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If you had but 1 week in Switzerland, would you do 2 nights Lucerne/5 Muerren or 4 Muerren/3 Zermatt?

If you had but 1 week in Switzerland, would you do 2 nights Lucerne/5 Muerren or 4 Muerren/3 Zermatt?

Aug 16th, 2003, 07:09 PM
  #1  
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If you had but 1 week in Switzerland, would you do 2 nights Lucerne/5 Muerren or 4 Muerren/3 Zermatt?

Ok - we're narrowing down what we want to do in Switzerland. Thanks for everyone's help so far. We're flying into Zurich next June (or is there a better time of year to do Muerren?) from Wash DC... I get to pick the Switzerland week and my wife is picking the Italy week (she's got us doing 4 nights in Bellagio and 4 in Venice).

She isn't TOO much into hiking, but likes to shop around the towns and enjoys pretty scenery that we'll see from the mountains. Would you recommend going from Zurich to Lucerne for a couple of nights and then Muerren for 4 nights and then go to Bellagio (or Venice), OR go from the Zurich airport straight to Muerren for 4 nights, then 3 in Zermatt THEN Italy? We will only do transit, no car rentals.

OR, spend the whole week in Muerren?! We know the Lauterbrunnen valley is better centered for transport, but I want the rare experience of staying in Muerren, I think.

Tough decision. As a reminder, the wife isn't into packing and unpacking much, so I only get 1 or 2 itinerary stops in Switzerland! If you've done Muerren for 4 nights, is going to Zermatt extremely similiar scenery, to the point that it might be better to just do Lucerne instead?

Thanks, ya all.
Steve
USA
stever is offline  
Aug 16th, 2003, 08:05 PM
  #2  
 
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I think you are trying to split the unsplittable hair. If the days in Mürren and/or Zermatt are cloudy and you cannot see anything, neither place has much to offer.
I know, I have been in Zermatt when the Matterhorn was shrouded in clouds and Monte Rosa occasionally peaked out to the people standing at the building at the end of the train line on the Gornergrat. The same is true of Mürren.

On the other hand, if the sun is shining and the sky is clear, both places are attractive. I think it boils down to what you want to do other than sit on a terrace in Mürren.

I don't stay overnight there for one big reason: I want to go elsewhere in the Berner Oberland. Getting in and out of Mürren takes timing and transportation. There is as much to see on the east side of the Männlichen as there is on the west.
Yes, the view from Mürren is indeed enough to stagger the mind, but it is the same set of mountains each day.
A trip to the Lauterbrunnen valley is not complete without a long visit to Mürren so I can drink in that view of the Jungfrau. But on a cloudy day, what do you do? I leave and visit Luzern! Or go elsewhere to see the indoor attractions in the area.
bob_brown is offline  
Aug 16th, 2003, 10:54 PM
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If I were the one going, I'd choose Murren and Zermatt. Perhaps I've just been lucky, but I haven't experienced much of the cloud cover Bob refers to. I very much agree however, that cloud cover can really put a damper on your day, especially if you've planned a mountain top excursion (Jungfrau, Klein Matterhorn, Schilthorn, etc).

I also don't see transportation to and from Murren as a deterrent to seeing other parts of the Berner Oberland. The train and funicular run at regular intervals and it's very easy to get just about anywhere from Murren. Of course, there may be cost issues, depending on which type of pass you plan to purchase.

We often choose Murren as a base and go from there, but it's all about personal preference. Lauterbrunnen, while a great location for easy access to transportation, doesn't appeal to me much, but who knows, you may love it.

I've been in the Berner Oberland in April, twice in late May/early June, once in September and once in December. September was by far my least favorite month, as it was quite warm and flush with tourists. I think you'll like visiting in June.

Having said that, your interests vary from mine. I'm very much into hiking, and I'm not a big shopper. Keep in mind that Murren is TINY, and there just isn't a whole lot of shopping there. There is more shopping available in Zermatt, but nothing like what you'd find in a city like Lucerne.

While I could happily spend a whole week in Murren, I would discouage you from doing so, as I think you'd be happier splitting your time in Switzerland.

To get a good taste of the country, you'd might be best spending time in Lucerne and then either Murren or Zermatt. Of the two, Zermatt is much larger, has more shopping opportunities, offers hiking and spectacular views.

As far as similarities between the scenery in Murren and Zermatt - in my opinion they're both spectacular and very different, but you might think otherwise. I love the Alps, and I can't get enough of them. You, however, might be quiet content visiting one and not both.

No matter what you decide, you can't go wrong. Switzerland is a beautiful country!
Melnq8 is offline  
Aug 17th, 2003, 03:56 AM
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Steve,

I'm the one who probably confused you most on your previous thread, so here I go again

I see two attractive options:
OPTION 1
Fly into Zurich and then train/bus/cable car or train/funicular to Muerren. From there, train to Luzern. From Luzern, train to Lugano (2.5 to 3 hours), then bus to Menaggio (1 hr) then boat to Bellagio (just a few minutes' journey on the hydrofoil). From Bellagio train to Venice.

OPTION 2:
Fly into GENEVA, then train to Zermatt (3.5 hours). From Zermatt, train to Locarno or Lugano. From Lugano, bus to Menaggio (1 hr) then ferry to Bellagio. Then same as option 1.

So I believe you should choose between Zermatt/Lugano and Muerren/Luzern to avoid the looong ride from Zermatt to Bellagio. I would probably choose option 1, as Lugano/Locarno are probably more similar to Bellagio than Luzern is, but both are attractive trips IMO.

I would not go to Muerren or Zermatt before mid June. Late June-1st half of July is probably the best time of the year.

One final thought: from the way you describe your wife's interests she would probably be MUCH happier in Grindelwald or even Wengen than in tiny Muerren, should you choose the Berner Oberland (option 1).

Schedules for the Lugano-Menaggio buses:
www.sptcomo.it

Hope this helps,
Andre
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Aug 17th, 2003, 04:08 AM
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Steve,

I?d pick Lucerne and Murren. This way you get an impression of both Swiss cities (with beautiful lake and lovely mountains!) and incredible mountain scenery. And your wife can do some shopping in Lucerne .

There is a major difference between Zermatt and Murren. Zermatt is SURROUNDED by 4000 m high peaks with glaciers, while Murren is not. Murren sits on the edge of the Alps, west of Murren the mountains quickly get lower, reaching slightly more than 2000 m. The Bernese Alps appear like a ?wall?, which makes a part of the fascination.

If you stay three nights in Lucerne you will have two full days. Spend one strolling and sightseeing in the city, the other doing a steam boat trip on the lake in combination with a cable car/mountain railway ride and a short hike.

(Second half of) June is a great time. I have been in the Bernese Alps in June and loved it. Not crowded yet, the peaks and glaciers well covered by snow, hiking paths in good condition, cable cars/mountain railways in operation and the wildflowers in full bloom.

Ingo
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Aug 17th, 2003, 05:58 AM
  #6  
jmw
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Hi, Steve. Now that you've got it narrowed down and Italy is set, I'm with Ingo. Murren first, then Lucerne. Your four places to stay will offer great contrasts. Keep in mind that your sweetie can easily train to Thun or Interlaken or Bern from Murren for a day of shopping if things are too quiet for her in the hills. You're not joined at the hip. J.
 
Aug 17th, 2003, 06:25 AM
  #7  
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Oh my gosh - you people are extremely learned in this subject! Thanks tremendously. A trip like this is not near as good without the right planning, and a travel agent doesn't have this "been there, done that" knowledge all the time.

From what I hear, it seems like should fly into Zurich, then head straight to tiny little Muerren. Maybe I didn't make my needs clear enough, but I LIVE for mountains! On a personal note, my buddy and I here in the states try to hike to the top of a 2 different state's high point each year. So far we've done 20 percent of the US State's highest points, so high places mean alot to me. My wife may not be as into it on paper, but once we get there, I'm sure she'll agree it was a great idea to see these sites. She's a skier that unhappily doesn't ski anymore due to marrying me 3 years ago - I don't ski, and she was used to skiing with her former husband!

Then, taking your brilliant advice, we'll push off to Lucerne (after our 4 nights in Muerren). We'll do 3 nights there as suggested, she can shop her little heart out and do the requisite sightseeing, then train off to Bellagio. Any great Lucerne hotels you'd recommend that cost $175-250 US per night? We need a great view and a quiet hotel - light sleepers.

In Bellagio we have Hotel Belvedere. I hope this is a good bet - I showed my wife the pics and she asked, "what if the 5 minute walk to town is more like 20 minutes and these people understated the distancse?" She likes to be in the thick of things, and not have to take a taxi just to get to the town. Hopefully, Belvedere is a good bet. We stayed at the new Hyatt hotel in St Lucia for our honeymoon and didn't know till we got there that it was a 25 minute longggg walk into town or a $10 cab ride each way!

I looked at the pics of the recommended Hotel du Lac and it looked very basic compared to the more glamourous Hotel Belvedere. Hard to tell from the Hotel Du Lac website if it's that nice in comparison.

Then - off to Venice. I know this is a Switzerland thread, but any recommendation from people that just go back for where to stay? Anything newly refurbished that someone's seen lately? Love those "just renovated" hotels... Any Venice favorites in the $150-250 price range before I go "searching the archives as dutifully will do"?

I can't tell you how much I appreciate your help. I plan to help the next newbies when we get back from our experience over there. We'll give back what was so freely given to us".

Steve and Julia
USA
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Aug 23rd, 2003, 12:50 PM
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Hey Stever -- Here's another suggestion. Since you will be REALLY tired -- go to Lucern the FIRST night -- easy to get to from Zurich. Pack a small overnighter for that one night and your wife won't even have to open any other luggage. Take a nap, walk around, shop.

Next day train to Murren (it's fabulous) for 3 nights.

AND THEN -- train to St. Moritz for 3 nights -- she can high-end shop -- take post bus to corvasch (only about 15 minutes if I remember right)-- up mountain (she can still ski in June, I'm sure) -- walk or ride down mountain -- walk around lakes etc, then post bus back to St. Moritz.

Get to Italy by taking the Bernini express from St. Moritz.

Did this help or make more confusion? Good luck...........
betmart is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2003, 04:23 PM
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I suggest spending either your first night or last night in Lucerne. Then apply the extra day to one of the other places you want to see. All the sights of Lucerne can be easily seen in a half-day visit.

There are direct train connections between Lucerne and Zurich Airport. I think it's about a 1 hour ride.
JoyceL is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2003, 08:11 PM
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Wow - just when I thought we had a plan - you think our trip plan is faulty?!

So we were all set to just fly into Zurich, take the train to Murren, stay 4 nights there ,then off to Lucerne for 3 nights, then Bellagio 4 nights, then Venice 4 nights, flying out of Venice. What's wrong with spending 3 nights in Lucerne? Isn't there cool stuff to do there and day trips to other areas (like Bern - sp?) from Lucerne? Most people suggested going straight to Murren from Zurich that first morning as it's 4 hours and we'll be beat anyway. They also suggested that the trip from Lucerne to Lake Como would be easier than Zermatt to Lake Como, which is why we're doing Lucerne AFTER Murren and blowing off Zermatt. Is this logic wrong?

Thanks,
Steve
USA
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Aug 23rd, 2003, 08:14 PM
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Reading this thread brought back very fond memories of my spring break (03) in Switzerland. It was Zurich, Locarno 2 nights at La Palma Au Lac on Lago Maggiore, Lucern 2 nights at Grand National Hotel..gorgeous but expensive.. and the last 2 nights were in Interlaken at a Hotel du Lac that was very peaceful! A sound we heard from our hotel balcony was the sound of the contented Swiss cow (bells) on the hillside across the river!
Thanks for the fond memories! Enjoy your trip, stever. Switzerland is beautiful. You can't go wrong. Your wife would love shopping the Bahnhofstrasse in Zurich!
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Aug 24th, 2003, 05:39 AM
  #12  
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There's nothing faulty with your plan, Steve. While based in Lucerne you can cruise on that spectacular lake and daytrip in many directions. Three nights in one spot makes for a more relaxing trip with time for evening strolls and restful mornings. J.
 
Aug 24th, 2003, 08:18 AM
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I concur with jmw. Your original plan sounds excellent. There is nothing wrong with three nights Lucerne.

Lucerne will be a nice contrast to the quaint village Mürren with its huge mountains/glaciers. Lake Lucerne is lovely and you MUST do a trip on a paddle steamer.
Ingo is offline  
Aug 24th, 2003, 08:04 PM
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Thanks y'all! We will do the 3 nights as planned in Lucerne then. We'll just kick back and enjoy some Swiss hospitality for a few days in this general area. That paddle steamer sounds wonderfully relaxing. For someone that could see art museums for 8 hours a day, this sounds like a great alternative. My wife isn't into going to museums at all, so I'm going to have to pick and choose my museums MOST carefully so the few we do see are the best ones, and won't bore her to pieces!

Steve USA
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Aug 25th, 2003, 08:48 AM
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Dear Stever,

Definately start your trip in Luzern (starting north then heading south). Easy train ride into the city from the airport. A couple of days later you'll be rested and ready to figure out how to get to Muerren.

We had the most insane travel trip by train trying to get from Italian Riviera to Wengen in one day, and we were not jet-lagged.

You'll love Lake Como and ending in Venice will be magical. O yes, and I agree hearing those cow bells is a memory I won't forget. Hopefully you'll catch a festival with the locals in traditional costume carrying huge cowbells and clanking down the street - it was quite a sight.

Have a great trip
TamT is offline  
Aug 25th, 2003, 03:27 PM
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TamT - thanks for the idea. Everyone said "definitely go straight to Murren from the Zurich airport, but the last thing we wanted to do after a hellish night of red eye travel where we never sleep anyway, was to take ANOTHER 4 hours of train and tram to get to Murren. So now we changed our plans, going straight to Luzern from the Zurich airport. 3 nights at Des Balances, then Murren for 4 nights, then Lake Como, then Venice and home to DC.

Great idea!!!

Peace,
Steve
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Aug 25th, 2003, 03:51 PM
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A couple of people have suggested Luzern first which I concur. (you can go to Pilatus for the mountains) But I really like the general idea of betmart - go to the south east corner of Switzerland, my favorite. The Bernini will be closer to getting you to Venice.

Only thing is I wouldn't suggest the overly touristy St Moritz. There are so many great places like Davos, Poschiavo, Arosa, etc. in that area - why not go somewhere a little off the beaten track.

Then off to Venice. Or Guarda if you like - not quite Como but also very nice lake.
sneezey is offline  
Aug 25th, 2003, 04:44 PM
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AHHHHH the cow bells...... Now I am REALLY missin' it and overwhelmed with memories. When we were "based" in St. Moritz, it was fall and in the evenings the farmers (?) would bring their cows right through the streets of town to put them on the train to "lower pastures" for the winter. It was quite a sight to see -- and hear. One of our stays in Murren was also in the fall. Sometimes if the cow can't make it or is ill etc., they air lift them down by helicopter. Yes, Steve, as you sit on your beautiful balcony at the Alpenruh, that really IS a cow that helicopter is carrying!!! Wait till the first time you see the helicopters come "up" from the valley below -- they just appear right in front of you -- like the movies!

Agree that Pochiavo is a nice town -- when based in St. Moritz we did day trip on Bernini Express to Poschiavo, walked around the town then next train back to St. Moritz.

BTW, it's also very easy to do day trip to Bern from Murren if that suits you better. But there's so much else to see and do there.

Good luck and thanks Steve -- I have really enjoyed this thread -- it's great to see everyone's ideas and experiences on places they have been. We have not done the lakes yet in Italy and that info was very interesting for me too.

You see, your MAIN problem is that you are not going for long enough.. ha ha.
betmart is offline  
Aug 25th, 2003, 09:35 PM
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Oy - you're killing me with all these great cities and trip selections! We've decided to keep it simple (unless we we change our minds again) and just start our trip in Lucerne for the intended 3 nights, then go to Murren for 4 nights, then Bellagio for 4 nights, then Venice for 4 nights.

So, how long would it take to get from Zurich Airport to Lucerne (is it by train from the airport?) and then Murren to Bellagio. Next question is: how do you get to Bellagio from Murren? I guess we could wait till we got there to find out, but it's good to know in advance!

Steve
USA
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Aug 25th, 2003, 10:33 PM
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The reason why we suggested you should go first to Murren is that Murren to Bellagio is a hassle. You have to change trains at least 4 times (some connections 5 or 6 times) to get to Como, from where you can take a bus or boat to Bellagio. The trip from Murren to Como takes about 6 to 7 hours!

Lucerne would be much more convenient for the trip to Bellagio.

Zurich Airport to Murren takes about 3.40 h with 3 or 4 changes, Zurich Airport to Lucerne a little more than one hour with one or no changes.

One thought in addition: I think you would recover quicker from your flight if you're staying in the mountains (Murren!) first.

Ingo
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