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World Travel Guide > Guides > Europe > Switzerland > Zurich

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Shopping in Zurich

Zurich's residents enjoy a superb quality of life, and the general affluence means that retail therapy is something of an obsession. Shoppers will find all the latest luxury and international brands, as well as a good number of quirky boutiques and local specialities. The city isn't necessarily the cheapest shopping destination on the planet, but in terms of what you'll find on offer, it's genuinely world-class. It’s a pleasure to shop here too, not least because many of the shopping areas are pedestrianised, well-served by public transport and (as you’d expect in Switzerland) spotlessly clean.

Key areas

The swish Bahnhofstrasse, extending from the main rail station to Bürkliplatz, houses top luxury designer brands. There are some great little boutiques tucked away to the east too. Rennweg, Limmatquai and the pedestrian alleys of the Niederdorf in the Old Town are good starting points. The old silk-making district of Schipfe has a number of places selling artisan products. More alternative (and cheaper) shops can be found in the newly-fashionable districts of Sihl and Zurich West.

Markets

On Saturdays from May to October, Bürkliplatz fills with stalls during the weekly flea market. Interesting antiques and hand-made artefacts are sold at Rosenhof in the Old Town, Thursdays and Saturdays from March to November. Don’t miss the permanent food market at Viaduktstrasse in Zurich West, where around 20 artisan food producers cluster under the railway arches daily.

Shopping centres

The city’s largest department store, Jelmoli (Seidengasse 1), stocks a vast range of men and women’s brands and has an extensive food hall, restaurants, terraced bar and tea room. Manor and Grieder are two other good all-rounders, while the main rail station’s shopping centre ShopVille Zürich with 180 stores is ideal for a last-minute dash before departure.

Opening hours

Most shops are open Monday to Friday 0900 or 0930-1830 and Saturday 0830-1600 or 1700. Many, except for the large stores, close for lunch. Late night shopping on Thursday is until 2000.

Souvenirs

Chocolate is the obvious Swiss gift and Zurich has plenty of fine manufacturers including Confiserie Sprüngli on Paradeplatz. Souvenirs also include Swiss Army knives, watches, embroidery, linen and handmade clocks.

Tax information

VAT is charged at a rate of 8% and can be reclaimed for single items purchased for SFr300 or more, as long as the purchaser is resident outside Switzerland and the goods are exported within 30 days.

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Central Plaza Hotel

Built in 1883 with an impressive period facade, the Central Plaza has 105 air-conditioned rooms and suites, all fully soundproofed against traffic noise; many have views of the River Limmat and all have modem points. Highlights include a piano bar-cafe and the King's Cave restaurant. A terrace garden with illuminated waterfalls is open in summer. It's also said that the piano bar of this Zurich hotel was a favourite meeting place for Cold War spies.

The Dolder Grand

The location of this luxury residence couldn't be any better: The Dolder Grand offers its guests great panoramic views over the Lake Zürich, the city and over the mountains. It features all amenities you might expect from such an award-winning 5-star-hotel with a long history: rooms and suites with selectable butler service, spas, a pool called Aqua Zone, saunas, a fitness centre, state-of-the-art business facilities, meeting rooms, several lounges, two restaurants (one of which has earned two Michelin stars), a bar and a lobby, a ballroom and a car park.

Leoneck Swiss Hotel

Just a five-minute walk from the city centre, the Leoneck Swiss Hotel is an official Swiss Alpine Club SAC partner with over 80 air-conditioned rooms, a restaurant, free Wi-Fi and a free smartphone in every room. For just CHF 20, guests can have breakfast at the hotel buffet which includes a range of egg dishes, coffee and fresh croissants and fruits.

Walhalla Hotel

The Walhalla Hotel is located directly at Zürich's main railway station. All its 48 modern and comfortable rooms are equipped with a tablet and have complimentary WiFi access. The hotel features six conference rooms which can accomodate up to 50 people, business facilities in its Business Corner and a breakfast buffet.

Lady's First

Conceived in 1994 when eight women decided to create a female-exclusive hotel in what was formerly a finishing school for country girls, Lady's First is a boutique design hotel housed in an elegant 19th-century building. This Zurich hotel is no longer, however, exclusively for women - men are welcome too. A good-natured atmosphere characterises this establishment, which also offers its guests free Wi-Fi, a wellness centre and a roof terrace. There are 28 rooms.

Widder Hotel

Composed of eight adjoining medieval houses, the Widder Hotel is named after a 13th-century Augustinian monastery that used to exist here. The 35 individually decorated rooms and 14 suites (four with private roof terraces) all combine the old and new, with features including 17th-century frescoes and old wooden floors. The Widder Bar has long been an important jazz venue - its 'Library of Spirits' offers several hundred single-malt whiskies.