At the beginning of last year (February 2019 to be exact), I was so fortunate to tag along with my husband on a business trip to Switzerland! I was so excited to take this trip because to be honest, it would probably be a country I would never be able to visit just because of how expensive it is to fly there and to visit.
As soon as I knew we were going (about 1 month before actually leaving), I got started right away on my itinerary planning. I like to plan out all of the sights as well as restaurants that I would be hitting up in a day through google maps and sending it to my phone. *Savvy tip*, if you save an offline map from google maps and then map out your itinerary, you are able to locate the spots you want to hit up without WIFI. See more information below under “WIFI Access”.
Here is some general information of our time in Switzerland:
Hotel in Zug, Switzerland:
We stayed in Zug since this was where my husband’s work event was being held. We stayed at the Ibis Hotel in Baar, which was very convenient because it was right across the street from the train station. My husband only had to be in town for 3 days, so we extended our trip so that we had an additional two days prior to explore the city. This hotel was chosen by my husband’s work, so I do not necessarily recommend it, however I would recommend the chain itself. Our hotel ended up being about 25 minutes from Zurich and about an hour from Lucerne by train so the location wasn’t too bad in the end.
Transportation from the Airport to our Hotel: The most efficient way of traveling from the airport to our hotel in Zug was by train. It was only about a 15-minute train ride and as mentioned above, the train station ended up being right across the street from our hotel.
Transportation in and around Zurich and Lucerne: As mentioned, we took the train from Zug to Zurich and Lucerne. Once in Zurich and Lucerne itself, the cities were small enough where we were able to walk everywhere.
WIFI Access: Connection was only available in our hotel room and some public establishments. To get around this, what I have done in the past, and also implemented on this trip, was to load our itinerary on Google maps and download the map for offline navigation. This method works most of the time, however sometimes the GPS gets confused and doesn’t know where you are and ends up restarting. You end up having to use the map the old way (aka without a GPS and finding your own directions like a traditional map). Since Zurich and Lucerne were quite small and pretty easy to navigate, when our GPS did restart, it was pretty easy to use the map function and navigate the old-fashioned way.
Budget: We had budgeted a total of $2500 CAD for the entire trip, which came to $250 CAD per day for 5 days, however note that I had only budgeted 2 days for hotels since the remainder of the trip was paid for by my husband’s company. I also used Budget your Trip to gauge what to expect per day for expenses. See below for the breakdown of our actual expenses (keep in mind this is for 2 people):
- Airfare from Toronto to Zurich for 1 person: $1371
- Hotel: $163 (for 2 nights)
- Meals (on credit card): $504
- Transportation (credit card): $191 (Train)
- Other (entertainment and souvenirs): $31
- Total cost of trip for 3 days: $1138
Excluding airfare, we actually spent a total of $889, which came to $222 per day per person (for the 2 days). When compared to the approximation given on Budget your Trip, the site did recommend $271 per day per person, so I highly recommend this website as a great resource in budget planning.
When we arrived in Zurich, we decided to head straight over to Hiltl Haus for lunch. I had heard great things about this buffet style restaurant and was really excited. When we arrived, you did have an option of having the all you can eat option, however it was quite expensive (it would have been well over $100 CAD for the two of us for lunch). We opted for the weighted option instead and shared 3 plates (which still cost about $70 CAD for the two of us, but it was more than enough food). The food here is all vegetarian with vegan options and has cards indicating if the dish contains any of the allergens people are typically allergic to, such as gluten, dairy, soy, and eggs. It also indicates if it is vegetarian or vegan for quick reference. They had a huge variety of salads, stews, curries, stir fries and desserts. Honestly it was tempting to opt for the all you can eat option; however, it wasn’t worth it for a lunch. We really enjoyed our meal here and we actually returned to Tibits later in the week, which is a more casual and take out version of Hiltl Haus. It was much more affordable and the food was just as good!
After lunch, we decided to check out Hiltl Vegimetzg, which is a vegetarian butcher right next to Hiltl Haus. There were so many great products that I wish I could have bought some to try and bring back to Canada. They had vegan cold cuts, meats and even ice cream. They even had cook books for sale which is great if you want to re-create the Hiltl Haus recipes in your own home. I highly recommend a visit, even if it’s just to window shop if you are in the area!
After lunch, we officially started our walking tour and headed towards Augustinergrasse, known for their beautifully painted bay windows. This is definitely an area you must visit for all of those Instagram worthy photos. We took our time walking this area, looking at all of the shops and taking photos of the colorful buildings. This street connects directly to Bahnhofstrasse, which is a great area for high end shopping. We loved window shopping here and feeling like a local as we explored the streets. From here, we walked over to Lindenhof, which is a great lookout onto the city.
After taking in the sights of the city and posing for a few photo ops, we walked over to Town Hall Bridge, which is a pedestrian bridge that crosses over Lake Zurich. It is very lively with lots of people and families walking around and taking in all of the sights. It’s a great place for photo ops since you can see the swiss alps in the distance. On a clear day, you can even see the white caps on top of the alps! Photos do not do it justice and you will definitely need to see it for yourself in person.
We headed over to the Opera House where there were lots of people hanging out and enjoying the company. There were lots of people having picnics, playing music or taking a stroll with their babies. It was a quick visit for us at the Opera House before we headed back to the train station to end our day trip in Zurich.
Click here for my full walking tour from the Zurich train station!
From our hotel in Zug, we took the train to Lucerne, which was only about hour and gave us plenty of time to take in the wonderful scenery as we made our way over to the city. From the train station, the first stop was to visit Europaplatz, where we quickly connected to some free WIFI and took in the sights of Lake Lucerne. There are also restaurants and shops around this area so you can definitely spend some time here as well.
After gaining access WIFI and updating our location, we made our way over to the Chapel Bridge. This bridge is considered Europe’s oldest covered bridge and allows you to take some photos. This bridge connects the New and Old town, which is where we were headed for our walking tour. We took our time walking the bridge since there is a lot of artwork inside the roof, so be sure to take your time.
Once we reached the other side of the bridge and entered Old Town, we walked along the water to see where we could grab some lunch. We ended up at the restaurant attached to Hotel des Alpes where we enjoyed traditional cheese fondue and rosti.
After fueling up on some much-needed carbs, we continued our walking tour over to St. Leodegar Church for more sight seeing and photos. The last bit of our walking tour included visiting Lion Monument and then taking our time walking back to the train station.
Click here for my full walking tour from the Lucerne train station.
Now set forth and be Savvy!