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Muslim-Friendly First Timer’s Guide To Zurich - One Of The World’s Most Expensive City

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Ayuni Ayatillah  •  Aug 03, 2016

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If someone comes up to me and ask why they should travel to Switzerland, I’d ask them to buy me a nice cup of coffee.
Credit: giphy That’s because it could take a little while for me to explain how awesome the happiest country in the world is. I’m talking gorgeous scenery, amazing people and plenty of things to do (for single or family travellers alike!). Now before you get giddy and start logging in to your favourite airline site, let me narrow down a place for you - The best place to start visiting the Alpine country is of course, Zurich!
2 Zurich
Credit: True Nomads Also known as the largest city in Switzerland, Zurich is a scenic city with a blend of old and new. Read : well curated museums, beautiful gardens and greeneries, well preserved medieval buildings and stunning architecture. And I am about to fill you in with a travel guide too, because I know that you would probably go ahead and book a ticket when you are done reading this piece 😉 So read on peeps! [Looking for other travel guides to Europe? Check these out!]

Things to do

1. Join a free walking tour of the city
3 - free walk zurich
Credit: kandas-adventuresDon’t just be a tourist. Be a traveller!That means you have to learn a thing or two about a city and the best way to learn is to discover it through the eyes of a local. Check outFree Walk Zurich, a non-profit organization offering free tours on foot with locals who are passionate about their cities and ready to give you local insights. All you have to do is show up at their rendezvous and walk with them. The awesome part is you get to make new friends too! How to join the free walking tour: Visit their website for different types of walking tour packages that you can join here
2. Visit Zurich’s backyard mountain of Uetliberg
 
Uetliberg
Credit: Andreas Hunziker Climb to the observation tower and savour the gorgeous view of Zurich and its surrounding landscapes from a higher point. Your jaw will drop in awe, like literally! Look to the north and yup, you will see the popular Black Forest too. [caption id="attachment_10006" align="alignnone" width="1280"]
You can also ride an aerial cable car to Felsenegg!
You can also ride an aerial cable car to Felsenegg![/caption] Credit: zuerich Few things to do includes hiking, walking along a planet trail to Felsenegg (an eight-mile walk along a scaled-down model of the solar system) or maybe wait to view a magnificent sunset. How to get there:Depart from the central station Zürich Hauptbahnhof on the S10 train and you will reach Uetliberg station in 20-30 minutes. The observation tower is a 10-minute walk away.
3. Go artsy fartsy and discover some Swiss art
5-kunsthaus zurich
Credit: srf The Kunsthaus Zürich (Museum of Fine Arts) is a popular museum to visit to appreciate arts in Zurich. Run by the Zurich Society of Arts, its collections consists of works by famous artists throughout the centuries such as Monet, Charles Munch and van Gogh. Besides paintings, the ground floor also houses changing exhibits of contemporary sculptures from living artists. How to get there:  
4. Savour the beauty of Lake Zurich and explore its vicinity
 
7-lake zurich 3
Credit: Roland zh (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons Sure you will love the view of Lake Zurich from land, but why not jump in a “pedalo” and get even more stunning view of the city! Pedalos are abundant for hire, but just make sure that you are feeling strong enough to pedal! 💪
8 - pedalos zurich
Credit: timeout Or, you can also hop into a boat that will take you on a lovely 90-minute cruise around the lake. Don’t forget to checkout the Viadukt – rows and rows of specialty shops, boutiques and cafes that runs under 36 arches!
Credit: cool-cities How to get there:  
5. Visit Mahmood Mosque and get to know the local Muslim community
9 - mahmood mosque zurich
Credit: simple.advisor.travelMinarets have beenbanned in Switzerland (boo!), so the only mosque with a minaret is the 50-year-old Mahmood Mosque in Forchstrasse, Zurich. Currently run by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, the mosque continues to stand tall until today. Activities in the community are often updated at the mosque so if you have some time to spare, join in one of their activities and learn more about living as Muslims in Swiss.How to get there:  

Food to eat

Islam is not new to Zurich and the people are generally a tolerant and friendly bunch. Finding halal food in nearby areas are relatively easy, but here are a few top restaurants offering halal finds.
My Kitchen (Closed)
10 - my kitchen details
Credit: suissepicture My Kitchen offers a huge array of Malaysian food and also delectable sushi. Owned by Malaysians, the restaurant is known as a nice place to gather with families and friends.
MyKitchen
Credit: @faraelz
Nasi ayam satu! Opening Hours: 11am to 2.30pm and 6pm to 10pm every day Contact Number: +41 43 810 06 78 Facebook
1. Taj Palace
12-taj palace facade
Credit: yelpIf you are longing for a tinge of heat from some Indian spices and chillies, the Taj Palace is the place to go. A little bird told me that it sometimes needs booking in advance,so to stay safe, give them a ring beforehand! The location is perfect for a relaxing dining as it is on the riverside where you can take a little stroll after.Opening Hours: 11.30am to 1.30pm and 6pm to 10pm during the week, 6pm to 10pm on weekends Website How to get there:
2. New Point
14-new point zurich
Credit: yelp New Point is a SILA halal certified franchised restaurant styled like a modern fast food chain. However, their food is to-die-for! They serve Oriental, Mediterranean and Turkish specialties and possibly the best doner kebab in Zurich.
15-new point food 1
Credit: dadafab Note: The food served is halal, but they do serve alcohol. Please dine at your own discretion. Opening hours: 7am to 2am from Sunday to Wednesday, 7am to 4.30am from Thrusday to Saturday How to get there: There are a few New Point outlets around Zurich, depending on where you are. Google Maps can get easily locate the nearest one for you.

Tips and tricks!

Last but not least, just some general tips that might come handy:
  • The public toilets are the typical western style toilets with no bidet, so it is recommended to carry a water bottle when you head to the loo.
  • There are some halal restaurants that offersa space for you to pray, but sometimes you just have to ask.
  • Purchase a ZurichCARD at the airport and you can use it to travel within the city and also access to most museums, trams, trains and boat services.
Pretty awesome huh? So what are you waiting for? Find some time (or an excuse) to visit Zurich and have a blast discovering the country!