Hi all, Family of 5. 3 Boys ages 18,15 and 11. On 3 week trip to Europe. Start in London, then Paris, then Lucerne. We are arriving in Lucerne from Paris on June 28th. Will arrive in the afternoon depending on which train we take from Basel. Our train from Paris arrives in Basel at 11:26. Should we take the next train to Lucerne or spend a little time in Basel? Was thinking spend the afternoon and night of the 28th in Lucerne then get out to the mountains on the 29th before heading to Italy early on the 30th. Also any thoughts on Ameron Hotel Flora? We booked it already non-refundable before we became acquainted with Rick Steves.
Keith, My suggestion would be to go DIRECT to Lucerne, especially given the very short time you have. There's more than enough there to keep busy with for a day and a half. Some of the activities you could consider in Lucerne: > Visit the incredible Museum of Transport. It's not hard to spend almost a full day there, as there's so much to see! > Take a Walking Tour (arrange at the T.I. in the station). > See the famous Lion of Lucerne. > Tour the waterfront area and walk across the Chapel Bridge. > Take a tour to Mt. Pilatus. > Take a cruise on the lake. Is there any way you could get an extra day or so in Lucerne? One point to mention. If your transfer in Basel takes any length of time, note that the ONLY washrooms at the Basel station are "pay-per-use" facilities operated by McClean. They ONLY accept Swiss Francs so you may want to ensure that you have a few coins on hand. Happy travels!
Our Hotel in Florence the night of the 30th is non-refundable as well as the train tickets to Milan that morning. Train into Basel gets us in at 11:26. 1st train to Lucerne is at 12:04 then like every 30 minutes for next couple of hours.
Keith, You should be able to connect with the 12:04 departure to Lucerne. You could perhaps pre-purchase the tickets at sbb.ch (although that could be a problem if the train from Paris is delayed). You may also be able to buy them in Paris at an SNCF Boutique (several locations in the city).
Keith, Ken has covered all the bases regarding Luzern. You should have a fantastic trip. Next time let this board and R. Steves make it even better.
get out to the mountains on the 29th Which mountains, Keith? Do you mean Titlis and Rigi, or do you mean the Berner Oberland with Monch, Eiger, Jungfrau and company? Risking just one day in the high mountains can be "brave". The weather in the mountains can be notoriously fickle. If I were in your shoes I would consider heading straight for the mountains on the day you arrive if the webcams show good summit weather. You can check on a smartphone. Can you get an earlier train from Paris?