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alg Dec 9th, 2004 03:50 PM

One week in Switzerland in March
Well...after much discussion regarding our trip in March (first we were going to Mexico, then it was the Dominican Republic), we have decided on a very different destination: Switzerland. I was hoping for some feedback on my itinerary:

Fly red eye from SFO to Zurich
2 nights Zurich
3 nights Lucerne
2 nights Wengen
train back to Zurich for one more night
Fly home

Originally, I had wanted to head south to Lugano, but am finding that several places might be closed (we will begin travelling March 4). So, I thought we might save that for another time. Alternatelty, we could fly into Geneva, but from what I have been reading I think that we would prefer Zurich.

General comments or better ideas?

nanda_zrh Dec 10th, 2004 05:28 AM


Will you be driving or training?

Whilst Zurich and Luzern are nice, I'd still want to spend more time in the mountains. There's also the lake geneva region which is very pretty - Montreaux is an example.

It's a bit hard to comment on an itenerary as we all travel differently.

Best is decide what you'd like to see in each place. I'm guessing the two nights in Zurich is because you arrive there. There's also stuff you can do from there like Rheinfalls.

Luzern for three nights? That is too much for "me". I'd spend a day doing a mountain like Pilatus and then another day to wander around thw town. Then I'd head to the Berner Oberland, to some real mountains. :) Bern is a lovely town if you happen to train into.

All of Lugano/Locarno can't be closed though I guess it's not the summer months. It will still be pretty though.

But I'd take out time from Zurich and Luzern to spend time in the mountains. Just to do Jungfrau you'll need a whole day, and then if you want to do a cruise on Thun/Brienz (usual tourist route) with the Hollock caves, that's another day. This isn't counting time to just drive around seeing villages and cowbells.

Just my two rappens worth!

Whatever you do, I am SURE you'll enjoy it. Switzerland's a great place. :)

BTW - while in Zurich, you might want to wander through the Lindt factory. Important to note the times, as it's not regular.


swandav2000 Dec 10th, 2004 06:04 AM

Hi alg,

Because Luzern and Zurich are so close together (about an hour by train, 45 mins by car), I don't think you need to split up your time there. You can easily day-trip from one to the other. I'd recommend you spend four nights in Luzern (still not enough for me!!) as an introduction to Swiss scenery -- explore the old town, take ferry trips to explore the villages around the lake, do some walks or bike rides around the lake or up the mountains, etc. Then I'd go to Wengen for four nights and back to Zurich.

Or . . . if you'd like to experience the French flavor of Switzerland, do three nights in Luzern, three nights in Wengen, two nights in Montreux, and fly out of Geneva (just over an hour to the airport from Montreux).

Let me know if I can help further.


Intrepid1 Dec 10th, 2004 06:20 AM

It would be helpful now to know a little more detail about why you have chosen Zurich over Geneva.

Plenty to see and do in Zurich; I find Luzern more picturesque. If it is mountain/lake scenery you are after I would forego Zurich altogether.

What about airline prices? Sometimes it can be significantly cheaper to fly into Geneva vs. Zurich.

How are you planning to get around? Rail? Car?

The more we know and the more you can consider now the fewer nasty surprises later.

alg Dec 10th, 2004 09:04 AM

Thank you all for your help!

We priced tickets into Geneva and Zurich and it is cheaper for us to fly into Zurich. The reason I did not choose Geneva is 1) we are not into designer shopping, fancy restaurants, etc while on vacation 2) we will be in Paris in September, so I thought we would save French Switzerland for another time.

We plan to take the train everywhere. Our flight (we plan on buying tickets tonight) would get into Zurich around 4 pm on Saturday, so that day is pretty much shot. I figured we would have Sunday to check out Zurich (I will definitely check into the Lindt factory...hopefully they will be open). But, I suppose we could spend time in Zurich the last day of our trip.

Then, 3 days in Luzern: hopefully we will do Pilatus, the villages around the lake, and a daytrip. I have read such wonderful things about Luzern, I don't want to stay less than three nights.

Then, Wengen...if I take a day from Zurich I could add it here. I should add that while my BF is an avid skier, I haven't been skiing since the seventh grade and I don't particularly enjoy it. However, the plan was for him to spend one day skiing in Wengen. This is doable, right?

So, we could do:
arrival night Zurich (or Luzern I guess, since they are so the train station close to the airport?)
3 nights Luzern
3 nights Wengen
1 night Zurich before flying out early on Sunday.

I'm trying not to cover too much territory since we only have a week. Does this sound a little better?

nanda_zrh Dec 10th, 2004 09:13 AM

Definitely do-able. :)

Arriving in Zurich at 4pm can get you to Zurich main station by 8pm (conservative timing) and enough to get you on a train to Luzern. You'll just need to inform the hotel in Lucern that you're arriving late.

There is nothing open on a Sunday except in the main station in Zurich. The Lindt factory is not open on Sunday - sorry to have to tell you that.

So given all that, I'd go straight to Luzern. There might even be a direct train from Zurich Airport to Luzern (which would stop at the main station anyway). will give you swiss train info.

Good luck! :)

P/s: I'm not sure about where you're from, but I'm from australia and over there it's common to be able to rent ski clothes. It's not so common in Switzerland and may involve some research before.


swandav2000 Dec 10th, 2004 09:17 AM

Hi again alg,

Yes, the train station is "close" to the airport -- it's in the airport basement!! When you leave customs, you'll go up an escalator then follow a long hallway and down another escalator to the train station. It's well signed. There three trains each hour with the direct (0 changes) one leaving at :33. Change at the Zurich main station (Zurich HB) for the other trains. You can find your connection at -- be sure to enter "Zurich airport" as your departure.

For information on ferries around Lake Luzern, go to For information on the villages, go to,, & -- for Weggis, Vitznau, & Brunnen respectively. For information on the mountain peaks, go to,, &

Let me know if I can help further!


Let me know if I can help further.

alg Dec 10th, 2004 10:07 AM

Ok, just to clarify...will there be anything open in Zurich on Sunday (museums, restaurants, shops)? We found there was still plenty to do in Paris on Sunday, but spend a VERY quiet Sunday in Bologna: nothing was open!

Is it the same for Luzern?

suze Dec 10th, 2004 01:08 PM

Oh well, I'll have to wait to chime in for your next trip to Switzerland, as the french-speaking region is all I know (and LOVE). Morges, Lausanne, Vevey, and Montreux are lovely smaller town on Lac Leman and on the train route close to Geneva. I fly into Geneva but rarely spend more than an afternoon there.

alg Dec 10th, 2004 01:27 PM

I agree, the French side sounds beautiful. It just didn't seem like we had enough time to see everything. For some reason, knowing that we would also be in "French France" next year, we decided to concentrate on the area around Zurich.

So, this is what we've decided to do:
Take the train directly to Luzern upon arrival and stay 4 nights...I have found lots of ideas on this board for the area and a day trip.

Then, 2 nights in Wengen taking an early evening train to Zurich on the third day.

Last day in Zurich.

I am so excited!

swandav2000 Dec 10th, 2004 01:46 PM

Hi alg,

Well your trip sounds just GREAT!! I suspect you'll be planning your next visit even as you're packing to leave!

Just to respond to your question of 01:07, some museums and some restaurants will be open on Sunday, but probably not many shops. As you'll be in Luzern, that might be the day you do an all-day ferry ride or maybe go to the Lion Monument and the Glacier Garden next to it. I know you've got some good ideas from this forum, so I hope you'll have no trouble finding exact hours/schedules for your plans!

Have fun!


nicksgirl88 Dec 10th, 2004 02:12 PM

Have fun in Switzerland! You'll love Luzern. Be sure and take a cruise down Lake Luzern - it's absolutely breathtaking.

dertravelmeister Dec 10th, 2004 03:28 PM

Delta Air Lines currently has a special offer posted on their website between SFO & ZRH for $460 valid during your planned timeframe. Tickets must be purchased by Dec 16th (additional fees, taxes, and restrictions apply).

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