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Venice to Zurich or Lucerne on the Train (need some help on the details in between)

Venice to Zurich or Lucerne on the Train (need some help on the details in between)

Old Oct 30th, 2004, 05:42 PM
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Venice to Zurich or Lucerne on the Train (need some help on the details in between)

Happy Saturday Night, Fodorites. I'm back asking for some more advice.

I'm going to Venice in March and that is a for sure thing. But I'm tossing around lots of ideas about other possible additions to the trip. I've got six nights all together to play with.

Right now, I've got a flight on hold from Continental that seems like a good deal ($502). It's flying from St. Louis into Milan and back home out of Zurich, with only one stop in Newark each way. I would arrive in Milan at 8:00 a.m., which I feel would allow me a good amount of time to visit the Duomo and the Galleria and then catch an afternoon train to Venice. I'll then spend three nights in Venice at the Gli Angeli B&B (thanks to Fodorite suggestion).

I think I want to take an afternoon train from Venice to some kind of a half-way point to Lucerne or Zurich. That would be my 4th night. (Any two-star hotel or B&B recommendations for whatever half-way point people might suggest to me?)

Then I want to take the most scenic train trip I can and spend the final two nights in Lucerne or Zurich. (Again, any two-star hotel or B&B suggestions for Lucerne or Zurich?) I understand it's very easy to get to the Zurich Airport from Lucerne, so I think either city would be fine for the hotel stay.

I originaly had no plan to include Switzerland in this (except for a brief visit to Lugano) but that's just because I didn't think of it. My travel agent suggested the departing flight from Zurich and told me the train ride there would be spectacular. I'm sure it is very spectacular!

Oh, and any opinions on how best to spend one day in or around Lucerne in mid-March? Exploring the town of Lucerne itself is probably every bit a full day affair. (I like museums to an extent, churches very much so, and scenery in general is fantastic.) I'd like to see a Swiss castle somewhere.

I'm a go-go-go type of vacationer, as you can probably tell. Rest is what I do when I'm at home.

Thanks for any advice... I picked up several books from the library today and will look at the swiss rail website which I found suggested on here several times already (www.sbb.ch)
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Old Oct 31st, 2004, 03:53 AM
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Idnas71,

I like your plan, though I might be tempted to add one night in Venice and spend only 1 night in Luzern/Zurich.

For a stopover between Venice and Luzern/Zurich I would choose Lugano - pleasant town to explore, even in cold mid-march. For a castle experience, you can head to nearby Bellinzona - they have 3 to choose from!

The train ride from Lugano to Luzern does indeed have some beautiful parts, but it is a main line service, not a spectacular mountain railway.

In Luzern, a new museum which I personally must absolutely visit one of these days (I live in Zurich) is the Rosengart Collection (http://www.rosengart.ch/index_e.html), which has some of the all time great Klees and Picassos, among others.

Depending on the weather in Luzern, you should not miss an excursion up to either the Pilatus (www.pilatus.ch) or Rigi (www.rigi.ch) mountains. Bring warm clothing though!

There is hourly direct train service from Luzern to Zurich airport, the trip takes just over an hour.

Zurich is also a pleasant town for a short stay, though its setting is less spectacular than Luzern's. However, it offers more cultural activities (museums, theater, concerts etc.) and of course a much more extensive selection of shops and restaurants/bars.

Train schedules for all train routes I mentioned can be found at:
www.rail.ch

Hope this helps,
Andre
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Old Oct 31st, 2004, 04:29 AM
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Hi. I think you've got a great trip plan. Venice and Switzerland will be a marvelous contrast of scenery and architecture and cuisine.

I agree with Andre that a good place to stop will be Lugano or Bellinzona. Bellinzona has the castles, but Lugano has the lake; both have churches with amazing frescos: Lugano's Santa Maria Degli Angioli and Bellinzona's Santa Maria delle Grazie.

Perhaps you could take a look at
rooms.ch which is the website for budget Swiss hotels. I think it lists a couple in Lugano and in Bellinzona. You might also check out Karen Brown's b&b recommendations.

For the other two nights, I do recommend Lucerne or one of its laketowns for the spectacular scenery and a wanderable old town. J.
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Old Oct 31st, 2004, 06:18 AM
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Lucerne is very attractive. We stayed at a plain-but-clean hotel about 1 block behind the Jesuit Church (see a map) and near the other wooden bridge (close to the Musegg Wall). Our twin/dbl was about $90, including some breakfast. It is across from a small church whose bells ring quite a bit. My husband thought it bothered him, but now he says he'd go back to same hotel should we revisit.
We walked to the hotel from the train station - it's about 800 meters or 1/2 a mile.
http://www.goldener-stern.ch/hotel_e.htm

The views over Lucerne toward Mt Pilatus are wonderful if you climb the Musegg Walls and walk along the top a bit. We sought out the painted buildings in the core of the old town, and took a short lake cruise to Weggis.

If you open this Ofoto album and scroll down to frame #86 you can see our Sept 2003 pix of Lucerne.
http://www.ofoto.com/I.jsp?c=ch4vgx4...9&x=0&y=75r72h
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Old Nov 1st, 2004, 05:45 AM
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Thanks so much for your replies, Andre, JMW and Travelnut. I was a little afraid people would criticize rather than compliment my plan due to moving around so much in a short time.

It is looking like I will have to backtrack to Milan (which I was hoping to avoid) in almost every train scenario I can come up with. One exception seems to be Venice to Zurich via Bolzano and Innsbrook, Austria.

The castles at Bellinzona do interest me very much, but I am finding a few other options the further I read into my 2004 Frommers Switzerland book. There's a town called Stein-am-Rhein (2 hours from Zurich) that sounds like a delightful place to visit, also.

About the scenic train ride... I was hoping to incorporate the Bernina Express, which ends at Chur, which made me think about overnighting at Chur.

I'm sure I will be back to ask more detailed questions of you guys... thanks so much for your time.

Sandi
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Old Nov 1st, 2004, 01:40 PM
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You may be able to get the Bernina scenic train from Lugano, but the first leg of that journey is by bus, which doesn't run during the Winter. I don't know when Winter ends, nor when in March you anticipate being there, but you could look into that route if you want splendid scenery.
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Old Nov 2nd, 2004, 04:18 AM
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If you're considering a visit to Stein-am-Rhein for its painted buildings, add Schaffhausen and consider staying in Bulach (on the route between Zurich and Schaffhausen) for your last night before your flight. It has easy rail connections into Zurich and is closer to Schaffhausen and St.amRh. I don't know of any b&b's, but if you'd care to splurge, the Hotel Zum Goldenen Kopf is a dandy in an historic building. Bulach has a beautiful town center, and there's a 15-minute morning bus to the flughafen. Just a thought to complicate your decision-making process. J.
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Old Nov 3rd, 2004, 05:29 AM
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Hi again... How about overnighting in Innsbrook, Austria as my half-way point? Then I was thinking of stopping in St. Gallen or Appenzel, but I'm having trouble finding train connections from Innsbrook to either of these on the raileurope website.

I also want to fit Lucerne in there somewhere, and take the cablecar trip to the top of either Mt. Pilatus or Mt. Rigi. If I do this, I figure missing the Bernina Express might not be so bad.

What do you guys think about stopping in Innsbrook for my 4th night?
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Old Nov 3rd, 2004, 05:48 AM
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Nevermind about me not finding train connections to St. Gallen or Appenzel from Innsbrook. I found them on the Swiss Rail site.



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Old Nov 3rd, 2004, 05:55 AM
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Hi, fellow St. Louisian! As good deals from St. Louis are hard to come by at times, it does sound like you found a pretty good one.

According to the German rail website, there is a train between Innsbruck and Appenzell. Check out the website at http://reiseauskunft.bahn.de/bin/query.exe/en. Be sure to type in "Appenzell" as opposed to "Appenzell", which is an incorrect spelling.

Good luck!
Tracy


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Old Nov 3rd, 2004, 05:56 AM
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Just saw your reply, so you can ignore mine!
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Old Nov 3rd, 2004, 06:28 AM
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I can't ignore a St. Louisan! That would be so rude of me. Thanks for your help.

Actually, I'm from the middle of the state but St. Louis is like my second home during baseball season. What an exciting season it was. Did you go to any of the W.S. games? I had a ticket to game 5, which obviously didn't happen. I did get to attend NLCS games 6 and 7, though, which was a wonderful experience.

Anytime I can get a flight to Europe from St. Louis for $500, I consider that a good deal. Several years ago I flew to London in February for about $250. Now, THAT was a deal!

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Old Nov 4th, 2004, 06:51 AM
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Hi! I live in Glen Carbon, an Illinois suburb of St. Louis about 15 miles from downtown, but I work downtown.

Unfortunately I did see some of the WS games and they were so depressing! What happened to our Cardinals? Oh well...maybe next year!

We too got a good deal from St. Louis to London a few years back. We got a $299 package with airfare and 3 nights hotel, but extended it for 2 extra nights for an extra $100. Still a great deal!
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