We all tend to have that special place or places we discovered during our travels, right? And that they somehow become our favourite, and sometimes even the highlight of our trip. When we think back of that special place, we cannot help but smile and feel good.
In Zurich, there are many nice places to see, explore and experience. However, it is not a city that is rousing and intriguing as Amsterdam, London or Barcelona. Not like Paris even. On the surface, the city does not have room for that conspicuous mischievous factor, which we usually notice and sometimes look for in a big city. I have to admit that a sense promiscuity does give a city some (wild) edge. You know, excitement. Zurich’s allure, however, is nothing like this. More like subdued. She does not really flaunt herself to her visitors, like a seducer looking for a one-night stand. You come to her, of your own free will.
It is, therefore, what I call a very ‘proper’ city, which quite reminds me of Oslo and Helsinki. Except though for the teasing display of public baths and outdoor pools during the summer months, which came as a surprise to me during the visit. Ah well, I am thankful that the Swiss, after all, has a darker shade of grey, outside banking matters. *pun intended*
So yes, I have 2 favourite spots in the city, and I’ll tell you about them and why.
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My 2 favourite spots in Zurich are both located in the Old Town, in the Niederdorf Quarter: The public squares in Neumarkt and Spiegelgasse-Napfgasse. These 2 places are small squares that just oozes with charm, culture and tradition. Because of their size and location, both places looked like secret spots, a nook that is somewhat hidden from the outside world and the busier pedestrian streets of the Old Town. Now I love places like these.
FAVOURITE SPOT 1: LITTLE TRIANGULAR Square IN NEUMARKT
I have just sent Bubbles and M on their tram to Zurich Hauptbahnhof. We’ve finished a very late lunch and strolling around the Enge District and they are catching their flight back to Portugal where they continue on their holidays before going back to Canada. So after sending them off, I went on for a little walk in the Old Town, in the Niederdorf Quarter.
It was during this walk that I came across Neumarkt. I think it was something along the love at first sight situation. The triangular square between Neumarkt and Spiegelgasse has a fountain called Nike and a café restaurant, the Kantorei that has a lovely outdoor terrace. The view of the square from the Seilergraben shows the Grimmenturm (Grim Tower), a medieval tower that was part of the first city fortifications.
Other notable buildings on the street are the 14th-century Synagogengasse (Jewish synagogue), Haus zum Rechberg where the city archives were situated, the Haus zum Mohrenkopf, the house of the last abbess of the Farumunster Abbey, the Bilgeriturm and Theater am Neumarkt
I cannot help but stay put here. So I sat down on the outdoor terrace and ordered a ginger-lemonade drink, which was locally made by the restaurant. This part of Zurich is the perfect place to breathe in the city’s traditional atmosphere. A great place for friends to catch up with a drink, read a book or the Zurich free city guide which I did and just savour the charm of this little triangular square.
FAVOURITE SPOT 2: THE SQUARE BETWEEN SPIEGELGASSE & NAPFGASSE
I first discovered this charming medieval square together with Bubbles and M. We were just walking around the Old Town aimlessly when we came upon this a bit hilly square that looked more like an outdoor courtyard of the guild houses around it.
My first reaction was – This is a nice and cosy little square! Let us take selfies =)
There is a fountain in the middle and there is as well a café restaurant on the corner of Oberau Zaune, this is the Restaurant Turm, Zunfthaus zur Letzi where they place an outdoor terrace on the square which makes the whole place really cosy and inviting.
This square is just a few metres away from the busy pedestrian street, Munstergasse. This is a great place to hide away from other tourists and from the hectic flow on the main streets. A respite so to speak. Perfect for an afternoon drink here or even lunch and dinner would also be fine. I can’t speak for the quality and taste of the food of this restaurant of course, but surely I can guarantee of the lovely ambience little somewhat hidden square has an effect on me.
Oh, I have a 3rd runner-up! The LIMMATQUAI, but this deserves another separate post.
Travel Period: September 2016
Destination: Niederdorf, Zurich Old Town (Zurich), Switzerland
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Happy Travels! Enjoy Life =)
All pictures were taken by a point and shoot pocket camera or a smartphone.