I’ve been driving people taking a city break to Switzerland around the country for years and have got to know the three favourite destinations – Geneva, Zurich and Basel –intimately. Here are a few of my personal recommendations if you’re planning a visit to any of these excellent Swiss cities. |
Geneva is a cosmopolitan paradise housing many UN offices and over 200 international organisations. The streets are filled with people from around the world and buzzes with an international atmosphere. This is reflected in the many bars, bistros, gourmet restaurants and international brand name stores.
Places to Visit
- The UN Geneva HQ – this is housed in the Palais de Nation, once the home of the League of Nations. If you like architecture, art, history and politics then it’s well worth a visit. Entry requires a passport and there are guided tours almost every day – you can find more information on the website here.
- Lake Geneva – this is a wonderful place for a stroll and some selfies. Check out the Jet d’Eau – the world’s tallest fountain that shoots 140 metres into the air. Walk past the floral clock and then under the fountain for an invigorating “shower“.
Shops, Eating & Night Life
- The Old Town – it is worth spending a few hours exploring the Geneva’s Old Town. Try climbing the 147 steps to the top of St. Pierre Cathedral tower for a magnificent panoramic view of the city.
Geneva is home to some of the world’s leading brands. They aren’t cheap, but looking is free!
The Les Pâquis district, close to the railway station, is famous for its multi-ethnic population, its small red light district and dozens of bars and restaurants. The Old Town and especially its main square, Le Bourg de Four, is a hot spot with many nightclubs where you can celebrate until the wee small hours of the morning.
Basel is a small city straddling the Rhine. For young couples who want to see and explore as much of the world as they can without spending a fortune, Basel is perfect for a city break to Switzerland.
Things to See
- Munster Cathedral (Rittergasse 3, Basel) – construction of this magnificent cathedral stretched from 1019 to 1500, so its architecture is very diverse. It began as a Catholic church but later became a Protestant place of worship. If they’re open, take the time to climb one or both of the towers for a magnificent view.
- Basel Rathaus (town hall) – this impressive, red brick building dates to the sixteenth century. Check out the inner courtyard with scenes from the Bible and Swiss history painted on its walls.
Shops, Eating & Night Life
- Carnival-Fountain (Tinguely-Fountain) – it’s well worth scheduling a visit to this collection of 10 kinetic sculptures by Swiss artist Jean Tinguely. Get some unusual selfies as the sculptures move and spray water.
Basel's shopping mile begins at Claraplatz and crosses the bridge to Marktplatz going down Freie Strasse onto Bankverein. For designer labels try Spalenberg with many well-known brands as well as many smaller, specialised shops.
In the past, Zurich was the centre for banks, high finance and international trade. Recently, however, its character has been changing as it develops into a city with a vibrant cultural scene.
Things to See
- The Museum of Digital Art (MuDA) – visiting this unique museum is a must during your Zurich city break.
- Fifa’s World Football Museum – if you’re a football fan, take a fascinating trip to that allows you to explore the sport’s origins, development and future.
- Clouds – For a breath-taking view over the city and surrounding area (and some great gourmet food), visit this restaurant on the 35th floor of the Prime Tower in western Zurich.
Many airlines, including EasyJet and Ryanair, fly into Switzerland from many UK locations. To get from the airport to your hotel, make sure that you book a transfer with Shuttle Direct in advance – their efficient and comfortable service takes the stress out of travelling.
So what are you waiting for? There are many delights that await you on a city break to Switzerland.
Lukas Johannes is a driver for Shuttle Direct, the number one provider of shared and private airport transfers all over Europe and northern Africa. If you’re heading off for a relaxing city break in Switzerland, Lukas and his colleagues can make sure that you and your luggage get to and from the airport swiftly and safely.
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