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10 days summer: Zurich + which other base town?


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MikeN
MikeN
4 posts
new member
Sep 3, 2021 - 1:51 AM

Hi

How are you?

Our family of 5 thinking to go to Switzerland next summer for 10-11 days. I need help planning the Itinerary please.

We are flying into Zurich...5 night there, but after not sure what to do...

Friday to relax and get adjusted

Saturday low key to see local guide in old town/the lake/and shopping street

Sunday day trip to Rhine Falls/boat rides

Monday day trip to Caves in Baar & Lindt Chocolate in Kilchberg

Tuesday and following days ????

We would like to do

- Funicular, - Stay in mountain area few night, ? if recommend Zermatt/Matterhorn if easy to get there and not long trains

- What other areas to go??? ( we already been to Geneva and Interlacken area before.

I really appreciate your help - Mike

Anna
Anna
1553 posts
top member &
moderator
Sep 3, 2021 - 6:24 AM in reply to MikeN

Hi Mike,

Welcome to MySwissAlps.

In Zurich, you can take the funicular up to the local mountain Uetliberg. At the top there are hiking trails, a restaurant and observation deck overlooking the city. See details here: www.myswissalps.com/hiking/uetliberg-felsenegg

You can also go on boat rides on Lake Zurich: www.myswissalps.com/boatlakezurich

More sightseeing and activity options during your stay in Zurich here: www.myswissalps.com/zurich/activities

The excellent transportation system makes it possible to plan day trips to various destinations such as Lucerne and Bern for example. Day trip to Zermatt is also possible but I would recommend spending a night or two so you have more time to explore a different region.

For ideas on how to plan your itinerary, have a look at this quick guide: www.myswissalps.com/plantrip

You can find some sample itineraries here: www.myswissalps.com/plantrip/doityourself/sampleitineraries

Hope this gets you started.

Regards,

Anna

MikeN
MikeN
4 posts
new member
Sep 3, 2021 - 3:14 PM in reply to Anna

Thanks Anna

we are planning to stay only 4-5 days in Zurich and move on.

I was just trying to think where would be another 1or 2 location to stay and can do things in Mountain area or other suggestions.

Lastlook
Lastlook
16 posts
new member
Sep 3, 2021 - 4:15 PM

Mike,

Since Zermatt would be a fairly long (about 4 hour) train ride from Zurich, you'd probably want to stay there at least two nights and I think three nights would be even better. Then it is more likely that you'd have at least one really clear day with beautiful views of the Matterhorn. There's lots to do there away from the downtown pedestrian area (bahnhofstrasse) such as the Gornergrat mountain train and Klein Matterhorn/Glacier Paradise at the opposite end of town. Plenty of options for hiking ranging from easy walks to more challenging hikes.

If you'd rather not spend that much time on the train, I think the Bernese Oberland region would be a great place to visit. Although you've been to Interlaken, there's much more to see in that area if you haven't already been to Murren, Wengen, Grindelwald, etc. There's the Schilthorn and the Jungfraujoch mountain excursions or you could take the lift up to First for some nice walks there, or Mannlichen. Lots of options.

Lucerne/Luzern is also a lovely option with many mountain excursions in that area. Rigi, Pilatus, and more.

I typically go for two weeks and buy the 15 day Swiss Travel Pass, since it covers so much of the transportation (trains, bus, boats) and for the ease of use. It also covers the majority of museums if that is of any interest. If you go to Zermatt, their underground museum is interesting and doesn't take a lot of time to visit.

Gail

MikeN
MikeN
4 posts
new member
Sep 3, 2021 - 5:11 PM in reply to Lastlook

Thanks Gail

Do you recommend 5 days in Zurich

then go to Luzern or Zermatt 3 days in each

which one first? Are there direct trains?

then come back to Zurich for a night before fly back

is there time for Italian area of Switzerland? Long train ? Fits into 10-11 trip? How to organize if yes?

Anna
Anna
1553 posts
top member &
moderator
Sep 3, 2021 - 5:45 PM in reply to MikeN

Hi Mike,

I think 5 days in Zurich and 3 days in Zermatt sounds like a good itinerary. Lucerne is close enough to Zurich (about 45 mins) that it's possible to do a day trip. Unless you plan to explore the region around Central Switzerland, then maybe spending a few days in Lucerne would be ideal. Like Gail mentioned in her post, there are plenty of mountain excursions in this region such as Titlis, Pilatus and Rigi.

Alternatively, you might like to spend a few days in Ticino which is the Italian part of Switzerland. With the fast train, you can now reach Lugano from Zurich in less than 2 hours. Here's a sample of a one day sightseeing tour of Ticino to give you some ideas: www.myswissalps.com/onedayticino

You can use the SBB timetable to plan your journeys.

Click on the links for more information about each destination.

Regards,

Anna

Last modified on Sep 3, 2021 - 5:52 PM by Anna
Swede4life
Swede4life
55 posts
active member
Sep 3, 2021 - 8:33 PM in reply to MikeN

Hi Mike, my wife and I are also going to Switzerland in the Summer 2022 for two weeks. We have learned so much from this forum by simply signing up to be informed and by also putting our question in the search button.

As a result, we are going by train everywhere with a 15 day Swiss Travel Pass (STP) in this order: Zurich (arrival only)-Appenzell (3 days)-Lucerne (1 day)-Zermatt (4 days)-Wengen (3 days)-Murren (3 days)-Zurich (fly out). Agreed with many of Gail's recommendations. So much to see around Interlaken.

I think it depends upon your priorities. We chose not to visit Zurich because it is very expensive. Also scenery and hiking was a high priority with Zermatt at the top. Appenzell is a beautiful little town and a couple good hikes there (Got this tip from Rick Steves). :-)

I have also learned to get your itinerary set and book your lodging as soon as possible with free cancellation and free wifi/breakfast. Many believe Switzerland will explode in the Summer 2022. I have already experienced some popular smaller hotels sold out with the larger rooms in July 2022. Suspect returning customers frozen by covid.

Good luck on your trip. Vr Larry

Lastlook
Lastlook
16 posts
new member
Sep 4, 2021 - 1:27 AM in reply to MikeN

Hi Mike,

Personally, I would not spend 5 days in Zurich, since I prefer alpine scenery. Of course, this is your trip so it all depends on your family's interests (and ages.) I also wonder what part of summer you're considering? That would influence my answer as well.

If your maximum time is 10-11 days, I would go directly to Luzern for 2-3 nights (it's about an hour train ride from ZRH) and that would give you/your family a chance to get over jet lag and enjoy the lake and perhaps venture up Mt. Rigi and/or Mt. Pilatus. If you don't have any interest in the Bernese Oberland this trip, I would then go straight to Zermatt for 3-4 nights, then Lugano for 2 nights and spend your last few nights in Zurich.

I'm fond of the small village of Morcote on Lake Lugano. You can get there by boat (or Post Bus) from Lugano, have lunch lakeside and then stop at Paradiso to take the funicular up Monte San Salvatore, before returning to Lugano. Gandria is another lovely boat stop on Lake Lugano.

Great advice here from Anna and others. I agree with the last post regarding things booking up quickly for 2022. I have already booked all of my hotels for my Swiss itinerary next year (late June/early July time frame.)

Gail

Shroffchetan
Shroffchetan
179 posts
active member
Sep 4, 2021 - 6:30 AM in reply to Lastlook

I visited Switzerland in May 2017 for 9 days. I wrote trip report and given sample itinerary also. Pl see if this is useful

www.myswissalps.com/forum/topic/trip-report-switzerland-may-2017

Lastlook
Lastlook
16 posts
new member
Sep 4, 2021 - 10:59 AM in reply to Shroffchetan

I enjoyed your trip report and great photos. You were able to cover an amazing amount of territory and excursions in 9 days. What a wonderful trip it must have been for you to share with 3 generations of your family. Thank you for sharing it here as well.

Shroffchetan
Shroffchetan
179 posts
active member
Sep 4, 2021 - 12:53 PM

Indeed it was amazing trip and this trip was for my parents and their wedding anniversary in Switzerland

I can not explain how happy they were after their visit

MikeN
MikeN
4 posts
new member
Sep 5, 2021 - 7:37 PM

I appreciate everyone feedback. I have reviewed everyone notes and have checked train schedule but getting more confused. Our goal is not to stay in more than 3 places and second goal is train rides that don’t have more than one transfers. I feel 4 transfers is daunting with kids and suitcases.

I thought fly to Zurich and stay there Friday to Tuesday and do day trips and see Luzern as a day trip also.

Then I saw a train taking us to Zarmatt with one transfer that was fine. Plan to stay there Tuesday- Friday. 3 nights.

Here is where I am confused. Our flight back from Zurich is not till Wednesday morning and wanted to get there the day before. So we have Friday-Tuesday to stay somewhere else. To get to Lugano is 6 hours with four transfers. Too much. What would be another good place to stay so easy to get there and easy to get back to Zurich??? I am also willing change number of days in each place.

so after many research and train schedules, I have not find one:(

Lastlook
Lastlook
16 posts
new member
Sep 5, 2021 - 11:53 PM in reply to MikeN

If you want to do three locations, you could take a direct train from ZRH to Luzern, base yourself there for several nights and do day trips there, then continue on to Zermatt for 3-4 nights, and then return to Zurich at the end of your trip which would put you close to the airport but also close to good train connections for day trips around Zurich (Schaffhausen/Rhine Falls or Appenzell area.) I think there's enough to do in Luzern to justify spending time there and not just doing a day trip from Zurich. There are trains from the Zurich airport to Luzern without any changes (and some with 1 change.) It would be a relaxing one hour train ride from the airport to Luzern. Lots of nice boat trips there that connect to mountain trains and hiking paths.

Shroffchetan
Shroffchetan
179 posts
active member
Sep 6, 2021 - 5:33 AM

As suggested by Lastlook cover Zermatt first and then come towards Zurich

Frankly personally I prefer Lucerne as a base than Zurich. Swiss small towns are more charming and scenic. Also if you are not catching up early morning flight, Lucerne to Zurich Airport is not more than hour

Changing trains is not a tough task in Switzerland mostly you change to opposite platform and barring Zurich train stations are not big and there is sufficient time to change. I travelled without reservation so board any coach (keep in mind 1st and 2nd class)

We have not done hiking and did not stay in Zermatt. But as a thumb rule I would suggest there are 4 ideal base towns - Lucerne, Interlaken, Lugano and Montreux. From these places virtually anything can be covered in Switzerland

Anna
Anna
1553 posts
top member &
moderator
Sep 6, 2021 - 7:09 AM in reply to MikeN

Hi MikeN,

I agree with the above suggestions. Perhaps it might a good idea to plan your trip in reverse with Zurich being your last base so you can be close to the airport and relax on your last few days in Switzerland before catching your flight back.

Based on the info you gave, I think Bern would be a good base to start your trip. There is a direct train to Bern from Zurich Airport ( takes about 1 hr). Lots of things to do in and around Bern and it's the ideal base to explore the Bernese Oberland region.

From Bern, you can do day trips to Montreux and Lausanne (in the French-speaking part - journeys take about 1 hr by direct train or requiring just 1 change). From Bern it's also easy to get to Zermatt (if you take the fastest connection, you only need to switch train once).

So my suggestion would be Bern, Zermatt and Zurich as the three base towns for your trip. And do day trips to Lucerne and the French-speaking part if you have time.

Hope this gives you more options and ideas for your trip.

Regards,

Anna

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