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Zurich is the economic capital of Switzerland and one of the most expensive cities in the world, which might make you think of banks, tax havens and watches… but you’d be wrong! Well, partly… before anything else, Zurich is a charming and quiet city. And it is possible to stay here without having to sell a kidney if you stay in Zurich hostels!
You’ll find plenty of hostels in Zurich’s old town, close to the museums and main sights. There are classic backpacker favourites with social bars and communal kitchens, perfect for meeting other travellers. Or how about one with a rooftop patio for spectacular views over the city? Head a little further out and you can stay right on the banks of Lake Zurich, in a modern hostel with a sunny courtyard, ping pong tables and a cosy bar. To experience Zurich on a backpacker’s budget, there’s no better choice!
If you want to uncover Zurich’s most peaceful side, head to Lindenhof or Niederdorf, its two main historical districts. You’ll find the main tourist sights split across these neighbourhoods, plus tree-covered parks and incredible river views in Lindenhof and quaint old town streets with local markets in Niederhof. You should also have a look around the very trendy Zurich West - it’s less expensive and more alternative.
When you’re visiting Zurich, don’t miss St Peter’s Church and its famous clock, the biggest in Europe. The Fraümunster church is also beautiful, with amazing stained glass windows designed by famous artists Giacometti and Chagall. For a taste of luxury Zurich, head to the iconic Bahnhofstrasse street - you might not be able to afford anything, but looking is free! After more of a hipster hangout? Check out the Viadukt market, where you’ll find everything from trendy cafés to hype nightclubs.
Getting around Zurich is very easy: the old town is almost entirely pedestrian. The city itself is quite small, and walking everywhere is a good way to save money while visiting Zurich. Your other option is public transport, and the bus and tram network is very efficient.