On January 15, 2013Joseph Reaney answered the question:With a fascinating history stretching back more than two millennia, London is one of the most attraction-packed cities in the world. Here are five particularly fine city highlights:1. The Palace of WestminsterEvery visitor to London wants their obligatory snap of Big Ben, but this is just a small part of what makes the Palace of Westminster so special. Known as the cradle of democracy, this site has been home of the English (and later British) Parliament since the 13th century, and laid down the blueprint for many of the freedoms enjoyed by much of the global population today. As a tourist attraction, visitors can arrange tours of Parliament, visit the Jewel Tower or simply take in all aspects of the striking exterior. Westminster Abbey is just opposite, too!2. The Tower of LondonThere’s a good reason the Tower of London is such a world-renowned attraction. It may not be the oldest or most impressive castle in the UK, but its varied uses over the centuries as a royal residence, medieval prison, armory and treasury have cemented its unique, illustrious history. From the prison of the princes to the keeper of the Crown Jewels, the ancient walls here have a thousand tales to tell – and the superb exhibitions inside bring them all to life.3. The British MuseumWith literally millions of artifacts spanning the length of human history, the British Museum is home to some of mankind’s most cherished creations, including the Rosetta Stone and the Elgin Marbles. And you can see them all for free (though voluntary donations are very welcome!)4. Royal Hyde ParkIt may seem like a sprawling urban jungle on arrival, but many first-time visitors to London are surprised to find one of the world’s greenest capitals. This balance between man and nature is perfectly illustrated by Hyde Park. One of eight Royal Parks that cover almost 2,000 hectares of land, Hyde Park is a picnic-perfect parkland that also boasts attractions ranging from the Serpentine to Speakers’ Corner, as well as open-air cultural events during summer.5. The ThamesWhen it comes down to it, there’s no better way to get a real sense of London than to stroll along the banks of the Thames. Sure, you’ll pass a wealth of sights along the way, from the London Eye to the Tate Modern, but you’ll also dig a little deeper into everyday London life.
On December 4, 2012Joseph Reaney answered the question:Vienna is far too large to see in one day, but if you start early, finish late and are happy to do plenty of walking, Forbes Travel Guide editors say you can take in most of the Altstadt (Old Town).
Start your day inside St. Stephen’s Cathedral in the heart of the city: a 12th century house of God with one of the most beautiful interiors in Vienna. Climb the high south tower for a spectacular panoramic view of the city, then come back to earth for a quick bakery breakfast in Stefansplatz.
From here, head south through the shopping district to see the imposing Staatsoper — Austria’s leading opera house and a prime example of French Renaissance-style architecture — then head across the Burggarten to take in the Hofburg Palace Complex. The winter palace of the all-powerful Hapsburgs (Habsburg in Vienna) is far too large to see in one day, so choose between the Kaiserappartments (Imperial Apartments) and the stunning Schatzkammer (Imperial Treasury). If you want to spend a little longer here, you can also visit the Augustinerkirche (Augustinian Church). Regardless, you can then break for lunch in the nearby Café Tirolerhof on Führichgasse.
In the afternoon, take in some more Old Town sights, like the spectacular Jesuit Church and the magnificent Burgtheater, or you can head just outside Vienna to experience the MuseumsQuartier and its plethora of fantastic exhibitions. Either way, finish the day back in the heart of the Old Town, with an authentic meal at the historic Esterházykeller, a quiet cocktail in the upmarket Dino’s and, if you still have energy, a long night of dancing in Volksgarten Disco.
On September 5, 2012Joseph Reaney answered the question:Zurich is a wonderful destination all year round, but the city comes alive during special festivals and celebrations throughout the year. These are the events that Forbes Travel Guide editors suggest you experience to make your trip extra special:
1. Swiss National Day. Stop anywhere in Switzerland on August 1st and you’ll find parties going on — but the one in Zurich is by far the biggest and most fun. Expect markets, live music, fireworks and some locals indulging in their favorite spirited libations.
2. Street Parades. There are few music festivals that consume an entire city, but Street Parade is one of them. Held every year on the second Saturday in August, the parade involves dozens of trucks driving along the lakeside, blasting out music to the million-plus visitors dancing in the street (and to everyone else within a 10-mile radius). After midnight, the party moves inside at a variety of Zurich clubs.
3. Weltklasse Zürich. For sports fans, it’s hard to beat the annual IAFF Diamond League track-and-field meeting held in the city each August. Weltklasse Zürich attracts the biggest names in athletics; and since 1928, it has seen new world records being set by the likes of Sebastian Coe and Haile Gebrselassie.
4. New Year’s Eve Magic. If you are in Zurich at the end of December, consider yourself lucky. Not only do you get to enjoy the city’s beautiful snow-covered Christmas markets, but you can also experience this enormous New Year’s celebration, which draws over 150,000 revelers line the banks of the river all night long.
5. Zürifäscht. As it only occurs every three years (with the next one set for 2013), this weekend-long festival is the most anticipated event in the city. It’s a celebration of Zurich that involves music, dance, open-air theater, fireworks and air shows. There’s nothing else like it in Europe.
On September 5, 2012Joseph Reaney answered the question:You’ll want to come home with souvenirs and gifts from your trip to this picturesque Swiss city. Here are Forbes Travel Guide editors’ picks of the best things to bring home from Zurich.
1. Chocolate. It may be obvious, but there’s no denying that Swiss chocolate is some of the best in the world. However, rather than picking up the traditional travel memento like a Toblerone, head to the small independent chocolatiers on Bahnhofstrasse for a take-away taste of chocolate heaven.
2. Handicrafts. The Swiss are world-renowned at making timepieces, so it’s not surprising that cuckoo clocks are popular purchases here. While cuckoo clocks did originate in Germany, the chalet style is credited to Switzerland, so look for this kind if you want an authentically Swiss souvenir. Other Swiss handicrafts that make good souvenirs are hand-carved wooden toys, hand-blown glassware and unique handcrafted furnishings. Or how about a handmade fondue pot?
3. Jewelry. Swiss watches are well known around the world, and you can pick up some stunning examples in Zurich (from affordable Swatches to high-end Rolexes, plus several less international brands). The city is also renowned for its extraordinary earrings, bracelets, brooches and cufflinks.
4. Swiss Army knife. There’s nowhere better to pick up a genuine, multi-purpose Army knife. This pocket tool dates back to 1897, when the Victorinox Company registered the MultiTool design. Its variety of tools that include scissors, mini saw and a corkscrew are so useful, Swiss Army Knives are part of the gear astronauts take to space.
5. Clothes. Switzerland may not be one of the world’s great fashion capitals, but Bahnhofstrasse is one of the world’s great fashion streets. So whether you’re looking for a crystal-studded ball gown, a perfectly cut tuxedo, fancy designer jeans or just a high-end little black dress, you’ll find it on Zurich’s most fashionable street.
On September 5, 2012Joseph Reaney answered the question:Switzerland has a rich culinary heritage, and Zurich is a perfect place to partake in its best food experiences. Here are five best food experiences that Forbes Travel Guide editors recommend you try during your visit to the Swiss city:
1. Fondue and raclette. Probably the two most famous traditional Swiss foods – and most delicious for cheese lovers — are the delights of fondue and raclette. If you haven’t tried it yet, fondue is a pot of melted cheese and white wine into which you dip bread and other savory pieces of foods like vegetables. Raclette is thin slices of Swiss cheese melted on a special grill, which are eaten with boiled potatoes and gherkin pickles.
2. Rösti. A crisp potato dish that closely resembled hash browns, rösti is made by grating potatoes, flattening them into a round patty and frying them. It’s usually served with bacon, eggs or cheese.
3. Geschnetzeltes. A delicious dish that is rarely found outside of Zurich, Geschnetzeltes are small pieces of veal cooked in a creamy mushroom and white wine sauce, which are usually eaten with a side of noodles.
4. Swiss Breakfast. Most people know that muesli was invented in Switzerland, but that’s just a small slice of the country’s early-morning culinary heritage. A traditional Swiss breakfast includes a variety of breads, cheeses, jams and honeys — and perhaps fried sausages, eggs and rösti potatoes, too.
5. Chocolate. Swiss chocolate is famous around the world, so you won’t want to leave Zurich without trying some. Major Swiss brands include Nestlé, Toblerone, Lindt and Suchard, but Forbes Travel Guide editors recommend heading to one of Zurich’s traditional chocolatiers. You’ll find the best artisanal chocolate along the exclusive Bahnhofstrasse.
On September 5, 2012Joseph Reaney answered the question:If you’re craving a night out on the town, you’ll be pleased to know that over the past 20 years, Zurich has blossomed into one of Europe’s great nightlife capitals.
Forbes Travel Guide’s editors suggest starting an evening in one Zurich’s diverse bars. They range from quiet traditional pubs and beer halls (like the art-filled Kronenhalle Bar and high-ceilinged Bierhalle Kropf) to cool cocktail joints (the super-spacious LaSalle Bar and mega-stylish Onyx Bar). For livelier atmosphere, go to a live music bar like Mascotte for rock-and-roll, Moods for jazz and blues or a popular gay bar, such as the chic Barfüsser or the bustling AAAH!
But things really come to life later in the evening — around 11 p.m. or midnight — with Zurich’s many nightclubs. Some of the city’s best-known after-dark venues include Club Indochine and Club Diagonal (for live international DJs), Hive (for world-class techno/electro music), Blue Note (for soothing jazz) and Latin Palace (for samba beats). If you’re feeling lucky, you can always try one of the city’s many high-stakes casinos.
On September 5, 2012Joseph Reaney answered the question:Zurich has a very compact city center, so you’d be surprised how much you can see in one day.
Forbes Travel Guide editors recommend you stop at the Hauptbahnhof (main train station) for a buttery croissant, and then hit the famous Bahnhofstrasse to enjoy some early morning shopping – you’ll find everything from boutique fashions to Swiss watches. Then spend the rest of the morning enjoying sights on the west side of the river, such as the remains of the Roman fortification in Lindenhof, the impressive St. Peter’s Church and the large Rathaus (Town Hall).
Walk over the bridge for a relaxing lunch in the wonderful Konditorei Péclard, then head to the Cabaret Voltaire to learn about city’s 20th-century Dadaist art movement. Finally, before it gets too dark, head down to the tip of Lake Zurich for a spectacular vista of water and mountains.
In the evening, head back to the city center for a traditional Swiss meal at Zeughauskeller, then grab a beer at Zurich’s famous Kronenhalle Bar — those are original Picassos and Mirós on the walls. Finally, end your day of exploration with a whisky and some soothing jazz chords at the Blue Note.
On September 5, 2012Joseph Reaney answered the question:Whether you’re seeking the latest in designer fashions to great value in local handicrafts, you’ll find Zurich is a shopper’s mecca. Here’s where Forbes Travel Guide editors recommendation for the best shopping in the Swiss city:
For fashion, head to Bahnhofstrasse, which is one of the most exclusive and expensive shopping streets in the world. Running from the train station down to the lake, it’s lined with department stores, independent boutiques and jewelers selling some of the finest things money can buy. However, the city is also home to some more alternative shopping options, such as the Niederdorf (famous for small, über-trendy clothes stores) and Löwenstrasse (the best option for mid-range, mass-produced fashion).
Just like with high-end fashion, the best place for quality Swiss souvenirs is Bahnhofstrasse. Stroll past boutique Swiss chocolatiers and confectioners, Victorinox Swiss army knife outlets and luxurious Swiss watch stores. There are fantastic mid-range souvenir options scattered across the city too. You’ll find with high-quality chocolate sold in supermarkets, Swiss handicrafts such as cuckoo clocks in Bellevue and kids’ toys sold in stores along the river.
If you prefer a more eclectic shopping experience, Zurich’s two best flea markets are the enormous Flohmarkt Kanzlei on Helvetiaplatz, which has up to 400 stalls open every Saturday; and the slightly more relaxed Bürkliplatz flea market in the Bellevue area of the city. The city also boasts a number of flower and vegetable markets (like Altstetten and Milchbuck); gourmet food markets (like Spezialitätenmarkt im Hauptbahnhof and Oerlikon); arts and crafts markets (like Rosenhof and Créativa); and, of course, festive Christmas markets.
On September 5, 2012Joseph Reaney answered the question:You’ll be pleasantly surprised to find that Zurich is much more than an international business center or a hub for teenage trend-setters. This gorgeous city is also a great destination for families. Here are Forbes Travel Guide editors’ recommendations for the five best things to do with kids in Zurich:
1. Meet some animals. If your kids are fascinated by animals, take your pick between Zurich Zoo (Zürich Zoologischer Garten), which is home to more than 340 different living species; and the Zoological Museum, which has many realistically preserved animals and remains.
2. Enjoy the view. The 2,864-foot-high Üetliberg Mountain offers spectacular panoramic views of Zurich. And since the summit is accessible either by walking paths or by train, it makes an ideal urban escape.
3. Explore the history of toys. Zurich Toy Museum is home to a 1,200-piece collection of antique toys from all around Europe. Your kids will be delighted by everything from 18th-century wooden horses to modern train sets and dollhouses.
4. Take a dip in the river. If the weather’s good, why not go for a swim in the river? The Flussbad Unterer Letten is a river bath that boasts not only has an 82-foot-long swimming pool but also a 12-foot-long kids’ paddling pool. You’ll also find a diving platform, a small playground, several sports facilities and a snack bar.
5. Explore Josefweise. Although it’s located in the heart of the industrial district, Josefwiese is Zurich’s biggest natural playground, with a large meadow, various eating options and open-air concerts during the summer.