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4 nights in Zurich??

We have an opportunity to go on a Rhine River Christmas Market cruise in December 2020. The cost of the 12-day cruise includes 4 nights at a hotel in Zurich and 8 days on the river. I have read many of the posts that do not recommend Zurich as a place to visit. Would a four-night stay in Zurich be worth the extra costs it incurs? We have never been to Europe before, so we are rookies looking for some experienced advice. Thanks!

Posted by
246 posts

Zurich has some worthwhile sites to visit, but it is expensive compared to some other cities in Switzerland that appeal more to most visitors and tourists. Whether it’s worth it to add four days there depends partly on your interests and what your other options are with the cruise package.

Are you arranging your own flight or is the flight (with fixed dates) part to the cruise package?

A major expense is flying to Europe, so spending extra days there reduces the cost of the flight per day spent in Europe.

From Zurich you are an hour to two hours by train from some of the more interesting places to visit such as Bern, Thun, or Lucerne. You could spend a day touring Zurich and do day trips to other areas if the additional 4 days/nights in Zurich seem like a good price when added to the rest of the tour package.

However, if you have some flexibility and can arrive 4 or more days before the river cruise departs and then book your own hotels, you might find it cheaper and more interesting to do that.

If so, then after arriving at the Zurich airport, you could catch a train to Bern, Thun, or Lucerne and spend several days touring and doing day trips from there. You could even take a train to Lauterbrunnen to enjoy the Alps close up. Then you could return to Zurich the night before your river cruise begins.

When I do a tour, I like to arrive a day or two before it begins so I have more time to recover from jet lag, and so I can explore a bit on my own.

All the best,


Posted by
791 posts

Does the cruise not include planned actvities? Generally river cruises that include a hotel stay of more than a night have at least some planned excursions.

Re Zurich, we are ending a land tour of Switzerland later this year and planning 3-4 nights in Zurich. Didn't have any problem finding things to do though at least one day will be a train trip North to the Rhine Falls area. Lucerne is definitely worth a day trip to. Our tour ends there and we've been once before. Lovely walkable city.

Posted by
7205 posts

You say the cruise package includes a 4 night stay in Zurich and then you ask if 4 nights is worth the extra cost? So is it included or is it not? If it's not included then you should still arrive earlier than your departure date and visit places on your own (other than Zurich).

But a hotel is only as good as its location, location, location. There are areas of Zurich (airport) that I would most definitely not want to have to spend 4 days. On the other hand, a hotel in the downtown near the main train station would be MUCH more desirable.