Basel or Zurich as a base?

Feb 25th, 2007, 11:59 AM
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Basel or Zurich as a base?


We are flying into basel this sommer. This is because basel is way (!!!!!) cheaper than flying into zurich. We have five days to spend in switzerland. We are traveling on a very small budget so we intend to stay in youth hostels. We'd like to see city's like zurich or/and basel and we definitely go to lucerne and mount Rigi for the scenery.

We are not sure about basel. Is it worth staying for four nigths as a base. Or is zurich nicer? We like culture but go to switzerland for the scenery as well. I heard basel is kind of industrial. Is that thrue? Other tips for the region are welcome as well.

Thanks in advance.

chainy is offline  
Feb 25th, 2007, 12:42 PM
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Since you enjoy scenery and culture, I'd skip Zürich and Basel and head for the mountains! Stay in Lucerne for two days and BO for three. The youth hostels are usually very good.

If you let me know when you're in Switzerland, I'll see what Swiss cultural events are happening. You can do this too by looking at under events.
kleeblatt is offline  
Feb 25th, 2007, 01:19 PM
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Basel is a beautiful city with an outstanding art museum. BTW, it is one hour from Basel to Zürich (excellent train connection). Basel is also a good base to explore Alsace and the Black Forest. If you want to go into the mountains, Schuler is right that you should leave your base and stay two or three nights right in the mountains. Look into a map an search for a train connection. Trains are excellent in Switzerland. See
traveller1959 is offline  
Feb 25th, 2007, 06:28 PM
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If your objective is high Alp scenery then neither Zürich nor Basel fills the requirement. The high Alps are south of Interlaken, which is on the fringe of the Berner Oberland, or south and north of the Rhone River valley.

I am not familiar with youth hostels per se, but I do know that Interlaken has a large one called Balmers, although I have heard it is crowded and noisy.

It is not the only one there I might add.

There is also a youth hostel in Lauterbrunnen, but I know little about it other than where it is located.

I don't know about Saas Fee, which is buried deep in the high peaks of the Mischabel Range and offers some splendid scenery on clear days.

Zermatt of course is a tourist beacon and attracts thousands of people all year long.
bob_brown is offline  
Feb 26th, 2007, 06:44 AM
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Thanks very much for the information!!!

We do want to see the beautiful scenery Swizterland is famous for but we are kind of looking for a place near Basel. This is because we arrive late in the afternoon and don't like to travel a lot before reaching our final destination.

Therefore we now think about staying in Lucerne. I read this city is near the mountains. Is it a nice place as a base? Zurich is one hour from Lucerne by train, so we can daytrip. On the day of departure we will leave early so that we will have a couple of hours in Basel before flying back.

Do you think Lucerne is a good option as a base? I know the higher mountains are south of interlaken but we find that a little bit too far for such a short trip (four nights). Maybe we can make a daytrip to interlaken.

Thanks very much for all the replies. It has helped us a lot.

Kindest regards,
chainy is offline  
Feb 26th, 2007, 07:17 AM
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Actually, there are easy and regular connections from Basel to Interlaken (approx. 2 hrs.) I would not base in Interlaken, however. For a short trip, Lauterbrunnen 20 min. down the valley would be a much nicer base to explore the Berner Oberland.

I much prefer the Swiss countryside to its cities, however Lucerne is the nicest of the Swiss cities I've visited (Geneva, Zurich, Berne, Interlaken and Lausanne in addition to Lucerne - I have not been to Basel).
ripit is offline  
Feb 26th, 2007, 09:38 AM
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Interlaken Ost station is 20 minutes from Lauterbrunnen by train and about 25 minutes from Grindelwald. Both of these villages, however, are at the doorstep so to speak. You can see the Eiger from Grindelwald, and the peak of the Jungfrau from Lauterbrunnen to bet to the best views, then you must travel beyond Lauterbrunnen.

Zürich is not a mountain city; neither is Basel. Interlaken is a lake city, with the mountains in the distance.

Again, if you want mountains, you go where the mountains are. From Lausanne, you can travel up to the top of Mt. Pilatus, but compared to the high peaks of the Berner Oberland and the Mischabel Range, it is a short mountain.

It is tough to have your high Alps cake and eat it too in Switzerland by sticking to the low land cities such as Bern, Basel, and Zürich.

bob_brown is offline  
Feb 26th, 2007, 09:48 AM
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From Luzern, not Lausanne, you can go to Mt. Pilatus or Rigi. Mt. Rigi is great for walking, especially from Rigi Kaltbad to Rigi Klosterli. Don't miss Rigi Kulm for the views.
kleeblatt is offline  
Feb 26th, 2007, 09:51 AM
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Lucerne is a very beautiful city with mountains in the near distance surrounding the lake. I think it would make an excellent base, considering what you are looking for.

I haven't been to Basel, but I stayed in Zurich with a daytrip to Lucerne. Zurich is a larger city than Lucerne, and less picturesque. I liked exploring the old town and seeing the art museum. But Lucerne is absolutely charming. Lots of excursions into the mountains are available from there.
Cimbrone is offline  
Feb 26th, 2007, 10:08 AM
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How long are you going for? You could have two bases: Basel and Interlaken, or a town (previously mentioned by others) in the Alps. We stayed in Interlaken while in the Berner Oberland and it was great - easy to get to many Alps destinations from there. Basel is too far from the Alps to do day trips to the Alps from there.
kenav is offline  
Feb 27th, 2007, 08:19 AM
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We are going for four nigths. We decided that we won't stay in Basel. This is because it's not in/near the mountains.

It will be Lucerne or Interlaken now. Lucerne as a base would be ideal for us considering the time we need for the transfer from basel airport and the good train connection with Zurich. We also found a nice youth hostel in Lucerne. We don't intend to go high into the mountains every day. We just want to admire beautiful scenery and make some nice daytrips.

So, we are leaning towards Lucerne at the moment. But, if you say Berner Oberland is way more beautiful, we will reconsider.

chainy is offline  
Feb 27th, 2007, 02:21 PM
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Go to the Berner Oberland. See if you can get to Lucerne for one day. The city itself is beautiful.
kenav is offline  

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