Swiss credit

Author: Richard Cooke

The Dolder Grand
Set in the hills above Zürich, the Dolder Grand is surrounded by forest and has views across the city to Lake Zürich and the Alps beyond. An apogee of luxury, the 1899 hotel was already an institution before its renovation in 2004 by London architect Norman Foster. The overhaul doubled the number of rooms to 173, adding contemporary wings to the central Belle Époque building. Also added was a huge spa and a new restaurant, awarded two Michelin stars in 2011. Each suite has an individual touch: a grand piano here, a collection of Eames furniture there. But the best attraction is outdoors - the hotel has its own ice-skating rink, one of the largest in Europe. Kurhausstrasse 65.

Seebad Enge and Sauna am See
"Dive bar" takes a more literal meaning in a city where friends gather to swim and sweat together. In summer the boardwalks of the lake pool named Seebad Enge are crowded with basking locals, who then ease their sunburn with evening drinks at the modish bar. In colder months the thinning throngs head to the sauna next door, Sauna am See, to sweat inside, then emerge for a naked plunge into the clear frigid lake. Like everywhere in Zürich, there's a good café attached. Mythenquai 9.

Kunsthalle Zürich
This hybrid public-private contemporary art institution had temporary lodgings for a while until it settled permanently in this refurbished Löwenbräu brewery in 2012. The transformation has turned the building itself into a work of art, full of clean lines and polished concrete. The progression of an artist's career can be tracked through the gallery, from spaces for emerging talent, to established private sellers, to public holdings. There's a good bookshop, and a lounge bar where collectors and turtlenecks can compare notes. Limmatstrasse 270.

Central Bahnhofstrasse earns its reputation as one of the most exclusive retail streets in Europe, lined with fashion houses, jewellers and watch dealers - Beyer Chronometrie (Bahnhofstrasse 31) is the oldest in Switzerland. Confiserie Sprüngli (Bahnhofstrasse 21) is a strong contender for the city's best chocolatier. For bespoke shopping, head uphill to Lindenhof for exquisite shoes at Le Majordome (Marktgasse 4) and handmade gloves at UNA (Torgasse 5).

Spice at Hotel Rigiblick
A short funicular ride leads to this Michelin-starred restaurant. Its dégustation menus are light and imaginative, and an abundance of amuses-bouches contributes to a rare thing in Zürich - good value. Germaniastrasse 99.

Chagall, Picasso and Miró all ate here and couldn't afford the bill. The artworks they offered as payment adorn the walls of this Zürich institution, favoured by powerbrokers and fans of mittel-European food. The lavish bar and smoking room upstairs has an emergency phone for ordering more drinks. Rämistrasse 4.

Volkshaus Restaurant
Established in 1910 as a worker's "fortress" in which to resist the bottle and the bourgeoisie, the Volkhaus has since succumbed to both. It features Swiss-inspired dishes such as chestnut soup laced with marc and biodynamic meatballs. There are distinctively striped booths, artisanal cocktails and a loaded schnapps trolley at the bar. Stauffacherstrasse 60.

Related: More Gourmet Traveller travel guides.

The spas at Therme Vals are the masterpiece of Swiss modernist Peter Zumthor, as well as one of the most serene places on Earth. The train and road journey from Zürich (via Chur) passes some of Switzerland's finest scenery.

Cycle the north-western shore of Lake Zürich past tacking sailboats, then peel off to Platzspitz Park where the Sihl and Limmat rivers converge. James Joyce would spend hours here watching the currents mingle. The city rents bicycles for free in summer.

Emirates operates 84 flights a week from Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth and Brisbane to Dubai, with daily connections to Zürich.

View Full Site