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Last full day/night: Lucerne or Zurich

Looking for some advice on how to spend the last full day and night in Switzerland.

We'll be staying in Wengen at the tail end of an Italy-Switzerland trip, and our flight leaves Zurich around 1 PM. That's a longer and earlier trip than we are willing to do the day of our flight, so we're considering which closer-to-Zurich location we'd like to stay our last night in. The main options I'm considering are:

  • Travel from Wengen to Lucerne in the morning, spend afternoon/evening in Lucerne, stay overnight in Lucerne, travel to Zurich airport the following morning
  • Travel from Wengen to Lucerne in the morning, store bags at Lucerne station, spend afternoon/evening in Lucerne, travel to Zurich after dinner and stay near the airport overnight.
  • Travel directly from Wengen to Zurich in the morning, spend day in Zurich, spend night in Zurich
  • Leave bags at our Wengen hotel after checkout, spend morning/lunch in Jungfrau region, travel directly to Zurich in afternoon, dinner/spend night in Zurich

I'm open to other ideas as well. If we could magically teleport between places, we would choose to spend time in Lucerne or Jungfrau over Zurich, but not sure if the hassle of either an hour long train connection pre-international flight, or fighting with lockers and a later night train, are worth maybe 8-10 hours in Lucerne. Also, while I would love to add a night to Lucerne to make this an easier decision, we're unwilling to give up a day elsewhere and cannot extend - its either one or nothing.

While plan A is to do these transfers by train, a one day, one-way economy car rental Interlaken to Zurich Airport isn't THAT much more expensive than train tickets for 2 + luggage storage and would cut 1-1.5 hours of travel time off between the Interlaken/Lucerne and Lucerne/Zurich legs. Would you consider doing this to squeeze a little more time into the second option, or is that going to be more trouble than its worth?

Posted by
20309 posts

Travel from Wengen to Lucerne in the morning, spend afternoon/evening in Lucerne, stay overnight in Lucerne, travel to Zurich airport the following morning

That way. It is only 70 minutes by direct train to Zurich airport. You can leave Luzern at 8:35 and be at Zurich airport by 9:44, plenty of time for a 1 pm intercontinental flight.

Posted by
1838 posts

Spend the night in Lucerne. As some indicates it’s easy to get to Zurich airport and just a short ride. Two trains per hour but one involves a change in Zurich.

Posted by
4993 posts

I've stayed in Lucerne before/ after a Zurich flight several times. The train travel is easy, prompt, reliable. Travel to Lucerne and arrive before noon, drop off bags, and spend the night there. Enjoy Lucerne!

Posted by
5919 posts

Lucerne ALWAYS a good idea. I love this city. Swiss trains are so reliable, I would not be concerned at all about getting to the Zurich airport easily and on time.

Posted by
16683 posts

Luzern also has the advantage of offering several good hotels right close to the train station, making a one-night stay very easy.

Posted by
1950 posts

For a 13:00 flight I would aim to be at the airport by 11, which means leaving Wengen either at 7:12. 7:42. For me that is not to early. I often leave Wengen on the first train of the day to catch a flight. Means for me that the earliest flights I can book is about 9:30...

But spending a day and night in Luzern is a good idea. Getting from Luzern to ZRH is easier than from Manhattan to JFK...

Posted by
497 posts

I agree with all of these, lol. 1) many people love Lucerne so doing an overnight there to end your trip would be easy from Wengen. Then train to Zurich airport quite easy from Lucerne.
2). You can also train all the way from Wengen straight to Zurich airport if you want, you will need to leave early for a 13:00 flight.
3) we actually like Zurich (unlike many people) so would have no issue train from Wengen to Zurich and spend the night there. It is a very walkable city along the river/lake, Old Town is nice, good places to eat.

But if you’re trying to squeeze every last drop out of Switzerland do option 1 or 2. Don’t mess with the whole baggage storage thing—either stay in Wengen the last night and train early all the way to ZUR or stay in Lucerne the last night and train to ZUR in the morning.