An expat's guide to Zurich, Switzerland



Artist Brett Weir grew up in Gippsland, Victoria. After a decade of constant travel, he met his partner, Tashi, at a theatre festival in Zurich, where he had his breakthrough exhibition. His next exhibition will be at Michael Reid Gallery in Sydney from February 28 to March 31. See


If you are interested in contemporary art, don't miss a visit to the Lowenbrau Areal. This place is a dense complex of mid- through to top-tier contemporary galleries and museums, most of them free. Ask for Eva Presenhuber​ and tell her hi from me. See


I have made a tradition of seeing Christian, the head barman and an absolute master of his trade, at the mahogany-clad bar at the Kronenhalle for a few celebratory whisky sours whenever I sell a major painting. The walls are adorned with original works by Picasso, Chagal, Rauschenberg and more. The seat I aim for is directly below the Picasso, which is hung so low you can lean gently back onto its frame.


One of the most impressive things about Zurich is its pristine lake and river. The city is built on the basin of Lake Zurich, which is the source of the Limmat, a crystal clear, azure river that snakes through the old town and past the main station, Zurich Hauptbahnhof (HB).  If you are visiting during the warmer months from July to September, swim at the Oberer Letten, a section of the river just 10 minutes' walk from HB, then get yourself a burger and an Aperol Spritz.


As the sun sets on the lake, walk to Restaurant Josef in the red-light district. This is the best place to find clubs, bars and restaurants, and serves amazing food and drinks with a cool low-key ambience. Coffee is rough in Zurich, but getting better. The best place is either of the two La Stanza cafes, one on Stockerstrass, the other in the lobby of Zurich's highest building, the proudly named Prime Tower, at 126 metres high. See,


Do not be late! There are clocks visible from every corner of the city and they all keep perfect time, as do its fine citizens. My experience has led me to the following cardinal rules. Thirty seconds late: text required and brief apology. Two minutes late: phone call – good excuse mandatory. Three minutes or over: written letter of apology. You have damaged the trust and it will not be an easy place to crawl back from.