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Zurich or Chur for 1 day visit?

Mexico City, Mexico
3 posts
Zurich or Chur for 1 day visit?
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Hi! I’ll be at Switzerland in august for 1 day (passing by from Colmar, France to Venice) and I want to take the Bernina Express from Chur to Tirano. I would like to know if it’s better to stay in Zurich (I’ll be arriving around 10:30am), visit the city and take the train to Chur next morning or going directly to Chur without visiting Zurich and stay there. Is it very crazy to try both in one day? I’ve never been in Switzerland and we are traveling with a senior (if it helps to get better advise). Thank you!

7 replies to this topic
Canton of Valais...
Destination Expert
for Switzerland
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228 reviews
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1. Re: Zurich or Chur for 1 day visit?
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Stay in Zürich. Lots more to see and do there than in Chur. And with a senior, the old town in Zürich is easy to walk around. Take a lake cruise as well. www.zuerich.com for info on hotels, events, etc. The tourist office also offers some interesting walking tours.

Train Zürich to Chur takes 1hr 20. The actual Bernina line starts in the Upper Engadin though there is a train that runs Chur / Tirano twice daily. For the first part of the journey to St Moritz you are on the Albula line. The actual Bernina line is about the most scenic train ride I have ever done. It is a long day though... around 6 hours on the trains. What a shame you cannot spend more time, take things more slowly and see the Upper Engadin which is a stunningly lovely valley.

Bern, Switzerland
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2. Re: Zurich or Chur for 1 day visit?
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To have more than a look from the window at the Swiss Alps: travel the first day from Colmar to St.Moritz.

You can be there around 02:00 pm.

United Kingdom
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3. Re: Zurich or Chur for 1 day visit?
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what will you do after the Bernina Express? It will take around 5 hours more to get from Tirano to Venice so if you intend to do this in the same day you will need ot get the early Bernina Express, either 09:17 from St Moritz or 08:32 from Chur. Travelling all the way from Zurch to Venice via Bernina will be a very long day.

The train from Basel (connection from Colmar) that arrives Zurich at 10:26 continues to Chur so I would stay on it, especially if travelling with a senior. That puts you in Chur at 11:52. You can either stay there and get the 08:32 train next day or get the next connection to St Moritz (or Pontresina) and take the earlier Bernina Express from there next day. Chur has a nice old town to wander through which would fill the afternoon. If going further on the first day I prefer Pontresina to St Moritz, it has some impressive views without going far.

Berlin, Germany
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4. Re: Zurich or Chur for 1 day visit?
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I lived in Chur for 6 months and visited Zürich quite often. I think that it is possible to get a quick look at both cities in roughly 24 hours, especially as it will be summer and the days are longer.

I would recommend getting off the the train in Zürich for a leisurely stroll and lunch alongside the beautiful Lake Zürich (a short tram ride or walk from the main station). You can then go for a little wander through the cobblestoned Old Town (conveniently on the way back to the main station).

There are trains to Chur every hour, so maybe around 2 or 3pm you could head back to the station. Make sure to sit on the left side of the train (when you're facing the front) so that you have the best lake and mountain views on the way to Chur.

An hour later, you'll be in Chur, let's say it's about 4pm by the time you've checked into your hotel. My parents stayed at the Central Hotel Post and enjoyed it. As Chur is very small, you will have plenty of time to wander around the old town for about 2 hours before dinner.

I recently wrote an article about the top reasons to visit Switzerland, where I included plenty of pictures of Zürich and Chur, so you can get a good idea of what to expect in both places. Feel free to check it out: https://berlinandaround.com/2020/11/21/reasons-to-visit-switzerland/

Mexico City, Mexico
3 posts
5. Re: Zurich or Chur for 1 day visit?
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Thank you all! I think we are going to stay in Zurich for the day and maybe take the lake cruise (Thank you Hambagahle for the tip!), but we are thinking in staying the night in Chur (and spending part of the afternoon there as Margherite and Steve recomended) so we won´t have to be all day in train. For the same reason, after the Bernina we are staying the night at Milano and heading to Venice the next morning. Sounds a little bit tiring, but I hope the scenic views worth it! Thanks all!

Canton of Valais...
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6. Re: Zurich or Chur for 1 day visit?
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Chur is only 1hr 20 from Zürich HB. So spending time in Zürich is reasonable... however much depends on your "senior" and his/her stamina. Trains leave every hour from Zürich HB so why not let the senior "make the pace" so to speak.

The next day you will have a long time on the train to Tirano plus of course the connection to Milan...

Switzerland
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7. Re: Zurich or Chur for 1 day visit?
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We did the Bernina Express in January and I would recommend staying in Chur the night before. It’s beautiful but a long ride. Adding a early AM ride from ZH to Chur only to directly hop on another train..oopf. We really liked Chur. Old town is pedestrian only and easy to walk and is a small taste of a swiss town. Even the bakery in the train station is very reasonably priced and decent.

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