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2-3 days in Zurich-what to do? Rail passes?

My mom, sister and I are going to Zurich for a few days and don't really know much about the city or what to do. We're not skiers but we love sight seeing and think it would be cool to take a cable car or something like that. Are there cable cars in Zurich? What are some good suggestions for us to do there? We haven't bought our train ticket from Paris to Zurich yet, but if were going to be there for a few days, should we get a Swiss rail pass? Or just book our ticket from Paris to Zurich? We were thinking of maybe taking a day trip somewhere to a smaller, quaint city, but with only 2 full days were not sure if it's worth it. My mom saw online that there is an indoor rainforest, has anyone been there? We're sort of all over the place right now so any suggestions are helpful! Were into sightseeing, shopping, adventure, etc. Thanks in advance!

Posted by
4154 posts

Selena , Given the time frame you have , I don't think you need any sort of railpass . Simple point to point tickets will be your best bet . The question I have is , Why Zurich ? Please don't misinterpret my remark . Prior to leaving switzerland for home last fall , we did spend some time there ,and it was quite enjoyable . Given your comments , however , I think a better choice for your time would be Luzern .Also it would be helpful to know when you are planning this as your choice will hinge on seasonal considerations .

Posted by
23 posts

Thanks for the replies! We weren't sure where to go in Switzerland and the travel agent found a good deal so thats how we ended up with Zurich. So no rail pass-good to know! And we will be there at the end of feb! So pretty soon! Are there cable cars in Zurich? Or what are some fun things to do this time of year?? Thanks!!

Posted by
4154 posts

Selena , Have a look at Rick's guidebook to Switzerland , you will find detailed information on lake cruises there , obviously dress for it given the time of year . See the Fraumunster with the magnificent stained glass windows by Marc Chagall , wander the Bahnhofstrasse , a mile long street evocative of Fifth Avenue in NY or The Champs - Elysee in Paris. On the east bank of the River Limmat walk around along the Niederdorfstrasse , very quaint ,and stop for a bit in at Scwarzenbach's shop . Lastly , if the weather cooperates you can board the S10 train at the Hauptbahnhof and ride up to the Uetliberg viewpoint , overlooking the lake and the city . For a splurge ,stop in Sprungli's konditorei on Bahnhofstrasse for wonderful coffee and pastry . Have a great time .

Posted by
55 posts

There are a couple of funiculars in the city of Zurich - the Dolderbahn and the Seilbahn Rigiblick. Both take you up to the Zürichberg where you can walk in the forest and get nice views of the city (and the Alps on a clear day). You could also go for a walk from the Uetliberg (highest hill in Zurich, accessible via the Uetlibergbahn) and walk/hike to Felsenegg, where you take a cable car down and can take the train back into the city. There are great museums in Zurich - the Kunsthaus and Museum Rietberg are a couple. You can also take a short train ride (30 mins) to Winterthur which also has nice museums, including the Fotomuseum (Photography Museum). The rainforest is at the zoo - I haven't been there for a long time but the zoo is nice overall. In a different part of the city near the lake there's a greenhouse with succulents (http://www.foerderverein.ch/index.php). You can also walk along the Limmat River or take boat ride on the lake. There's a great vegetarian restaurant called Hiltl that I can highly recommend. Hope this helps a bit! I've lived here for almost seven years and think it's a great little city.

Posted by
23 posts

Awesome suggestions! I'm definitely writing these down! The viewpoints sound amazing! For traveling to Zurich, we're trying to book a train from Paris to Zurich, but finding it to be pretty expensive. Is raileurope.com the best site to get tickets at or are there other sites that offer cheaper tickets? We don't really know what were doing when it comes to booking trains! Thanks for your ideas, we will definitely be using most of them to fill our time:)

Posted by
553 posts

I definately agree with others that finding two days worth of stuff to do in Zurich will be hard. Definately go to Luzern. No rail pass is needed.

Posted by
32245 posts

Selena, While in Zürich, I'd recommend a day trip to Lucerne. It's a beautiful city and while there you could perhaps take the lift to Mt. Pilatus, take a cruise on the lake or just explore the city. For the remainder of the time, explore some of the sights in Zürich. I was there in late September, and took a local tour which I found quite interesting. I also took a boat cruise around the lake, but at this time of year I imagine it would be a bit "chilly". Happy travels!

Posted by
11294 posts

"For traveling to Zurich, we're trying to book a train from Paris to Zurich, but finding it to be pretty expensive. Is raileurope.com the best site to get tickets at or are there other sites that offer cheaper tickets?" No, Rail Europe is often the worst place to get tickets from. They don't list all trains, and mark up the tickets they do sell. You want the site of the national rail company that your train originates in ( French Rail) or ends in ( Swiss Rail). If you're using French Rail, choose Great Britain as you country, and resist all attempts to be redirected to Rail Europe. You want an electronic ticket if possible; then, you just print this out, and show it to the conductor with the appropriate ID (credit card or passport, depending on the type of ticket). These tickets will be non-refundable and non-exchangeable, which is part of why they're so much cheaper than full fares. "We don't really know what were doing when it comes to booking trains!" For much more information, look at The Man in Seat 61; scroll down to his information about French trains. It does take a bit of time to learn how to book your own trains on the European websites, but the savings are substantial.

Posted by
23 posts

Thanks for all the help! So if we're only in Zurich for 2 days, should we spend one taking a trip to Lucerne? I'm not sure how far it is by train. As for railway, thanks for the tips! We still haven't bought our tickets yet, they are a lot more expensive than I thought! But we will definitely not be using rail europe! Thanks again!

Posted by
4154 posts

The train between Zurich and Luzern is 45 minutes .