Elena loves travelling, but the 22-year-old can also get homesick very quickly. "Zurich is my home, it's where I live – and I think it's the loveliest and most diverse city in the world!" Whether travelling for business or sight-seeing, the city is also a popular destination for travellers from all over the world. SWISS flies from its home base in Zurich (ZRH) to over 100 destinations.
With a population of more than 400,000 people, Zurich is the biggest city in Switzerland. And with the country's biggest railway station and the airport, Zurich is also the most important traffic hub in Switzerland. The city on Lake Zurich and the Limmat is also extremely appealing to party-goers, because it has the greatest density of clubs. And Turicum – as the city was called in Roman times – is in second place when it comes to cities with the highest quality of living in the world. To Elena, though, it is and always will be the uncontested no. 1. Her grandparents emigrated to Zurich years ago, so her entire family has grown up in the city on the Limmat. "Several members of my family have considered emigrating again in the past, but they all soon returned to Zurich, when they found that they too had lost their hearts to this wonderful city."
First stop: Zurich's world-famous Bahnhofstrasse. Particularly pleasant for a leisurely stroll on a Sunday morning: "The shops are closed then, and you could almost imagine you have the city all to yourself." And not only are there numerous shops here, as well as the SWISS City Ticket Office, but a wide range of events are held on the Bahnhofstrasse: from the New Year's Eve Run to the Street Parade. Equally important: the "Lucy" Christmas lights. "The Bürkliplatz is not far from the Bahnhofstrasse. As well as the weekly market, there is also a flea market here on Saturdays. Definitely not to be missed!"
The legendary Sprüngli confectionery is also on the Bahnhofstrasse, close to the Paradeplatz. "I can never walk past Sprüngli without going in. Apart from everything else, everyone should try the Luxemburgerli. They are as much a part of Zurich as the city arms! New flavours are introduced every season, but my favourites are the timeless classics: chocolate and Champagne. Simply divine!" Another tip: "I can also recommend the Bircher muesli – it is an essential part of any visit to Switzerland!"
For a quick trip to a quiet spot by the lake, head for the Mythenquai. "I love enjoying the view here, and just breathing deeply for a while." The Mythenquai is within walking distance of the busy city, and has some wonderful parks. "I've had some wonderful picnics here in summer – and some equally wonderful walks in the autumn. I often played here as a child."
"As befits a true city girl, of course, I always travel by Tram!" Tourists may well think that the public transport here is expensive, but if you travel from terminal to terminal, depending on the line you can explore the entire city. "Even as a child, I travelled the city by public transport. That's why I sometimes miss the traditional trams with the lovely wooden benches. For those who like a touch of nostalgia: try the so-called Fondue Tram, with limited space. It serves a classic cheese fondue. It's brilliant!"
The Sechseläutenplatz is the heart of Zurich, and the heart of the residents of Zurich: "Numerous traditional and new events are held here that encourage the residents to come together." The opera house is also on this square, and the key feature of it. "I love going to the opera house, and with a last-minute ticket I can usually still get fabulous seats!" But the Sechseläutenplatz is also extremely popular for just relaxing for a while.
If you have a little craving for something sweet in the afternoon, then the Schober café is the place to go. "It doesn't look like much from the outside, but as soon as you set foot inside, you're transported into the world of its sweet delights!" The ambience with its fancy decorations and velvet-clad walls is particularly appealing at Christmas. If you want to be sure of a seat, you must book in advance.
Of course, there also has to be time for a little bit of shopping: "The Luxury Shops store is my absolute favourite. I've already found lots of vintage treasures here!" As the shop is something of an insider's tip, it's never especially busy. The best conditions for some leisurely browsing.
Time for a good meal at the Co Chin Chin: "This place is quite new, and it's extremely popular!" It's an absolute treat for people who like Vietnamese cuisine: "As far as I'm concerned, it has far and away the best ramen soup in town!" The restaurant delights not only with the good food and wonderful ambience, but also for its excellent price/performance ratio: "Good portions at decent prices – you can be sure that no one will leave this restaurant feeling hungry!" It is also situated in what is known as "Kreis 5", the city's trendiest spot. Cool bars and clubs are just around the corner: "Perfect for winding down at the end of an exciting day."