Zurich or Geneva -- Help

May 19th, 2003, 06:52 PM
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Zurich or Geneva -- Help

My husband and I are going to be in Switzerland for four days. We can't decide how much time to spend in Zurich and Geneva, as these are the 2 cities we will be visiting. How should we split our time?
Taia is offline  
May 19th, 2003, 07:33 PM
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You are going to Switzerland for cities?
Switzerland to me is mountains: the Berner Oberland of Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen, the Pennine Alps of Saas Fee and Zermatt and the hanging valleys along both sides of the Rhone including the Turtmantal and Val d'Anniviers.

I can tell you easily how much time I would spend in Geneva and Zuerich: as little as possible.
Two small cities, however, are possibly exceptions: Luzern and Lausanne. Lausanne is attractive because it is so upscale and so scenically positioned on the northern shore of Lake Geneva while Luzern is quaint.

Other than those, give me the mountains and those awesome, beautiful peaks with their beautiful valleys.
bob_brown is offline  
May 19th, 2003, 08:41 PM
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Personally, I love cities, and enjoyed both Geneva and Zurich. But that being said, I think Bob's advice of visiting some of the more charming smaller cities sounds great. I've also heard great things about the smaller cities near Geneva around the lake.

Generally speaking, comparing between the two cities of Geneva and Zurich, the main city center areas are roughly equivalent in size (both fairly small), although I'd say that Zurich wins because it's a bit more picturesque. I enjoyed both cities equally well, but Zurich's layout around the river offers more scenic views of the city as you walk around.

2 days in any city is not a lot of time, so I guess if you've only got 4 days and want to see both cities, I'd split it 50/50, or plan for one day in a city in between.

Have a great time! They are great cities and I'm sure you'll enjoy them both!
Andrea_expat is offline  
May 19th, 2003, 08:47 PM
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Bonjour Taia,

I'm biased in favor of Geneva (I live here ...), but must (grudgingly) admit Zurich has some charms too ;-)

However, don't come to Geneva if you travel around the weekend of the G8 summit (June 1-3): we unfortunately expect around 100'000 protesters, and a huge mess ...
Florence is offline  
May 19th, 2003, 10:07 PM
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Bonjour Taia,

I'm biased in favour of Zurich (I live here ...), but must (grudgingly) admit Geneva has some charms too

Don't split at all!
It takes some time to discover the real gems and this is true for both cities.
As other have said, you might want to consider a mountain resort, unless you should be into museums, shops, etc.

Salut Florence,
I hope the G8 summit won't cause too much trouble en Suisse romande.

Ursula is offline  
May 19th, 2003, 11:21 PM
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Salut Ursula,

I'm trying to remain optimistic, but even with the scaled down estimate of 40'000 protesters, I expect it to be a big
Florence is offline  
May 19th, 2003, 11:52 PM
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I live in Zurich. To put everything in perspective, to call Zurich and Geneva "cities" is a bit of a misnomer. Zurich, the larger of the two, has 450,000 people. Neither place is a city on the scale of London, Paris or Rome. You can walk the main tourist bits in about an hour. Both cities are on huge lakes which you can explore by ferry. Both primarily consist of beautiful old buildings, charming cobblestone streets and a very few tall (8 stores at most) modern office buildings. Both are surrounded by green hills and Alps in the distance. Therefore, you will not really feel like you have only been in ""cities" if you only visit these two places in Switzerland.

That being said, they are somewhat alike and if it were my 4 days I might spend 2 days in one of the two cities, and then go to a mountain area like Lucerne, Zermatt, Verbier, etc. Everything is relatively close by train, you can get to Zermatt from Geneva in about 4 hours, and to Lucerne from Zurich in an hour.

Take a look at the Destination guides for various places in Switzerland put together by Fodors. (Click on "Destinations" above, scroll down to Europe and Switzerland.) They will give you an idea of what a good 3-day itinerary would be for each city, as well as giving ideas for day trips or trips further afield. The small medieval town of Fryeburg is about an hour from Geneva and worth a trip. Bern is also an interesting city close to Geneva.

If you are not an outdoor person, then Geneva or Zurich might be good choices. Your note did not say what month you are travelling. In addition to the G8 meeting in Geneva in June, Zurich as a hip-hop street parade on August 8 which about a million teenagers and 20-somethings are expected to attend for a 15-hour party. I personally will be leaving town that weekend.
Cicerone is offline  
May 20th, 2003, 12:00 AM
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Hello Cicerone,

Zurich's Street Parade will be on Saturday, August 9, to be precise!

I will be leaving town as well.
It's unbearable where I live (Enge).
Ursula is offline  
May 20th, 2003, 12:04 AM
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PS: If you should be in Zurich before July 13, I highly recommend the special Duane Hanson exhibit at the Kunsthaus (Museum of Fine Arts).
Absolutely great.
Ursula is offline  
May 21st, 2003, 01:27 PM
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Thank you all for your info. It is of great help, and I will definitely look into taking some day trips outside of Zurich and Geneva.

One more request I have: How far is the train station from the airport in Zurich? If it is far, how much would it be for a cab there? Thank you.
Taia is offline  
May 21st, 2003, 10:32 PM
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Zurich's train station can be easily reached from Zurich airport. Some 10 minutes by trains which run very often.
No need to take a cab, which is likely to cost some CHF 40.- and take longer.
You should find plenty of information at the airport's web site:
Ursula is offline  
May 25th, 2003, 05:43 AM
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Hi, Ursula, Wish I were there for the Hanson exhibit. Taia, if you've not decided, my vote (I presume to vote) is either two nights in the Lavaux section of Lac Leman and two in Zurich or all four in Zurich or one of its lake towns (Rapperswil). Have fun and start planning your next, longer visit. J.
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