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ZRH to Chur For a Couple Days?

Early plans for next April, we will be flying into Zurich on Swiss Air--7 hrs, 15 min nonstop from Boston, can't beat it. Wanted to stay somewhere relatively close to Zurich (if not Zurich itself) for a couple days, to get over jet lag and prepare for the rest of our journey to Varenna & Florence, finishing with a week in Rome, all by train.

We've done Lucerne for a couple days a decade ago n March and loved it. Thinking that Chur might work this time because A) it's where the Bernina Express emanates from, and B) it should be fun to see as 'the oldest village in Switzerland'. I imagine we could find something to do for a couple days?

Experiences getting to Chur from ZRH? Looks to be pretty straightforward--airport station to Zurich train station, transfer for the hour plus ride to Chur. Looking at the Hotel ABC which appears to be steps from the station.

Thanks in advance!

Posted by
6952 posts

Chur is nice for a few hours, maybe a day, but Samedan or Pontresina are much nicer for a couple of days. It just adds one step from Zürich, the beautiful Albula railway from Chur.

Posted by
785 posts

Chur is definitely not the classic "Swiss village." It is a very modern city in a great topographical location. It has a small Old Town, but small is the operative word. We spent a week in Chur but we didn't actually stay in Chur proper, choosing a mountain stop high above the city accessible by bus. Having said all that, could you find something to do for a couple days? Sure, especially if you want to head into the region for a day trip. You aren't wrong about the convenience. Just don't think it is a Heidi-esque village in spite of the marketing taglines.

P.S. If you do stay, and are a fan of Alien and Aliens, go check out the Giger Bar in Chur. Totally weird in an office park, but a great story to tell back home!

Posted by
1949 posts

Yeah, when in Lucerne in March 2015 we stayed across from the train station at the Walstadtterhof Hotel, which looked old but was totally modernized, and I personally like that clean, uncluttered Swiss-pristine look, and the efficiency. But the Hotel ABC--they say--is a 1 minute walk from the Old Town, so I think we'll be fine. However, need to stay in Chur because of the Bernina Express. Can't wait!

Posted by
1832 posts

The Bernina Express actually "emanates" from st. Mortiz. One of the services is indeed now extended to Chur, but you do not need to board it there. The extension runs over the Albula line, but that line is also used by all Chur st. Moritz trains.
My suggestion would be to continue on to some place further up in the Grisons. Pontresina is nice, but it that is to far Samedan makes a good base for a few days too.

Posted by
32228 posts

Jay,

I travelled on the Bernina Express in the other direction, starting in Tirano. The panoramic train didn't arrive in Chur until about suppertime, so I decided to stay for a couple of nights and have a look around. I quite enjoyed my time there and had some "interesting" experiences, so I'm glad I stayed. Check this site to see if there's anything that interests you - https://www.chur.graubuenden.ch/en .

I believe this is the hotel I stayed in and I would definitely recommend it - https://www.freieck.ch/en/Welcome . It's in the old town area and not far from the railway station, although I used a taxi initially as I wasn't familiar with the area. Rome2Rio shows a walking time of 8 minutes.

Posted by
1949 posts

Hey Ken, good to hear from ya!

Cool. The Freieck looks right up our alley--a little bit of the charming and quaint!. At this point, trying to decide whether to add a day, to a 3rd night. It's the start of 16-17 nights to Varenna, Florence & a week in Rome. I remember leaving Lucerne after 2 days, thinking maybe having an extra day for an excursion of some sort.

The 'Man In Seat 61' website says on their Zurich to Milan (Bernina Express) timetable that there is only a 8:28 AM departure from Chur, but I will have to check. Albeit early, it would work for us to get to Varenna by mid-afternoon. Can't wait- I'm already planning a righteous picnic for the ride.

Posted by
6952 posts

Cool. The Freieck looks right up our alley--a little bit of the charming and quaint!. At this point, trying to decide whether to add a day, to a 3rd night

I would stick to 2 nights in Chur. For 3 nights, you would be better off further south towards the Engadin - more to see & do!