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Zurich deserves some time before heading into the Alps


Zurich’s Dolder Grand Hotel, built in 1899,  is home to a remarkable collection of original artwork, both indoors in its public spaces and out on its grounds


Zurich, the financial center of Switzerland, has been a gateway to this spectacular country for decades.  But this is a proud city that would like to see more of its incoming guests spend some time enjoying its culture before heading out for the mountains in other regions of the country.  I spent a couple of days in Zurich in late August with Switzerland Tourism as a guest on an international study trip that included about 15 American and Brazilian tour operators.

We stayed at the impressive Dolder Grand Hotel which overlooks the city and is internationally known for its spa and world-class art.  Served by its own tram from Zurich, this old hotel opened originally in 1899 and features works of art by Andy Warhol, Salvador Dali and even Sylvester Stallone in its public spaces.  A manicured nine-hole golf course spreads beneath the hotel and while we were there it was quite busy.

We toured Zurich for an evening and a morning, and spent a lot of time in its Old Town.  Cobblestone streets here date as far back as the 13th century and fortifications from the 17th century remain high above Lake Zurich.  This is a city of water fountains, all featuring drinkable water unless temporarily noted otherwise.  More than 1,200 in all are spread across this city of roughly half a million people, and almost all have a small section at ground level for four-legged guests as well.

Our guide described much of Zurich’s architecture as Protestant–fairly plain on the outside but resplendent on the inside.  As proof, she took us to the city’s police station, which at one time was an orphanage.  Between World Wars, Swiss artist and sculptor Eduardo Giocometti came and painted its interior walls in a beautiful floral pattern.  Zurich is an international center for art, and is home to more than 50 museums and more than 100 art galleries.



Zurich is a cosmopolitan city of 500,000 people and offers many culinary options in addition to its 100 art galleries and 50 museums


This Zurich bar is resplendent with the names of those who have hoisted themselves

into the rafters and drunk wine — a feat none of us could accomplish


These gentlemen relaxed by the river on the morning of our tour of Old Town Zurich


More than 1,200 fountains grace Zurich, all of which offer drinkable water for passersby and many for their pets

Mac Lacy

Mac Lacy is president and publisher of The Group Travel Leader Inc. Mac has been traveling and writing professionally ever since a two-month backpacking trip through Europe upon his graduation with a journalism degree from the University of Evansville in 1978.