The other night, we got lost in Zürich's charming Old Town. The locals refer to it as "Dörfli", and it roughly covers an area between Bellevue and Central along the north side of the Limmat River.
Far from the shopping frenzy of Bahnhofstrasse, we found the cutest little gift shops, most delicious foods, and curious details. So if you have a couple of hours to spare in Zürich, trace our footsteps and explore Zürich's Old Town!
Start your tour at Bahnhof Stadelhofen.
The Art Poster Gallery at the West exit of Bahnhof Stadelhofen has a neat collection of artsy posters and postcards.
Then, walk along Stadelhoferstrasse towards Rämistrasse.
If you are already hungry at this point, swing by Vapiano on your left hand side! This Italian fast-casual chain has everyone covered with their pasta, pizza, and espresso bar...
Once you feel the street change from pavement to cobble stone, you have entered the Old Town. Ancient coins discovered in this area actually date back to the 1st century, so the name is well deserved!
If you are into unique books and cool games (some of them have a retro touch!), step into Pinocchio on your left.
For those who have skipped Vapiano earlier, you have got to be hungry enough to try some baked goods from my favorite bakery! It occured to me that this bakery might actually be one of the oldest "walk-through" booths ever!
Just about now, you should be passing by "Trittli-Gasse" to your right. This is a nice picture spot because of the many "Trittli", or steps, leading up a side alley.
Continue walking along the main alley and you will no doubt run into Grossmünster, a Romanesque church dating back to around 1220. Go around it from either side to find its entrance, and do not miss the magnificent view from the top of one of its towers! Just be aware that this detour will take at least 20 minutes...
Step back in the (more recent) past and visit Schwarzenbach. According to a sign on their store, they have been around since 1864. I still remember my dad taking me there to pick up dried fruits when I was little, and the place has barely changed since.
I know, we have been talking about "diving into the past" a lot... But c'mon, this is the Old Town after all! So, past the Starbucks, you will have a chance to travel back to retro times: Time Tunnel!
Entrance to your right, you literally have to enter through a "tunnel" of sorts to find this hidden treasure.
By now you have worked up a hunger, right? Perfect. Just in time, try a French style crêpe at Hirschenplatz. Preparation takes only a few minutes, and they are so worth it!
Next, take "Brunn-Gasse" to veer away from the main street and take a right into "Froschau-Gasse".
Once here, you will not only find a couple of cozy restaurants and a huge comic book store, but also a treasure called Mauerblümchen! This little designer consignment shop is perfect for gifts of all kinds, so bring your wallets...
Once you are done with shopping, proceed along Froschau-Gasse and take a left at its dead end to arrive at Neumarkt! Good restaurants serving Swiss food among others, as well as the Theater am Neumarkt can be found here.
Design fans should check out Neumarkt 17 for design heaven (thanks, Christine!).
From here, you could take Spiegelgasse back to Niederdorfstrasse. This narrow alley leads up the hill and back to Schwarzenbach (the coffee place). If your brain needs a workout along the way, buy one of the many puzzles or games at AHA.
Alternatively, you could explore the rest of the Old Town by following - say - a cute cat...
This is what we did, and we were surprised to always find back to a familiar square. So, truly getting lost in Zürich's Old Town will be difficult, but you can always pretend, right?