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Switzerland over Easter?

Milwaukee, WI
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Switzerland over Easter?

My wife and I were thinking of spending about 6 days in Switzerland around Easter weekend. We would fly into Zurich because of the ease of flying direct from O'Hare. We have a few questions before we get too far into planning.

1) How's the weather in March? We're from Wisconsin, so snow and cold isn't daunting but is it an obstacle to travel etc?

2) is there any concern with limited services on or around Easter?

3) We plan to travel exclusively by train. What's the breakpoint for rail passes? I can look this up elsewhere in the forum, I just thought I'd combine here if it's an easy answer.

4) We're interested in Zurich, Lucerne, Interlaken/Oberland region and Zermatt. Recognizing we can't do it all in 6 days, what would the experts recommend?

As this would be 6 days away from our kid, we're first interested in relaxing, eating, walking and sightseeing. We like to hike but recognize that the weather may preclude that. It would be nice to take a gondola to a peak or two, if they're open.

I was in Switzerland about 10 years ago (Interlaken, Iseltwald, Grindelwald, Zermatt) and my folks were there recently (Zurich, Lucern, Bern). My wife has never been there, so it's all new for her.

I appreciate any advice. Thanks!

Garmisch-Partenkirch...
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for Montreux, Oberammergau, Garmisch-Partenkirchen
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1. Re: Switzerland over Easter?

Hi sohcfour,

Some mountain resorts will still have skiing on Easter, so you may find it still a little tough to find hotels for just a few nights (many hotels in ski areas require a full week's stay during the season).

Snow is usually no obstacle to travel -- unless there is an unusually harsh storm.

Shops will be closed on Friday 29 March and on 31 March and 1 April. Shops in ski resorts may be open at that time -- I've heard that they stay open in ski resorts when shops in regular towns are closed.

Unfortunately, the only answer about getting a pass or discount card is that someone has to do the math. Get the fares for all of your planned trips and excursions, add them up, and compare to the various passes and cards. I'll add that the Half Fare Card has been the most economical option for my own trips for the past 15 years (HFC costs 120 chf and gives you half off practically everything that moves for one month).

Most places keep some of their walking routes cleared of huge snowfalls, so it's possible to take some nice walks even in the winter -- but make sure you bring appropriate footwear (waterproof and lug-soled boots to handle some ice and slippery gravel).

As for your itinerary, I would have only two destinations in your six days (5 nights??). Will you also be flying out of Zürich? If so, I would recommend you spend four nights in a mountain village (Zermatt or Wengen or Múrren) and then one or two nights in Zürich or Luzern (Zürich airport is just an hour from Luzern, so you can conceivably stay in Luzern the night before your flight).

Have fun as you plan!

s

Milwaukee, WI
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2. Re: Switzerland over Easter?

Regarding lodging in ski resorts and shop closures for Easter... Are any of the places were considering regarded as ski resorts? Certainly not Lucerne or Zurich. What about Zermatt? And as far as shop closures would this also include restaurants, gondolas, etc? We can live without shopping as long as we can eat and do other activities.

Thanks

Matt

Milwaukee, WI
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3. Re: Switzerland over Easter?

Regarding lodging in ski resorts and shop closures for Easter... Are any of the places were considering regarded as ski resorts? Certainly not Lucerne or Zurich. What about Zermatt? And as far as shop closures would this also include restaurants, gondolas, etc? We can live without shopping as long as we can eat and do other activities.

And yes, 6 days 5 nights.

Thanks

Matt

Mannheim, Germany
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4. Re: Switzerland over Easter?

On sundays and official holidays (Easter is such) the shops are closed - only the shops. Obviously it is up to the owners of a ski lift or a restaurant whether they stay open or not, but they would be stupid not to. the law only refers to places where physical wares are sold.

Garmisch-Partenkirch...
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5. Re: Switzerland over Easter?

Hi again,

Yes, Zermatt is a ski resort, and you may have trouble finidng a hotel room for less than a week during ski season there. You may want to go ahead and start looking now.

Luzern and Zürich won't be a problem, I think.

No, I only meant shops, not restaurants or cable cars.

s

Martigny...
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6. Re: Switzerland over Easter?

Shop closing depends on the canton and is not uniform all over the country.

In ski resorts - and Easter weekend is high season in all but the lowest resorts-

The shops will be open every day. Including eastern Sunday. On the Sunday they have a different schedule but are open.

In all the rest of the country all shops are closed on Sundays except those at stations and airports. Easter makes no difference to this.

What does make a difference around Easter is whether the canton is catholic or Protestant... In the catholic cantons shops are open on Good Friday, Easter Saturday. In Protestant ones the shops close on Good Friday. Easter Monday is a holiday everywhere.

As for climate. Easter at the end of March is a great time to visit any of the towns and cities or resorts on the lakes. Spring will have come to those places. Base yourself in one of them and make a day trip to a nearby ski resort instead of going through the hassle of trying to find a room for only a couple of nights in the mountains.

Lucerne, Switzerland
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7. Re: Switzerland over Easter?

> What does make a difference around Easter is whether the canton is catholic or Protestant... In the catholic cantons shops are open on Good Friday, Easter Saturday. In Protestant ones the shops close on Good Friday. Easter Monday is a holiday everywhere.

This is not correct.

-----------------

Good Friday:

Only the two cantons of Valais and the canton of Ticino do NOT recognise Good Friday as a public holiday. In every other of the 26 cantons, independent of traditionally being protestant or catholic, recognise Good Friday exactly the same way like a Sunday (of type 2, see below): public services/administrations, schools, post offices, shops and business etc. are closed except for restaurants/bars, entertainment/museums, transportation, some private-owned bakeries, and shops at train stations.

www.feiertagskalender.ch/geo.php…

---------------------

Easter Monday:

In some districts and even in some municipalities of the canton of Argovia Easter Monday is not even recognised as any kind of public holiday: www.feiertagskalender.ch/geo.php…

For two cantons Easter Monday is even a "stronger" public holiday than Good Friday. For some it is the same kind (type 2), and for some it is not a legally recognised holiday (type 4: your employer could legally ask you to work on this day), but in general voluntarily treated like a public holiday (most employees do not have to work):

- Type 1: official public holiday, public day of rest (most things are closed, potentially even museums, cinemas or even restaurants): some districts/municipalities of Argovia, and the cantons of Schwyz and Uri.

- Type 2: is a special official holiday (recognised like a Sunday): the cantons of both Appenzells, both Basels, Berne, Geneva, Glarus, Grisons, Jura, Schaffhausen, Saint Gall, Ticino, Thurgau, Vaud, and Zurich

- Type 4: legally not recognized holiday, but banks, and in general schools/administrations, most offices/shops and business are closed: the cantons of Fribourg, Lucerne, Neuchâtel, Nidwalden and Obwalden, Solothurn, Valais, and Zug

Well, that's called Federalism ;-)

See also: tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g188045-i336-k5861…

Goldau, Switzerland
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8. Re: Switzerland over Easter?

Hi sohcfour

As shopping is not an issue for you, let's go back to the destinations. In March I would recommend you stay in a destination along a lake and down in the valleys. Look at the Lucerne area (for exemple), it does not need to be Lucerne itself - see www.luzern.com and Top Questions about Lucerne (TA Lucerne forum). Nearly all restaurants will remain open and the transport installations will be operating as far as they are not closed during all winter (they only restart in May/June).

There are great excursions you can do in the area all year around. An other advantage is, that Lucerne is close to the airport (about one train hour only) - see www.sbb.ch/en -.

I would spend this short time in one base only and enjoy the many possibilities for sightseing and other activities there.

Happy planing

pore

Milwaukee, WI
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9. Re: Switzerland over Easter?

OK, looking at vacation days we're contemplating travelling the week leading up to Easter. This would give us potentially 6 nights. Is it too aggressive to spend the first night in Zurich, two in Zermatt, two in Grindelwald/Wengen/Lauterbrunnen/Iseltwald (TBD), and the last night in Lucerne?

Is it possible to get the high-altitude atmosphere without Zermatt? It seems out of the way, but we'd like to get out of the valley and into the mountains a little if possible.

Martigny...
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10. Re: Switzerland over Easter?

The week before Easter is high season in the mountains...and normally hotels require a weeks booking at that time so it is going to be hard to find a hotel for two nights only. You might be better off skipping Zermatt and basing yourself in Interlaken and maki day trips to the surrounding area from there. I personally do not care for Interlaken but it is useful for this sort of thing at a time when getting a room in the mountains is a problem.

You could visit Wengen, Grindelwald,Murren and Bern, Spiez and Thun plus take a lake cruise on lake Thun and visit Ballenberg, the. Marvellous outdoor museum. Www.ballenberg.ch

Spending the last night in Luzern would be nice and the Zurich airport is just over an hour by train from there.