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Luzern vs Appenzell for one night & possible 2-thoughts and advice appreciated!

We will arrive in Zurich about 9:30 am. I originally planned on spending the first night in Luzern, before heading down to Murren for 4 nights then to either Montreux or lausanne for the final 2 nights before heading up to Basel to catch a river cruise.

I'm wondering if be better to to spend the first day and half in Appenzell. The town and surounding area seem like more our style. I know that Luzern is a beautiful city, but.. I'd think we'd rather experience the country side of Switzerland more than the city. We will will be traveling on a Swiss Rail Pass.

Please give me your thoughts.

Posted by
1056 posts

I prefer Appenzell. There are hikes around in the mountains and the people are lovely. Lucerne is beautiful but sterile.

Posted by
28 posts

Appenzell is a cute little town and our family enjoyed it. The best hiking is right outside of town in the Alpstein area (check out This being said, Appenzell is 2 hours in the other direction from Murren. Luzern is on the way to Murren. You might try Engelberg which is just south of Luzern and more of a small town. Enjoy your trip. Our family LOVED our time in Switzerland last summer.

Posted by
271 posts

Appenzell 2 days Muerren 3. My $0.02

I like Muerren but I like Appenzell more. I was in Appenzell a week or two ago and will be back August 3. I went to Muerren last year. Maybe I haven't had that 'Muerren moment' yet. In Nendaz now for the Alpenhorn festival. :)

Personally I would do Appenzell and Luzern. Opposite directions from Zuerich, I know, but we always rent a car and usually stick a day in anytime the drive is over about 2 hours.

Luzern is our homebase/basecamp, so I love it too. And there is a Gluten Free Italian restaurant there, too.

Posted by
32266 posts


Both places are beautiful and well worth a visit but if Appenzell is more "your style", that's certainly a consideration. As Lucerne is larger, there are not only more restaurants and hotels, but also more sightseeing attractions - trips to Rigi or Pilatus, cruises on the lake, the Museum of Transport or just enjoying a relaxing time in the city. Appenzell is much smaller, so not as much to do in the evenings, but there are some nice restaurants and also good hiking opportunities. While there you could take a trip up to the Berggasthaus Aescher.

As you've probably noted, travel from Zürich airport to Appenzell is about 1H:40M, with one change (it's not much shorter to Lucerne). Either one would be an easy trip even after a long international flight. The Zürich airport is very efficient and there's a rail station right at the airport.

Posted by
502 posts

Appenzell!! Luzern was nice, been three times with different people, but I didn't really fall in love.

Apenzell? Completely! You'll love it.