We live in the US and recently returned from a short, 4 night, trip to Switzerland. Thanks to all of the detailed information on this site, we had a wonderful time! We arrived in Zurich by train from Milan. We were only asked for our tickets on the train, not our CDC cards or locator forms. We were rewarded for all of our pre-trip COVID worries by NO crowds anywhere throughout our time in Switzerland.
When we arrived in Zurich, we took a taxi from the central station to our hotel because we had heavy suitcases, we are in our 60’s, and my husband needs a knee replacement;) It was around $30. Normally, we would have taken the train one stop to the Stadelhofen station and then walked the three minutes to the hotel.
We stayed at the Hotel Europe which is right by the Opera House and Lake Zurich, and a short walk to Old Town and the Bahnhofstrasse. This was a wonderful location. The hotel was perfect! It is a gorgeous old building with many antiques. Our room was spotlessly clean. We had a very spacious, quiet, junior suite with comfortable beds and a nice seating area. We also had a Juliette balcony with a side view of the lake. There was an empty mini fridge that we filled with beer and snacks. The hotel provides a self serve area with ice and filtered water which we really appreciated. Housekeeping fills the two provided reusable glass water bottles every day and we were able to refill them ourselves whenever we needed more water. My husband had a sore knee so we were also able to use the ice machine and our own Ziploc bags to make ice packs every evening. The hotel asked to see our vaccine cards so we could eat in the dining room. Make sure you book directly with the hotel so you get free breakfast every morning. All of the bread and bakery products were freshly made and delicious. Excellent tea and coffee as well. We also requested a tea kettle for our room since we always travel with our own teabags. Every single staff member we interacted with was kind and helpful and seemed to enjoy working at this hotel!
Our first day in Zurich we settled into our hotel, walked along the lake, and rode the trams. Buy a 24 hour tram pass if you are going to take more than 2 trips that day for a better value. This way you can hop on and off anywhere.
Sixty days prior to our trip we had purchased saver day passes for 2 days of our trip that were each $52CHF. This is how we used them:
Saver Day Pass 1 – walk to Stadelhofen Station. Take train to Zurich HB (central station). Take train to Lucerne. Take train to Engelberg. Take shuttle to Titlis base. Our saver day passes covered everything up until this point. We then purchased tickets for the mountain top ($96). This covered 2 cable cars (we had both to ourselves, listen for the cowbells if cows are grazing below), then the rotair (large rotating cable car) to the top, Titlis Cliff Walk (suspension bridge at 10,000 feet elevation), and glacier cave. This was an amazing experience! It was cloudy and rainy and it was still gorgeous! Do the self serve photo from the bridge and then purchase in the gift shop for $14. After descending from the mountain top, we walked around the charming village of Engelberg and visited the Kloster Engelberg, a beautiful Benedictine Monastery and cheese factory. We then returned to our hotel the same way we came.
Saver Day Pass 2 – walk to Stadelhofen. Take train to Zurich HB (central station). Take train to Lucerne, then boat (dock is across from the train station) to Vitznau. Take cogwheel train up to Rigi Kulm, then take same train back down to Rigi Kaltbad. Don’t take train on the other tracks from Rigi Kulm because it goes in a different direction. At Rigi Kaltbad, follow signs the for aerial tram and ride to the bottom. Have your camera ready for the stunning views! There is a short downhill walk (including stairs) through Weggis to the boat dock. Then we caught the boat back to Lucerne and walked over the chapel bridge before exploring old town. We then took the train from Lucerne back to Zurich HB and then a local train to Stadelhofen. EVERY SINGLE TYPE OF TRANSPORTATION ON THIS DAY was covered by our $52 Saver Day Passes. What an incredible deal that we learned about on this site!
The next day, which was our last, we explored old town and rode the trams and wandered around. The Globus near the Opera House has all sorts of food and drink stations with a gourmet grocery store downstairs. We also had a delicious dinner at Rosaly’s for our last night in Zurich.
-Google maps lists all of the train numbers, platforms, times, and boat schedules. This was invaluable to us!
-at the central station, head down the platform towards the other end of the train. Remember the train pulls out in the opposite direction from the way it pulls into the station.
-all trains except local and cogwheel have restrooms on board.
-the boat to Vitznau has restrooms on board.
-make sure you get in the train cars and boat section labeled 2 unless you have first class tickets (which really aren’t necessary, second class was very nice)
-if train doors are closed, push the button with a green light to open doors.
-Migros, Coop, and Globus have a great selection of food that you can take back to your room or have a picnic outdoors. My understanding is that Zurich does not have open container laws so you can have a beer or glass of wine outdoors with your picnic.
We packed a lot into our 4 days and we were surprised at how we were able to save money by planning ahead! Myswissalps.com is an amazing resource. We never would have had the trip we did if it wasn’t for the people who run this site! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your dedication and diligence, especially during COVID.