Sustainable Historic City: Zurich

Hello friends! I hope you are enjoying the early autumn in the Northern Hemisphere or the early Spring down under!

Last time, I wrote a blog on Vancouver, Canada and remarked on its excellent environmental credentials. One of my readers noted that it was easier for Vancouver to have a strong ‘green focus’ because it’s a relatively new city. This is a good point, of course, because new building techniques, materials and engineering can make far more environmentally friendly constructions and therefore greener cities. However, that does not mean that older metropolitan areas are intrinsically more polluting. Environmental protection can be enhanced by all cities.

Beautiful lake, scenery and clean fresh air …..

Zurich, Switzerland was recognized as the most sustainable city in the world in 2016 by the Arcadis Sustainable Cities Index. The city is over 2000 years old and is proud of both its historical heritage and is environmental credentials. The city was originally founded as a Roman fort in 15 BCE and has a long and varied history as an important and strategic location at the end of Lake Zurich.

Classic architecture over looking Limmat River.

Today, however, Zurich is known more for its strong environmental policy designed to maintain the quality of the natural world in and around the metropolitan area. The environmental policies include several key elements:

  • Spatial Planning – Zurich constructions are encouraged to build up and conserve available natural spaces. This promotes walking and biking within the city.
  • Global Warming Policy – Zurich tightly restricts carbon emissions and reduces the use of concrete as a building material.
  • Preservation of Water Quality – The city has the highest water quality standard in the world
  • Maintaining Bio-diversity – Zurich promotes linking greenbelts to allow for the free range of indigenous species throughout the region
  • Air Quality Improvements – the air is clean and it is becoming cleaner. Micro-particle emissions have been reduced by 50% in the past 25 years

Zurich has taken dramatic measures to improve its environmental conditions, given its ancient site and existing infrastructure, but a concerted effort to improve has yielded strong results. Because of its environmental focus, Zurich is a fun place to visit and explore! Zurich can be easily walked and visited via public transport and the citizens bike, run and enjoy swimming in the clean waters of the lake.

Zurich loves its museums and culture. The Swiss National Museum is one of my favourites with its ancient collections. The Kunsthaus Zurich is a world renown art museum with a must-see collection. It also provides hours of fun for my American friends as they try to pronounce its name. The Zurich Opera House is known for being the smallest of the large international opera venues and has incredible acoustics.

I hope you get to see the Ballet! It’s beautiful.

Zurich is a relaxed and conservative city but it has its fun wild side as well. The Neiderdorf district in old town is full of bars, cool restaurants and offers a trendy scene. The Langstrasse area has lots of boutiques, cafes and bars that transform into music venues after ten at night. My favourite bar is Dante’s tucked away on Zwinglistrasse. Dante’s has over 80 gins in its library and the bartenders know how to squeeze the best out of those varieties in a wide range of cocktails.

Here’s a pro-tip: Check out Gonzo, on Langstrasse. It’s offers a café-culture feel during the day until the evening when the crowd becomes younger and it transforms into a music venue. Rock and Pop are played most nights but I especially like Hip-hop and Rap on Wednesday evenings, and Dancehall and Reggae on Thursday nights. I enjoy seeing the champagne set transform into the rum cocktail partyers!

Proscht’ as they say in Switzerland!

Zurich’s airport is modern and nicely close to the city. Zurich is served from major hubs and is a remarkably efficient air hub in its own right. There is a convenient train service right below the airport terminal that offers convenient services to the town every seven minutes. There are a myriad of buses and trams that mean cars are not really necessary for transport around Zurich. Walking is easy and bicycles are encouraged with generous bike lanes throughout the metropolitan area.

Zurich’s hotels are trendy and comfortable but they can be expensive. My favourite is Baur au Lac, with its old-world hospitality right on Lake Zurich but it can be pricey. The Park Hyatt is close to the lake and is very comfortable with a zen-like interior. For a budget, but cool experience, check out the CitizenM Zurich. The rooms are small but the hotel is cool and very comfortable.

The traditional food in Zurich is a mix of German and Italian inspired flavours and ingredients but all types of food can be found in this worldly city. Keeping with our green theme, the Ecco Zurich is an excellent restaurant with a very cool tasting menu. Orsini is another favourite restaurant with its northern Italian menu. Finally, my favourite lunch venue is the Pavillon Restaurant with its two Michelin stars. It’s an enchanting location for a lazy lunch which you can follow with a stroll by the lake.

Chocolate lovers rejoice now!

Zurich demonstrates that even older, established cities can improve their environmental quality. You’ll enjoy a city-break in this beautiful city by the lake!

 

Love,

 

Isabella

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Isabella’s Checklist

What to see: Swiss National Museum, Kuntshaus Zurich and The Zurich Opera House  (https://www.nationalmuseum.ch/en , https://www.kunsthaus.ch/en/ , https://www.opernhaus.ch/en/

Where to stay: Bar Au Lac, Citizen M Zurich (https://www.bauraulac.ch/en , https://www.citizenm.com/destinations/zurich/zurich-hotel   

Where to party: Gonzo in Langstrasse and try Dantes in Zwinglistrasse

Where to eat: Ecco Zurich, Pavillon Restaurant (https://giardinohotels.ch/en/zurich/restaurants/restaurant-ecco-zuerich, https://www.aupavillon.ch/

What to buy: Cuckoo Clocks, Fondue Sets, Swiss Chocolate and Swiss Watches

Don’t forget to bring me back a bar of Swiss Chocolate!
Isabella’s Checklist

What to see: Swiss National Museum, Kuntshaus Zurich and The Zurich Opera House  (https://www.nationalmuseum.ch/en , https://www.kunsthaus.ch/en/ , https://www.opernhaus.ch/en/

Where to stay: Bar Au Lac, Citizen M Zurich (https://www.bauraulac.ch/en , https://www.citizenm.com/destinations/zurich/zurich-hotel   

Where to party: Gonzo in Langstrasse and try Dantes in Zwinglistrasse

Where to eat: Ecco Zurich, Pavillon Restaurant (https://giardinohotels.ch/en/zurich/restaurants/restaurant-ecco-zuerich, https://www.aupavillon.ch/

What to buy: Cuckoo Clocks, Fondue Sets, Swiss Chocolate and Swiss Watches

Don’t forget to bring me back a bar of Swiss Chocolate!

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