Where to stay for the first time in Switzerland

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Alperry91
Alperry91
5 posts
new member
Dec 9, 2018 - 9:20 PM

Hello!

My husband and I are planning a trip to Switzerland for the first time. We will arrive in Zurich on March 28 and we will leave out of Zurich on April 3. Our interests are...

-skiing for beginners

-beautiful views

-riding on one of the panoramic trains

-staying in a base with great restaurant choices

We are not opposed to moving around and staying in different towns if that is what you suggest. What are the top attractions you suggest that would have a great view that time of year? What base should we stay at? Where should we go to ski? I have read quite a bit online about Lucerne, Interlaken, Zermatt, and a few others and am a little overwhelmed. Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions!

Sincerely,

Amber

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
5914 posts
expert
Dec 10, 2018 - 1:04 AM in reply to Alperry91

Hi Amber-

Welcome to My Swiss Alps.

At that time of year, you are at the tail end of winter in the high Alps, and skiing is a bit limited.

How serious are you about skiing? It might constrain your other options, on a trip that be would be full with your other ideas.

There is plenty to do and see.. but you are traveling at a time where you will have to be careful to check out details.

Slowpoke

Alperry91
Alperry91
5 posts
new member
Dec 10, 2018 - 1:08 AM in reply to Slowpoke

I accidentally said we were getting there on the 28th, but we will be getting there on the 27th.

I would like to ski if we have time, but it’s not something we have to do if you suggest doing something better at that time.

Preethy
Preethy
35 posts
active member
Dec 10, 2018 - 5:12 AM in reply to Alperry91

Seehotel bonigen, Interlaken is a lovely place to stay.

Arno
Arno
12546 posts
expert &
moderator
Dec 10, 2018 - 6:33 AM

Hi Amber,

As Slowpoke said, skiing will be limited so you'll have to go to a higher town to do this, like Zermatt: www.myswissalps.com/ze rmatt. Please read more about skiing here: www.myswissalps.com/ac tivities/snow.

The Lucerne area would be very nice. You won't run out of things to do there. For snow fun you could do a day trip to Mount Titlis. There are plenty of restaurants. Also plenty of mountains to visit for good views.

You can check our Lucerne page for things to do, hotel suggestions and more about the town: www.myswissalps.com/lu cerne.

Of course you could combine Lucerne with a longer scenic train ride and one other base town if you like.

Last modified on Dec 10, 2018 - 6:33 AM by Arno
Slowpoke
Slowpoke
5914 posts
expert
Dec 10, 2018 - 8:58 AM in reply to Alperry91

Hi Amber -

If you have not seen this page, you might find it helpful:

www.myswissalps.com/ac tivities/naturalsites

When I am planning a trip, I find it useful to use a map that shows the transport networks.

Many maps can do that, but my personal preference is for Mapsearch.CH.

That is because the rail lines and cableways pop into to clear view as you zoom in to zoom level 32, you can turn on icons for transport stops in the menu under points of interest/traffic, and mousing over the icons gives the exact name of the station, useful in the timetable, which lists all stations, including bus stops and seconday stations in the cities. So, it is sometime nice to know the exact name.

Here I have linked to Mapsearch.CH at Engelberg, the base town for Titlis, and zoomed in to zoom level 32, clicked on the star in the menu (Pointsof Interest) and Traffic.

map.search.ch/?pos=675208,186480&z=32 &poi=bergbahn,halteste lle,zug

The deficiency of that map, as well as Google maps, is thaty it does not show altitudes.

If you are hiking, you'll want a topographic map. Her are two:

www.schweizmobil.ch/en /wanderland/hiking-in-switzerland.html

and, the very detailed map from the Federal Land Office:

map.geo.admin.ch/?topic=swisstopo&lang=e n&bgLayer=ch.swisstopo .pixelkarte-farbe&layers=ch.swisst opo.swisstlm3d-wanderwege&zoom=5&E=26 68489.55&N=1208569.51

I have selected an area near Luzern and turned on "Hiking Trails" and they are color coded for difficulty according to this scheme:

www.alpenwild.com/stat icpage/trail-signs-in-the-swiss-alps/

This page has helpful tips for understanding the railroad, bus, cableway, boat...timetables:

www.myswissalps.com/ti metable

The direct link is :

www.sbb.ch/en/

There is a lot of information there, including station maps for main stations, luggage, shopping atthe main stations, etc.

Please note that the timetable defaults to the fastest route, so, if you want to go to from Interlaken to Brig, for example, you go through a fast and boring new "basis" tunnel, unless you put "Kandersteg" in the "via" box. That forces the computer to list the slower upper scenic route.

Once you have a map in front of you, this link is useful:

www.myswissalps.com/ac tivities/scenictrips/t rain

You an take any of the scenic trains that are running, since you have about 8 days.

The ones based in Luzern are the Gotthard Panoramic Express to Lugano ( or Locarno if you change at Belleinzona) and the Golden Pass routes which got to Montreux via the Brunig Pass, Meringen, Interlaken, Spiez, Zweisimmen, with changes at Interlaken and Zweisimmen...at least until they get a single gauge for all the tracks along the route. Or, maybe train cars with changeable gauge, which I think is the current plan.

Here are specific links which you will find on the scenic trains page linked above, also:

www.myswissalps.com/go ldenpass

www.myswissalps.com/go tthardpanoramaexpress

You can do parts of those routes, and cover the same tracks on "regular" trains, which don't have the panoramic windows and can have more train changes. That is not a major issue; the stations along those routes are generally small and easy to navigate.

At Luzern, a lake boat ride is worthwhile.

This link gives detailed schedules, which are seasonal:

www.lakelucerne.ch/en/ timetable-fares/timetable/

This link is about a hike near the southern end of Lake Lucerne. Whether yuo do such a hike or not, the thread has some photographs of the part of the lake, callled der Urnersee ( Lake Uri, for Canton Uri) in German:

www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/the-swiss-path-and-southern-lake-lucerne

I particularly like the boat ride on that portion of the lake, but, if you have the time, you can catch a boat at Flüelen at the southern tip of the lake (get there by train) and ride all the way north to Luzern. (Or, vice versa). There is restaurant on most of those boats. That ride is one part of the Gotthard Panorama Express.

Slowpoke

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
5914 posts
expert
Dec 10, 2018 - 9:15 AM in reply to Alperry91

<<"-staying in a base with great restaurant choices">>

Luzern has a wide range. There a some at the high end, as well as all other kinds of restaurants.At the high end, you will find excellent food at the Palace Hotel if they have finished their renovations. A restaurant that I go to every trip, and did before they moved from a small village ( Dallenweil) to Luzern, Is "Bam Bou by Thomas" in "The Hotel" 5 minutes from the main station.

www.bamboubythomas.ch/ en/

The funny name is because the restaurant used to have an oriental theme.

Ralf and Corinna Thomas do a spectacular job. He is an outstanding cook.

A good choice for a range of price points and good quality is:

www.rathausbrauerei.ch /en/

(Rathaus" means "council hose" or town hall.)

Nearby, under the arcades, the Restaurant Schiff has reopened, and also has very good food.

Those two are on the river, and, on a clear day at a dawn, you might get a view very similar to the one attached. Except, you'll be at river level; that one was taken from a 4th floor viewpoint.)

Ther are plenty of other places; those happen to be ones that I have come to rely on.

Zürich has a tremendous range of restaurants. As you'd expect, in a town full of bankers and rich expats, there are some Michelin stars.

Many of the resort towns in the Alps also have outstanding restaurants. Quite a few of the skiers have money to spare, but you can get good food at all price points in towns like Wengen.

Slowpoke

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Alperry91
Alperry91
5 posts
new member
Dec 10, 2018 - 9:37 PM

This is all really good information. Thank you so much for taking the time to respond!

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
5914 posts
expert
Dec 10, 2018 - 11:16 PM in reply to Alperry91

Hi Amber-

You are more than welcome. You can't go wrong with Luzern as a base town. Normally we might suggest a second town near the Jungfrau, but that is far from the best time to visit. It is still late Winter up there, but he snow is not so good for skiing, and the ski season is really past in that area. So, a lot of facilities are shutdown.

You might look at Montreux, where Spring will have begun ( a sunny site) an d at the end of the Golden Pass route. Good train service to and from Zermatt from there, too.

www.myswissalps.com/mo ntreux

Slowpoke

Alperry91
Alperry91
5 posts
new member
Dec 11, 2018 - 2:25 AM

That's a great recommendation! I was looking at hotels in the Luzern area and was just thinking if we should stay in another town for half of the week while we are there. Could we take the Golden Pass route from Zurich when we get there to Montreux and then for the second half of the week take a train to Luzern? What activities do you suggest for Montreux?

Thanks again!

Arno
Arno
12546 posts
expert &
moderator
Dec 11, 2018 - 7:03 AM in reply to Alperry91

Hi Amber,

The Golden Pass route connects Montreux to Luzern: www.myswissalps.com/go ldenpass. Luzern is closer to Zurich so it might be sense to stay there second as it's easy to reach the airport from there.

For things to do and hotels suggestion for Montreux, please see Slowpoke's link. For Lucerne, please see the link I gave earlier.

Last modified on Dec 11, 2018 - 7:04 AM by Arno
Alperry91
Alperry91
5 posts
new member
Dec 11, 2018 - 8:58 PM

Thank you!!

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
5914 posts
expert
Dec 11, 2018 - 9:25 PM in reply to Alperry91

The link that I provided before gives a lot of details about the Golden Pass route.

Slowpoke

hansaria
hansaria
110 posts
active member
Dec 15, 2018 - 1:56 PM

Arno and Slowpoke Sir comprehensively covered many details with regard to the visit, we too recently back with 3 european countries visit including Switzerland and with regard to hotel stay, i always found Accor group hotels as very good and economical stay and also many of their locations are near to station etc and at Luzern and at Zurich they having different category good hotels also....so Accor group website and also Trip advisor site can be checked for the stay....and for this much days, its always advised to have two stay base.....thanks and regards

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