Shopping and Eating in Zurich, Switzerland
Zurich is one of the largest cities in the country of Switzerland.
Shopping in Zurich
Zurich’s main street is the world-famous shopping avenue Bahnhofstrasse. Here are a mile and a half with exclusive and expensive stores such as Bottega Veneta in No 25, Louis Vuitton in No 30, Chanel in No 39 and Cartier in No 47 in addition to all the chain stores. Here you can look at the price tags on the Rolex watches in the show windows and heaven with the eyes that someone is willing to spend 180000 kroner to pass the time, or you can go in and buy one. The Löwenstrasse parallel street is also one of Zurich’s leading shopping streets.
Most of us will probably feel more at home in the Niederdorf area of Zurich’s Old Town, where there are a number of smaller shops.
Most of these have apparently existed since the 16th century. Niederdorfstrasse and down to Oberdorfstrasse and Limmatquai by the river are mandatory for shopping tourists, but be sure to look through the many side streets too! You can suddenly stumble across a small favorite store tucked away in an alley.
What to buy?
The most typical items tourists buy with them from Switzerland are undoubtedly watches, pocket knives and chocolates. Swiss watches have become synonymous with precision and quality, and there is almost no upper price limit for the most exclusive, such as Rolex and Omega.
Admittedly, you can find cheap wristwatches in Zurich defined by AbbreviationFinder, but if the price is under 40 Swiss francs, or 200 kroner, then it’s probably Asian imports. The most affordable Swiss watches are the well-known Swatch brand, and the M-watch.
The pocket knives, or Swiss Army Knifes as they are called internationally, are also one of Switzerland’s foremost inventions and merchandise. As the name suggests, they were made quite right for the Swiss army in 1891. You can buy these high-quality knives from Riethmüller AG at Bahnhofstrasse 31, or less expensive variants at the tourist shops. And don’t bring it with you in your luggage when you get home!
Swiss chocolate is considered one of the best in the world, and is a top seller in the tourist shops, or at the biggest grocery stores Coop and Migros, which have a huge selection on their chocolate shelves. The best of Swiss chocolate is found at the traditional Confiserie Sprüngli in Bahnhofstrasse 21, which is also Zurich’s oldest bakery. Alternatively, visit Teuscher in Storchengasse 9.
On Bahnhofstrasse are two of the city’s largest department stores. The traditional Jelmoli has existed since 1833, but today is in sharp competition with the modern Globus.
However, Zurich’s most popular shopping center is probably Shop Ville under the train station, which is one of the few places that is actually open seven days a week, from 0900 to 2100.
At Bürkliplatz at the south end of Bahnhofstrasse, and at Helvetiaplatz west of the train station, flower and vegetable markets are organized every Friday between 0600 and 1100. On Saturdays there are all kinds of groceries sold at Bürkliplatz from hundreds of small stalls.
Also check out the Arrivals Hall at the train station on Wednesdays, as the gourmet market with Swiss food products is kept in focus.
Generally about shopping in Zurich
The shop opening hours are usually from 0900 to 1830 or 2000 on weekdays, and from 0900 to 1600 or 1700 on Saturdays. On Sundays, most are closed, with the exception being Shop Ville.
Don’t forget that you pay 7.6% VAT and that on all purchases over 400 Swiss francs, or about NOK 2000, you can get a refund of the VAT on departure. Not all stores have a VAT refund scheme, so look for the Tax Free Shopping badge at the entrance to buy expensive products. Remember to bring a completed and stamped form and receipt.
Many associate Swiss food with fondue. Fondue is usually based on cheese, but is also offered with oil or chocolate. If you want to try this out, we can recommend Adler’s Swiss Chuchi, at Hotel Adler at the intersection of Niederdorfstrasse and Rosengasse. Prices start at around NOK 150 per person. Table reservation is recommended.
But the dish most typical of exactly Zurich is undoubtedly Zürigschnätzlets. This is veal in a sauce of cream and wine. As an accessory, try the roasti, a kind of thick mashed potato pancake. Rösti is also served as a main course, but is often seasoned with cheese, onions and bacon. And of course we should not forget the Swiss cheese, or Emmenthal, which has one of the places of honor in Swiss cuisine.
If you want to try something really local, then find the way to the old classic Rheinfelder Bierhalle in Niederdorfstrasse 76, which really meets all your expectations and prejudices about the Alpine country. Swiss food and cheap beer on the menu, and in the room there are white ceiling lights and long wooden benches that you would like to share with the sideman. So arch-Swiss that you almost expect a gentleman with a Tyrolean hat and the manager’s pants to pop up on the table every now and then.
Please note that this room can be quite smoky, at the time of writing the Swiss have not yet introduced any smoking law.
Another very Swiss but slightly nicer restaurant is Zeughauskeller in Bahnhofstrasse 28a, right on Paradeplatz. In a 15th-century building, this basement restaurant has been serving traditional Swiss food for 85 years, often prepared after centuries-old recipes. Among the city’s most fashionable restaurants is Sein, located in Schützengasse 5, just off the train station. Sein is known for a creative menu and they also have a good selection for vegetarians.
Zurich is also home to Europe’s first vegetarian restaurant. Hiltl opened as early as 1898 and is located at 28 Sihlstrasse.
If you are in the daring corner and want to try something completely out of the ordinary, then choose the restaurant Blindekuh, or at good Norwegian Blindebukk. Here, blind waiters serve you food made by blind cooks, and you sit in the steamy darkness eating something you have no idea what is or what it looks like. What does the interior look like? We have no idea! The address is Mühlbachstrasse 48.
Drink in Zurich
Switzerland may not be the country you first think of when it comes to wine, but there are several wine districts in the country. Most are located in the west of Switzerland, around Geneva and Neuchatel, and in Ticino in the south. You’ve probably never heard of any of the brands because it’s not exported out of the country, but Riesling X Sylvaner is a decent and popular white wine. The red wines aren’t the whole world. Read more about Swiss wine !
The Swiss are also enthusiastic about their Rivella, a locally produced soft drink with carbonated acid, but based on milk products, thus containing lactose.
Also try the chocolate milk drink Ovomaltine, which has a tradition of more than a hundred years in Switzerland and which is ever popular.
The largest brewery in Switzerland is Feldschlösschen, which among other things produces the mild pilsner beer of the same name. At the other end of the scale you have powder barrel Samichlaus, one of the world’s strongest beer brands at 14%. It is produced (fortunately) only for Christmas, hence the name called Santa Claus. We also have the sense of the bright Pilsen Unser Bier from Basel, and Appenzeller’s Natural Pearl.