Zurich

Old Nov 27th, 2006, 06:52 AM
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Zurich

Hi,

I’m going to Zurich, next weekend with my boyfriend, from Friday to Sunday. We’ll arrive around 11.30am (1 Dec) and leave at 18.30pm (3 Dec). Can anyone suggest a two and a half day program? We’re planning to sleep the first night in Zurich and the second at Luzern but haven’t booked any hotels yet. We have already rented a car. Thanks a lot.
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Old Nov 27th, 2006, 06:56 AM
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Take a look here in a GREAT post from Cicerone!
http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34900977
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Old Nov 27th, 2006, 04:57 PM
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I would not bother to rent a car, and would put the money toward some good meals or good hotels, as Switzerland is expensive. You will not be able to use the car to sightsee in either Zurich or Lucerne, as most of where you want to go in both places are pedestrian-only. Parking is hard to find in both places and is quite expensive. Most hotels will not provide parking so you will have to pay for overnight parking. Gas is US$7 a gallon. You can take a train between Zurich and Lucerne for much less than the price of the car. Unless you were planning on staying longer and taking trips to out of the way places, a car is not necessary. The public transportation system in Switzerland is quite amazing.

As you will see from my other post, I am not really a fan of Lucerne. If you really want to keep the car, then my suggestion would be to use it to go into the Alps themselves rather than just looking at them from Lucerne; you can get to mountain area about an hour faster from Zurich if you wanted to go someplace like the Jungfrau area, and would have more flexibility getting back for your evening flight. You still have to pay for parking, etc, but the time saved at that point might be worth the expense, and you can drive around the mountain and valley area which does make the car a bit more worthwhile IMO.

Do you have a hotel budget, it is more helpful to have a range.
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Old Nov 27th, 2006, 10:07 PM
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Here's a possible itinerary.

Day 1: Spend the night in Zürich
Day 2: Go to Einsiedeln for Christmas market. (opens at 11.30) Drive over Ibergegg (through Unteriberg und Oberiberg). Come down to Schwyz and drive to Lucerne. (Or spend the night in Weggis).
Day 3: Go to Pilatus/Rigi/Lucerne

Einsiedeln is very nice with its Christmas market and monastary.

The weather should be nice this weekend so an easy drive over Ibergeregg will be easy.

I like Lucerne and prefer it to Zürich. However, for me, Switzerland isn't cities but rather countryside and mountains.
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Old Nov 28th, 2006, 12:58 AM
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You can also take a train to Einsiedeln (45 minutes) and then on to Lucerne (1 hour) . Sorry Schuler, but to rent a car for 3 nights in Switzerland when you are going about 75 miles in distance each way is just crazy IMO. It will cost you like US$30 a day to park, not to mention the rental fees and gas. Renting has got to be a few hundred dollars. You can so spend the money on so many other worthwhile things. I can name you about half a dozen restaurants in Zurich where you could spend a few hundred dollars and have an absolutely wonderful and memorable meal with a good bottle of wine into the bargain.

Finding parking in Einsiedeln on a weekend for the Christmas markets could be quite tough, IMO, you may end up driving around a town you don’t know at all for quite a while trying to find a space.... The drive is not that pretty between any of the places mentioned, there are not any high passes. The drive between Zurich and Lucerne takes an hour, is almost all highway and is not scenic; and neither is the drive to Einsiedeln. Pretty rolling green countryside to be sure (it’s Switzerland after all), but no beautiful Alp vistas really, although Ibergeregg pass has some good views, but IMO is no reason to rent the car.

Schuler has not mentioned that Einsiedeln has a huge church with the black madonna of Switzerland in it. It’s a major pilgarmage site.

For train schedules go to rail.ch

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Old Nov 28th, 2006, 01:13 AM
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"We have already rented a car. "

Although I agree that not renting a car would be cheaper, the poster has already expressed his intentions.

Einsiedeln:

They have allotted parking lots for the Christmas market and you will be shown where to park as you enter the town.
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Old Nov 28th, 2006, 01:50 AM
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What do you need a car for if you are just planning to rush through two cities? You are visiting the country with the best public transport network in the world.
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Old Nov 28th, 2006, 08:00 AM
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Thanks a lot to all. It’s the firs time I come to a forum and had no idea that could be so helpful. We are always learning and I‘ve just realized that was a big mistake to rent the car but the fact is that is already done. So we’re thinking about visit Zurich, Lucern and Einsiedeln. What do you think about driving to Interlake? Is it worth it? Does anybody have any suggestions for a nice budget hotel in Zurich?
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Old Nov 28th, 2006, 09:02 AM
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Are you sure you can't cancel the car rental? It is usually not a problem. Most companies don't even charge you if you simply don't show up.
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Old Nov 28th, 2006, 05:37 PM
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I agree that you should check to see if you can cancel the car, there is usually no penalty for doing so, unlike airplane tickets.

While I realize it is already Wednesday, I guess I’d like to know what it is YOU want to do on the weekend. Is your aim to get into the countryside and see mountains, or do you want to go to museums, the opera, go shopping and eat at good restaurants? If the latter, then IMO you should stay in Zurich. I can recco some short afternoon trips to get into the countryside briefly, like the train trip up to Utlieberg. If the former, then you should avoid Zurich, Lucerne and Interlaken and head for the hills (the car might be useful there but is not really at all necessary). One caveat there is that it is just a tad early for some hotels to be open (they tend to open around the 15th for the start of the Christmas ski season, but I think you would find enough open). Can you give some more info on what you want to do for the 48 hours or so which you have.

My opinion on Interlaken is that it is in broad lake valley looking up into the mountains, but it not actually in the mountains. IMO you are better off actually getting up INTO the mountains, which are only another 30 minutes or so away. Also, in December you won’t be able to take ferries out on the lakes on which Interlaken sits (“in between the lakes” is the name of the town) so the only reason to be there is gone. It’s kind of a charmless town as well, the little town of Thun has a much better old town if you want to stay in a lake town. (Interlaken has the distinction of being the only town in Europe with a Hooters restaurant....) With a car, the drive there is fun, you go up one pass, but its not above the tree line, but still a fun drive.

Finally, as much as I like Einsiedeln (I just recco’d it to someone else yesterday for other reasons and am one of the only posters to ever mention it on this board), IMO if you are really interested in a Christmas market, then I think you should go to Colmar which is a much more charming village (which unforantely you can’t say about Einsiedeln it has the great church and the monastery but is quite a modern town) just over the French border. It’s only about a 30-45 minute drive from Zurich, you can also take a train in an hour. It has a very good Christmas market for which it is known throughout France and Switzerland. It also has excellent antique shopping, quite a bit cheaper than Switzerland. You could go for the morning and have lunch and then drive out to the mountains on Saturday afternoon.

A hotel and restaurant in Colmar is below (not really budget but worth a look), good for lunch or dinner if you don’t stay in Colmar:
Hotel les tetes
19 rue de Testes
F 68000 Colmar
France
tel: 33 03 89 24 43 43
http://www.la-maison-des-tetes.com/home_us.html

The possiblities are somewhat unlimited really.

For Zurich hotels, I am not sure what you mean by “budget”, even on weekendsif you want to be in or near the old town (and IMO you do), you may be hard pressed to find good 3 star hotels at under US$200, it is just an expensive city. Two reccos would be:

Hotel Adler
Hirschenplatz
Tel: (01) 266 9696. Fax: (01) 266 9669.
E-mail: [email protected]
Website: www.hotel-adler.ch

In the Neiderdorf area, an area of charming cobblestone streets which is car-free. This hotel gets generally good reviews here.

The Hotel Kindli
Pfalzgasse 1
8001 Zürich
tel: +41 (0)43 888 76 76
fax: +41 (0)43 888 76 77
http://www.kindli.ch

If you can go up to like US$230 or so, the hotel below would be my strong recco, a very charming htoel isn a lovely part of the old town. It has a very good restaurant and is within close walking distance of several other good restaurants.

For hotels generaly, also look at

tripadvisor.com
frommers.com
karenbrown.com
alpineclassics.ch
relaischateaux.com
romantikhotels.ch
www.swisshotels.ch

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Old Nov 28th, 2006, 06:57 PM
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I can thoroughly recommend trams for getting around Zurich itself. Tourist offices are very helpful with providing public transport maps, and as Cicerone has said, Swiss trains are amazing!
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Old Nov 29th, 2006, 01:49 AM
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If you decide to go up into the mountains, I will shamelessly promote (i) Wengen in the Jungfrau valley, and (ii) the completely charming village of Guarda in the Engadine. Wengen would be about a 2+ hour drive and then you have to park in Lautrberunnen and take the little train up the mountainside, as the village is car-free and sits on a shelf high up above a valley with stupendous views of the mountains. You can take a train from Zurich in about 3 hours. Guarda is IMO, the most beautiful village in Switzerland, a land of utterly charming villages. It has painted houses, cobblestone streets; the works. Wengen is cute but not as charming, but does have that killer view. In either, you can do walking, in Wengen you can take the train up to the top of the Jungfrau (see www.jungfraubahn.ch/en). From Guarda you can take trains to places in the valley like Scuol or Tarasp where there are castles. You can hop over to St Moritz in an hour. The train ride to Guarda from Zurich takes 2.5 hours, a bit through a tunnel so it is not as scenic as some other rides, but the town and the views from the town make up for it. You can drive to Guarda from Zurich in about the same time, it is also car-free so you have to park at the train station and walk up or take a short bus ride.

For hotels in Wengen try in order of preference Hotel Caprice (www.caprice-wengen.ch, a fantastic hotel one of my favourites anywhere in the world), the Silberhorn (www.silberhorn.ch , ask for the Laura Ashley wing in particular try to get Rooms 202, 404 or 405 or 406) or the Alepenrose (alpenrose.ch).

For Guarda, try the Hotel Meisser at www.hotel-meisser.ch



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Old Nov 29th, 2006, 05:44 AM
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Hi guys!I've been to S'land twice in two years and have traveled only by train and bus with a SwissPass. I would get out of Zurich stat and go by train and stay in the Jungfrau region or in Pontresina or Scuol and visit the charming villages of the Engadine. Guarda is very very quiet...we stayed down the lane from the Hotel Meisser at the Piz Buin and it was lovely...very charming, friendly, clean, spectacular scenery. Guarda is a good walk from the train station, best to take the bus or you walk straight uphill for 2 miles. Another good suggestion is staying in the BO at Wengen, especially if you like hiking/scenery. Lale Leman area is also lovely. I don't know why anyone would choose to stay in a crowded city over the charming villages. There are a plethora of small towns with family run inns that will be dirt cheap and provide a good breakfast. However if you are dead set on staying in Zurich, we used priceline and got the Renaissance by the airport for $70. Here's my trip report from last year.
http://www.epinions.com/content_238856932996
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