Switzerland travel

Old Feb 18th, 2012, 07:49 PM
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Switzerland travel

Hi, we are traveling to zurich, switzerland on 4/1 and leave zurich 4/8. We have reserved Mon and Tues in Lugano where we have distant family and then thought to head to Luzern Wed. thru Sat to take day trips. Questions: (1) do we need advanced reservations for William Tell Express from Zurich to Lugano? (2) what day trips out of Luzern are recommended?
(3) any ideas where to stay in Luzern? (4) should my son who is staying in europe get a place to stay prior to easter sunday or wing it?
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Old Feb 18th, 2012, 09:13 PM
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What is your budget for a Luzern Hotel?

A moderate to expensive hotel in a great, quiet location high on a hill above the lake is The Montana. Don't worry you don't have to climb the hill; there is a funicular in a covered lobby across the street from the Palace Hotel.

Just up the road from the Montana is the Hotel Royal. It isn't as posh as the Montana, but it is much cheaper and has great views of the lake from the front rooms. The walls are like tissue paper, however, and if you are a light sleeper you may not like hearing your neighbours.

Walking past the Palace Hotel, you will see the Hotel Beau Sejour au Lac. This is an inexpensive hotel that caters to Swiss families who return year after year.

The most expensive and grand hotel in Luzern is the Palace. People like Heidi Klum and Martina Hingis stay here.

For a day trip out of Luzern, you could take a boat ride on the lake. Boats leave from the lake area near the Hauptbahnhof. Or you could go up to Mt. Pilatus.

I have never, ever made a reservation for a Swiss Train. You will be in Zurich and Luzern during the low season anyway. However, I have never taken the WTE to Lugano.

I am sure other will chime in shortly.

Tschuss,
Pepper
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Old Feb 18th, 2012, 09:40 PM
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Not sure what your budget is, so difficult to suggest accommodation. Pepper's suggestions are all very good, and to add to them, look at Hotel des Balances (river-side rooms are gorgeous), Hotel Luzernerhof - (Located in the old town, near the Lion Monument, very pretty and very Swiss),
Hotel Central (Located in the centre of town in the new town section, about 5min walk to the lake, 2min to train station. Is closed at the moment, not sure when it will reopen),
Hotel Anker - (Located just around the corner from the train station in the centre of the new town district. Nice hotel, good prices for centre of town).

Depending on budget, your son would be better served to pre-book accommodation (even a few days out at that time of year) rather than winging it. If budget isn't an option, then arriving at Luzern station and going from there would be fine. There is a Tourist Information outlet in the station (open until 17h30) which has hotel and accommodation information. But booking online while he travels will be just as easy (in fact, easier, all sites have a map of their location).

As for day trips from Luzern, in addition to Mt Pilatus or a lake cruise (good way to see the Vierwaldstaettesee, plus you can cruise to Alpnachstadt to take the cog rail up Pilatus), you could also go to Mt Rigi (boat from Luzern to Vitznau then cog rail up) or Stanserhorn (via train to Stans then cog rail up), and don't forgo the attractions in Luzern itself - a day walking around to cover things like:

1. a stroll up along the ramparts of the old city wall (Museggmauer) which is accessible from the street Löwengraben (just off the River Reuss wier) in the old Town (Altstadt). There are great views, a clock tower ( the Zytturm or "Time Tower" that chimes 1 minute before all other clocks in the city) as well as 8 other towers and it's free. Open until dusk until the end of October. You don't have to walk the whole length if you don't want, but it's hardly strenuous. Or
2. stroll the Chapel Bridge (take notice of the signs for which side to walk on so you don't hold up traffic), feed the swans and then walk up through the old town.

3. wander up to the Lion Monument and Alpine Garden,

4. There are quite a few museums in Luzern - Richard Wagner, Art, Historical, so you can take your pick. There are also two churches worth a quick visit for their style - the Jesuiten Kirche (Jesuit Church) and the Hofkirche (Main opr Abbey Church).

Don't try to do a day trip to the Berner Oberland from Luzern, particularly if you're thinking of a trip up Jungfrau. It's possible, but super long (plus daylight would still be short in April) and you would be better staying in Lauterbrunnen, Murren, etc, to see the area and spend a few days there.
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Old Feb 18th, 2012, 11:32 PM
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If your taste runs to modern rather than "oldy Worldy" or the dreaded Q word (quaint), then the Radisson is a good option. Close to the train station. Very comfortable rooms (and sound proofed)
Of the five star hotels, IMO, the best is the Grand National. The rooms are slightly better than those at the Palace (although I haven't stayed at anything higher level than a lakeview junior balcony suite). However, the Palace does have a great piano bar (and lakeside rooms at both hotels have gorgeous views). FWIW, I'd avoid the Schweizerhof. To me, it's one of those hotels that is five star on paper only. Inside, it needs some serious updating.
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Old Feb 18th, 2012, 11:35 PM
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Forgot the link: http://www.national-luzern.ch/
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Old Feb 19th, 2012, 08:04 AM
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Thank you! All the replies were very helpful. Our budget is moderate - want a comfortable place to sleep thats clean. We want to experience more than sleep. It seems that from your replies and what I've been reading the travel to Mt. Rigi and Mt. Pilatius (sp?) will be open during this first week in April. Right? Valle Verzasca and Lugano are the most important because of family so it seems we will do best if we stay in central Switzerland and not branch off for east or west. If we did that it seems we would only be on a train. Thoughts? Your help is really appreciated.
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Old Feb 19th, 2012, 04:25 PM
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It seems that from your replies and what I've been reading the travel to Mt. Rigi and Mt. Pilatius (sp?) will be open during this first week in April.

Good point - Pilatus (note the spelling) cog rail probably won't reopen until late April-early May, but the cable car from Kriens will be open so you can certainly still visit. Rigi access will be open but as you're there around Easter, check the websites of each for timetables, esp on Easter Monday.
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