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Zurich & Luzern

Hello - Would appreciate any help with hotels in Luzern and Zurich. We are flying into Zurich and trying to choose between staying 2 nights in Zurch then 1 night in Luzern or 1 night in Zurich and 2 nights in Luzern. Any suggestions of which to spend more time in. We also thought about taking a bost across Lake Zurich to one of the towns on the other side. Any suggestions? From Luzern we will be taking the train (not sure which) down to Lake Como. Any help would be much appreciated?

Posted by
2799 posts

One night Zurich, 2 nights Lucerne. You can take a boat ride at Lucerne too. For the train to Lake Como, you take a short ride from Lucerne to Arth-Goldau and catch the direct zurich to Milan train there. You can either (1) get off that train at the town of Como on Lake Como and then head down to the ferry dock to catch a boat to your destination on Lake como or (2) stay on th etrain to Milan and transfer there to a train to Varenna.

Posted by
80 posts

We would agree with the previous poster - one night in Zurich, two in Luzern. There was much more to do and see in Luzern (for us at least). We also took a boat ride in Luzern to a couple different towns which was very nice (although the weather was not). We were there last September.

Posted by
15 posts

Thanks Sasha and Ken - I appreciate your help and am going to take your advice and spend only 1 night in Zurich. Ken what towns did visit on the boat ride?
Thanks again!

Posted by
833 posts

I agree on 2 nights in Luzern because then you have a full day, you can take a ferry across the lake and head up one of the mountains. Doing that was one of the most beautiful days of my life. Zurich is a nice, clean city but the natural beauty of Luzern is wonderful.

Posted by
833 posts

And use sbb.ch (the rail website) to check the different options from Luzern to Como.

Posted by
69 posts

I also agree that one day in Zurich and two in Luzern may be the best option. By the way, when you get to Lake Como, if you like gelato, you must try the gelato shop in Bellagio. It is in Rick's book and is the one at the top of the hill, farthest from the lake. Out of all of the gelato I have eaten (and that is a lot), this was by far, the best.

Posted by
80 posts

Carol, I'm sorry but I don't remember the two towns the boat stopped at. It was raining pretty good on the boat ride so we did not get off to explore the small towns. It was raining most of the two days we had in Luzern, but we still managed to fit a lot in. We enjoyed the town walk as outlined in Rick's book in both Zurich and Luzern. We really wanted to do the Golden Round Trip up Mt. Pilatus but it was always in clouds. What kinds of thing do you like to do when visiting cities?

Posted by
7205 posts

Well I would vote for 3 nights in Luzern and 0 nights in Zurich. Lucerne is much nicer and only about a 50 minute train ride from the Zurich airport. Why waste precious vacation time in Zurich?

Posted by
15 posts

We are considering skipping Zurich. Is there anything in Zurich that is just too good to miss? Ken, thanks for the post. We like to see the history and architecture, churches, farmers markets, etc. My sister has a bad knee so we will not be sking or hiking. Has anyone heard of a nice hotel in Luzern that is budget friendly. Hotel Tourist?

Posted by
15 posts

I also have a very stupid question. Is Lucerne and Luzern the same city? I think so but wanted to clarify

Posted by
833 posts

Yes Carol, same city! With three official languages (and four national languages) many cities are spelled multiple ways. I don't always recommend Wikipedia but it can be helpful to clarify things like multiple spellings.

Posted by
26400 posts

Luzern is the German spelling and since it is in the German speaking area of Switzerland that is the way it is spelled when you are there. Lucerne is the English and French way to spell it.

Posted by
31319 posts

carol, Although Zürich has some interesting sights, my suggestion would also be to spend three days in Luzern. It's a beautiful city and you shouldn't have any trouble finding things to do for three days. It will also be a more pleasant location to recover from jet lag (IMO). For a comfortable hotel in Luzern, have a look at Hotel Stern. It's located in a nice area, within easy walking distance to both the station as well as the Chapel Bridge and other sights. The rooms are very comfortable, they serve a nice breakfast and the restaurant has good food. In addition to taking boat trips in Luzern, you could take a trip to Mt. Pilatus, tour the incredible Museum of Transport, see the famous Lion of Luzern or take a walking tour (check with the T.I., which is in the station). Which town will you be travelling to on Lago di Como? The train you use for that trip will depend on your destination. Happy travels!

Posted by
15 posts

We will be traveling to bellagio on lake como. We are thinking of taking the
Bernina express down thru st moretz

Posted by
668 posts

We stayed at the Hotel Des Alpes, right on the river by the Kapellbrucke. The entrance is actualy at the back on the square - I forget the name of the square. You can enter it through the restaurant and go up the stairs. Really enjoyed the town - been there twice. The Golden tour across the lake by boat, up Mt. Pilatus by cog railway, down the other side by gondola and back home by bus is an excellent day trip. Lunch at the top was interesting. My very mild mannered wife lost her temper with the attendant at the brautwurst stand who refused to do her sausage the way she wanted. The Swiss way is the ONLY way!

Posted by
11275 posts

You've already gotten the answer about Luzern and Lucerne (same city). But do be aware that Lausanne, in French Switzerland, is indeed a different city.

Posted by
31319 posts

carol, Taking the Bernina Express from Chur to Tirano is certainly a possibility if you have the time. When the B.E. arrives in Tirano, you'll transfer to the "regular" train for the trip to Varenna-Esino. When you arrive at Varenna, walk down the hill to the Ferry dock (in front of Albergo Olivedo, big yellow building) and take the Ferry to Bellagio. The trip is about 20 minutes. Be ready to exit the train quickly when it arrives in Varenna, as it doesn't stop for long. Cheers!