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Two days in Switzerland - where to go?

Old Jul 29th, 2010, 04:55 PM
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Two days in Switzerland - where to go?

We will be flying into Zurich in mid-September and would like to spend two days exploring a town in Switzerland before taking the train down to Lake Como. We are a couple in our thirties with a two year old daughter. We would like a small to mid-size town with charm and character. We like good food, moderate hikes/walks, interesting architecture and just generally wandering around discovering new places and sights.

Budget is a big consideration for us. I was thinking Lucerne would be a good location, but the prices of hotels appear to be really high and I cannot find any good vacation rentals for that short of a term. We'd also prefer not to travel a great distance from Zurich as we will be flying in overnight with a toddler! Any advice is much appreciated, I need to figure this out soon!
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Old Jul 29th, 2010, 06:36 PM
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Lucerne sounds perfect for you. Try the Hotel Wilden Mann.

http://www.wilden-mann.ch/

My first choice is always Gstaad, but that will be too far for a short trip. Although, we did only stay there for three days once, and it was still worth it.
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Old Jul 29th, 2010, 06:44 PM
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I just noticed your question regarding budget. Switzerland is an expensive place - to stay and to eat. They do love children, though, and our kids were very welcome everywhere!
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Old Jul 29th, 2010, 09:05 PM
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Hi audreyleigh99,

Yes, Switzerland tends to be expensive. But you can cut the costs a bit by looking at a B&B

www.bnb.ch (search by map or by town name)

or inexpensive accommodation

www.rooms.ch

Anyway, here are some other choices:

Rapperswil, farther down on lake Zurich. It has a castle on a hill, a beautiful old town, and a cosy, cafe-lined harbor. It's about an hour from the airport with one change.

Bern, the capital of the Berner Oberland. It is close enough to the high peaks for a day-trip; it also has a cathedral and the (newly remodelled and more humane) bear pits. It will be about 1h30 (some connections more, some connections less) with 0 or 1 change.

Zug, which sits on its own lake. I haven't been here yet, but everything I've heard about it makes me eager to go. It is about 55 minutes from the aiport with 1 change.

Have fun!

s
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Old Jul 30th, 2010, 03:14 AM
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For your purposes I recommend Stein-am-Rhein, which has fabulous architecture and is still very much preserved as it was hundreds of years ago, with cobblestone streets and medieval buildings with intricately painted facades. A magical place!

It's a small town, you can go for walks along the Rhine or in the surrounding hills. The town itself is one big pedestrian zone, so your toddler can run around, and it's only an hour by train from Zurich.
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Old Jul 30th, 2010, 04:43 AM
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I can think of several places but before making any recommendations I would ask that you tell us what you think is "expensive" in terms of hotel prices. There may be some places in Luzern (or other towns) you don't even know about which might be acceptable.

We are trying to be helpful here but we need some more information from you.
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Old Jul 30th, 2010, 08:41 AM
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Although Luzern tends to be the automatic recommendation for this type of request, I'll put forth a case for Basel for several reasons:
1. Easy to get to by train from Zurich airport - just over an hour.
2. Although a city, it has a relaxed town feel with some beautiful historic neighborhoods. Interesting mix of old (back to the 14th century) and new architecture. Lots of things to interest a small child - parks, the zoo, play areas etc.
3. Accommodation: the perfect budget accommodation for a couple with a small child - the St. Alban's Hostel in the beautiful St. Alban's neighborhood. I am VERY surprised that none of the Swiss experts here has ever mentioned this place. It's a wonderful place to stay - and for those who are put off by the idea of a hostel, guess again. I usually stay in 4 to 5 star hotels but happily spent a week-end here and would stay again in a minute. It's sparkling modern design that works perfectly in a lovely historic neighborhood. The facilities are top notch - in some ways, easily 4-star quality. A three-bed room with private bath for you and your child would be about 115 Sfr for the night, including breakfast and free passes for use of the extensive Basel public transportation system. Dinner is 17.50 francs per person. Free wifi, very family friendly, you will have the chance to mingle with other families from around the world. Lovely, warm atmosphere. Check out the photos below.

http://www.youthhostel.ch/hosteldeta...er_hostels_pi1[bez]=BSL
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Old Jul 30th, 2010, 08:53 AM
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Though a bit touristy, I would recommend the town of Interlaken. It is centrally located in the Berner Oberland area. It has many, many hotel choices and offers lots of day excursions into the surrounding area. Beautiful scenery and lots of dining choices. Even though it's a small town, it has two rail stations, east and west. Many accommodations are easily reached by foot from the rail stations. Good luck!
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Old Jul 30th, 2010, 09:10 AM
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Thanks so much for all the replies! I will definitely check out the recommended towns tonight. Regarding budget, I was shocked when I did an inital search and most accommodations in Lucerne seemed to come in at $250 to $450. I can certainly see a few high end places being that much, but that is just ridiculous for an average hotel in a smallish town. The Hotel Wilden Mann looks lovely and I have actually seen it recommended elsewhere as a reasonably priced option, but for a double room it starts at 290CHF in September. Sorry, but that is not my idea of reasonably priced! For a special splurge weekend with my DH sometime when we do not have daycare bills to pay then maybe . . .

Since I posted I have actually found two hotels in Lucerne that would work with our budget - Hotel Goldener Stern (160 CHF) and the Etap Hotel (88 CHF). Neither are particularly luxurious, of course, but might be workable. Let me know if anyone has specific input on them. I will check out the other locations recommended and then see if it makes sense to stick to Lucerne with one of these or go for a different town. Thanks again!
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