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Zurich: Where to explore from there?

Old Sep 7th, 2017, 05:24 PM
  #1  
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Zurich: Where to explore from there?

My fiance and I will be beginning our honeymoon in Zurich, where we have a few days before embarking on a Rhine cruise from Basel to Amsterdam. We arrive in Zurich in late morning, and after transfer and hotel check-in, would have the better part of an afternoon/evening, plus two full days, before beginning our cruise.

We'd love to know how best to take advantage of our 'rooted spot' in Zurich and the trains available to us. Since we'll be there at the end of December, this needs to be taken into consideration with weather conditions (no kayaking! . With two and a half days, what is the best way to spend our time? Where should we definitely consider visiting? We like easy/no hassle, but love interesting, charming, old world, and unusual. We do not mind being cold, but would not be "very active" (are not looking to ski). But we're more than happy to do a lot of strolling.

I would be delighted with any and all suggestions for whatever all is in the area 'to be had' that is a must!
racheletta is offline  
Old Sep 7th, 2017, 07:48 PM
  #2  
kja
 
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You have SOOOooooo many options that I wouldn't know where to begin. If you don't already have one, please get a really good guidebook, perhaps the Rough Guide or Michelin Green Guide. And you can search this board for threads on Zurich, or read trip reports. For example, you might find some useful information in my trip report:
http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...any-thanks.cfm

For train information, see
http://www.sbb.ch/en/home.html

Enjoy your honeymoon!
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Old Sep 7th, 2017, 08:03 PM
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Hi racheletta,

My favorite excursion from Zürich was the ferry trip to Rapperswil, then strolling around that gorgeous town. It has a lovely harbor (lined with cafes & restaurants), a castle in town, a deer park, and a rose garden (not sure, though, how inviting the last two will be in Dec).

For mountain excursions, you can check these out:

www.rigi.ch
www.pilatus.ch
www.titlis.ch

To visit a mountain town, see
www.engelberg.ch

You don't have to be super active -- just take a train or cable car to the top, enjoy the views, visit a mountaintop restaurant, and stroll a bit. Then come back down.

If you enjoy museums, visiting Bern would be great for you, and you would probably enjoy walking along the river and visiting the historical sites in town.

Of course, Luzern is also an amazing city, with its mountains-falling-into-lakes scenery. You can explore its old town, then take a cruise on the lake and visit some lakeside villages like Weggis & Vitznau.

Have fun as you plan!

s
swandav2000 is offline  
Old Sep 8th, 2017, 02:43 AM
  #4  
 
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You may have a look at
http://www.myswitzerland.com/en/home.html
http://www.swisstravelsystem.ch/en/
neckervd is offline  
Old Sep 8th, 2017, 06:12 AM
  #5  
 
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Swiss trains are great -for lots on them check www.sbb.ch; and where to go from Zurich on them - www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com.
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Old Sep 8th, 2017, 09:42 AM
  #6  
 
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I second the town of Rapperswil. Used it as my base for 6 days a few years ago. You could also check out Einsiedeln or Zofingen.
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Old Sep 8th, 2017, 06:57 PM
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Hi, I just did the opposite river cruise, Amsterdam to Basel in July. I find that the first day is pretty shot with jet lag. We spent a total of 3 nights in Zurich (one before we went down to Zermatt and over to Wengen on Swiss Rail) and two before departure home). We actually spent a week in Switzerland after the cruise. Since you have really only 2 days that you will feel very functional, depending on where you are flying from, you might just want to explore Zurich. Get a little book on just Zurich, and check out your interests. The Chagall windows in the church are lovely in Zurich. There are numerous museums, chocolate shops, river boats (December, not sure about that?)If you like fondue, find the Italian restaurant that is reasonable cost that has great fondue, ask at hotel. Be sure to get trolley tickets, as we did not, and rode all over Zurich on the trolley and there is a 100 SF fine for riding without the ticket, but we did not get caught, just did not know what we were doing. Zurich is VERY expensive so be prepared for that. Sometimes just taking time to see a city can be fun and less exhausting, time for honeymoon? Sue
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Old Sep 9th, 2017, 01:39 AM
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I hope you are planning to spend a little time in Basel before you go on your cruise! The city has some beautiful historic neighborhoods (St Alban and Spalenberg, for example) and hotels are cheaper than in Zurich. Well-priced and good Basel hotel recommendations that don't usually pop up here: Nomad (new hotel, lively bar), Hotel Basel, Hotel Wettstein (newly renovated, several good, non-touristy restaurants within easy walking distance), the Landgasthof in Riehen (a posh Basel suburb in a pretty setting and also home to the famous Beyeler Foundation museum). At the top end of the budget is, of course, Les Trois Rois, and at the low end (but still good) is the new Motel One right in the heart of town at Barfusserplatz.

Basel's social scene is having a renaissance -- lots of new restaurants and bars and things are open much later than they used to be, so don't buy into the outdated rubbish that Basel "rolls up the streets" at 9 pm.

http://www.nomad.ch/
http://www.hotelwettstein.ch/en/home/
http://www.hotel-basel.ch/en/home/
https://www.motel-one.com/en/hotels/basel/hotel-basel/
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Old Sep 9th, 2017, 05:12 AM
  #9  
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Oh, it is just *so* hard to choose, with what little time we have! One thing I do know, is that I do not want to make ourselves crazy trying to do too much with too little time... we'll get frustrated and feel like we haven't really seen anything too well since we'll be zipping around too fast.

Thank you *so* much for all of these suggestions so far: the detail and thoughtfulness is much appreciated, and goes above and beyond what I expected - so very helpful!

We have an obscenely good deal on our hotel in Zurich through our travel agent (otherwise I highly doubt we'd be staying in Switzerland at all - I heard about their prices!).

Taking all these notes into consideration so far, I think we might do something like this... Spend the first afternoon strolling around Zurich/exploring via trolley the outdoors, so as to acclimate our jet leg (since being outside is the best way to do that). We're coming from Atlanta (U.S. east coast). I tend not to have too much jet lag coming *to* a place (and I've traveled quite extensively), but coming home is terrible, but my fiance has never traveled internationally like this, and I'm a bit concerned for him.

First full day, total focus on Zurich. At first I thought perhaps we'd not spend a full day there, but there seems to be far too much to ignore (I suppose I thought it was more of a 'business' town?). I would *love* to see the Chagall windows, the Gerold Cuchi umbrellas, Old Town, Opera House, Cabaret Voltaire, the funicular train, even the lake in the cold. And warm back up with some fondue. I'm working myself up. Can I go now?

Second full day, train to Lucerne, returning via a stop in Rapperswil. (Or, should we stop in Rapperswil on the *way* to Lucerne?) What a beautiful town. I hope we have a clear day. Cold, we can take (even though we're Southerners, we were not bred for the heat!), but I'll pray for sun just for pictures.

The next day, when we transfer to Basel to embark the ship, we have quite a bit of time to explore. Since we're not flying in that morning, we could arrange for an early transfer and early check-in with the ship, so that we can drop off our bags and use the day to explore Basel. We're only expected to be on the ship for the Welcome Dinner (or whenever we're ready/exhausted), really. Basel definitely seems worth the exploratory romp, and spending a lot of time in Old Town seems ideal, as well as that I'd love to see their Jewish Museum.

I welcome more thoughts and ideas with these particulars, or otherwise!
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Old Sep 9th, 2017, 06:01 AM
  #10  
 
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Hi again,

You may want to take a look at a map -- Rapperswil is in the opposite direction from Zürich to Luzern. You could probably do both in one day, but that wouldn't leave you with a lot of time to cruise Lake Lucerne (more dramatic than Lake Zurich) or to ascend a mountain.

You may want to look at the SBB to see how long the transport would take and how much time you'd have left.

www.sbb.ch

Have fun!

s
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Old Sep 9th, 2017, 08:52 AM
  #11  
kja
 
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The Fraumünster in Zürich holds not only the Chagall windows, but also some stunning ones by Giacometti, and there are more Giacometti stained glass windows in the Grossmünster.

Basel also has much to offer; you might want to find time to walk not just in, but also around, its Münster.

Like swandav, I'm not sure you can meaningfully visit both Rapperswill and Lucerne in the same day....

Enjoy!
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Old Sep 9th, 2017, 09:44 AM
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Lucerne - Rapperswil takes 1 hr 20 min by (scenic) direct train. Trains run every hr.
Rapperswil - Zurich takes 33 min (all alongside Lake Zurich). Trains about every 15 min.
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Old Sep 9th, 2017, 01:08 PM
  #13  
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Yes, that Swiss rail site has been extremely helpful, I've been combing through it quite a bit! The fact Rapperswil isn't direct doesn't bother us at all: if it's interesting enough, and worthwhile, while we may not have *hours* to spend there, the two hours return trip - especially a scenic one - is very minimal.

For us, trains - especially trains with a scenic view, is a treat on its own. Where we live in the U.S., it's a very different perspective with how spread out everything is, so this is something of Europe that we are greatly looking forward to experiencing!

Whether we do Rapperswil or not, Lucerne is a must, I think. I'm not keen on the lake cruise, only because we'll be cruising on a river for so many days after this. I'll have to look into how many hours it is and the views it offers/one can't get without it. What I'd *like* to get out of it, is what I *can't* get once we begin the rivercruise: time to explore towns at our leisure, pace, and discretion.
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Old Sep 10th, 2017, 06:48 AM
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Lucerne lake cruises are utilitarian ways to get to neat sites like Mt Rigi and its fab views or Mt Pilatus' mountain train - and they are short rides much different than what you'll experience on rivers. But you can get to those places by trains and buses too.

Swiss lake steamers are iconic and to ride one is a real treat IMO.
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Old Sep 10th, 2017, 09:09 AM
  #15  
 
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HI again, I am the person who did the same river cruise and am from Athens, and did 3 nights in Zurich after cruise, but split the time up. You have really only two days, as by the time you get thru customs, get bags, transport to hotel part of the first day will be gone, and you will have some jet lag. Delta gets in in AM right?

Does Zurich have Xmas markets? You mention you are going in late
December, they are great fun in Germany, and could be a fun way to check out the markets in Zurich others will know on this site. You also have to allow time to get train back up to Basel (only 1 hr or a bit more) from Zurich and not miss the ship. (big bucks to catch up). Sue
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Old Sep 10th, 2017, 12:31 PM
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https://www.timeout.com/switzerland/...ristmas-market
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Old Sep 10th, 2017, 01:14 PM
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Lucerne is about an hour from Zurich Airport by train and just as close to Basel as Zurich by train and to many a more relaxing enjoyable smaller town with again the nice lake it sits on.
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Old Sep 10th, 2017, 02:42 PM
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We won't arrive in Zurich until Dec. 27th. I don't know about Europe, but Christmas in the U.S. pretty much disappears after the day-of. I can't find any information on whether the Markets would still be about then, but I just assumed not, since it's based on shopping for the holiday.

But it would be awesome if some remnants remained! We're beholden to these dates because of the schedule with my fiance's daughters, so it's not really an option to change.
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Old Sep 10th, 2017, 02:57 PM
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Yes Xmas markets traditionally close on 24th or 23rd -see dates for best Xmas Markets:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/de...-and-Gluhwein/.
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