RE: Four Days in Switzerland in January

Sep 23rd, 2002, 04:38 PM
  #1  
Julia
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RE: Four Days in Switzerland in January

Hi, guys:

Early January I will have four full days in Switzerland where I will be staying with my friends in Zurich. It seems that Zurich is an interesting city, so I plan to spend a day exploring it. My friends will also take me to Lucerne.

Zurich and Lucerne leave me with two extra days to look around. Here are the day trips from Zurich I was thinking about:
1. Bern
2. Rapperswil
3. Schaffhausen

If we drive to Lucerne, is it possible to cover Rapperswil on the same day? Is a trip to Schaffhausen worth not going to Bern?

I really like medieval cities and would also like to see some nature. I should add that I have never been to Switzerland before...

Thanks for your feedback,

Julia


 
Sep 25th, 2002, 08:53 AM
  #2  
xxx
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Forget Schaffhausen and Rapperswil - they are certainly interesting places to visit, but you will want "great" places if it's your first time in Switzerland. You'd best try and get in some imposing nature - you're in Switzerland, baby.

So:

- Day 1: Zurich of course (1 day is never enough, but well... make sure you plan your day CAREFULLY).

- Day 2: Luzern is fine, it's only 50 minutes from Zurich. However, see comment below...

For the other two days, would say:

- Day 3: take the train to Bern (1 hr. from Zurich): it's the capital, plus it has a very interesting old medieval city, which is basically the city center.

- still on Day 3: proceed by train to the mountain resort of Grindelwald and stay overnight there (maybe 2 hrs. from Bern).

- Day 4: That way, you'll be positioned well to head up the next day by small train to the "Kleine Scheidegg", a plateau that offers an incredible view of the Eiger-Monch-Jungfrau set of Alps. The Eiger is probably 2nd to the Matterhorn as the most renowned Swiss Alp, notably for its treacherous North Face and mountaineering lore (films like "The Eiger Sanction" were shot there). Then, continue later with the train down to Wengen (get out and explore this small, car free village), and finally finish the train ride down to Lauterbrunnen and go back to Bern. From Bern it's another 1 hr. train ride to Zurich.

Admittedly lots of training on Day 4, but if it's a nice day, you won't regret it. Alternatively, you could forget Luzern (if you see Zurich, Luzern will almost be repetitious - like Zurich, it has a lake, old town, etc., but Zurich should come first. Luzern does have mountains in the distance, but you'll be in the mountains later anyway.). Plus, the day you gain by eliminating Luzern would make your saunter into the mountains more leisurely.

Oh yes - watch the weather forecast. If you can keep your schedule flexible, choose the clearest, sunniest day possible for the mountains!!



 
Sep 25th, 2002, 09:41 AM
  #3  
Jan
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Julia, xxx gave some good advice. I second the Bern idea. Great city and very different from Luzern or Zurich. If you don't want to do the mountain thing, you could do Einsiedeln. This is a fantastic monastery about 45 minute drive from Zurich. It is probably the most fabulous church I have seen in Switzerland.

If you want to do 'mini-mountains', you can visit Rigi or Pilatus while in Luzern. GREAT sledding runs and definitely not just for kids! They are a blast!
Enjoy,
Jan
 
Sep 25th, 2002, 11:25 PM
  #4  
xxx
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Good idea, Jan. If Luzern is ON, Rigi and Pilatus are nice mountain trips. Also - going to Engelberg and taking the gondola up the Titlis... (doesn't Engelberg also have a cloister/monastery??).



 
Sep 26th, 2002, 10:50 AM
  #5  
Julia
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Dear xxx and Jan:

Thank you very much for your wonderful ideas. Going to the mountains sounds great but I have two concerns:
1). time: how long do you think the excursion to Kleine Scheidegg from Grinderwald will take? Is it realistically possible to be able to go on this excursion and return to Zurich on the same day?
2). could you give me an idea of approximately how much money I should budget for Bern-Kleine Scheidegg excursion?

I was also wondering if you think it is possible and enjoyable to visit Lucerne and one of its neighboring mountains on the same day?

Again, thank you very much for your help with this trip.

Best,

Julia
 
Sep 26th, 2002, 11:13 PM
  #6  
xxx
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Hi Julia. Here some replies...:

- Train trip from Grindelwald to Kleine Scheidegg is only about 1/2 hr. It's like going up a mountainside, so rather than take a gondola or telecabine, you take a small train. The trip Zurich-Kleine Scheidegg is about 2 1/2 hrs. with 2 changes, so 5 hrs. roundtrip. Perhaps a lot for a day, plus not much time to stretch your days. That's why one idea would be to spend an overnight nearer, like in Bern or in Grindelwald.

- Bern-Kleine Scheidegg, 2nd class (if perfectly fine comfort level), one-way ticket is about 60 Swiss Francs; roundtrip about 112 SF. If you are planning to use the train during your stay, which is highly recommended, you can get multiple-day passes (stuff like "Swiss Pass" or "Swiss Flexi-Pass"; these are particularly cost-efficient if you plan to use the train for longer trips, ex. more than 1 hr. per trip. ) For instance, the Flexi-Pass is SF 230.-- covering 3 days of 2nd class unlimited travel, and believe you can use it on trams, buses, etc.

Like Jan says, Rigi and Pilatus are good bets as mountains near to Luzern.

 
Sep 26th, 2002, 11:16 PM
  #7  
xxx
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Julia - if you like using websites, try www.myswitzerland.com for lots of information in general about Switzerland; and www.cff.ch, for schedules and costs of Swiss train travel. Believe both have language option somewhere on the homepage for English. N.B. For the train site, to get ticket cost info, you have to click on Ticket or Ticket Shop, I think...
 
Sep 27th, 2002, 12:15 AM
  #8  
Jan
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Julia,
Since you are driving to Luzern, you have a bit of flexibility. You could do 1/2 day in the city, visiting the Jesuit Kirche, Lowendenkmal (Lion Monument) and the Old Town, have lunch and then do an excursion to Rigi or Pilatus. Engleberg would also be an option. It is about 45 minutes from Luzern. You could go up Brunni Alp and visit the chalet at the top and do a bit of walking...the vistas are glorious! It would be a long day but doable. A warning though, the mountains in early January can be bitterly cold so bring (or borrow) the appropriate clothes. You may want to change when you are touring the city as Luzern may not be that cold.

Cheers,
Jan
 
Sep 29th, 2002, 01:54 PM
  #9  
Julia
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Dear xxx and Jan,

Thank you so much for your responses! I appreciate so much your advice.

Thanks again,
Julia
 
Oct 6th, 2002, 06:25 AM
  #10  
jw
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If I may, I'd like to second Bern as a lovely city with a suggestion to return to Zurich via the train that goes along the lakes of Thun and Brienz and through the Brunig Pass. But I'd also like to vote for a visit to Schaffhausen and Stein am Rhein -- a good contrast to the other places you're seeing. Of course, you'll notice that I'm just as happy admiring the mountains from below as many do from above. J.
 

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