We will be landing in Zurich at 3:45 and are planning to go straight to murren for 4 nights. My question is should we stay that first night in Zurich or take a train to Lucerne for that night then continue on to Murren the next day. Zurich hotels are pretty expensive just to spend a night getting over jet lag. We have no intentions on exploring zurich but also are concerned that we are putting to much on our plate to get off the plane and back on a train to lucerne. What would you recommend??
If you manage to catch the 16:40 IC train that goes directly from the airport to Bern, you'll arrive at Muerren BLM at 19:51 (connections in Bern, Interlaken Ost, and Lauterbrunnen). If your plane is late and you catch the direct 17:40 train to Bern, you'll arrive at Muerren BLM at 20:51 (same connections). For detailed timetables see either the Swiss Rail site or the German Rail site.
Jay , I'm sure that you will get varied responses but here is my two cents . I assume you get in at 3:45 in the pm . You'll be lagged , especially coming from the west coast but to some degree the " pinch me , I'm in europe . " feeling will help . There really isn't much price difference between Zurich and Luzern hotels , they are both pricey . It's about 3 to 4 hours on a series of comfortable swiss trains to your final destination in the Oberland . For my taste I would consider biting the bullet , having some nice coffee and pastry , and going directly to Murren . You would arrive about 8 pm . Youu would be able to get settled , have dinner and hit a reasonably early bedtime . After a good night's sleep you could satrt your first day in the Oberland with a bang Best Wishes!!!
I too recommend going directly to Muerren by train from Zurich Flughafen. The train station is directly below the airport and trains run very frequently to Lauterbrunnen where you will change to cable car to Grutschalp and then small train to Muerren or bus from Lauterbrunnen to Stechelberg and cable car up from there. All in all we are only talking of a train/cable car trip of about 4 hours total. Where are you staying in Muerren? You will really only need to change trains two times to get to Lauterbrunnen - once in Bern and once in Interlaken Ost. Enjoy! We will be there in a couple of weeks as well. You might want to look at www.sbb.ch and plug in your departure as Zurich Flughafen and your destination as Muerren and you will see the complete schedules for the time frame you select - very easy to do.
Thanks Steven Sounds like good advise but it also sounds exhausting.
However your "pinch me I'm in switzerland" probably will be a strong motivating factor. Thanks again for your reply. Any one else have any ideas??
Jay , one other thing to consider: that travel day is pretty much shot whatever you do. By knocking it off all at once it doesn't cut into your first day in Murren !! Again, all the best !!
Pick up some take away food in the airport, head downstairs to the train and jump on. Don't stop till you get to Mürren. Doesn't matter how many delays or layovers I've had along the way...when I get to Europe I'm ready to go go go! And Switzerland is an even BIGGER enticement to go go go!
For this particular journey following the flight, I agree with Tim and others that suggest that you head directly for Muerren. This is a 3hr.11min journey with 3-4 transportation changes. Once you arrive at Interlaken Ost, you walk over to track 2A and take the 22-minute ride on the local Jungfraubahn into Lauterbrunnen. Very scenic. At Lauterbrunnen, you walk across the street to the gondola station and up you go. 6 minutes later, you are at Grutshalp. At Grutshalp, there is a short train ride into Muerren. As mentioned above, grab some take away food and go for it. It's really exciting. You'll be fine.
You guys are awesome......thanks so much for the advice I'm gonna take it and go straight to murren. thanks for the train info and timing....helped alot all my best
Speaking of trains............ Should I buy tickets in advance or at the site? After 4 days in murren we head to varreena on lake como for 4 nights and then on to cinqua terra for 3 then out of Milan. Do you think I should buy any of the train passes that are available? and if so are passes good in both countries? we will be traveling by train/boat/bus and maybe take a day trip to Lugano. Any passes good that covers all forms of transportation.
Rent a car???? Jay
It is a minimum of 4 changes although SBB says 3. They do not count the change from cable car to train at Grutschalp. We do this run a lot, flying from the west coast ( Seattle) to Zurich with a change at Heathrow. We arrive Zurich at 4:30, and on all but one occasion have chosen to stay in Zurich for the night. We enjoy walking around after the long flight, along the river and down to the lake, and then having a nice dinner outside on the patio at a nice little restaurant we know. In the morning my husband gets up for a quick swim in the Limmat R. Before breakfast. Then we catch a train for Mürren around 9 or 10 am and arrive there just in time to check in and go for an afternoon hike. This was we arrive rested, ready for a full day of hiking the following day and each subsequent day. I wouldn't change a thing, except that next time we might stay on the train out of the airport until we reach Luzern, just for a change of scenery. Personally, I can't imagine doing those 4 train changes and spending another 3+ hours in transit after the 14+ hour journey from Seattle. (It is probably even longer coming from San Diego). Just my perspective.
Jay , A bit of a primer on rail tickets ( I hope Larry will check in on this , he is very well versed in this and I have had good advice from him ) As far as the Italy section , you are probably better off with point to point tickets rather than a pass. Depending on when you will be in switzerland , there is currently a 2 for 1 saver pass fall special for 250 USD for two people traveling together . With four days in the Oberland where you are likely to use the trains a pretty fair amount , this might be a very good deal . The pass is valid for september and october and you can buy it here on rick's site. My wife and I will be in this part of Switzerland for eight days in October going the reverse direction you are (leaving for home October 15 from ZRH and after costing the pass out we bought 2 passes to use consecutively ) The pass also provides a good discount for the Jungfraujoch trip . Everything else ( boats , trains , etc. is fully covered by the pass) Check it out . Best , Steve
Jay, the train fare from Zurich to Muerren will be about 86CHF. Your fares up and down the gondola or down to Gimmelwald are not that expensive. No Swiss pass or card needed. However, you are there for 4 nights. If you will be traveling up to the top of the Jungfrau (about $190 round trip from Muerren) and/or Schilthorn (74CHF), you might look into a Swiss half-fare card. It's good for 30 days and cost 110CHF. You can ride all Swiss transportation every day you are there for 1/2 fare. This includes the rides to the mountain tops. If the 1/2 fare Swiss card interests you, I would suggest buying it in Zurich before your first ride and begin using it right away. It will also cover you to the Swiss border on our way to Lake Como. Just show it to the agent when you buy your tickets. For Italy, you won't need a pass. The trains from Milan/Varenna-Esino, Varenna-Esino/Milan and the trains in the CT are really cheap Regionale trains. Milan/Varenna is 6.25E each way. Trains within in the CT are about 1.50E. The train runs between Milan and the CT are very reasonable at 23E each way on the Intercity-class trains.
Lola, I think I like your plan, but I need to know the name of the "nice little restaurant"!! :-) I think if I could get a flight that arrived in Zurich before noon, I'd go ahead and head for Murren. But if it was an afternoon arrival, I think I'd lean towards a night in Zurich and then an early start the next morning. But for my trip I am explicitly planning a day in Zurich to explore and recover from jet-lag; if you have no intention or interest in exploring Zurich at all, then spending a night there does seem like a waste. I think I'd look hard at the flight times and try to get an arrival before noon.
Matt-with a noon arrival it would make sense to move on, if you goal is maximum time in the Alps. But for late afternoon arrival we get the Most out of our time in Switzerland by spending that night in Zurich. We have enjoyed finding James Joyce's neighborhood, watching the setup for a huge concert on the train station, landing in the middle of the huge Zurichfest which occurs only every 3 years) and other city delights. The Zurichfest included an airshow with helicopters doing things that seemed impossible, and the longest street fair I have ever seen. Have yet to get there in time to see the Chagall window but one of these days we will find a way to see it. The restaurant is Mère Catherine, in the Altstadt area. They have a sweet little courtyard with tables as well as nice indoor space. The food is French-Mediterranean and very nice. Although the name translates as " Mother Catherine" they play with it as " Mer" and their postcards show a Mediterranean-style beach on the shores of Zurichersee. It was a waitres there who suggested a good place for my husband to swim( there are steps leading to a dock with ladder into the river for good access and egress).