Switzerland -- Zurich?

Old Feb 3rd, 2011, 06:06 AM
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Switzerland -- Zurich?

Am aiming for 9 nights in Zurich (April 2011) with the plan to take day trips to various locations -- Bern, Geneva, Interlaken, St. Moritz, Zermatt, Appenzell, Lusanne, etc.

Is there somewhere outside of Zurich to stay (Appenzell?) and still have easy access to the trains and transportation?

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Old Feb 3rd, 2011, 06:16 AM
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I would base somewhere else like the fabulous Interlaken area - Zurich is a nice big and generally modern city with museums, etc but is rather far for day trips to several places you mention, like Zermatt and St Moritz - 3 hours each way or more leaves little time for day tripping activities once there. Anyway with that much train travel envisioned I think the 8-consecutive-day Swiss Pass (Saverpass if two or more traveling together) is a no-brainer - spend your first night in Zurich and then for th next 8 days everything that moves in Switzerland - trains, lake boats, postal buses, city buses and trams, etc is covered - never need to buy ticket just hop on - some mountain lifts are covered 50% only but any real transportation that connects cities or places is 100% covered, making for your time frame one of the great bargains in an otherwise pricey country.
For loads of great info on planning a Swiss rail trip and passes, etc. I always spotlight these fantastic sites - www.swisstravelsystem.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com; www.ricksteves.com; www.seat61.com. You can buy Swiss Passes in Switzerland but for most of the past several years I've been comparing prices here (U.S.) and there passes bought in North America often are cheaper than those bought there - exact same pass - but this varies with exchange rates so compare prices in CHF - Swiss francs and dollars - if your credit card charges 3% for foreign transactions as many do figure that cost in as well and also in the U.S. look for an agent with no mailing or handling fees.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2011, 07:07 AM
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I stayed this past November in a lovely lakeside town, just 30 minutes south of Zurich, in Rapperswil. I took daytrips to Luzern, Stans, Schwyz, and Einsiedeln to name a few.
I highly recommend Rapperswil!
Comes with a castle, beautiful town square and lovely lakeside promenade.
BUT, I would find a second base town for visits to Zermatt and Bern. And Geneva would be even further (in another geographic locale). Maybe cut down your list of Must-sees!
Stayed in Pontresina to visit St. Moritz, but Chur is another well-situated town (transportation).
Click on my name to read my trip reports from Zurich and Pontresina (June) last year!
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Old Feb 3rd, 2011, 08:00 AM
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Interlaken would be a great base for the Jungfrau Region - the essence of the Switzerland etched in our minds eye - snow-capped Alps, glaciers, etc and feasible day trips from there to Zermatt and even Lake Geneva.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2011, 09:44 AM
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Zurich is primarily a business city and is not well-located to see the best sights of Switzerland. You should stay somewhere in the mountains with good train connections for at alest part of the time - perhaps Luzern or Interlaken - and spend a couple of days actually up n the mountains - to see the best of the country.

Your plan would have you spending most of your vacation sitting on a train.
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Old Feb 4th, 2011, 05:22 AM
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Thank you so much for the very helpful suggestions.
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Old Feb 4th, 2011, 09:53 AM
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From Interlaken I have day tripped to Zermatt and it's about an hour quicker now with the opening of the new and really long Lotschberg rail tunnel. Take a train from Interlaken to Spiez, change to the mainline to Visp, change there for Zermatt. A Swiss railpass would cover the whole journy and the normal fare would about pay for the pass perhaps!
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Old Feb 5th, 2011, 05:51 AM
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Hi C,

We found Zurich to be not unpleasant for a day or two.

I second the Interlaken area.

Enjoy your visit

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Old Feb 6th, 2011, 01:47 PM
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I too have enjoyed my several stays in Zurich BUT for a first-time visitor to Switzerland who has visions of dramatic glacier-strewn snow-capped Alps, etc will be sadly disappointed by one of Europe's most modern (and expensive IME) cities - yes pleasant but not what most folks come to Switzereland for!
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Old Feb 7th, 2011, 10:02 AM
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Am aiming for 9 nights in Zurich (April 2011) with the plan to take day trips to various locations -- Bern, Geneva, Interlaken, St. Moritz, Zermatt, Appenzell, Lusanne, etc.>

I understand the desire to only have one base and day trip from it but some of those day trips take 3 hours or more each way on a train. I'd recommend making sayt three bases, one being Zurich coming or going (or nearby Lucerne with direct trains to Zurich Airport in about an hour).


Zurich - landing and recuperating

Lake Geneva - Montreux or Vevey as a base - day trip to Lausanne, a few minutes away and ride lake boats to France, visit Chateau Chillon, etc.

Take Golden Pass specialty scenic train to Interlaken.

Interlaken - day trips into the fabulous Jungfrau Region (or stay in a cutesy mountain village like Wengen or Grindelwald)(- day trips could include one to Zermatt - and lake boat rides and Bern, very close to Interlakien


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Old Feb 7th, 2011, 10:37 AM
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I think, quite bluntly, you need to revise your plan.

For example, if you are going to go to the Berner Oberland area (Interlaken) you are going to want to go somewhat BEYOND Interlaken itself for the views and scenery; same with Zermat and the rest of the Canton Wallis area.

Appenzell? yes, you can do it but while you are visiting Appenzell you'd probably also want to visit St. Gallen and its famous abbey and library, etc., etc.

Are you willing to base yourself in TWO different places during your total stay? If so, I think you'd be a lot better off.
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Old Feb 7th, 2011, 05:09 PM
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I don't think Zurich works as a base for "day trips" to most of the places you mention. If you do try to do it, you need to group things. For one example, Geneva and Lausanne are very close to each other, so you'd definitely do them at the same time.
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Old Feb 8th, 2011, 09:34 AM
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Practical day trips from a Zurich base would be IMO Bern, the Interlaken area, Lucerne, Appenzll, Einselden (famous pilgrimmage place and abbey) - others are too far to really be practical - do as Dukey says at least base in two different places.
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Old Feb 10th, 2011, 05:14 AM
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Thanks again. The responses seem to agree and I will not be based in Zurich.

All the feedback really helped. Thank you.
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