Updated: Apr 1, 2021
As we embrace the new normal living in a post-lockdown Zürich, many find themselves with an itch to travel. Daydreaming about jet setting off to faraway places last month has whetted our appetites for adventure. Fortunately, discovering places near home is effortless with tips about local hidden gems from famous Zürchers. These unique and alluring places will awaken your inner explorer and leave you breathless without even having to board a plane. Pack your day bag and wander through this list of eight hidden gems you should visit in Zürich.
#1 Café Schober
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so why not start with the perfect cup of coffee at Café Schober like Zürcher model and actress Zoë Pastelle? This historic cafe opened in 1842 and continues to offer mouth-watering sweets, savoury dishes, and tasty beverages all year round. Nestled in the old city of Zürich, Café Schober fuses 19th-century class with a cosy coffee shop atmosphere.
The café’s opulent interior is well known, but its darling courtyard, where you can enjoy a gentle breeze, is sometimes overlooked. Decorated with colourful ceramic tiles and complete with a majestic lion’s head fountain, this courtyard will transport you back to the late 19th century. Visitors to Café Schober often have a tough time choosing only one dessert to indulge in—if you’re celebrating something, we recommend choosing at least two!
#2 Villa Tobler’s Garden
A historic hidden gem in the heart of Zurich, the stately Villa Tobler overlooks the old town. This 19th-century villa was designed by Jakob Friedrich Wanner (of Zürich HB fame) and still serves as a venue for large gatherings today. While this art nouveau villa is the perfect backdrop for any distinguished affair, its garden is the real treasure.
Beauty editor at Bolero magazine and Zürich local, Carla Reinhard recommends this villa’s garden for a charming afternoon stroll. Furnished with plenty of benches, Villa Tobler’s garden is also a peaceful place for reading a book in the summer sun. Its vibrant flora and quaint fountains will have you feeling far, far away while still in the middle of the city.
#3 Belvoir Park
What began as a private garden for the Escher family in the 19th century is known today as the beautiful Belvoir Park. You can find this picturesque park next to the lake near Enge. Adorned with realistic brass statues, Belvoir Park is a flower lover’s dream as it contains over 120 varieties of irises that paint its landscape in an array of colours.
Zürich fashionista Sandra Bauknecht finds Belvoir Park’s wisteria lane enchanting with its lilac hues and sweet perfume. The colourful scenery at this Zürich park is great for those looking to connect with nature but not venture too far from home. Mums who want their kids to enjoy nature’s bounty or schedule a chilled out playdate will be especially delighted.
#4 Küsnacht Ravine Walk
Treat yourself (and your loved ones) to a breath of fresh air by reveling in the beauty of nature on the Küsnacht Ravine Walk. This stunning nature trail can be found a short distance from Zürich. Make your way to Küsnacht in 20 minutes by car or 30 minutes by train for a natural hidden gem that’s just within reach of the city.
Surrounded by lush greenery and babbling creeks, this calming walk makes a wonderful summertime activity for anyone looking for a change of scenery. As it stretches 7 kilometres long, parents looking to bring their kids along for the journey ought to consider bringing a stroller. Periodically taking breaks to rest and soak up the loveliness is a good option, too.
#5 Brera Italian Restaurant
Stop in for an aperitivo or a satisfying Italian meal at the new hip restaurant Brera. This modern restaurant showcases mid-century minimalist design and natural accents to create a calming dining experience. While their decoration is sleek and simple, their food provides a wild splash of colour that’s sure to make any occasion more delicious.
Brera comes highly recommended by local foodies Harry & Carrie of Harry’s Ding. Diners who want to sample the Italian delights here will be pleased to find a range of dishes from pizza bufala to tagliatelle cacio e pepe to tiramisu. There is also no shortage of flavourful cocktails to choose from, which make this hidden gem a perfect spot for pre-dinner drinks.
Travel to far-flung shores by feasting your eyes on one of the world’s largest collections of succulents, located just off the Lake of Zürich. Sukkulenten-Sammlung may not be the collection of plants you’d expect to find in Switzerland, but it will pleasantly surprise any visitor. Despite its important collection of succulents, this botanic centre is a well-kept secret in the city.
Sukkulenten-Sammlung houses nearly 6,500 species of plants which are all kept in spaces designed for their climates. This hidden gem is perfect for parents who want to teach their children about plants as the centre offers a library and seed bank for burgeoning gardeners. For an unforgettable moment this summer, schedule your visit to see the cactus they call “The Queen of the Night” bloom. This rare event only happens one night a year!
#7 The Nest at Hotel Storchen
Take in the sights and sounds of Zürich from the top of the five-star Hotel Storchen. The Nest is a hidden gem which offers refreshing drinks, deluxe dishes, and a perfect view of the Grossmünster. With friendly staff and comfy seating, an after-work drink or hen party can easily turn into an all-night event.
Accomplished Zürcher writer Nel-Olivia Waga is just one of many locals who frequents The Nest to enjoy their delectable cocktails. The vistas from this rooftop bar coupled with its impressive menu make it an ideal spot to watch the sunset in the city. Kick-off the weekend or spoil yourself with an exquisite dinner at The Nest this summer.
#8 Nescens Spa at Victoria Jungfrau Grand Hotel
A healing spa day can be exactly what we need to soothe our bodies and minds. Take a short trip outside Zürich to visit the divine Nescens Spa where you can focus on your wellness and let the stress melt away. Based in the Victoria Jungfrau Hotel, Nescens Spa’s approach marries science and medicine to provide a wholly healing experience.
With the help of a team of coaches, therapists, and medical specialists the spa aids visitors in combating ageing, getting in shape, and living overall healthier lives. Local beauty blogger Steffi Hidber of Hey Pretty Beauty can attest to the restorative power of a visit to Nescens Spa. The dedicated staff, their wealth of knowledge, and years of experience make this spa the perfect wellness retreat near Zürich.
Staying close to home is the way to go for many locals looking to stay safe this summer. With Zürich as your playground and these hidden gems as your guide, you’ll be able to revel in the splendour of the city. For more noteworthy experiences in Zürich, visit Maison Ito’s experiences menu to find a natural skin care treatment to tailor to your wellness needs.
BY ASHUNI P. & EMILIE CELINE
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