15+ Sunny Sides of Switzerland that make you want to stay

Jump directly to see The Zurich Coffee Place Recommendations, updated 19.3.2023

What are the best things about your living place?

By listing the good aspects of your living place, you get a positive lens that helps you to see the good around you. The list is helpful also when you are struggling with your current location, reminding you about the upsides, plus it can be valuable for those who are thinking to visit or move to where you live!

I listed 15+ positive things about our current living country Switzerland:

+ NATURE. Hello all the gorgeous mountains and lakes, forests and rivers and jaw-dropping views! We are constantly fascinated by Switzerland’s landscape. I’ve heard people describing this country as ‘annoyingly beautiful’ and I have to agree, it often looks like something straight out of a fairy tale. 

Over 60% of Switzerland is mountainous, 25% forest and 6% lakes and glaciers. The mountains make you feel small in a healthy way, and the clear waters are calling your name. Did you know, that the highest mountain in Switzerland (and the second-highest mountain of the Alps) is Monte Rosa whose peak Dufourspitze is 4,634 m high? Probably the most known Swiss mountain standing right next to it, Matterhorn (the one on the Toblerone package) is not much shorter: 4,478 m.

Many people in Switzerland also seem to value nature and spend a lot of time outdoors. The natural materials are used and appreciated, for example the playground structures are often made of wood and to fit to the landscape.

+ VIEWS. It’s not a coincidence that people seek beautiful scenery. The aesthetics of the environment plays an important role in well-being. Because of the surrounding nature and altitudes, Switzerland is packed with wonderful vistas. Located in the hills, many homes also come with a view.

+ COUNTLESS PLACES TO VISIT. There are multiple beautiful towns, historical places, mountains, lakes and routes to explore and you can reach many of them fairly quickly.

+ TRAINS. Switzerland  has been ranked first among European rail systems for its intensity of use, safety and quality of service. The clean and timely trains have wonderful window views too!

+ DIVERSE CLIMATES AND LANDSCAPES. Switzerland has generally temperate climate but it can vary from icy and snowy mountaintops to palm trees in near Mediterranean climate. If it’s raining where you are, chances are that you will find clear skies not too far from you, sometimes just by going to the nearest mountain.

+ CENTRAL LOCATION. From the heart of Central Europe it is easy to visit different places such as the neighbouring countries France, Italy, German, Austria and Liechtenstein. And it’s easy also for others to visit you. 

+ DELICACIES. Mouth-watering chocolate, cheese, bakery pastries, seasonal food… Yum!

+ MULTICULTURALISM. Switzerland is a mix of different cultures with their traditions and languages (German/Swiss German, French, Italian and Romansh are the official languages), and therefore the experiences vary depending on which part of the country you are. For example, visiting Lago Maggiore in Ticino is very different to visiting Rhine Falls in Schaffhausen, even if there are only 200 kilometres between the places.

+ SAFETY. The Global Peace Index ranked Switzerland to be the 11th safest country in the world and Switzerland is also listed as the 3rd least-corrupted country.

+ RELIABILITY. Many people in Switzerland are not only timely but also reliable. Planning to lose your wallet? Consider doing it in Switzerland because it did very well in a study on returning dropped wallets.

+ FOUR SEASONS, WELL TIMED. A long warm summer, proper spring and autumn and winter with the options of snow in the mountains or sun in the south. Plenty of nice swimming spots in summer, skiing and sledding in winter, hikes to enjoy the autumn colours or the spring flowers…

+ CLEAN AIR AND WATER, COMPARED TO MANY OTHER PLACESSwitzerland is one of the cleanest countries in the world.

+ ‘SHOPLESS’ SUNDAYS. Naturally there is also another side to this, but the closed shops on Sundays have certainly saved me from many not-absolutely-necessary buyings and pushed me to go exploring outdoors instead of stores. 

+ PRECISION, MAINTENANCE AND CLEANLINESS. May not sound as the most exciting words, but doing things properly and keeping things in good condition can improve the quality of life and the state of the environment. Naturally these things (as many others) are also related to wealth – it’s easier to maintain things if you have means to do so.

+ As they say, also the Swiss flag is a huge plus! 😉

And when I zoom into my current home city Zurich, I can see…

+ THE NATURE SPOTS NEARBY. Even if we for example live quite in the city center, the forests, fields and the lake are in a walking distance. Zurich is surrounded by small mountains, highest of them being Uetliberg (869 m).

+ SCENERY. Zurich looks like a postcard with the church towers, waters and alpine views.

+ TRAMS, FERRIES AND OTHER PUBLIC TRANSPORT. The well functioning public transport, ‘öffis’, allows us to live comfortably withouth a car. Besides the basic trams, there are also a fondue tram, a coctail bar tram and a Christmas time tram where Santa is the driver. I especially like the funiculars which offer a fun and scenic way to travel up and down the hills.

+ LOCAL SCHOOLS.  At least we have been very happy with ours. Also the local DaZ (German as second language) ‘integration program’ was very helpful. It teaches kids subjects in German for one year before they change to the nearest local school.

+ DIFFERENT AREAS WITH DIFFERENT ATMOSPHERES. Ranging from Paradeplatz surroundings with neatly dressed bankers to totally different vibe of the ‘club street’ Langstrasse area, and many in between.

+ OLD BUILDINGS WITH STORIES TO TELL AND BEAUTY TO OFFER. On many streets of Zurich you feel like walking in an architectural candyland – the colors, shapes and details of the houses look just delicious. Before moving to Zurich I didn’t know that many buildings’ roofs are used as terraces. They are perfect for relaxing, having a bbq with and for watching the ever-changing scenery or the shooting stars in the night sky. There are also restaurants’ roof terraces to enjoy.

+ OUTDOOR SWIMMING CULTURE. “Zurich, city of water par excellence, where bathing is a cult.” as they aptly say at www.zuerich.com. It’s been a positive surprise how many swimming places there are, around the lake Zurich and river Limmat – and also the 18 open air swimming sites, ‘badis’, offered by the city of Zurich.

+ STAIRS. Climbing the many stairs of the city can keep you in better shape.

+ WATER FOUNTAINS. You can drink water from the 1,200 fountains of Zurich, many of them are also beautiful works of art.

+ COFFEE PLACES. Not all cafés here serve tasty coffee in a cosy and friendly atmosphere but luckily some of them do – such as these coffee places that I’ve been visiting and usually enjoying:

Kafi Freud (cozy, friendly, plants, often crowded)
Kornsilo (industrial vibe, spacious, a nice location not far from Lake Zurich)
Spheres (closet to Limmat, multiple spaces, also terraces, book store)
Kraftwerk (cozy, a bit dark, a cool environment)
Milchbar (a beautiful inner yard, a small space indoors)
Café Lang (traditional vibes)
Auer & Co (in the downstairs of the Impact Hub co-working, cozy but dark, service varies)
Café Noir (cute but small, also a few tables outdoors, located close to my favorite shop Zuercher Brockenhaus)
Le Raymond Bar (a nice location next to the canal Schanzengraben)
Café Henrici (in the middle the old town of Zurich, varying service, outdoor tables too)
Babu’s (central location, a cute place but often crowded)
Café du Bonheur (a relaxed place, tables outdoors too)
Collective Bakery (yummy coffee, has also terraces, an industrial location)
Thalvie Cafe an oasis in Thalwil, 10-mins train ride from Zurich.

Kafi Paradiesli (super cozy, small, an old building, wooden structures)
Monocle café (tasty coffee, unsurprisingly Monocle kind of vibe)
Nude (next to river Limmat, industrial indoor space, tables by the riverside path)
Modo (not far from Limmat, spacious, minimal, industrial, also terrace tables)
Hiltl Dachterrasse (airy, easy location, delicious food too)
The Artisan (weekends, nice brunch and space with plants and a terrace and garden)
The Studio (a good location close to opera house, an interesting energy)
Mame (high quality coffee)
apoTHEKE (quite cozy, also a few tables outside, a nice area not far from ETH)
Coworking Lounge Tessinerplatz (good location nestled in the the co-working space)
Kafi Dihei (cute, cozy ‘granny’s living room’ vibes, varying service, outdoors tables too)
COFFEE&DEEDS (if you happen to be around, a nice place to have a coffee)
Stettbacher (worth to visit if you happen to be in this area, nicely decorated, spacious, friendly, we combined with a walk through Zurichberg)

Next I’ll be visiting Omnia in the city and also Café Rumi close to Zurich in Kihlchberg.

If you are in Switzerland, I’d be curious to know about your favourite places, and if you are elsewhere, please write down and share the best things about your living place!

A fountain in the yard where cafe Milchbar is.

Text & photos: Helena J. / Abroadland

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