I spent a couple of weekends traveling around Zurich and Lucerne. Here’s a brief account. I enjoyed this region a lot, however, I see that a lot of tourists visit only this part of Switzerland, missing out on the much more beautiful and high mountains of Valais and Bernese Oberland.
- Peak of Klingenstock and Fronalpstock. Absolutely gorgeous peaks, especially Fronalpstock. The views over the lakes were brilliant.
- The town of Stein Am Rhein with it’s painted buildings.
- Hidden from tourists, absolutely off the beaten track, the village of Arvenbuel, just an hour south of Zurich.
- The town of Lucerne, loved walking around the river and the lake.
- The Chassalp restaurant just around Zurich serving several varieties of fondue.
- The vegetarian buffet restaurant in Zurich, Haus Hiltl, go only to the main branch.
- The Wirthaus Galliker restaurant in Luzern.
Places which were a little underwhelming:
- Rigi: the views weren’t too impressive to me, especially after Fronalpstock.
- The Rheinfalls, well, it’s actually not too bad, the force of the falls is impressive, but that’s about it. I would rather invest the time somewhere else.
I saw this gem of a place while returning to Zurich from the south. The villages of Amden and Arvenbuel look well perched above the dramatic Wallensee lake. On a warm summer evening, I took a bus/train to Amden, and walked up to Arvenbuel and then took a small hike to the Chapf viewpoint. Absolutely fantastic, and best visited on an evening. The sunset I saw was one of my most favorite in Switzerland. The restaurant in Amden(there are just one or two) was great.
Klingenstock and Fronalpstock:
I took an early morning train from Zurich to the base of Stoos. Got a day pass and took the chairlift to Klingenstock. The top was amazing. The fast moving clouds made the top even more eventful. Took the easy path to Franalpstock along the ridge. If you want to do an easy ridge hike, nothing is better than this one! As I got closer to Fronalpstock, I could see the lakes at a stretch. This was definitely one of the most gorgeous sights I have seen in Switzerland. The lakes, being cut by the mountain range looked amazing, and several lakes could be seen extending into the horizon. Quite a sight, plus the clouds would move along making it even more dramatic. And there was this boat cutting across the bright blue lake and the sun shining on it. Had lunch at the restaurant, a rosti and a soup, both were of average quality. Descended Fronalpstock and took a bus towards Rigi.
Visiting Rigi was anti-climatic, after having just visited Fronalpstock. EArly morning might be a better time to visit. However, the view from Rigi Rotstock was interesting.
I visited Luzern on an evening and felt it was certainly worth an evening, especially walking along the river and visiting the towers above the city. I had a good Italian meal at Mamma Leone and a wonderful Swiss vegetarian meal at Wirthaus Galliker, one of the best non-greasy rosti’s and a pastry with mushroom sauce.
Stein Am Rhein and Schaffhausen
I visited Schaffhausen, Stein Am Rhein and the Rhein falls on a nice sunny day. Stein Am Rhein was quite breathtaking, the historic town is well preserved, with some amazing painted walls and well restored historic houses. I had a quick meal at a local cafe, Cafe Spath, which was pretty good. The Munot Castle was an interesting place to visit in Schaffhausen. The Rhein Falls, were great, but I wouldn’t spend time here if I have anything less than 10 days in Switzerland.