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wtm003 Dec 4th, 2007 07:24 PM

3 days in Switzerland after Florence
Our family of four - me, husband, a teen and a tween will be wrapping up 9 days in Italy in Florence in mid-June. The original plan was to fly home from Florence. I've been pricing airfares and noticed that it is about $800 - $1000 less to fly out of Zurich. So instead of just flying home from Florence we came up with the brilliant (or not so brilliant) thought of spending that extra cash on a few more days of travel. This is the start of my research. We love hiking and the outdoors, so I would appreciate any recommendations on where to stay for two or three nights in beautiful surroundings before flying out of Zurich. Hotel suggestions are also appreciated. I'm looking forward to the replies. Thanks!

bettyk Dec 4th, 2007 07:56 PM

The Berner Oberland area is some of the most beautiful scenery in Switzerland IMHO. We stayed in Lauterbrunnen at the Hotel Oberland. Room prices were very reasonable considering that Switzerland is pricier than many other countries in Europe. We paid the equivalent of $100 for a double room.

Other recommended towns like Wengen and Murren are in the mountains versus Lauterbrunnen which is at a lower elevation.

fmpden Dec 4th, 2007 08:37 PM


lovisa Dec 4th, 2007 08:59 PM

I would train directly to Lugano or Lucerne (Luzern). You have to go through Lugano to get to Zurich, and Luzern is not much out of the way - it will take more time to get to the Berner Oberland.

swandav2000 Dec 5th, 2007 01:53 AM

Hi wtm003,

Yes, I think Luzern would be a great choice for you!

Luzern is set at the base of some mountains, all at the foot of a system of lakes; it's an incredibly beautiful setting. There are plenty of hiking trails in the mountains nearby -- take a look at Rigi (, Pilatus (, and Titlis ( You may want to take a ferry trip on the lakes to visit lakeside villages like Weggis ( and Vitznau (, both very charming places.

Luzern is only an hour by direct (0 changes) train to the Zürich airport, so you can even stay there the night before you leave.

Another choice might be to spend two nights in Brig, a town settled right in the Valais mountains. Brig has a very sweet and charming old town and plenty of trails that lead off into the mountains. You can also access the Aletsch Glacier from there. Then, on your last night, you can move on to Zürich for your last night before you leave.

Have fun!


BarbAnn Dec 5th, 2007 07:27 AM

Although I love the Lauterbrunnen Valley area, I also think Luzern would be perfect. In 2002 we took our then 13 yr. old boy to Switzerland. While staying in Luzern we took a trip to Mt. Pilatus. On the way down we stopped at Frakmuntegg. We took the summer tobagggan ride. What a blast. We also went to a Swiss Folkshow at a local restaurant. A bit touristy, but our son still talks about the show. The town is perfect for walking. The best part is that it is a very easy conection to the Zurich airport.

Wherever you go, Switzerland is beautiful.

wtm003 Dec 5th, 2007 01:08 PM

Thank you for all the replies!!! I was leaning toward Lauterbrunnen, but it sounds like Luzern makes the most sense for location and transportation reasons. Brig also sounds like a good option. We don't plan on renting a car and it doesn't seem like this should be a problem. Correct? Any lodging recommendations? Our price range is probably between $200 - $300/night, which may be difficult with 4. We like clean, comfortable, friendly, non-fussy places. Thanks again!

swandav2000 Dec 5th, 2007 03:06 PM

Hi again,

Right you are! No need at all for a car in Switzerland -- trains & ferries (and city busses) run like, well . . . clockwork! They're fun & easy.

In Luzern, a lot of folks like the 3-star Hotel Des Alpes. If you decide to go to Brig, there are a number of hotels there, but none higher than a 3-star! It's a really low-key place -- no 4-star hotels, no "palace" hotels, etc. I think its tourist site is

Good luck!


enzian Dec 5th, 2007 03:29 PM

If you love nature and hiking, I would suggest spending 2 nights up on Rigi (a mountain very near Luzern) at Rigi Kaltbad. We stayed at Hotel Alpina, but Hotel Bergsonne looks good too.

We were there around June 25, and the wildflowers were at their peak. There are several hiking trains leading from the "town" (actually a collection of hotels and a few homes). The views out over the lake and mountains are gorgeous. You are serenaded by cowbells as you walk.

You get there from Luzern by boat and then train (from Vitznau) or cablecar (from Weggis). Or you can go by train from Arth Goldau, on the route from Lugano to Luzern. This train will take you up and over the top of Rigi (Rigi Kulm) and down to Rigi Kaltbad.

If you prefer the Brig route, take a look at staying in nearby Bettmeralp, a car-free village perched high above the valley.

This gives you great access to views of the Aletschgletscher.

Hotel Panorama has a great family room with a balcony looking out to the valley. Most days you can see the Matterhorn from there.

If you choose this option, you will have a longer transit to Zürich, so you would have to depart there the day before your flight, unless it is late in the afternoon.

bobthenavigator Dec 6th, 2007 06:25 AM

In Luzern, look at Des Alpes for a 3 star hotel and Des Balances for a 4 star. Both are near the bridge and on the river.

BowenLinda Dec 6th, 2007 07:28 AM

bookmarking for my yearning 15 year old...

enzian Dec 6th, 2007 08:20 AM

"There are several hiking trains leading from the town" . . .

Actually, I meant several hiking trails, not trains.

wtm003 Dec 6th, 2007 11:29 AM

Thanks to everyone for the suggestions, directions and hotel recommendations! This has been a big help as I start trying to add-on to my original trip.

And Enzian LOL...I didn't even notice your typo...I read it as trails.

jjmcg Apr 20th, 2008 01:17 PM


JN Apr 21st, 2008 10:16 AM

The thing about the Des Alpes in Luzern is that the rooms are not big enough for 4. So, you have to go for two doubles, and spend around 250chf ($250 at today's exchange rate) for each mountain-facing room per night. You could get the same view for much cheaper (about half-price, though no breakfast) at the Hotel Mr. Pickwick next door (very modest, youth-oriented place) or a room for 4 at the low-budget, but friendly, Tourist Hotel--farther down the river.

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