Itinerary help please!

Old May 4th, 2004, 12:31 PM
  #1  
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Itinerary help please!

After compiling everyone's helpful advice from this message board, my husband and I have finally chosen the cities we would like to visit. We will be flying into Zurich and would like to cover Appenzell, Luzern, Interlaken, Lugano, Montreux, and Biel in six days. If we had to choose between Biel and Montreux, which one would you recommend? We're in desperate need of suggestions for our route of travel. We would like to limit our stay to three hotels: Zurich, Lugano, and Interlaken. Thank you for your help.
mrsjohnnam1 is offline  
Old May 4th, 2004, 12:45 PM
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Here's your first post, with good advice:

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34496339
elberko is offline  
Old May 4th, 2004, 01:59 PM
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How does this possible itinerary for our trip sound?

Day 1- Arrive in Zurich at 9am. See Zurich. Sleep in Zurich.

Day 2- Day trip to Appenzell and St. Gallen. Return to Zurich. Sleep in Zurich.

Day 3- Go to Lugano (shortest trainride seemed to be from Zurich). Sleep in Lugano.

Day 4- Go to Luzern. Sleep in Luzern.

Day 5- Go to Interlaken. See Grindelwald and Wengen. Sleep in Interlaken.

Day 6- Day trip to Montreux or Biel. Return to Interlaken. Sleep in Interlaken.

Day 7- Go to Zurich to catch 11am flight back to California.

Comments and suggestions welcomed! Thank you.
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Old May 5th, 2004, 05:54 AM
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Hi mrsjohnnam1,

I'm not really thrilled with this itinerary -- there's just too much hopping around and two one-nighters in a six-night stay. It would just drive ME batty.

One major problem I see is getting to Zurich airport for departure. What time does your plane leave? Most flights to the USA leave in the am, and the trip from Interlaken to Zurich takes about three hours. So you'd have to get up at about 3 am to make it.

Here's my suggestion: instead of going north-south (good suggestion from Singletail in your other post, btw!), go south-north. From the Zurich airport, take the train immediately to Lugano (about a three-hour trip; you'd be there in time for lunch). Spend two nights there. Then take the train to Interlaken and spend two nights there, exploring the lakes and the mountain villages. Then go to Luzern and spend two nights there, exploring the lakes with the many lakeside villages, the old city, and the peaks of Titlis, Pilatus, & Rigi. You can even do the day-trips to Appenzell and to Montreux from Luzern. Luzern is about one hour from Zurich airport by train, so it's a good place to end your trip.

I think you're also trying to see too much in too short a time. There's enough to do in Lugano, in Luzern, and in Interlaken to keep you busy for a few weeks EACH. I know it would be great to be able to see **everything,** but there's so much to enjoy in those three destinations that there's no need to go further. Personally, I love Montreux (my 8th trip there coming up next week!), but you can save it for another trip.

But if you really really want to keep Appenzell and Montreux (I haven't yet been to Biel so I can't really judge), you should consider doing them as day-trips from Luzern. Getting to Appenzell from Luzern will be about 2.43 hours on the train, and getting to Montreux from Luzern will be about 3 hours.

Let me know if I can help further --

s
swandav2000 is online now  
Old May 5th, 2004, 06:00 AM
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mrsjohnnam1,

Sorry didn't see your 11 am departure earlier --

So, you'd have to leave Interlaken at 05.32 to get to the airport at 08.16 or leave at 06.01 to get to the airport by 08.50 -- by train. The driving route will be about 1.44 hours.

Again, let me know if you'd like more info --

s
swandav2000 is online now  
Old May 5th, 2004, 09:02 AM
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Hello swandav2000,
Your message had some great advice...only if I had read it sooner! We made our final hotel arrangements last night. We will be staying in Zurich for the first two nights, and then in Interlaken during the last four. This is the new itinerary we had come up with.

Day 1- Arrive in Zurich 9am. Check in to hotel. See Zurich. Sleep Zurich.

Day 2- Day trip to Lugano. Return to Zurich. Sleep Zurich.

Day 3- Check out of hotel. Go to Interlaken. Check in to hotel. See Interlaken. Sleep Interlaken.

Day 4- Day trip to Wengen and Grindelwald. Return to Interlaken. Sleep Interlaken.

Day 5- Go to Luzern. Return to Interlaken. Sleep Interlaken.

Day 6- Flexible (Daytrip to Montreux or Biel maybe)

Day7- Check out of hotel. Go to Zurich for 11am flight.

I wish we were able to spend the last night in Zurich, but since the hotel arrangements have already been made, I guess this is what we'll have to work with. Do you know how much earlier we need to be at the Zurich airport before departure time?

Thank you so much for your help. Does this itinerary sound doable?
mrsjohnnam1 is offline  
Old May 6th, 2004, 04:32 AM
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This itinerary doesn't sound good to me - but it is too late to make changes as you said. Too bad, Swandav gave you such great advice.

Anyway, I would skip Lugano and replace it with Lucerne. So you could spend another day in the mountains above Interlaken - Mürren/Schilthorn e.g.

Definitely go to Montreux instead of Biel (don't know why Biel is on your wish list). Take the route via Gstaad.

Interlaken is not worth exploring a half day. Let's say one or two hours. At least take the funicular up to Harder Kulm or do a boat trip on Lake Thun (castles).

Ingo
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Old May 6th, 2004, 05:18 AM
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Hi again mrsjohnnam1,

Well, the best thing about Switzerland is that it's hard to have a bad time there! I'm sure you'll return to CA with great memories of the stupendous views!

I do agree with Ingo to go to Luzern from Zurich and to cancel the trip to Lugano. Luzern is only an hour from Zurich, so it makes more sense to day trip from Zurich instead of the 3-hour each-way trip from Interlaken. You could just save Lugano for another trip -- maybe a return to the Italian lake area, when you could hit Como & Menaggio in addition to Lugano.

Anyway, to answer your specific question about getting to the airport early, I try to get there at 8.00 when I fly at 10.40 or 11.00 (Delta). However, the Delta counter doesn't open until 8.30 -- so the joke is usually on me! You'd think I'd learn by now, but I guess I'm just compulsive . . . Anyway, I think you'd be fine arriving by 9.00; it's a very smooth operation.

I wonder if you've found the Swiss rail website (www.rail.ch) to help you plan this trip. It's a great help.

Let me know if I can help further --

s
swandav2000 is online now  
Old May 6th, 2004, 08:43 AM
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Hello Swandav2000 and Ingo,
Thank you both for your great advice. Have you both been to Lugano? I've been told by many others that it was they're favorite place in Switzerland. Although a day trip all the way to Lugano does seem like quite a stretch, I don't want to miss out on anything spectacular. =( Do you think Lucerne is just as great? What about Appenzell? Do you think we should day trip there from Zurich?

Ingo- The reason why we wanted to stop by Biel was because we heard that it was where all the watch manufacturers are. My husband is a huge watch collector. Could you recommend any places that would impress a huge watch fan?

Swandav2000- Thank you for the airport information. We are flying Delta so I guess we should plan on getting there at 9am, as you have suggested. I guess we'll have to wake up real early that morning.

mrsjohnnam1 is offline  
Old May 6th, 2004, 09:05 AM
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Hi mrsjohnnam1,

Yes, I've been to Lugano. I had planned to stay there for about a week and take excursions to Lakes Como & Menaggio, but I left after three days -- does that tell you anything??? My objections were that it was crowded (buildings and cars as well as people) and noisy. When I go to a town by a lake, I'm looking for a loooon lakeside promenade, flowers, and lot'sa cafes. What I found in Lugano was a few feet of promenade, then a villa blocking the way, then a few feet of promenade, then a villa . . . etc. And traffic & noise. My hotel did have a view of the lake, but I noticed that the neighboring hotels & apartment buildings were so close that anyone could jump from balcony to balcony -- I just felt crowded in.

But do a text search here to get the full story. Lots of folks love the place. I think that the people who love Italy also like Lugano!

Oh, I think Luzern is far, far superior to Lugano. But not everyone agrees! Maybe go to www.webshots.com and do a search for photos of Lugano and then of Luzern or Lucerne to see which one really speaks to you.

There's also an area in Switzerland called "Watch Valley" around the city of Neuchatel. I think the big watch-making centers are in Le Locle and La Chaux-de-Fonds. I think there's an international watchmaking museum in La Chaux-de-Fonds (try www.mih.ch -- from a tourist brochure I have of Neuchatel)and another watch museum in Le Locle. Try looking around at www.myswitzerland.com to find more.

Best of luck! Let me know if you'd like to know more!

s
swandav2000 is online now  
Old May 7th, 2004, 05:29 AM
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Hi (surprise, it's not even Saturday). Am I too late to suggest that you stay in Lucerne for the first two nights (go directly from the airport)? A daytrip to Lugano is much more reasonable from Lucerne than Zurich. This would give you the option of daytripping to both Montreux and Biel from Interlaken. Or if you're really daring, you could reverse the trip, going directly to Interlaken from the airport and locating in Lucerne for the two last nights of the trip, which would put you closer to the airport for departure.

I can't remember if you told us how far off this trip is, so perhaps there isn't time to change hotel arrangements. As S' says, you can't make a bad choice in Switzerland (I'm paraphrasing). J.
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Old May 11th, 2004, 12:26 PM
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Hello jmw44,
Thank you for your input, but unfortunately, it is too late for me to change our hotel reservations. As swandav2000 and Ingo had suggested, we're going to skip Lugano and spend some more time in Lucerne. Have you been to Appenzell? Someone highly recommended that we go there, but I haven't recieved much more input on it. Also, I've been checking the weather forecast in Switzerland for the next couple weeks, and it looks like we'll be spending our trip in the rain. Do you know if the ferries, cable cars, funicular, etc. all operate during bad weather?

Thank you!
mrsjohnnam1 is offline  
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