3 1/2 days Geneva or Zurich !

Old Apr 29th, 2009, 09:37 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 32
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
3 1/2 days Geneva or Zurich !

Hi Everyone i have 3 1/2 days to spend in Switzerland before moving on to Nice. Where should i go to spend those 3 days ? We're thinking of heading up the mountains one of those days. So far, i have found a train connection from Geneva to Nice but my friend suggested i go to Zurich instead. Im quite hesitant because i am quite sure if the train trip will cost more. Any suggestions ?
supertraveler is offline  
Old Apr 29th, 2009, 10:03 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 57,890
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Zurich is primarily a business city while Geneva is much more UN centered. I wouldn't stay in either of them but stay in Lucern (right on a lake with immediate access to several mountains via cable car or train) - or actually stay in one of the villages up in the Berner Oberland. Why take a coupleof huors to trek from a city to where you want to be each day?
nytraveler is offline  
Old May 5th, 2009, 12:41 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,689
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I believe from reading your other posts that you will be coming from Italy on your way to Nice and want to stop over in Switzerland. While I love Switzerland, I feel compelled to point out that routing through either Zurich or Geneva will add about 7 hours to your overall train journey. It’s going significantly north to get to Switzerland when all you really need to do is go along the coast of Italy to the coast of France to get to Nice. So look at train schedules and make sure you want to do this. From Venice to Nice is about 9 hours by train. From Venice to Geneva its about 7 hours, PLUS then another 7 hours to get to Nice from there (and it’s longer from Zurich). See rail.ch for schedules.

But if you decide to go via Switzerland, I don’t believe you will find that the price difference for the trains from Italy to Zurich versus Italy to Geneva will actually be that great, and in fact may be almost exactly the same. I don’t think rail.ch will give you prices, but you can send an a-mail to Swiss Rail and they will give you a price. If you have a rail pass for Europe, you should be able to use it in Switzerland for free or reduced-price travel.

I used to live in Zurich and think it is a great city with lots to see and do. I don’t like Geneva nearly as much, but do love, love the smaller villages along the lake. Vevey is one for sure, and Lausanne and Montreux if you want bigger places or Morges or Cully if you want a real village feel. If you pick the Geneva side of Switzerland, I would certainly say to stay in one of those towns over Geneva itself, virtually all of which are on the main train line and are very easy to get to via train. You can go into Geneva for a half day if you want, but really you may not even want to. You can also go places like Gruyere for the day which is in the lovely rolling green hillside areas. I have to say that personally, 3 days in a little hotel on the shores of Lake Geneva in like Vevey or in the vineyards above is just about my idea of heaven. Walks and bikes in the vineyards, wine tastings, great food, ferry rides on the lake. But Zurich has a lot to offer too, I don't think you would be disappointed with either. Walks, ferry rides and great food also available there.

June is a lovely month in both places, so weather/time of year is not any advantage. You do get really really stunning Alp views from the lake towns of Geneva that you won’t get quite so much from Zurich, so that is an advantage there. But Zurich has lots of excellent museums in case you get bad weather (also possible in June, Switzerland gets a good bit of rain).

If you like train rides, the excellent Bernina express train goes from Zurich. June is about the optimal time for this ride, and it would be a great day trip, perhaps in lieu of a day in the mountains or as an add-on or a way to get someplace like the gorgeous St Moritz area for a one night or longer stopover.

If you just want to go to the mountains for a day, IMO, you are better off staying on the Geneva side and going to a place like Château-d'Oex , which takes just over an hour by train from the lake Geneva area. This is a lovely village set in spectacualar mountains and not touristed at all like the scale of the Bernese Oberland, mentioned above (esp in June when Wengen will be chock-a-block). In addition, the Bernense Oblerland, while certainly extremely lovely, is about 2.5 hours each way by train from Zurich and IMO does not really work for a “day” trip. I am not a fan of Lucerne, and it is not in the mountains anyway, and to get to the Bernese Oberland mountain towns from Lucerne takes the same amount of time as going from Zurich, so again this is a hard location for a day trip. (See rail.ch). From Lucerne one can of course “do” Mt Pilatus or Titlus for the day, but IMO those are pretty touristy trips.

I should point out that from Italy, you could route a trip through Italy and/or Switzerland which would take you to many places that would make excellent 3-day stop overs in lieu of Zurich or Geneva. First off you could go to Lake Como in Italy and/or Lake Lugano on the border of Italy and Switzerland, both of which would really be beautiful in June and would give you lakes-with-Alp-views just like Zurich and Geneva; but with much smaller and more charming village settings. Another routing would take you to Brig, which is the change point for trains to Zermatt, again lovely in June and of course has the Matterhorn (you could also choose to stay in equally lovely but far less touristed Saas Fee, and make a day trip to Zermatt).
Cicerone is offline  
Old May 5th, 2009, 02:26 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 6,047
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
>>>I used to live in Zurich and think it is a great city with lots to see and do. I don’t like Geneva nearly as much
traveller1959 is offline  
Old May 7th, 2009, 11:19 PM
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 32
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi Cicerone, thank you so much for taking the time to write such a lengthy post i really appreciate it ! Yup i am traveling around Europe for one month and am hoping to visit as many places as possible without compromising on the quality.

I will be taking a train from venice to zurich through milan first. Then i will be taking a train to geneva. And from geneva i'll be taking a flight to nice then onto paris and spain !

I will probably be spending 2 days in zurich and 2 in geneva. In geneva i will probably heed your advice and go on a day trip to Château-d'Oex which sounds lovely.

Zurich seems to be a really nice city. After hearing both yours and traveler1959's views. Also i have a friend who just returned from Switzerland and he suggests that we go to Zurich too.

Once again thank you both for your help !
supertraveler is offline  
Old May 10th, 2009, 08:15 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,689
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Well, personally if this were my trip I would have to say that I would skip Zurich. (No offense to that town, but you only have 3.5 days, so spending it in Zurich really is not the best use of it IMO). From Venice I would take the train to Zermatt during the day to take in all the scenery along the way (about 7 hours, same as journey time as to Zurich, an overnight train is possible if you really feel you need to “save” time but you don’t see the scenery). I would stay there overnight to see the Matterhorn and take the little mountain rains and cable cars. Then in the afternoon on the next day I would take the train to Montreux/Lausanne or some other little village on lovely Lake Geneva (2-3 hours by train depending on where you end up) and base myself there, and just spend the rest of the time in that gorgeous area, including perhaps a day trip to Chateaux D’oex.

Days are very long in June, so you will have quite a long time in Zermatt even with just an overnight. While it will be full of tourists, it really is quite a sight I have to say, and once you get up out of the town, esp. on the little mountain train, it is just a gorgeous sight. (One drawback with only one night is that you have to hope for good weather, if you can be flexible with schedule and stay for two nights if you get bad weather on the day you arrive, that may work well). Great walks and hiking in this area. If you want to stay up on the mountains with a great Matterhorn view rather than in town try places like the Riffleberg Hotel or the Klumhotel Gornegrat, see www.matterhorn-group.ch.

Other thoughts are that you can get to Lake Como very easily from Milan, which is very beautiful and great for a few days. From there you can take a very interesting and fun bus ride up to the St Moritz area of Switzerland which is in the Alps and very lovely. Lots to see and do there, great walks and cable car rides up to the mountains and some of the most charming little villages around (e.g. Guarda). From there it is a lovely train ride down to Zurich and then on to Geneva. (Again, I would skip Zurich, and not sure if you still have time for any of the Lake Geneva area or if you have to go right to Geneva airport for your flight. But certainly the beauty of Lake Como and the St Moritz are would make up for that). So many choices even in a month.

Wondering why you have to take a flight to Nice, as that seems to tie you to a schedule (and presumably is more expensive), when you could just take a train which may work better with giving you more flexibility with your. Door-to-door with security, check-in etc for flights and the inevitable delays with flights, I don’t find short hop flights in Europe to really be all that time-saving compared to trains. If your air ticket is can be changed at short notice, then it may work OK. Otherwise, I would think you want the flexibility of trains.
Cicerone is offline  
Old May 10th, 2009, 08:42 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 11,334
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
As someone who travels to Switzerland twice a year, I always stay in Zurich for at least a couple of days; but I would rather stay in Lucern! Just me 2 cents...
simpsonc510 is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
Muntasir
Europe
12
Oct 6th, 2013 11:15 AM
rcartinc
Europe
10
Nov 5th, 2011 03:55 AM
Kyliebaby3
Europe
13
Mar 20th, 2007 02:53 AM
sonnycher
Europe
6
Aug 20th, 2005 10:03 AM
davidjac
Europe
10
Sep 25th, 2004 10:17 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 06:38 PM.