel Waldstatterhof in Brunnen by the lake. This is a gorgeous setting.



"Eichhorn Accordion"

Eichhorn Accordion by Nancy D. Brown

Famous Swiss products in Schwyz

Did you know that Schwyz is the birthplace of Eichhorn accordions, custom made cow bells, Swiss chocolate made by Felchlin and, of course, the Victorinox Swiss Army Knife?

Photo opportunities in Schwyz include the Abbey of Einsiedeln and Ital Reding Hofstaff.

The best vantage points are taken by the main square in Schwyz, lakeside in Brunnen and the mountain tops of Mythen, Stoos, Fronalpstock or Rigi.

The most random thing abut Schwyz is the Carnival of Schwyz that takes place in February.

The best way to see Schwyz is to walk or take the public bus. There are plenty of hiking, biking and walking trails in Schwyz.

My favorite jogging or walking route is by Lake Lauerz.

If you are a history buff, you will enjoy the Museum of Swiss Charters in Schwyz.

For a night of dancing, go to small bars like Hirschen Pub. In Brunnen, you’ll find several bars and music places.

To find out what’s going on at night or on weekends, read Bote Der Urschweiz or the Schwyzer Zeitung, but only if you are able to read German.

Schwyz Cowbell

Schwyz Cowbell

Regional activities in Schwyz

You can tell a lot about Schwyz from visiting the rural valley of Muotathal or Illgau and watching the Swiss Wrestling event on the mountain of Stoos in mid-June.

In the spring you should attend Culinary Swiss Week.

In the summer you might enjoy the Swiss Wrestling Festival in June. In the fall, visit the Alp Cheese Fair in Muotathal in October.

In the winter go to the Christmas Market, late November to early December,  in Einsiedeln.

If you have time, visit the monestary at Muotathal in Schwyz.

For a great regional treat, try the Muotatal Alpcheese or the Muotataler Cream Kirsch Cake from the Schelbert Bakery.

Just outside of Schwyz you can visit Brunnen, Stoos, Rigi, the Mythen region, Sattel-Hockstuckli, Muotatla, Illgau and Einsiedeln.

If you are traveling with kids, visit the Landscape and Animal Park Goldau, the huge playground and jump areas and the summer toboggan run at Sattel Hockstuckli. Also check out the Swiss Holiday Park at Morschach.

Thank you to Monica Muller of Schwyz Tourism for assistance with this post.