Zurich or Geneva?

Old Aug 4th, 2002, 02:43 PM
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Zurich or Geneva?

We're going to spend a week in Switzerland in early October. We're trying to decide if we want our home base to be Zurich or Geneva. What city is more interesting, and what has better day trips? If you have been to both, your opion is appreciated..
Old Aug 4th, 2002, 02:47 PM
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Zürich and Geneve may be great places to live and earn money, but I think they are quite boring to visit. There are many more attractive cities and towns in Switzerland.
Old Aug 5th, 2002, 01:08 AM
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Would say Zurich wins slightly ahead of Geneva. For the city itself, Zurich is preferable (it may offer more, being bigger): museums and old town (not just Niederdorf! - see both sides of the Limmat...); Bahnhofstrasse, Hotel Baur au Lac and Hotel Widder for the excesses of life; the lake area for boat rides, walking, etc.; some more industrial, new-fangled areas that apparently make the city one of the more trendy in Europe. Geneva has the U.N. but don't really consider that as something to see and write home about. It also has a nice, compact old town (visit the Maison Tavel museum there for history on Geneva) and a pleasant, scenic lake area with the huge Jet d'Eau fountain and lit-up lakefront at night. Agree to an extent with Daniel - if you want a REAL SWISS experience, particularly if you want to stay put in one place and enjoy the countryside, then try for a smaller city/village. However, if you're coming from a big city or if you like cities on vacation, then ZH or GE are fine.

For day trips, each is perfect:

From Zurich:

- small, old town of Baden (parents/adults: include a visit to the spa there...)
- larger city of Basel - great museums, old town, perhaps more laid-back than Zurich because of German and French influence.
- Luzern (every tourist seems to go there, but it still has its charm).
- Chur - not a frequent destination, but a pleasant trip there via the train that takes you along the Lake of Zurich; the Walensee; and some imposing Alpine scenery particularly of the Glarner Alps. Chur will expose you to the eastern Swiss culture, more rugged and pure. If you can, stay 2 days in the region and overnight either in Chur or, if you don't mind the extra travel, in the mountains, for instance in Flims, Lenzerheide or Arosa...
- Appenzell or Zug

From Geneva:

- small wine villages just outside the city (a la Dardagny, Satigny, Russin...); rent a car for this.
- St. Cergue, in the Jura mountains, for a nice view of Lake Geneva (take the train from Nyon)
- Chamonix in France (1 hr car or bus ride); go up into the mountains via a gondola or chairlift for spectacular views
- Yvoire and Evian, small lakeside villages. Yvoire is reached via lake boat; Evian is better via car.
- Take a large boat ride on the lake
- the Vaud Alps; go to Montreux and take the MOB train from there up to Chateau d'Oex or Gstaad. If you want to be on a glacier/very high, try taking a train from Aigle to Les Diablerets, switch to a bus and go to Col du Pillon, ascend from there to the glacier at 2950 meters. Don't know if it's open in October, though.
Old Aug 5th, 2002, 05:35 AM
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Without considering the weather (October may be a factor, because the climate of those two cities is different in June, so in October ?), I'd say that if you will be staying in the city itself, it should be Zurich. If I were going to be stuck in a city, that's the one I would choose. I can add a couple of daytrips there -- Regensberg, Schaffhausen, Stein am Rhein, and Rapperswil. The only thing I would add to Geneva(and it's a good one) is the Lavaux region between Vevey and Lausanne with the vineyard walks and the lovely small towns like St. Saphorin, Cully, and Lutry. (I'm embarrassed to admit that I don't even know when the grape harvest is.) Oh, and Nyon interesting as well. Good luck with your decision. BTW it is possible to enjoy daytrips from Geneva or Zurich by public transportation. A car is not a necessity in either case. If you've got a Swiss Pass, for example, you can get anywhere by lakeboat or train or bus. J.
Old Aug 5th, 2002, 05:52 AM
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You're right jw, no need for a car, though it's good for the ultimate in flexibility. How about a compromise? 3 days in Zurich, then take the Intercity train to Geneva (3hrs), passing through some real scenic areas around Bern and Fribourg, and the icing on the cake - the train exits from the long tunnel just above the tiny village of Grand Vaux (sp?) above the Lake of Geneva, and BAM! the view of the century with the vineyards just below, the lake on the bottom, and the French Alps in the distance. It reminds of a French Impressionist painting. Finally, 2 days in Geneva. And the vineyards...
Old Aug 5th, 2002, 05:55 AM
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So tell me, Choice, when do the grapes come off and the vines come down? All I know about harvest is sugarcane, and that depends a bit upon the first frost of the season. Can you educate me?
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