Please wait, the site is loading...

Travel

The perfect long weekend in Switzerland

by Francesca Syz
The perfect long weekend in Switzerland
Image: Getty Images

Francesca Syz explores the pretty city of Zurich before heading to the Alpine village of Flims.

The snow hadn’t quite begun to fall the afternoon we arrived in Zurich. The city, which wraps around a serene lake of the same name, felt crisp and beautiful.

Dragging our suitcases through the cobbled back streets of the medieval Old Town, we arrived at Marktgasse, a boutique hotel fashioned from two ancient buildings. Our whitewashed, wonky-beamed bedroom had parquet floors and an incredibly comfortable bed.

Marktgasse-Hotel---Aerial-Shot

We were soon back downstairs for a late lunch at the hotel’s eat-in deli, Delish (me, on the most amazing Ottolenghi-style beetroot tabbouleh, my husband, a pulled pork sandwich). I spotted a platter of delicious-looking cinnamon buns and vowed to have one for breakfast. Armed with heavenly hot chocolates, we headed out to explore.

First stop was Cabaret Voltaire, where Dadaism was born in 1916. Today, it’s a performance art space and bookshop selling quirky postcards and gifts. From there, it was just a five-minute stroll to Zurich’s famous Fraumünster Church, home to beautiful stained-glass windows by Marc Chagall and Augusto Giacometti.

That night, back at the hotel, we dined at Baltho, a relaxed bistro offering seasonal Swiss dishes with Asian and Latin American twists. The highlight for me was the Sri Lankan aubergine dish, which, it transpires, was taught to the chef by the Sri Lankan kitchen porter.

Next morning, after the shockingly good cinnamon buns from Delish, we squeezed in a quick trip to Zurich West. A revamped industrial area now filled with art galleries, boutiques and cafes, it’s home to a farmers’ market where I picked up mustard and honey from slow-food specialist Berg und Tal and knocked back hand-picked wild oysters at Vom Fischer & syner Fru.

Then we boarded the mountain train, packed with jovial skiers and snowboarders, and it began to snow. I confess that, while I love snow, I don’t actually ski, so our time in the mountain village of Flims, just an hour and a half away, would be spent snuggled by the fire, eating great food and chilling in the spa.

SPA-Swimming-lake---Waldhaus-Flims

After a short cab ride from Chur, we arrived at Waldhaus Flims Alpine Grand Hotel and Spa, an impossibly romantic 19th-century grand hotel, resplendent in its cover of snow. Sitting within its own park, we watched people ski down the mountain and swoosh across the lawn from our little balcony.

We made a beeline for the spa’s heated outdoor pool for the unique pleasure of bobbing about as snow fell. Later, we sipped Alpine Mules at the bar before heading to Il Tschaler restaurant for a fondue so loaded with Gruyère, Vacherin, white wine and spices, it should have a health warning.

Christy-and-Francesca-up-the-mountain-in-Flims

Next morning, after an incredible buffet breakfast, we took a ski lift up the mountain before an invigorating walk back down for club sandwiches and chilled white wine on the hotel’s terrace and then a cleansing Mountain Crystal Facial in the hotel’s spa.

We devoured our final dinner at Epoca, a restaurant overlooking the forest. Feasting on air-dried sausage wrapped in chard leaves in a creamy sauce and tender braised venison, it was an utter treat. Heading home, it felt like we’d been gone a month.

Getting there

Doubles at Marktgasse Hotel. Doubles at Waldhaus Flims from £534. British Airways flies from London to Zurich from £86 return.

Don`t miss

We value your privacy

We use cookies to help give you the best experience on our site and to allow us and third parties to customise the marketing content you see across websites and social media. For more information see our cookie policy.

Cookie Preference Centre

Learn more about what each cookie category does and choose your settings (toggle right to opt in or left to opt out). Cookie policy


Strictly Necessary

These technologies are needed to enable our websites and apps to run and to keep it secure.

Sainsbury's Magazine

These technologies tell us how customers use our sites and apps and provide information to help us improve the website, apps and your browsing experience.

Cookie name Duration
PHPSESSID Until the browsing session ends
device_view 1 month
recentlyViewedRecipes 1 year
subscription-{popup-version-date}-PopupClosed 12 days

Vimeo

Enables Vimeo videos on the site

Cookie name Duration
_derived_epik 1 year

Constant Commerce

Enables shopping tools for recipe ingredients

Cookie name Duration
cc_a_h 10 years
cc_a_s Until the browsing session ends

DoubleClick

DoubleClick Digital Marketing (DDM) is an integrated ad-technology platform that enables us to more effectively create, manage and grow high-impact digital marketing campaigns.

Cookie name Duration
DSID 10 days
IDE 1 year
RUL 11 months

Performance/Analytics

These technologies tell us how customers use our sites and apps and provide information to help us improve the website, apps and your browsing experience.

Google

Google Analytics tell us how customers use our sites and apps and provide information to help us improve the website, apps and your browsing experience.

Cookie name Duration
__gads 13 months
_ga 28 months
_gat 1 minute
_gid 1 day
1P_JAR 1 month
ANID 10 days
CONSENT 18 years
NID 6 months
__Secure-3PAPISID 2 years
__Secure-3PSID 2 years
__Secure-3PSIDCC 1 year

Marketing/Targeting

These technologies help us decide which products, services and offers may be relevant for you. We use this data to customise the marketing content you see on websites, apps and social media. They also help us understand the performance of our marketing activities. These cookies are set by us or our carefully-selected third parties.

Pinterest

Pinterest conversion tracking gathers conversion insights and builds audiences to target based on actions our visitors have taken on the site.

Cookie name Duration
_pinterest_ct_rt 1 year
_pinterest_ct_ua 1 year
_pin_unauth 1 year

Outbrain

These technologies tell us how customers use our sites and apps and provide information to help us improve the website, apps and your browsing experience.

Cookie name Duration
outbrain_cid_fetch 5 minutes
adrl 5 weeks
apnxs 6 weeks
criteo 2 months
obuid 6 months

Twitter

Twitter conversion tracking enables us to measure our return on ad spend by tracking the actions people take after viewing or engaging with our ads on Twitter.

Cookie name Duration
personalization_id 2 years
muc 2 years
ads_prefs 5 years
auth_token 5 years
dnt 5 years
guest_id 2 years
twid 5 years