As per my first post on MySwissAlps, I am holidaying in Switzerland for 3+ weeks and thought it would be timely to share a trip report on my first 6 days in this wonderful country.
Friday 22nd, June - Flew in from Sydney Australia via Singapore, as our flight arrived at 8.15am we elected to pre-book a tour of Zurich and Rapperswil via bus at 11.00am to try and stave off jet-lag. After arriving at our hotel (Hotel Wellenberg in Zurich old town), we walked to the bus station located behind Zurich main train station (about 15/20 minutes from the hotel) boarded the bus and commenced the tour - www.zuerich.com/en/vis it/tours-excursions/cityrama , it was a pretty good way to see the sights after a 21 hour flight and the highlight was the 2 hour boat ride back from Rapperswil to Zurich taking in some beautiful scenery on a warm Friday afternoon. We arrived back at the hotel around 3.30pm and headed out later in the evening to a lovely Italian restaurant - Cicchetteria da Rosa, about 200 metres from the hotel enjoying some friendly banter with the staff whilst watching the World Cup Soccer, helping to cheer the Swiss to victory against Serbia.
Saturday, 23rd June - After a good nights sleep, we headed to Zurich main train station around 9.30am to organise our Swiss Travel Pass Flex for 15 days, the SBB office was quite busy but it didn't take long to organise the pass and then catch the 10am train to Lucerne. After walking around Lucerne for 2 hours taking in some of the sights including the Dying Lion Monument, Chapel Bridge and the Lake Front Promenade, we headed to our "home" for 6 days, the Vitznauerhof hotel in Vitznau (less than an hour from Lucerne). We spent the afternoon at the hotel at the lakefront lounge (as it was quite warm), had a relaxing meal outdoors at the hotel restaurant and retired around 11pm.
Sunday, 24th June - We woke up to cloudy/overcast skies so our planned trip to Pilatus was deferred in hopes of better weather later in the week so we decided to have a walk around Vitznau and later in the afternoon caught the boat to Lucerne were we had drinks at the Penthouse Roof Bar in the Astoria Hotel followed by dinner at La Cucina (at the same hotel), the food was amazing as was the restaurant itself, I would highly recommend the ravioli with asparagus and ricotta, we had reserved a table and judging by how busy the restaurant was, I would suggest that reservations are a must. After dinner we caught a train and bus back to the hotel (as boats do not operate past 7pm), as with the swiss transport system, very easy to navigate our way around and arrived back at the hotel around 10pm for a well earned rest.
Monday, 25th June - The weather was still overcast so the trip to Pilatus was postponed again, so we decided to have a lazy day of relaxing at the hotel. We had a dinner reservation at Prisma Restaurant at the Vitznau Park Hotel www.parkhotel-vitznau.ch/en/wine-dine/restaurant-prisma, about 15 minutes walk from where we were staying , we opted for the degustation menu www.parkhotel-vitznau.ch/public/asse ts/media/prisma-menu-ab-23-juni-2018-englisch-1.pdf, however my friend and I agreed that though the food was good it was not great and for the cost of the 6 courses we would not do it again (personal opinion of course - everyone's taste is different afterall).
Tuesday, 26th June - Cloudless skies so finally we made our way to Pilatus. We opted for the Golden Round Trip but chose to do the trip in the reverse order i.e. bus from Lucerne to Kriens, gondola to Fräkmüntegg, where we stopped for about 30 minutes to take in the scenery, then took the cable car to Pilatus and finally the cogwheel train back down the mountain where we walked to the boat terminal and caught the boat from Alpnachstad back to Lucerne, including the boat trips to and from Lucerne back to Vitznau it was a relatively long day (8 hours) but well worth it for the breathtaking views across the Lucerne, the lake and beyond.
After a fellow guest provided us with a recommendation for dinner, we headed to the Hotel Rigi, across the road from our hotel for a traditional swiss meal, big portions but (by swiss standards) well priced, definitely worth a visit if you are in the area.
Wednesday, 27th June - The weather prediction was similar than the day before so we decided to head to Mt Rigi, so we walked to Vitznau station (about 5 minutes walk from our hotel) and boarded the cog wheel train heading up the mountain. Unfortunately as we climbed the mountain the clouds closed in and by the time we reached Rigi Kulm (around midday), the cloudy skies made it impossible to take in the views so we opted to head down to Rigi Kaltbad where the weather was much nicer and took a horse and carriage ride out to Kanzeli where there is a viewing platform with wonderful views of the lake and then out to Rigi Wölfertschen-First and back to Rigi Kaltbad, the ride took about our hour in total and was well worth the 80chf though we did get some stares from hikers given most visitors tend to walk the trails not opt for a horse and carriage but we wanted something different to do and plenty of time for hiking at other stages of the trip. We then headed by cable car down to Weggis (about 10 minutes) and walked to the centre of town opting for lunch at the Seehof du lac hotel were we enjoyed a leisurely and lovely 2 hour meal (kudos to our waiter Zoltan who made our lunch entertaining with his great sense of humour), we then boarded a boat to Lucerne and took a 5pm tour of the sights of Lucerne via mini train (starting from the Schweizerhof Hotel), cost - 12 chf which included an audio guide, this was informative and complementary to the walk we did when we first visited Lucerne on Saturday. After the tour we headed to the Renaissance Hotel Blue Lounge for a drink and then to Pacifico (Mexican Restaurant) for dinner - meal sizes were big and given that we had already had lunch it probably wasn't the best option. Though the food was nice it was quite noisy/loud music and filled with younger diners so given our age bracket (50+), it would not be a place we would eat at again, we then headed back to hotel via train/bus and caught the tail end of the Switzerland vs Costa Rica match before retiring to bed.
Thursday, 28th June - Beautiful sunny day but as we are heading out to our next destination on Friday, we decided to potter around the hotel and have a rest. Dinner will be at the hotel's gourmet restaurant Sens, so I will add to this post when I get time early next week.
So far it has been a fantastic 6 days, we have checked everything we wanted to see/do off our list, heading tomorrow to Vevey (near Montreux) for 5 days for the Montreux Jazz Festival but stopping off for a couple of hours at the Rosengart Museum in Lucerne to check out the collection of modernist and impressionist art so hopefully another highlight to add to the trip.
Tip: As we are covering 4 locations in 3 weeks, we have opted to use the door to door luggage service provided by SBB - www.sbb.ch/en/station-services/services/lugg age/luggage/door-to-door.html definitely worth the cost of not having to carry luggage off and on trains/boats/buses etc. I have used the service previously when holidaying in Switzerland and if you want a hassle free holiday, I would highly recommend.