Zurich and Luzern Question

Jun 20th, 2006, 12:07 PM
  #1  
LEM
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Zurich and Luzern Question

This July we will be taking our first trip to Switzerland. We will be spending two weeks in a house in Rolle, a small town on Lake Geneva. I am traveling with my husband, three-year old daughter, my mother and my mother-in Law. While in Rolle, we will mostly be doing day trips and exploring the area near Lake Geneva. Following our two weeks in Rolle, we will spend two nights in Zermatt and 2 nights in Locarno, departing back to the USA from Milan.

My husband and I are planning on doing one excursion from Rolle on our own. We would be gone one night and two full days. We were thinking of visiting Luzern and Zurich. We would leave early in the morning via train from Rolle to Luzern, spend the day visiting Luzern and then take an evening train to Zurich. We would spend the night in Zurich and visit Zurich the next day returning to Rolle on a late train. From what I have been reading on this forum, I get the impression most people would think we should skip Zurich and just focus on Luzern. What are people’s thoughts? Part of the reason I had thought to spend the night in Zurich was that since it will be our only night on our own there would be more opportunity for some sort of night life (we have a child and we are approaching 40 so our idea of night life is fairly tame). Any suggestions are appreciated. Thanks!
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Jun 20th, 2006, 12:17 PM
  #2  
P_M
 
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Before you even mentioned skipping Zurich I was already planning to suggest that. Nothing against Zurich, but Lucerne is a lot more charming and beautiful. Spend some time walking around the town and along the lake. Don't miss the lion monument. If time allows, take a trip up Mt. Pilauts.

As for night life, we had no problem finding that in Lucerne!! There were several little pubs that were really hoppin'. They closed around midnight, which seemed all too soon when I was 28, but for us old folks in our 40's--no complaints these days!!

Here is our favorite pub, Mr. Pickwick, and it's right on the lake. We also stayed at the Pickwick hotel and our room had a gorgeous view of the lake.

http://www.pickwick.ch/luzern/events.html
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Jun 20th, 2006, 12:20 PM
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I'd do a boat ride on Lake Lucerne - one of the most gorgeous boat rides in the world - take the classic few-hour cruise to Fluelen and train back to Lucerne - another reason for staying more than a day here.
Zurich is nice too - much larger and lots of stuff to see and do. However you chose you'll be happy.
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Jun 20th, 2006, 12:21 PM
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P_M
 
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RATS, that's Mt. Pilatus, please excuse the typo.
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Jun 20th, 2006, 12:29 PM
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I can't compare Luzern to any other city because it's the only one I have visited, but I have to say I really loved it. It was beautiful and very relaxing. Mt. Pilatus was wonderful. Just hope it isn't cloudy. It was cloudy the day we went up, but low and behold, the clouds parted once we got to the top and the view was just incredible. So not saying con't go to Zurich, just saying how much I liked Luzern.
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Jun 20th, 2006, 12:46 PM
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There is a lot to see and do in Zurich but I agree that overall Lucerne looks much more charming and is in a more picturesque setting.

Be sure to feed the swans!
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Jun 20th, 2006, 12:48 PM
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JN
 
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There are many on this board who enjoy Zurich. Others such as myself, however, find the smaller Luzern to be incredibly beautiful and more in line with our romanticized vision of a European community. On a 2001 trip to Switzerland, we spent our last night in Zurich before flying home. In hindsight, we wished we had stayed in Luzern and avoided the larger, Americanized (in our view) big city with it's more impersonal hustle and bustle. We figure we can get that in America.
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Jun 20th, 2006, 01:15 PM
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I've been to both Zurich and Luzern, and you can't go wrong with either one or both.
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Jun 21st, 2006, 12:41 PM
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There isn't anything to see in Zurich unless you would like to shop at Bulgari, Chanel & Gucci shops. I would focus on Luzern. I've heard it's quite beautiful.
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Jun 21st, 2006, 01:22 PM
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> There isn't anything to see in Zurich

And of course you cannot say above for any major city (in other words, plain wrong.)

Then again, it's your choice but what about spend a little more time in Luzern than in Zurich like :
1. Luzern, over night and back to Rolle via Zurich or
2. Quick visit (if ever possible) to Zurich and Luzern over night + half day before returning to Rolle. Of course if you are thinking of Mont Pilatus, then, skip Zurich completely for your only 2-day trip.

After the trip, tell us if you liked local white wine "Le Mont-Sur-Rolle". I like those wine grape producing areas.
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Jun 21st, 2006, 01:29 PM
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Curious, how have you come up with the house you will be spending (renting?)for two weeks? The area itself is great for walking in the vineyards somehow resembling Lavaux area but flater with nice view over the lake and French Alps mountains including Mont-Blanc. The other day I enjoyed a walk in the village of Bursin in the area and great lunch at Croix d'Or.
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Jun 21st, 2006, 06:20 PM
  #12  
LEM
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Thank you all for your suggestions. I am leaning towards spending the night in Luzern and maybe a quick visit to Zurich, as Kappa suggested. This way we can kind of play it by ear if we are having a great time, we can skip Zurich. And if we feel we have seen enough we'll go to Zurich. But if others have opinions, please keep posting them.

Kappa, to answer your question we are doing a home exchange.
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Jun 21st, 2006, 06:34 PM
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My husband and I visited Lucerne the summer before last and it was the highlight of our trip to Europe.During our stay we took the boat ride on the lake, walked the cobblestones around the shopping area and took a cog wheel train trip to the top of Mt. Pilates. At the top we watched hang gliders take off and had a nice lunch. The whole area is just beautiful; I'd would highly recommend it.
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Jun 21st, 2006, 07:14 PM
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We just returned from visiting Luzern.
We flew into Zurich and had intended to spend half a day there. Within 1 hour we left. The Chagall windows were under renovations and the whole area along the river is under renovations. Lots of cranes, closed sidewalks, and jack hammers, which really took away from the charm of the river. So we were very disappointed.
Luzern we loved. We spent 4 nights there. We stayed at Hotel Bellevue, about 2 1/2 miles from city center, but city bus stopped right across the street from hotel. It was a very small (19 rooms) hotel. We had a 3rd floor balcony room with a view of lake and mountains. It was on a main street so noise from cars was bad. There was a hotel across the street, owned by same people, The Hermitage, which might not have as much noise. There's plenty to do in Luzern and the views all around you are so beautiful.
Good Luck.
gypsyinme
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Jun 22nd, 2006, 03:54 PM
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<<<<>>>>The Chagall windows were under renovations and the whole area along the river is under renovations. Lots of cranes, closed sidewalks, and jack hammers, which really took away from the charm of the river,<<<<>>>>>

I guess upgrades need to be made and all, but wow, I guess all of that construction work will more than likely still be going on when I hit town in September.

That area along the river knocks me out.

That music festival will also be going on in September. Big crowds and that kind of deal. People walking around in tuxes and the ladies in gowns.

I'll be the one with the long blond ponytail wearing the Allman Brothers Band shirt.

I have been skipping Lucerne on some past trips, but this year I decided to include Lucerne in my plans.

One year when I stayed in Bern, I got a cheaper hotel rate at the Schweitzerhoff hotel because the entire hotel was under construction. That was 1986 as I recall. Anyway, regardless of construction, still looking forward to checking out Lucerne once again.

Does Rick Steves ever mention Lucerne or has he written Lucerne off as being too touristy?
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Jun 22nd, 2006, 04:11 PM
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I am one of those Fodorites who ABSOLUTELY HATES Lucerne. When anyone posts the question, "What is the worst tourist trap in Europe?" I always refer to Lucerne. It is the Dollywood of Switzerland. Yes, Lake Leman is very beautiful, as are the white swans. But, the rest of the town reminds me of a Potemkin Village.

Zurich is much more sophisticated, and there is more to see and do. The Swiss National Museum is very worthwhile, for example.
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Jun 22nd, 2006, 04:19 PM
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Luzern is a terrific place !

The lake, the town, the bridges, the mountains all around. Don't miss out ! As the boss would say.
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Jun 22nd, 2006, 04:25 PM
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Dollywood? Oh well. To each his own I guess.

I will say that it is touristy, but for good reason. All of that quaint appeal and all.

But I have not seen any Elvis mugs there yet. Lord knows I have looked.

Seriously, Just wait until the music festival. The town wil be most active.

I have not made Lucerne a stop since 2000. I usually stay 2 days there. Enough time to check out the lake steamers and Engleberg areas. I detailed a nice hike in the Engleberg area that I really like.

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Jun 23rd, 2006, 01:36 AM
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JN
 
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There is no doubt that Luzern has it's share of tacky gift stores and draws lots of busloads of tourists, but I find it easy to move to the side of that crush of people and enjoy the natural beauty of the setting.

Also, if Luzern is now on Lac Leman, that will make for big news, since Lac Leman is/was way over in western Switzerland. I think you meant the Vierstattwalder See, often refered to by us visitors as Lake Lucerne.
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Jun 23rd, 2006, 05:55 AM
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ttt
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