Time: 1 hour.
Best Times: Monday through Friday from 9am to 5pm or on Saturday from 9am to 1am (when most stores are open).
Worst Times: Rush hours, Monday through Friday from 8 to 9am and 5 to 6pm.
If you do nothing else in Zurich, walk along world-famous Bahnhofstrasse. One of the most beautiful shopping streets on earth was built on the site of a frogs' moat. The street is free from all traffic except trams.
Begin the tour at:
The site of the Hauptbahnhof, the central railroad station, this is the beginning of Bahnhofstrasse. The square itself is rather drab, but the scenery improves as you go along (the street extends almost a mile to the lake). The Hauptbahnhof was built in 1871.
Escalators take you from Bahnhofplatz past an underground shopping mall called ShopVille to:
With your back to the railway terminus, you can head up Bahnhofstrasse, which is lined with linden trees as well as some of the world's most prosperous banks and expensive shops, selling such luxury merchandise as Swiss watches and jewelry.
Continue up the street to:
3. Pestalozzi Park
The park appears on your right, 2 blocks from Bahnhofplatz, between Schweizergasse and Usteristrasse. You can stop here and rest on one of the park benches by a statue of Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi (1746-1827), an educational reformer who influenced school standards in the United States.
Farther along, near Augustinergasse and Pelikanstrasse, you'll see a small pedestrian walkway where you can stop to admire the sculptures in the area. After you pass St. Peter Strasse and Bärengasse, you'll reach:
This is the hub of Zurich and the central tram interchange. In the 18th century, it was a cattle market. The square is dominated by the 1876 mansion of Crédit Suisse. East of the plaza is the Savoy Baur en Ville hotel.
5. Confiserie Sprüngli
At Bahnhofstrasse 21 (Am Paradeplatz) is the Confiserie Sprüngli (tel. 044/224-47-11; www.confiserie-spruengli.ch), the most elegant and fashionable place on this chic shopping street to meet for tea and pastries (which are the best in the city). Try one of the daily lunch specials.
Continue along Bahnhofstrasse until you reach:
On the shore of Lake Zurich, this is the point where the Limmat River empties into the lake. This square overlooks Quaibrücke, a bridge across the Limmat that connects the left bank with the right bank. After stopping to admire the lake, you may also consider a boat excursion if it's summer.
If you cross Quaibrücke, you'll arrive on the right bank at:
Here you can enjoy the view of the lake and river as you rest on a park bench and watch all of Zurich pass by.