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Where would you spend more time - Brussels or Zurich?

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Dec 27th, 2013, 06:47 PM
  #1
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Where would you spend more time - Brussels or Zurich?

Planning an 15-18 day trip to Europe at the end of March and beginning of April. We want to visit: Zurich - Paris - Brussels - Amsterdam

Between Zurich and Brussels which city/vicinity would you spend more time visiting?

Thank you for your thoughts!!!
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Dec 27th, 2013, 07:01 PM
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Neither---make it Luzern and Brugge.
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Dec 27th, 2013, 07:07 PM
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Having lived in Brussels for nearly 3 years, I would always prefer it over Zuerich. That is, I would prefer it as a cosmopolitan city. As to the appeal of the countryside, I would prefer Zuerich, or - even more so - Geneva.
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Dec 27th, 2013, 07:13 PM
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Unfortunately, those are two of the most boring cities in europe. Zurich is primarily a business city - and one usually goes to Switz for the mountains and natural beauty - not to look at banks and uber expensive shops.

As for Brussels - the Grand Place is charming - but again, this is primarily a government city - the center of the EU. there are many more charming places to visit in Belgium.

Separately, I would consider 3 cities versus 4 - unless you have been to Paris before I would allow a full 6 days (7 nights) there.
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Dec 27th, 2013, 08:13 PM
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I am in the monority here but I have found the Swiss cities to be sleep clinics.
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Dec 27th, 2013, 08:30 PM
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Neither- spend those 'extra' days in in Paris, Amsterdam and some other nicer city.
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Dec 27th, 2013, 08:44 PM
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Neither - I'd go visit the mountains - Lauterbrunnen or one of the villages above.
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Dec 27th, 2013, 09:00 PM
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Neither. Zurich is boring and Brussels is a 1 or 2 day city at most.
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Dec 28th, 2013, 12:30 AM
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Minimize Zurich. Expensive and boring. Brussels is no great shakes, but it is ten times the city Zurich is. Plus, it is cheaper and the food is much better. But, in general, I agree with janisj and/or bobthenavigator, steal time from both and add it to Paris, Amsterdam, or add Brugge to the itinerary.

As for Switzerland in general... It is pretty and Lucerne is a nice enough town. But I really dislike the place. Very boring, very expensive, poor food, and a relatively unwelcoming culture. Not a fan, though it is a great place if you are evading taxes or laundering money. If you want to get a sense of the place, then Lucerne is a good place to "do" Switzerland from one spot.
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Dec 28th, 2013, 01:14 AM
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Agreed. Unless the OP has some special reason for visiting Brussels and Zurich I would drop both. Far better places to see in Europe. I used to rather like Brussels and spent some enjoyable time there 20 years ago. Returning more recently I was shocked to see how dirty and run-down the city has become.
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Dec 28th, 2013, 06:28 AM
  #11
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Thank You All! Great feedback - as usual...
Much appreciated...
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Dec 28th, 2013, 10:14 AM
  #12
 
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There are very good museums in both towns. Bruxelles is furthermore something like the European capital of chocolate (together with Turin).
For the rest, I agree with everything above.
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Dec 28th, 2013, 02:42 PM
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OP never said why they picked Zürich and Bruxelles. An odd pairing for sure, but why? There must be reasons, and what are they? Both cities can keep a purposeful visitor happy for days, but it has to be for reasons of special interests, not for run-of-the-mill sightseeing and nightlife.

OP also asks about "between" those cities, and I'm not sure if this means deciding between the two (in favor of one or the other) or if "between" here means geographically?

If the latter, where do we begin? And why cities? Why not the tons of smaller towns and even villages between Z. and B.? The Alsace alone provides fodder for discussion, as does the Rhineland, etc. etc.

I would like to hear from OP about those questions, get some answers so that we may provide answers - I think we've exhausted the negatives about Z. and B., even a bit unfairly, but is there more to this?
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Dec 28th, 2013, 02:47 PM
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UGH, what a choice! I'd have to go with Brussels, though, as I find Zürich pretty much detestable. There are lots of marvelous places nearby them both, but are you stuck with the actual cities?
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Dec 28th, 2013, 06:23 PM
  #15
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You ALL are too nice!!!
the details... Sorry I left them out ... Did so b/c I didn't want to muddy the waters... silly me.
Here are the reasons behind the question:
1. have tons of Marriott Rewards points to use.
2. going to a trade show in Basel.
3. There are no Marriott rooms available in Basel - therefore Zurich is the nearest city with a Marriott...
4. Brusells - going to be in Paris and Amsterdam... Brusells seems to be a good Marriott city to stop in for a few days or use as a base to visit the other parts of Belgium...

I hope that makes more sense. As a Fodors newbie, I sincerely apologize for making all of you use your fingertips more than necessary!!! I promise never to do THAT again.

Your suggestions have already been very useful.
Many Thanks Again...
Happy New Year's To All and To All a Good Night!
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Dec 28th, 2013, 06:40 PM
  #16
 
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Take the Eurostar from Paris or Amsterdam to London and stay at the Marriott County Hall - great view.
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Dec 28th, 2013, 07:26 PM
  #17
kja
 
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If your trade show is in Basel, then stay in Basel whether you can use Marriott Rewards points or not. I found the Hotel Rochat a reasonable choice. I also found much to enjoy in Basel.
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Dec 29th, 2013, 12:21 AM
  #18
 
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I would never choose my vacation based on where I can use hotel points. In many places in Europe the big chains are in not great locations anyway. I certainly would not choose Zurich or Brussels based on points.

I would drop both those places and stay in Basel (how much would you spend in time and transit getting to your trade show just to use points?) and spend more time in Paris and Amsterdam.
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Dec 29th, 2013, 03:09 AM
  #19
 
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Your trade show is certainly Baselworld. I guess everything in Basel is already booked for these dates. So Zürich is not a bad choice in this case, given the excellent train connections in Switzerland. Trains run (most times of the day) 4 times an hour and take about an hour - no problem.

(Btw, have stayed at the Rochat and liked it, too - but it's rather basic, and most likely already booked out.)

Nothing wrong with extending the stay in Zürich for a couple of days. I find the town interesting enough, with excellent museums and picturesque old town, beautiful setting by the lake, too. You can easily do day trips to Rapperswil (cute small town) by boat/train, Lucerne or the Alps - did so myself, e.g. to Engelberg and Melchsee-Frutt. End of March/early April is still skiing season, until Easter holidays most cable cars, mountain restaurants will be open.
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Dec 29th, 2013, 04:32 AM
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Ingo makes good points, but there are a couple of options in Basel you might want to explore. I live in Basel so of course I think a visit to the city is always worthwhile

Most hotels will indeed be booked but I think there are a few "off the radar" hotels that might be still be available. One is a small inn in Riehen. About a year ago, it had a complete renovation and is now quite up to date. It's 30 seconds from the Riehen dorf tram stop, which will take you directly to the Messe (the congress center). Hotels in the Basel area provide free mass transit passes for guests to use during the dates of their stay, so getting to/from the congress center won't cost you anything.

I will be in Riehen today and will stop in at the inn and see if they have vacancies for the BaselWorld time slots.

Another option is the Drei Konig in Lorrach, just over the border in Germany. It's a nice small hotel with a hopping wine bar. You could catch a local commuter s-bahn into Basel Bad train station and from there it's a short tram ride to the Messe or an easy walk if you're not carrying anything heavy. Trains are frequent. http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Hotel_R...rttemberg.html

I'm not crazy about the restaurant options in Lorrach, so eat in Basel instead.

I would advise against staying in Zurich only because I have seen the mobs on trains during BaselWorld. At peak periods, the trains are packed to the rafters, even in first class.

You could consider staying in Luzern at the Renaissance Hotel. http://www.marriott.co.uk/hotels/tra...lucerne-hotel/ It's a Marriott rewards category 7, whatever that means, so you could probably get a stay on points. The trains to Basel from Luzern will be somewhat less mobbed than the ones from Zurich.

The final option I would suggest if you can't get anything close by or with points is Freiburg im Breisgau. There is an Intercity Hotel right by the train station. I've stayed there; not luxurious but it's comfortable, clean, and (as I recall), you get a free transit pass for the city. Freiburg is an attractive city with a nice selection of restaurants. The ICE trains will be crowded (and expensive), but it's only a little over an hour on the non-ICE trains and the "lander" tix are cheap -- about 30 euros a day in first class (covers the trip to Basel and back). The catch is that on weekdays, you can't leave Freiburg until 9 am. On week-ends you can travel before 9 am.

Those are just a few options to think about, but as Ingo notes, there's nothing wrong with staying in Zurich (other than the jam-packed and not cheap train commute).

One final bit of advice: avoid the restaurants around the Messe during BaselWorld. Many of them put up special convention menus (aka more expensive). If you wish, I can recommend a few restaurants not far from the Messe or that are near the Basel Bad or Basel SBB train stations that you might like.

I used to live in Brussels, so I enjoy that city too, but I think you would find that it, hmmmm, doesn't compare well to Paris and Amsterdam. Maybe extend your stay in one of those cities instead?
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