Use this Switzerland summer travel plan as an itinerary for visiting the top of the Swiss Alps near Engelberg, see the sights in Lucerne, relax along the border between Italy and Switzerland in Lugano, and enjoy the many cultural delights in Zurich. If you enjoy seeing world-class art, see works of art by Picasso, Monet, Matisse, and more in Lucerne. If you enjoy boating, take a boat ride in Lugano, Lucerne, and Zurich. If you enjoy shopping, visit boutique shops and name brand shops like Gucci, Louis Vitton, and Hermes. Or, consider buying a watch after you stop in the watch museum in Zurich or in the many authorized watch dealers in each city. And, of course, there is the food to enjoy along the way. Just be sure to save room for the chocolate!
If you have been following my posts and podcasts, you know that I have enjoyed two recent, wonderful trips to Switzerland, and I have shared information about visiting. Last year, in 2017, I visited with my daughter, who I call Millenial Melly on my podcasts. This year, I returned with my husband. Well, I am planning yet another trip following basically the same plan, since it has worked out so well for us to enjoy a great blend of all that Switzerland has to offer in a 10-day trip. So, I thought I would share the suggested itinerary, recommended hotels, restaurants, museums, boat cruises, and other options that you might want to consider if you decide to take a similar trip of the highlights of Switzerland. I’ll include suggestions as to what you might want to change if you have more or less time, information about what to pack for the various climates that you will experience on the trip, and tips for those who are more active or less active than we are.
Click on the audio bar at the bottom of this post to listen to the accompanying podcast. There are also podcasts to accompany each of the four other Switzerland posts that I will reference here.
Before You Go to Switzerland
Make your trip easy and economical and purchase the Swiss Travel Pass before you go. It is available to non-residents of Switzerland and Liechtenstein. I have used many rail and travel passes before in Europe, and I have never found a pass as comprehensive, economical, and as easy to use as the Swiss Travel Pass. It covers almost all trains, boats, buses, and museums in Switzerland. Reservations are not needed for most all trains and boats. Special trips that are not fully included in the cost of the pass are usually one-half off the regular price. For this itinerary, almost all transportation and museums are included with the Swiss Travel Pass purchase. Where they are not included, I will indicate the cost and the discount you can receive with the Swiss Travel Pass. Reservations are not needed for any trains that I recommend, but note that many special scenic routes are offered at a 50% discount. Always check the easy website or app for Swiss Train Travel at https://www.sbb.ch/en to check times for trains, because the times and trains recommended in this post could change at any time.
There are consecutive day and flexible day travel options. On my latest trip, we stayed 3 nights in Lugano, 5 nights in Lucerne, and 1 night in Zurich. (I would have liked to stay 2 nights in Zurich.) We decided to purchase the 15 consecutive day travel pass, since we would be in Switzerland more than 8 days and we wanted to use the pass each day of our trip. It was easiest to pay a little more and get a pass that we could use for that time period. (The price per day is reduced when you purchase passes with more days included.) Check the current ticket options here to see what works best for you:
Make hotel reservations before you go to save time and get better rates by booking early. Melly and I loved each of our hotels last year, so my husband and I stayed in the same ones again this year. I have already booked the same ones for 2019, so I will tell you about each of these as I describe visiting each of the three cities recommended in this tour.
To follow this itinerary, plan to begin and end your trip in Zurich. The international airport is easy to reach via most cities around the world, and when you arrive there are easy connections throughout Switzerland. If you begin in Zurich, you can begin using your Swiss Travel Pass immediately to travel within the city and/or within the country. Note that some airlines only fly non-stops to Zurich from major hubs from about mid-May through the end of August or September, so if you are planning to use frequent flier points be sure you are looking ahead to dates that work for you. You may have more options than you realize if you are able to travel during the summer season.
This itinerary includes 3 nights in Lugano, 5 nights in Lucerne (with a day trip to Engelberg/Mount Titlis), and 2 nights in Zurich, for 10 days of sightseeing. I assume you will travel to Lugano before Day 1, so I do not count that day in the 10 days of sightseeing. I assume you will leave Zurich after day 10, so I also do not count the final travel day in the 10 days of sightseeing.
Lugano, Switzerland (3 nights)
When you arrive in Switzerland, it will most likely be early in the morning. Since you will be tired but likely unable to check in to your hotel, hop on a train in Zurich and travel to the first recommended destination of Lugano. This Italian border city is easily reached from Zurich in two and ½ hours via train. Grab your bags, walk through the airport to the train station. Hop on a train to Zurich’s Hauptbahnhof (central train station). Trains usually leave Zurich HB at nine minutes and 32 minutes past the hour, and most trains require no change. Currently, trains leaving Zurich HB at 9:09 am, 9:32 am, 11:09 am, 11:32 am, 1:09 pm, and 1:32 pm to Lugano do not require a change of trains. Travel to Lugano takes two hours and 8 minutes to two hours and 16 minutes, depending on the train. Connections that require a change of trains are easy connections, but personally I like to relax after a long plane flight and not have to worry about changing trains on my first train journey. Check the easy-to-use English version of the Swiss Rail timetable below before you go. Look for connections from “Zurich HB” to “Lugano”.
Remember you will need to take a short, frequently available, 10 to 13 minute train ride from the Zurich airport (Zurich Flughafen) station to the Zurich Hauptbahnhof (Zurich HB) when you arrive. You can check the website below for train times for this ride also, or just enter the train station from the airport and look for trains going to Zurich HB (as many will be stopping there).
Interestingly, until 2016 it took longer to reach Lugano from Zurich, but now you can reach the town by train through the world’s longest tunnel, the new Gotthard Tunnel. Read more about this amazing work of engineering here:
Along the way, you can nap or look outside to see the Alps, lakes, and countryside of Switzerland. When you arrive, you will be a bit rested and, hopefully, closer to check in time at your hotel.
We love to stay at the Best Western Hotel Bellevue au Lac overlooking Lake Lugano, just a short ten-minute walk from the center of town along the lake promenade. The air-conditioned hotel has an excellent breakfast that can be included in the room rate. The two large terrace suites have plenty of seating outside and a sitting area inside. Other rooms have balcony options and rooms in various sizes and price ranges. It is a comfortable, relaxing hotel to enjoy as you get used to a new time zone and begin your trip.
Lugano has a mild, Mediterranean-type micro-climate, so pack typical warm weather clothes for this part of the trip. You may need a light sweater or jacket for boating or for restaurants with cool air conditioning.
Italian is the language spoken in Lugano, and the food is a blend of the best of Swiss and Italian cuisines. Do not miss the Ticino white merlot wine that is difficult to find outside of this region of Switzerland, even in Lucerne and Zurich. It is so good that most of this wine is enjoyed by the people of the Ticino region of Switzerland only.
On my trip to Lugano with Melly, we stayed two nights in Lugano. My husband and I just spent three nights in Lugano on our recent trip, so that we could spend our entire first day getting adjusted to the time change and still have time to see all the sights and take a boat ride. Mel and I also went swimming in the lake and took a four-hour food and wine walking tour that was excellent, so we were really busy.
If you have three days, here is a recommended schedule for Lugano (with some suggestions for changes if you have more or less time):
Lugano – Day 1 of 3 – Day 1 of 10 of Switzerland Summer Travel Plan
Arrive mid-day and take a bus (free with a Swiss Pass) or taxi to your hotel, and check in to your hotel. Even if you cannot check in yet, check your bags at the desk and enjoy the recommend overview tours of the town and lake described below.
To begin this overview experiences, walk along the lake promenade to the center of town. If you are staying at the Best Western Hotel Bellevue Lugano, walk to the left with the lake on your right for about 10 minutes, passing the fountain at Piazza Riziero Rezzonico on your left, and proceed to the fountain at Piazza Alessandro Manzoni facing the lake.
To view specific locations of sights, check out my detailed post on Lugano for links to maps and 12 highlights of Lugano here:
Take the little tourist train from the main tourist attraction area at Piazza Alessandro Manzoni (8-H of my Lugano post) around Lugano to get a great overview of the city. The cost for the 40-minute tour is 9 CHF per person, and this is not included with the Swiss Travel Pass. There is no travel pass discount.
Before or after taking the tourist train, if you are not too tired, take a boat tour from the Lugano boat dock across the street from Piazza Alessandro Manzoni on the lake and take the Classic Tour around the lake for approximately 70 minutes. This is included for free if you have a Swiss Travel Pass. There is no need to go to the ticket office. Just show your pass as you step onto the boat. Some Classic Tour times, available through October 21, 2018, that may work include the following:
Boat Tour 86, leaves Lugano Dock at 2:45 pm, returns to Lugano Dock at 3:55 pm
Boat Tour 87, leaves Lugano Dock at 3:20 pm, returns to Lugano Dock at 4:3o pm
Boat Tour 88, leaves Lugano Dock at 4:35 pm, returns to Lugano Dock at 5:45 pm
Boat Tour 89 (through 9/30/18 only), leaves Lugano Dock at 5:55 pm, returns Lugano Dock at 7:10 pm
If you are staying at the Hotel Bellevue au Lac, consider returning to the Paradiso boat dock (2-B of my Lugano post), just across from the Hotel Bellevue, if you are ready to return to the hotel. All of the above Classic Tour options dock at the Paradiso stop either just before or just after the final Lugano stop. Check for changes and other times at the official Lugano “Oraraio Battelli” schedule here:
If you have more days, check out the schedule for longer boat trips or options. For example, many people decide to get off the boat in Gandria, have lunch, and return on a later boat. Just make sure you verify the return time to make sure the return boat is operating on the day of your choice.
See some dinner options at the end of Day 2 of 3 for Lugano below.
Lugano – Day 2 of 3 – Day 2 of 10 of Switzerland Summer Travel Plan
See these sights of Lugano recommended in my expanded Lugano post and podcast:
4-D LAC Lugano Art and Cultural Center – Be sure to walk inside. Check out the little shop, too.
5-E Chiesa Santa Maria degli Angioli – Don’t miss the Last Supper painting here.
Then, walk along the main shopping street, Via Nassa, and stop in any of the many boutiques or designer shops, including Louis Vitton, Gucci, and more. Stop and have a gourmet lunch at Ristorante Grande Café Al Porto (6-F of my Lugano post), complete with Swiss chocolates from the on-site bakery for dessert. This will be your splurge meal of the day.
Then, walk to Lugano’s Piazza Riforma (7-G of my Lugano post) to see Lugano’s town hall. Consider walking to the lake to rental a little car pedal boat or take another boat cruise. Or, walk back toward Paradiso along the lake to Lido Riva Caccia (3-C of my Lugano post) to swim in the lake.
In the late afternoon, buy cheese and wine in the Coop City store on Via Nassa and bring it back to your hotel terrace or balcony when you are ready for dinner, or sit on a bench overlooking the lake and enjoy your “picnic” dinner. Or, for an even more inexpensive option, there is also a McDonald’s with the best view right in the heart of Lugano near Piazza Alessandro Manzoni.
For a great view and excellent pizza, enjoy a reasonably priced at Ristorante Domino, across from the Paradiso Boat Dock at Riva Antonio Caccia 12.
Lugano – Day 3 of 3 – Day 3 of 10 of Switzerland Summer Travel Plan
Walk about five minutes from the Paradiso Boat Dock to take the funicular up to the top of Monte San Salvatore for a great view of Lugano. To get there, walk up the hill on Via delle Scuole and turn left on Viale San Salvatore to the Monte San Salvatore funicular station (1-A of my Lugano post) and take the funicular to the top of the mountain. The round-trip ride is 50 percent off with the Swiss Travel Pass. The current adult full price is 30 CHF. At the top, take the ramp to the left of the funicular station and walk another five minutes to the top of the mountain to see the church (Chiesa di San Salvatore) and museum.
As you walk, first you will come to a large area overlooking Lugano with benches if you would like to stop and relax or take some pictures. Next, you will see the entrance to the free Monte San Salvatore Museum. The museum is open only from Wednesday to Sunday, from 10 am until noon, and from 1 pm to 3 pm. It opened in 1999 as a joint venture of the Monte San Salvatore Funicular railway company and the Archfraternity of Good Death and Prayer and named “Santa Marta”. It is housed in an ancient hospice dating to the 17th century to provide shelter to the poor and travelers making pilgrimages to the San Salvatore church, as well to give comfort to prisoners condemned to death as they awaited execution. Rooms 1-3 on the ground floor house a collection of rare and precious religious art objects commemorating the work carried out by the Archfraternity over the centuries. On the first floor, Room 4 houses rocks, mineral and fossils illustrating the geological evolution of the local area. Room 5 is dedicated to caves, a common natural feature in and around Mont San Salvatore. The subject of the final exhibition space, Room 6, is “Lightning”. It commemorates the lightning research centre, a world-renowned laboratory equipped with sophisticated technology for monitoring and measuring lightning that operated on the summit from 1943 to 1982.
From the museum, walk up the stairs toward the summit for the shortest route to the church. Be sure to enter the Chiesa di San Salvatore to view the beautiful interior. Walk around the back of the church to climb the steps to the rooftop for an awesome view.
Walk back toward the funicular station. Just after the station, be sure to check out the viewing area down the steps to the left near the entrance to the Restaurant Vetta for a beautiful over Lugano.
There is a children’s playground near the restaurant. Also, there are some benches for relaxing to the right of the restaurant.
Consider having lunch with a view at the Restaurant Vetta. Check out the view and menu here:
If you have more time and are physically fit for hiking and climbing, check out the two to three hour hikes on Monte San Salvatore on their official website links here:
Now, take the funicular back down Monte San Salvatore and walk about five minutes back to the lake. Walk along the lake back toward the center of Lugano, passing Piazza Alessandro Manzoni, and visit Casino Lugano (9-I of my Lugano post). Even if you don’t decide to join in the gaming, you may want to take the glass elevator to the top for a nice view of the lake. Also, you can check out Restaurant Seven in the casino. It is open for lunch and dinner, and it has a great view of the lake. Check out the menu here:
After passing the casino, walk around the corner away from the lake to see the outdoor sculpture by Igor Mitoraj (10-J of my Lugano post). Then, walk back toward the lake and turn left to reach the Lugano Gate (11-K of my Lugano post) to see what many consider the symbol of Lugano. Walk through the park, cross the small river that empties into Lake Lugano, and have a drink or dinner outside or indoors at Antica Osteria del Porto (12-L of my Lugano post).
For another dinner option, take the Lugano Food and Wine walking tour. This tour is not included with the Swiss Travel Pass, and there is no discount offered with the travel pass. Melly and I took that tour and enjoyed tastes of food and wine many of the town’s restaurants over the course of about four hours with Patricia Carminati. Contact her here to book or for more information:
Lucerne, Switzerland (5 nights with a day trip to Engelberg/Mount Titlis)
On the morning of Day 4, after spending three nights in Lugano, leave Lugano and travel two hours via train back through the Alps to the quintessential Swiss city of Lucerne. Train options that do not require a change of trains are currently available leaving Lugano at 9:42 am, 11:42 am, and 1:42 pm. Remember, you can take a bus to the train station for free with your Swiss Pass back to the train station.
When you arrive in the Swiss-German speaking town of Lucerne, take a bus (free with Swiss Travel Pass) or taxi or walk to your hotel. There are many hotel options within about a 10 to 15 minute walk of the train station.
We have stayed for two years in a row at the Renaissance Lucerne, a Marriott hotel, within just a few short blocks of the Lucerne train station. To get there, walk to the left out of the train station on Pilatusstrasse for about two blocks. The hotel will be on your left at the corner of Sempacherstrasse at Pilatusstrasse 15. Check the hotel website link here:
Lucerne – Day 1 of 5 – Day 4 of 10 of Switzerland Summer Travel Plan
After check in, walk to the River Reuss to the Kapellbrücke (Chapel Bridge). Kapellbrücke is near the train station and only about two blocks from the Renaissance Hotel. It is Highlight 11-K of my detailed post with 12 Key Highlights of Lucerne. To view specific locations of sights, including links to maps, check out my detailed post about Lucerne here:
From the Kapellbrücke, walk a couple of blocks along Lake Lucerne, across from the train station, to the Hotel Schweizerhof and take the Lucerne tourist train from in front of the hotel on a 40-minute overview of the town (7-G of my Lucerne post). The current price of the tourist train is 12 CHF per adult. There is no discount with the Swiss Travel Pass.
See some dinner options at the end of Days 2 and 3 of 5 for Lucerne below.
Lucerne – Day 2 of 5 – Day 5 of 10 of Switzerland Summer Travel Plan
Visit the Lion of Lucerne monument (1-A of my Lucerne post) and the Glacier Garden (2-B of my Lucerne post) located on the Hotel Schweizerhof side of Lake Lucerne, across from the train station.
Have lunch at the Old Swiss House Restaurant (3-C of my Lucerne post). Be sure to see the case of rare Rothschild wines dating back to the early 1900’s.
Walk toward Lake Lucerne for a block or so to see Hofkirche St. Leodegar (4-D of my Lucerne post). Walk another block toward the lake. Take an optional swim at the Seebad Luzern Swimming Club (5-E of my Lucerne post) or just stroll or sit near the lake and watch the many swans swimming in this area. Have dinner at the Schiff-Restaurant Wilhelm Tell (6-F of my Lucerne post) docked in front of the Hotel Schweizerhof. Or, enjoy drinks or dinner at the Hotel Schweizerhof bar or restaurant.
Lucerne – Day 3 of 5 – Day 6 of 10 of Switzerland Summer Travel Plan
Begin your day at the Jesuitenkirche (10-J of my Lucerne post). Step inside to view the ornate interior. Walk along the River Reuss, with the water to your right, and cross the Spreuer Bridge (9-I of my Lucerne post) to see the special Dance of Death paintings there.
When you reach the other side of the Spreuer Bridge, stop to see the Nadelwehr, the Needle Dam, one of the last remaining needle dams in the world. These types of dams maintain the water level and the flow of the river through a series of thin pieces of wood, called needles. Adding or subtracting these pieces of wood helps to control the flow of the river. This dam was originally built in 1859. It has been updated with the newest technology and equipped with hydroelectric power to provide better flood protection for the River Reuss and Lake Lucerne.
Continue walking away from the river to shop at souvenir shops, boutiques, and watch shops in the Weinmarkt shopping area (8-H of my Lucerne post).
Then, take a bus from the shopping area or the train station about 10 minutes to the Chateau Guetsch funicular station, and take the free 2-minute funicular ride to the top to have lunch at the hotel overlooking Lucerne. Check out hotel information and menu offerings here:
When you ride the funicular, look in front of you to see the old Lucerne Town Wall, the Musegg Wall, and some of the famous Nine Towers. Learn more about it here:
If you are physically fit and have more time, consider spending a half-day walking along the wall and climbing the towers.
Have a nice dinner at Hotel Balances overlooking the Reuss River looking across to the Jesuit Church. Check out the menu and make reservations at this link:
For a slightly less expensive option, enjoy the La Terrazza Ristorante just next door to Les Balances. The gnocchi and the prawns are both excellent.
Lucerne – Day 4 of 5 – Day 7 of 10 of Switzerland Summer Travel Plan
Dress in layers today, and take a train less than an hour from Lucerne to Engelberg. See the major sights of Engelberg and sights at the top of the Alps at Mount Titlis recommended in my Engelberg/Mount Titlis post and podcast here:
You will take a small cable car and then a larger, rotating Rotair cable car to the top of the Alps. Here you can walk inside an ice cave, walk across a suspension bridge above the Alps, and take the “Ice Flyer” open-air lift over the Alps to a fun Glacier Park. At Glacier Park, if you are fit and active, slide down the glacier and ride back up on a conveyor belt.
Have lunch of wine and cheese at the cheese factory of the monastery in Engelberg. Enjoy shopping in the small town.
There are plenty of options in the area for paragliding, bungy jumping, kayaking, and more. Check out many opportunities here:
When you return to Lucerne, walk toward the big clock tower overlooking the River Reuss at the Lucerne Altes Rathaus (Town Hall). Have dinner along the river at the Rathaus Brauerei (12-L of my Lucerne post). You will feel like you are at an outdoor Swiss-German beer hall in Switzerland!
Lucerne – Day 5 of 5 – Day 8 of 10 of Switzerland Summer Travel Plan
Spend some time in the morning at the Rosengart Art Museum at Pilatusstrasse, near the train station and the Renaissance Hotel. There are so many Picasso paintings in the museum that many people unofficially refer to it as “The Picasso Museum,” but there is so much more art to see here. There is an entire floor dedicated to the work of Paul Klee. But, many people love the top floor the best. On this floor you will find works by Renoir, Monet, Matisse, Chagall, and many more. In fact, begin your visit here to view an introductory film about the museum and its founder, Angela Rosengart, to gain a full appreciation of her friendship with Pablo Picasso and her personal collection that became the Rosengart Museum. This is truly a world-class museum. Admission is 18 CHF for adults, but it is free with the Swiss Travel Pass.
Today, take a boat tour on Lake Lucerne. Tours, other than specialty tours, are free with the Swiss Travel Pass. Many of the boat tours offer restaurants serving lunch or dinner as you circle the lake. We enjoyed a sunset cruise on the lake.
Check out the Lake Lucerne boat timetable here:
There are boats that will take you to Mount Pilatus and Mount Rigi, closer to Lucerne than Engelberg and Mount Titlis. There are funicular or cogwheel railway options to take you to the top and back. For fit and active visitors, hike down Mount Pilatus or Mount Rigi. Or enjoy other active options.
Check out the information on visiting Mount Rigi here:
Check out the information on visiting Mount Pilatus here:
Today might be a good day to enjoy a concert or performance at the Culture and Convention Center in Lucerne adjacent to the main train station. The KKL Centre opened in 1998 with some of the best acoustics in the world. Lucerne is known world-wide for its Lucerne Festival held in late summer. Most of the concerts are held here, although some are performed outside along the Lake Lucerne. Find out more about the KKL Centre and the Lucerne Festival here:
Zurich, Switzerland (2 nights)
On the morning of Day 9, after spending five nights in Lucerne, leave Lucerne and travel one hour to the modern, but compact city of Zurich. When you arrive in the Swiss-German speaking town of Zurich, take a bus (free with Swiss Travel Pass) or taxi or walk to your hotel. There are many hotel options within about a 10 to 15 minute walk of the train station.
We have stayed for two years in a row at the modern, high-rise, Zurich Marriott hotel, about a 10-minute walk from the Zurich train station. To get there, walk toward the Limmat River from the train station, and turn left. Walk with the river on your left for about 5 minutes and the hotel will be on your right. Check the hotel website link here for exact location, more information, and reservations:
Zurich – Day 1 of 2 – Day 9 of 10 of Switzerland Summer Travel Plan
Even if you are not able to check in right away, leave your bags at the hotel desk so you can begin to see some of the major sights of Zurich recommended in my expanded Zurich post and podcast here:
If you are staying at the Zurich Marriott, or are interested in watching swimmers in the clean, urban Limmat River of Zurich, visit Dynamo Jugendkulturhaus (1-A of my Zurich post). If you are active and physically fit, you may want to jump in for a swim, too. You may even see some young people jumping off the bridge right here in front of the Marriott.
On the other side of the Limmat River from the Marriott, close to the train station, you will see the Swiss National Museum, the Landesmuseum (3-C of my Zurich post). It is free with the Swiss Travel Pass. One of the many items you can see here is the original of the stone Roman tablet with the oldest known use of the name Zurich written in Latin as Turicum. Another interesting exhibit contains many Swiss watches, including an Omega watch that was worn by astronauts on the moon. See more about visiting this museum here.
Next, walk along the Limmat River away from the Marriott and cross back over the river at the Mühlesteg Pedestrian Bridge (4-D of my Zurich post) to visit the old town of Zurich.
Have a traditional Swiss lunch or dinner at the Hotel Adler (11-K of my Zurich post). Make this your big meal of the day.
Then, shop in the old town. Don’t miss Schwarzenbach (12-L of my Zurich post) to see the unique spices from all over the world. You may want to have dessert or tea here, as well. From here, walk to the nearby Grossmünster Church (13-M of my Zurich post) and step inside if it is open.
Cross the River Limmat and visit the Fraumünster Church (14-N of my Zurich post). Pay $5 US dollars per person or 5 Euros or 5 CHF to listen to the audio tour regarding the amazing Chagall windows.
Then, walk to the end of the road where the Limmat River meets Lake Zurich at the Ganymed Sculpture (15-O of my Zurich post). End your day with a boat tour of Lake Zurich (16-P of my Zurich post). It is free with your Swiss Pass. The current schedule is posted below:
Take a bus or low riverboat back to your hotel. These are free with the Swiss Pass.
For a special dinner, dine at the French-inspired, Swiss restaurant Kronenhalle. Since 1924, this expensive restaurant has been serving food fit for a king. It is as well known for its fine art as for its food. Wall paintings are by Picasso, Miró, Chagall, Rodin, and more. Check out the website and make reservations here:
Zurich – Day 2 of 2 – Day 10 of 10 of Switzerland Summer Travel Plan
On your last day in Zurich, begin near the Hauptbahnhof, the Main Train Station, (5-E of my Zurich post), no later than 10:30 am and walk down the street in front of it, Bahnhofstrasse (6-F of my Zurich post) so you can arrive at Paradeplatz (7-G of my Zurich post) by 11 am. On Bahnhofstrasse, you will see all of the modern shops of Zurich. As you get a few blocks away from the train station, the shops will become more and more exclusive.
As you walk on Bahnhofstrasse past shops with guards you will see the Beyer Watch store on the right. Inside there is a watch museum on the bottom floor that is definitely worth a visit later this afternoon if you are interested in the history of timekeeping. The 8 CHF charge is not covered by the Swiss Pass. It is open Monday through Friday from 2-6 pm only. Find out more about this museum here:
For now, though, keep walking along Bahnhofstrasse to the big square at Paradeplatz (7-G on my Zurich post) to the Credit Suisse Bank. Here you can join the excellent 90-minute free tour of Zurich. On this tour you will see St. Peter’s Church, with sections dating back to 900 AD (8-H of my Zurich post). The walk will continue to the location where the Turicum Roman Plaque was found with its replica in that location (9-I of my Zurich post). Then, you will climb to the Lindenhof Observation Point (10-J of my Zurich post), where all of Zurich was founded. Plan to tip the tour guide at the end of the tour.
Find out more about the tour here: http://www.freewalk.ch/zurich/downtown-tour-zurich.php
After the tour, enjoy lunch in one of the many café’s in the old town on either side of the Limmat River. Then, take some time for shopping or window shopping on Bahnhofstrasse before returning to your hotel to rest and pack for your journey home tomorrow.
If you have less time in Zurich, do what Melly and I did. Travel from Lucerne early in the morning, check your bags and your hotel, and catch the 11 am free tour. Then, have lunch after the tour at the Hotel Adler. Walk to Fraumünster and take the audio tour to learn about the Chagall windows. Then, walk over to the Ganymed Statue and take a boat tour of Lake Zurich from the boat dock. Shop your way back down Bahnhofstrasse and pop in the Landesmuseum if it is still open before returning to your hotel.
End the last day (or the only day) of your trip to Zurich with dinner at eCHo Restaurant (2-B of my Zurich post), a traditional Swiss restaurant in the Zurich Marriott. Reflect upon your perfect trip to Switzerland, and plan for your return trip!
I hope you have enjoyed this itinerary and other Switzerland posts and podcasts I have shared. Be sure to check out the other more than 60 posts and podcasts on my home page at www.oneperfectdayin.org.
I would love to hear about your visit(s) to Switzerland, as well. Where have been your favorite places to visit? Maybe I will travel to a few more Swiss cities on my next trip. I would love to hear your recommendations!
Remember to click on the audio bar below to listen to the accompanying podcast.
Until next time, I hope all your travel days are just perfect!