Best use of limited time in Zurich

Old Jan 10th, 2008, 04:06 PM
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Best use of limited time in Zurich

Here's a big order:
Looking for suggestions of the best way to spend one day and night in Zurich. Accommodations not needed, just the best use of time and one not to miss restaurant.
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Old Jan 10th, 2008, 04:10 PM
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Restaurant: Kronenhalle, for Wiener Schnitzel and decor which includes original works of art by famous painters. Cafe: Spruengli, on Bahnhofstrasse (upstairs).
 
Old Jan 12th, 2008, 09:32 AM
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123go-

I am in the middle of compiling all their suggestions, but might I suggest you search on Cimbrone and Cicerone and see their Zurich suggestions for both activities and dining. You will be glad you did...

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Old Jan 12th, 2008, 01:49 PM
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Thanks gruezi, I'm new to this particular forum and aren't familiar with the regulars yet.
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Old Jan 12th, 2008, 10:21 PM
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I'm Cicerone, and you might search my reccos, I have done some long ones on things to do in Zurich (I used to live there). I don't know how to link to my own url's but someone else may know. (I can barely type on this thing.)

In addition to my generally reccos which you might find, my question would be what day are you there, as there may be something special going on that would be worth seeing or venturing a bit out of town to see. (Or something like the Street Parade the first weekend in August when 1 million Ecstasy- fueled 20-somethings descend on Zurich which you might want to avoid...)
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Old Jan 13th, 2008, 09:45 AM
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Pleasure to "meet" you Cicerone. I saw some of your posts when I first put this trip together several months ago. Have also seen your Asia posts when I was addicted to the Thailand board for several months.

I am going to Zermatt to ski flying in and out of Zurich. Will only be there for a Saturday afternoon and evening this March. Have though Switzerland but never to these two areas. Primary objective is skiing but want to make the most of the little bit of precious time in Zurich. Love all the restaurant suggestions, but don't want to spend most of my time inside a restaurant but will plan on one nice dinner. Will also have several friends with me and want to give them good suggestions as well.

BTW if you click on your screen name you can see your posts.

Looking forward to your expertise.
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Old Jan 13th, 2008, 07:30 PM
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I know I can click on my name to see my previous posts, my problem is that I have made so many thousands of posts that finding the right one is difficult. There is a way to actually find them via a url link, other people have found my posts this way. Someone did just top one of my Zurich posts, see "One Day in Zurich" which is now near the top of this board. It has a lot of suggestions. However, in March some of the things listed there, like ferry rides, hiring boats and biking, are not going to be possible for you. Don't worry, you will find plenty to do. You might also search for a post called "Two Days in Zurich" you may be able to find it at http://www.fodors.com/forums/pgMessa...hText=utliberg.

The little train ride up to Utliberg for the great view is still very possible, for example, and there is a wonderful walk (not described in my original post) from Utliberg to Felsenegg, along the ridge line there that will take you to where you can have a meal and then take the cable car down to Adliswil and take a local train back in about 15 minutes. The walk is less than 2 hours, offers has great views and is very easy. This is an excellent day out to see the countryside on a clear winter's day. As you are there for winter sports, you will have the clothes and hopefully the enthusiasm for this. It is not hard, but in March can be cold, but if you get a clear day you will be rewarded with fantastic views of lake, hills and snow-covered Alps in the distance.

You can join the walking tour of the old town on Saturday (11 am and from March 21 there is also one at 3 pm and also one on Sunday at 11 am, but check the Zurich tourism website at http://www.zuerich.com) that would be a good thing to do; otherwise you can do you own walk. Fodors has a pretty good description of one, as does Frommers. You can get maps at tourist office in the main train station (Hautbahnhof), which is also where the walking tour starts. Climb the Grossmunster tower (small fee) for a very good view of Zurich indeed. Good parts of the old town to see are around the Lindhenhof where the are lots of little streets, the small path along the left bank call the Schipf, and then on the left bank side the small alleys leading off from around the Grossmunster church as well as the main Niederdorf and Oberdorf lanes, all pedestrian-only areas. There are many little cafes here, esp on the right bank side. (The main river through the old town flows OUT of the lake, and the banks are named according to the downstream side of the river they are on. The left bank is on the same side as the main train station.)

The museums mentioned in my post would also be a good suggestion in case you get a very raw day, which is also possible. There are so many good ones, it is one of the pleasures of Zurich (unless you want to spend a lot of money shopping, that can be another pleasure, but not so much if you have thinner wallet). Shops will be closing on Saturday around 4-5 pm anyway, and will be closed on Sunday (except in train stations), so you would not have much time anyway. Museums are open on Sundays and are a nice activity. Most have good little cafes for lunch/tea too.

The Zeurich.com site mentioned above also has cultural offerings, you might be interested in the opera or ballet which are in season in March (and the little Opera House on the lake is a beautiful jewel of a place). Zurich also has an excellent orchestra and guest orchestra visit on a regular basis.

The restaurant list on my post 'One Day in Zurich" is still pretty accurate, I have posted longer ones you might look for or if I can dig up the names of the posts I will look for those, try searching for a post called " Restaurants in Zurich" you may be able to find it at http://www.fodors.com/forums/pgMessa...rchText=zurich. As you will be getting a lot of French/Valais food in Zermatt, you may want to stick with German Swiss or other European or the fantastic Thai place in Kirchgasse which for some reason is not on the list which was topped:
Restaurant Ban Song Thai
Kirchgasse 6, 8001
Tel: 41-44 2523 3316

If your trip to Zurich is at the end, this may be a nice change from Swiss/European food, although there is also a pretty good Thai place in Zermatt too.

Where are you staying in Zurich?

I can't tell from your post if you are going to overnight in Zurich first on after Zermatt. Either way, I would encourage you to send your ski equipment and big luggage on ahead of you by train either to Zermatt or to the airport and then collect it later either in Zermatt or at the airport for your return flight. This will save you having to lug it around for the day in Zurich, AND from having to carry it when changing trains on the trip from Zurich to Zermatt, which can be a pain with that equipment and suitcases. If you are flying back to the US on Swiss, it may also be possible to send the stuff right onto the aircraft from Zermatt at the end of your ski trip and get a boarding pass. Finally, when checking in for the flight in the US, you could also possibly send your ski stuff and larger bags right to Zermatt too via rail. You can find all the info you need at the following sites: http://mct.sbb.ch/mct/en/reisemarkt/...il-baggage.htm and http://mct.sbb.ch/mct/en/reisemarkt/...isegepaeck.htm. These are great programs, easy and safe (you can even buy insurance). Your hotel in Zermatt can go to the station to collect your luggage so you don't have to make two trips. The one caveat is that sometimes that baggage can take longer than you to arrive at Zermatt, see the rules on the website. With an early morning flight from the US and even a same day train to Zermatt, however, you should be OK, under the "Fast Baggage" program.

Zermatt is one of my very favourite places to ski. Lots of very good runs with pretty good connections between most areas, great views, good lift system that is quite modernized for Switzerland, you can ski over to Italy for the day (highly recommended, though a long tiring run back at the end of the day, start early, like 7:30 am, be at the Furi cable car just before it opens, and try to head back earliesh too; the Italian side has some of the best skiing IMO). Some good walking too. March is probably the best month, not nearly so cold as January.

Where are you staying in Zermatt?


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Old Jan 13th, 2008, 08:35 PM
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Sorry, to correct my post, the Neiderdorf and Oberdorf are on the RIGHT bank, the University side of the river, the opposite side from the main train station. I sometimes have directinal dyslexia.
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Old Jan 15th, 2008, 08:52 AM
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Whew, I had to take a day to digest all of this great info.

Cicerone: In answer to your questions we will be staying in Zurich on the end of our trip. A large group of us will be taking a private coach from Zermatt. We'll have skiis etc with us but will be brought directly to our airport area hotel where we'll check in and drop everything off to spend Saturday afternoon and evening in Zurich.

I love the idea of the train to Utilberg and hike but may need to save it for the next trip since we wouldn't have time to see any of Zurich proper. Hopefully we'll get our Alps fix/view while skiing.

Like the idea of a self guided walking tour and will check out the guide books and tourist office.

Also love Thai so your restaurant suggestions hit home. Lots of other choices I can pass on to my travel mates. Thanks for that.

In Zermatt our hotel will be picking our luggage up from the train station.

Can't wait to ski Zermatt and definately plan to ski into Italy. Must try it all.

Any suggestions for guide service for our expert off piste skiers?

We have a couple of non skiers joining us too. Will they be able to ealisy go into Italy too?

And lastly, I haven't done all my ski area homework yet, is it possible to ski into Italy, have dinner (possibly meet up with the non skiers) and get back to Zermatt (with our skiis)?

I know I've asked many questions, but any insite will benefit many.
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Old Jan 15th, 2008, 09:25 AM
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You can check the times the lifts run at www.zermatt.ch

Guides for off-piste skiiing:

http://tinyurl.com/26fdcj
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Old Jan 15th, 2008, 11:31 AM
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enzian,
DH will love looking at this. Thanks.
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Old Jan 15th, 2008, 01:10 PM
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You're welcome. I hope you have snow. My son was there in March, 2006, after skiing the Haute Route from Chamonix. A Swiss newspaper has a photo of the group standing on grass in their skis.

You can check webcams on-line---there are several around Zermatt. I'm an addict---I love to check them early morning my time (PST), which is late afternoon there.
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Old Jan 15th, 2008, 05:32 PM
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enzian,
I also like to look at the web cams. We're certainly hoping for snow but I try not to think about it till it gets closer to departure date. I'm not expecting the powder we luck into in western US, but it is what it is. We'll make the best of it even if we have to stand in grass (hope DH doesn't see this).

oooh Chamonix, one of my favorites!
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Old Jan 15th, 2008, 05:50 PM
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It is not possible for non-skiers to go to the Italian side in winter, as it would involve a walk of a few miles down and back from the last cable car on the Swiss side to the top of the ski runs/lifts on the Italian side (skiers do this part on skis). This is quite exposed as it is significantly above the tree line (about 11,000 feet), and is usually well below freezing even in the sunny daylight and quite windy. I would not suggest anyone attempt it on foot. (You don't need to bring your passports by the way, there are no immigration formalities at all, the little loophole in the Swiss border....)

It is also not possible to do this in the darkness on the way back after dinner, skiers themselves have to head back by about 3-4 pm at the very latest to make sure you have enough light, as you will be skiing the east front of the Matterhorn for a long portion and the sun will be setting behind it, so a good portion of your run back can be in shadow if you leave it too late.

If you all wanted to have meet in Breuil/Cervinia for dinner and take a taxi back to Zermatt from the Italian side it would take something like 3 hours each way, due to the fact that you have to drive down and around the valleys almost to the French border to the lowest pass to get around the mountians. It would be quite an expensive taxi ride. (You hear storeis of skiers getting stuck on the Itlaian side and having to do this and paying like US$400.) A train or bus would be possible I believe, this would take longer I think, see rail.ch for schedules. It's not really feasible to travel between the two by ground. The only way to do it in winter is to ski both over and back. It is possible in summer to walk it if you start early in the day as you have to do all portions in daylight (but you get very long days in summer of course).

Non-skiers, however can take the series of cable cars up from Furi to the top of the Matterhorn area and walk around the top and get some of the great views, and then take the cable cars down again. They can also take the little Gornegrat train up the Gornegrat and take in the views there, and there are some good walks from here over packed snow, this area is at a lower elevation and is less windy (and the Gornegrat side has the best Matterhorn views). There is also a "sledge" run (like the old fashioned runner sleds) on the Gornegrat which non-skiers can do. And don't forget about the sleigh rides.

It would be possible to walk to Chez Vrony, an excellent restaurant in the Sunegga ski area, where you could all meet for lunch on their sunny terrace, see http://www.chezvrony.ch. You could spend the morning skiing in this area and meet them at the restaurant. They would take the Sunnegga underground train and walk to Findelen from there, the website gives a little map, but there are also wooden trail signs, and your hotel can give directions. On a sunny day, this walk is very nice, it's packed snow (good boots or walking shoes are necessary, sneakers won't cut it though, but they will want good boots for this trip generally.) Make a booking if you want a table on the terrace and as you have a big group.

You can all also meet at the wonderful Rifflealp 2222m (go to www.zermatt.ch/riffelalp or http://www.seilerhotels.ch) for lunch on their outdoor terrace with a spectacular Matterhorn view, or one of their indoor restaurants, or even a bit further up at the restaurants at the Riffelberg station or the Riffleberg Hotel (www.matterhorn-group.ch.) or all the way up top to the Gornegrat stop to the restaurant there. They can take the Gornegrat train to the stops at any of these locations.

You could also go to the Rifflealp for dinner and take the little train up and down, do watch the time on the last train down for this. They have a nice stubli restaurant in the cellar and the short walk through the woods from the train station would be nice, and they have some nice views from their elevation, and if you get a clear night with a moon, they have great Matterhorn views. I believe the hotel restaurants further up the Gornegrat also serve to non-guests, check the matterhorn-group.ch website above, as they are all operated by that group.

On the Italian side, for lunch I like Chalet Etoile, it is right near the Plan Maison Lift
(tel: 39 0166 940220), have your hotel call ahead to make a reservation as it is very popular.

For off piste, you can get reccos at the Alpine Center in Zermatt (it is on the main street, a few blocks down from the train station on the right walking toward the Matterhorn. You can get trail maps here too which are palm-size and much hardier maps with cardboard covers than the fimsly maps you get when you buy the lift passes. Your hotel may also have reccos for guides for off piste. I have not done much in Zermatt, as the trails are enough for me there. There is a way to ski from Saas Fee over to Zermatt, but to the best of my knowledge, you have to start from the Saas Fee side (which has some very good skiing, you may want to spend a day there as well).

There are moonlight/nightskiing trips offered with guides which are great. Take a look at http://bergbahnen.zermatt.ch/e/angebote/

If you havenít; already found it, there is a live webcam of various parts of the mountain at http://bergbahnen.zermatt.ch/e/web-cam/

Shops in Zermatt generally close for 1-2 hours during lunchtime, so bear this in mind. Shopping is expensive.

Enzian, the Haute Route is something I always wanted to try but KNOW I am way to unfit for, even though I style myself as a hiker. What a trip he must have had!!

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Old Jan 16th, 2008, 04:34 AM
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cicerone you saved me hours of research! I honestly (obviously) haven't had the opportunity to study my atlas to get the lay of the land since most of my time has been spent on the other trip logistics. Now that I look at my map I realize my thoughs about dinner in Italy were silly. You also addressed something I wondered about - the need for passports on this ski day trip. I have printed out your most recent post and it may be some of the most helpful info to date. Give yourself a big atta-boy!

Maybe you and enzian (or anyone else) have some input on the Matterhorn ski safari for a day. Have done all of the one in Kitzbuhel in one day (I think the locals said we covered about 50 miles) and we had fun experiencing the different areas - though riding all the surface lifts got old by the end of the day. As it turned out on that trip, due to lack of good snow, that was the most fun we had on the mountain all week. Don't know how if we should consider doing this one. Anyone done it?

Speaking of Kitzbuhel - we had a great time at the Londoner Pub with people literally from all over the world. Is there anything like that in Zermatt?
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Old Jan 17th, 2008, 07:03 PM
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Cicerone---I have no idea how old or fit you might be, but if you can hike and ski, the Haute Route might be a nice goal to aim for. I was considering it a few years ago when I was doing the randonnee ski thing here in the US. Some friends of mine were going. But then I heard about . . . the LADDERS! No way. Not in ski boots with a full pack!

My son and his friends did have a terrific time (but my son let on that there weren't many women on the route, and no "older" ones; also that I might not have enjoyed certain of the icy, exposed parts).

I still hope to do the walker's Haute Route before I get really, really old. . .

123go----I haven't skied Zermatt, only hiked there. But the terrain looks wonderful and if the ski safari takes you all over in a day that could be lots of fun. My one thought is that you might face a lot of different conditions in one day.

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Old Jan 18th, 2008, 03:12 AM
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enzian, I'm thinking that if we get a blue sky day early in the week, if my pals up for it it might be a lot of fun. Doesn't sound like shuld be any ability challenges for my group and everyone is certainly up for any physical challanges. Though glad there aren't any "ladders". Since we're eastern skiers, ice is our norm, but not what we travel to find.

Found out DH has already found all the guide sites weeks ago - he's been holding out on me.

Looking forward to having enough time to hike where we ski as we are avid hikers. Hope to see you on the Haute Route some day!
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Old Jan 18th, 2008, 01:07 PM
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I hope you do get that blue sky day.

And if you are skiiing on the Rothorn side, be sure and stop at Fluhalp for lunch or a hot drink.

http://www.fluhalp-zermatt.ch/

Click on "winter" for photos. They have a great sun terrace with a view of the Matternhorn, and the food is very good. Maybe you'll be in time for their St. Patrick's Day party?
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