zurich on January 1st, 2013

we are a family of four, flying from SOuth Africa via Zurich and are spending 4 days there after a month of high summer. We are not intending to ski and will not have much in terms of winter clothes. Is it more economical and realistic 1. to take trains and see Switzerland with its "breathtaking views" and book hotels/ apartments in different Swiss towns or 2. take overnight trains and travel to Prague, Amsterdam, Paris, Munich and back to Zurich, then home to San Francisco?

Posted by Sam
Green Bay
2281 posts

Option 2 sounds very busy, you may never get outside the train stations. A suggestion for option 1 would be to spend 4 days in Interlaken and roam the Berner Oberland with a local pass. Pick up Winter clothes at Coop Bau + Hobby and donte them when you leave. You didn't say what kind of family group. Adults? Children? Ages?

Posted by Angela
Sammamish, WA
403 posts

Um, Switzerland. It is technically possible to do the other itinerary, but you would have to spend all 4 nights on trains and not actually see the cities where you stop. The overnight trains are just not that pleasant-you won't get much sleep. And you won't really see the places you are intending to visit. You would have time to visit ONE of those cities, barely, and get back to Zurich for your flight home. (Paris, perhaps. 4.5 hrs by train.)
For example, Zurich to Prague is 15 hours, with anywhere from 3 to 8 train changes during the night! Amsterdam to Zurich is 12-13 hours, again with train changes in the night.

Posted by Svetlana
Palo Alto, CA, United States
3 posts

thank you so much for sage advice. We are a couple with two energetic but non-skiing kids ages 7 and 9. What was the tip about picking winter clothes and then dumping them> was that a rental?

Posted by Brian
Los Angeles, California
1986 posts

You dont have to ski to experience switzerland. The mountains are still amazingly scenic. From Zurich you could easily get to Lucerne for a couple of days, and/or interlaken as a stop=off point to see Jungfrau, and the surrounding area. You are in Swiitzerland, why not enjoy what it has to offer instead of wasting all that travel time getting to other countries and cities. You need to end up back in Zurich for your return flight

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
8760 posts

That's dumping the clothes, not the kids, right? ;->