The Kunsthaus Zurich is among the most prominent fine arts museums in the city and is renowned for its 19th and 20th-century collections. It includes pieces by Chagall, Mondrian, Munch and other masters. Those who favor Impressionist artists will be delighted to find two of Monet's best waterlily paintings here. Modern art is not forgotten, with works by Beuys, Baselitz and Bacon flying the flag. At the entrance, you will find an elaborately stocked art bookshop. Refresh yourself at the café bar or restaurant.
Nestled along the fringes of Lake Zurich, the Zürich Opera House, known locally as Opernhaus Zürich, has a history dating as far back as 1834. Its stately facade, fashioned in white and grey sandstone, gives way to interiors which are just as regal, adorned with gorgeous carved paintings of maestros like Schiller, Mozart, Shakespeare, Goethe, and Weber. Touted as one of the world's smallest opera houses, this neo-classical edifice yet stands magnificent bearing a stunning repertoire of theater, ballet, premiers and the like. It has established itself as one of the pioneers in the rich and eclectic course of Swiss arts and culture. Currently housing the Bernhard-Theater Zürich and the Zürich Ballet, this award-winning opera house brings to mind the past glories of the iconic operatic and theatrical cultures of Switzerland.
Crowning the picture-perfect Weinegg Quarter, this university garden is enlivened by a vivid tapestry of botanical wonders. It is an integral part of the Institute of Systematic Botany. Constructed across its verdant meadows are bubble-style greenhouses, bountiful harbors of plants which lovingly call to mind the clear weather and vibrant landscapes of the Mediterranean and the Tropics. Come spring, the garden comes alive with a burst of mesmerizing blooms while droves of frogs croon into its glimmering pond. From alpine roses and water plants to native European and primitive species, the garden strives to be an embodiment of both research and recreation, creating a gardenscape which is a spectacular feast for the senses.
Flanked by verdant hills, the majestic Lake Zurich spans the cantons of Zürich, St. Gallen and Schwyz. The lake is bridged by the Seedamm at the point where it narrows, diving Lake Zurich into two distinct parts. Carved out by the ambling Linth River, this enormous lake is fringed by vineyards, orchards and splendid alpine hillocks. Myriad cruise ships ply its shimmering, blue-green waters, making it an ideal tourist destination replete with opportunities for adventure. Along its banks lie a wide variety of lake-view restaurants where patrons can relish 'Fischknusperli', a dish made using fish straight from the lake's depths. In addition, Lake Zurich is a popular windsurfing destination, and several idyllic hiking and biking trails wind around its perimeter. Particularly on public holidays, the lake is swarmed by boats and its banks with strolling people.
The Predigerkirche in Zurich is a beautiful protestant church with spectacular architecture. It is was built somewhere in the 13th Century and was run by Dominican monks but was turned into a protestant church after the Zwingli Reformation. Besides the wooden church pews, the side aisle has a library and a seating area with chairs for lunch that is served every Sunday. Almost every evening the church is a venue for Christian concerts.
The Offene Rennbahn in Oerlikon, Zurich, is an open air track-cycling arena. Dating back to 1912, this concrete track was host to the inaugural UCI Track Cycling World Championships (Bahn-Radweltmeisterschaften) which was held in 1923. The arena has a seating capacity of 3,000 and is a regular venue for other disciplines of track cycling as well. Call ahead to know more.
Zurich's vibrant and diverse history comes alive Augustinergasse, a historic street which winds through the charming Old Town. Touted as one of Zurich's most colorful streets, Augustinergasse is where lovingly carved, wooden windows embellish picture-perfect buildings gleaming in corals, emeralds and pastels. In the Middle Ages, it was home to a number of local artists, though the street was largely occupied by wealthy factory owners by the 17th Century. Notable landmarks along Augustinergasse include Augustinerkirche, one of the most significant churches in medieval Zurich, and Munzplatz, which served not only as a church but also as a workshop and mint coinage. Perhaps the most striking attribute of these edifices is the strategically crafted oriel windows, which go beyond just being a pretty ornamentation. Through these bay windows, residents could view forthcoming guests, hence buying themselves time to decline them with grace, if they so wished. These buildings which date to as far back as the 14th Century, are presently storefronts brimming with cultural relics, books, souvenirs, clothing and the likes.
Villa Patumbah, built for Karl Fürchtegott in the 1880s, demonstrates an architectural style quintessential of the Renaissance period. Designed by Chiodera and Tschudy, the ornate structure is punctuated by a magnificent piano nobile. A glass-stained dome tops the marble-framed windows, intricate murals and balconies. The villa is surrounded by a verdant landscape of manicured lawns, ponds, fountains and gazebos. It is the present headquarters of the Swiss Heritage Society.
Explore the quiet beauty of Zurich on foot, with knowledgeable guides from Free Walking Tours Zurich to enlighten you every step of the way. Choose from a bevy of tour types, each tour unearthing an interesting nugget of the city. The Downtown Zurich Tour takes you around Paradeplatz, Lindenhof, Niederhof and other hidden gems, while the city's Historical Tour helps you understand the Medieval charm of the city. Other free tour options include the Langstrasse Tour, the New in Zurich Tour and the Zurich West Tour. While the tours are tagged free, it is imperative to note that the organizers do appreciate tips and donations.
Though quite central, Josefstrasse feels like it's way off the beaten path. Traffic - both pedestrian and motorized - is light, making it a pleasant street for strolling. Here you'll find a wide range of stylish boutiques, some of them featuring Swiss designers. In addition to cool clothing and accessories, there are some funky housewares, too. Other shops sell hiking gear, skateboards, books and music, and keep an eye out for the impressive hookah pipe collection at one of the grocery stores. If you happen to get hungry, you can choose from Thai, Italian, Middle Eastern, Indian, Japanese and Swiss restaurants.
Museum Sammlung Rosengart is an iconic landmark of fine art in the city. This establishment curates and displays century-spanning artwork by influential artists from across the world. These include masterpieces by Claude Monet, Paul Klee, Pablo Picasso, and the like. Take a well-interpreted tour of the museum and marvel at thought-provoking sketches, paintings and canvases. The exhibition represents the Impressionism art movement of the 19th Century, as well as the Surrealism and Classical Modernism cultural movements of the early 20th Century. For further research, visitors can pick up books and publications on a range of topics.
Constructed in 1333, Kapellbrücke is the oldest covered wooden bridge in all of Europe. The truss-style landmark crosses the Reuss River and features a prominent water tower, which was originally constructed as part of the fortification for the city and used later as a treasury, prison, and torture chamber. Named after St. Peter's Chapel, the bridge also features paintings dating back to the 1600s. Unfortunately, several of its artworks have been destroyed over time. Today, Kapellbrücke is one of the most photographed landmarks in Lucerne and makes for a supremely pleasant addition to any itinerary.