Zurich, Swiss First time!

My girlfriend and I are visiting Zurich for the first time for 3 days. We are in our late 20s. Where should we stay and what must we see or do in Zurich, or the surrounding cities.

Posted by Michael Schneider
New Paltz, NY
6826 posts

http://wikitravel.org/en/Zurich

Is there a reason you chose Zurich? IMO Zurich is a nice place to live, but has limited appeal for most tourists. Luzern, which is about an hour away by train, is my favorite Swiss city. For me any visit to Switzerland is mostly for the Alps; I'd much rather spend 3 days in the Berner Oberland region than any of CH's cities.

Posted by pete
San Francisco, ca, USA
6 posts

No, real reason. We are doing two other countries and we have 3 days to hit Swiss. What is Alps? Mountains?

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
17716 posts

pete,

I have to agree with Michael's reply. If you're interested in Swiss cities, Lucerne would be a better choice IMHO. If you want to see mountains and the classic Swiss scenery, the Berner Oberland (outside of Interlaken) is a good choice.

The small village of www.gimmelwald.ch is one of Rick's "back door discoveries" and a big favourite with many travellers (not to be confused with the larger and more "touristy" Grindelwald). If you're a bit adventurous (given your ages), you might consider Paragliding for a "unique Swiss experience" while in that area.

Happy travels!

Posted by Tim
Knoxville, TN, USA
3058 posts

When you land in the Zürich airport gather your luggage and then go to the train station within the airport. From there jump on a train to the "Interlaken Area" which is what most people think are the Alps. Interlaken is just a train station where you will transfer to a smaller train to head up into the Alps...the Lauterbrunnen Valley, Wengen, Mürren, Gimmelwald. This is where you want to be if you want to see the Swiss Alps. If you're more interested in city life then head to Lucerne for a beautiful Swiss City on the lake. Zürich is OK, but there are definitely better Swiss destinations in which to vacation.

Posted by Christine
Oakland, CA
73 posts

Pete,

It really depends on your interests. We originally started going to Switzerland and using Zurich as a base because we have friends there and there is nothing better than free accommodations in Switzerland; we would take a different day trip everyday. However, we really do love the pace and efficiency of Zurich. We love hopping on a boat on the lake or river, walking around the different neighborhoods, seeing some churches--particularly seeing the stained glass windows in Fraumunster, going to the coffee museum, Freitag store, etc. I think it deserves at least a day of your time. I love that it tends to cater more to locals than tourists.

That being said--I agree with the other posters that a trip to Lucerne would be great and doable as well--and maybe up to Mount Rigi on that day.

As far as the Berner Oberland, if your image and desire of Switzerland is to be in the Alps--I agree it is the place to be. Get there as soon as possible though--so you can maximize your time.

Posted by Dwayne
West Lafayette, Indiana, USA
213 posts

Here's another vote for Luzern over Zurich. Luzern has lots of charm and is a very walkable city. If you want to see mountain scenery, do consider the Berner Oberland. You can get there in about half-a-day from Zurich. There is paragliding in Interlaken, but Interlaken is mostly a town of souvenir shops, and you can't see the best mountain views from there. Either Murren, Wengen, or Gimmelwald will put you right in the Alps.

Posted by Michael Schneider
New Paltz, NY
6826 posts

If you want to see mountain scenery, do consider the Berner Oberland. You can get there in about half-a-day from Zurich.

Half-a-day? Zurich to Interlaken is only 2 hours by train.

Posted by Glenn
Grand Falls-Windsor, NL, Canada
307 posts

3 days in Switzerland? ....for me there would be no question...the Berner Oberland! Absolutely incredible scenery...can't wait to go back. Forget the cities, get out and see the masterpiece mother nature created in the Berner Oberland!!

Posted by pete
San Francisco, ca, USA
6 posts

Hi Glenn,

Thanks for the advise... So how should I do that? I fly into Zurich, should I jump on the train and get a hotel there? The fourth day I leave at 7:30 from Zurich. Do you know what the weather is like in March?

Thanks, Pete

Posted by Glenn
Grand Falls-Windsor, NL, Canada
307 posts

You could spend a day in Zurich checking out the sites, but I would definitely jump on a train and go to the Berner Oberland...Rick suggests Gimmelwald ( smaller village) as a great place to stay, and there are many others...Murren...Grindelwald( more touristy)..etc....not sure what the weather is like in March, as I was there in September but that part of Switzerland is one of the jewels of Europe...if you want stunning scenery, it's the place to go. If I had only 3 days in Switzerland, I'd do that and Bern...when I was there I stayed in Luzerne( very nice) and took the train to the B.O.....