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Zurich/Lucerne : Things to do in one day in Zurich/Lucenre before Bernina express trip

Hello All
We are arriving Zurich in a early July late afternoon (4/5 pm) and would like spend that evening and the next day either in Zurich or Lucerne before heading to Chur for the next day trip in Bernina express to Tirano.
Need suggestion to see to places in Zurich/Lucerne, should I consider day trip such as Mt. Pilatus or am I going to get plenty of the alps mountains view if I am taking the Bernina express the following day?. Looking for outdoor places not churches (we are going to plenty in Vatican/Rome).
Has anyone with motion sickness taken the lake lucerne boat ride? Is it gentle or jerky to avoid?

thanks for feedback in advance

Posted by
238 posts

Are you arriving at your hotel in Zurich late afternoon? Or the airport? Are you staying both nights in Zurich or one night in Zurich, one in Lucerne? Is this your first trip to Switzerland?

Most people will probably recommend to focus on Lucerne. While I think it is very beautiful there, I also love shopping/dining in Zurich and if you have a Swiss Pass of some kind, you can take trains, buses, trams to your heart's content in a very stress free situation .

I am actually planning to spend a couple hours shopping in this area of Zurich because it has the most amazing toy store I have ever been in (if you appreciate craftsmanship of wooden toys):

I am the type that likes to cram a lot into a short amount of time and as long as you plan well, I think you can spend a few hours shopping/eating in Zurich, seeing Mt Pilatus (minus the boat ride) and shopping/seeing some of Lucerne before heading to Chur. On my last trip...I did something very similar. I spent some hours shopping/dining in Zurich. Stayed in Zurich. Went to Lucerne the next day and on to Zermatt that same day! I got it all in and loved it.

When I was in Switzerland, trains and transport were so reliable and easy that it was almost scary (in a good way). The SBB site is awesome. And, yes, you can allow for tight connections and make them just fine. I also heard good things about using luggage lockers in the train stations.


As for the boat, I have motion sickness concerns also which is why I did not do the boat. I have had several students I teach tell me they were OK on the boat but because they were also jet lagged when taking it, they said it was not "ideal." You can see Pilatus very easily without the boat aspect. I believe they call it the Silver Round Trip versus the Gold.

And that is WONDERFUL that you are doing the Bernina! The train ride IS the attraction. You will be in awe and yes, you will get plenty of alpine views.

Posted by
7209 posts

The boat ride is as gentle as the Lake Lucerne's waves at the moment. We love the boats that take you all around the lake...we even view them as a highlight. Don't miss the chance if you have it. 2nd class is confined to the main floor and 1st class may sit anywhere including upstairs.

Posted by
1010 posts

I agree with the other post. We did both the William Tell and the Bernina Express trips, a few years back. They were both fantastic. Lake Lucerne is extremely calm. The Bernina Express includes a bus ride around Lake Maggiore. That bus part was very enjoyable also.

Posted by
501 posts

I agree with Tim, half the fun to Mt. Pilatus is the tranquil, slow moving ferry. Second class ,in my opinion is all you really need.