Pick up your hire car at Zurich Airport and breathe in the fresh mountain air - you're entering a sophisticated skier's paradise.
"Ok, we might be the capital of European banking, but we're a trendy city that knows how to party!"
Hang on, we're not talking Rio de Janiero here, but actually, Zurich is a lot cooler than you might think, with a flurry of trendy bars, cafes and boutiques opening recently.
The vibes are good: Zurich regularly tops 'best quality of life in the world' polls. The people are happy.
The place is awash with successful business types, but there's also a young, vibrant population too that gives the city its edge.
It's Switzerland, so you don't go there to sunbathe, but the snow-packed slopes surrounding the city will keep skiers busy from November to April.
The word on the street is that you must try Zurcher Geschnetzeltes, which involves veal, white wine and cream.
Huge-brained scientist Albert Einstein studied mathematics in Zurich.
Zurich is regarded as the wealthiest city in Europe.
"The most flamboyant and lively nightlife in Switzerland." - www.myswizterland.com
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The 'Grossmunster' - you're right, it sounds better in English - is a church whose impressive towers are one of the most recognisable symbols of Zurich.
This is located in the old town, so use Parking Zurich AG in Widdergasse and take the short stroll to the church. It costs CHF2 for the first hour, increasing by CHF2 every half hour.
Enclosed by the city ramparts, this area of town is a perfectly maintained doff-of-the-cap to the olden days.
Street parking is difficult in the Old Town but it has it's own car park, Parking Zurich AG in Widdergasse. Alternatively if you are coming from the north side of town, you can also use the Uraniastrasse car park in Uraniastrasse. They charge CHF2 for the first hour, increasing by CHF2 every half hour.
Home to excellent wood sculptures and Gothic artwork, the museum is housed in an impressive building that features dozens of towers - a sight in itself.
Park your hire car in the free on-site car park.
Factory tours are free here and, naturally, you get to taste the good stuff. Keep an eye out for Oompa Lumpas - there's got to be some!
There is free on-site parking.
You'll see all manner of animals here, including a particularly entertaining penguin parade.
There is a car park in the zoo itself, which costs 50 cents an hour, although it soon becomes full. But simply follow the 'P+R Zoo' signs and you'll be directed to one of the park-and-ride car parks.
This traditional village resort boasts forested slopes, great for skiers of all levels, as well as thermal waters and spas that are just the thing for soothing battered bodies.
It only takes an hour to reach the resort from Zurich - just follow the A3 and continue on the A13, taking exit 12 toward Pfäfers/Bad Ragaz/Valens.
The largest winter sports centre within easy reach of Zurich, Flumserberg is a favourite with skiers and snowboarders alike. Grab a cabin in nearby Unterterzen for glorious lakeside views.
Follow the A3w and continue on the A3, taking exit 49-Flums towards Flumserberg. The journey will take around an hour.
Wild by name, wild by nature - Wildhaus is the party lovers' ski resort, combining vibrant and varied slopes with a host of off-piste facilities from pumping discos to bowling alleys and shooting ranges.
Follow the A3w and continue on the A3. Take exit 42 to merge onto A53 toward Rapperswil/Hinwil and then take exit 14 and follow Route 8 towards Wattwil. Exit for route 16 and follow this all the way to Wildhaus. You'll be there in an hour and a half.
An hour west of Zurich is the university town of Basel. With buildings dating back to the 15th Century, you won't need to visit the many museums to be transported back in time.
Follow the A1/A3 and take exit 53. Merge onto the A3 and take exit 6-Verzweigung Basel-Süad. Pick up St. Jakobs-Strasse and follow Schüatzengraben all the way to Basel. By car, it will take just over an hour.
" A hire car is certainly an advantage when exploring the countryside and mountains surrounding Zurich. If you are here during winter, you are going to definitely need snow chains on your wheels. The old city was recently renovated into a pedestrian friendly area with cobblestone streets, so it's easy to park up nearby and stroll around. One more thing: you should not drive on the motorway without a motorway permit sticker, known as a vignette. "