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Flying in and out of Zurich - stay there the entire time?

Flying in and out of Zurich - stay there the entire time?

Old Apr 19th, 2014, 08:41 AM
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Flying in and out of Zurich - stay there the entire time?

My husband and I will be going to Switzerland from June 9-19 2014. The best flight prices are flying in and out of Zurich. This will be our first time visiting Switzerland and I was wondering if we should just stay based in Zurich or venture out for a few days to another town?

We are interested in museums, churches, eating, wine and beer tasting and light hiking. We don't ski but would love to venture up to a mountain top to see the views and whatever else the top may hold. Should we just take day trips to other towns or actually pick up and move for a few days?

We generally like to just explore where we are without necessarily planning every minute. I know that trains run often and everywhere but would we be wasting a lot of time riding trains to and fro instead and staying overnight for a day or two and then returning to Zurich?

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated as hotels have not yet been booked.
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Old Apr 19th, 2014, 09:39 AM
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With an interest in museums and churches, staying in Zurich for a few days makes sense, but since you also want to venture up to a mountaintop and do some light hiking, I wouldn't spend all my time there. Interlaken might suit your interests better. You have a lot of options!
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Old Apr 19th, 2014, 09:41 AM
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Zurich has some fine museums (among them Rietberg Museum and National Museum) and luxury shops (not only Swiss watches for up to 10000 USD and more).

Besides that, people who have less than 1 month to explore Switzerland should never waste their time at Zurich. The nicest towns are
Berne (medieval city center, museums!),
Bellinzona (castles),
Lucerne (Lake with historic steamboats, Rosengart collection (Picassos!), Transport Museum,
Murten (medieval, tiny, but well preserved city walls, Lake, Roman amphitheatre and Museum at Avenches),
Neuchatel (Lake, castle, cathedral, Areuse Gorge)

More info:
Attractive places, trains, buses and boats of Switzerland

Check the Swiss pass: its fine for people who want to visit the attractive places of Switzerland, like:

Geneva, Neuchatel, Murten, Bern, Montreux, Gruyeres, Grindelwald/Wengen, Zermatt, Aletsch Glacier, Locarno, Lugano, St. Moritz, Berninapass, Scuol, Lucerne, Rigi, Einsiedeln, St. Gallen, Zuerich, Basel, Solothurn;

the scenic railway lines like:

Glacier Express Zermatt-Brig-Chur-St. Moritz,
Bernina-Express St. Moritz-Tirano,
Golden Pass Montreux-Gstaad-Spiez-Interlaken-Lucerne,
Voralpen Express Lucerne-Rapperswil-St. Gallen
Old Loetschberg line Berne-Spiez-Kandersteg-Brig,
Centovalli line Domodossola-Locarno,
Gotthard railway Lucerne-Airolo-Lugano-Chiasso,
Mont-Blanc-Express Martigny-Chamonix-St-Gervais (-Geneva);

the scenic Alpine post bus lines like:

Grindelwald - Grosse Scheidegg - Meiringen,
Meiringen - Grimselpass - Nufenenpass - Gottharpass - Sustenpass- Meiringen,
Lugano - Lake Lugano - Lake Como - Malojapass - St. Moritz,
Bellinzona - San Bernardino-Tunnel - Viamala Gorge - Chur - Lenzerheide - Davos - Fluelapass - Zernez - Ofenpass - Mustair - Mals - Reschenpass - Martina - Scuol-Tarasp,
Sargans - Vaduz - Buchs SG - Wildhaus - Nesslau - Schwaegalp - Urnaesch (Appenzell);

and do some steamboat and other boat rides on Swiss lakes and rivers, like:
Geneva - Yvoire - Rolle - Lausanne - Montreux - Chillon castle,
Gorgier - Neuchatel - Murten,
Murten - Biel/Bienne - Solothurn,
Thun - Interlaken - Brienz,
Alpnachstad - Lucerne - Vitznau Rigibahn - Brunnen - Fluelen,
Ponte Tresa - Morcote - Lugano - Gandria - Porlezza,
Zurich - Rapperswil - Schmerikon,
Rorschach - Konstanz - Stein am Rhein - Schaffhausen (Rheinfall),
Neuhausen (Rheinfall) - Eglisau.

You may have a look at
http://www.myswitzerland.com/en/home.html
http://www.swisstravelsystem.ch/en/
http://fahrplan.sbb.ch/bin/query.exe/en
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Old Apr 19th, 2014, 02:38 PM
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Zürich is really too far north in the country to make a good base for travel here. Luzern is a lot better and will allow you to explore central Switzerland easily. Spend half your stay in Luzern and then move on to the French speaking part of the country. You will be here in summer and I suggest you might think about going to visit the open air museum at Ballenberg which is near Brienz. www.ballenberg.ch This will give you a good feelng for the varied architecture and traditions of our country.

When you leave Luzern take the train - Goldenpass line - Luzern to Montreux and make Montreux or Vevey your base for the rest of the trip.

From Montreux you can visit Zermatt for a day, Geneva for another and since you like museums you should come here to Martigny to visit the Fondation Gianadda. This is a world class museum - summer exhibition this year is Renoir - and it also has a lovely sculpture garden. Martigny is a lovely little town with a Roman history. And a lot of Roman ruins plus a 12th century castle which dominates the town.

Also from Montreux you can visit the medieval village of Gruyères, see its Demonstration Cheese Factory and nearby Cailler chocolate factory at Broc Fabrique.
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Old Apr 19th, 2014, 07:25 PM
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Thank you all for your input. Would it be best to purchase the Swiss Rail Pass for the duration of our trip? We will be flying in and out of Zurich so we'll need to take the train where ever we go.

We do want to see Zurich for a few days since we'll be both arriving and departing from there but the rest of the time is yet to be decided. I've thought about visiting Luzern and Geneva but haven't booked anything yet. I'll research a bit more based on everyone's feedback.

Is there a great place(s) to wine taste and buy nice but not overly expensive watches (a few hundred dollars)? It's our 15th wedding anniversary so I was hoping to buy my husband a nice watch to remember the trip by.
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Old Apr 19th, 2014, 07:45 PM
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With only ten (really 9) days, I would choose 2, and certainly no more than 3, towns as home bases. Since you are leaving from Zurich, maybe spend the FINAL 3 days there for museums and shopping. Upon arrival, I'd transfer straightaway to Lucerne (only an hour by train), as your first home base. Lucerne is a beautiful large town/small city with numerous daytrip options for mountain excursions and hiking (ex: Pilatus and Rigi), in addition to walkable city wall/towers with fantastic views over the Reuss river, good shopping and a multitude of cafes in quaint squares or along the river. Oh, and the much-hyped "Lion of Lucerne" commemorative stone carving.
From there, choose your next town base (you're sure to be recommended Wengen, Lauterbrunnen or Interlaken by most posters). Personally, I'd skip Geneva and the french-speaking parts on THIS trip, given your lack of time.
My personal choice would be Bern, Solothurn or Murten.
Happy travels!
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Old Apr 19th, 2014, 08:03 PM
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Re: rail costs. If cost is less a worry, and convenience more a priority, then I'd say Swiss Railpass (consider the Twinpass as there are two of you). If cost is an issue, you can do detailed comparisons of point-to-point ticket price costs at
www.sbb.ch/en/home.html OR purchase a HalfFareCard for 120 Chf and receive 50% off nearly all forms of travel. As you can see, it can get complicated! Additionally, several of the more popular mountaintop trips are only partly covered by the Swisspass....
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Old Apr 20th, 2014, 01:39 PM
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Thanks mokka4. I wasn't planning on more than any more than 3 major stops and was just thinking about leaving Zurich for last to make it more convenient for flying back. We have no desire to see as much as possible in 9 short days. We would rather spend 2-4 quality days in one place to really experience each destination. Lucerne will definitely be one place to stop at for a few days and I'll research perhaps one other.

Cost is definitely a factor so again, I'll have to compare whether the Swiss Pass would be worth it for us. I would rather use the potential savings on some nice meals or a great souvenir to bring back home.
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Old Apr 21st, 2014, 05:21 AM
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"was just thinking about leaving Zurich for last to make it more convenient for flying back"
I suppose you know that Zurich airport ZRH is linked about every 30 min by direct trains with the main cities of Switzerland, like
Lucerne (1 hr journey)
Berne (1 1/4 hrs journey)
Biel/Bienne (1 1/2 hrs)
Basel (1 1/4 hrs)
Interlaken (2 1/4 hrs)
Zermatt (3 1/2 hrs)
Lugano and Locarno (3 hrs)
Davos (2 3/4 hrs)
Scuol (3 hrs)
St. Moritz (3 3/4 hrs)
Rhine Falls (3/4 hr)
St. Gallen (1 hr)
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Old Apr 24th, 2014, 07:26 PM
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I have realized that and thought if we ended in Zurich for a few days we wouldn't be rushed in getting back to Zurich in time to catch our flight.

We are now flying into Zurich and then taking a train directly to Luzern for a yet undetermined amount of time. I think that Luzern will be our home base for a majority of the trip.
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Old Apr 25th, 2014, 04:20 AM
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Be sure to take a leisurely boatride on the Lake Lucerne (Vierwaeldstaettersee). Boats depart directly from the quai in front of the train station.
Schedules can be found at:

http://www.lakelucerne.ch/en/timetab...imetables.html
You can get off at a tiny village and explore, then take a bus or train back to Lucerne!

And I second the above- posters suggestions for a visit to the town of Brienz, on Lake Brienz (reachable from Interlaken by train or another boatride). Buses make the ten minute journey to Ballenberg outdoor museum...timed to leave when a train arrives! Beautiful day in nature.

http://ballenberg.ch/en/Welcome
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Old Apr 26th, 2014, 09:59 AM
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Does anyone suggest we stay in the Interlaken area for a few days to explore everything or just make day trips from Luzern? I'm in the process of booking hotels everywhere so if anyone also has suggestions for mid to lower priced places to stay, I would also appreciate that!
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Old Apr 26th, 2014, 10:48 AM
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I thought Interlaken would be a great base for your purposes.
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Old Apr 26th, 2014, 12:26 PM
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Thanks kja for your reply! I think I'll look into staying in Luzern, Interlaken and Zurich all for a few days.
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