Traveling to Zurich, Switzerland with Food Allergies City Guide

Zurich, Switzerland, city benches by river

A city often brushed aside as a mere pit stop en route to the magnificent Alps, holds much to be explored, including for those traveling to Zurich, Switzerland with food allergies. After many brief stopovers in the past, I found beautiful accommodations to stay right in the city, immersing myself in art, history, and countless Christmas markets. I wandered through cobblestone streets weaving along the river, enjoying the romance of European architecture and dining on safe allergy-friendly meals.

Getting to Zurich, Switzerland

Zurich is a great jumping off point in Europe, and many use it as that. From Philadelphia, the only direct flight option is on American Airlines. To read more on how I handle flying with food allergies go here.

Arriving at the Zurich Airport (ZRH)

Airports are not usually known as an easy place to find grocery stores and fresh food, however Zurich is different. Zurich Airport has some excellent options! Right outside the airport is the Circle, full of shops, the train and anything you could possibly need. To find the Coop and Migros grocery stores, go to L-1. 

 

Transportation in Zurich

Zurich’s main train station, Zürich HB, is equipped with multiple grocery stores, making it a convenient place to pick up snacks. The offerings onboard the train are specific and limited. I highly recommend preparing ahead with safe food options from the grocery store.

There is a Zurich Card that gives free transportation and a number of other discounts and benefits. The cards are purchased for a certain amount of time, for either 24 or 72 hours. Visit the Tourist Information Office at Zurich Main Train Station for maps and more information.

Where To Stay in Zurich, Switzerland

B2 Hotel

I was intent on finding an exquisitely unique accommodation for my trip and traveling to Zurich, Switzerland with food allergies. A hotel that would thoughtfully manage my environmental and food allergies, while also having an exceptional style. B2 Hotel is exactly the boutique hotel I imagined. The two B’s: ‘Boutique’ hotel and ‘Bookmark’ to remain in your memory. Located with easy access to everything, while also being tucked away on a peaceful little hilltop.

Why B2 Hotel?

Books play a huge role in the entire aesthetic, as the dining room area looks like it was transferred from the Beast’s castle for every Beauty aficionado to swoon over. There is a special kind of magic in a room of floor to ceiling bookcases containing over 33,000 books available for guests to enjoy. This hotel also has a fascinating 130 years of history, as it was once the Hürlimann brewery. There are even still remnants of its past.

When I arrived, I was greeted with an offering of espresso and time to take in the downstairs before going up to my room. There is also a cozy co-working space by the hotel entrance. While here, guests can utilize this great space.

Hotel Room

My hotel guest ambassador, Kurt, showed me to my room.  A carpet-free floor with feather-free pillows and blankets on the bed were awaiting my arrival. There was a window that opened for air and Kurt also was available to answer any questions.

The rooms have lots of light and little finishing touches, along with a desk and sitting area. A mini fridge is also inside the room, which is perfect for storing allergy-friendly food and snacks.

Breakfast at The Library

Surrounded by thousands of books and wine bottle chandeliers, are tables perfect for sitting and enjoying a meal. The Library has a buffet where I was able to get some fruit and then order scrambled eggs or omelettes from the kitchen. Although I brought a copy of my chef card to breakfast each morning, they already had a copy ready from when I first checked in. This made the breakfast ordering process very smooth.

Other Hotel Amenities

Something else that I really appreciate about B2 is the personal feel of the hotel. The guest ambassadors were available to answer my questions and help work around my allergies. Everyone I encountered at B2 Hotel was kind, helpful, and happy to chat. It was a very welcome way to start my trip traveling to Zurich, Switzerland with food allergies.

Something else that makes B2 Hotel and its location extra special, is the proximity to the beautiful Hürlimannbad & Spa Zurich, with the main spa below the hotel and the rooftop thermal pool above it. There is even special access for hotel guests with a nice discount. I found this to be such a welcoming escape after wandering around the city exploring all day. Each night I’d unwind in the rooftop thermal pool and enjoy views of the surrounding city of Zurich, lights twinkling below.

Hotel Adler Zurich

Hotel Adler Zurich is located in Zurich’s old town which is a charming area and perfect for exploring the city, with everything is in walking distance.

The best part of my hotel room was the city view looking down on a square with a little Christmas market below. There were feather-free pillows and blankets and a mini fridge for storing my allergy-friendly snacks. The floors were wood, so no environmental allergy issues for me!

In the morning I got ready and headed down to breakfast. With food allergies, breakfast can be challenging, but it always helps when there is packaged options with ingredients. Although it was buffet style, I was able to find some safe crackers and fruit.

The Hotel Restaurant

I had a lunch reservation at the hotel restaurant, Swiss Chuchi Restaurant. I love having a Swiss dining experience that feels safe with my food allergies. This restaurant has an allergy menu and they were able to work around my food allergies. Since one of my food allergies is potato, a very common food in many Swiss dishes, they were able to still prepare Raclette, but instead of using potato they used other vegetables. As soon as you enter during lunch or dinner time, the restaurant does have a strong cheese aroma, so if you have a dairy allergy, I would decide your comfort level and see if there are any safe possibilities before going.

Raclette has become a favorite of mine, so it was fun to try it out at a restaurant (not just in our home). They also have fondue which is another popular choice. I did not try it on this trip, but it does look fun for my next visit!

Where To Eat in Zurich, Switzerland

Zurich has plenty of restaurant options if you know what to look for and have some ideas of safe food dishes in mind. Besides the two restaurants in I mentioned above at the hotels, The Library at B2 Hotel and Swiss Chuchi Restaurant at Hotel Adler, there are many others to choose from.

Traveling with food allergies in Zurich, Switzerland and finding safe options is definitely possible. One night, I turned the corner and caught the most stunning sunset over the river, then found a restaurant where I had a safe, delicious, food allergy-friendly dinner.

Most restaurants are willing to help find something safe or make a dish safely to accommodate food allergies. The restaurants I’ve listed below were all willing and able to safely work around my food allergies. Make sure to bring a translated chef card in German.

Restaurants

  • Haus Hiltl in Sihlstrasse 28 is the flagship restaurant. It has a Guinness World Record for the oldest vegetarian restaurant in the world, founded in 1898. There menu had an ingredient declaration with a key for the top 14 allergens, plus vegan dishes. Since some of my food allergies are outside the top 14, and potato is quite popular, the choices for me were very limited. I was able to get a delicious salad though with tofu that I really enjoyed.
  •  Bindella Restaurant in Gassen 6 has delicious Italian food and a charming dinning atmosphere. They were great with my food allergies and I felt very comfortable eating there.
  • Vito in Europaallee 4 is close to the main train station. They have large pizzas to share. Our server was knowledgeable about food allergies.
  • Raclette Stube in Zähringerstrasse 16 is a cute little restaurant where we had raclette one night. Since I can’t eat the potatoes, they did not put them on my plate and I ate the cheese with other veggies an accompaniments.
  • L’Oro Di Napoli restaurant and pizzeria in the Circle at the Zurich Airport. We often stay at the airport the night before we fly home to the U.S. This was a good restaurant find for us. I was able to order a Margherita pizza safely. They had an allergy menu. The pizza also doesn’t come cut, so I didn’t need to ask about a clean cutter.

Bars

We went to the bar below in the summer and it was a fun atmosphere and definitely worth the stop if you are looking for a nice outdoor drink experience.

  • Rimini Bar Fumoir in Badge 10 is one of the bathing pool bars or ‘Badi-Bars’ only open in the summer. It has located around a riverside pool with spots to sit and lounge with an ice cool drink.

Grocery Stores in Zurich, Switzerland:

My first stop when traveling to Zurich, Switzerland with food allergies is usually the grocery store. These two chains below are all over the city and country-wide as well. Our personal favorite is Coop, but both have great options.

What To See & Do in Zurich, Switzerland

There are countless things to see and do in Zurich. Below are some of my favorites from this trip as well as some popular tourist spots. 

If you are visiting during the holiday season (November-December), there are plenty of Christmas Markets set up all over the city. Each Christmas market is different, so you never know what you’ll find at Christmas markets when traveling to Zurich, Switzerland with food allergies. I find Christmas markets to typically be quite challenging for food allergies. They are usually very crowded, so it isn’t easy to ask questions. Very few stands have ingredients or if they do have ingredients, there is too much cross contact to feel comfortable.

Christmas Markets

I did find one food I could safely eat at a Christmas Market in Zurich with food allergies. It is actually a sweet from Portugal. Besides that, I did not have much luck.

 

My favorite Christmas Markets in Zurich were:

  • Zurcher Wienachtsdorf
  • Christkindlimarkt im HB
  • Weihnachtsmarkt Dorfli
  • Illuminarium

Museums

Shopping

Zurich is known for its high-end shopping. The prices fit the brands but you will see some more reasonable shops as well that are familiar.

If you are looking for a fun department store experience, make sure to visit Jelmoli.

Insider Tip: Allergy-Friendly Chocolate in Zurich, Switzerland

Orfeve Chocolate is chocolate made in Geneva, Switzerland and found in two stores in Zurich,  Jelmoli and Schwarzenbach. This allergy-friendly chocolate comes with a large price tag, but is certainly fun to try and support. We need more allergy-friendly chocolate options in Europe and they are hard to come by. This is the only nut free chocolate I have ever found in Switzerland. It is also free from many of the other top allergens, too.
 

Trips from Zurich

Since Zurich is a main transportation hub, it makes travel to other areas of Switzerland simple and efficient. There are many high speed trains that make getting across the country very doable for a weekend trip. I was able to get around easily and found the entire process to go relatively smoothly. One tip I would suggest is booking your train ahead of going to the station because they do get booked up throughout the day. Most reservations I made the day before without a problem.

Day Trips

Since the public transportation system in Switzerland is so well established, there are many interesting places to visit that can easily be accessed by train. Below are a few fun day trip ideas. 

  • The old town of Lucerne is a stunning Swiss city and only an hour train ride
  • Uetliberg is only 30 minutes by train to experience a stunning viewpoint and enjoy the trails blooming with flowers in spring and summer.
  • Liechtenstein is a small principality and only a 1.5 hour train ride from Zurich.

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