Category Archives: Zurich Travel

Summer’s Here, Bring On The Water!

After a weather of “beschissenem Wetter” the sun and subsequently the “Gluthitze” has returned to Zurich. For many coming from North America this heat is nothing unusual, but it is hard to cope with given the fact that most places lack air conditioning, and those places that have it never turn it up as high as say a North American cinema.

As hot as it may be, summer is when Zürich really shines and shows that it is truly one of the best cities in the world. Contributing to the high standard of living is the number of public swimming pools and “baths”. Zürich has more places to swim than almost any other European city, which is fascinating given the fact that it is still landlocked.

These swimming pools (“Badi” in Swiss German) are mere minutes from every district in the city. There are 6 pools, 6 beaches/bathhouses on the lake, and 5 bathhouses on the Limmat, numerous areas to just swim at your own risk and 7 indoor swimming pools.

That adds up to 24 public pools, beaches and baths that are also supplemented by 8 school swimming pools that open to the public at certain times. The baths are so well organized that men not wishing to be harassed by women’s goggling eyes can swim at the Flussbad Schanzengraben (for men only). Women also have a private bath at Stadthausquai.

And if you live on the Gold Coast in places such as Herrliberg, you may have a beach for town residents only. Here you’ll have to put up with both men and women, but at least you can be socially exclusive.

Unlike many North American cities with lakes and rivers that post water quality hazards and closures of public swimming areas on a regular bases, Lake Zurich (Zürichsee) is renowned for its water quality, which is in fact so clean that many of the fish are dying as there is nothing for them to eat. This fact is welcomed by many swimmers as it ensures a degree of relief as they do not need to fear a Jaws-like fish devouring them while peacefully swimming at one of the lakeside baths.

One of my favourite baths is the Utoquai. Swimming here is like taking a trip back to 19th century Zurich. It was designed by William Henri Martin and built in 1890 as a bathing palace to accent the newly built quay along the lake. The original structure had four separate areas for men, women, boys, and girls. The sunbathing terrace on the roofs were added in 1908.

In the 1950s the bath house was almost demolished during a craze of rebuilding and redesigning the city. However, the people of Zurich then as now cherished their baths and would not allow this. In 1973 the boys and girls swimming pools were covered and turned into sunbathing areas. In the 1990s a sauna and massage area was added, making the bath usable year round.

If swimming isn’t your thing, but you’re still looking for a way to cool down try on of Zurich’s 1200+ water fountains with drinking quality water. Not only an excellent way to cool down, but save money and the environment.

Here is a list of the 24 swimming places in Zurich:

Indoor Pools:

Altstetten

Bläsi

Bungertwies

City

Wärmebad Käferberg

Orelikon

Leimbach

Summer Pools, Baths and Beaches (Lake & River):

Freibad Allenmoos

Freibad Auhof

Flussbad Au-Höngg

Freibad Dolder

Seebad Enge

Freibad Heuried

Seebad Katzensee

Freibad Letzigraben (designed by Swiss author Max Frisch)

Strandbad Mythenquai

Flussbad Oberer Letten

Flussbad Schanzengraben (men only)

Freibad Seebach

Frauenbad Stadthausquai (women only)

Strandbad Tiefenbrunnen

Flussbad Unterer Letten

Seebad Utoquai

Strandbad Wollishofen

Freibad Zwischen den Hölzern

(Written by Christian Langenegger, co-founder of Marathon Sprachen in Winterthur www.marathonlanguages.com)

Train Travel From Zurich To Milan

We had cause to travel to Naples recently and decided to take a train journey via Milan instead of go by plane, especially since no airline flies from Zurich to Naples anymore.

Planning the trip was easy enough. You can get train times from the Swiss Railways website but you will need to wait a couple of days for a human to calculate a total price and contact by email so this is not ideal if you need to travel within the next couple of days.

The best way is to visit any SBB ticket office. I used the travel office at Zurich Main Station (HB), where the whole process was done and dusted within 10 minutes. Again, this was because we needed to book the whole journey down to Naples. For the Zurich to Milan leg, you can buy the ticket from any ticket office and also online.

Focusing on the Zurich to Milan leg of the journey, this really was a breeze. In a touch over 3 hours, you are whisked from city to city on the Cisalpino train. The Cisalpino allows you to do the journey without a change but there are only a few trains per day. if you are OK with one or two changes then the journey can be done in a variety of other ways.

The Cisalpino itself is an Italian service, run by the Italian railway so there are a few things that you usually do not find on a Swiss train. For example, the electric blind was jammed and could not be moved up without applying some brute force.

We went for first class seats, reasonable priced at 100CHF thanks to the Half Card and it was all very comfortable with a decent trolley service. You can also book seats for dinner in the restaurant car.

Our table had electrical sockets, ideal for charging the laptop en route.

The scenery at times was breathtaking. Lake Lugano is especially impressive with a dramatic Alpine backdrop. It is interesting whilst travelling through Switzerland to witness the change in town styles as you pass from German regions through to towns closer to Italy. At some points you really feel like you are in Italy although you are still some way from the border.

By the way, now that Switzerland has joined Schengen, no passport check is necessary either way.

On arrival at Milano Centrale, we stopped at the Excelsior Hotel for a coffee before boarding our overnight sleeper to Naples but I have to say, it is worth keeping your wits about you in and around the station.

It’s one of the great things about Switzerland, that you are in the heart of Europe. Within a few hours you are in another major European city and you can make the journey in comfort and at reasonable cost.

Welcome To Zurich Expats!

Hello friends and welcome to Zurich Expats. The site was set up when we moved to Zurich as a way of recording the things we have found and storing the information we have so that it may be of use to use it. Of course, we welcome information from our users and visitors so if you have a suggested topic then please get in touch or take part by commenting on our articles.