Voted in a recent EU poll as the happiest city in Europe, Zurich is a town that will make your heart skip a beat. Its alpine views, many parks and clear blue River Limmat offer everything needed for a joyful stay. With only one tall building in the skyline, the city seems somewhat modest. Places like the Lindenhof – a picturesque square with Linden trees and views all the way to the mountains – have a fairy-tale feel to them. However, don’t judge this book by its cover. The city also exudes an exciting urban energy and has a thriving creative scene. With the Kunsthaus, the Centre Le Corbusier and the headquarters of international gallery Hauser & Wirth, the city offers many cultural treasures. It’s no surprise really, since the hugely influential avant-garde Dada movement was founded here at Cabaret Voltaire, a nightclub in the narrow streets of the Niederdorf old town.
For more than 175 years the city has been home to luxury chocolatiers such as Sprüngli and Teuscher. Each one’s skilfully produced chocolate will make you swoon and ask for seconds, while the family-run Vollenweider makes the finest chocolates the city has to offer. But it’s more than just chocolate and cheese around here. Young chefs and producers are rediscovering their culinary roots. The new approach is delivered in a typical Swiss way: good quality, a great love for tradition and a pinch of urban appeal. Expect exquisite produce from artisanal bakers and coffee roasters, or an old brewery turned into an art gallery. And wherever your path in the city might lead you, make sure to pack your swimsuit. Sooner or later you'll want to sample the ultimate pleasure: urban swimming at the many lidos that turn into bars at night.