The Dolder Grand: Legendary Luxury Hotel in Zurich, Switzerland

  • 01 of 07

    What to Expect at The Dolder Grand Hotel in Zurich, Switzerland

    The Dolder Grand: Legendary Luxury Hotel in Zurich, Switzerland

    ©Pable Faccinetto

    If You Want to Know the Soul of Switzerland, Stay at The Dolder Grand

    The Dolder Grand is a legendary hotel in a great city. It is city resort atop Lake Zurich in prosperous, placid Zurich in Switzerland.

    First opened in 1899, The Dolder Grand reopened in in 2008 after a four-year transformation by “starchitect” Sir Norman Foster. The Dolder Grand now has several sections: the original grand hotel building and two circular, sleekly modern new wings.

    • See the definition of a grand hotel

    The 173-room Dolder Grand is full-service. It offers two restaurants including a two-Michelin-star kitchen; a stylized cocktail bar; a dazzling 40,000 square-foot spa; a 9-hole golf course; a winter ice rink; and five clay tennis courts.

    The Dolder Grand is set on a mountain that looms above Zurich. Guests take an old-fashioned funicular car up and down for jaunts to the city. The hotel flanks a “green zone” park and nature reserve, giving it an exclusive, hilltop hideaway feel.

    Given the Dolder Grand's slightly removed location, this hotel is not ideal for guests who want to spend their stay getting to know Zurich. Rather, The Dolder Grand is just the spot for a relaxing weekend near Zurich. Guests find it easy to shift to a lower gear, savoring the hotel's views of the lake and surrounding Alps, indulging in the resort's temple-like spa, and feasting on fresh fare and multi-course tasting menus in refined restaurants.

    The Dolder Grand can be surprising. It feels undeniably grand to stride into the chateau-like main building with its meticulously restored marble entryway. But there are whimsical touches to this seemingly buttoned-up beauty that break the monotony of formality. A modern sensibility is contributed by design elements like color-splashed modern rooms, curved hallways, tree-branch latticework, and even a rock-and-roll-themed Rolling Stones suite.

    The Dolder Grand attracts a dapper European crowd of the well-suited banker variety, some of whom attend black-tie events in the hotel's cupola-topped ballroom. As befitting the Swiss, the hotel is tight-lipped about its steady celebrity clientele. Mary J. Blige and Leonardo DiCaprio are known to have stayed at The Dolder Grand. And recently the hotel has touted its inclusion in the American film version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, starring Daniel Craig.

    The independently managed Dolder Grand is a member of Design Hotels and Leading Hotels of the World.

    Next: will you like staying at The Dolder Grand hotel? Take the quiz >>

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  • 02 of 07

    Is The Dolder Grand Hotel in Zurich, Switzerland Your Kind of Hotel?

    The Dolder Grand: Legendary Luxury Hotel in Zurich, Switzerland

    © The Dolder Grand/Stefan Schmidlin

    Will The Dolder Grand Be Your Ideal Hotel in Zurich?

    The answer is probably yes if:

    • You'd like to stay in a discreet, hushed getaway close to (but not right in) Zurich
    • You do not require a Zurich location in the city center
    • You love the convenience of a top-notch restaurant and bar right in your hotel
    • You work in a design field; your taste runs to design hotels; or you're an architecture connoisseur
    • Or you have a taste for dignified grand hotels (The Dolder Grand is both historic and cutting-edge)
    • You'll need to get some work done, preferably in a soothing room well served with wifi
    • You're curious to see whether Swiss spas measure up to their reputation (this one will)
    • You like the idea of indulging in a gym workout, lap swim, and/or sauna every morning of your stay
    • You'd get into playing some golf, tennis, or snow sports right on the hotel property

    The answer is probably no if:

    • You prefer (or need) to stay close to the city action in Zurich
    • You've got more than one sophisto tot with you, and need a family-oriented resort
    • You want your hotel to have a social vibe, sceney clientele, and boisterous nightlife

    Next: how can The Dolder Grand be both a 19th-century and 21st-century hotel? >>

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  • 03 of 07

    The Dolder Grand, a Historic Landmark Hotel in Zurich, Switzerland

    The Dolder Grand: Legendary Luxury Hotel in Zurich, Switzerland

    © Adrian Michel/Wikimedia Commons/U.S. Public Domain.

    The Amazing Legacy of The Dolder Grand

    Like the city of Zurich and the watchmaking tradition it's famous for, the Dolder Grand embodies precise operation and exacting details. For the weary traveler, this means a worry-free experience.

    Perfectly thought-out details are the rule. Rooms are ultra-quiet. Elevators are nearly silent, lighting is well-calibrated, design is elegant yet comfortable. And of course, everything arrives on time.

    Originally built in 1899 as a Kurhaus (Swiss spa retreat), The Dolder Grand has a storied history as an Alpine getaway for European dignitaries and royalty. (Sir Winston Churchill and Albert Einstein stayed here.)

    Swiss financier Urs E. Schwarzenbach purchased The Dolder Grand in 2001. He engaged famed architect Sir Norman Foster to mastermind a thorough facelift. Foster tore down various latter-day expansions, restored the 1899 main building, and added two spectacular new structures, a Spa Wing and Golf Wing.

    Next: see what guest rooms and suites are like at The Dolder Grand hotel >>

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  • 04 of 07

    Rooms, Suites, & Service at The Dolder Grand Hotel in Zurich, Switzerland

    The Dolder Grand: Legendary Luxury Hotel in Zurich, Switzerland

    © Sara Liss

    What the Rooms Are Like at The Dolder Grand

    The Dolder Grand's 173 rooms and suites are spread over four floors in three buildings – the historic, turreted main building and the hotel's spherical new wings.

    A typical room at The Dolder Grand is a streamlined affair with elegantly spare décor: dark hardwood floors, cream-colored furniture, marble bathrooms, and shots of color.

    The bedroom area has a queen or king bed. Mattresses are comfortably on the firm side, with silky sheets, down pillows, and European duvets instead of blankets.

    Rooms are high-tech, with two flatscreen TVs (one doubles as the bathroom mirror). A touch-control remote commands various room options such as heating, wakeup alarm and windowshades.

    Junior Suites at the Dolder Grand have curved white leather couches, desks overlooking floor-to-ceiling windows, spacious balconies with panoramic views, and welcome amenities of bowls of fruit.

    The bathrooms are a study in Zen opulence: chocolate marble sinks, sculptural fixtures, and tall windows framing Lake Zurich or Alpine mountain vistas. Large white whirlpool tubs come with complimentary bath salts and soaking oils. The separate shower features multiple water jets and an indulgent steam-shower option.

    Guests seeking a high-roller experience can reserve a hotel suite inspired by famous personalities (the artist Alberto Giacometti or Giulietta Masina, Signora of Federico Fellini). The black-and-pink Suite 100 radiates London swagger with its Rolling Stones theme (yes, that's a Keith Richards-signed guitar in the corner) and its groovy Mod furniture.

    Standard room amenities at The Dolder Grand include:

    • A large closet
    • Ample drawer space
    • Free wifi access
    • TV and DVD player
    • iPod dock
    • Safe
    • Minibar
    • Robes
    • Windows that open and heating/AC you can control
    • Nightly turndown service

    Next: how good is the dining at The Dolder Grand hotel? Let's say it's…grand >>

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  • 05 of 07

    Dining at The Dolder Grand Hotel in Zurich, Switzerland

    the dolder grand legendary luxury hotel in zurich switzerland 5 - The Dolder Grand: Legendary Luxury Hotel in Zurich, Switzerland

    © The Dolder Grand/Stefan Schmidlin.

    Delicious Dining at The Dolder Grand

    The Dolder Grand has two restaurants, both outstanding. The Restaurant has a simple name but the rare two Michelin stars. Chef Heiko Nieder's flavor-charged modern cuisine features dishes like lobster with strawberry shavings and finely diced beetroot with pomegranate.

    The Garden Restaurant, helmed by Chef Gion Fetz, is The Dolder Grand's versatile all-day restaurant. Dinner is offered indoors and out, weather permitting. Guests can relish restorative breakfasts in the serene dining room and savor dainty lunches on the inviting outdoor terrace.

    A Garden Restaurant lunch might include a salad with chanterelles followed by spring chicken filled with ricotta cheese over tagliolini pasta with olives and tomatoes. Dinner veers into haute territory: air-dried local Grison beef with watermelon, summer venison patties with spaetzli and mountain cranberries. And for dessert, coconut-kaffir lime pudding with strawberries and cassis sorbet.

    Afternoon tea is served in The Dolder Grand's tranquil, stylish lobby. Drinks are mixed in the Film Noir-ish bar,. awash in candles and glossy black tables. A small café in the spa serves light fare like sandwiches and fresh-squeezed fruit juices.

    Jet-setting parents take note: toddler guests at The Dolder Grand get to perch in Norwegian-designed Stokke high chairs, possibly the handsomest kid seats on the market.

    Next: if you love spas, prepare to be wowed by the spa at The Dolder Grand hotel >>

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  • 06 of 07

    Spa & Fitness at The Dolder Grand Hotel in Zurich, Switzerland

    The Dolder Grand Was Built for Relaxation and Recreation

    Arguably, the Swiss invented the modern spa. And Dolder Grand guests can easily spend their entire hotel stay “taking the waters” at the hotel's seductive spa and fitness center. This cathedral of relaxation occupies an impressive, 40,000-square-foot space.

    Designed by American star spa designer Sylvia Sepielli, the pampering campus offers numerous spa delights:

    • An extensive menu of spa services for face and body
    • 21 treatment rooms; couples' suites have a whirlpool, mud bath, snail-shaped shower, and TV den with fireplace
    • Hot saunas and a Finnish-style “snow paradise” ice sauna
    • Herbal steam baths
    • Indoor and outdoor whirlpools
    • Fragrant, sinus-clearing aroma pools
    • Stand-up solarium pods
    • Sunaburos, Japanese-inspired tubs filled with warm pebbles
    • Japanese kotatsu footbaths
    • Hydrotherapy jet showers, steam showers, chilled “cooldown showers”
    • Indulgent locker rooms

    Fitness options at The Dolder Grand include a:

    • State-of-the-art fitness center
    • 25-meter (82-foot) indoor lap pool with views of Zurich and Lake Zurich
    • Two airy studios for classes such as yoga and Pilates
    • Meditation room and relaxation lounges with fireplaces and blankets

    Next: where and how to connect with The Dolder Grand >>

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  • 07 of 07

    Connect with The Dolder Grand Hotel in Zurich, Switzerland

    The Dolder Grand: Legendary Luxury Hotel in Zurich, Switzerland

    © The Dolder Grand/Peter Hebeisen

    • The Dolder Grand's website
    • The Dolder Grand on Facebook
    • On Twitter
    • By phone: +41 44 456 60 00
    • Or toll-free through Design Hotels: 800.337.4685
    • The Dolder Grand

      Kurhausstrasse 65

      8032 Zurich, Switzerland
    • Zurich's official travel website

    As is common in the travel industry, the Guest Author was provided with a complimentary visit for the purpose of describing the hotel. For details, see our site's Ethics Policy.

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Switzerland’s Best Christmas Markets

  • 01 of 05

    Basel Chrismas Market

    Switzerlands Best Christmas Markets

    Basel Marktplatz with Christmas illuminations © Erwin Zbinden, provided by Basel Tourismus

    Basel, sitting on the Rhine river and sharing a border with France and Germany, is said to be home to Switzerland's largest Christmas market, wedged tightly into the Barfüsserplatz. Basel also offers the longest illuminated Christmas street in Europe. You'll find over 140 stalls with artisinal works from Swiss craftspeople on display in the brightly decorated old town.

    The Johann Wanner Christmas House at Spalenberg 14 is famous for its range of Christmas ornaments; the Queen of England buys hers there and so does the White House, they tell me.

    The 2009 Basel Christmas Market is in session from 26 November to 23 December, and stalls in action between 11am and 8pm.

    Basel Guildhall Restaurants

  • 02 of 05

    Zurich Christmas Markets

    Basel might have the biggest open air Christmas Market, but Zurich has not only the largest covered Christmas Market but there are four markets in all.

    Zürich's oldest Christmas market is in the old center and runs from December 8 – 23 in 2009.

    The Christmas Market on Bahnhofstrasse is convenient for those who have taken a hotel near the rail station and Europe's largest covered Christmas market with 160 stalls is found in the rail station’s main hall. It runs from Nov. 27 to Christmas eve.

    Plus: on December 17, see Zurich's traditional festival of floating lights, Lichterschwimmen, in which children release hundreds of miniature candle boats down the River Limmat.

    More: Zurich

  • 03 of 05

    Bern Christmas Markets

    Bern's main Christmas Market is set amidst the old 15-17 century houses of Bern's historic center on Waisenhausplatz. You'll also find plenty of arts and crafts in a second Christmas Market along the Münsterplatz by the cathedral. A steaming Glühwein will take the shopper's chill away.

    The Berne Christmas Market on Waisenhausplatz is open until the 29 December, later than most. Here are the Bern Christmas Market opening times.

    More: Bern (Berne)

  • 04 of 05

    St. Gallen Christmas Markets

    One of my favorite smaller cities in Switzerland is St. Gallen, near the Bodensee or Lake Constance. There will be Christmas markets in the St. Gallen Old Town and in the Waaghaus. A 20 meter+ pine tree will be flown in by helicopter and illuminated in front of the towers of the Baroque cathedral. Dates: 28th November – 24th December 2009.

    More: St Gallen | Lake Constance

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  • 05 of 05

    Switzerland’s highest Christmas Market–Mt. Pilatus

    Switzerland's highest Christmas Market? Well, that'd be way up at almost 7000 feet (2133 meters) on Mt. Pilatus in Central Switzerland near Zurich. Over 50 Artisans exhibit in the thin air, and only for a few days near the end of November (2009 dates: November 20 – 22.

    You can take the world's steepest cogwheel railway to get there.

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11 Romantic Things to Do in St. Moritz in the Winter

  • 01 of 11


    11 Romantic Things to Do in St. Moritz in the Winter

    Thomas Stankiewicz / LOOK-foto / Getty Images

    Ready to take on the challenge of a 3000-meter (or higher) mountain? St. Moritz is ringed by them. Corviglia is the largest and sunniest of the ski areas; Corvatsch, at 3300 meters, is the tallest. Slopes are wide and start above the tree line, offering long, exhilarating runs. Instructors are available. If this isn't your sport, it's still worth taking the cable car to the top to take in the panoramic views.

  • 02 of 11


    11 Romantic Things to Do in St. Moritz in the Winter

    Thomas Stankiewicz / LOOK-foto / Getty Images

    Although your budget may not yet allow for diamonds and designer fashions, you can still eyeball the latest styles in St. Moritz. Do some window shopping along the town's two main roads, Palace Street (across from Badrutt's Palace hotel) and Via Maistra. Many of the top luxury brands maintain boutiques here. Among them: Bulgari, Tom Ford, Bottega Veneta, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Cartier. Too rich for your blood? Stop in at Läderach chocolatier across from the Palace hotel and have them break off an affordable piece of the chocolate bark for which they are justly lauded.

  • 03 of 11


    11 Romantic Things to Do in St. Moritz in the Winter

    John Warburton-Lee / Getty Images

    Ever wanted to whoosh down a mountain, holding each other tightly? From the St. Moritz Bobsled Club you can hop onto one of the sleds, a driver in front and a brakeman behind, to get an exhilarating taste of the sport. The St. Moritz Bobsled Club builds its own track every year, and enthusiasts appreciate that they get to speed down a new course each winter.

  • 04 of 11

    Admire the Art

    11 Romantic Things to Do in St. Moritz in the Winter

    EyesWideOpen / Getty Images

    Born in 1858, the painter Giovanni Segantini was known for his large Alpine landscapes. Several of them are collected in the circa-1908 Segantini Museum and the stone cupola of the structure, which displays his best works under the dome.

    The space can also be used for non-denominational wedding services; tennis champ Boris Becker held his ceremony here. Event capacity is 50 people.

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  • 05 of 11

    Take a Horse-Drawn Carriage Ride

    11 Romantic Things to Do in St. Moritz in the Winter

    Kit Houghton / Getty Images

    Cuddle together under a warm wrap as your driver leads his team of horses through small Alpine villages and across snowy fields. You'll even pass the Nietzsche House in Sils, where the German poet and philosopher spent his summers resting and writing.

  • 06 of 11

    Drink Hot Chocolate

    11 Romantic Things to Do in St. Moritz in the Winter

    Sam Edwards / Getty Images

    Hanselmann Cafe, just off Schoolhouse Square, is the place to quaff a cup of the rich brew. Did you know the art of creating solid chocolate candy began in Switzerland? Before that, aficionados consumed it only in liquid form. We'd mainline it. If you crave something more substantial, try Talvo restaurant. A traditional Swiss structure, it's decorated with scratchitti and its small windows were designed to keep the cold from seeping in.

  • 07 of 11

    Go to Church

    11 Romantic Things to Do in St. Moritz in the Winter

    Marco Bottigelli / Getty Images

    Even if you're not religious, Regina Paces Church has the best view of this scenic village, and that's saying a lot. It overlooks the lake and Upper Engadin valley.

    There's also another church worth seeing, the leaning tower originally erected 1139; it's located at the tallest point in town. Just keep walking or driving up; you can't miss it.

  • 08 of 11

    Hotel Hop

    11 Romantic Things to Do in St. Moritz in the Winter

    Thomas Stankiewicz / LOOK-foto / Getty Images

    The permanent population of St. Moritz is 5,000; it swells to 25,000 in ski season. Yet it maintains five five-star hotels: The Kempinski, closest to the springs; Carlton, a modern all-suite property designed by a leading Italian stylist; Kolm, across from the leaning tower, the city's oldest and most traditional hotel; Badrutt's Palace; Sulvetta, the most formal and upscale. Males (even boy children) at the latter are required to wear a black or blue suit at dinner.

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  • 09 of 11

    Take the Waters

    11 Romantic Things to Do in St. Moritz in the Winter

    Courtesy of Kempinski Hotels

    The same spring that drew the first tourists to St. Moritz still gushes forth today, and visitors believe it a tonic for counteracting anemia, skin and teeth problems, and digestive disorders. And it is just one of the many natural wonders of St. Moritz Bad, the lower part of the village where the springs originate.

  • 10 of 11

    Stay Up Late

    11 Romantic Things to Do in St. Moritz in the Winter

    Courtesy of Badrutt's Palace

    Nightbirds enter Dracula, the dark-themed nightclub at the Bobsled Club, through a snow cave. Looking for jet set action? Check out King's Club inside Badrutt's Palace. Its Renaissance Bar/Davidoff Lounge is an alternate venue for smokin' action. And if you've got an urge to try your luck, there's a small casino in the Kempinski Hotel.

  • 11 of 11

    Hire a Guide

    11 Romantic Things to Do in St. Moritz in the Winter

    Cultura Exclusive / Francesco Meroni / Getty Images

    St. Moritz isn't large, but if you want to know about it from a native, your hotel can arrange a local tour guide for you.

    We saw the sights with the ebullient Mario Haefliger, a longtime resident, who can fill you in on the history, sports, and much more in this dynamic, glittering, and romantic village.

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Geneva on a Budget: Cheap Eats, Free Transport and More

  • 01 of 07

    Five Cheap Eats in Geneva

    Geneva on a Budget: Cheap Eats, Free Transport and More

    Alper Çuğun / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

    Geneva is by no means a cheap destination, but like all destinations, there are many free and inexpensive things to do. With these tips, your wallet​ will be able to reemerge relatively unscathed.

    Geneva is a city where a kebab from a questionable-looking stand can top $15, finding an affordable sit-down meal in the central city is certainly a challenge.

    You have two options for eating cheaply in Geneva: hunt around in the city itself, which will probably mean you'll probably end up eating ethnic food such as Chinese and Middle Eastern (food you can probably get cheaper and better in your own country) or to pop across the border to France.

    Eating Across the Border in France 

    Take the number 12 tram from the center of Geneva to the end of the line and then walk across the border into the French town of Gaillard. Here you will find restaurants that are much cheaper than in Geneva. Read more about the Best Restaurants in Gaillard According to Tripadvisor.

    Cheap Eats – Affordable Sit-Down Meals in Geneva, Switzerland

    Generally, the university area of Plainpalais is a good bet for food on the less painful end of 'extortionate'.

    1. Buvette des Bains; quai du Mont-Blanc 30, +41 22 738 1616; Probably the best deal in town. Office workers in the know flock to this eatery on the jetty by the lake for its daily lunch specials for CHF 12.
    2. Chez ma cousine; rue Lissignol 5,  +41 22 731 9898; They do one thing and they do it right: chicken and fries. The outdoor terrace is a great place to watch the people go by in this Old Town establishment.
    3. Carosello; Boulevard Georges-Favon 25, +41 22 328 5640; Good pizzas, and the daily special (pizza with salad) goes for around CHF 15.
    4. Manora, Rue de Cornavin 6, +41 22 909 41 11; Self-service cafeteria on the top floor of department store Manor. A wide choice, complete with a panoramic view of the city.
    5. Boky, rue des Alpes 21,+41 78 628 16 99; Some praise its extensive Chinese menu, some say it's gross, but one thing's indisputable: It's hard to find a cheaper dinner in the city center than here.
    6. Parfums de Beyrouth, Rue de Berne 18, 1201 Genève is “a hole in the wall kind of place, but any of their “assiette” plates for CHF 16 are more than enough to feed two people and are pretty tasty” according to a Chowhound reviewer.

  • 02 of 07

    Free Transport in Geneva

    Geneva on a Budget: Cheap Eats, Free Transport and More

    Rachel Lewis/Getting Images

    Leave your rental car behind. Geneva's notorious riverside traffic means you're better off without a car. Besides, it's doesn't cost a nickel to travel in and around Geneva. Yes, you heard me, you can get around free in Geneva.

    Free Public Transit in Geneva

    Every person staying in a hotel, hostel or camping place in Geneva is entitled to a handy little Geneva Transport Card, which gives them unlimited travel around the city and near suburbs for the entire duration of your stay. Ask for it at your hotel or hostel, and make sure you carry a passport with the card. Visit the official site for more information.

    Free Airport Transfers in Geneva

    Before you leave the baggage claim area, look out for a machine that says “free ticket,” right by the exit. This is no scam. Just press the button, and you'll get a ticket valid for the next 80 minutes on trains, buses and trams, completely free – enough to get you to your hotel.

    Free Bikes in Geneva

    Renting a bike can cost you more than 30 CHF a day. Despair not -there is a free alternative. Geneve Roule provides free bikes during the summer months for four hours at a time. 

  • 03 of 07

    Free WiFi in Geneva

    Geneva on a Budget: Cheap Eats, Free Transport and More

    EyesWideOpen/Getty Images

    Throughout Geneva, there's free WiFi–great news for those of you who are addicted to your iPhones. Look out for a network called “((o)) Ville de Geneve.” The coverage is spotty, but hey, it's totally free. There are plenty of hotspots scattered throughout the city. See the coverage map here.

    The public library, with strong, free wireless signals, is located inside the Parc des Bastions. The reading room (Salle de lecture) has workspace and electric plugs for your notebook: M-F 9AM-10PM; Sa 9AM-5PM Plainpalais stop on buses and trams.

    There's also free WiFi at the Geneva airport, but you need a mobile phone. Get online first, and then follow the instructions to enter your phone number. A free access code will be sent to you as an SMS. Getting online is completely free, but some mobile carriers will charge you for receiving text messages abroad (yes, AT&T, I'm looking at you).

    Many hotels, restaurants, and cafes around Geneva also advertise WiFi, but some require an existing account with an internet provider. So make sure the establishment has its own free WiFi network before you plonk down and order that coffee.

  • 04 of 07

    Ten Free Museums in Geneva

    Geneva on a Budget: Cheap Eats, Free Transport and More

    Adrigu / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

    Geneva has a number of wonderful museums that open their doors for free.

    Completely Free Museums in Geneva

    • Musée d'histoire des sciences (Museum of History of Science)

      De la Rive, de Saussure… you've seen their names on the streets. Now find out their significance as scientists at this museum of astronomy, geology, meterology, and other disciplines.
    • Muséum d'histoire naturelle (Natural History Museum)

      Dioramas, specimens, oh my!
    • Espace Lullin

      Rare 18th-century manuscripts are housed inside the public library
    • Institut et Musée Voltaire

      Enlightenment writer Voltaire spent some of his exile years in Geneva. His estate is now a museum dedicated to his work.

    Geneva Museums with Free Permanent Collections

    These museums open their doors for free every day, excluding temporary exhibitions.

    • Maison Tavel

      Artifacts and domestic objects illustrate everyday life in Geneva from the 16th to 19th century.
    • Ariana Museum

      Dedicated to the art of ceramic, the extensive museum presents over 25,000 pieces on display.
    • Musée d'art et d'histoire (Museum of Art and History)

      This multidisciplinary museum draws from archeology to fine arts.

    Their temporary exhibitions are also free, but only on the first Sunday of each month.

    Continue to 5 of 7 below.

  • 05 of 07

    Free Outdoors Activities in Geneva

    Geneva on a Budget: Cheap Eats, Free Transport and More

    Tim Graham/Getty Images

    Go outside and explore Geneva's stunning nature–gratis, of course.

    Lake Geneva Itself

    You're never too far from picturesque Lake Geneva's water. There are 29 access points, the most popular being Bains des Paquis, where people-watching rivals swimming as the sport of choice.

    For the less aquatically-minded, there are also public shuttle boats, which are free with your Geneva transport card.

    Geneva Greenery

    Geneva is a green city, with about 20% of its total surface devoted to parks. In summer, the city even puts out free lawn chairs. Some excellent parks include:

    • Parc des Bastions: play chess on a life-size board or listen to students strumming their guitars; in Plainpalais/University
    • Parc Cropettes: stretching from right behind the train station, the park features pond; in Quartier Les Grottes.
    • Beaulieu Park: Right across the street from Parc Cropettes, especially great for kids; in Quartier Les Grottes.
    • Jardin Anglais: a popular hangout with the famous flower clock, right on the lake.
    • Parc des Eaux Vives: a hilly park with gorgeous patches, with its own beach and boat dock; in Eaux Vives.

  • 06 of 07

    Geneva’s Free Outdoors Cultural Events

    Geneva on a Budget: Cheap Eats, Free Transport and More

    Dr. Emmie-Poo / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

    Every summer, Geneva hosts a number of cultural events outdoors.

    Free cinema under the stars: From the thousands of titles nominated by Geneva residents, a collection of films are selected and shown in parks from July to August. For more information, visit the official webpage. (Notice some newer films charge entry fees.)

    Free concerts in the sun: In public parks around the city, musicians from around the world give free concerts from July through August. For more a complete schedule, visit the official site.

  • 07 of 07

    Geneva Cheap Shopping

    Geneva on a Budget: Cheap Eats, Free Transport and More

    Ludovic/ Images

    “Whoa, those shoes cost 950 bucks!” I once heard a Texan gentleman exclaim as he stared at a shop window in Geneva. What he didn't notice was that that was the sale price.

    If you want to splurge, Geneva has no shortage of options. But if you want to save on your souvenirs, things get a little trickier. Here are a few budget shopping options.

    • Plainpalais Flea Market: One man's trash can be your treasure. Lots of old Swiss stuff. Plaine de Plainpalais, Tuesdays and Saturdays 8 am to 5 pm
    • Manore: Skip the fancy chocolate shops they build for tourists in the old city. This mega department store has a solid chocolate selection at surprisingly good prices. Rue de Cornavin 6.
    • Boulevard Helvetique: Outdoor farmers market for your Swiss produce pleasures. Wednesdays and Saturdays 8 am to 1 pm.
    • Place Madeleine: Clothing and books. Open on Mondays and Saturdays 8 am to 7 pm in summer.

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The 9 Best Zurich Hotels of 2018

02 of 09

Best Budget: Budget Hostel Zürich

The 9 Best Zurich Hotels of 2018

Courtesy of

See rates on TripAdvisor

“Budget” is something of a foreign concept in notoriously expensive Zürich, so the best way to stay cheaply is to look at hostel accommodations. Best Budget Hostel is a quiet, private option just north of the city center. The service is friendly, the rooms are clean and public transport links connect you to central Zürich in approximately 15 minutes. Recently redecorated in a quirky Pop Art style, all seven rooms include towels, a flat-screen TV, free high-speed Wi-Fi and central heating.

Double Rooms share a bathroom, but if you find yourself with a few Swiss francs to spare, you can upgrade to a Large Double Room with a private ensuite instead. A communal kitchen allows you to save money by catering for yourself, while the lounge is a great place to make new friends. The hostel also stands out for its large garden, as well as for useful amenities, including laundry facilities, luggage storage and cheap on-site parking.

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