We arrived in Zurich, a city in the upper German-speaking area of Switzerland, on a frosty New Years Eve. After a little walk from the station we made it to our cute boutique hotel, right in the centre of the Niederdorf neighbourhood, a cobblestone area filled with shops and restaurants. We chose to stay at the hotel Wellenberg as this quaint hotel is in a central location and had great breakfast options! After settling in we went down to the waters edge where the New Years festivities were beginning.
The drinks were flowing, the music was pumping, and the people partied hard! Zurich in New Years was a great night out as the city is well-prepared for the event. There were lots of food stalls, twice as many pop up bars, and many free open-space dance floors. I might not have understood the variety of languages being used around me but I did immensely enjoy the light up dance floors and good-feel atmosphere of the city. It did get a bit crowded around 11 pm onward but everyone seemed in good spirits. There was only one downside to the night. In Australia we have distinct smoking laws prohibiting where people can smoke in public but unfortunately in Zurich, this didn’t seem to be the case, but what can you do?
The countdown to the New Year was spent in excitable huddles by the waters edge as the crowds waited for the clock to strike midnight. Here comes the strange bit through, the fireworks didn’t start until 12:20am. I don’t know why but for 20 minutes after the change over to the New Year, the people of Zurich then wait for the fireworks. At first I thought it may have been a technical error but apparently, it’s what is supposed to happen? Regardless, the fireworks were great and the walk back to the hotel was easy.
The next morning was a great opportunity for some quiet sight seeing. We didn’t even begin our day until close to lunch time though the streets were still quiet, near empty. There was still snow on the rooftops of the city as we went for a sleepy wander.
The waters edge of Lake Zurich offers a great spot to stroll as there are a series of bridges and many pedestrian walk-ways to enjoy the view such as of the Grossmunster, a church completed in the 13th century.
We next wandered to the other side of the city through the winding coloured streets and alleyways. As the first two days of the year in Switzerland are public holidays the streets are largely empty which makes it easy for photo ops but a rather harder mission to find an open coffee store…
The hunt for good coffee pushes up your daily step limit! We eventually found a nice coffee shop in this cute square where people were just starting to come out for the day. By this time the remnants of snow had melted but it was still cold enough for coats and beanies. From here we had an easy walk to St Peter, a church in the old town area with a very distinguishable clock face.
Zurich is a great city to visit. As one of the most popular cities in Switzerland, Zurich is a busy place, home to the most expensive shopping street in the world, sprawling streets in the old town, and many famous swans. It is a great central location for day trips around Switzerland and, to my surprise, hosts a great new years party!