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Zurich as a home base

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Zurich as a home base

Would Zurich be a good home base for day trips. We will be flying in from the states and will not be renting a car. We would like to see smal towns and cities such as Basil & Bern and Lugano, along with a few train rides.

I know this is a lot to ask but we are not kids anymore and do not want to cart our luggage from town to town.

Pehaps someone has a better idea of a home base we are open to suggestions.



Kent, England
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1. Re: Zurich as a home base

I would suggest Zurich is not a good base, You don't say how long you will be staying in Switzerland but Thun or one of the resorts on Lake Thun would make more sense than a big city and a day trip to Bern would be less than an hour by train and the trains are frequent. Basel vwould take about one and half hours but there direct trains. To visit Lugano from this area is a lot longer journey, therefore I would suggest somewhere in the Lucerne area, if you want a small town on the lake look at Brunnen about 45 minutes from Lucerne by train or two hours by boat but the trip to Lugano from here is about two hours, and the views of Lake Lucerne from the lakeside in Brunnen are the best.

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2. Re: Zurich as a home base


I'm a little curious about why you've only listed some Swiss cities that you'd like to see, and haven't listed any of the mountain destinations or mountain villages. Do you truly have no interest to spend time in the Alps? Zürich is a good choice if those are really the only places you want to see.

But if you'd like to see some mountains, then I agree that Zúrich isn't the best location; you'll find that most train trips will be longer than two hours, and some will be three or four hours in each direction. I've learned to limit my day-trips to two hours of transport in each direction, or else all my memories of the day are eaten up by too many hours inside that moving box!

I also agree that Thun is a good choice as a base town, and Spiez (also on Lake Thun), and Bern are two other options. You'll find that the cities you list (except Lugano) are within a two-hour trip, as well as are the mountain villages; in addition all are easy to get to from the Zürich airport.

Lugano would be a really long trip -- three hours from Zürich or four hours from Bern or Thun. I suggest that you move your base to Lugano if you want to see it, or plan to see it sometime when you are in the southern part of Europe.

Use the Swiss rail site to research your journeys:


Have fun as you plan!


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3. Re: Zurich as a home base

If you really want to be in a city - because perhaps you like the night life or whatever - then I would choose Bern. Much more of a rail "hub" than Zürich and an hour closer to the Suisse Romande as well.

By the way Basel is Basel - not Basil like Faulty Towers!! Also spelt Bâle in French, Basilea in Italian and sometimes Basle in English! Never Basil....and however you spell it it is the most wonderful city to see. Huge old town, many houses dating from the 14th century. Very elegant too.

Zurich, Switzerland
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4. Re: Zurich as a home base

Zurich is probably (beside of Luzern) the best base to explore Basel, Bern and Lugano if you look at a map and on the train schedule. Zurich train station is by far the largest of our country and the connections in every direction are excellent.

However I agree that most visitors mainly want to see the mountains. And in this case there would be better choices for a base than Zurich.

Goldau, Switzerland
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5. Re: Zurich as a home base


I would vote for Lucerne as it is a very nice little city on one of the most attractive lake systems. The views along the lake promenade are great.

From Lucerne it is very easy to travel to Basel, Berne or Lugano - see www.sbb.ch/en which is the same as the one swandav gave you -.

For much more information about the Lucerne area look at the Top Questions about Lucerne (TA Lucerne forum) and www.luzern.com

By the way, Lucerne is not the only place around this lake. You can look at Meggen, Vitznau, Weggis (all www.luzern.com ), Hergiswil - http://www.hergiswil.ch/de/tourismus/ -, Brunnen - www.brunnentourismus.ch -, Küssnacht am Rigi - http://www.hohlgassland.ch/ - or on lake Zug the tiny city of Zug - www.zugtourismus.ch - etc. Some of the given homepages are unfortunatlely not available in english.

Maybe, once you are here, you would prefer to visit the mountains in the area- www.rigi.ch www.stanserhorn.ch www.titlis.ch www.pilatus.ch etc -? No problem, it is all close together.


6. Re: Zurich as a home base

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