Zurich or Geneva

Jan 28th, 2014, 02:31 PM
  #1  
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Zurich or Geneva

In the very preliminary stages of planning a long overdue trip to Europe. Amsterdam, Vienna and Paris look like certain destinations, with stop in Switzerland being considered. So we are looking at either Zurich or Geneva for a 2 or 3 day visit.

We'd be looking at perhaps a half day tour, with a bit of shopping and wandering around on our own. Both places appeal to us, with Geneva looking more scenic. Having never been to Switzerland before, I'd be interested to hear from those who have visited both places and your thoughts of which you prefer and why.

Thanks in advance for your help.
curiousgeo is offline  
Jan 28th, 2014, 02:37 PM
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IMO, Zürich has more to offer than Geneve. From Zürich, you can do easy daytrips to Luzern (with direct access into the Alps and breathtakting scenery) and Bern (another attractive town).

If you decide for Geneve, make a daytrip to Chateau Chillon (in fact, the former naval base of Bern).
traveller1959 is offline  
Jan 28th, 2014, 05:50 PM
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Thank you traveller1959. That is a very helpful suggestion regarding Zurich, especially the day trips. We'll definitely have to look into those.
curiousgeo is offline  
Jan 28th, 2014, 06:32 PM
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I enjoyed both, but had a slight preference for Zurich, probably because I found its museums and the Fraumunster somewhat more interesting to me than what I saw in Geneva. But I'm not sure what you are seeking. Are seeking the advantages of a city, such as good museums, or are you hoping to see something of the Alps?
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Jan 28th, 2014, 06:58 PM
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I have spent a lot more time in Zurich, so would agree with others that it has more to offer. I agree with the idea of a day trip (or change your base) to Lucerne. IMO, it is one of the prettiest places on earth, and I so look forward to returning the end of March!
simpsonc510 is offline  
Jan 28th, 2014, 07:01 PM
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Are those the only choices? How are you traveling?

FWIW, I'd rather spend 2-3 days in Luzern than either Zurich or Geneva, but depending on how you're traveling I'm not sure Switzerland even makes sense between either Amsterdam-Vienna or Vienna-Paris.
Jean is offline  
Jan 28th, 2014, 07:45 PM
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Thanks everyone, seems like Zurich is a better choice for us and we were already leaning slightly towards that to begin with.

Jean, Vienna does seem out of the way. We were looking at going by train initially. Would an Amsterdam, Zurich, Paris itinerary make more sense, leaving Vienna for a later visit? This is still early in our planning so nothing is locked in at the moment.
curiousgeo is offline  
Jan 28th, 2014, 10:18 PM
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Amsterdam-Zurich is 8-9 hours by train with at least one connection. Flights are 90 minutes with easy/good transportation to/from the airports.

Zurich-Paris is 4 hours, and most trains are direct.

Does that mean you'd have more time in Switzerland? If so, I wouldn't spend all of it in Zurich. I like Zurich and, yes, there are day trips, but the countryside has much more charm and scenery than Zurich. Especially the Berner Oberland area.
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Jan 29th, 2014, 08:14 AM
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As a European, I would fly between Amsterdam and Zürich, between Amsterdam and Wien and between Wien and Zürich. And I would take the train from Zürich to Paris. You can get inexpensive flights if you book early - often less expensive than train tickets. And you save a lot of time.

Wien is a residential city packed with history and lots of attractions and a certain grandeur. There is no other city in Europe which is comparable, so I would consider Wien as a number one attraction.

Switzerland is a very beautiful country. I would say, when it comes to cities, Wien has more to offer than Zürich and Bern. In Switzerland, Luzern is a charming small town with a picturesque location. You can do a most scenic boat trip on the lake and there is easy access to Mount Pilatus which gives you a feeling of the Alps.

If you want more of the Alps, go to Interlaken and ride up the Jungfrau from there (but only if the weather is fine). But this requires at least a full day. If you have just two days in Switzerland, I would recommend one day for Zürich and another day for a daytrip to Luzern. If you have three days you can think about going up the Jungfrau.

Yes, we know it is hard to decide...
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Jan 29th, 2014, 09:11 AM
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I'd go to Geneva but not stay there, head out of Lausanne, Vevey, and Montreux... gorgeous cities/towns along Lac Leman approx. 1 hour train ride outside Geneva.
suze is offline  
Jan 29th, 2014, 02:54 PM
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traveller1959, great suggestion regarding airfares and flying between Amsterdam-Vienna and Vienna-Zurich. Did a quick search and fares are quite reasonable and a time saver, thank you.

suze, I like your suggestion of staying in Lausanne, though we are still leaning towards Zurich. But I will look into it further.
curiousgeo is offline  
Jan 29th, 2014, 03:25 PM
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Zurich has the German influence. Geneva has the French influence. They are very different.
suze is offline  
Jan 29th, 2014, 04:49 PM
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Look at www.skyscanner.com for cheap fares within Europe. That site will include all the so-called budget airlines as well as the majors.

But if you do use a budget carrier one thing is definite: the closer you get to the flight date the higher the fare will be so choose wisely.

Re Geneva vs. Zurich IMO Zurich offers a great deal more to see and do than Geneva; take the train along Lac Leman as far as Montreux for Chillon. I would stay somewhere along the lake rather than in Geneva.
Dukey1 is offline  
Jan 29th, 2014, 06:20 PM
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Neither Zurich is really a business city and Geneva is focused primarily on the UN.

I wold head to the Berner Oberland - the mountains are really what you want to see - perhaps Interlaken or Wengen - or if you prefer Lucerne with the lake and possibly ascending Pilatur or Rigi.
nytraveler is offline  
Jan 29th, 2014, 06:24 PM
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Good Lord - good money wasted, IMO. They're both sleep clinics, but if I had to choose (and I never would), it would be Geneva, because at least you could escape to some nearby French towns.
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Jan 30th, 2014, 08:49 AM
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My friends who live in the area call Geneva "a city without a soul" but they like Zurich even less ;-)
suze is offline  
Jan 30th, 2014, 11:12 AM
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Having spent a lot of time in Switzerland (annual spring and fall trips for many years) I have to say that the French part of Switzerland feels less Swiss than does the German part. We visit Lucerne for a week in late March/early April and Lausanne every December for 5-6 days. Lausanne is very nice, for sure, but it just doesn't "feel" as Swiss as does Lucerne. Just my own opinion.
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Jan 30th, 2014, 11:40 AM
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I like Lausanne, also, especially when I want to kick back at a hotel with a decent pool and spa right on the lake. No, I agree it isn;t stereotypically Swiss even though those bridges in Luzern have been completely re-constructed.

A sleep clinic? Hystrionics
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