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Zurich enjoys the fine things in life but not in the buttoned-down, lacklustre way the stereotype would have us believe. Yes, it's Switzerland's economic powerhouse and has the world's fourth-largest stock exchange (so there's no shortage of bankers and stockbrokers). However, there's been a burst of new energy since the turn of this century with the opening of scores of new clubs, bars and restaurants. Add efficiency, confectionary and proximity to the Alps and what's not to love?

Zurich: City ViewAerial View of the City

Top and quirky museums and art galleries to see include: Landesmuseum, Kunsthaus, Jacobs Coffee Museum and, out of town further along the banks of Lake Zurich in Rapperswil, is the country's only circus museum. The pedestrianised, upscale shopping street, Bahnhofstrasse, is popular and the old town (Niederdorf) is enchanting. Winter months give you the chance to reach the skifeilds by train (with a snow'n'rail ticket) and in summer the Lake Promenade is a top spot for rambling.

Zurich: ArchitectureZurich's Old City

Bring your appetite too. Chocolatiers Lindt and Frey have factories in Zurich; Teuscher, the truffle specialists, have 3 city stores; Sprüngli is a virtual institution, offering and array of sweet and savoury delights. Speaking of savoury goodies, fondue and raclette originate in Western Switzerland but you'll find them in restaurants here. The quintessential dish is Zürigschnätzlets, veal in a cream and wine sauce, and when you need a health kick after that, remember muesli was invented as a health food in Switzerland.

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