Zurich may just be one of Europe's best-kept secrets.
The Swiss city's long association with financial order and good timekeeping disguises an increasingly progressive cultural hub, where historic landmarks sit alongside arty pop-ups and night spots. With its windy streets, stunning lakeside backdrop and scope for Alpine adventure, Zurich is a medieval gem reborn for the 21st century.
Arriving at Zurich Airport
Zurich Airport (ZRH), with its three runways and three terminals, is Switzerland's busiest transport hub. Also known as Kloten airport, it lies just over six miles (10km) north of the city centre, spread across the municipalities of Kloten, Rumlang, Oberglatt, Winkel and Opfikon. Terminals A, B and E connect to the Airport Centre building, home to the check-in areas, shopping areas and onward connections.
Trains depart from Zurich Airport railway station for Zurich Hauptbahnhof – the city's main station – every few minutes. The journey takes between 10 and 15 minutes. The Stadtbahn Glattal light rail system also services the airport, offering a useful alternative for visitors staying in the north of the city.
Zurich Airport has excellent road transport links. If you're hiring a car from the main terminal complex, expect a 20-minute drive into the city centre along the A51 motorway. You'll take the same road for ski resorts to the south of Zurich, including Engelberg, Titlis and Andermatt.
Taxis are available 24/7 from in front of the arrivals areas, and more than a dozen bus routes service the airport.
Recent years have seen Zurich shrug off its somewhat stiff and stuffy persona, and become a surprising hotspot for counterculture. There's still an upmarket scene to cater to the many resident and visiting bankers and high-end retailers, but it now co-exists with a progressive youth movement centred around boldness and creativity. Naturally, this feeds into the city's nightlife, which increasingly attracts a crowd from all over Switzerland.
Venture into the revitalised Zurich West and you'll find chic bars, hipster cafes, independent art venues and a broad range of clubs and live music venues. If Zurich's centre is the heart of the city, the West End is its 21st-century soul. In summer you can enjoy a drink at one of the outdoor bars until midnight before taking the party inside until the early hours.
More centrally, the streets around the upgraded Langstrasse – formerly Zurich's red-light district – are teaming with bars, restaurants and 24-hour shops. Niederdorf in the Old Town is also a long-established after-hours destination, with plenty of upmarket bars and eateries to choose from. Parts of the town remain quiet, but the action is never far away.