Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Please Help - First Time in Europe - Only 2 Free Days in Switzerland

Please Help - First Time in Europe - Only 2 Free Days in Switzerland

Old Mar 19th, 2015, 04:53 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 3
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Please Help - First Time in Europe - Only 2 Free Days in Switzerland

I have never been to Europe before. I am going on a business trip that will be based out of Zurich and I am flying in two days early. I land very early in the morning on Easter Sunday. I will have all day Sunday, all day Monday, and Tuesday morning to explore. The last day of our trip is a group tour in Zurich (I don't know the details of that day yet). I am a 35 year old female and will be alone the first two days. I know some French, but no German, so I'm not sure how difficult it will be for me to get around. I've heard that I will be safe but any tips for a female travel alone would be appreciated. With the group, we are in Zurich the first night, Burgdorf the second night, Luzern the third night, and back to Zurich for the last two nights. Since I'm traveling alone at first, I figured that I would stay in Zurich the first two nights also to make it easier.

Since I land early Sunday, I am hoping to drop my bags off at my hotel, even though I know I won't be able to check in. Then I can start my exploration. I'm not sure if there will be thing going on for Easter or if a lot will be closed for the holiday. I was thinking about heading outside of Zurich, but maybe not planning on going too far since I'm not sure how exhausted I'll be. I'm good at sleeping on airplanes, so I'm hoping that I'll get there fairly rested and excited to get out and do things. I'm guessing I won't want to stay out too late that first night.

I have all day Monday to do anything. I'd like to see as much as I can, but not feel like I rushed through everything so much that I didn't enjoy it. From what I can tell, the Alps are in the Southern region of Switzerland? I thought Monday may be a good day to go on a guided day trip from Zurich and try to at least get a view of the alps that day. I've never seen a glacier so that would be nice. A nice walk/hike (nothing too difficult) would be fun. I think at least one cable car ride would be nice. I'd love to see small towns and/or farms. I'm a bit of a foodie and especially love quality organic foods. I also have a love for animals.

Thanks for your suggestions!!!
70sgirl is offline  
Old Mar 19th, 2015, 05:07 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 35,106
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
>>>I figured that I would stay in Zurich the first two nights also to make it easier.
kybourbon is online now  
Old Mar 20th, 2015, 01:03 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 7,117
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
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
neckervd is offline  
Old Mar 20th, 2015, 03:23 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,524
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Definitely go somewhere else immediately--maybe even outside of Switzerland--Venice for a couple of days, maybe even being able to return on Tuesday morning? I haven't looked at the train schedules.
Go to Zermatt?
Gretchen is offline  
Old Mar 20th, 2015, 08:01 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 275
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Seat 61 is a killer website for information about train travel within Europe. According to that site, a high-speed train reaches Paris in 4 hours from Zurich.

1. If you can fly INTO Paris and home from Zurich, then you could explore Paris for a few days (any amount time in Paris is worthwhile and there is plenty to do in Paris on a Sunday) and take the 4 hour train to Zurich.

2. If you must fly into/out of Zurich, take the first ZUR>PAR train you can. Then follow 1 above.
zorrosf is offline  
Old Mar 20th, 2015, 11:46 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 2,003
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Personally, I would go from Zurich airport right to the southern end of Lake Zurich, spend your first two nights in the town of Rapperswil, less than 60 minutes away. Townscape from marina is beautiful..castle, town church,Capuchin Monastery, rose gardens (too early). A quiet town in which to get over jetlag. Daytrip on Monday to Rigi Kulm (abt 1 hr 45 min) for a little taste of the mountains. The monastery town of Einsiedeln is also a quick trip ('Black Madonna' fame).
Double check on what's open of course.
mokka4 is offline  
Old Mar 20th, 2015, 12:22 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 68,014
Likes: 0
Received 50 Likes on 7 Posts
>> I know some French, but no German, so I'm not sure how difficult it will be for me to get around.)

I would not spend any more time than necessary in Zurich. Where do you dream of seeing - Venice? Paris? Rome? London? all are either an easy train ride or short flight from Zurich. And if you haven't booked your flights yet, look at open jaws (multi-city) like into London/home from Zurich, in to Paris/home from Z. etc . . . .
janisj is online now  
Old Mar 20th, 2015, 01:03 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 10,365
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Key factors here are:

1. Your free days from Sunday morning - Tuesday morning.
2. You will arrive during Easter and in many places, that means a 4-day extended weekend (Fri - Mon).

Easter weekend is a notorious time for tourists in all major cities except for perhaps Zürich. Don't even consider going to Paris because it will be packed and the train ride is 5-6 hours each way. I would stay in Switzerland and follow the weather. In fact, for the past few years, the middle of Switzerland has been quite beautiful during Easter while the southern part has been cooler and wetter.

Weather permitting, go to the Rigi or go to Berner Oberland.
Rapperswil is also a good idea or even a delightful two days in the Engadin.

There are lots of options but let the weather and your jet lag dictate your decisions.
kleeblatt is offline  
Old Mar 20th, 2015, 02:14 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 275
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Gee. I guess all the official websites (e.g., loco2.com) that list the journey as 3 hours are wrong as is the Fodor's Forum thread that concludes that Paris is no more crowded at Easter than any other time as long as you have accomodations reserved.

To the OP: do a little of your own research and make up your own mind: Paris or Rigi (or something else).

I know what I would choose.

Bonne chance!
zorrosf is offline  
Old Mar 20th, 2015, 02:19 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 68,014
Likes: 0
Received 50 Likes on 7 Posts
Basically - you can spend those days almost anywhere you want. Any major city in Europe is either a reasonable train ride or short flight from Zurich.
janisj is online now  
Old Mar 20th, 2015, 10:43 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,000
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi 70sgirl,

I also wouldn't go too far away -- since you have so little time, I wouldn't want to spend too much of it in travel times.

And I wouldn't stay in Zürich. Zürich is a nice enough city, but Switzerland is best known for its mountains and its countryside.

Since you are a foodie, like to walk/hike, and want to take a cable car, I recommend Gstaad, about 3h from Zurich airport.

Gstaad has been the home/second home for the rich'nfamous since the 1960s (likes of David Niven and Elizabeth Taylor), so it has a large number of highly-rated Gault-Millau restaurants -- that should please your foodie instincts. It also has a really engrossing gourmet food shop.

You can take a cable car up the Wispile and sit in the mountaintop restaurant to soak up the views, or you can take a nice hike along the ridgeline to Lauenensee. There are numerous other walks you can take between towns in the valley -- to/from Saanen, Gsteig, Rougemont, Chateau d'Oex, etc.

For more information, see

www.gstaad.ch

Have fun as you plan!

s
swandav2000 is offline  
Old Mar 21st, 2015, 01:03 AM
  #12  
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 22,983
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
"I know some French, but no German, so I'm not sure how difficult it will be for me to get around."

As others have said, language should not be a problem!

"I've heard that I will be safe but any tips for a female travel alone would be appreciated."

I spent a month alone in Switzerland, in Zurich and elsewhere, and never felt in ANY danger. Keep your wits about you (as you would anywhere) and don't do anything stupid (like getting completely drunk with strangers) and you should be fine.

"I figured that I would stay in Zurich the first two nights also to make it easier." I enjoyed Zurich, but agree that going to someplace more Alpine might be a good choice.

"I am hoping to drop my bags off at my hotel, even though I know I won't be able to check in."

If that proves impossible (and I can't imagine it would), then note that there are luggage storage options (both manned baggage office and lockers) at the main station in Zurich (and many other stations, too!) Here's the info for Zurich's main station -- look under services for the luggage storage desk and under the equipment tab for info about lockers.
http://www.sbb.ch/en/station-service...osid.3000.html

"Monday may be a good day to go on a guided day trip from Zurich"

You can visit Zurich -- or pretty much anywhere else in Switzerland -- without a guide. Just get a good guidebook! I thought the Rough Guide and Michelin Green Guide particularly good. (Of course, if you prefer to take a guided tour, then go for it!)

"I'm a bit of a foodie"

In 2013, I had a truly memorable meal at the Zunfthaus zur Waag in Zurich. A tad on the pricy side, even for Zurich, but I thought it worth every penny! YMMV.
http://zunfthaus-zur-waag.ch/en/restaurant/

Hope that helps!
kja is offline  
Old Mar 21st, 2015, 04:45 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,000
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi again,

Should also add that, although Gstaad lies just on the German side of the French/German split in Switzerland, everyone there acts as if it is in the French sector. Everyone opens speaking French.

s
swandav2000 is offline  
Old Mar 25th, 2015, 01:21 AM
  #14  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 3
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks for all the suggestions. I really appreciate the help!
70sgirl is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
alwayseric
Europe
19
Oct 11th, 2015 10:11 AM
skydog
Europe
9
Oct 21st, 2011 09:48 AM
PrincessDee
Europe
9
Jul 22nd, 2007 03:51 PM
irish13girl
Europe
7
Jan 11th, 2006 07:56 AM
Danaedward
Europe
6
Apr 23rd, 2003 01:00 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 08:17 PM.