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4 nights in Zurich end of August

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2 posts
new member
Jan 31, 2016 - 6:25 PM

I am a single traveler and I am planing to stay in Zurich for 4 nights at the end of August this year. There were interesting day trips on Viator's site...

I will be arriving late afternoon on the 25th August.

26th August- Lugano and Mt Titlis, 27th August - The top of Europe, 28th August -a small group tour to Aare Gorge. I love wilderness so I hope I have chosen the right trips. I haven't booked them yet but looks that these daytrips are quite popular.

They are quite similar and I was wondering if it would be beter to swap one of them to Glacier Express. Is there a train going over Alps to Milan -my next stop after Zurich. And that doesn't take too many tunels?

Or, you advise me to fly to Milan saving time on the road.

I hope to explore Zurich on the day of arrival and each evening after the day tour there will be some time left to wonder around.

I am open to your suggestions and advices

16022 posts
expert &
Jan 31, 2016 - 6:51 PM

Welcome noir18!

Viator has a lot of good stuff but I wouldn't do these 3 day trips from Zurich. Zurich is not in the mountains and quite far from the things you want to see. Lucerne and/or Interlaken or a nearby town, would be a better base. Viator offers most tours you mentioned from Lucerne as well:

I don't know the tour that combines Lugano and Mount Titlis. If you have a link for us that would be great. Lugano is (well, can be) on the way to Milan, so why not visit it en route? I do not recommend to fly to Milan. A train trip is very scenic, eco-friendly, and I don't think you would actually save time by flying. At least, if you compare it to the quickest trains. The Wilhelm Tell Express-route makes sense in your case.

Interlaken is much closer to Jungfraujoch (top of Europe), so you could consider to stay there for a few nights as well. Then move to Lucerne and finally to Milan. The other way around is an option as well, but you won't pass by Lugano then.

The links provide more details. I hope this gets you started!

Last modified on Oct 2, 2022 - 3:56 PM by Arno
7567 posts
Feb 1, 2016 - 10:03 AM in reply to noir18

Hi Noir18 -

I've travelled a lot in Switzerland, and have never used a guided tour. I'm sure I've missed something that way.

Arno has given you some good ideas for a foundation for your trip, and you've picked places that are definitely worth visiting. Luzern is a lot more scenic itself, and has a greater range of activities for a first time tourist than does Zürich. By the way, they are only 45 minutes or so apart by train.

www.myswissalps.com/ti metable

along with a good zoomable map -


Also, you'll have a reasonably late sunset at the end of August. Sunrise at about 0640; sunset at around 2010.

I do have some thoughts about your question:

<<"They are quite similar and I was wondering if it would be better to swap one of them to Glacier Express. Is there a train going over Alps to Milan -my next stop after Zurich. And that doesn't take too many tunnels?">>

In addition to the actual destinations, train travel in Switzerland offers a lot of wonderful scenery along most of the routes. Often, the trip is nearly as interesting as the destination. The traditional trans-Alpine trains are among the most scenic - you have noted the Glacier Express which travels through and over the Alps, and can get you to Milano via a circuitous route through St. Moritz/Pontresina/Tirano/Lugano.. By the nature of railroads through the mountains, there are a lot of tunnels on any route, including many short ones on the Albula Pass section of the Glacier Express, for example.. Most are short. In contrast, the newest and fastest trans-Alpine routes use long tunnels, newly dug at lower levels than the old ones. Open for tests this coming summer, and for passenger traffic this coming December, the tunnel under the Gotthard Pass will be 57 km long, and, if I recall correctly take about an hour off of the journey to Milano. It also removes the scenery on the best portion of the current route.

Tunnels don't offer the most beautiful scenery as you surely have recognized. ;-)

One of the most scenic rail routes in Switzerland is the current route over the Gotthard Pass, beginning at the southern end of Lake Lucerne, at Flüelen, and continuing to Milano via Bellinzona and Lugano. Many people, including myself, make a special effort to ride that train, and we have been relieved to learn that the route will be kept open after the new "basis" tunnel opens.

www.google.com/search?q=gotthard+pass+rail+r oute+images&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8

Since it is easily accessible from Luzern (or Zürich) , it is definitely worthwhile, and the Wilhelm Tell Express mentioned by Arno adds the beautiful boat trip on Lake Lucerne.

I'm not sure what route you could fly into Milano. if it is to Malpensa, you have a significant train or bus ride into Milano from the airport. Linate is closer, offers many intra-Europe destinations/connections, but does not seem to offer flights to/fromSwitzerland:

www.milanolinate-airport.com/en/flights /destinations

A second trans-Alpine route, also with a boring new tunnel is now in use, while the older, higher scenic route offers magnificent scenery. It is from Spiez, near Interlaken, up and over the Lötschberg Pass via Kandersteg, and down the side wall of the Rhone Valley to Brig, thence to Italy at Domodossola and onward to Milano.

The new tunnel runs under the most scenic part of the first leg, from near Spiez to Brig.

Luckily, the scenic old route as far as Brig is served admirably with hourly service on the "Lötschberger" train.

That route is less obvious from Luzern, but if you did wish to use it from Luzern, an added first leg would be the extremely scenic Luzern-Interrlaken Express via Meiringen and the Brunig Pass to Luzern.

The point of these comments is not so much to direct you to any specific train route(Although the Gotthard Pass is worth the detour, as they say) , but rather, to alert you to the fact that the journey by train in Switzerland can be as nice as the destination.


2 posts
new member
Feb 2, 2016 - 1:27 AM in reply to Slowpoke

Hi all, thank you so much for your help.

I have realized now that i have to change some bookings (as they are with a free cancellation) very wise...

You gave me many options and thoughts about the travel on your own in general. I was a home-tied person for a longer while . My partner then didn't join me on my dream travel. It made me strong but I think that I am not strong enough to travel Alps on my own.I am 60, so sometimes could be very independant but sometimes I wish to have a "realible shoulder/ tour group" .

When been in Far East last couple years, I have done my "own bit" and then joyned my fiends of American singles I joyned two years ago ... they were such a fun...So my aim is to see a big part of Alps ( more wilderness than rural areas) and then go to Milan to join my US friends. I know there is not a lot of time...So I am thinking to reshedule my staying in Switzerland into the following:

25th arrive in Zurich about 4pm then take a train to Lucerne

stay 4nights and do the same trips as I planned to do from Zurich. May be add what's possible ...Then on the 29th to leave for Milan ... please advice what would be the best train to take from there....

Many thanks x

You have been so helpful ...

7567 posts
Feb 2, 2016 - 1:52 AM in reply to noir18

Hi Noir18

Luzern is an excellent base.

Would you like to do any walking/hiking during your stay?

<<" please advice what would be the best train to take from there....">>

There are some options for a train to Milan.

One very good way is to take a direct train that goes from Luzern to Arth Goldau to Flüelen then over the stunningly scenic Gotthard pass and on to Milano via Lugano. Easy and wonderful.

Another very scenic, but slower, way is to use a lake boat from Luzern to Flüelen at the southern end of Lake Lucerne, than catch the train to Lugano and onward to Milano Centrale.

That uses the Wilhelm Tell Express.

www.myswissalps.com/wi lhelmtellexpress

The same routing is available on "regular"boats and trains.

Using the time table will help you understand the options:

www.myswissalps.com/ti metable

On it you will see many options.

One you might consider is a departure at 0940, change at Arth Goldau (easy) and Lugano (also easy) and arrive at Milano Centrale at 1350.

There are many, many more options in the timetable. You can leave a lot later than that, i you wish.

Please come back if you have more questions.




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