I spent a couple of weeks in December making my way through central Europe, starting with a few days in Switzerland’s Zurich. As always, I managed to fit quite a lot in, including one of the best experiences of my life (Jungfraujoch). Here are all the reviews!

I was technically in Zurich for 4 days, but since day 1 was only an evening and day 4 was missing an evening, I merged them into a single day.

Note: This is part 1 of 4 from this trip: Zurich, Vienna, Prague, and Berlin.

Day 1 (16th December): Arrival

Our flight was very smooth, although it was a bit of a surprise how busy it was outside Zurich’s main station in terms of people, trains, and trams, taking us 10 minutes to walk a couple of hundred yards to the hotel! Once checked in we grabbed dinner at the Christmas market and that was us done for the day: a measly 11,332 steps (4.49 miles) walked.

Zürcher Weihnachtsallee ★★★★★

An excellent Christmas market, with a wide variety of food and drink. Impressively, there’s plenty of seating spread throughout, including little huts with comfy seating. It’s worth looking at the whole market before picking a meal, since my favourites were at the very end.

Original review (2 photos)

Te Nana GmbH ★★★★★

I came across Te Nana when I visited Zurich recently, and they were nestled away in the Christmas market. The staff were super helpful with picking a meal, and it was absolutely delicious! Highly recommend, I hope they keep appearing at other markets.

Original review (1 photo)

Ruby Mimi Hotel & Bar ★★★✰✰

Ruby Mimi is in an excellent location, being both near Zurich’s main station and the Limmat river, making it easy to get anywhere in central or east Zurich. However, some of the room design choices are questionable.

We booked a “Lovely Room”, offering slightly more room than a regular double. The room layout was bizarre, with a large empty space at one end, yet barely any space to squeeze past the bottom of the bed to access it. The shower was also open by default to the rest of the room, with a shower curtain on the outside. Similarly, the toilet itself had frosted glass instead of actual walls. In addition, there was zero storage space besides a narrow shelf running the length of the room, so all clothes etc will be out in the open. Why?

All of this results in a somewhat unsettling experience when staying with someone else, a little bit of privacy is nice sometimes, even from your partner!

Finally, the breakfast is pretty limited. No cooked food, it instead consists of deli meat / cheese and breads, with a bit of salad. It’s okay, but less than I’ve experienced in most other hotels.

Original review (2 photos)

Day 2 (17th December): Sightseeing

This was a bit of an “all over the place day”, with the goal of essentially seeing all the main sights of the city. We did pretty well, even managing a few optional extras including a late night bubble tea run! I didn’t review things we only saw in passing, such as Grossmünster or Zürich Opera House.

These reviews aren’t in order since… I can’t remember our chaotic route! It was a long day, with 19,203 steps (8.36 miles) walked.

zurich day 2

Café Elena ★★★★✰

Entering this café felt a bit like walking into an Instagram photoshoot! Check out all the roses in other photos.

Whilst the food was a little pricey, and their interpretation of an English Breakfast bagel was… unique, it was all delicious. It’s pretty popular, so I’d recommend coming here for breakfast not brunch. The Turkish coffee was excellent.

Original review (1 photo)

Platzspitz ★★★★★

Whilst this small park is a good way of navigating to the North-East of the city, it’s also a decent place. There’s plenty of dog-walkers around, and the rivers on either side gives it a very “open” feel. Worth routing through if convenient.

Original review

Platzspitzwehr ★★★★★

A relaxing noisy weir! The viewing area is a little bit dirty, with graffiti and trash, but it’s still worth watching for a few minutes before moving on with your day.

Original review (1 photo)

Swiss National Museum ★★★★★

Well worth visiting if you’re in Zurich. The Swiss National Museum has a variety of exhibits (always in English & German) covering both the recent and historical Swiss past. This includes kid friendly activities like a 3D map of the country, restored classical rooms, as well as ancient artefacts.

I visited at Christmas and there was a special exhibition with various interpretations of the “three wise men”, and their evolution over time.

The entrance is the doors below the “Landesmuseum” sign, with the ticket desk in front and the shop off to the left. Note that after completing the first floor there is a very long staircase up to the top, with the main museum continuing from the top down in a confusing labyrinth. There may be a better way to navigate, but I didn’t find it!

It was very quiet when we visited, with most rooms after the first floor having nobody else in. This made it a very relaxing experience, to be explored at our own pace.

Original review (5 photos)

Lindenhof ★★★★★

A small concrete area with great views across the river, populated with a few tourists and plenty of locals playing giant chess and similar games. A peaceful and quiet spot for a short rest before diving back into the narrow city streets.

Original review (3 photos)

UBH Polybahn ★★★★★

A useful fully automated funicular railway (e.g., no staff at all) taking you from the river up to the university in ~60 seconds. It’s a steep hill, so definitely worth taking if you need to get between the two. I’d recommend the “bottom” seat, you’ll get the best view.

Tickets can be purchased outside from a self-service machine, although the interface is a little confusing, I’m still not certain I bought the correct number of tickets!

Original review (3 photos)

Polyterrasse ★★★★★

Whilst Polyterrasse is just a large viewing area, the views are excellent, covering most of Zurich! The images speak for themselves, there’s plenty of benches too.

Original review (2 photos)

focusTerra ★★★★✰

We only spent half hour or so here due to time constraints, and as such only covered the first floor.

focusTerra is a completely free museum with information about earth sciences, mountain formation, and similar topics. Around 60-70% of the signs unfortunately have no English on, including the striking cross-section of a complex mountain range.

There are also essentials like a vending machine, children’s area, and bathrooms here, alongside free talks.

Original review (1 photo)

Schrödingers Katze ★★★★★

Dead again. Meow.

Note: This is a silly joke at a house Schrödinger once lived in, with a metal cat that is sometimes standing, sometimes lying down. Whilst I walked 10 minutes just to see it, don’t expect anything more than a metal cat outside an apartment building!

Original review (1 photo)

Quaianlagen ★★★★✰

A long promenade full of benches to sit on and look out over the lake. It can be quite busy, and the benches are very close to the water so hang onto any children or pets!

Original review

Brasserie Johanniter ★★★★✰

Is this a somewhat tourist-y Swiss restaurant? Undoubtedly. Is the food still well priced and tasty? Also yes!

We visited here for schnitzel and “Zurich Spatzli”, and both were very tasty whilst also not being too expensive for the location.

Original review (1 photo)

Só Tea ★★★★★

This was the only Bubble Tea shop in Zurich open so late! We visited half hour before closing time, and purchased a couple of the special bubble teas, which had unique and interesting offerings.

I felt so guilty when I realised the employee had already mopped and tidied some machines, and we were likely the last customers, making her reclean things! Oops, I assumed there’d be other customers!

Original review

Day 3 (18th December): Jungfraujoch

A day trip! We spent the entire day (8am - 8pm) on a day trip into the Alps and up Jungfraujoch. This was by far the most memorable day of my 2-week holiday, and well worth the cost!

Since we were so high up most of the day (3.5km+), every step was more tiring, so the seemingly short 11,502 steps (4.46 miles) walked was actually exhausting.

zurich day 3

Swiss Alps Day Trip ★★★★★

This was one of the best experiences of my life.

The guides provided genuinely interesting information throughout the lengthy drive to Jungfraujoch, providing lots of insight into both Switzerland and the mountains themselves. The tour we took included both English and Chinese groups, with Fernando looking after English speakers and Mei-Lee (only heard her name once, might be wrong sorry!) looking after Mandarin speakers.

A special shoutout has to be given to the Mandarin-speaking tour guide, for her upbeat enthusiasm throughout a long day! Even on the trains back, she was offering to take photos for everybody. Similarly, she ensured everyone knew what was going on, wasn’t left behind, and was enjoying themselves. As an example of this, my partner and I were glancing at a Lindt shop nearby whilst waiting for a train, she noticed, and rummaged in her bag for a couple of 10% off vouchers she’d just received after making a purchase! A lovely gesture that summarises her overall approach.

Fernando was witty, helpful, and proactively offered extra information throughout, with both guides seeming to have genuine passion for their jobs.

As for the experience itself, it’s very hard to sum up the overwhelmingly unique experience in words. Whilst Interlaken was very foggy when we were there for a brief 1-hour independent explore, all this fog lifted when we got up into the actual mountains via an absurdly high cable car.

Since I tend to plan all my journeys extensively, I was a little nervous beforehand not knowing the exact route. However, the guides provided detailed information when it was needed, and I suspect the plans may change based on how many numbers various groups have (e.g. who goes on which bus, as there was another bus with a Spanish(?)-speaking group).

Whilst some reviews mention negative consequences if you lose your train ticket, this doesn’t seem fair! There’s only 1 ticket to hold on to (that has a map on it), and the tour group’s bulk purchasing makes this trip likely cheaper than buying all the stages individually, even before factoring in the information provided and comfy coach journey.


  • Hop on the front top of the coach if you can, the views are spectacular.
  • Turn up on time! When the confirmation email says show up 15 mins early… show up 15 mins early.
  • The self-service restaurant at the top is excellent, don’t worry about bringing a full meal.
  • It’ll be a long day, so bring a small snack or two.
  • Wear comfy shoes that can walk 100 metres or so on snow. This doesn’t need to be crazy hiking boots, regular trainers should be OK.

Original review (25 photos)

Ice Palace ★★★★✰

The ice palace is a short (5 minute) walk through various ice sculptures in an ice cavern. It tends to be somewhat crowded, and the sculptures are similar to those you’ll see at other ice art exhibitions. Personally I found walking along a corridor made entirely out of ice to be the highlight!

Original review (3 photos)

Sphinx Observatory ★★★★★

The observatory is really just a viewing platform. However, a viewing platform with 360 degree views of the mountains is a unique experience. This observatory is likely what you’ll see when looking up Jungfraujoch and… yep, it’s as high up as you’d expect!

The platform can be quite busy, but it’s very sturdy and safe regardless. Excellent photos (and selfies!) can be taken from both sides of the platform, but make sure to take a look at the frozen observatory too, it’s a bizarre sight.

There were also tens of black birds staring at the visitors throughout, I’m not sure what they’re doing!

Original review (8 photos)

Jungfraujoch Plateau ★★★★★

Walking on a large, open snowy area is a surreal experience. Excellent photo opportunities in every direction, including posing with a Swiss flag if desired.

The ramp up to the plateau is exposed to the elements and heavily walked on, so it’s extremely slippery! Use the ropes at the sides to get up and down safely. Also, if you’re as pale as me, don’t stay out for too long or you’ll get sunburnt on your face in mere minutes!

Original review (6 photos)

Kleine Scheidegg Station ★★★★★

I ended up making a connection between trains here whilst the sun set, and the view was absolutely incredible! Completely unexpected beauty, with the trains adding to the aesthetic.

Original review (2 photos)

Lindt (Grindelwald Terminal) ★★★★★

Whilst not too different from other Lindt stores, considering the location the prices were excellent! Staff were very friendly, and even gave us a couple of free chocolates as we left.

There’s also a few exclusive Lindt flavours up there!

Original review (1 photo)

Day 4 (19th December): Walk & Uetliberg & Leaving

This was a day of 2 parts. We did a walk along the river, checking out a viaduct similar to the High Line in San Francisco. As we ate lunch after this, we spontaneously decided to get a train up Uetliberg mountain, and ended up watching a spectacular sunset before making our way back for our sleeper train to Vienna!

Since this was a wandering / nature-y day, not many reviewable places were visited. The varied day resulted in 18,535 steps (8.27 miles) walked.

zurich day 4

Josefwiese Park ★★★★★

A small but pretty park, feels safe and well maintained. There’s also plenty of benches to sit and eat on.

Make sure to check out the viaduct that runs along the North & West of it, this can be used for a very scenic path into the city centre.

Original review (1 photo)

BRIDGE Food Court ★★★★★

A busy food court! There’s a reasonable variety of food here, but the reason it’s a 5/5 is the ability to order from multiple restaurants at once using a QR code on the table, for a single fee.

Using this, my partner could have a Japanese dish, I could have a “pasta of the day”, and we could also have a drink from a 3rd restaurant and dessert from a 4th! Excellent variety, well worth the 2 CHF or so for delivery.

Original review (1 photo)

Uetliberg Lookout Tower ★★★★★

This viewpoint offers outstanding views of Zurich and nearby villages. It’s completely free to enter, and the usual snacks and drinks are sold nearby.

We ended up here at sunset, and the views were especially beautiful, with Zurich slowly darkening on one side, and fog rolling over villages on the other. The sunset was ridiculously pretty, the photos don’t even begin to do it justice!

Original review (13 photos)


We both loved Zurich and Switzerland! The ability to quickly get from a crowded city centre full of museums and shops to a beautiful small mountain (Uetliberg) is alluring. We spotted a few people grabbing beers to have some after-work drinks up the mountain, and it’s a lovely lifestyle.

Similarly, the small cabins we saw on our way into the Alps (whilst still having fast 5G internet) hinted at an impossible dream of a life, living in an idyllic setting whilst commuting into the city occasionally. Why impossible? Well, Zurich is expensive. It’s not awful, but everything just costs 10-20% more than you might expect.

I was relieved to see how widespread English was in Zurich, with pretty much every sign and shopkeeper speaking it fluently. From a selfish “dumb tourist” perspective, this made the trip much easier.

When discussing and comparing the cities we visited (Zurich, Vienna, Prague, Berlin), we agreed we’d like to live in Zurich if money was literally no issue. This isn’t likely to ever be the case, regardless of how our finances progress, so it’ll remain just a nice place to visit!