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Transportation from Basel to Lucerne or Zurich and a Lucerne hotel suggestion

Our river cruise will dock in Basel and we would like to travel from there to Lucerne and from Lucerne to the Zurich airport. I know we can take the efficient trains but we will have significant luggage that may present a problem for us to get on and off the train. We are not disabled but are also not young any more. Does anyone know of a reliable company providing a car and driver that we could use? I realize it may be pricey but there will be four of us to split the cost.

We'd also like recommendations for a hotel in Lucerne that is within walking distance of the main area by the lake.
Thanks for the help.

Posted by
4869 posts

Judy, when we did our river cruise, their procedure was to ask anyone who needed help arranging post-cruise transportation to let them know ahead of time. We were going to Luzern as well, as were many other people. The ship had pre-ordered taxis for every party that need one and they were all waiting for us with our name and destination at disembarkation time. We wanted to take the train so the cab took us to the SBB station where we bought tickets. However, the driver also offered to drive our party of four all the way to Luzern for a fixed price about the same price as the train fare for four of us. So I think you don't really need to pre-book your onward transportation, it easily done at the time. Just note how much luggage you have as to the size of vehicle you'll need.

We stayed at the Hotel des Alpes that is frequently mentioned here on this forum. Its right across the bridge from the front of the rail station in Luzern. As is the shoreline of the lake and the excursion boats. And at the corner, you can catch the number one bus to the Lion Monument.

Posted by
72 posts

Thanks for the information. I wondered if you booked your taxi while you were on the cruise or before you arrived in Europe? We'd kind of like to have the onward transportation booked before we leave home if possible just to have it all settled. Also I'm wondering if all or most taxi drivers would offer the trip to Lucerne or you just have to hit the right one. I realize you probably don't know that answer but thought I'd ask. Thanks again.

Posted by
4869 posts

Judy, we didn't worry about booking a taxi ahead of time because we assumed there would be some available. On our Viking cruise, a day or so before the end, they asked everyone who needed onward transport to fill out a card with name, number of people, and destination. I'll bet that you could indicate Luzern as your destination and they would call a taxi that would in fact take you there - but cost?? In any case, ask them at the service desk on the ship. They'll know.

They booked the taxis for everyone - there must have been 20 taxis lined up at the dock. Of course Viking had their own excursion group headed to Luzern by bus. Since there are multiple dock locations they could be using, I don't think you would know where to meet a taxi before then.

Hope this helps. I understand your desire to have it settled before your trip. If you can find a car service that will book this far in advance, I'll bet it will be expensive as is everything in Switzerland. I think our taxi to the SBB train station across town was about 40CHF, and the train tickets to Luzern were about 35CHF per person. We'd been to Switzerland before so felt comfortable with the trains and knew that we could get taxis if needed with a phone call. Note that hotels in Luzern can get you a visitor's card that allows you to use local tram/buses for free during your stay.

Posted by
8889 posts

To add to Stan's comment: "Since there are multiple dock locations they could be using,". Yes there are three different places in Basel cruise boats dock at St Johann, Klybeck and Dreiländerecke. The cruise business has expanded so much they have had to add capacity.
I have been told sometimes the boats don't know where they will dock until a few days or hours before they dock.

Whenever a boat docks there are always taxis waiting. The drivers know there is good business to be had from over-luggaged cruisers who are not familiar with the city trams and trains.
As a local the last time took a taxi was coming out of hospital on crutches. I would never take at taxi to Luzern, it would cost "telephone numbers", the trains are just too good. I would also never travel with more luggage than I could carry.

Posted by
72 posts

We'll rethink traveling by train. It's not that we can't handle our luggage, we just wanted to not have to if possible. We've taken trains in Europe before and are a big fan of European trains. I sort of roughly calculated that the cost of a taxi to and from the train stations and the cost of the train tickets for four people might justify a $200-300 car and driver charge but it doesn't sound like that is so.

Thanks for the help.

Posted by
672 posts

Another vote for the Hotel Des Alpes- ask for a lakefront room with a balcony. We loved the hotel, and it has an elevator. Breakfast is on the ground floor, and you may choose to eat outdoors on the lake, if you prefer.
Safe travels!

Posted by
1653 posts

Well, if you can find a driver for $250 then yes it is worth it, but I doubt that you can, I reckon the going rate would be at least twice that in Switzerland. Anything that involves service is very expensive.