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48 Hours in Switzerland

Tempe, Arizona
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48 Hours in Switzerland

Greetings,

I am planning an upcoming trip to Switzerland. The problem is that I must fly into Zurich and I will only have 48 hours. My plane will arrive Saturday morning and I will be heading back to the U.S. that following Monday morning (so I will need to be near public transport to get to the airport in time).

We will be there the weekend of the November 9th. While I know this may not be the best time to visit, it is all that I can work with.

It is just my boyfriend and I and we are both the easy-going, adventurous types that love to eat and absorb sights/culture. We don't mind cold, rainy weather and assume that is what it will likely be. However,we are not sure where to go and what to do with our time there. Like I touched on...we enjoy scenery, good food, being outdoors (if possible), and really getting a dose of culture and lifestyle.

I've looked into boats from Interlaken to Thun, visits to the Matterhorn, riding the Glacier Express. It is kind of overwhelming. One, unfortunate, important factor is money. I will have it to spend but really would like to weigh cost, with experience and time spent.

With that, if anyone has suggestions of potential itineraries I would gratefully take them into consideration. This is my first trip to any of Europe and while it will be short lived, I am up for the adventure!

Anchorage, Alaska
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1. Re: 48 Hours in Switzerland

Take a look at going directly to Lucerne. It's a lovely town on a mountain lake and there are several mountain excursions if you feel like spending a bit for a great experience. Here's a link to the Lucerne website

http://www.luzern.ch/en

It's one hour by train from the Zurich Airport and trains are very frequent. You can get the timetables in English

at

www.sbb.ch/en

A 2nd class (perfectly fine for an hour!), round trip ticket is about 56 francs ($62 or so). You'll see that there is a train at 47 minutes past the hour starting at 0847 that doesn't require a change in Zurich but I wouldn't worry about making a change as it's really easy.

Hope this helps.

Little San Salvador...
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2. Re: 48 Hours in Switzerland

In 48 hours you are hardly likely to get a 'dose of culture'. It isn't even enough time to 'see' Zurich but at least you can see some of Zurich. Wasting any of it moving anywhere else makes no sense to me at all.

Buy or download a Zurich city guide and see what interests you. Here's one: www.inyourpocket.com/Switzerland/Zurich

Here is another: http://wikitravel.org/en/Zurich

Yet another: www.lonelyplanet.com/switzerland/zurich

You aren't going to visit Switzerland in two days. Get your head around that. You're going to visit Zurich.

Anchorage, Alaska
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3. Re: 48 Hours in Switzerland

Wow! That's pretty fierce, Ron S. We don't usually dictate where folks should go - we suggest things they might enjoy from the information they have provided. There aren't many outdoor activities in Zurich and, as much as I love Zurich and recommend folks with a bit more time be sure to visit as it is nothing like most people would imagine, I don't think it is the best sample one could have of the country particularly when they seem to want to be on a budget, experience mountains, etc. Of course they can consider just staying in Zurich for their very short time but my recommendation would be that they get out of Zurich to see some of what most folks think of as Switzerland - the mountains.

OP - another good source for information is the Swiss tourism office website in English

www.myswitzeralnd.com

You might find Bern, Thun, Spiez, or Lauterbrunnen to be interesting as well. Bern is just an hour from the airport but the others are more and might prove difficult to make an early flight.

Edited: 6:08 pm, October 15, 2013
Karlsruhe, Germany
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4. Re: 48 Hours in Switzerland

Ron may have find a bit harsh words but his advice is good and spot on.

Edited: 6:33 pm, October 15, 2013
Tempe, Arizona
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5. Re: 48 Hours in Switzerland

Thank you for your posts.

Kileysmom- I appreciate your insight and the fact that your advice was well-centered around my interests and what I put out there. I also appreciate your follow up to Ron and your extra suggestions (and some really really great resources I might not have found on my own!).

Ron - I believe you misunderstood the intent of my post and did not pick up on what is valuable to me during my travels. You see, I travel frequently in very short spurts. Your post suggests that I assume my 48 hours there be a vastly enriching, cultural experience as if I plan to be there for weeks. Your comment about visiting Switzerland in two days is also misguided as you seem to know where my head is at and that it also has little correlation to my post. I merely stated that I am planning an upcoming trip to the country of Switzerland and that I am required to fly into, and out of, Zurich. This does not mean that I will necessarily be staying in that city. The distance and time does not so much bother me as I am still enjoying the experience of a new place and new sights.

I appreciate your insight but I find your comments condescending and slightly pretentious. In fact, your very first remark made me want to skip over your post entirely. I find it unintelligible to think that someone visiting a new country, who plans to do as much as they can (in the given time) would not get a dose of the culture, even in the smallest form. It's as if you worry I will have one experience and run home to the U.S. thinking that is all Switzerland has to offer and that is what it's all about.

Travel for me is NEVER a waste of time. If you think I would be wasting my time by taking trains or relocating once in Switzerland, explain so in a constructive manner please. Give me alternate options. Don't just slam the door with your nose in the air and walk away. Can you get your head around all of this?

I apologize if any of my response ends up offending you but I did not come here to spend my time with entirely fruitless replies. I would have been much more open to a comment (even harsh and to the point) if it was objective, reasonable, and related to the needs expressed in my post. Also, thank you for the resources to world's largest travel guide publisher and wiki-travel but I am already aware of these resources.

Blandine - if you believe someones advice is good, please back it up and provide some of your own insight. Don't just come to a forum to jump on a wagon and take a ride. Again I say, I am open to all types of suggestions and insights but if they are not well-developed or thought out...they're just rude and useless.

new jersey
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6. Re: 48 Hours in Switzerland

Jordyn: Please know that Ron's response was rude at best and really completely useless. Other than insulting you, he offered nothing constructive or useful. As a frequent poster on Tripadvisor for the past 8 years, please know that most people do not offer such useless and rude advice.

Ron: As a frequent poster on Tripadvisor, I feel duty bound to offer you some advice that is more constructive than the advice you offered Jordyn. Please check out the way most people who respond to inquiries on this site respond before you post again. You will see that responders offer concrete travel advice that assists the poster in narrowing his/her travel plans. If Jordyn wanted advice from a book, she could have bought the book already. She is looking for ideas from those who have traveled to Zurich not simply a travel writer's printed page. Insulting the travel plans of others is not what this site is about. And yes, you were insulting....

Back to you Jordyn: Like you, we travel for short spurts frequently and longer journeys when we can. My husband is a pilot who flies the JFK/ZRH route regularly. We visit often and will be visiting the same weekend as you!

I want to first offer you my trip report from a trip we took in February 2011. It was for 48 hours. We enjoyed Zurich and Lucerne and even to Mt. Pilatus.

tripadvisor.com/…31522647

Another trip, 6 months later, was for less than 24 hours but it was well worth it.

tripadvisor.com/…36626602

Next month, we and our children, niece and nephew arrive on November 9. We plan to celebrate my son's 18th birthday in Zurich. I will be traveling with 4 "kids" ages 18 to 23. All speak German and all enjoy Switzerland very much. We plan to spend time at the Oktoberfest on the Limmat River. It runs through November 10. I have visited each of the last three years and loved it each time. It is just plain FUN!

zurich4you.ch/traditional_zurich_oktoberfest…

We also plan to try to visit the Expovino Wine Event on the boats lined up along Lake Zurich. My daughter interned at a vineyard/winery this past summer. She is hoping to make some contacts in the European wine industry. I am hoping to enjoy some great wines! This runs through that weekend.

newinzurich.com/2013/…

To add to the fun, we hope to visit Rapperswil (lovely town at the other end of Lake Zurich complete with a castle) and Uetliburg if the weather is good so that we can see the view from of beautiful Zurich.

Is there other Swiss culture to experience, of course. Will these suggestions offer you an opportunity to get a taste of Switzerland, decidedly YES!

Enjoy your trip! If you see a couple in their early 50s touring with two young men and two young women, having a great time, please come and say hello! Zurich is a small enough city that it could happen! Enjoy! Moms

London
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7. Re: 48 Hours in Switzerland

Just to make everyone smile, on the same day that Ron S told everyone that they were wrong to consider staying in any city for less than 4 nights if they wanted to consider themselves a proper traveller, he advised someone else to make a day trip to Strasbourg from Basel. Which is it Ron S? I thought there were 'rules'? And that you can't go to Strasbourg until you have visited Grindelwald?

Ottawa, Ontario
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8. Re: 48 Hours in Switzerland

:-)

Martigny...
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9. Re: 48 Hours in Switzerland

I am smiling too JT14 -- Ron S was really rude and it was unnecessary...

Jordyn K - Kileysmom is right on target! Luzern is a beautiful small town on a lovely lake surrounded by mountains. OK not the high alps, but very beautiful ones anyway. And clearly you want to see as much as you can in the short time you have available - there is nothing, absolutely nothing, wrong with that!

COuple of things to bear in mind - most mountain resorts are pretty dead in November as are the lake resorts around Luzern (and all the other lakes for that matter). As you will appreciate November is not a month for heavy tourist activity! The Glacier Express, for example, doesn't run at all in November. But Luzern, in addition to being somewhat of a tourist "hotspot" is also a totally normal, functioning Swiss city. So everything there will be open, people will be going about their daily business, and you will get, even in a short time, a really good impression of what makes our country tick. (so to speak!)

Zürich is a great city. But it is a business and banking town. Luzern is smaller, easy to get to know quickly and has a lot on offer. See, for example, if the Tourist Office is running their walking tours - if so, take one. They are great. check the programme at the KKL (main concert hall) and see if anything appeals. Do not miss the Transport Museum which is an amazing place and needs at least 3-4 hours of your time. Transport here is very closely tied to our topography and to the diversity of our cantons and the museum explains that very well indeed... You should have time for a trip to the top of Mt Rigi or Pilatus IF the weather is clear - you will get great views on the lake and the alps beyond. And if you can, squeeze in a visit to the "Glasi" - the glass factory in Hergiswil - where you can see glass being made by hand and also pick up some lovely souvenirs.

Your time here will leave you wanting to come back. And hopefully Ron S will back off and let you enjoy it!!

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10. Re: 48 Hours in Switzerland

This is great advice & a big help. We are flying in on 10/26 with 2 nights before joining our river cruise to Basel. If the weather is good it will be great to walk the lakefront, see the Oktoberfest. Any restaurant recommendations??