A common confusion among many international travellers visiting Switzerland. Which city offers the best on a tight schedule, factors money to value or just to grasp a taste of Swiss culture? is it Zurich or Geneva? In Today’s post, we will shed some light on the Zurich vs Geneva topic. It isn’t what these cities are known for that attracts the tourists of course. Geneva being an international point of presence and Zurich being the country’s financial capital. Switzerland is most popular as a mesmerising country reminding you of fairy tale villages. Now I may be a bit biassed here because I have only been to Zurich a couple of years back. Accumulated some wonderful memories and enjoyed it overall. However, it all comes down to how much time you have and what kind of trip you are looking for. So, we will start by introducing the two cities briefly and see what the attractions and things are to do in each of these.
Zurich vs Geneva: Trivia and Sightseeing
Although it is the metropolitan city of the state, Zurich does offer some pretty landscapes once you pass the urban areas and head towards the countryside. It has Lake Zurich right in the middle of the city which is a popular destination for sunbathers and pot smokers. The Limmat river flows beside the city and the churches Grossmünster and Fraumünster are located on either side of it.
I don’t think there lives a chocolate lover who is not familiar with the unique popularity of Swiss chocolates. Zurich is well known for its fancy chocolates and high-end shopping. Some other interesting facts about Zurich include, having over 1200 water fountains spread out across the city, having over 100 banks, more than 50 museums and art galleries and hosting the world’s largest Technoparade since 1992. The city is quite the blend of modernisation and history/ Now, let’s get to know what the things are to see and do in Zurich among chocolate tasting and upscale shopping.
Bahnhofstrasse, Shopping Centre of Zurich
Probably the most expensive 1.2 Km of shopping that you will encounter in your entire life. It is the world’s third most expensive retail property and the most expensive in all of Europe. Even if shopping isn’t your thing (like most men), strolling these streets is a sightseeing activity itself. Some of these buildings are over a century old, again signifying the blend in modern and the ancient times.
Lake Zurich and Limmat River
As you might have already guessed, a paddleboat tour is the best way to experience the full scope of the beauty of the river and the lake. If you want to be a bit more involved go ahead and take a refreshing dip in Lake Zurich’s pristine waters. You can also find campsites around the lake such as the Fischers Fritz campsite. Grab a lightweight tent and sleeping bag and you are good to go.
Rheinfall, Baden and Luzern
We mentioned earlier that Switzerland undoubtedly radiates the vibe of a fairy tale village. Luzern is one place where you can immerse yourself in that feeling, especially during the winter. The Chapel Bridge with the Water Tower is the landmark of Lucerne and the most photographed monument in Switzerland. It is the most prominent among other attractions in Luzern.
Rheinfall is another spectacular attraction of nature situated to the north of Zurich. Baden, located in the canton of Aargau offers a distinctive culture and a set of values all its own. Again, it emits the vibe of traditional Switzerland back in the day. Baden is a spa town and widely recognized for their thermal spas and hot springs. You can certainly refresh yourself spiritually and fill yourself with positive energy after a warm thermal bath.
Among other attractions such as the Swiss National Museum and the historical architecture, the above mentioned are the most cherished among tourists and locals alike, mostly because of the scenery that calls for a splendid photo.
Now let us see what makes Geneva special,
Geneva is literally crowned as the international city because of the United Nations and The International Red Cross. You are likely to hear languages from every corner of the world. The city is very diversified and spread out. You can find food from almost every corner of the world without having to look very hard for it. Also, Lake Geneva, or Lac Léman, is far bigger than Lake Zurich. Geneva is surrounded by the Alps and the Jura mountains. Much like Zurich, you can find plenty of museums, renaissance architecture and other classy restaurants in Geneva as well. However, there are contrasts between the two cities. Let’s get to know the sightseeing in Geneva first.
Gateway To the Alps
A majority travelling to Switzerland is aware that Geneva is the gateway to the Alps. Which means if you plan well enough, you can even plan a day trip to France or Italy. It takes roughly 4 hours to Milan, 6 hours to Frankfurt and 3 hours to Paris from Geneva by train. Make sure to check the schedule ahead.
One of the largest freshwater lakes in Europe surrounded by the Alps and the Jura. You can take a boat tour across the lake if you want to experience it all or merely take a bike ride, stroll and enjoy a peaceful time along the shores.
The Jet d’eau
The centre of attraction in Geneva. The fountain shoots 500 litres of water 140 metres high at a speed of 200 kilometres per hour. A photo with this fountain during the night when it is all lit up would be truly memorable.
You cannot miss the world’s most popular and important centers for science, discovery, and innovation. Its unique hemi-spherical shape crafted from wood signifies the innovative mindsets working in it. It has a permanent exhibition depicting significant research carried out by CERN. You can spend time unraveling mysteries of the universe in the morning at CERN.
Zurich vs Geneva Cost of Living
This is an unreasonable comparison considering we are taking into account the lifestyle of two of the most expensive cities in the world. Nevertheless, for the purpose of this topic, research clearly found out that life in Geneva is cheaper. Ironic right? being an international capital, yet the cheaper one. In fact, numbeo.com shows that “You would need around 7,684.62Fr. in Zurich to maintain the same standard of life that you can have with 7,200.00Fr. in Geneva.”
Now that we’ve discussed all this, you might have cleared the fog a little on the topic of Zurich vs Geneva and conclude about which city you want to visit. Geneva certainly does offer more in comparison, and you can learn a lot more than just the history of Switzerland. For techies and science lovers, this is a city you don’t want to miss. But purely from a traveller’s perspective, it seems the best destination given that you can easily visit France, Italy and Germany. Not to mention the monuments and sculptures, the varieties of food from different countries and the view of the Alps.
That said, if you purely wish to travel and experience Switzerland, Zurich would be a reasonable choice. I can vouch for that because I spent 4 amazing days there. Hiked up Mount Pilatus, strolled among the museums and galleries gazing in awe at the renaissance arts and had a good time overall. Obviously, you need to pack in your best winter clothing if you are planning to travel in the winter. Winter is undoubtedly one of the best times to visit Switzerland. The snow-covered peaks, enchanting Christmas markets, and the best skiing are proof of that statement. We hope that this post served as a guide in choosing your travel destination. One thing we can say for sure is that whichever city you choose, Switzerland will truly present you with some memories to cherish.